Pop Culture

Special Feature - Comic Books and The Dawson College Shootings

By Hervé St.Louis - Comic Book Bin Publisher
September 14, 2006 - 09:09

The Comic Book Bin wishes to extend its deepest condolences to all the family and friends of the victims, to all students, and staff of Dawson College, Place Alexis Nihon and all the businesses and establishments in the area close to the September 13, 2006 shooting.

Regular readers of The Comic Book Bin may or may not know that we are located in Montreal, which witnessed the attack of a lone man at Dawson College and nearby Place Alexis Nihon, on Wednesday, September 13, 2006. As of this writing, the killer has murdered a young woman and harmed 19 other students and civilians. The gunman was shot and killed by Montreal police officer.

As more information becomes available, it seems that the killer, 25-year-old Kimveer Gill, was a Goth fan, a loner and owned several illegal weapons and ammunitions. Today, many will blame the Goth subculture that influenced Gill, and as usual the world of violent entertainment.

In the world of comics, we're used to this type of scenarios. Some of the best-selling series are about anti-conformist, tough guys facing off against society and sometimes evil. Comic books offer more exploration into several sub genres and themes than any other form of entertainment, because the production cycle and fees associated are much lower.

Comic books often attract the attention of loners and people with integration problems and personal issues. Comic book enthusiasts often understand the power of fantasy behind the fictional characters we read about.

But today, as the publisher of The Comic Book Bin, I feel hurt. This tragedy in Montreal hits home. It's the third time in less than 20 years that Montreal institutions of higher learning have been the site of such shootings. There was the Polytechnic School shooting, where misogynist, Marc Lépine killed 14 women studying to become engineers.

The second time, at Concordia University in 1992, associate professor, Valery Fabrikant killed four professors and harmed one secretary.

A stay at Dawson College marks the beginning of adult life for many young Montrealers. Upon leaving high schools, students in the Province of Quebec must attend community college before attending university. Students studying other technical trades also attend colleges like Dawson. With its proximity to the downtown core, the subway system, several shopping malls, and a large movie theatre, for many young Montrealers, Dawson is where the action is.

In my college days, I went to Vanier College, Dawson's main rival. Everybody used to say that all the cool folks went to Dawson. It's hard price to pay today for being such a popular, and a fine place to get a good education. It's no wonder that a loner, probably rejected by many would target the place all the cool kids go to.

This event brings home another point closely related to comic books. Marvel's Civil War is about the registration of meta-humans, such as Spider-man by the authorities. At first, I sided with Captain America's anti-registration camp. Suddenly, Iron Man's camp looks brighter.

People who can lift mountains should be considered weapons. Weapons should be registered. We've had this debate in Canada, since the new Conservative government won the January 2006 election. They want to scrap the hand weapon registration bill. That bill was first inspired by the 1989 Polytechnic shooting. Prime Minister Steven Harper won't be able to hide behind his hardcore conservative and moral beliefs, if he wants to get reelected. In Montreal, the second largest pool of voters in Canada, weapons’ registration is popular. It's as popular in Toronto and Vancouver.

Prime Minister Harper wants to appeal to his conservative constituents outside of Canada's major urban centers. He should consider the well-being of Canada's majority for once.

Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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