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Sep. 18th, 2006

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Today, while Thea was in her leadership seminar downtown, I hopped the Metro down to Atwater and visited Dawson.

I retraced my steps of the day, and had a detailed look at the area in which the shooting took place. While the drywall was patched and the blood was cleaned, bullet holes were still visible, especially with the shattered tile and dents in the roof. The area of the road out front of the college where the shooter lay on Wednesday was covered with dots and swaths of pink spraypaint, I assume to cover up the blood.

The choice of pink was an apt one, as Anastasia DeSousa's favourite color was pink, and that became the theme of the day. People wore pink clothes, pink roses lay stacked dozens high on the steps of the college, and an impromptu memorial was set up on the street corner. People drew large posters and left candles and flowers around. One of the posters, a rebuttal to the infamus, read as follows:

"Life is not a video game. There is no 2nd level. There are no extra lives. You lost your reality."

I thought that was pretty fitting. Why he chose to shoot up a college and not a high school I will attribute to ignorance on his part, or sheer opportunism. I have witnessed zero bullying or discrimination at Dawson. He attacked a pretty good model of what he claimed he wanted the world to change to. For that I will never again name him, imposing upon him the ancient Roman Senate's punishment of infamy; his memory to be forgotten, and mention of his name to be made taboo.

He was an outcast who never fit into any social circle, never had a girlfriend, never cared about anyone but himself, and couldn't relate to anyone, not even the outcast goths he tried to emulate. In everything he tried, he was a failure, including his attempted 'shooting' in which he shot into an unarmed crowd and hit 19 targets, only killing one. The coward couldn't even aim. I laugh at his impotence. In the end, he proved himself to be the loser I'm sure everyone called him his entire life. I should have spat on his corpse.

In any case, the effect of the death of Anastasia DeSousa has been a coming-together of the college as a whole. We now have a common experience more significant, and a common loss to relate to, and it will make us stronger. All these shootings fail in their objective, to divide and scare us, inevitably yielding to the human need to form new bonds and close the circle. I trust that is what will continue here.

In other news, I soldered the two capacitors to Thea's motherboard and, with the unplugging of her CD-RW drive, the system seems stable enough after about 4 hours of continuous operation. I am hopeful the real underlying problem is an aging power supply, which is easily resolved with the purchase of a new one, and they don't cost that much.

I have homework which I am procrastinating on. I will get it done tomorrow, a day before the deadline, which I always seem to be quite good at. I think we have a Chemistry test soon. I'm not sure, but it's not hard at all. Cal 2 is coming up as well, but I think I have the hang of that.

That's all for now.

Sep. 16th, 2006

Aftermath

When I signed up for Dawson, I expected a rather uneventful and somewhat demanding academic experience that, while lasting a few semesters, would leave me more or less intact. I was not expecting to live through Canada's latest Columbine. Last Wednesday, I received an education in human nature that would put the Quebec CEGEP Humanities curriculum to bastardized shame. I should apply for equivalency.

My experience consisted of running through the school after the events had already happened, and sitting pretty in a chemistry lab while my schoolmates were getting shot at. I say schoolmates with a surprising amount of sincerity. Before this incident I did not feel a part of Dawson at all. Besides the age discrepency, the school seemed distant from me. While I had the credentials to be there, I didn't feel that I fit in there emotionally. I did not feel like a Dawson student; I felt like a student at Dawson. With all the crap I had to go through with Admissions to just get into the school, it set up an adversarial relationship from the very beginning, and I felt that I had to fight to prove they were wrong to reject me the first time (with a CRC of 30.003? Jesus, that was retarded). Now I feel like I've been kicked in the gut and am left with the sneaking suspicion that the girl who died was in my Italian class. I can't know for sure until Tuesday or Wednesday.

I guess you could say, I now have something in common with every single person in that school; a shared experience that goes beyond simply having gone there, beyond simply entering those walls every day and listening to a lecture with the whole shebang branded the 'Dawson' experience. We were made to realize just how vulnerable we are in our open society to a lunatic with a bag of guns and something to prove. It ripped that sense of false security from us and truly did things to our psyches that words can't express. I do not know how I will walk through those doors again knowing the very floor I step on is the one on which an 18-year old girl bled to death from an abdominal gunshot wound.

The worst part of the whole deal is that the guy got everything he wanted; a fast death, a hail of bullets, a mangled corpse; and now he's dead, beyond our ability to exact revenge. If life were fair he'd have died ten thousand times, once for each student at the college affected by his acts. If life were fair, that girl wouldn't have had to spend her last minutes doubled over in agony, her lifeblood slowly leaking out onto that cold ceramic floor. If life were fair, I wouldn't be writing this journal entry. If life were fair, he'd only have shot himself.

Sep. 13th, 2006

AK47 + Dawson = surreal afternoon

I arrived at Dawson this morning at 9:45, and stopped for a 5-minute breakfast at McDonald's across the street (I forgot to eat before I left). I walked over to Dawson through the tunnel and arrived at my 10am Biology class just to find out it was cancelled. Go me.

Anyway, to pass the time I hung out in the library for an hour or so, then went to Zellers to buy some synthetic clothing for my canoe trip which was supposed to be this weekend. Obviously things might not go as planned. I then hung out at the Library for a little longer and headed up to the 6th floor for my Chemistry Lab at noon.

Apparently the shooting took place at around 12:40. We were up on the other side of the school facing Sherbrooke St, whereas the incident occured at the back of the school on Maisonneuve St.

Anyway, our first hints of something being amiss were, as we were heating up our lab experiments, a group of girls near the window yelled that there were cops outside and people were running from the building. We figured it was nothing. Later we saw the cops outside hiding behind cars and trees with their guns drawn. We heard a rumor there had been a stabbing and someone was loose in the building. We figured the cops were just surrounding the premises and were waiting to search for the guy. Our teacher told us there had been an 'incident' and we were not allowed to leave the lab class, and were just to finish our experiments, which we did.

Eventually the police presence intensified and the cops were motioning at us to get out of the windows. We eventually had a police officer come to the door and tell us we were being evacuated. We filed out towards the staircase and were directed to the 5th floor and were to exit on Maisonneuve St. We headed down the staircase past police officers with guns drawn and bulletproof vests. Halfway down the stairs we were told we were stopped. Looking out onto the 5th floor, I saw the cop stationed at that entrance spin, with gun drawn, towards the opening Maisonneuve entrance door -- the SWAT team was moving in, dressed head to toe in black body armor. They waved each other down, and the guns were lowered. They were tense.

We were told we'd have to exit out Sherbrooke St. instead, and were run to the stopped escalators and told to run down with our hands above our heads. Attack dogs and cops with guns drawn were everywhere. We filed down to the 2nd floor, at gunpoint, and were motioned to run out and hug the left wall. Without noticing I had run past the scene of the crime, and past the mangled corpse of the gunman without even noticing. We ran down the side of the building, and at this point most of the girls were freaking out and a few were sobbing loudly, obviously scared. Things had gotten past the surreal point with me when I saw my first police officer pointing a gun at me; now it was simply intense. Running past the red tape that had been run around the whole college, I was stopped by the French media and gave my account in decent but halting French. I was then motioned onwards. I saw my English teacher on the street; she told me there was blood all over the cafeteria on the 2nd floor and there were multiple shooters (untrue). In the moment of panic, rumours spread faster than anything.

I headed in the direction of Concordia to try to catch the metro there, since I figured the Atwater station, which is attached to Dawson College would be closed (it was), but when I got there I found out the entire line had been shut down. I tried to give Thea a call, but the phones kept dropping my connection and I was out of quarters. I used my credit card and got through, but there was no answer. I figured I might as well get home, since I didn't have another class until 6pm, so I walked to the Concordia shuttle bus and snuck on.

Anyway, I was on TV for a few seconds in one of those looping scenes of people running down the street. Unfortunately while trying to hook up the VCR to record it I unplugged the PVR and lost the video. I suck.

Classes are cancelled and might be until Monday I hear. I have no idea how my intensive Gym course is supposed to go now, since we were supposed to meet today and leave on Friday. I suspect it's going to be moved to a later date.

I guess that's all for now.

Below you will find a picture of me during the evacuation. I'm the guy in the top left corner behind the girl in the light blue shirt. I have a white t-shirt and a beard.

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September 2006

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