“Everyone always says the same thing in the wake of an event like this,” said Vaughan resident, Jimmy Mann, having driven down to the Danforth for the first time in eleven years to see if anyone else wants to indulge in some straight-up xenophobia less than 24-hours after a tragedy, and less than two hours since police identified the perpetrator, along with his previous history of mental illness.
“They say, ‘this is a developing story,’ and ‘a tragedy,’ and ‘we will wait to receive more details but at this time our focus is on the victims.’ Butcha know what? I don’t need to wait. I don’t need to focus. I know what this situation needs. My holistic hatred of 1.5 billion people.”
Despite reasoned political leaders from both sides of the aisle being quick to state that we as a country are better united, and must all be wary of forces that would use horrific, unfathomably violent situations such as this to further causes that – in their narrowness of view and reduction of humanity – share more in common with the acts of violence themselves than any form of reasoned response, Mann was not alone in being quick to use yesterday’s shank of an event to scratch his most racist itches.
“The time has come to defend Canada,” said a Twitter user with the handle @defendourboarders (who later clarified they are not, in fact, a tenant’s advocacy group).
When asked from what, the proponent of strong boarders (mandatory Bowflexes in all rental units?) pointed to immigration.
“So…the Danforth is an area of Toronto that has thrived due to immigration, and is devoted to a particular community that found, and spread, happiness in a country far from their originations. But you’re going to help them by…blaming the social mechanism through which they arrived?” said a user named @nicemarmot.
And then in a follow-up tweet.
“Hey. Idea: It’s your mono-minded bullshit we need to be defended from.”
Having had similar sentiments relayed to him in person during his brief, but combative, racist recon of downtown Toronto, Justin Mann retreats to his car to ponder what the country really needs right now.
“People died. No one is sure why. Everyone is saying we shouldn’t rush to judgement, and rather should stand united.” He pauses, and looks around the street of the Toronto neighbourhood he’s sitting in, surrounded by people from all walks of life as they make their lives in peace; the same way they do from coast to coast in a nation of those descended from – and who themselves – begged, borrowed, and stole to be here.
“Yeah-no. That’s all I got,” Mann says, starting his car. “Foreigners man. That’s our problem.”