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Toronto can shrug off bloodshed. Not those at the Danzig St. memorial for Jaydin Simpson, 17

2 1 0
02.07.2019

Candles flicker in the gloaming. One waxy stub is stuck in a flagon bottle of Hennessy, which is totemic, that brand, with a subtext of rapper-gangster meaning. Flowers tumble every which way, some sheathed in cellophane, some freshly cut from a garden. Handwritten notes.

Music plays in the background, throbbing. Nothing sombre.

Lawn chairs are set in a semicircle. Those occupying them are, in the main, awfully young. They're here to bear witness, to remember, to speak in quiet tones among each other, if not so much to an intruding reporter.

"He was a great kid and he's dead,'' snaps one girl. "End of story."

The harshness in her voice is almost violent. But, then, this was a violent death. A 17-year-old boy, Jaydin Simpson, shot and killed late last Thursday, not 50 metres from his front door. Juicy J, as he was known to friends, a nickname that apparently suited the sunny youth. Sweet and genial, as described by many. And if that's not exactly the truth, or the entirety, if there were multiple dimensions to a teenager crowned with a halo post-mortem, what of it?

Because all it takes these days, within some factions of the city, is a perceived slight; a provocation, perhaps, a dispute that spews out of proportion, and triggers are pulled.

Was a time in Toronto, not that long ago, when a teenager's murder would have been front-page news, a city aghast and appalled. We're not that city anymore. We shrug off bloodshed, most especially when the violence seems contained within neighbourhoods where most outsiders would never venture. Where straitened parents have to beg for youth programs.

This teen's brutally shortened life — more accurately, his death........

© St. Catharines Standard