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Last week I learned that Terry Ross has died of liver cancer. Did not get any more details than that.

Terry was interviewed by Oliver More for his GLOBE AND MAIL story on the street poster bullying myself and others have been enduring for nearly two decades now:     .


“One of the people targeted said that he was put in danger by the posters.

“‘I’m actually kind of scared,’ said the man, who did not want to be named. ‘You got a lot of crack heads. They get all freaked out on that stuff and you never know what they’re going to do. I got to watch my back every day.'”

That was Terry.

I spoke with him a few times last year. Did not know how ill he was. He was still receiving threats thanks to the lies posted about him.

This is Toronto in 2019.

You might like to think this is a city that cares. God knows our media does a grand job pretending it cares.

Our media doesn’t care though.

I emailed all and sundry in 2012 after I bought my first video camera to report this attack. All and sundry said, “There’s nothing we can do.”

Some said, “This storm will pass over.”

The storm has not passed over. It’s still raging.

One person did do something.

That one person was a woman in then mayor David Miller’s office. She emailed back saying she would get the poster abuse stopped. She did.

I am immensely grateful to her and to Oliver More for including Terry in his story.

Terry used to hand out flyers on Queen Street West for ACTIVE SURPLUS and for KING TEXTILES.

He did not ask for much from life.

He remains a much better man than the person who slandered him from street pole to street pole.

The posters said “TERRY THE RAT.”

The man who posted those things came up behind Terry one day, knocked him to the ground and beat him so severely he had to go to the hospital.

The assault was witnessed by a police officer who asked Terry to file charges.

Terry said, “I’m no rat.”

Terry wasn’t a rat.

The man who assaulted him did file charges against Terry claiming Ross has assaulted him.

I’m also dealing with charges filed by the same person.

Like I said, this is Toronto in 2019.

It’s not a city to be proud of.

Terry was a good guy.

He was a decent little fellow.

Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Worse than the words of our enemies is the silence of our friends.”

There’s actually something much worse.

That’s the silence of those whose profession is to speak up for the helpless.

There’s a lot of folk who say they are Christians. They tell us they have been born again.

Well, in THE LAST JUDGMENT the man whom they claim to have in their hearts says, “You saw me hungry, thirsty, a stranger, homeless, sick, naked, in prison and you passed me by.”

They say, “When did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, homeless, sick, naked, in prison and pass you by?”

That one they claim to have in their heart states, “What you did to the least you did to me. Now go to Hell.”

Who was Terry Ross? He was one of the least in this city. I have found no official record of his death. He was so unimportant he was not even numbered among the dead.

Terry Ross was no rat.

He was my friend.


It’s snowing hard enough that the taxis aren’t running.
I’m walking home, my night’s work finished,
long after midnight, with the whole city to myself
when across the street I see a very young American sailor
standing over a girl who’s kneeling on the sidewalk
and refuses to get up although he’s yelling at her
to tell him where she lives so he can take her there
before they both freeze. The pair of them are drunk
and my guess is he picked her up in a bar
and later got separated from his buddies
and at first it was great fun to play at being
an old salt at liberty in a port full of women with
hinges on their heels, but now he wants only
to find a solution to the infinitely more complex
problem of what to do with her before he falls into
the hands of the police or the shore patrol
-and what keeps this from being squalid is
what’s happening to him inside:
if there were other sailors here
it would be possible for him
to abandon her where she is and joke about it
later, but he’s alone and the guilt can’t be
divided into small forgettable pieces;
he’s finding out what it means
to be a man and how different it is
from the way that only hours ago he imagined it.
-Alden Nowlan.

This is why the truly great walk alone. When we walk alone the guilt can’t be divided into small forgettable pieces.

Rest in peace Terry. You earned it.

–Reg Hartt 2019–05–22.



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