On Hallowe’en night on a generally quiet street in the Annex in Toronto, the Theta Delta Chi fraternity hosted a party of over 200 people. At one point one 19-year-old male and a 15-year-old girl were denied entry.
Instead of leaving they allegedly forced their way in and began slashing and stabbing various partygoers with a knife. Some video footage shows the man waving the knife in a densely crowded room, as people are yelling, shoving, grabbing, and taking pictures.
Reports suggest 5 people were injured. Sadly, one person died in the hospital from his wounds. Jacob Alves, 19, and the 15-year-old girl are each charged with three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes and attempted murder.
There are many things to say about this horrible event. Here are some general observations and thoughts.
It’s Tragic. First and foremost, someone lost their life. There is no longer a future for this young man – no career, no family of his own, no more memories. Horrible.
A Growing Brazenness. It seems to me that there is a growing brazenness about violence among teens and young adults. I don’t know why this is happening but I see a generally casual attitude about violence that is very unsettling and very dangerous.
Naivete About Violence. There seems to be a naïve sense of what violence is and what can happen. I don’t think people understand how a punch, a kick, a fall, a knife slash or stab can lead to serious injury or death. There seems to be a disassociation between violent acts and the potential consequences.
Violence as Entertainment. During the fighting that night bystanders were cheering the fighters on, taking pictures and videos. It was live entertainment.
Lack of Empathy. Perhaps the most disturbing. Watching the video footage, I didn’t see one face that showed concern. No pained looks, no calling for the violence to stop.
Avoidance. We consistently advocate that avoidance is the best self-defense. One house + 200 teens and young adults +limitless alcohol etc. = a place to avoid.
I wasn’t there and I don’t know exactly what happened. I do know, however, that no slight or insult, no rejection from a party, is worth death, serious injuries, and long-term incarceration.