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Readers react: ‘My dear friend Joshua was too young to die’

People sit at a crime scene following a shooting in Scarborough, a suburb in east Toronto, July 17, 2012.


Globe readers reacted strongly to news of the mass shootings, sharing their condolences and anger. Readers also had much to say about Rob Ford's statement that Toronto is "the safest city in North America" in the wake of the two killings he described as "isolated incidents".

"As a teenager coming from an immigrant family, Toronto is a beautiful city with great people and great opportunities. However, every city has issues that need resolving. The safety of the people is one of the most important things in a society, and the city needs to tighten its security and process of obtaining license to firearms."
-- Eunice de la Luna, 18

"In the 2010 municipal election I was one of the candidates for city council from the very same area where the [mass shooting happened]... I was approached by a dozen youth asking me if I was a 'snitch' for the police as I knocked on doors with a friend to campaign. We had to instantly provide them newspaper clippings about my candidacy for them to let us go.

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"I was told later on, there had apparently been a brutal fight between two ethnic gangs. In Scarborough, it seems, gangs and thugs controlled the streets.

"I wonder what they could have done to us if we did not have documents to prove ourselves. They seemed angry. In fact - the majority of the residents seemed angry."
-- Samuel Getachew, 35

"I know the Tories are against banning long guns, but how about handguns? It is time something was done, because without federal help, banning them in a city or province is useless."
-- Stephen Boutilier, 41

"Extra resources must be given to the guns and gangs task forces so that this violence be rooted out."
-- Paul Leyton, 63

"This violence occurs more often than people think, but it's shrouded in secrecy and much of it doesn't erupt in a public shooting that makes headlines... Funding for the 13 neighbourhoods in need will expire soon. What are the mayor's long-term plans for this? He voted against grants for community development just last week. I'm worried that under his leadership, violence will only increase."
-- Olivia Fernandez, 29

"Someone shot four or five bullets in front of my house a month ago. I live on a quiet residential street in the west end.... There is a serious issue with hard drugs and organized crime that is not being addressed."
-- Lisa Prinn, 39

"No. I do not feel safe and it is only going to get worse as the gap between rich and poor intensifies, the depth of poverty grows, and services and supports are cut back by governments hell-bent of remaking the Canadian welfare state to meet the service of the corporate sector."
-- Dennis Raphael, 61

"As an American from Minneapolis, I apologize for our disgraceful gang culture finding its way across the border to Toronto. Yours is a good country as countries go, and I hope that you can keep as much of our American influence out of your country as possible. You will be better off for it."
-- Dan Briggs,

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"It breaks my heart that this type of violence goes on in 2012 in a first world country like ours. As a woman of colour it hurts even more that the victims are members of minority groups. It demonstrates that as a society we still have a long way to go in creating peace and unity.

"Perhaps we need to really focus on these pockets of society that seem to be really vulnerable. Let's all pull together to pull at the root of this violence and loosen its grip on our youth and society as a whole."
-- Angelena, 38

"I live in the U.K. now, and CCTV cameras are everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of them. Maybe not a comfortable solution for some, but a useful one when it comes to catching criminals. Maybe it is time we stop spending countless money on band-aid solutions, and try things that have a chance of success."
-- P. Briere
Lincoln, U.K.

"I was born in Toronto and grew up in Thornhill - I moved out west to Calgary a few years ago and have always bragged to everyone how Toronto is the best city in the world. It is becoming tougher and tougher to defend my home town when Toronto is being on the front page of the BBC and CNN for all the wrong reasons. It is even worse that the Mayor is living in some sort of fantasy world about how safe the city is."
-- Justin Raponi

"Anyone caught with a firearm at school, their home or in the street should be arrested and dealt with immediately. No get out of jail card. While in jail they should be undergoing intense education, whether they like it or not. You throw mud at a wall, some of it always sticks. We also need to stop brushing it off as 'Oh it was in that neighbourhood' and 'Oh it was those people.'"
-- Hilde Fox, 58

"[The fathers are] missing in action and as long as they fail to take responsibility for their children's upbringing, this will continue to happen. The only role model for these kids are the older punks. This is not a societal failure, it is a cultural one and for that the government must take some responsibility. They thought that we could create the same social conditions as exist in troubled neighborhoods in the USA, but because we were Canadians, nothing would happen. Wrong!"
-- Terry McManus, 66
London, Ont.

"My dear friend Joshua Yasay was too young to die at 23. He was an honourable man, sincere, compassionate, bright. Completely outraged at this shooting. Do something about it Toronto. I'm sick of this gang violence."
-- Samantha Power, 22
Whitby Ont.

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"A precious 14-year-old girl dead, a young boy shot in the Eaton Centre and a man killed in an ice cream shop -- these deaths are all connected by guns, trauma and shocked citizens."
-- Graham B. McNeil, 62
Pickering Ont.

"It's time for our city officials to start a relentless campaign to keep guns off of our streets and harshly punish those who possess them!"
-- Kim Nesbitt, 46
Brampton Ont.

"There seems to be a real rise in gun violence around Toronto. They need to look into programs which can be used to help neighbourhoods prone to gun violence. This is a social issue."
-- Pamela Cottrell, 22
Cambridge Ont.

"It's Jane Creba all over again. May Shyanne get as much love and attention as Jane did."
-- Sarah Hart, 42
Elora Ont.

"The violence reflects a failure of adults in positions of power to connect with youth. Be it parents, politicians, police officers or teachers - somewhere along the line there's been a disconnect and our communities are paying the price."
-- Kassandra Cruciano, 21
Ajax Ont.

"I lived very close to that complex, waited for the bus right there every day for a few years. But even then, there was nothing like this. This is so brazen and lacking in any care for innocent human beings, including children. I hope the police chief makes good on his promise to solve this fast. He owes it to the victims and the city."
-- Candice Bond, 35

"'Isolated incidents' needs to be retired as talking point by Mayor Ford's communications people. There is a real gun/gang violence problem in Toronto that has no respect for the innocent."
-- Ronald Schatz

"Adam Vaughan can tell the public that banning bullets will stop all this and the public will believe him because they want a quick fix for everything. Bans are cheap and won't work. The citizens of Toronto need long term solutions from their politicians that work."
-- Hugh Smith, 54
Richmond Hill Ont.

"With all due respect to Mayor Ford, I think Toronto has become the 'Mexico' of Canada, and is probably now the most dangerous city in North America. As regular visitors to both New York City and Toronto, we feel completely safe in NYC at any time of the day or night, but very uncomfortable walking at night in downtown Toronto...When are we going to stop kidding ourselves, and realize Toronto has a serious gun/violence problem?"
-- Lloyd Younger, 61

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