Yesterday’s events in Toronto have once again acted as a reminder of the fragility of life. Toronto – the great city that it is – was marred by such a senseless act of violence. A van callously ran down innocent bystanders near a busy intersection as they went about their day. It happened in broad daylight, disturbing the calm and serenity of what was finally a beautiful, warm, spring day – something we had been deprived of in the last little while.
I can only imagine what the victims went through and what it must have been like for the eyewitnesses that saw the horror unfold with their own eyes. One cellphone video that captured the takedown of the suspect showed people non-chalantly coming out of a restaurant, not even aware of what was going on. And even when it became very clear that they had walked right into a very tense situation, it still didn’t seem to resonate with them the gravity of the situation. It just goes to show you how unexpected and rare this type of crime is in Toronto. Even as they scurried behind a building when it became clear what was going on, you could see the awe and sheer disbelief in their mannerisms. You can view the video here or take to Google to see for yourself.
We will never truly understand why these things happen, why innocent people minding their own business, going about their day, get caught in the crossfire of such toxicity. I frequent the area where this tragedy occured often enough, so it hit pretty close to home. Not to mention findng out that the suspect happened to live not too far from where I am did not alleviate any feelings of uneasiness.
A special kudos goes out to the police officer involved in the takedown for his incredible composure throughout. I can only imagine the kind of stress he must have feeling – especially with having no backup at the time (I’m assuming they were on their way or perhaps within close proximity).
I’m sure the surge of adrenaline took over at that point.
With a crazed suspect wielding what ended up being a cellphone in a way that made it look like a weapon, all the while taunting and advancing towards you, the officer’s calm demeanor and focus was nothing short of a miracle. It could have easily gone a completely different route had he decided to pull the trigger. His actions were a textbook example of training being put into practice allowing for a relative smooth, non-violent arrest to occur.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record by saying ‘let’s hope this never happens again’ because that would just be ignorant and unrealistic. The truth is, we live in a world where danger is constantly surrounding us. Anytime we set foot out of our homes, (heck, even when we are at home!) we subject ourselves to being the unintended target of some form of negative activity. It’s just an unfortunate fact about the world we live in. Anything can happen, anywhere.
All we can really and truly do is have a heightened sense of awareness about this reality and try our best to be more conscious of our surroundings when we are out and about. It’s finding that fine balance between overthinking things to the core and just being more present. You don’t want to forget how to relax and enjoy life, but at the same time, never want to let your guard down too much. There is no one-size-fits-all way to get into this mindset. Everyone is different and will find that balance in a way that works for them.
On the same token, there was an ounce of comfort last night in knowing that the Leafs came through for us by forcing a Game 7 against the Bruins. Bittersweet as it was, it certainly capped off an awful day on a somewhat optimistic note.
Let’s remind ourselves that Toronto is still one of the safest cities in all of North America, illustrated just last year in a 2017 index report by the Economist. We cannot and will not let not this show of callousness and cruelty taint our city’s reputation.
God bless the victim’s of this tragedy and their families. My heart goes out to each and every one of them. Here’s to continued love, peace and positivity for all of us.