By Craig Funston
As I write this, the manhunt for Moncton’s cop killer is over, and the alleged murderer is behind bars. Not only are the Monctonians happy: People right across Canada can breath a collective sigh of relief. It’s a time of bewilderment, grief, and reflection—which will be the make-up of today’s column.
Probably like you, when I first heard of the shooting in Moncton, I thought they meant Moncton, Alabama, or Texas, or Virginia. The news broadcasters surely were mistaken, I thought. These sort of insanities take place in Connecticut, Colorado, or California, but not Canada.
I was shocked when I discovered it happened in Canada, then sickened when I read of the senseless loss of life. I thought of the choking panic that must have gripped Moncton, New Brunswick—dare I say?–Canada. Like you, I was relieved when I heard the killer was finally apprehended.
Whatever else comes out of the misery of the Moncton murders, the bleat for stricter gun control will surely be front and center. The argument will flow like this: “If there had been better gun control legislation, the young man in question would not have had his arsenal, and three RCMP officers would not be dead.”
Really? Since when do deranged people, heartless crooks, and other felons obey the laws of the land? Law-abiding citizens do, for sure, and for them to be compliant and unarmed in the face of growing lawlessness is sheer stupidity, idiocy of the highest order.
The issue in Moncton was not a case of lax gun control, of course; rather, it was a case, as usual, of a disturbed young man troubled young man who fell through the cracks—emotionally, vocationally, socially, spiritually, and morally. It had nothing to do with gun control anymore than it had to do with him being white, male, Catholic, or homeschooled.
He was indeed all of the above but, at the same time, he was none of them, simply because those factors are irrelevant to the carnage he produced.
It was one of those rare moments–once the feeling of this-can’t be-happening-in-Canada subsided– that I felt truly Canadian. If there ever was true irony, this was it: I felt so connected to my fellow- Canadians because they were Canadian, yet so disconnected because, well, they were Canadian—and “things like this do not happen in Canada.”
I felt their pain and fear, even though I was thousands of kilometres away. In fact, I felt more angst for those in Moncton than I did for others in recent mass slayings. Somehow, as grievous as the shootings in Seattle, Newtown, and Centennial were, they seemed so removed from my reality, my culture, my people.
I ‘m simply saying that’s how I did feel, not should feel.
What is equally frightening is that if some lunatic freak—or even one leaning towards said lunacy—could snap in Moncton, who’s to say that couldn’t happen in, say, Camrose, Vulcan, or even Bow Island? Truth be told, it could. Canada is obviously no longer immune to this.
There are enough disaffected people in these places that could easily snap over anything (or nothing) and do the same. Real life issues such as family strife, school bullying, sexual frustration, and workplace friction can all be contributing factors. People snap all the time, but usually without a rifle to carry it out.
Said snapping exhibits itself in road rage, domestic violence, suicide-murder, and every other form of abuse.
There is no easy solution to preventing such mayhem. Rarely can issues be reduced to a mere concept or even a single word, but I’ll stick my neck out and suggest one:
“Isolationism,” as in being alone, or at least feeling that way.
My observation is that this is the key thread running through the shattered lives of the mass murderers over these past three to four years, in your Connecticut, Colorado, and California—that feeling of being isolated from family, friends, and things familiar.
No one needs to be a super hero these days, but reaching out to the lonely and disaffected in your circle of friends could be a good place to start. Who knows what life you might save?
It might end up being your own.