As you might imagine I was pretty shaken up over what happened on September 4th.
The PQ victory doesn’t bother me, Richard Bain does.
Watching it all unfold live on Radio-Canada with Patrice Roy completely flabbergasted at what he had just witnessed, the near instantaneous transition of a boisterous crowd into total silence and the steady stream of updates over Twitter all packed a wallop I hadn’t expected to experience. I felt ill the next day at work. It was awful. Inasmuch as I love the adrenaline rush of watching news happen live in real time, in retrospect the sensory overload and crush of negative emotions was more than I was ready for. It really, truly hurt to see such things happen, in my city, my province.
I find it odd that I never expected it – this city has a bad history when it comes to mad gunmen. Perhaps it is the tradeoff for having such a generally low homicide rate – crime here isn’t rampant, it’s momentarily terrifying, and maybe that keeps us in check.
You can tell I didn’t grow up to experience the October Crisis. The Oka Crisis may have been on Mars for all I knew as a five year old.
This was new in a very precise way – an Anglophone shot two men in an attempt to assassinate the duly elected premier of QuÃ©bec and possibly kill many PQ supporters and a good chunk of the organization in one swift blow. His motivation is not know – he may be a paranoid schizophrenic, a psychopath, or just a rage-head fuming over rejected plans to enlarge his hunting resort. But regardless of his mental state, he thought he was striking the first blow in an armed insurrection of Anglophones in QuÃ©bec. To what end is unclear. What he thought he’d accomplish still a mystery.
I cringe thinking about what might have been. From the looks of things Denis Blanchette and Dave Courage, lighting technicians enjoying a smoke behind Metropolis, were in the wrong place at the right time. It seems as though they confronted Bain before he had a chance to get into the venue. His Chinese knock-off AK-47 jammed after a single round was fired, but it would tear through them both. Despite having other weapons in his nearby van, not to mention a pistol in his bathrobe, Bain retreated some to light the rear of the venue on fire. He would be subdued by MontrÃ©al police shortly thereafter. It could have been so much worse. Blanchette and Courage prevented a disaster of mind-boggling proportions.
There’s no question they are heroes in my book, but heroes through victimhood.
If it seems odd to you that I’m publishing this now, perhaps that says something too. I find it incredible how quickly we move on from something like this. Then again, what are we to do but move on. All I can hope is that we will all think before speaking in the future, and ask ourselves whether or not we’re individually stocking the fires of inter-ethnic discord and aggressive rhetoric, and what we can do as individuals to mitigate this problem. Violent language is far from harmless, as we saw with this latest electoral campaign. The campaign was vicious and people were too. And look what happened.
We can’t ever forget that we exist in a society, and we’re a society that swore off violence many years ago. Our differences, our problems – these will all be solved with the law we have.
After-thought: if you see any of that awful ‘Free Bain’ graffiti, write ‘Bath Libre’ directly underneath it. I will.