I’m Not THERE, Either

Montreal again. Trench coats and young white males and guns again. School kids in terrified lockdown in classes, or running into the streets, or hitting the floor of their cafeteria. But especially, it seems that a desperately alienated and angry young man (or maybe more than one) has decided to do something about it. The something involved automatic weapons and people he probably didn’t even know. The it? God knows. But I’ll bet it has to do with uselessness, and toxic blame, and utter disassociation from lives and problems and wounds other than his own.

This time it’s Dawson College, part of Quebec’s CEGEP system of trades and university-preparatory schools. These are 16-19-year-olds in a large downtown school of more than 7000. Many of them are living away from home for the first time. How disoriented are they today?

Something about the conjunction of learning and murder, of striving youth and senseless death, is unbearable. It looks like the police took down one of these pathetic excuses for manhood, but it’s still not clear if he was alone. (He makes a fine argument for the benefits of suicide. Maybe we should have more respect for merely self-destructive behaviour among the young.)

But there is blood on the walls of another Montreal school, and stains on students and families that no pressure-hose will ever wash away. Four dead so far, they say. A dozen others in various degrees of distress. At least it’s not 14, as it was at L’École Polytechnique in 1989. So much to grieve, so much to rage against in the dying of youthful lights.