I am an alumnus of the University of Calgary, having graduated from that school in 1973. Just a few days ago, I wrote about a school stabbing in Pennsylvania. Now, five young U of C students are dead—all stabbed to death, allegedly by a ‘friend’ of theirs.
Of course, the irony is blatant—the alleged killer, another young student at the U of C, is the son of a 33-year veteran policeman in Calgary. I can’t help but wonder—could this boy possibly have been trying to send his father some kind of crazy, cryptic, unconscious message? How better to completely betray his law-abiding dad than to commit murder—5 times over?
Here in my beautiful, amazing city of Vancouver, there have now been two stabbing incidents in as many days as a result of domestic violence—one even involved a baby who was stabbed—and I just heard on the news that there was another stabbing, this time seemingly random, by a man in a Regina, Saskatchewan shopping mall.
What is really going on here??
A close friend of two of the University of Calgary boys who were killed called this latest tragedy “infuriating.” I couldn’t agree more.
Has all this violence gotten our attention yet? Has anyone you know been murdered yet, or murdered someone else? Does that actually have to happen—do we have to know the people involved personally—before we decide to rise up as a society and say NO! to the violence that’s all around us? What will it take to choose to stand up against it? What more has to happen for our eyes to finally open?
You may be wondering, “But what can I do? I’m only one person.” In my opinion, that’s a great question to ask. What can each of us do? What can YOU do?
As I wrote in my recent blog post about the Pennsylvania school stabbings, I don’t believe we can discount the impact that the violence surrounding us on a daily basis has, especially on young, fragile, or already-disturbed minds. We see it on our TV’s continually. It’s in the movies that we pay hard-earned money to go and watch. It’s especially in those brutally violent video games we turn a blind eye to—the ones that far too many of our children and grandchildren are already addicted to and play on an ongoing basis.
So—what are we going to do about this?
Well, maybe the first thing we all need to do is come out of our own denial and recognize that children don’t know how to emotionally process this kind of ongoing violence. When kids see people shot and stabbed on TV or in a movie or video game, they don’t understand that death is final—people don’t come back from that. We see this in the ever-increasing number of young children who find their parents’ guns in the closet, imitate what they’ve been watching by pointing it at their siblings or friends, and pulling the trigger.
Bang! Isn’t that fun?
They just don’t get it.
People with certain mental health issues don’t understand the finality of death either—while others somehow feel it’s their right to end another person’s life. It’s not. It never is.
But we keep watching the violent TV shows, we tune into the news programs that feed us nothing but negativity day and night in order to ensure their ratings, we sit through movies we’ve actually paid for, watching violent act after violent act, each often more brutal than the next.
And if we’re not irresponsibly buying these awful video games for our children ourselves, we’re at the very least turning a blind eye while they play them for hours and hours and hours.
We allow organizations like the NRA get away with deciding that background checks are not necessary for people wanting to buy a gun.
How on earth can we then, as a primarily intelligent society, ask the question, “How could this happen??”—when five innocent, promising university students are stabbed to death in cold blood? How can we be shocked and appalled when we hear newscasts about domestic violence—more and more often leading to innocent deaths?
How can any of us feel safe anywhere?
Rise up, people! Please—the time is NOW to speak your truth—if not now, when? How much longer will you choose to feel powerless when you actually are not?
Demand change from the elected officials who want your votes in the next election too. Stop keeping your TV on channels showing violent programming—and for heaven’s sake, stop paying money for these awful, ridiculously brutal movies! This only gives the producers of this endless drivel the encouragement to create more of the same. Let’s all be more self-respectful and take our families bowling instead, or for a picnic in the park.
That is, if we’re not afraid that someone with a gun or a knife might be waiting for us there.
Photo: From Calgary Herald video clip