Vancouver has seen a major surge in gun crime over the last week, with six men being shot in five separate incidents.
According to the Vancouver Sun, the most recent shooting occurred Sunday morning at roughly 4:30 a.m. Police discovered a 35-year-old man from Surrey who’d been shot on East Hastings Street and Heatley Avenue. He was transported to a nearby hospital in serious condition. No arrests have been made.
Montreal has been subject to a spree of organized crime shootings. In this year alone, there have been 17 murders in the greater Montreal area, according to Global News. These shootings have become increasingly brutal and audacious.
Despite this, the police have, so far, declined to comment on whether Montreal has experienced a disproportionate amount of crime this year. This doesn’t just pertain to organized crime, however, as sporadic crime is also on the up in the city.
The Montreal police have been criticized for their lack of transparency in reporting these crimes to the general public. In Toronto, for instance, the police will publish crime statistics every month. This does not happen in Montreal, and the level and growth of crime remains opaque.
The only method available to the press and the general public is to file a freedom of information request—a process that is painfully slow and tedious. When the Montreal newspaper, La Presse, attempted to compile a list of the number of murders, attempted murders, and shootings, they were unable to do so due to the lack of statistics.
Many crime experts have blamed the increase of organized crime on a power vacuum within the mafia underworld.
The third event in the #GIDYVR Still Talking series—featuring radical feminist Meghan Murphy, Quillette Canadian editor Jon Kay, Post Millennial writer Anna Slatz, and Lindsay Shepherd—was preceded by controversy.
Not only was a similar event with Murphy in Toronto heavily protested days before, but the Simon Fraser University professor sponsoring the event pulled his support after a security report determined the potential for violence was very high. As a result, the university cancelled the organizers’ room booking for the SFU Habour Centre campus in Downtown Vancouver. Luckily, an alternate venue was found, the luxurious Pan Pacific Hotel, and the show would go on.
The Pan Pacific sits on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver, just steps away from the cruise ship port and the torch from the 2010 Winter Olympics. Just before 5 pm on November 2nd, the main square in front of the Pan Pacific was full of tourists snapping photos. I waited, sipping Starbucks and enjoying the chill air in a warm scarf, and counting down until the procession of protestors marching from SFU’s Harbour Centre campus would arrive to shatter the peace.
They arrived, various flags and signs in tow, chanting “No TERFs, no KKK, no fascists here today” and confusing families of tourists who just wanted to get back into the hotel. I had a front-row seat for the chaos.
As they began their tenure at the entrance of the building, I couldn’t help but notice how tightly controlled the protest was compared to previous #GIDYVR protests I’ve witnessed. Only one chant was shouted, and only one speaker had the megaphone, reading prepared marks off cue cards.
At the first installment of the Still Talking series, which I covered for The Post Millennial back in January, protestors had an open-mic system where attendees could tell their stories or make speeches or sing songs. This free-speech policy resulted in a girl taking the mic to sing a Lady Gaga song and being shouted down because apparently Lady Gaga supported R. Kelly. The closed mic tactic, while shutting down any chance of unapproved speech being aired, makes for stale protests. “No TERFs, no KKK, no fascists here today” starts to grate really quickly.
It was a telling strategy, to shut down more open participation in favour of parroted orthodoxy. They couldn’t risk amplifying wrongthink.
The only interesting incident occurred when a man with a sign reading “Let’s Talk” stepped into the middle of the protest and tried to engage the leader in conversation. Other members of the protest force immediately swooped in and nipped his efforts in the bud.
Protest signs and overblown rhetoric abounded, but the most shocking was the woman walking around with a cardboard guillotine labelled “Step Right Up!” with the words “TERFs” and “SWERFs” adorning the sides. A creative way to recycle pizza boxes, but it speaks volumes about the mindset of its carrier.
Inside the Pan Pacific, things were sedate and serious, but safe. While it’s disappointing that the event couldn’t happen on a university campus, where free speech is supposed to thrive, private venues—especially ones as opulent as the Pan Pacific—afford greater security, which attendees and panellists appreciated. The only indications that the protest was escalating outside were the echoes of sirens that drifted upstairs and into the Crystal Pavilion ballroom.
The crowd for this third #GIDYVR event was considerably more varied than the previous two this year, which were mostly comprised of old-guard Vancouver feminists. This time attendees were split about sixty-forty between women and men. Many of those men were local free speech enthusiasts, including members of the Free Speech Club. This was likely due to the inclusion of Jon Kay and Lindsay Shepherd, and it brought an exciting energy to the room.
Sometimes the actual content of embattled free speech events is less important than the miracle that it took place at all. Familiar ground was covered on the topic of gender identity and women’s rights—which can be viewed in its entirety on Meghan Murphy’s YouTube channel. The talk centred on the media’s role in our public discussion about gender identity. All three panellists offered scathing indictments of the Canadian media, including veteran broadcaster Carol Off of CBC’s As It Happens, who compared Murphy to Holocaust deniers in her interview with Toronto’s head librarian Vickery Bowles.
I was struck by the somewhat surprising political alignments of the panellists. Jon Kay was by far the most intersectional in approach, and fully embraced his “token male” status, as teasingly described by Murphy. Kay, though straight, and male, took the side of trans activists more than once, and advocated empathy and civility throughout the event. He defended the legitimacy of gender dysphoria and disapproved of the description of transgenderism as a mental illness. A few attendees during the Q&A made snide comments toward him, both for those concessions and for taking up too much space as a man. I found it interesting that the “token male” on the panel was the most woke, and the most derided for said wokeness. This was one room in which male privilege, for better or worse, did not exist.
Near the end of the Q&A, Morgane Oger, Vice-President of the B.C. NDP and prominent trans activist, stood to ask a question. Oger is a well-known adversary of the Vancouver radical feminist community, and the room was openly hostile to her. Murphy and Slatz offered curt replies to her question, but Kay was the only one to thank Oger for entering the lion’s den and participating in dialogue. Murphy had noted that Oger had slandered her in the past.
I was dismayed at the hecklers who shouted out corrections to Kay’s use of female pronouns for Oger and cussed him out for advising people to be respectful. Radical feminists are angry, and they have a right to be. But when they offer only rudeness to their opponents and refuse to see them as individuals and meet them in good faith dialogue, it’s not so different from trans activists outside the event mounting the words “TERFs” and “SWERFs” on cardboard guillotines.
Though rumours swirled after the event that two protesters had been arrested outside—they were released soon after—the protest had died down by the time attendees left through a side exit. A core group remained, chanting about how sex work is work, while others had simply leaned their placards up against planters to do their chanting for them and left. The temperature had dropped, with moisture on the ground almost ready to turn to frost.
In the end, the event was another victory for free speech and further proof that gender identity is one of the hot-button topics of our age. Vancouver continues to be the stage upon which this drama plays out, and the bellwether city to watch.
A seven-year-old girl has become the latest victim of gang violence after being shot while trick-or-treating in Chicago’s Little Village.
According to the Chicago Tribune¸ a single masked assailant shouted a gang slogan from a nearby alleyway before firing at least seven shots on the crowd of Halloween goers.
Police say that the suspects target was a member of the Latin Kings who was walking amidst the crowd of children in costume.
The targeted gang member was shot once in the hand, while the seven-year-old girl, described as dressed in a Minnie Mouse costume, was struck in the lower neck and upper chest.
“The girl’s father was screaming: ‘My little girl’s been shot!’” witness Lali Lara told the Chicago Tribune. Lara was working at a nearby store when she heard the shots and rushed to help the young victim.
“I was pressing on her and calling her name so she won’t close her eyes,’’ Lara said. ”She was looking at me, and I was calling her name. She was holding my hand for three minutes and then she let me go. I have kids—I would go crazy if something happened to my kids.”
The incident occurred at roughly 5:30 p.m., police say. An ambulance arrived within 5 minutes of the shooting.
The girl was rushed to hospital, described as “clinging to life,” but was fortunately stabilized and is still in hospital.
“The shooting yesterday was reprehensible,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Friday. “Those involved don’t deserve to be in our city. I’m disgusted but committed to doing everything we can to find the cowards that would engage in a gun battle in the early evening hours while our children were trick-or-treating.”
“That little girl clings to life this morning,” he said, adding that she was in critical but stable condition.
NBC Chicago has since acquired a 30-second witness video. It shows several men running down the street. Seven gunshots can be heard in quick succession, before the men run past the camera, again. All appear to be wearing masks, with the shooter seen wearing what appears to be a ‘Jason’ Halloween mask.
The intended target, the Latin Kings’ member, is in stable condition, but has not been cooperative with police.
Police say there is also surveillance camera foot capture near the scene.
So far, no arrests have been reported.
“This is unacceptable,” Chicago police spokesman Rocco Alioto said. “This was a 7-year-old girl that was trick-or-treating and happened to be shot because a group of guys wanted to shoot another male with a street full of kids trick-or-treating.”
Toronto has gone through a rough 48 hours, with multiple stabbings and shootings being reported throughout the city.
October 30, Devil’s Night
Toronto police announced in a news release this morning that on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019 at 10:04 p.m., an investigation was started into a stolen firearm at Sherway Gardens shopping mall.
The firearm was stolen between 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. from a black satchel with a blue stripe.
The model of the stolen gun is a Smith & Wesson 9mm model 5946 pistol, with a silhouette of a horse and rider engraved in it, along with the letters GRC and RCMP engraved on the side of the firearm. Three magazines and a police radio were also stolen.
Police ask that if anyone locates the satchel, not to remove the firearm and to instead call 9-1-1.
October 31, Halloween
It was a particularly violent Halloween for residents across the Greater Toronto Area, as intense winds caused branches and trees to dislodge, damaging power lines and causing widespread blackouts.
A triple stabbing and multiple shootings plagued the child-friendly holiday. According to Toronto Police, the incidents started at around 11:40 p.m. Thursday, when they received a call to a “rowdy party” at a frat house with at least 200 attendees in a home near Spadina subway.
Police said a fight broke out when a man and a woman were denied entry to the house party. That’s when the man stabbed three people, with two others being injured.
Police initially said that there had been six people stabbed, but went on to revise their information the following morning.
Police confirmed that one of the victims was found “without vital signs” when officers arrived.
All five of those injured remain in stable condition.
Shortly after the call, a sixth victim walked into a Toronto hospital and collapsed with critical stab wounds. Const. David Hopkinson told Global News that hospital staff were working to treat the victim, though it is currently unknown whether those injuries are related to the house party.
A man and a woman were taken into custody in connection to the stabbings.
Shootings in Brampton
An hour after the stabbing incident, a male was fatally shot at the Ridgeview Public School in Brampton, being announced dead at the scene by police. Police say the victim was in his late teens or early 20s.
The Peel District School Board announced that the school would be closed for the day, advising families who utilize the childcare program operated out of the school to find alternative means for their children, as it too will be shut down.
Shooting in Don Mills
A couple hours after this incident, at around 1:30 am, a male was shot in the Don Mills Road and Gateway Avenue area.
Police say the man was sitting in his vehicle with another male when an SUV pulled up next to the two, opening fire from the SUV.
Police said the victim suffered “serious but non-life threatening injuries.” Police did not provide his age.
Response from Mayor Tory
When asked by reporters about the night of violence in his city, Mayor Tory said the bloodshed was “incredibly disconcerting.”
“I am disturbed by the fact that people seem to be prepared to engage in random acts of violence in the city, whether it’s using a knife or gun or otherwise. We just have to put a stop to that,” he said.
“The police, I think, are doing what they can.”