The children…

July 8, 2022

Toronto Star Editorial (June 6, 2022)
Justice for children – A final agreement was reached this week on details of a landmark settlement to compensate First Nations children who had been removed from their homes or denied social and health services because of years of federal underfunding.

“That’s why it was heartening to hear news this week of an agreement on details of a landmark settlement to compensate children who had been removed from their homes or denied social and health services because of years of federal underfunding. This tangible achievement means that compensation for the systemic bias against Indigenous children is closer to happening… The agreement this week, reached between the Assembly of First Nations, parties to a class action and the federal government, is meant to compensate children who were removed from their homes as well as those who were shut out of essential government services or got substandard treatment along with those who were caregivers.”

Toronto Star – Betsy Powell
25 handguns in a rental car gas tank. The inside story of a gun bust at the U.S.-Canada border – The case of Toronto mom Rima Mansour offers rare insight into how authorities are trying to crack down on the cross-border gun trade.

The efforts of the federal government to control the importation of hand guns into Canada from the US is quite a chore and largely depends on tips and intelligence gathering.  “In the United States, handguns are plentiful, cheap and, in many states, easy to buy, in contrast to Canada. This difference, police say, creates an incentive for smugglers “increasingly utilizing more sophisticated methods” to bring weapons across the border, according to the Canada Border Service Agency… This is why, police emphasize, the large majority of illegal weapons used in GTA crimes can be traced to smugglers crossing the border. Police estimate 85 per cent of illegal handguns in Canada were purchased south of the border.

The Marshall Project (US) – Anastasia Valeeva, Wendy Ruderman and Katie Park
What You Need to Know about the Rise in U.S. Mass Shootings – A high-profile mass shooting at a Chicago suburb’s July 4 parade was the nation’s fourth in recent weeks.

The reports on the frequency of mass shooting incidents in the US depend on the definition of what constitutes a mass shooting – most commonly four or more killed in a public place.  The stats are clear in a year-by-year analysis that these incidents are in fact increasing.  (But they do not account for all the deaths from guns.  That rate is around 124 people per day.)  “Thirty-one of these massacres occurred from 2017 through 2021, compared with 24 from 2012 through 2016, according to The Violence Project data. We compared five-year periods so we could measure trends over time, rather than focus on the dip to two incidents in 2020, which researchers attributed to the COVID-19 lockdown, or the spike caused by the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead. The last five years have seen more mass shootings than any other comparable time span dating back to 1966.”   Link to the Violence Project Databank (US)

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Sandra Jeppesen
The January 6 insurrection showed that performance crime is becoming increasingly popular

Acknowledging that filming a crime is an act of self-incrimination, Jeppesen defines performance crime as:  “the performance of criminal activity in which the filming and sharing it with an audience is intrinsic to the crime itself.”  Jeppesen offers an analysis of the Jan 6 incident and the political and social payoff for these sort of events.  She concludes with a warning that social media mixed with public media versions are still incomplete and inaccurate.

Common (US) – Jessica Corbett
Weapons Industry’s $10 Million Investment in Congress Could Yield 450,000% Return – “The military-industrial complex’s campaign spending spree gives war profiteers an outsized influence over Pentagon funding votes,” said a Public Citizen campaigner.

Many may think that the manipulations of the Military Industrial complex belongs to another era but this report from NGO’s monitoring the military spending says no – it is alive and well, now.  The House and Senate Armed Services Committee members have both added to what Biden requested.  The House and Senate members who voted additional money into the military spending also got considerable contributions to their campaigns.  Corbett names names and amounts while conceding that these recipients likely believe in what they are doing while ignoring more progressive demands for other priorities.

Blogger David Frum (US)

Frum, a Canadian by birth, is a regular with the Atlantic Magazine who takes a recent poll from Pew Research and offers an assessment of where the abortion debate in the US is going.  His analysis concludes that Republicans are not about to make any social allowance for the care of mothers or the children born because abortion is not available, especially among the BIPOC population.  (Cf string)  Related article:  Pew Research Center (US) – Majority of Public Disapproves of Supreme Court’s Decision To Overturn Roe v. Wade – 62% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, little changed since before the court’s decision  (The research on which Frum based his remarks.)

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
The experience of neurodivergent children in custody – Anne-Marie Day gives neurodivergent children a voice to talk about their experiences in the youth justice system.

Neurodivergent children (dictionary defined as “differing in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical or normal (frequently used with reference to autistic spectrum disorders); not neurotypical.”) are becoming more and more the focus of research on children in the justice system and much of the research is suggesting that the children are often labelled as rebellious and they are disabled further by the treatment of the legal system.  Day adds the voices of 19 such children themselves to the discussion of the researchers to date.