Sunday, April 1, 2007

Late and Unasked For

I've been meaning to write this since I read an article in the Gazette at the beginning of the month; it was an interview with the hapless mother of the shooter who caused chaos and madness at Dawson College in september last year. What prompted me to put this collumn together was her statement that she didn't understand what had happened - that her son wasn't evil.

I don't want to add to her suffering - she doesn't deserve the fate that her son forced on her and I would not think of blaming her for what her son did. But that's exactly my point, no matter what her son may have done during the twenty-five years of his life, it is his very final actions which now define not only how he is remembered but the entire impact of his life on the world. He may have been a perfectly good young man for a very long time, but what he finally did was evil.

He walked into a school filled with young adults who are undertaking the first steps of an uncertain and in many cases terrifying future; he carried, in his trenchcoat, over a thousand rounds of ammunition and three firearms and he opened fire without hesitation, discrimination or thought to morality. He killed one young woman who was just coming into her own after years of adversity and he severely injured twenty other people, some of whom will suffer from those injuries for the rest of their natural lives. What he did was monstrous and in doing it he became a monster.

It is a problem which cannot be understated that in our society, in our search for justification and an answer to the undestandable question why, we end up portraying the aggressors as victims, "Oh, no! He went through all these unpleasant things in his life and he snapped and it's all our fault!"

It isn't. I've been saying it for six months; the only person whose fault it is is the monster himself. Society did not pull the trigger, a dangerously unstable, washed up young man with no ambition and a victim complex did. We cannot allow ourselves to continue to fall into this trap.

People are not victims of society because society is not a single coherent being, it is a dynamic, changing assortment of people which allows them to coexist in a way which, at least from one given view at one given time, is constructive in some fashion which helps humanity prosper; people can only be victims of other individuals and everybody is responsible for his own actions.

At the end of the day, twenty-one people were victims of a single deranged individual and an entire city felt the decidedly negative repercussions of his actions. Nothing can change what he did and those gunshots will never be forgotten by anyone who was affected by them, but for my part, I endeavour to ensure that his name, which he wanted to enshrine in our memories forever, shall be lost to the sands of time.

1 comment:

CatherineAnne said...

Striking words after our own VT shootings this week. If only the media would also wish to lose their names in the sands of time.