I was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. My childhood, my teenage years and my summers during university was spent in the Soo. I lived in a time where our doors were not locked. Murders were basically unheard of. I am sure one or two may have happened but if it did, it was under my radar.
I went to the University of Windsor. Windsor is across the river from Detroit. The news broadcasts from Detroit, every day, would stories of murders happening in Detroit. Every day. Well that was Detroit. Things like that never happened in the Soo. Then I ended up in Edmonton. Canada is not known for mass shootings. They do happen though A mass shooting in the Maitimes a couple of years back ended up with over 20 people dead. A number of years ago, in Mayerthorpe, a town about 100 kilometers West of Edmomton, four RCMP officers were shot dead. Stuff happens. But, in the Soo?
The Soo like other small blue-collar towns has had its share of problems. It has fallen casualty to the Opiod crisis. It happens.
Yesterday morning, I turn on the news and I find out that five people, including three children, were shot dead, in the Soo. One of the five dead committed suicide, but not before taking four lives. The children were six, seven and 12. It happened at two separate addresses. It is different when you recognize the addresses and the locations of the addresses. It is different when you wonder whether you might recognize the names, when the identities are released Naturally, the city is in shock. As per the Mayor,
“We grieve with them as we try to reckon with this inconceivable act of violence. Sault Ste. Marie is a strong and caring community, and I encourage people to look out for one another and offer support during this incredibly challenging time.”
As per the Police Chief,
“The grief the families, friends and loved ones of the victims are facing is unimaginable. Our hearts go out to them. As our community grieves this tragedy, I urge everyone to please watch out for each other. If you are struggling, or if you see someone you know struggling, please make use of the mental health supports available in our community.”
As per the District Board of Education, where two of the kids attended an elementary scholl and one a high school,
“Counsellors and support staff have been put in place at schools impacted by this tragedy.”
I guess no place is immune to this type of tragedy. This time it happened where I was born and raised and it does strike home.