Annette was an avid recreational target-shooter with her own rifle. One day Alexander, her 15-year-old son, begged her to get the gun out of the house. When she asked him why, his reply was chilling: "Because I might blow my head off." Canadians between 12 and 19 are at risk of developing depression. We lose 4,000 young people every year to suicide and the suicide rate among our Inuit youth is one of the highest in the world. Although some provinces like Alberta have made strides in increasing mental health resources in their communities, Lowe says the resources available across Canada are "woefully insufficient."
Events like this would never happen if accessing mental health services was as easy as getting guns. Canadians should not feel sanctimonious about this tragedy. The problem is not only guns. What we do share with our grieving cousins south of the border is a lack of access to appropriate mental health services.
No one goes to teacher's college because he or she wants to hide with children in a dark closet, or step into the path of an armed madman. But we don't choose the society we live in, and sadly, this comes with the job. So teachers do so rightly (I feel obliged to say) armed not with guns, but with the kindness, compassion, and sense of duty that can only be found in one's heart.