Tuesday’s inexplicable double stabbing at an Abbotsford high school has left a community heartbroken, horrified and fearful.
One teen is dead, another remains in hospital and families throughout the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver and all of B.C. are searching, all too helplessly, for answers.
But as tragic and terrifying as the attack was to all – from those directly affected to the community at large – it is imperative that panic is not allowed to prevail.
The fact is, such incidents are not the norm. They are, by far, the exception.
And while that is small comfort to those who experienced this nightmare or any other, and will forever live with its repercussions – from the families of the victims, to the students who witnessed or were targeted, to school staff who intervened and restrained the unknown assailant – it is a reality that cannot be lost.
The reality is schools – like other areas where strangers gather en masse – are, by and large, safe places. Specifically, schools are places of learning, growth and friendship, where lifelong memories are formed and future paths are charted.
Sadly, random, senseless acts can happen anywhere – the incident in Abbotsford is inarguable proof of that, as was the deadly shooting rampage at Washington’s Cascade Mall in September and other violent incidents over the years that have shocked the world – but they are impossible to predict.
And while we must prepare as best as possible for emergencies of all kinds, we cannot allow our daily activities to be determined by an expectation that tragedy can strike at any moment.
Yes, our youth – as must individuals of all ages – need to be aware what to do in event of emergency. But we can’t allow them to focus on chance tragedies, dictating their every move and thought.
Now is the time for discussion, in every classroom in the province, and every home and every office.
We must be prepared, but we must talk through this to ensure we don’t become fixated solely on our tragedies.
Life is, quite simply, too short.