When I hear news of attacks in the USA, I feel hurt for the victims and their families, but I also feel kind of immune. I live in Canada. We don’t have a lot of that kind of incident… We never were victims of a terrorist attack when the US, France, and the UK were heavily impacted by terror. We very, very rarely have mass school shootings. The only two I can remember are the École Polytechnique massacre which happened in 1989, and another at a Montreal college in 2006. These were both geographically far from where I live. They also happened at post-secondary schools. Little kids don’t get shot where I live.
Because I live in this bubble of safety, I – like most Canadians – was taken aback by the deadly van attack yesterday on the streets of Toronto. I’m sure the news in the US is covering this as well, because it’s so rare in Canada. A man drove a van onto the sidewalk and killed 10 people and injured 15 more.
There’s a subway station very close to where the incident happened. I used to get off the subway there every other weekend to visit my wife (then girlfriend). It hit really close to home.
I went to the grocery store this morning and I found myself hyper aware of the vehicles around me, of the faces of the drivers. I have a knot in my stomach thinking about our daycare provider walking the sidewalks with my daughter this morning. I don’t live in Toronto (nor will I ever live in a major city centre), but I live in a neighbouring town. My Toronto friends are checking in as “safe” on the Facebook crisis page devoted to the incident. It’s close enough to make me give a shit about our safety today. I can’t believe we now live in a place where this kind of attack on innocent citizens happens.