Sunday, October 26, 2008

J.S.R. and the Broken World

I was deeply moved as I read the account of the trial of J.S.R. The accounts given in our Friday newspaper is difficult to comprehend. As one of the attending officers at the Crime Scene that day shared her story it revealed the sorry state our society is in.

Constable Angel Kahnt described what she saw taking place the day the gun shots – at least 8 of the shots and 41 bullet fragments – splashed all over Yonge Street in downtown Toronto on 2005 Boxing Day.

Young guys like J.S.R. were trying to act out what they have witnessed in movies and games. One person doing the shooting was holding the gun flat wise – “bad boy cool” – which does not aim at any thing but rather splashes shots everywhere and serves only to show how really stupid you are… if you are the shooter.

Some of the account tells how the people all around the dying girl were busy taking her photo with cell phone cameras…and today have some of these shots as cell phone background photos…carried in memory of this young girl – I assume.

The officer told how she came up to the actual gun shooting scene to discover another young black man that had been shot as well. He was busy talking on his cell phone while laying on the street… his two friends with him were also talking on their phones as well.

When the officer arrived at the scene people were fleeing everywhere…while others stood close by to take photos. Some were hiding for their lives and others were standing there taking photos.

J.S.R. was caught later with a gun that had shot bullets at the crime scene – but it was not the murder weapon. It is still out there somewhere along with the actual shooter.

My summary is short and I may only get a small portion of what really happened.

My reflections on what took place are much longer and they won’t leave my head. One young girl, 15 year old Jane Creba, has taken our imaginations and heart with the tragedy of that day. But one “J.S.R.” – an unknown almost 20 year now with his name not given – because he was only 17 when the crime took place has also left his mark.

Who is J.S.R.? One good guess is that he is an insecure, young black man that lives in a confusing place, likely with some good in a family somewhere, but likely also with some really bad friends that he felt he must align himself with…in order to feel good. Transporting a lethal weapon that day was his security…whether he used it or not.

The other day as I headed downtown Peterborough by a back door route, the railway tracks on my bicycle, I met at least two J.S.R.s. Both were dressed to adapt to a “bad boy” world. There was a definite look about them that screamed attitude. The odd thing is that they are “white boys” acting like “black bad boys”. That doesn’t fit in Peterborough’s extremely white community.

No I wasn’t afraid. I greeted them both and they smiled back at me. Not sure they heard me in that one was listening to his ear buds and the other was text messaging on his cell phone looking up once in a while for old guys on bikes and stones to trip on at the side of the railroad tracks. But both were young men heading some where…dressed for attention and acting out whatever.

J.S.R. was a young man heading some where and acting out. But how far he was from whatever his mom had planned and hoped for him?

To state that I am scared silly to have to face a world that is so disjointed and broken is an understatement. I do not want to shop in Toronto let alone live there…and I have in the past. We have walked through the “bad boy areas” and have been right to the very spot, while shopping, where Jane Creba died. It is close to home.

What is really close to home is 6 grandkids…four that live closer to the GTA and 2 that live near us. They are coming into the possible “bad boy” stage. So far none have shown anything bad out of the normal. For this I am very thankful.

Yesterday I watched a good football game in pouring rain. The cheers of the men and women under umbrellas from the sideline were warming. On the muddy field were two full teams of super muddy and cold kids. This is Kinsmen Football on Saturday morning – which is backed by practice three to four nights a week.

In our community the Kinsmen care. And they work extra hard to put kids into these situations. It is amazing to witness the power of one community group on what is happening here. There are 8 Teams fully uniformed and supported by one group of great community volunteers.
J.S.R. comes from a broken world. Where if you were able to take a close look at the community closely – he may just never have had the opportunity to connect.

I am praying today for men and women of the J.S.R. world – to stand and be counted…make some changes and help… and then I am praying for our leaders that will catch sight of what needs to be done and do it.

I am praying also for the trial of J.S.R. and all that are affected by this. The Creba family are the victims and will live without their daughter – forever. When it is all over they will be only a story that will have to be searched for in Newspaper files.

I am praying for J.S.R. and the other young men that were there that day. If they are not already dead, I pray they will have another chance and that the truth will come out for the Creba family.

“God you know where they are today and I pray that you will continue to do what you do best – bring about justice and mercy.”

As the trial unfolds this week we will hear more. When we do – would you pray with me for these folks. They certainly need it.

~ Murray Lincoln ~


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