If you’re looking for something funny today, my friends, you’re not going to find it here, because I am once again furiously angry.
A close friend of mine alerted me to this story yesterday.
In Toronto’s 47th homicide of the year, 27 year-old Chris Skinner was brutally murdered on my city’s streets early in the morning of October 18th. Police were called to the corner of Adelaide and Victoria around 3am when witnesses reported the murder. Skinner was returning home after taking his sister out for her birthday when he was accosted by at least two, possibly four men who savagely beat him and then ran him over with their black SUV. They were seen fleeing eastbound on Adelaide.
Witnesses said Skinner became involved in an altercation with the occupants of the SUV before they exited the vehicle to assault him. Details of the incident aren’t being released by police because they’re still going over surveillance footage looking for clues as to the identity of the assailants.
According to my friend, who knew the victim personally, Skinner was a friendly and personable man who had a successful career in graphic design, had aspirations towards law school, and loved to sing.
Friends and family of the victim have no idea why he was attacked; it was uncharacteristic of him to become involved in fights. Longtime friend Craig Lund was quoted as saying:
“Not a single person who knows [Skinner] would say that he would cause a ruckus.”
The only reason they can come up with is that the assault may have been motivated by the fact that Skinner was gay – in fact he was engaged to be married to his fiancee next year.
Police have said there’s currently no reason to believe the attack was homophobia-related, but of course they’re not ruling anything out until they get their hands on the suspects.
You could have gotten all this information directly from the link I provided, but I know a lot of you are return readers, and I felt I had an obligation to deliver this story to you directly. Like I said, there’s no humour to be found here, so I apologize for getting all heavy on you, but this is important to me.
Every year murders are committed in this city. Murder comes in a lot of stripes: domestic violence that gets out of control, drug- or gang-related killings, the occasional wacko who goes off the deep end. It’s an unfortunate reality of the culture we live in, and a terrible reality at that.
But this murder is different. So far, it looks like there’s no discernible motive here: no reason for a young man at the peak of his youth to be taken down like this. The guy was on his way home from his sister’s birthday party, not a drug deal (not that such a situation would excuse murder, but still). The way it sounds right now, he got in an argument with a bunch of aggro dudes who decided he needed the beating of his life: okay. I’ve been in fights before, and sometimes I’ve even deserved to get my ass kicked. That’s a reality of life too, and I’m more willing to excuse a common brawl even if the odds were unfair.
What I can’t figure out is why the beating didn’t suffice – even if Skinner had said something really horrible to set these guys off, was it really necessary to run him over with a vehicle? The short answer is “no”.
I don’t want to delve too far into speculation – I sincerely hope the attack wasn’t motivated by homophobia, especially since the murder occurred the same day Toronto won the bid to host the 2014 World Pride event. But even if it was nothing more than random happenstance, a young man is still dead. Friends and family are in mourning, trying to figure out why this happened, but the reality is no matter what the circumstances were, there was no good reason for this.
I’m tired of seeing this shit happen in my city. I don’t know what to do about it, but if the only thing I can do as a concerned citizen and ostensibly a member of the human community is write about it on some stupid blog, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
I know a lot of my readers are from the Toronto area. If any of you have any information about this tragedy, please – I am asking you as a personal favour – contact Detective Stacy Gallant at 416-808-7410, Detective Doug Dunstan at 416-808-7416, or if you prefer to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers at 416-222-8477 or online at http://www.222tips.com.
This is our city, my friends, and it’s time we stop turning a blind eye to a very ugly side of it that we probably don’t care to acknowledge. It’s our responsibility to do what we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.
Thanks for your help, dear readers, and I promise the next time I post I’ll give you something less intense. Maybe.