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We were shocked today to hear about yet another school shooting, this time in Canada at a junior college Dawson CEGEP in Montreal.

It seems three gunmen shot at least 16 students and it is not clear at this time if there are any deaths among the students. However one gunman is said to have been killed by police while another committed suicide.

What drives a person to commit such horrible acts toward innocent people?

What kind of psychological treatment will these traumatized students require in order to return to normal life?


Hi Steve.. I've been watching sky news since this story broke round six p.m my time.. I was horrified to see the students running from their school. It has since been confirmed that there was only one gunman and he is now dead. Three students were killed by this person before he was killed.
This brings back horrible memories of the other schools where guns were used yet again to kill and maim innocent students.

I can only hope that all resources such as psychologists, counsellors and maybe psychiatrists will be utilised to help the students and their families.

Tonight my thoughts are with the families of those that died.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Gunman opens fire at Montreal college
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Montreal Gazette

One victim dies from wounds, gunman shot dead

A woman in her 20s has died of her injuries after being shot by a gunman who walked into Dawson College and opened fire this afternoon.

The woman – one of 11 people who suffered gunshot wounds – died just before 6 p.m. in hospital, Radio-Canada reported.

The incident, reminiscent of the Polytechnique shooting in 1989, started just outside an entrance to Dawson’s downtown campus on de Maisonneuve Blvd. near Atwater Ave. The first shots were fired shortly after 12:30 p.m.

By late afternoon, police confirmed the gunman had been shot and killed by police.

The Montreal General Hospital said it admitted 11 victims, including eight who were in critical condition. Two victims were taken to the Jewish General Hospital. In all 20 people were treated for injuries.

Witnesses said a man dressed in dark clothing and wearing combat boots and a Mohawk haircut removed an assault weapon from his car and entered the CEGEP before 1 p.m.

From her office window on the ninth floor of the Alexis Nihon office building facing the CEGEP, Andrea Young saw police drag a man out of the school onto de Maisonneuve Blvd. around 1:30 p.m.

"They were dragging him by the arm," said Young, 24, who works for an export company in the building. "He was totally limp and there was blood pouring from his head. He was dressed completely in black with dark boots on. He was very seriously wounded.

"They handcuffed him, turned him over and he wasn’t moving. Then, they covered his body."

The first 911 call reporting shots fired inside the college came in at 12:45 p.m. Within seconds, 911 was flooded with 400 calls about shots fired.

The first shots were fired on the second floor in the cafeteria.

Nikola Guidi was in the Dawson cafeteria shortly before 1 p.m. when he heard two or three shots ring out. He hit the ground and then saw a young man dressed with a mohawk hair cut and a black trench coat carrying an automatic rifle.

As students crawled on the floor around him, the gunman backed into a corner and fired several shots, hitting three students, The 17-year-old student said.

"I was right beside (my friend) when she was shot," said Guidi, whose white T-shirt was drenched with his friend’s blood.

His friend Lisa was shot in the arm and leg. Guidi dragged her to safety after the shooting and tried to staunch the bloodflow by taking off his belt before the paramedics arrived to tend to her.

Seconds after the shooting, two police officers entered the cafeteria and ordered the gunman to drop his weapon, Guidi said.

The gunman replied: "Get the f--k away from here," the student reported.

Guidi then fled the building.

After the shooting, pandemonium broke out on streets outside Dawson. Hundreds of panic-stricken students and teachers fled from the college in tears, many trying to contact friends on cell phones.

Another student was collecting her belongings from her locker – one floor below the cafeteria – when she saw a man dressed in a black trench coat firing shots.

"Someone fell and we all ran to try and get away from him," the sobbing student said.

When she and her friend left the school via an exit on de Maisonneuve Blvd., they saw an injured man lying on the sidewalk.

"The police were there and they were taking off his sweater," the student said. "There was blood all around his stomach."

Shortly after 1:30 p.m. a large group of hysterical students charged down Ste. Catherine St. after someone reported hearing gunshots near Atwater.

Many students were sobbing as they tried to reach their parents on their cell phones.

Kayla Diorio was sitting in the atrium near the entrance with a friend waiting for her next class when gunfire rang out.

Students thought the first gunshot was firecrackers, Diorio said.

"Then when the second, third, forth started going off, everybody was on the ground."

Diorio said the "tall, pale" gunman, who was dressed in black, cursed and yelled at them, telling them to get back.

He was wedged inside an alcove beside a vending machine with his gun pointed out, she said.

"At first he was just shooting into the air," said a shaken Diorio later.

People on the ground held onto each other and crawling away from the shooter, she said.

"There must have been about 60, 70 people in the atrium at the time."

"A guy next to me was telling me: ‘It’s going to be OK," she said.

"Everybody was screaming and crying. I’ve never seen that many people cry ... guys were crying. Everybody was shaking," she said.

There were already a few police officer inside telling them to get away, she said.

Diorio crawled to a tiny storage space in the kitchen where she huddled with about a dozen people – students and two cafeteria employees.

"Everybody was crying," she said.

For Fabio Viera, yesterday started out as just another day. Everything changed about 12:45 p.m.

"I was just coming out of class," said the 19-year-old, a business student at Dawson. He was suddenly startled by a loud bang behind him.

"I turned around and saw a man in black standing there. Everyone started screaming," Viera said. "He had a big rifle in his hands."

Viera whirled back around and started to run as more shots were fired.

"Someone fell on the ground near me," he recalled. "I don’t know if the person were shot, or trampled by the crowd."

Viera and about 25 others rushed into an empty room, where he promptly called 911.

"We could still hear gunshots. We peeked out into the corridor, but it looked like nobody was there. So we made a run for it."

Like many others, the student was visibly shaken as he gathered with friends outside the college.

Omid Zahedi had been on his way to class when panicked students suddenly began flooding out of the building.

"I went with the flow," Zahedi said. "Then, I saw a guy I know bleeding on the sidewalk."

"I was on my way to the same class as he was," the 18-year-old said, visibly stunned.

When Michel Lamer’s class was interrupted by the sounds of running and screaming in the hallway outside, he thought it was a joke.

"Class was over, we were all about to leave," the 21-year-old said. "Suddenly, a guy ran up to us and told us to get back inside."

Students pushed three tables up against the door to barricade it and listened as gunshots rang out in the college.

"About 30 minutes later, some cops knocked on the door and told us it was OK to come out," Lamer said.


My heart goes out to those poor, terrified students and teachers, and to their families. What a horrific event. :(

Daniel E.
What drives a person to commit such horrible acts toward innocent people?

From what I heard on the news, the fact that the killer was wearing a black trenchcoat and was shooting in the college's cafeteria makes it seem like he was trying to emulate the Columbine shooting. With the Columbine shooting, one killer didn't have a conscience and the other killer had depression:

The Depressive and the Psychopath - Slate


Hi everyone,
I do not personally like to give the people who commit crimes like this a voice. It does take away the forum on the victims of this horrible event. I personally hope the resources will be made available for all involved in the shooting. I was saddened to learn of the news because of knowing people in Montreal. Personally it is hard to see so much violence in our society. I hope more can be learned to prevent events like this, education and awareness, most important we are living in a different world today. It is sad that many have little value of human life, how quickly our lives can change in a minute!



I do not personally like to give the people who commit crimes like this a voice. It does take away the forum on the victims of this horrible event

Not sure if I understand, Holly. If you are saying people who commit these acts should not become media icons and sensationalized, then I agree.

But I feel it's helpful to understand what factors bring a person to the point where they become seemingly mechanical killing machines, to help recognize these behaviours before they manifest themselves into reality.

There was a reference to this creature's writings where he saw life as being a video game.

What does that say about the influences of today's technology on the development of young people?

Does behaviour like this require an underlying psychological pathology, or is it caused by external influences?


While I have to say that first and foremost I feel for the victims of this horrible crime which was senseless and unnecessary but I find myself also thinking of the young guy who committed this crime and what torture that he must have felt inside. To feel the need to take another life as well as his own in the way that he did implies that he was suffering inside something deep and obviously couldn't or didn't want to turn to anyone for help. I don't know why I feel so compelled to feel sorry for him but I do. Maybe it is because I have known a pain so deep inside that I have felt some of the same things that he may have felt. The only thing is that I have never acted on those feelings and truthfully we will never really know what he was feeling or thinking before because he is no longer here to tell us.

Like I said, I do feel for the victims of this horrible crime because they are the ones that are left here on this earth to deal with their feelings and thoughts and fears and hopefully with the right counselling and support they will work through them.

My prayers go out to both the victims of this crime as well as the family that the perpetrator of this crime left behind.



Not sure if I understand, Holly. If you are saying people who commit these acts should not become media icons and sensationalized, then I agree.

But I feel it's helpful to understand what factors bring a person to the point where they become seemingly mechanical killing machines, to help recognize these behaviours before they manifest themselves into reality.

There was a reference to this creature's writings where he saw life as being a video game.

What does that say about the influences of today's technology on the development of young people?

Does behaviour like this require an underlying psychological pathology, or is it caused by external influences?

In respect to the crime itself, the killer being on the media, and coverage of newspaper stories.

The attention given to the person who was the killer in my opinion is not right.

I feel that it would be very difficult to find out information, are any influences on this person from a website/blog given most who write on the Internet may not be describing themselves in a honest manner.

The issue of technology, video games has been debated for many years.

I feel it has an impact on social skills, development of learning, society is not going to be without technology. I feel studies and research on the impact of external influences personally is truly years away.
Many people who play video games do not become killers. Many people who do not have supports within a family structure do not become killers. Many factors internal and external can cause certain behaviours.

The important thing I personally feel is to assist the victims of this event.
That impact is going to be just as important. It is a horrible experience that the victims/families have been exposed to.

The crime does not make sense at all, studies are not going to comfort the family of the young woman who died, at the same time the person who was killed by the police. As a society we have been desensitized in many ways to violence by television/media.

The families/friends of everyone involved life's changed yesterday forever.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Holly said:
The attention given to the person who was the killer in my opinion is not right.

The attention is not so much to the killer as to the shootings - the attention to the killer is to try to understand what was behind all this with the hope that it will prevent or assist future victims as well as the current ones.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Turning Tragedy Into News
September 14, 2006
by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Sad events often lead to news organizations to lose their sense of reality (and of compassion), by making ridiculous claims, as the UK’s The Times does here:

"Gill’s blog on the 'Goth' website provided a chilling insight into his obsession with guns and death."​

Does it now? Or does it provide just another link to journal and profile entries that look like thousands of other websites??

Indeed, nothing the alleged murderer, Kimveer Gill, 25, wrote on his website offers any more insight into his behavior than it would on anyone else’s. Randomly killing innocent students at a school will no make no more, nor no less, sense with or without a journal or myspace-equivalent profile.

An emotional outburt expressed via bullets and gunfire has no rational explanation. While it’s natural human behavior to try and make sense of such irrational acts — even by looking at the individual’s words online — you won’t find any answers there.

You will, instead, find the pain and expression similar to that of thousands of others seeking to understand who they are and where they fit in in this world.

There is no greater tragedy than news organizations making it sound as if this person’s life was more insightful and meaningful than it was. Or that everything could’ve been prevented if someone had just noticed it.


What are the red flags {warning signs} that signal the potential for this kind of behaviour?

It seems several neighbors of the killer observerd bizarre behaviour and did not think of notifying authorities.

What should we look out for and when is it appropriate to notify police?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Blog reveals ?poster boy? for school shooters

Kimveer Gill?s death-obsessed, rage-filled blog reveals a man that psychologists say was the ?the poster boy? and ?absolute prototype? for a school shooter.

Robin Kowalski, a psychologist who co-wrote a comprehensive study on school shooters, said the 25-year-old Mr. Gill fits every pattern her colleagues uncovered.

?When I read his blog material, it was almost like I was running down a checklist,? Ms. Kowalski said from her office at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

?You hate to say that this was waiting to happen, but the foundation for this violent act was clearly laid out long before it took place.?

Clad in a dark trench coat and sporting a mohawk, Mr. Gill embarked on a shooting rampage at Montreal?s Dawson College on Wednesday, killing one and wounding 19 others.

Mr. Gill?s web musings, posted on under the alias ?fatality666,? reveal a man who, according to Ms. Kowalski, unmistakably fit the profile of a potential killer.

?I love guns, I love guns ? I really do,? Mr. Gill wrote on March 15. ?The great equalizer ? wouldn?t you say??

In another entry, posted on Jan. 18, Mr. Gill wrote about his hatred for jocks and ?preps? ? convictions that are eerily similar to those held by infamous Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

?I?m so sick of hearing about jocks and preps making life hard for the goths and others who look different, or are different ? Why does society applaude (sic) jocks? I don?t understand. They are the worse kind of people on earth,? he wrote.

?And the preps are no better, they think they?re better than others ? We will never be like them. NEVER.?

A series of images on the website also depicted Mr. Gill posing with various firearms; one photo featured a tombstone bearing his name accompanied by the epitaph ?Lived fast, died young. Left a mangled corpse.?

The photos, along with Mr. Gill?s personal blog, were pulled by the website?s administrator yesterday morning.

Ms. Kowalski said Mr. Gill?s thoughts reveal a ticking time bomb filled with hate for his peers, teachers, family members, authority figures and mainstream society.

Mr. Gill?s case features the five prevailing factors established by Ms. Kowalski?s research, a study of 15 high-profile school shootings between 1995 and 2001: obsession with guns and death, feelings of ongoing rejection (either bullying, social isolation or romantic rejection), psychological problems such as sociopathic tendencies and depression and ?acute rejection? ? a final event that pushes a shooter over the edge.

?Just like the Columbine shooters in 1999, the jocks and preps must have been the ones that Gill felt bullied him,? Ms. Kowalski said. ?He writes that guns are the great equalizer. For all those who rejected him and made him feel like nothing, he was trying to show those people that he was something ? that he had power.?

Ms. Kowalski, also the associate editor of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, said she believes the final catalyst for Mr. Gill?s alleged shooting spree may have been a failed romance or unrequited love. In his blog, Mr. Gill discusses meeting a like-minded woman through On at least two occasions, he discusses a general longing for, or loss of, love, once asking ?Where is my Juliet?? In another entry on Feb. 21 he states, ?They make you fall in love with them and then they run away.?

While Mr. Gill may be a ?poster child? for school shooters, Ms. Kowalski said it?s important not to paint all goths or counter-culture youths with the same brush.

?There are plenty of people who have a fascination with death and guns who would never do something like this,? she said. ?All the factors we discovered may be present, but it?s the specific way those factors intertwine, often coupled with an inherent lack of empathy for others, that determine whether someone is going to become a shooter.?

Mr. Gill?s blog also reveals a fascination with satanism and violent video games, attributes also common to past school shooters.

Dave Marcus, author of What It Takes to Pull Me Through, a book about dealing with angry, disaffected youth, said there is one key difference between Mr. Gill and typical shooters.

?The surprising thing to me was his age, often people sort of outgrow this alienated phase,? Mr. Marcus said. ?This shooter was 25, indicating an adolescence that never ended ? he was still working out its terrible kinks in his twenties and that produced tragic results.?
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The analysts are stampeding the networks to express their views on the motivations of this person.

A sociologist from New York, being interviewed by CBC {don't we have sociologists in Canada?} noted that to date all school shootings in the U.S. have taken place in rural or suburban areas as opposed to large city urban areas.

Considering there have been two such incidents in Montreal, a large urban center, the question begs to be asked what's the difference between Montreal, Quebec and anywhere else in North America.

As one who lived in Montreal most of my life, and who visits and spends considerable time in Quebec, I feel the cultural and political uniqueness of Quebec may be a factor.

The media of Quebec, which is mostly French, tends to isolate and insulate Quebec from the rest of the world in its reporting, resulting in a sense that the world ends at the borders of the Province.

I feel this sense of provincialism {generically speaking} shrinks the view of the world into a smaller scale, resulting in a form of thinking that perceives a city like Montreal on a smaller scale that someone with a wider world view might have.

Of course the lady from New York would not appreciate this cultural bias, as the weather maps seen on U.S. networks show a straight line at the top of New York State:D

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Another Canadian criminologist interviewed on radio pointed out that all three (not two) school shootings in Canada have (1) taken place in the province of Quebec and (2) involved new immigrants or a child of new immigrants. He wondered out loud if there is something about the treatment of immigrants in Quebec that could be related to this.

Interesting question. On the other hand, of course, we are dealing with a sample size of three so it may be nothing more than coincidence. In general, this is a significant problem in trying to understand mass murder (which is a single event, as opposed to serial homicide) - fortunately, it is a relatively rare event so it is harder to piece together sufficient commonalities to make sense of it all.


What a terrible thing to happen to these kids and families.

I wonder how much alcohol played a role in this young man's behaviour?

Before reading about the folks who studied these kinds of incidents and patterns of the perpetrators, I also thought that there may not be any answers as to who or why. That he may have been just like many other young people but in a rare and isolated incident acted on his thoughts.

I have read somewhere recently that the lower incidents of criminal deaths in Canada compared to the USA is directly related to the gun laws that were put into place in Canada.

What kind of a hobby is it to play with guns? Maybe a preventative measure could be the promotion of more creative outlets for our youth instead of the primary focus being on sports or competative related activities.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families involved in this.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I find it more than a little worrisome that this young man had a number of weapons, all of which were legally acquired and registered with the infamous Federal Gun Registry. So much for deterring crime.


I never thought of that Dr. B. but you are so what did/is the Federal Gun Registry really proving? Is it to deter crime? No, it is the governments way of saying that they are taking control of what is going on with the amount of guns that are in this country when they really haven't got a freakin clue and as long as they are registered than everything is okay. What BS.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
It's the government's way of wasting millions of dollars of our money and pretending they're doing something useful - not because they give a damn about the results but because they care a great deal about photo ops and getting votes. :rant:

Those millions (or billions?) of dollars they wasted on that program could have gone into health and mental health services.


There are many dimensions to the circumstances leading up to this event. It seems a combination of deficiencies in the system contributed to this outcome, though each of the deficiencies on its own could have been the one to push this person over the edge.

His parents claim they were unaware of his mental state. What does this say about their family unit and their communication with one another? The fact that he was participating in bizarre and destructive behaviour in his online activities speaks to his frame of mind.

Though I personally dislike weapons, I realize there are people who are interested in them for various reasons. Also the pro gun lobby is very powerful and influences political decisions.

Every time a tragedy like this occurs, the anti gun lobbyists vocalize and as a result our Country adopted the largely inefficient gun registry.

I find it more than a little worrisome that this young man had a number of weapons, all of which were legally acquired and registered

A tribute to the inefficiency of the registry and licensing process in Canada.

The broader question has to do with the current destructive culture delivered to young people through music and video games where destruction and violence is condoned.

How does society detect and bring help to people who anonymously walk our streets waiting for an opportunity to create havoc?
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