By Emelie Peacock
Perched above a country with arguably the strongest gun culture on the planet and a rate of school shootings that shocks the imagination, it can be easy for Canadians to look to our neighbours to the south, shrug our shoulders and claim we are doing pretty well in comparison.
But comparisons are worth little when a random act of violence claims the lives of people we have spoken to, shared a laugh with and studied beside. These are real people, not statistics.
The fatal stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Nov. 1 is a raw and emotional reminder that these acts can and do happen in our communities and schools.
School shootings are extremely rare. Only 34 shooting deaths have occurred at schools across Canada in the past 41 years, with just four shootings at post-secondary institutions, according to a recent CBC article. These events are rare, but not non-existent.
This week, The Voice reports that Langara does not adequately inform students of its policy on how to respond to a potential shooter on campus. Is this a negligent act on the part of Langara?
Most likely it’s because this has not yet been an issue at the college. While students shouldn’t panic as the likelihood of an attack is very low, Langara is still the most accessible campus in Vancouver, both by location and by campus design. Members of the public can easily get to the campus by public transit and enter any building on campus, unfettered.
Keeping students safe is the primary goal of a place of learning. This includes safety from all forms of violence, however random and being informed of the measures to take in the case of such an eventuality.