Monday, September 08, 2008

Sooooooo close to the line.

Last year, I taught several Concordia students who had been at Dawson College a year earlier, when Kimveer Gill attacked the place. It's hard to describe the impact on those students, and I don't want to talk about them on my blog. Suffice to say, the Dawson shootings resonated among our first-year class.
So I'm very concerned when any politician tries to make hay out of Gill's rampage. Still, I think Dion did a good job of dealing with one of the issues involved: Gill's assault rifle still is not on the list of prohibited weapons. Since it's designed for killing people, not for hunting, I agree with Dion: the government should act. If, as he says, the committee that recommends which weapons are banned is stacked with loonies and gun nuts, then Dion's done a public service by exposing them. If not, he's tried to turn tragedy into votes.
His claim does have the ring of truth to it. The evidence? Almost two years after the killing, another Kimveer Gill could buy the same weapon and go into another Canadian school. That's a rather scary thought for those of us in Montreal colleges.


starviego said...

Did any of your students talk about more being involved than just one gunman? As indicated by these citations taken from media:

"Another witness told CBC News she was smoking outside the college when she saw a tall, white man wearing a long black trench coat walk down the street with a large gun. He was with a number of other people, said the woman.... The man was about 19 years old with body piercings and wore clothing with studs, she said."
[Comment: the lone gunman was 25 and of south asian extraction. In his photos posted online, it does not appear he had any piercings]]

[poster on ATS, and eyewitness]
A girl giving an interview said that she was standing outside the entrance to the school smoking when she noticed 3 guys in trenchcoats walking towards them and one pulled out an automatic of some kind and started shooting at the entrance of the school...

CanWest News Service
Frightened students giving wildly varying accounts of what was happening inside. There were several reports saying there was one gunman, while others said there were as many as four.

poster 'mattx5'
I was with the media all day (I co-run the Dawson college newspaper) and the police are definitely supressing some information.
The info of 1 gunman doesn't match up with people's descriptions of gunfire taking place over 30-45 minutes, considering the 1 gunman was taken out just 3 minutes after he initially opened fire.
I was in the basement gymnasium when this happened and only found out at 1:30 (shooting happend at 12:41). The radio was on and cut to a breaking news report saying the school had been evacuated, that 4 gunmen were in the school. at 5pm, 9-13-06
--A recorded message at the college administration office said two gunmen were killed...

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 2:59 p.m. ET Sept. 13, 2006
Student Devansh Smri Vastava said he saw a man in military fatigues storm the school’s cafeteria..... Other witnesses said the man wore a black trench coat.

Andie Bennett, CHUM Radio's Team 990
She says students have described at least one suspect as a white male with a beard..... One witness recounts tales of seeing an armed Goth-garbed male with long black hair in the building

940 MontrealAM radio talk show
one witness said the shooter had long stringy hair, another saw 'spiky' hair sticking out from under a mask.
--"a lot of students have seen many, many a lot of shooters..."
--"a lot of what students were hearing on the news is not right"
--"anybody you ask at Dawson....there's no way it was only one shooter/"
Earlier reports had said as many as three shooters walked into Dawson College. At one point, police had told local media outlets that two gunmen were dead and a third was still at large.

TorontoStar 9-13-06
Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Gagnon: She spent the next two hours in that class withother frightened students, listening to the gunfire outside. “It would stop for a minute, and then start again.” Gagnon estimated that she heard at least 30 gunshots. “It was continuous. There had to be more than one shooter,” she said.

CanWest News Service
It is believed two of the dead were gunmen. One report quoted police saying two gunman were dead — one had been shot and one had taken his own life.
"The police came out with the guy in handcuffs and there was a long trail of blood behind him," said Sonny Chiasson, an Alexis Nihon(adjacent shopping center) maintenance employee. "He was bleeding heavily from his upper chest. (Then he) fell to the ground and the police kept trying to talk to him."
Many minutes went by. "But eventually they just put a towel over his face because he was dead."
[Comment: these wounds don't sound like they were self inflicted]

starviego said...


Ottawa Watch said...

No, but I never really prodded them. If anyone volunteers something, I'll let you know.

starviego said...

Several of the Columbine survivors reported that they were warned to keep silent by the police. So the Dawson witnesses may be reluctant to broach this issue. Though perhaps with a little encouragement.....

Ottawa Watch said...

I see myself as the last person who should pry into their lives. My job is to teach them. That's it.
A lot of journalists talked to a lot of students after the shootings and that material is on the record. Knowing my students who went to Dawson, if they knew of a cover-up, they'd be the first to blow the whistle. They're definitely not push-overs.