EDITORIAL: Casting light on a dark path

So many words can be used to describe the reactions and emotions surging through this community this week ...

Shock. Disbelief. Horror. Fear. Anger. Sadness.

So many words can be used to describe the reactions and emotions surging through this community this week in the wake of the utterly incomprehensible stabbing of two teen students at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Tuesday afternoon.

With no discernible connection to the victims, a young man with no fixed address somehow came to this city, and inexplicably chose that school and those girls to launch a violent knife attack that took the life of one and left the other seriously injured.

In the days following, the rumours and theories have been rampant, especially on social media. In the absence of immediate answers to so many questions – the overriding one being “Why?” – it is understandable that there is concern over public safety, particularly for students in schools.

However, it is vital that this incident – as terrifying and traumatic as it is – is kept in sharp perspective.

This is a first in B.C. schools, and among few such deadly incidents in all of Canada in contemporary times.

It is not in any way representative of the overall public safety in this community, or this country.

This was a random act, impossible to anticipate. The accused man could have easily chosen his targets at a mall, on a playing field, or on the street.

Do we really want to heed calls to turn our schools into locked institutions, with metal detectors at the doors and guards in the hall?

Do such measures not telegraph the message that young people – in an environment of learning and enlightenment – actually live in a dangerous, violent place where they should be fearful and distrustful?

As bitter and painful as this is, there are societal lessons to be learned here and realities to be understood.

Vengeance at this point is justifiably instinctive, but it’s not preventive. If indeed the accused turns out to be homeless, with an acute, untreated mental illness, how can such individuals be identified early, and intervention applied before they commit senseless, brutal violence?

This man must have walked a very dark path. We know where it led, but we don’t know how. And that is crucial if we vow that a wonderful, vibrant teen like Letisha will be the last such victim.

More locked doors, more police, and harsher punishment for offenders may provide a sense of greater security, but the social guarantee is thin.

That is the future challenge before us.

But for now, we reach out to two unimaginably stricken families, and we grieve.

Just Posted

TransLink ready if West Coast Express affected by CP Rail union job action

TransLink will provide multiple buses to connect customers to SkyTrain.

Abbotsford high school teacher charged with sexual offences involving two youths

Henry Kang, 50, charged with two counts each of sex assault and sexual exploitation

TRAFFIC ALERT: Highway 1 backed up following crash

Eastbound lanes moving at a snail’s pace

Langley rep fastpitch squad goes 8-0 in White Rock tourney

The Fraser Valley Fusion 2006 rep A team took top honours in the Pride and Power Tournament.

Province has been missing in action on flood protection, experts say

Political will to improve dikes lacking, says B.C.’s former flood safety chief

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

UPDATE: RCMP on scene to remove homeless housing protesters

Residents blocking the installation of modular housing in Maple Ridge

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Most Read