Moncton, New Brunswick.
A modern day little metropolis, located right in the centre of the Maritimes.
Despite its modest appearances, Canada, indeed, the rest of the world, now has its eyes fixed on the city, which was transformed over the last few days into a strange remake of the “Fugitive” (1993). However, instead of watching Harrison Ford fleeing dramatically from the authorities, we watched the authorities be hunted down.
Ominous? Not really. Unlike the movie, at least we know what was going to happen—Justin Bourque was going to be caught, the subsequent trial will sentence him to 25 years in prison, and the news media will move on to the next stupid teenage kid to obsess over in the absence of serious reporting which actually stands a shot at making an impact on the future affairs of the world. Oops, sorry, I suppose a spoiler warning was needed there!
By now, the name “Justin Bourque” has been uttered over a million times on cable news channels as people ponder once again to themselves, as they inevitably do in these sorts of situations, “What went wrong?” Perhaps it is human nature to savour the insane tragedies in life, but there is absolutely nothing noteworthy about this massacre that needs to be debated, least of all, on a national stage. Not to say that news outlets should not have kept Moncton residents informed about the latest developments, but I doubt very much that they were pouring over copies of Sigmund Freud’s books while wondering if Justin Bourque turned out the way he did because Mrs. Bourque was secretly a haemaphrodite. I think they were far more preoccupied right now with, “Where the bloody hell is he hiding?”
Yet, the pseudo science pyscho-analysis segments that are now proliferating on the web, under the false guise of serving as some sort of prophylactic public service measure is going to remain a staple of prime time news for a while to come. The greatest tragedy is that Justin Bourque, the man who wanted to “go out with a [cliché] bang”, is now having his last suicidal wish fulfilled because the CNN drama queens on air cannot contain their boners over soaring ratings.
When it comes to addressing the intrinsic problem of this sad situation (i.e. the perplexing collective social tendency to subconsciously perpetuate apathy by showering attention upon the murderer as opposed to the victims) we have a bad habit of trying to problem-solve by venturing into the realm of politics. Without a doubt, the conversation has already shifted to an uneducated discussion by loud-mouthed Don Cherry imposters on ‘What could we have done to prevent this?’
Blanket policy answers will abound from all directions, ‘Kids need more guidance!’ ‘Schools need better programs in place!’ ‘Parents need to assume more responsibility!’ ‘The RCMP needs better training!’ Yet, the ease by which unsuspecting anchors, pundits, and politicians will try associate a problem with one single insane individual with the larger problems of social governance not only offers perhaps the most convincing explanation for why people not only refuse to become engaged, but also why Justin Bourque opened fire in the first place.
After all, he just wanted to be recognized as a special snowflake, just like anyone else. But, just as Justin Bourque tried too hard to be recognized as such, we as a whole try too hard after the fact to compensate for a system in which freedom of expression still remains our best chance for avoiding situations like this one from repeating itself. We use phrases like “there should have been red flags going off somewhere!“, hoping that “too-much-too-late” can actually overcome the uncertain future without exploring the possibility that with more restrictions, more oversight, and less flexibility, people will inevitably resort to more extremist measures to make themselves heard. But, I guess that is okay if you are a morally destitute media outlet.
Anywhere you go, filtered sound-bite biographies, interviews, and testimonies flood the media like an angry swarm of constipated locusts. While we think we are all familiar with this story, we need to admit that we do not know anything about the story behind Justin Bourque, least of all the slain mounties that were gunned down (I guess that is what a church service is for, right?). At the end of the day, people are diverse, each with different wants, needs, and ideas, and, as such, it is impossible to say that we are going to be able to stop tragedies like this from happening again let alone understand what exactly it is that starts the snowball rolling on such issues within people.
But, what may prove useful is refusing to buy into the rockstar media frenzy that ensues when such events happen—it only reinforces the idea that such an avenue is the best way for attention-starved kids to get in front of the spotlight. So, who is Justin Bourque? I have absolutely no idea, because all I have learned about him is third-party sensationalist bullshit—he was not heard while he was living and I am not about to start listening now that he is dead.
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