It seems you can’t turn on the radio or TV without hearing about the global pandemic. The Covid 19 virus does not discriminate, attacking all age groups and having a particularly hard impact on the sick and elderly, but it doesn’t stop there. Perfectly healthy able bodied young people are succumbing to this unpredictable illness. The economy is tanking, people are social distancing, not by choice but out of necessity, and it seems life couldn’t get any worse. Or could it?

Last weekend the small community of Portapique Nova Scotia experienced horrors so unimaginable it made Covid 19 almost bearable, and much as we’ve needed to hear something ‘new’ in our broadcasts, no one could ever have wanted to hear this.

A 51 year old man went on a shooting rampage killing almost two dozen people and terrorizing an entire city. He targeted those he knew and gunned down those he randomly encountered during his reign of terror, killing perfect strangers, just because. He even shot two dogs – it seems no living creature was out of range of his gunfire.

Little has been revealed about this man other than to say he was a successful businessman and a ‘nice guy’. So what makes a supposedly ‘nice guy’ shoot innocent people in a fit of rage? Little has been said about his personal life, the people he was close to, if there were any he was close to. Was this something that had been brewing over time, or did he just snap? The fact that he had what looked like an RCMP vehicle and somehow garnered an RCMP uniform suggests this was planned, and in the absence of any access to this fellows psyche, we may never know what his motivation was. All we do know is that it was pure evil.

Whatever his struggles were they were clearly deranged and extreme, and normally I would feel only compassion and support for one struggling with mental illness but it’s hard to muster up any sympathy for someone who randomly, senselessly, murders another. If you have insurmountable issues that you feel you cannot overcome, by any means, then go ahead and do what you have to,,,,,to yourself. Don’t take down a community of innocent people.

The terror inflicted, the lives lost, and the families scarred by this will change the face of this small community forever. We may never know what motivated this heinous crime. The gunman was killed by police during his capture so his explanation, whatever it could be, will never be heard, and maybe that’s a good thing. I can’t imagine wanting to witness the inner workings of such a deranged mind – it’s even beyond the stuff horror movies are made of.

As the residents of Portapique grieve their loss and struggle to make sense of these events, the rest of the country grieves with them because every community is ‘ours’. These are our people and this happened in our backyard. Covid 19 might be the global threat that brings us to our knees, but like any world catastrophe, we will survive it, and we may even be able to rationalize it in time. This is our war and we fight it together. A mass shooting, on the other hand, brought about by an evil mind, is the bigger monster and the bigger threat, because it shatters the very foundation on which decent society is built.

Words cannot describe the pain we all feel for our fellow Nova Scotian’s as we mourn the loss of their loved ones and struggle to heal a country’s broken heart.

Broken heart




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