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.