Allison Hanes: Stabbing death a wake-up call on youth violence

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The stabbing of a teenager outside a school in Côte-des-Neiges and a macabre video touting it are signs that we are letting the youth of Montreal down.

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If the fatal stabbing of a student outside a Côte-des-Neiges high school this week wasn’t shocking enough, a social media video that has surfaced showing masked youths celebrating the death and making fun of the victim’s friends is a whole new level of inconvenience.

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Jannai Dopwell-Bailey, 16, was stabbed in the upper body during a scuffle on Van Horne Avenue near Plamondon metro station on Monday. He sought refuge inside Coronation School, which housed the Mile End program where he was a student. Dopwell-Bailey was rushed to hospital where he later died of his injuries.

As Montreal police investigate the homicide and the English Montreal School Board sends crisis counselors to help staff and students cope with the trauma, La Presse reported on Tuesday the existence of an alarming video .

It shows two youths wearing balaclavas and wielding a large knife dancing to loud music while hurling crass insults. The words “Pick yo manz up !! In English is printed on the images. He also refers to “Twizzy,” which would be Dopwell-Bailey’s nickname, as well as “160,” which is apparently a neighborhood clique.

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A rivalry between C̫te-des-Neiges 160 and OXB Рaka Oxford Block, another group named after Oxford Street in Notre-Dame-de-Gr̢ce Рcould be at the root of the dispute in which Dopwell -Bailey was stabbed, La Presse continued to report.

The loss of any young life is tragic, especially when it is due to senseless violence. But the circumstances surrounding the death are particularly frightening – and should sound the alarm bells about an epidemic of violence infecting Montreal’s youth.

Montreal is already grappling with an upsurge in gun crime, in large part due to conflicts between street gangs. A cycle of targeted shootings followed by retaliatory killings has unfolded in recent months, particularly in the northern and eastern ends of the city.

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Jannai Dopwell-Bailey was a student at Program Mile End High School on Van Horne Avenue.  He died on Monday.  According to Montreal police, he was fatally stabbed during an altercation with other teenagers outside his school.
Jannai Dopwell-Bailey was a student at Program Mile End High School on Van Horne Avenue. He died on Monday. According to Montreal police, he was fatally stabbed during an altercation with other teenagers outside his school. Photo courtesy of Chesla Dopwell

Dopwell-Bailey may have been stabbed – and the rivalry behind his murder may not have been linked to the hardened criminal gangs familiar to the police – but his death fits a disturbing pattern nonetheless.

Social media video glorifies gangster culture and gratuitous violence. Whether broadcast by the actual authors or just cowardly sidekicks, the insensitivity shown by the participants is devastating to watch.

It’s certainly salt in the wounds of Dopwell-Bailey’s grieving friends and family – and it’s exactly the kind of provocation that invites retaliation, perpetuating a loop of unnecessary brutality followed by excruciating pain. .

Public safety has become a major issue in the mayor’s campaign and gun violence has become a key priority for Montreal police as bullets fly almost daily. Millions of dollars and many new resources are being invested in the fight against the scourge of gun crime.

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But these are the young people we desperately need to invest in.

Finicky kids are easily drawn to the sense of belonging, money, and power that comes from gang membership, especially when they don’t have much else in their life. Maybe not all cabals are at the level of organized crime syndicates fighting drugs with powerful weapons, but neighborhood factions can be a gateway to this dangerous way of life.

Seekers can be sucked into an underworld from which it is difficult to emerge. Lost souls can be pressured to do stupid and terrible things out of loyalty to a cause or to their brethren.

We need to tackle the cultural influences that advocate the gang lifestyle and desensitize impressionable minds to violence, whether it’s social media, video games, television, movies, or music.

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We need to catch the young people who fall through the cracks of broken homes, disadvantaged backgrounds and a broken education system before they find themselves with guns – or knives.

Many community organizations that valiantly try to help at-risk children through sports, recreation and recreation programs operate on tight budgets and lack stable funding.

Last month, the city announced an additional $ 5 million to groups working to reduce youth violence, but it’s still a fraction of the money that goes to heavy-handed police action to crack down on gangs that are already have become a social scourge.

Montreal police are deploying prevention teams on community patrols in neighborhoods that have seen an increase in violence, but it needs to happen on a much larger scale, across the city, to address the root causes of the violence. crime and reaching disgruntled young people.

The Dopwell-Bailey murder – and the gruesome video touting the murder – is a wake-up call that we can no longer afford to let the youth of Montreal down.

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  1. A Montreal police investigator examines a bullet hole in a car at the scene of a shooting in Rivière-des-Prairies on August 2, 2021, which left three people dead and two others injured.

    Allison Hanes: We can only control, not eliminate gangs, warns criminologist

  2. Police alone can’t solve gun violence, say Montreal-North residents

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