An 18-year-old named Gabril Nikov was shot and killed just below my apartment window in Toronto two nights ago.
A witness who spoke to the Toronto Sun said he saw four men in an altercation just outside a Starbucks. They began fist fighting, and when the victim turned to enter the coffee shop, one of the men pulled out a gun and shot him five times in the back. Another witness who spoke to CTV News Toronto said that, before firing, the gunman said, “You owe us money. This is what happens when you mess with people.”
Police are still looking for the three suspects, who can be seen fleeing the scene in surveillance footage from a restaurant across the street.
I heard five shots ring out just before 8:00pm on Wednesday night. I didn’t think much of it, as gunshots aren’t common in this part of the city, and strange noises are a regrettable feature of daily life. But if I had bothered to get up and look down at the intersection—one of Toronto’s busiest—I might have been able to see the pedestrians running for cover or the gunmen fleeing the scene.
The reaction from Torontonians was predictable. These two tweets sum it up:
Faulting the police—who arrived several minutes after the shots were fired—is ridiculous, of course, but what else can residents of Toronto do? Canada’s largest city, like many cities in the U.S., strictly regulates the possession and use of firearms, and Canadians do not have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
This means that when I walk down the street, I have to rely on law enforcement to protect me from criminals with firearms. It’s that simple.
Another witness of the murder told CP24, “Nobody tried to stop anybody […] nobody did anything. They just stood there.”
The sentiment here is better than “blame the police!” But no one is going to tackle a man with a gun unarmed, and Toronto’s firearm regulations ensure that no law-abiding citizen was carrying a firearm at the time.
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The odds of someone with a gun stopping the murder were, admittedly, less than 100%. By all accounts, it happened in a fraction of a second, and the shots I heard were fired in rapid succession. But unless a police officer was also standing outside that Starbucks, there was a 100% chance Gabril Nikov was going to die.
Criminals get guns—no matter how strict the gun laws. We’ve seen it time and again (Paris, San Bernardino, etc.), and I nearly witnessed it in person Wednesday night. What bothers me is that, without the right to bear arms, I’m absolutely helpless. If someone points a gun at me or someone I love, there isn’t anything I can do to stop it.
I’ll be moving back to the United States next week, and I can’t wait to get back and reclaim the right to protect myself and my family.
About the Author: Jordan Michaels is a new convert to the gun world. A Canadian immigrant to the United States, he recently became an American citizen and is happily enjoying his newly-acquired Second Amendment freedoms. He’s a communications professional, a political junkie, and an avid basketball fan.