by Susan Rosenthal
On September 13, Kimveer Gill went on a shooting rampage at Montreal’s Dawson College killing one student and seriously injuring a dozen more. Gill, a 25 year-old who lived with his parents, was “unknown to police.”
Why did he do it? Media reports examined the influence of violent video games, web sites and Goth culture. No one looked at the violent example set by the people in power.
In response to the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, President Bill Clinton pleaded, “We must teach our children to resolve their differences with words, not weapons.” At the very moment that Clinton was preaching non-violence on national television, the U.S. military was bombing cities in Yugoslavia.
In a world where might makes right, where the people in power kill to get what they want, individual violence should be no surprise.
Gill expressed profound discouragement in his online journal: “Work sucks … School sucks … Life sucks … What else can I say?” Such alienated feelings are common.
As young people become aware of the world, they experience emotional shock. There is no connection between the world they want and the injustice they experience.
When adults seem to accept this world, youngsters feel confused and betrayed. Some become depressed; others become aggressive. Too many kill themselves. On rare occasions, one becomes homicidal.
When Gill discovered that the world “sucks,” he turned his rage against himself and others. We can’t abandon our youth to such despair.
People of all ages need the support of a mass movement that will channel their anger and their energy into building a different world, one that values and supports them. Our future and theirs depends on it.