P.O.V.: Reaching out to prevent school shootings

P.O.V.: Reaching out to prevent school shootings McGill University

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McGill Reporter
May 3, 2007 - Volume 39 Number 16
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 39: 2006-2007 > May 3, 2007 > P.O.V.: Reaching out to prevent school shootings

Reaching out to prevent school shootings

After the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech, I had a lot of reporters call and ask me what I thought could be done to stop school shootings.

Illustration of two brains one with a peace symbol, the other with a gun

To me, the answer is simple: Never believe that one person can't make a difference in someone else's life.

I still remember September 13, 2006 very clearly, even though it was almost nine months ago, and I doubt I will ever be able to forget it.

That day, after my morning class at McGill, I went to meet my girlfriend at Dawson College for lunch.

As we stood waiting at a microwave in the cafeteria, I saw a man dressed in a black trench coat put down a duffel bag and begin to load guns.

Searching for answers, finding none

I thought it was a joke, and before I could react he was holding an assault rifle.

With a handgun, he fired three warning shots to get everyone's attention: one into the floor, then one into me and one into my girlfriend.

Immediately after the unforgettable events of that day, I searched for answers but found none.

Worse was that nobody seemed to be doing anything to stop these shootings.

Reporters all wanted the big story on the killer and his victims, psychiatrists all wanted to help the students deal with the shooting, but nobody seemed to be worried that something like this might happen again.

Imagining how shooter Kimveer Gill must have felt, I began thinking of ways I could reach out to other people dealing with depression.

By the end of November, I had launched the teen-oriented online help community "Kill Off This Thinking," a reference to altering one's way of thinking, rather than sinking into despair and harming oneself or others.

Since then, the website, located at www.killthinking.com, has drawn in over 150,000 people from all over the world.

I also joined forces with the company Teen Truth, from California, and I now tour schools talking about bullying and school violence.

Reach out to the cast out

If we ever want to stop school shootings, we need to help each other and find help for ourselves when needed.

Too often, people are left behind and cast out, only to become isolated and depressed with no sign of any way out.

If we were to reach out to these people—talk to them, listen to what they have to say—would there still be school shootings?

People rile on about gun control and the media continue to blame video games and television.

Could the problem be that people continue to blame others rather than doing something to stop these events from happening?

We all need to take a stand against school violence and depression if we want it to stop.

We all need to reach out to those around us and, most of all, we need to help those who have been left behind.

Joel Kornek is a McGill Education student. His Web site is www.killthinking.com.

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