…no matter how badly you want to be elected. (Yes, Tories, I’m talking to you. Clean out your ears and pay attention!)
The last thing Canada needs is easier access to guns, because things like this have an ugly tendency to happen in countries where gun use is under-regulated.
Police in Canada have named the gunman who went on a shooting spree in a Montreal college, killing a young woman, as 25-year-old Kimveer Gill.
Gill, from Montreal, wounded 19 others in his gun rampage before being killed in a shootout with police.
Six people remain critically ill following the attack at Dawson College.
Gill had a blog on a website devoted to the Goth sub-culture in which he posed with guns and referred to himself as an “Angel of Death”.
His blog contains a photo gallery of more than 50 pictures showing the young man in a variety of poses with different guns and wearing a long black trench coat.
“His name is Trench,” he wrote in his profile. “You will come to know him as the Angel of Death.”
Clad in black and carrying three weapons, Gill opened fire outside Dawson College, then entered the canteen when it was crowded with students and staff during lunch hour on Wednesday, witnesses say.
Now, before anyone takes a notion to blame this on Gill’s obsession with Goth culture, I have to say that I’ve met my share of goths, and most of them are as non-violent of souls as you’d ever hope to meet. A lot of them are animal-rights advocates. Many are strict vegetarians. A fondness for black clothes, hair dye, nail polish, etc., does not automatically add up to a murderer. A friend of mine sometimes calls them “death bunnies”, but since he’s even better acquainted with them than I am and feels no urge to shun them, I can only assume he’s got his vegan tongue planted firmly in cheek. Being a Goth is no more likely to predispose one to murder than being, say, a Marilyn Manson fan. Dubious taste it may be, but pathological it is not.
By the way, my vegan friend who associates with goths also owns and wears a black trenchcoat. So do many perfectly respectable people who’ve had no contact with that subculture whatsoever. How many businessmen do you know who wear coats like that?
Students said the shooting began at about 1245 local time (1645 GMT) and shots were heard over a half-hour period.
“He said nothing. He had a stone cold face… He just started opening fire,” one student said. Others told of how he pursued terrified students along corridors and up stairwells.
Those who could not escape outside barricaded the doors to classrooms and offices and hid under desks.
Dawson College is in central Montreal and has about 10,000 students.
Live television pictures of the scene showed police and emergency vehicles on the streets and crowds of frightened students fleeing the college’s buildings.
Six of the victims are in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of Montreal General Hospital.
They are recovering from surgery after suffering gunshot wounds to the head and stomach, hospital spokeswoman Sheila Moore told the BBC News website.
Two are said to be in a “very critical condition”.
Some of the gunman’s victims have multiple wounds. Others were only shot once.
This all sounds horribly familiar. In fact, there have been two other notorious school shootings in Montreal alone: one at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1989, in which all the dead were female and the gunman (who later shot himself) an outspoken woman-hater who failed to get into engineering school. Gamil Rodrigue Gharbi, a.k.a. Marc Lepine, was also obsessed with Denis Lortie, the deranged ex-soldier who had shot up Quebec’s National Assembly some years before; Gharbi/Lepine blamed “feminism” for his own obvious shortcomings. The other, at Concordia University, was perpetrated by a professor, Valery Fabrikant, who killed four colleagues, apparently in a bitter rage over having been denied tenure.
And then there are other school shootings to recall: the Taber shooting in Alberta, in which a pastor’s son died and several others were wounded. (The shooter, who is legally an adult now but still mentally fragile and not safe to release, is currently serving time in a young-offender facility in my hometown, mainly because no one seems to know what else to do with him.) Plus a whole slew of US tragedies.
Of all of these, however, only one other–the Columbine massacre of 1999–featured a “Goth” undercurrent. Yet of all the things for the media to seize on, it was the black trenchcoats and Marilyn Manson music favored by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold–and not their lunacy for guns! Somehow, it’s acceptable for a kid in the US to tote guns, but not listen to dark and scary music or wear dark and scary clothes. WTF?
It’s instructive to note that the countries with the strictest gun laws (and enforcement) also have the lowest gun-death rates. Coincidence?
All you gun nuts out there, please–spare me that “guns don’t kill people, people do” bullshit. Or that “more guns, less crime” bullshit. I don’t care what John Lott says–he’s a cross-dressing sock puppeteer with all the credibility of that Czarist wingnut who wrote the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Guns DO kill people, often quite by accident. Try googling “dog shoots man” sometime; there are plenty of true stories of guns killing and injuring people with no human hand on the trigger.
Go ahead and laugh–it’s not you lying there in a pool of blood, after all. But do NOT feed me any crapaganda about how guns save lives–that is not their purpose. They are made for one thing only, and that is to TAKE lives. The latest shootings in Montreal are the dead-eye proof of that. Politicians owe no concessions to the gun guys, no matter how hard they lobby, freep or even sabotage the gun registry. (BTW, the gun registry is NOT a massive federal waste of tax money; it’s cheap at the price, and Canadian cops consider it money well spent.)
Trenchcoats and Goth culture don’t kill people, GUNS do.
UPDATE: CBC is tackling the “Goth” angle, albeit quite responsibly, right now. They point out that while the Goth subculture attracts its share of depressed and disaffected teens, they are already that way before becoming goths, and are therefore NOT made so by the culture. Meanwhile, the pro-gun lobby is engaging in its usual tired arguments, saying that Gill owned and acquired all his weapons legally, so gun control is useless and should be scrapped; ho, hum. Gun-control activist Wendy Cukier, however, gets it right, by pointing out that loosening gun control is the worst thing that could happen right now. Gun control works, she says; it tends to discourage “casual” firearm purchases. I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and say that more restrictions AND more enforcement can do so much more to keep weapons out of the hands of psychopaths like Gill.
UPDATE #2: CTV, the OTHER major Canadian network, is handling the Goth angle in the opposite way–by sensationalizing it unduly. They’re also suggesting
video games were to blame. They’re focusing on the gore-porn aspect of it, even when the conclusion drawn is the opposite of the angle they’re pushing. Typical: the government-financed broadcaster takes the time to get it right; the commercial one, on the other hand, doesn’t give a shit as long as it gets viewers’ horrified eyes glued to the screen.
UPDATE #3: VampireFreaks.com, the site that gained a lot of ill-deserved infamy as a result of the Gill case (as well as a triple murder in Alberta and the recent “Johnathan” case in Toronto), has issued a policy statement of sorts:
so yes there’s been a lot of press lately regarding a shooting in montreal, where the person involved was a member of this site.
i offer my condolences to the victims and their families, it really is a tragic event. however we do not condone or influence this type of behavior in any way. just because someone goes around shooting people and happens to be a member of vampirefreaks, doesn’t mean that this website has influenced him to do such a horrible thing. the goth scene is a very friendly, nurturing, non-violent community and we are very supportive of our users and do not condone any illegal activities. we have an excellent team of administrators who moderate the site, and a useful system which allows all users to report illegal and suspicious activity. thank you to all the users who continue to help us moderate the site.
i do think this event is a tragedy, but i feel that this site is wrongly being associated with the shooting. i’m sure this kid also had accounts on various other sites, but the media likes to associate crimes with gothic culture because it makes a better story for them.
so, i just want to ask our members to really try to set a good example to the world, to show that we really are caring, responsible, non-violent people. in fact i believe we are more mature and responsible than other scenes, in that we value intelligence, part of goth culture is thinking for yourself and being more aware of the world, rather than just following the mainstream trends. don’t let a few bad seeds ruin our reputation, we are a great community