“Score two for the gangs of Toronto: Those who shoot little boys dead and those sworn to uphold the law.” This is the pithy opening of the Star column titled “Cops, gangs and the codes of silence that undermine justice” (http://goo.gl/oXhls) The writer likens the recent acquittal of two murder suspects to the failure of police witnesses to testify against other police officers despite obvious police misconduct.

Maybe a good way to advance the agenda of police accountability. But too bad it required the columnist to engage in some absolute fiction about the murder trial and resulting acquittals. Fact is, there was no evidence whatsoever that the witness whose recantation sunk the Crown’s case had ever been threatened in any way. (http://goo.gl/OGup4). Nor was there any evidence of “gang” involvement.

In fact, the evidence in the trial was not even capable of ruling out the possibility that nobody shot Jordan Manners. The facts were equally consistent with a horrible accident in which the gun went off while the boys were inspecting it in the school bathroom. But not one single media outlet can resist repeating that the boy was a “shooting” victim, “gunned down” as the Post put it.

The possibility that this was not a murder is just completely unpalatable to a society in which scapegoats are essential cultural nutrition. The human mind needs this death to be the result of evil wrong-doing, not some stupid horrible accident.

At least the columnist referred to above invented the gangster intimidation angle for an ulterior purpose of chastising police who won’t enforce the law against other cops. That’s a bit better than all of the publishers and broadcasters who constantly presuppose the gangster intimidation angle out of ignorance of what the actual evidence was, or sheer greed for viewers/readers.

If evil wrong-doing is something the human mind absolutely needs in order to digest something so horrible, why not ponder the evil forces by which Canada is being continuously flooded with illegal handguns from the USA? That was probably the origin of gun that killed Jordan Manners. Why not publicize the fact that a lot of them come here as part of the drug trade which would not be nearly as voluminous and lucrative but for marijuana prohibition. Wide swaths of society – from doctors and lawyers and architects to builders, storekeepers and musicians – create a demand for the weed which would be less harmful than alcohol distribution but for the government forcing the entire supply chain into the hands of organized criminals.

Does the media ever look into how much of the weed that gets shipped south from our illegal grow houses gets paid for in illegal handguns coming north? No, it seems not. Those gangsters, though real, are too far removed to properly serve society’s scapegoating needs in the Jordan Manners death.

Easier to invent some local gangsters and mislead the public into thinking the trial was a travesty. Bonus: we don’t have to feel bad that two young men spent four years in jail for a crime they did not commit.