Understanding The Importance of a Silent Opinion; Succinct Comments on Two Horrifying Events, With Help From Luka Magnotta and Ahmed Hassan

Living in Canada is a fascinating, and often educating experience. A quarter of the world’s population believes every single stereotype that exists about Canadians and their cold, igloo filled nation; another quarter believes every single stereotype that exists about Canada being a peaceful, carefree nation of hockey fanatics; another quarter believes that Canada is effectively the Switzerland of North America; and the final quarter is filled with people who understand that stereotypes exist and that they don’t necessarily have any real bearing on the people who live in a particular environment.

Obviously I joke when I say that the former three quarters believe the stereotypes, because they obviously don’t; apart from those who are unlucky enough to not have acquired a rudimentary education, and I’ll admit that the numbers are starkly depressing, those who “Believe” the stereotypes simply believe them in jest. Like how many joke that Sweden often holds the wallets of warring nations, many joke that Canada is a cold, penguin-filled, desolately peaceful tundra. These comments are stereotypes, and as far as anyone should be concerned, they’re untrue. For those that believe in these stereotypes, I can say little because (while I’ve made many jokes about meeting people who have made the penguin jokes to me) I’ve never met anyone who genuinely believed that every part of Canada is blanketed in snow for the entire year.

In this way, I’ve also never met anyone who didn’t genuinely believe Canada to be one of the safest, and most comfortable countries to live in, based on quality of life or otherwise. The truth of the matter is that the country, for the most part, is incredibly safe; much like any nation, there are examples of violent crimes, and behaviour motivated by either chemical or intellectual imbalances, but the truth is that the vast majority of the country doesn’t live in fear of spontaneous death. Interestingly enough, two recent stories have brought a concentrated break to this trend of relative peace and any reader of international news will know that Luka Magnotta, a pornographic actor, and Ahmed Hassan, a gang member, have recently been in Canadian (and World) news for their devastating, and thoroughly disappointing, acts of violence and wanton aggression.

Magnotta murdered and ate his lover Lin Jun, a Chinese national studying in Concordia University, and was recently found in Berlin after a week and a half of being “On the run,” so to speak, while Hassan opened fire in the crowded Eaton Centre food court killing another gang member, and injuring 7 others. Additionally, Magnotta sent several of Jun’s body parts to various government institutions as an act created by his severely imbalanced mind and Hassan reportedly turned himself over to police at around 2:00 AM on Monday, June 4th, 2012. The two events are related only in their ability to bring disappointment in the eyes of an human who didn’t share their world views.

I recently spent a day in downtown Toronto, visiting three popular landmarks and towers, including the Eaton Centre, and remarked about how I regretted not being able to visit Toronto more often (the article can be found here). In the article I noted that my laziness and distance were my only reasons for not visiting a location that’s under an hour away by GO train (it’s actually even closer than that, though I do digress). My point was that I didn’t go to Toronto as often as I liked, and that I’d make it a habit to visit more often in the future, all while never really explaining or detailing when I would do so.

Oddly, I find myself wanting to visit Toronto even more now that these random and unrelated events have occurred. Interestingly, these same events have done very little to dissuade the general public from doing anything, and some members of the Toronto public were even surprised that the Hassan shootings forced the entire Eaton Centre to close for a day (and the food court for slightly longer, for obvious reasons).

At first I thought it was due to social ignorance; certain members of the public weren’t aware of the shootings, and then I thought it was due to a desensitization to violence. Studies have been conducted, and will continue to be conducted on the state of violence in North American (and Canadian) culture, and results have continued to show that we, as members of a world that is seemingly characterized by its wanton destruction, mindless hatred, and horrifying atrocities, are reacting less to events that can be categorized as such. I soon realized my inaccuracy, when I considered interpreting the story from a different point of view, and my queries answered themselves with a simple question: what better way to acknowledge a problem or concern than by facing it head on?

Or rather, what better way to deal with a horrifying event than by refusing to let it effect one’s self? Or rather, what better way to deal with an event that only affected a few people, by refusing to dwell on the event, moving forward without making a big deal out of things, and by letting those affected grieve privately without making the event into a carnival or circus? The politicians made their statements, the press got their stories, the shooter is in police custody, and the grieving have been given time and space to grieve. In every sense of the word, this is the perfect way to react to a horrifying event.

It’s hypocritical of me to claim that the best way to deal with a horrific event is by letting those affected have their space, and then proceed to write about the horrific event, and I understand that, but for all intents and purposes, this will be the final article I write on the matter. In every sense of the term, I’ve taken my time to discuss the shooting and the murder, and it’s time that I too move on. Certainly, my words will do little to console the families of the seven who are injured, and my words will do even less for the grieving families of both Lin Jun and Luka Magnotta, which is why I must keep them quiet and succinct.

I’ve realized that, when dealing with horror, or tragedy, the only way to proceed forward is by choosing to not dwell on the horror, and by allowing those who have been affected to grieve.

At a certain point, voicing opinions is no longer appropriate, and even the most blatant and loud must control themselves, and silence their collective mouths to insure that the people who really need to speak can easily do so. We must, quite simply, keep calm, alert, and ready for when anyone hurt needs to speak about their pain; otherwise, there will be no point in being able to do so.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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