Smoke Dawg, Koba and Sick Thugz... some thoughts

So. Sick Thugz were NEVER a splinter group of Point Blank Soldiers and PBS were actually a rap group and only one person convicted in the Jane Creba murder was remotely connected with that group because his uncle was involved in it. Contrary to what the media are reporting.

Nobody else charged (or convicted) for the Creba killing was part of a gang. At the time of her killing, the real rivalry was between Sick Thugz and Silent Souljahs (also a rap group and not a "gang").

None of them were there when she was accidentally killed, as far as we know.

No doubt that Sick Thugz (formerly TnT for Turk and Tyke) do operate as a gang out of Regent Park and do target other rap groups. Whether or not Halal Gang is a real "gang" is up for debate as is the whole concept of a gang (i.e., group of people who hang out together versus group of people who are into organized crime). It seems that people of colour who congregate together keep getting painted with that same (not so) clandestinely racist brush.

Whenever there is a shooting and it's identified as "gang" related, it's bound to make the news.

The Toronto hip hop scene lost two aspiring talents. R.I.P. Smoke Dawg and Koba.

Let's just not jump to conclusions that THEY were "gang bangers". They came out of the same neighbourhood as Kardinal Offishall; the difference is that Kardinal had programs put in place by the government of the day to help aspiring artists to climb out of cycles of poverty. These were programs put in place by the NDP Ontario government of the day and Kardinal recognizes the impact they had on his life.

Let's not jump on that populist chant that black men who MAY be affiliated with gangs should not be allowed out on bail (none of which has been proven before due justice). I know this full well because of my years of watching, reading and working with the trial files of the Creba murder. And the efforts to say she was the innocent victim caught in rival gang gun fights, which was not the case.

It was rival drug dealers.

Now, I'm not so naive as to think gangs don't exist. Let's just not make that our first stop.

Real justice would be real help for so many young people who are at risk of losing their way, not by locking more up and throwing away keys. But we won't see this the way that Premier Doug Ford and Mayor John Tory are talking about our youth.