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EDITORIAL – Saying the bad guys won’t change the way we live is no answer

Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speak to reporters. (Image: Screen grab)

An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

LITTLE BY LITTLE, we’re finding out more about the killer and his victims in this week’s van attack in Toronto.

The victims range in age from their 20s to 80s, from a single mom to a grandmother to someone just visiting town.

We still don’t know exactly what motivated the man who did it — was it an act of terrorism, did he have mental health issues, did he hate women?

Whatever it was, 10 people are dead and 15 others are injured, and we have another mass killing in a long list of mass killings.

Toronto Mayor John Tory says the incident “is not representative of how we live or who we are.”

Of course not. Cities aren’t sentient beings — they don’t decide whether to be good or bad. Thousands of choices are made every day by those who live in a city, and collectively those choices determine what kind of a place it is.

A 2017 report by the Economist ranked Toronto as the fourth safest major city in the world. In the most recent Maclean’s magazine report on crime in Canadian cities, Toronto ranks 124thamong the “most dangerous” cities in Canada, well down the list. Kamloops, by the way, ranks 23rdoverall, and 36thfor violent crime.

When something terrible happens, community leaders feel a need to say it won’t change day-to-day life in their town, that their community is strong, that life goes on.

But the fact is, things are changing, and we better recognize that. We better get ready for the next time.

What would you or I do if it happened it front of us? Would we be able to help, or would we get in the way?

Where is the community preparation for prevention and response? What do we need to change about the physical characteristics of our city to make it less likely?

We can reassure ourselves our cities are safe places, but simply saying we won’t let the bad guys change us is hiding our heads in the sand.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5674 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Saying the bad guys won’t change the way we live is no answer

  1. Remember when you didn’t have to lock your doors, felt safe walking at night, and trusted politicians. Maybe not the last one

  2. John Noakes // April 26, 2018 at 6:45 AM // Reply

    Thanks, Mel. Believe me, bad guys do change the way we live.

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