Random Thoughts Looking Back at the Toronto Van Attack




     …You read it, and now you’re still reading.

What does it say about human beings that we are so quickly stimulated by certain words, images and ideas and that we knowingly focus our thoughts and make decisions based on really basic animal impulses even today?!

Last week really hit home for residents in Toronto as a crazed lunatic killed and injured a bunch of people enjoying the long-awaited warm spring weather, by running them over in North York with a rental van.

Since then, a lot of information has come out on the killer, the victims, the motives behind the act, and of course, the response from around the world.

We thought it best to allow for everyone to air their laundry of “expert opinions” on the matter before diving deep into a conversation of our own.

One of the issues in trying to make sense out of acts like these is that they challenge us to consider that the black-and-white rules and explanations we have for life and the world, sometimes do not add up.

The bottom line is that there was a huge feeling of shock and confusion at the randomness of the attack, and how difficult it has been to understand the madness.

Common sense would deem this incident an act of terror or terrorism, however without a few verses of the Qua-ran, a bearded and scarved villain, and some sort of homemade explosive, society seems incredibly confused as to how to recognize terrorism without the parental hands of news stations pointing it out.

The van attack was an act of terrorism regardless of cultural context.

It is interesting to consider how many social science textbooks will be dedicated to having to figure out what the hell this generation defined as terrorism and what was viewed as simply politically-charged violence. With terms, buzzwords, labels, and titles being mixed up and randomly used, the public is at mercy for their big LCD rectangles and talking speakers to tell them which way to look and what to think.

The information age has equipped us with handheld devices capable of showing information on virtually anything, yet the push to conform and believe universal truths around society, ethics, and people, leave human beings resembling sheep, submitting to a poorly made fence.

Toronto’s strength is shown in how we have come together to rally around this incident and avoid the daycare banter that takes place in the Excited States of America in these situations.

Our strength as a city continues to be rooted in the ability to co-exist and collaborate as diverse, layered, and intersecting cultures.

Perhaps it’s the ability for us to come together so easily that can help us to take words like terrorism, feminism, race, privilege, mental health, and power, and truly define them without looking away or pulling punches.

Until then, tragic incidents like these, will have an even more tragic outcomes, if they continue to be used as emotion-triggering bait for politicians, far too aware of how easily impressionable our Play-Doh brains are.

Rest in peace to the victims of the April 23, 2018 Toronto Van Attack. We pray not only for the healing of the families and loved ones affected but also to wish well for the spirits of the lost ones and their next journey.

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