A Weston-area doctor has received a 12-year sentence for writing fake fentanyl prescriptions. Dr. George Otto worked with a Weston pharmacist, Dr Shereen El-Azrak, who filled the fraudulent prescriptions. The pain patches were sold on to middlemen, who peddled them around Ontario.
El-Azrak, who worked at PharmaChoice on Lawrence, received a 13-year sentence.
Dr Otto worked out of a walk-in clinic on Jane St, near Wilson. He and El-Azrak trafficked more than 6000 fentanyl patches, according to the sentencing documents. That many patches could be worth more than a million dollars.
Toronto Police are asking for the public’s help finding a man involved in a shooting in the Mount Dennis area. They say that on “Saturday, November 9, 2019 at approximately 2:50 p.m., two men were driving in the area of Industry Street and Todd Baylis Boulevard [when] a pick-up truck with unknown occupants pulled up next to the vehicle and began shooting.”
One person had life-threatening injuries
The police are trying to find a man with “black hair that is long on top with shaved sides. He was wearing a black winter jacket with a fur-trimmed hood, a black Air Jordan sweater, black Air Jordan track pants, and black and white sneakers.”
It’s been a terrible week for crime and around Weston.There have been three shooting incidents in the neighbourhood that have left at least eight injured, though, thankfully, nobody dead.
On Wednesday, a woman and man were very badly injured in a senseless shooting at a home on Conron Place, near Weston and Church. Two masked criminals shot indiscriminately through the door and windows of their home, a multi-tenant building. A 71-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman were rushed to the hospital. The woman was in life-threatening condition.
Earlier that day, at approximately 7:30 p.m., there was a shooting nar Black Creek Drive and Trethewey. The police say that a group of young people were gathered in a hallway of a low-rise building when “three males approached the building in a black sedan, went directly to the floor the group was on, and began shooting at the group”.
Four young people were shot and taken to hospital. A fifth was found at the hospital seeking help.
On Thursday morning, a man was shot in a parking lot near Jane Street and Harding Ave. Two men were sitting in their car when three men approached and shot at them. A 29-year-old man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
This is a headline that will never be seen outside of this publication. Good news will always takes second place to crime and violence.
‘If it bleeds it leads’ is often used in the news business. News outlets want images and videos violence and crime scenes. It’s visual clickbait and improves ratings. Positive news doesn’t stand a chance alongside death and destruction. As a result, our view of the outside world is often distorted. The media’s focus on violence gives a false impression of our society making it seem more dangerous than it is.
Millions of Torontonians achieve happiness and success daily and nobody gets to hear about it. That’s the nature of news.
When it comes to Weston, things are no different. Hundreds of people moved to Weston in the past couple of years. The vast majority are happy to be here and lead satisfying, productive lives. Sadly, there have been shootings and other acts of violence in our community and these get the lion’s share of attention and that’s not always a bad thing because it’s important that something is done to find the causes and solutions.
Unfortunately, the press has a short attention span. After violent events, the police are asked what they will do to counter an upsurge in violence. The answer is usually a temporary band aid fix until things improve or until other news comes along. We all know that treating the symptoms rather than causes is ineffective.
I am a great fan of probability. This is the branch of mathematics that tries to calculate the likelihood of events. Probabilities are expressed by a number between 0 and 1. For example, the probability of a hot sunny day at this time of year is almost 0. The probability of matching six numbers in Lotto 6/49 is ridiculously close to 0. On the other hand, the probability that a Toronto pedestrian will be hit by a car today is close to 1 (More than two thousand people are hit by cars every year in Toronto).
Our ability to judge probabilities is notoriously poor. For example, how likely are two people in a group of 30 people to have the same birthday? It’s about 0.7. Put this another way; ask 30 people to think of a number between 1 and 365 and you have an excellent chance that two of those people will guess the same number.
Many of us have bought lottery tickets feeling our chances of matching all six numbers are reasonable enough to keep buying tickets. Certainly much higher than the roughly one in 14 million chance (approx 0.000000071428571428571 as a number) Consider how optimistic we feel when checking our numbers and compare that to our actual chance.
What are your chances of getting hit by a car? It depends. If you’re a senior, out on a rainy night, wear dark clothing and cross the road, especially between intersections, your risk is higher. This is not to attach blame to the pedestrian (motorists are legally required to drive safely and adapt to the prevailing conditions) but all of these factors are definitely a consideration, especially when we know that there are intoxicated, careless and inattentive drivers out there.
We can control many risks in our daily lives. We wear seat belts in the car and stay away from the subway platform edge. These are sensible and proven precautions aimed at a real risk. On the other hand, when we overestimate the odds of something happening, our quality of life can suffer.
The probability of being attacked by a shark is tiny – close to that of matching all six numbers. If you stay out of the water, you improve your odds but lose the joy of swimming in an ocean. Yes, people get ‘taken’ by sharks and people also win the El Gordo but we deprive ourselves and limit our possibilities by overestimating dangers.
Crime is generally not random. Attackers are often known by their victims. Much violent crime occurs at night and on weekends most crimes happen at night. Poor and cooler weather seems to discourage crime. July is the month when most shootings occur and January / February have the least. Our current crime wave seems to be partly driven by domestic terrorists looking for notoriety by targeting (usually young and black) people in other neighbourhoods. Social media seems to be the place where they can bask in their new-found notoriety.
So where does that leave people who see crime stories and decide that an area is no longer safe? Is this a reasonable response?
The answer is clearly no for most people.
What can residents do to lower their risk of being a victim?
Since there’s little risk in the first place, the best advice is to carry on and not be ruled by fear. You still cross the road and that’s the most dangerous thing that anyone can do in this city. By fearfully abandoning a neighbourhood, you become a part of the problem and you lower your own quality of life.
To the families who have made Weston their home in recent years; welcome. You were right to move here. Don’t let fear stop you from enjoying your new neighbourhood.
If you see crime you can report it and be rewarded anonymously here.