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Toronto recently has had 27 young men shot and 4 dead as a result of gun fire. Times have certainly changed since I was young man when I answered a slur at the end of my fists. To-day knives/hand guns seems to be in fashion.

Check out the video games and movies and it seems that the cool ones are packing a piece to show that they are in control.

The subsidized housing units in Ontario are for the most part made up of single parent mothers who are trying to make due with welfare payments. In the evening you may catch a glimpse of middle aged man or two who may drop over for a visit to their girl friends but rarely reside in the area. Children are taken care by their mothers with little or no financial input from their fathers. Male parenting seems to begin and end at the moment of inception: as soon as there is conception and a baby is on the way the lover splits.

The moms for the most part have some high school education and a part time job whose incomes that they do not divulge to the welfare department because they may see their benefits cut off.

The cities seems to have most of the subsidized housing that resemble a ghetto for poor single parent families. The designated areas are reserved just for them. If you are poor, a visible minority you will not be encouraged to live in more affluent areas of the city where you can see a diversity of families that the youngsters can use as positive role models to be able to emulate. It is too easy to just follow along with what you see everyday when you do not have viable options.

My years in counseling in high school has taught me that teenaged male students drop out of school four times more often then the girls. The boys start to skip in grade ten and quickly fall behind in their studies. Mid term semester one marks in grade eleven show that they have little or no chance of passing. No one takes the time to wave good bye and the students leave their books in their lockers.

The vast majority of teachers in elementary/secondary schools are females and the curriculum is designed for the most part for girls.

Teenaged boys who do not have the advantage of having a positive male role models in their homes have mothers who donít have the wherewithal to control their sonís negative behaviour.

The teenaged boys who are turned off school drop out and hang out with like-minded friends in the malls in the inner city. Hustling some weed or cocaine can provide a decent income to buy designer jeans, shoes to keep up with their friends.

The gang members provide friendship and acceptance with no questions asked. A new family unit is formed to replace the rules and curfews of tired mothers who can only yell their disapproval of their sonís new found freedom.

The cities can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on policing but to no avail. White cops are not to be trusted coming into the "hood" to work and go back home to the suburbs when their shift ends. Black police personal, "Oreo Cookies", will be looked at with suspicion being black on the outside and having white values that doesnít represent the community. One doesnít become a rat and inform on your neighbours to the police because then you no longer belong in your community.

Recently I wrote a column on solutions to the social ills that plague are cities. It is called "Pathways" that provides mentoring tutoring for young people who are at risk of dropping out of school and ending up in jail. The success rates are great and the graduates of high school receive a thousand dollars a year with a total of $4000. payable for post their post secondary education.

Guns police, prisons or spending the money to help our youth? You choose.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com