Tuesday, April 21, 2020


Here's what we know about the victims of the Nova Scotia mass ...

Some of the victims of Canada's worst mass shooting

We lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for several years, where I served a historic congregation in the downtown. We lived in the heart of the city but we rambled around the province, including along the north shore of Cobequid Bay where there are many lovely little communities. We've returned to the province a number of times and stopped in off the highway near the community of Enfield to fuel up. Ordinary places, home to regular peoples going about their lives.

These areas were the scenes of multiple crimes on Sunday as an arsonist and gunman disguised as a Mountie and driving a fake RCMP cruiser rampaged through communities on a killing spree. At least 23 people died, most of them random victims, some killed in the act of going to the aid of others. Police are investigating at 16 crime scenes and have cautioned that there may be more victims. 

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This is almost incomprehensible, and as the days progress we'll learn more, but it will never be enough to explain what would possess a person described as a friendly neighbour and successful business person with no real criminal record would perpetrate such evil.

I use the words "possess" and "evil" because if they fit any situation it is this one. Supposedly the killer was a "police enthusiast" a horrible description given that he killed an RCMP officer and used his disguise to take victims off guard. We don't speak of possession by evil much in our secular society anymore, and seldom in mainline Christian circles. Yet this terrible string of crimes fits anyone's notion of evil, and the term "diabolical" comes to mind. I'll admit that I despise those who manipulate others by using the devil to scare and manipulate others. But there's been nothing in my lifetime which convinces me that evil doesn't exist or that some people don't enter intentionally into the darkness, whether individually or collectively.

My heart breaks for the police officer who died in the line of duty, and her family. I can't imagine the final moments for the others who died, a number of whom were out for a Sunday morning stroll in these days of COVID-19 isolation. 

God, be with all who have experienced loss, including family, friends, and neighbours. Help them and all of us was we attempt to find our way as a society. We are not allowed to gather for funeral services or vigils these days, so our individuals prayers for those who are suffering  is even more important.



Unknown said...

David; We have spent a fair bit of time yesterday and today reaching out to our family and friends in Nova Scotia. In Carolyn's ancestrage, the Etters arrived on the South Shore in the 1770's and the Rosses in Chester Basin immediately after the War of 1812-1814, thus aunts & uncles and cousins throughout the mainland. And not surpisingly, a number of the 23 were neighbours and friends and co-workers and university roommates to our connections. Very sad it be. Today, Ontario Morning, after a moving interview with the MLA for Colchester-Musquodobit, closed with Marie Rankin singing, as only she could, Leon Dubinsky's "Rise Again". And The Current played the recent FaceBook post by Lisa McCully and her 2 children, recorded during the social isolation "Tonight You Belong to Me", with ukelele and 3-part harmony. Our tea was heavily watered this morning, don't you know?

David Mundy said...

Thanks for this. Ian. Can there be any solace in the midst of such horror? If there is any, perhaps it is through music, and Nova Scotia is a place steeped in home-grown music-making. We have another good friend from that area who has lived in Ontario for most of her life but still travels back regularly to be with family. As with you and Carolyn she will be deeply personally affected by what has transpired.

roger said...

This horrible tragedy must have been painful for those in New Brunswick who went through something similar with the monster who killed the RCMP officers, although in this case it wasn't just law enforcement being targeted.

I think back to my first few years in the RCMP in Saskatchewan, and on one occasion, two women working a gas station in a rural area not far from my detachment were gunned down randomly on a Saturday morning. Obviously all RCMP officers were called out who were stationed anywhere near the location, and I can remember desperately hoping to encounter the bad guys while patrolling the region. It was a very odd feeling; thinking there was the possibility of being involved in a shootout, but hoping that would be the case before anyone else was killed.

Prayers and thoughts to all the family and friends of the victims.

David Mundy said...

I thought of your experiences in the earlier days of your career, Roger, both out West and in Northern Ontario. I don't think many Canadians are aware of the challenges of rural policing, which is the RCMP is many parts of the country. I feel for those who are being criticized for not issuing the Amber Alert.