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Eliminating violent crime — the solution’s so simple

By Arthur Weinreb

Monday, August 14, 2006

In Toronto, the number of murders that have been committed by guns so far this year had dropped to 20 compared to 28 for the same time last year. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair credits the work of the guns and gang task force and the fact that there are more officers on the street for the decline in fatal shootings. Gun related murder has decreased despite the fact that there has been no appreciable increase in basketball courts throughout the city; the solution to violent crime most favoured by Mayor David Miller and his left wing council whose response to gun violence is to try and spread that warm fuzzy feeling around amongst the killers, pimps and drug dealers.

Gun crime is down so let’s take the next logical step and eliminate it completely. The answer to achieving this is so simple that David Miller and his fellow sob sisters would have thought about it had they ever decided to think about violent crime. But as we all know, people, mainly young black males, getting blown away on the streets in Toronto pales in comparison to more pressing issues facing the city such as what the waterfront will eventually look like and what poor municipality or country will end up taking our garbage.

Ending all violent crime is easy — simply call for a ceasefire. And not just any ceasefire — an immediate ceasefire.

Now, calling for an immediate ceasefire at Jane and Finch obviously won’t have the appeal for the left that calling for one in the Middle East does. After all, no matter how racist and trigger-happy Toronto cops are, they couldn’t possibly be as bad as those Israelis. And the gangbangers will have to kill a lot more babies and do a lot more PR work before the left view them as sympathetically as they view society’s real victims — Hezbollah. But it’s something to think about.

If you happen to think that calling for a ceasefire to end gun violence is just an attempt, however weak, at humour think again. On August 3, the city of Oakland California announced a program to combat violent crime; interestingly enough called "Operation Ceasefire". It doesn’t quite go so far as to demand that police officers lay down their guns and pepper spray but it comes close.

The plan targets those who have been identified as the top 100 worst offenders in the city. And, in the words of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, "We put these offenders on notice — shape up now or we will come down hard on you". It begins by the authorities "requesting" that each of the 100 to come in voluntarily for an interview so they can be told to straighten up or else. That should have all those little dears shaking in their $300 footwear. If they don’t shape up — wait for this — they will get longer sentences the next time around.

According to Oakland officials, programs such as Operation Ceasefire have worked in Boston and some other major U.S. cities and the rate of violent crime has been substantially reduced in those cities. What is totally mind boggling is that those who refuse to be lectured or re-offend after they have been given a good talking to will face increased sentences for having breached the ceasefire. If longer sentences are seen as deterring crime, they should have been given longer sentences to begin with — longer sentences for their crimes; not for breaching a ceasefire agreement. And you can be assured that somewhere in that California city, Oakland’s 101st worst offender is having a hearty laugh.

It’s hard to take a program that is named "Operation Ceasefire" seriously, especially when it was announced at the height of the current Middle East war when the word "ceasefire" was being uttered incessantly.

Perhaps Oakland should go all the way and have the police disarm. That’ll teach those 100 guys to play with guns.

Arthur Weinreb Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Toronto Free Press. His work has appeared on, Men's News Daily, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck and The Rant.
Arthur can be reached at:
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