Do you remember Tyler Roulston? What about Tristan Wright? Jonathan Rodrigues? What high schools did they go to? They were all shooting victims under the age of 25 this year in Toronto. One may have been known to police. Another was shot in front of a house party with dozens of witnesses. Another was killed at home. Unfortunately, since they all died in the “east end”, where shootings are apparently just another inconvenience of being poor, not white, and living in a high-rise, I can’t tell you much more about them.
On the other hand, I know a lot about Dylan Ellis and Oliver Martin. They grew up in Rosedale. They’d completed postsecondary education. Girls had crushes on them. They participated in organized sports. This morning’s Globe and Mail even tells me what one of them liked as a favourite snack. Did I mention they grew up in Rosedale?
And, it seems, the police also know a lot about the two. In some magical fashion, although the two were “not known” to police, Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux was almost instantly able to assert to reporters just hours after they were shot that they were “certainly not – and never have been – living any high-risk or criminal lifestyle”. It’s easy to see why this conclusion was easy to draw. As we all know, the wealthy are never involved in criminal activity.
A paragraph in the Globe clumsily highlights why this story has been the focus of so much ink, when random shootings of young men in the city are anything but unusual:
The violent crime shook the city and surprised many who struggled to understand why the young men from Rosedale were killed in a brand of crime associated with neighbourhoods very different from their own.
I don’t mean to be minimize the sadness of this situation. It just seems to me that the violent, random, untimely deaths of young men who had little are just as tragic as the violent, random, untimely deaths of young men who had it all. And it also seems to me that Martin and Ellis’ families now have a lot in common with many other bereaved families in neighbourhoods “very different from their own” — whatever the reporting around this story might suggest.