Toronto continued its unprestigious international decline this weekend as more and more international media outlets are cluing into the gun violence that has shattered not only T.O.’s image, but many young lives as well.

I was watching an American station Monday night when the news came on. The station was in Buffalo, N.Y. and one of the headlines cried out about the carnage that has taken over our city.

While we are a long, long way from our neighbourhoods resembling anything like an American intercity ghetto, such as can be found from Chicago to Ohio to New York, the fact that we are struggling with one of our most violent years leaves no room to pat ourselves on the back.

As many as six people were hit by gunfire from a minimum of two suspects on boxing day on the main sidewalk outside the famous Eaton Centre on Yonge Street at Dundas, on what is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. In fact, as a former patron of Sam’s Records on Yonge, I almost decided to go downtown that day with my own children who would have found the sights exciting. It is now getting a little too exciting, and it’s a shame.

The death toll from gun-toting criminals on our streets so far this year is now 52, or 1 death per week. The overall murder rate is now 78.

As one would expect, our prime minister was quick to enter the media spotlight. He stated that as Canadians, we cannot take our “peace or understanding for granted”. I’ll be straight with you. I consider myself no slouch when it comes to deciphering what politicians are trying to say, but I have no clue as to what that means. Absolutely none.

Prime Minister Martin went on to elaborate that the cause of these crimes is people being left out, or excluded. Mr. Prime Minister, would you kindly explain to me what these thugs were excluded from? Perhaps it was the 10 Commandments, or the Golden Rule, or perhaps their parents were clueless. Please explain to me how exclusion could make these gangsters what they are. People make conscious choices to commit crimes. They know their actions are wrong, and that their choices carry little consequence in our country. The only thing they are excluded from is society, and that is absolutely their own decision.

I grew up in a rough part of town. I stayed in school, I worked hard, and I chose my friends wisely. I was excluded from much. I was considered the teacher’s pet, I was called a rat, and I was ostracized because of my stature. Let me tell you right now, sir, that exclusion plays absolutely no part in gang mentality. You apparently lack a fundamental understanding of criminality. That would perhaps explain why you still believe tying the arms of legal gun owners behind their backs will lead to a decline in these senseless acts.

Mr. Martin, these heinous crimes are a direct result of your government’s actions and inactions. You have wasted over $2 billion dollars writing down the serial numbers of guns held by law abiding folk. That money should have been spent building prisons to house those perpetrating these crimes. That money should have been spent on better screening of our immigrants and on better detection of illegals entering our country.

Another area where you have failed, Mr. Prime Minister, is in the area of the judicial branch of our government. We continue to have people appointed to our courts who are patronage appointments and clearly, by the proof of their own decisions, are unqualified to hold the positions to which they are being appointed to. We need judges that can recognize the well thought out decisions that lead these individuals to commit the acts that they do, and who will correctly and justly penalize them.

Recently, we have heard that minimum sentencing for crimes involving guns is to be increased. It is about time. Locking these people up and throwing away the key would be a great start. Let’s go further. Let’s stop letting just anybody into our fine land. There are so many worthwhile immigrants that want to settle here that we could require any amount of immigrants to bolster our population and never have to take someone with a criminal record.

We must tighten the border and raise the conditions of becoming a member of our society. Illegals should be put on a plane, train, boat, or piece of wood and sent back from whence they came. They are illegal immigrants and as such do not deserve to be able to invoke our Charter of Rights for their benefit. Criminals need not apply. It is not a right, or at least it shouldn’t be, to live here. It should be a privilege, especially for foreigners.

In closing, if you really give a darn, Mr. Martin, start acting in a pro-active way. Stop grandstanding in the media, making pronouncements that are as phony as a $3 bill. If you are truly as outraged as you claim to be, if you are truly as sorrowful for the victims and their families as you state so vehemently, then lead us. Don’t respond and react to tragedy, lead us. Get off your chair and find some people with some answers. If you want to lead Canadians, stop the pandering.

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