What Happened In Montreal

Freak Nation’s Response to This and Any Shooting Incident

by Kai MacTane, FN Webmaster

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First and foremost, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Our hearts, our words, our hands, our thoughts and our prayers, all go out to the victims and their families. We do not condone the use of violence against unarmed innocents, in any situation and no matter who the aggressor is. The fact that the attacker, the murderer, in this most recent incident was apparently a freak can never cloud our eyes to the fact that he was a murderer.

As a gamer, and a goth, Kimveer Gill may have been a freak. But when he walked into Dawson College three days ago and became “Trench, the Angel of Death”, he was not behaving as a freak. Instead, he was sinking to the level of an animal.

Kimveer Gill couldn’t understand that “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

One of the biggest and deepest questions lurking behind this entire site is: “What is the underlying thing that brings together people from these seven apparently unconnected groups?” We don’t have an answer to that question yet. Indeed, searching for an answer to it is one of the reasons we created the site in the first place.

But one thing we’ve noticed about freaks, as opposed to mainstreamers, is that freaks of all tribes follow a “live and let live” philosophy. If someone disagrees with you, but is not hurting you, then you let them go on about their business. For all his gothic posturing, Kimveer Gill couldn’t understand that; when he decided to slaughter innocent people, he showed that he neither wanted to live nor to let live. Indeed, he proved the truth of a classic fannish axiom: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

Another thing that unites nearly all freaks is our dedication to creativity and diversity. We feel that we’re more intelligent, more creative, and more able to come up with innovative new solutions to problems than most other people are. Polyamorists and polytheists feel free to break out of either-or worldviews that most people adopt; sci-fi and fantasy fans freely refer to themselves as “the Imagi-Nation”; and gamers routinely enjoy games that are based on puzzles and lateral thinking, which require creative problem-solving to succeed. For all his disdain of the mainstream, Kimveer Gill couldn’t go beyond the tired, hackneyed cliché of dying “in a hail of gunfire”.

“‘Security theater’ doesn't work with terrorists and it won't work with school shooters either.”

Kimveer Gill may have listened to gothic music, and worn black clothing like a goth. But he never understood that the gothic philosophy is not about death; it’s about transcendence of death. And he may have played Super Columbine Massacre every day, but being addicted to one game doesn’t make you a gamer. Though we can’t deny that Kimveer Gill was a member of the freak community, we have to consider him a very poor specimen.

Even within the vampire community that Gill idolized and considered himself a part of, he fell short of its ideals or outright ignored them, as noted vampire author Michelle Belanger has pointed out. She notes that vampiric ethics such as “Do not allow your darkness to consume you... Always act with a mind toward safety... Be true to your nature, but never use it as an excuse to endanger those around you”, can be found on websites throughout the community, as well as in many books.

Maybe if Kimveer Gill had actually adopted any of the philosophies espoused by any of the freak tribes he spent his life in, he would have found something better to do with his life than act out one of the most tragically banal, pathetic and idiotic tabloid stories of the modern era. Though we can’t exactly “revoke his freak status”, we can certainly refuse to have any sympathy for him.

Our sympathy is for his victims.

Though we know better than to expect otherwise, we do hope that this incident won’t be used as yet another excuse to marginalize the freak community and cast suspicion on us. After all, although the Jonesboro Massacre killers both loved rap music, there was no backlash against rap after the massacre. Although Mark O. Barton was a day trader, and day trading was a partial cause of his rampage, day trading is still considered a perfectly acceptable career choice (especially if you’re good enough to make money at it). And middle-aged businessmen are still respected, even after 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri massacred eight people in San Francisco.

But as Brynn Kessler, a 27-year-old freak from Massachusetts, puts it: “Sadly, at times like these ‘correlation != causation’ flies right out the window as people rush to reassure themselves and everyone else that they can keep it from happening in the future. Even more sadly, the first thing people think of is to blame and try to control those who share superficial commonalities with such shooters, rather than put effort into finding the roots of the problem so it can actually be dealt with. ‘Security theater’ doesn't work with terrorists and it won't work with school shooters either.”

Because we are different, because we don’t march to the beat of the same drummer... because we wear black clothing, or Klingon foreheads, instead of Abercrombie & Fitch and BeBe, we will be blamed. Suspicion will be leveled at anyone with a profile on www.vampirefreaks.com, while everyone will be surprised and shocked by the next murderer who turns out to have a MySpace account. We urge everyone, freak or mainstreamer, to look at people as people, not as statistics to be profiled. The life you save by opening your eyes may be your own, or your friend’s, or a relative’s, or a lover’s.

In the meantime, we can’t forget the friends, the relatives, and the lovers of all those people who were harmed by Kimveer Gill a few days ago. They are in our hearts and our prayers, in our thoughts and minds. May peace be upon them, and may all concerned with this tragedy have a speedy recovery.

Kai MacTane is the Freak Nation’s webmaster. He’s sick and tired of having to do media cleanup when some moron decides to “pull a Columbine”, and hopes that shooting sprees of all kinds — whether by freaks, mainstreamers, or anyone else — would stop happening. In the meantime, he lives in San Francisco with his lover, his server, and his web site.