Dawson College: Security vs. Freedom

The ghastly killings at Dawson College raise one of the fundamental questions that is emerging in this age of terrorism:  what is the balance between security and liberty?  Of course the authorities could come up with more money and have the floors at Dawson crawling with guards.  But is that the atmosphere we want to create for young Quebeckers attending a college of higher learning?  On another question, is there any way to identify these Gothic types before they start spraying their peers with a machine gun? There has to be a balance between a police state and anarchy but in this age of terrorism and random shootings such a balance is becoming harder to achieve. 

4 Comments »

  1. 1
    John Says:

    The problem is not identifying these young people. For heavens sakes, they make it blatantly obvious who they are through their dress, their hairstyle, their music etc. You can see them in any school, on any street corner etc. It’s how we deal with them that’s critical and I maintain it’s an educational issue not an enforcement issue. In fact, we don’t need laws to protect us from these people. We neeed strategies and programs to help us reach them.

  2. 2
    Barbara Says:

    Sometimes being a Goth is part of some fantasy they have chosen to inhabit and not anything more sinister. I recall one self-styled Goth (a modified version) to whom I told that his father (a math prof here who wears t-shirts, shorts and flipflops in the winter) is actually scarier to me. Now a grad student in imaging science, he has finally cut off his ponytail.
    What is important is that you get to know your students as individuals. It makes such a difference to them! The availability of counsellors is vital in these critical times, too.
    The only thing I noticed here that was different was that the events planned for the Agora were cancelled and the space was left open for conversation, counsellors were available on a drop-in basis, and the security guard was actually making rounds.

  3. 3
    SUZANNE Says:

    I think it’s a culture issue. Government can’t solve this.

    Look what’s out there for kids. All the JUNK. Look what people throw at them. If the family is somehow emotionally absent or for some reason can’t provide constant/proper guidance, the youngster is even more vulnerable.

    No matter how many laws you put in place, if there’s a junk culture for youth, they will internalize it and respond in kind. The government can’t regulate every aspect of culture, especially the “underground” culture.

    I think we’re not judgmental enough to say “this is horrible”. We so don’t want to appear unhip, we’re ready to let our kids watch anything, see anything, play any video game, etc.

    Plus let’s remember this is an adult. He’s not some teen. At his point in life, he should have known better.

    I think he was just a deranged individual. Possibly just evil.

  4. 4
    Barbara Says:

    There is some truth in the statement that this is a cultural issue. To what extent has the ambient culture contributed to the deep alienation and death-wish of an inordinately high number of young men?
    Quebec has holus-bolus abandoned its roots in order to build a more modern society. A flood of immigration has both enriched and destabilized what had once been a more unified world view. The cyber-age has splintered families and other natural communities. Unfortunately, I see no moral force able to stir the society to a more positive and wholesome cultural milieu that embraces diversity, but calls all to a higher standard.


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