By now pretty much everyone in North America has heard about this tragedy in some form or another. It struck pretty close close to home for me, being from Montreal, and in particular because the apartment my parents, until very recently, lived in while in the city overlooked Dawson College and I attended the college, many, many years ago. It's all well and good for us Canadians to say that guns and violence are an American problem but I believe that this incident was a huge dose of the unfortunate reality that is our current culture.
I was up late last night, unable to sleep for a variety of unrelated reasons, and caught some US network news casts and was kind of shocked and then impressed that they were reporting live from Montreal about the shootings. Given the natural preoccupation of the 5 year anniversary of the 9/11 bombings, it was nice (wrong word but I can't think of another) to see them expanding their sometimes narrow focus of world events to include what some consider to be an insignificant country to the north. However, my cousin just sent me the following email that she sent to a radio station she listens to from Bellingham, WA, directly across the border:
"There is a large country just north of you called "Canada" - ever heard of it? 13 students were shot yesterday - one confirmed dead - at a college in Montreal, Quebec. It would have been nice for you to acknowledge this horrible event in your news report this morning. Instead, your D.J.s chose to yammer on about car brakes and property taxes. Why?"
*EDIT - half of this post seems to have been eaten by blogger --- the rest of the intended post waxed poetically about how the whole point was not that we should care about what the American media thinks of us, and why are we always concerned with what they think and report, etc. but that the tragedy and horror of such a terrible event happening in an extremely safe city and country. Then I got this email from my mum this morning (slightly edited as I am not going to share everything my mummy says to me):
"have been in Montreal for 2 days (yes, during the shooting at Dawson which was very scary as we were in the neighbourhood... greene avenue etc. weren't witness to it but definitely had our day disrupted with traffic etc as you could not go west of Peel or east of Greene Ave... quite a large area for a Westmount type... still don't know a lot about the killing or how bad the last four students are in Hospital but whatever, it was a horrible event and so shocking in our very very safe city.... Daddy has a story to tell re the event as one of his lawyers that he was meeting with that day was involved at the outset innocently walking into Westmount Square when he was confronted by the murderer who asked him to take a bag out of a car and carry it...he said why and no... and the guy pointed a gun at him and told him to take the fu..... bag or he would kill him... needless to say he took it but fortunately shortly after walked into a police car, threw the bag and ran... and then events unfolded.... ask Daddy he knows all the details... lots of love Mummy"