The Gazette today has a very long feature article (inexplicably split into three parts online which, of course, don’t link to each other – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) about the life of Dawson College shooter Kimveer Gill, and seeks (and fails) to answer the question of why he did what he did. The piece is some feat for reporter Sue Montgomery, since Gill’s family has been long reluctant to speak to the media.
Meanwhile, Peggy Curran speaks to the family of Anastasia De Sousa, who was Gill’s lone fatality on Sept. 13, 2006. They too have been hiding from the media spotlight, and the article speaks of the stresses of ravenous reporters stopping at nothing to get a scoop.
Both articles are well-written and insightful, but a nagging feeling persists: De Sousa’s article is a page long, while Gill’s spans three pages. Had Gill simply shot himself or committed suicide some other way, he likely would have had no coverage whatsoever, due to newspapers’ policies of not giving publicity to suicides.
But because Gill went out in a blaze of gunfire, his suicide prompts an in-depth look at his life larger than most major politicians would receive. The uncomfortable message here is clear: If you’re going to off yourself, make sure to take a few people with you. Then nobody will forget you.
Hopefully no one will take that message to heart.