The worst mass murder in Calgary’s history didn’t end at the barrel of a gun.

Instead, the 22-year-old suspect identified on Tuesday as Matthew de Grood is accused of entering the kitchen at a house party, taking “a large knife” and using it to fatally stab four men and one woman, all of whom were students in their 20s.

The scene was “horrific,” Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson told reporters.

But as police continue to investigate, the tragedy was also a grave reminder that stabbings top the list when it comes to violent crime in the country, with Statistics Canada reporting in 2008 that one-third of homicides or attempted murders involved knives — more than any other type of weapon, including firearms.

The attack at the house party came the same day that four shoppers in Regina were stabbed at a mall, a 17-year-old student was stabbed at a Brampton, Ont., high school and a week after a 47-year-old man was charged in the stabbings of four ex-coworkers at a Toronto office.

As details emerged about the Calgary slayings, social media users anticipated swift legislative action.

“About time to ban assault knives!” one person tweeted, linking to the Calgary story.

Another Twitter user questioned whether a “ban all the knives campaign” was forthcoming.

Criminologists say neither scenario is likely.

'Moral panic'

"I call it moral panic,” said Janne Holmgren, director for the Centre for Criminology and Justice Research at Mount Royal University. “Sometimes fear drives a lot of legislation, unfortunately.”

Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill has for years pushed for police throughout Saskatchewan to be granted powers to be able to seize knives from people.

“People can walk around … carrying a machete, and an officer can't do anything about it unless someone walks up and threatens someone,” Weighill said in an interview with The Star Phoenix newspaper in 2010.

Edmonton, facing a rising homicide rate in 2011, declared that summer it would ban the sale of dangerous knives.

It was a bid to take away “edged weapons” accounting for half of the city’s homicides, but it was also brushed aside as an impractical crime-fighting measure that would be a headache to enforce.

The conversations gained some momentum in February, when 29-year-old Jayme Pasieka was arrested following a stabbing spree at a Loblaw’s warehouse that killed two people and wounded four others.

Like that incident, the recent Calgary attack may give the knife-banning issue more momentum, according to Edmonton criminal lawyer Brian Hurley.

“You get a horrendous episode like this, and there’s a desire to fix it,” Hurley said.

“But I don’t see knife legislation as being practical in these circumstances,” he added.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2008 data, knives were used against six per cent of victims of violent crime that year and firearms were used against two per cent of victims.

Edmonton proposed ban 'fizzled'

Viewed another way, Hurley said, those figures “might speak well for gun control” more than pointing to some kind of worrisome trend about more Canadian offenders reaching for knives.

Hurley said the legislation pitched in 2011 by Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel would have targeted pawn shops and resellers of items such as “swords or daggers,” but that “it’s very difficult to make a distinction to try to discern what would be legal and what isn’t.”

The Edmonton proposal “fizzled” soon after, Hurley said.

Canada already outlaws certain knives — such as spring-activated blades or brass-knuckle blades — as prohibited weapons under the criminal code.

“There are also dispositions in the criminal code about carrying a concealed weapon, and some knives can be considered a concealed weapon,” said Yvon Dandurand, a criminology professor at the University of the Fraser Valley.

In the case of the Calgary stabbings, police said the suspect brought an “instrument” into the house but allegedly took the murder weapon from the kitchen during the party.

“Would you ever have a ban that says you’re not allowed to have knives in your kitchen? Nobody would think about that for a minute,” Dandurand said.

Number of stabbings stable for years

He noted that the number of stabbing deaths in Canada has actually remained stable, at around 30 per cent of all homicides between 2008-12.

“If you’re a member of the public and you look at this one week, all of a sudden you think people aren’t using guns, they’re using knives instead. It’s perception. There is no trend here.”

Rather than trying to prevent knives from existing, he said enforcement could come in the form of barring knives from certain establishments. Working out the logistics would still be tricky, however.

In 2011, the Quebec provincial legislators put the kirpan — a small ceremonial dagger — in its crosshairs, voting to ban the religious article worn by Sikh men from the Quebec National Assembly.

The controversial vote ignited a national debate about religious freedoms.

“You could say no knives allowed in bars, but that would mean exceptions for people who run the bar and slice the lemon that goes in your drink,” Dandurand said. “It’s not so easy.”

Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear, a Calgary shop that sells handmade Japanese chefs knives, said he supports Canada’s gun restrictions and wouldn’t be opposed to knife regulation “as long as it makes sense.”

“Sadly, it’s impossible to make society completely safe in any way,” he said.

Holmgren, the criminology professor with Mount Royal, agreed that anything can become a weapon if placed in the wrong hands.

Even Statistics Canada lumped other cutting instruments such as broken bottles, screwdrivers and scissors into the “knife” category.

“Instead of focusing so much on the weapons issue being used, maybe a better way to look at it is to think about addiction issues, alcoholism, drug abuse. That’s what drives crimes,” Holmgren said. “It’s not your drawer of knives.”

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  • A look at some of Alberta's most notorious and infamous murders.

  • J.R. and Jeremy Steinke and J.R.

  • Jeremy Steinke and J.R.

    Revulsion, shock, disgust and rage were all expressed publicly when it was learned that a 12-year-old girl who can only be identified as J.R., and her then 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/15/jeremy-steinke-medicine-hat-murders-appeal_n_1518503.html?1367969439" target="_hplink">systematically murdered the girl's parents </a>and her eight-year-old brother by stabbing them to death in their Medicine Hat home. Steinke was given three concurrent life sentences, while J.R. was given 10 years because of her young age. She is the youngest person to ever be charged and convicted of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/15/jeremy-steinke-medicine-hat-murders-appeal_n_1518503.html?1367969439" target="_hplink">multiple murders in Canada</a>. The two started to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/15/jeremy-steinke-medicine-hat-murders-appeal_n_1518503.html?1367969439" target="_hplink">plot the murders </a>online under the pseudonyms "soul eater" and "runaway devil" after their romance was discovered by the girl's parents.

  • Nina-Louise Courtepatte

  • Nina-Louise Courtepatte

    She was 13 when, by chance on April 2005, she came across a group of youths who were <a href="http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/story.html?id=5eb1229c-a3fe-41d4-b2f8-0bd8d01c8fd8&k=0" target="_hplink">determined to kill </a>somebody, anybody. The young girl and her friend were lured from West Edmonton Mall under the false pretense of going to a rave. Instead, she was <a href="http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/story.html?id=5eb1229c-a3fe-41d4-b2f8-0bd8d01c8fd8&k=0" target="_hplink">raped and killed </a>on the fourth fairway of the Edmonton Springs Golf Course. She was choked with a wrench, stabbed with a pair of throwing knives and beaten with a metal sledge hammer. Her tortured, dead body was left were it died. Two men, a 34-year-old and a 19-year-old, and one teenage boy, as well as two teenage girls were <a href="http://www.lastlinkontheleft.com/e2005courtepatte.html" target="_hplink">charged in the murder</a>.

  • Charles Ng

  • Charles Ng

    He is one of the men behind one of the most intricate, <a href="http://crime.about.com/od/murder/p/ng2.htm" target="_hplink">savage and disturbing series of murders </a>in recent history, and although the dozen people - men, women and babies - he was convicted of killing were killed in California, his run from justice ended when he was arrested in Calgary. Ng and his partner Leonard Lake are believed to have raped, tortured and killed as many as three dozen people in a cabin, and adjoining bunker, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. After his partner committed suicide with a cyanide capsule, Ng fled to Calgary where he was arrested at The Bay after shooting a security guard. He served four years before being sent back to the U.S., where he remains in death row.

  • The Dexter Killer - Mark Twitchell

  • The Dexter Killer

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/07/mark-twitchell-watching-dexter-prison_n_3232757.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-alberta" target="_hplink">Mark Twitchell is an Edmonton filmmaker </a>who instead wanted to be a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/07/mark-twitchell-watching-dexter-prison_n_3232757.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-alberta" target="_hplink">serial killer </a>with a cinematographic record of his exploits. During his trial, court heard how Twitchell, who found inspiration for his would-be killing spree from the TV series Dexter, followed his own movie script in killing and dismembering Johnny Altinger, whom Twitchell lured to a rented garage and which he had turned into a kill room. Twitchell dumped the remains down the drain. Another man Twitchell lured to his garage managed to fight off his would-be killer and get away.

  • Robert Raymond Cook

  • Robert Raymond Cook

    Cook was accused of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Raymond_Cook" target="_hplink">murdering his father</a>, Raymond, stepmother, Daisy, and the couple's five children in June 1959. The family was discovered shot and bludgeoned in the grease pit of the family's Stettler home shortly after. Cook was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Raymond_Cook" target="_hplink">convicted of murdering </a>his father and has the unenviable distinction of being the last man to be hanged in Alberta, when he was put to death in November 1960.

  • Highway of Tears

  • Highway of Tears

    The Highway of Tears is a stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert in B.C., along which as many as two dozen women have gone <a href="http://www.highwayoftears.ca/" target="_hplink">missing or have been murdered </a>over the last 40 years. Although most of the murders and disappearances took place in B.C. some have also taken place on the east side of the B.C./Alberta border, west of Edmonton. One murder was confirmed near Hinton Alberta, while other disappearances in the province have also been linked to the Highway of Tears file. U.S. convict Bobby Jack Fowler was tied by DNA to several of the <a href="http://www.highwayoftears.ca/" target="_hplink">murders but the deaths </a>and disappearances continued after Fowler was imprisoned in 1996 for unrelated crimes.

  • The Claresholm Highway Murders

  • The Claresholm Highway Murders

    There are still more questions than answers <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/15/alberta-murder-suicide-claresholm_n_1151778.html" target="_hplink">in a multple-murder sucide </a>along a dark Alberta highway that left three college students and a friend dead, while a fifth victim fought for her life. The brutal events unfolded after a jealous boyfriend chased down his ex-girlfriend and her friends and exacted revenge with fatal fury along Highway 2 with a 9 mm pistol on Dec. 2011. Killed in the slaughter was Tabitha Stepple, at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Derek Jensen who killed himself after also shooting Stepple's friends Mitchell MacLean, Tanner Craswell and Shayna Conway. MacLean and Craswell, students at Lethbridge College were being driven to Calgary by Conway and Stepple, to catch a flight home to PEI for Christmas, when they were struck from behind by Jensen's car as it headed north on the highway in the middle of the night to catch the early flight. Upon stopping, Jensen got out of the car and shot the four occupants. Conway, the driver, was the only survivor.

  • HUB Mall Murders, University of Alberta

  • HUB Mall Murders, University of Alberta

    Three armoured car personnel were ambushed and killed, allegedly at the hands of one of their own, while filling up an ATM machine within the University of Alberta campus in June 2012. Travis Baumgartner, 21, is charged <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/travis-brandon-baumgartner" target="_hplink">with first-degree murder and attempted murder</a>. Baumgartner was arrested the next day at the U.S. border with $334,000 in a backpack and is still awaiting trial.

  • On Montana's Death Row

  • On Montana's Death Row

    Ronald Smith, a 55-year-old originally from Red Deer, Alta., was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tag/ronald-smith" target="_hplink">convicted of murder </a>in Montana in 1983 for shooting to death two cousins, Harvey Madman Jr. and Thomas Running Rabbit, while he was high on drugs and alcohol near East Glacier, Mont. He had been taking 30 to 40 hits of LSD and consuming between 12 and 18 beers a day. He refused a plea deal that would have seen him avoid death row and spend the rest of his life in prison instead. Three weeks later, he pleaded guilty. He asked for and was given a death sentence.

  • The New Year's Day Massacre

  • The New Year's Day Massacre

    Michael Roberto and Nathan Zuccherato were both sentenced to life for their roles in the grisly shootings at Calgary's Bolsa Restaurant, on New Year's Day 2009. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/30/real-honorio-bolsa-restaurant-murder-trial_n_2047282.html" target="_hplink">The murders were the </a>result of a years-long and deadly Calgary gang war between the Fresh Off the Boat gang and the FOB Killers. That feud cost more than a dozen lives over the span of a few years. Sanjeev Mann and Aaron Bendle were targeted in that attack but the third, Keni Su'a, was simply an innocent bystander in the restaurant eating alone that day.

  • Corrine Gustavson

  • Corrine Gustavson

    It was not the number of deaths that burned this crime into the minds of Albertans but the sheer brutality of <a href="http://www.cancrime.com/2009/09/06/a-murderer-took-corinne/" target="_hplink">the rape and murder </a>of a bright six-year-old girl everyone called Punky. She was playing with a friend when she was abducted in the front yard of her home on Sept. 2, 1992. She was found dead two days later at an Edmonton truck yard. It would be more than 10 years later that Clifford Sleigh would be charged and convicted of Punky's death. He is currently serving a life sentence.

  • The Taber School Shootings

  • The Taber School Shootings

    Only days after the infamous Columbine school shootings in April 1999, a southern Alberta teen saw a way to get back at his own tormenters and unleashed a hail of bullets inside W. R. Myers High School in Taber. The rampage ended with one 17-year-old dead, a second one wounded, and the 14-year-old drop-out behind the trigger being subdued by an unarmed school police resource officer. The shooter was described as unpopular and the victim of teasing and name-calling. By contrast, the fatally wounded student, Jason Lang, was a popular student and the son of a preacher. The second teen made a full recovery and the shooter pleaded guilty to <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/taber/" target="_hplink">all charges, including murder</a>.

  • MLA John Etter Clark

    An Social Credit MLA and mass murderer.

  • MLA John Etter Clark

    He was first a farmer, a teacher and eventually a provincial MLA but he has gone down in history as the man behind one of the worst <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Etter_Clark" target="_hplink">mass-murders ever perpetrated in Alberta</a>. The esteemed provincial politician's life came to a gruesome end at his Erskine farm, shortly after he shot and killed his wife, son, three daughters, a hired farm hand and a visitor, before he turned his weapon on himself. Clark had suffered several nervous and mental breakdowns <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Etter_Clark" target="_hplink">before the murders</a>.

  • Mounties Ambushed In Mayerthorpe

  • Mounties Ambushed In Mayerthorpe

    The noose was closing around James Roszko when four Mounties descended on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/22/mayerthorpe-mountie-killer-no-parole_n_2933116.html" target="_hplink">his Alberta property </a>on the night of March 3, 2005 to execute a property seizure on the farm. It was in a Quonset hut that Roszko laid in wait and ambushed the four members. When the smoke lifted, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constables Peter Schiemann, Anthony Gordon, Lionide Johnston, and Brock Myrol were dead, as was Roszko, who shot himself after being wounded in the shoot out. It was then the single biggest loss the Mounties had suffered in more than 100 years.

  • The Trans-Canada Highway Killer

  • The Trans-Canada Highway Killer

    Beginning in 1973, and continuing until 1981, 28 young women and girls, in British Columbia and Alberta, most of them hitchhikers, were raped and murdered along the iconic strip of pavement. Victims ranged in age from 12 and 35. As innexplicably as they started, the murders stopped. And although it was thought at one point that <a href="http://books.google.ca/books?id=gijG7fSwvjAC&pg=PA161&lpg=PA161&dq=%22Trans-Canada+Highway+Killer%22&source=bl&ots=KO4GCUbDBA&sig=-gddplcB_LWit113rhamE4TapoI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=S3GNUd7yJ8zwlAX_-oAw&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Trans-Canada%20Highway%20Killer%22&f=false" target="_hplink">multiple killers were responsible for the murders</a>, no one was ever charged in the deaths.

  • Innisfail Bombing

  • Victoria Shachtay was a 23-year-old disabled mother living in Innisfail when a bomb was delivered to her front door in November 2011. The bomb exploded, killing the young mom and shaking a small community that has little experience with homicide, let alone one of such a destructive nature. Shachtay's caregiver was also injured in the blast. Her daughter was in school at the time. Allegations state Shachtay was killed after dividends from a massive investment she made with a financial investor dried up and she started to demand action. Her advisor, Brian Malley, is now <a href="http://www.calgarysun.com/2011/11/27/town-grieves-mother-killed-in-mysterious-explosion" target="_hplink">charged with her murder</a>.

  • Ross Sheppard High School Shootings

  • Ross Sheppard High School Shootings

    The Taber shooting is the one freshest on the mind but is not the first time an <a href="http://www.rewedmonton.ca/content_view_rew?CONTENT_ID=3062" target="_hplink">Alberta teen </a>entered a school and opened fire. In March 1959, 19-year-old Stan Williamson opened fire with a .22 calibre rifle inside a crowded corridor of an Edmonton high school, killing 16-year-old Howard Gates and wounding five teenage girls. The shooting ended when three 18-year-old students held the gunman down until he could be arrested by police.

  • Swift Runner

  • Swift Runner

    Swift Runner was executed December day in 1879, for <a href="http://murderpedia.org/male.R/r/runner-swift.htm" target="_hplink">murdering and then eating </a>numerous members of his own family over the previous winter. He believed he was possessed by Windigo, a terrifying, mythological creature with a ravenous appetite for human flesh that's prevalent in northern Native Lore. He was Cree, traded with the Hudson's Bay Company and guided for the North West Mounted Police. He has been called <a href="http://murderpedia.org/male.R/r/runner-swift.htm" target="_hplink">a serial killer, </a>while others have characterized him as an ill, desperate man. But over the course of a single winter, he <a href="http://murderpedia.org/male.R/r/runner-swift.htm" target="_hplink">murdered and devoured </a>his wife, six children, mother and brother.

  • Harold Smeltzer

  • Smeltzer served 27 years of a life sentence for the murder of five-year-old Kimberley Thompson, who was snatched off the street in 1980 while on her way to kindergarten and later assaulted. Realizing that Thompson, who lived in his neighbourhood, would recognize him, Smeltzer drowned the girl in the tub and stuffed her body in a garbage can.