We don’t need to wait for a massacre of 20 elementary-school children in Canada to decry the scourge of guns. One dead nine-year-old is enough.
Kesean Williams, a Grade 4 student, of Brampton, just northwest of Toronto, was in his own home at night when he was shot, possibly through a window.
We have our own gun madness here. Kesean is far from the first agonizingly young victim. The names of the others, thankfully, are few and far between – though perhaps not as far between as some might think. And in Toronto, a remarkably safe city that, paradoxically, has occasional wild shootouts in public places, the names of child and teenage shooting victims are remembered.
Shyanne Charles, 14, died in a shootout at a community barbecue this past summer. Ephraim Brown, 11, was killed in 2007 when he was caught in a shootout. Jane Creba, 15, died in the Boxing Day shootout on Yonge Street in 2005. In 2003, the children of 40-year-old Derek Wah Yan lost their father when he was killed by a bullet that entered their home from the street while they watched TV.
Most of the handguns used are illegal. No one has suggested that the populace should be armed against those who would kill a nine-year-old in his own home. That would truly be madness. But the killing of Kesean Williams in his Brampton home is one more reminder that Canada is not immune from gun violence – and that the police and the communities in which guns and gangs are more common need to work closely together to make sure no one with a gun in his hand feels a sense of impunity.
Ontario will soon have a new premier, and Toronto may soon have a new mayor. They, and neighbouring municipalities such as Brampton, need to make it a priority to support troubled communities and fight gun violence.