Not having cable tv and rarely listening to the radio, at times, makes me feel extremely cut off from the world. Sometimes I am thankful for the little bit of distance I am granted in my ignorance of world events. I often make promises to myself to read the news via internet on a more regular basis...but then I don't, at least not until some bit of information finds me and catches me off guard.
Reading about the Dawson College shootings in Montreal on bee's blog yesterday was one of those moments and seeing photos of the incident made me realize why. It reminded me of the Red Lake shootings just over a year ago. As I write these words I feel the air being squeezed from my lungs in a way that I didn't expect. I didn't personally know any of the people that lost their lives, but Red Lake, being within close proximity of where I lived at the time, I know a lot of people whose lives were deeply affected by the horrible events of that day.
Recently I read a young adult novel for work called The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. The suggestion to read it came with great reviews, but when I sat down to read it, the contents of the story disturbed me, to say the least. I would consider myself to be pretty liberal reader. And, actually, I would say that in many ways it was a good book. It spoke directly to the issues that many young adults face (the effects of divorce, loneliness, ect.)--and I appreciated that about the book. But what I didn't expect was that the main character of the story ("Fanboy") carried a bullet around in his pocket to calm his nerves and that both him and his best friend ("Goth Girl") often fantasized, on a nearly daily basis, about school shootings and taking hostages. Granted, in the end, everything works out and Fanboy's angst towards his peers is replaced by a deeper, more mature, understanding of friendship and family. Had the story not ended this way, I would have been worried. But before I got to this tidy little ending, I found myself wondering why it was disturbing me on such a deep level. Of course it only took me a quarter of a second to know that it was because the subject hits a little too close to home. Way too close to home, actually. While everyone else was either raving with good reviews or impatiently waiting the books release (I read an advance reading copy), I couldn't help but feel the very heavy weight of one thing: Red Lake.
There are some things that get under the skin too deeply to comprehend. Life is so incredibly fragile. And it makes me sad that there are people that are so profoundly messed up that they are incapable of feeling love (if that is what it is??). The picture of this guy scares me. It makes me feel sick and sad and I'm sorry for all the people that have been affected by what happened.
My heart goes out to you.