Violence Close to Home

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Over the last few years, I think many Canadians have developed a habit of pointing south of the border and shaking their heads at the insanely common occurrence of gun violence in the USA, but what do we say when it turns out we’re not as immune to gun violence as we thought we were?

It’s a game of psychological invulnerability; you never think it’ll happen to you. The bombings, the shootings, the robberies, the sexual violence… They don’t happen to us. Those things only ever happen to them.

This, however, is a very misleading train of thought.

There has recently been a series of shootings in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. As reported by Mark Gollom of CBC News, “So far this year, there have been more than 200 shootings in the city; 24 of those have resulted in death. (In comparison, there were 24 gun-related deaths in all of 2016, and 16 in 2017).”

How can Canadians take stock in this news and accept that we, too, are susceptible to violence and racism?

I think that apathy and denial are large problems for many Canadians (or at least in Ontario, where I’m from). We get caught up in thinking that we’re nice, friendly, polite, and definitely not racist.

The reality is we do indeed suffer from systemic racism, though not as overtly as in the USA (e.g. take a look at this Vox video about gerrymandering).

One of the best things we can do right now is to talk to one another and open a forum of discussion about our Canadian problems. Afterall, the first step to recovering from a problem is to acknowledge the problem exists. From there, we can start to work towards solutions based on a solid cushion of facts and logical decision-making.

But life never is that simple, is it?

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