Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Student Hostage Nearly Immolated

Did you know there was a violent school incident on April 24, 2007, only a week and a day after what happened in Blacksburg, Virginia?

An intriguing reaction to the talk of copycats and predictions of further copycats a week after VA Tech appears to be developing within the editorial rooms of the US media: Silence. Don't talk about it. Maybe people won't know there are copycats?

Decades of research and common sense are confirming that the copycat effect exists. You can read several examples on this blog and in my book, of course. Nevertheless, in the wake of VA Tech, the American media appears to be pulling back from exploring the fact that examples of the multiple varieties of murder-suicides and school violence are occurring.

Or are they consciously not reporting on active school violence and will be less graphic during the next school shooting?

Is this the same media that said the people have the "right to know" when justifying the posting of the Cho images, words, and video? Excuse me for being a little confused.

Or are we seeing some subtle differences when events happening are not direct imitations of VA Tech (as if those were the only copycats), or if the examples occur in Canada versus the USA?

Would the media rather report nonstop on the false bomb threats and discovered plots as "the copycats," but overlook the ones that really do occur? Is there an ignoring of the three Houston area murder-suicides and the standoff and suicide in Maine last week, which were certainly part of the copycat contagion seen?

The situation that has been revealed today exclusively in two Canadian news outlets was definitely school violence, and this fact was not lost on the Canadian media. It even has echoes of the Bailey, Colorado, and Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, hostage incidents within it.

According to The Globe and Mail and CBC News, the disturbing hostage situation took place at the Bois-Joly elementary school. The school is in "the trailer-park community of Place Ferland near Sept-Îles," as the The Globe and Mail referred to the setting, and continued, in part:

As some pupils played in the schoolyard yesterday during the mid-morning recess, a car came crashing through the school fence. A man got out of the vehicle, and students say he appeared to be in a fit of rage, and slapped and pushed six of the children.

A teacher who intervened to protect the children was brutally hit by the assailant, who then forced her into the school.

Inside, the man grabbed a nine-year-old boy and dragged him out, across the schoolyard and to a nearby gas station. There he took a nozzle from one of the pumps and sprayed the boy with gasoline.

"We didn't know if he was armed," principal Louise Bourgeois told TVA news. "He had circulated in the school and left by another door. Was he going to come back? He had just taken one of our students."

A teacher followed the man to the gas station and, along with a man who was pumping gas, pulled the child away from his assailant to safety. Shortly afterward, police arrived and took the 38-year old man into custody.

Ms. Bourgeois said she was shocked by the violence, and the entire staff and student body were traumatized.

According to police, the man was not related to the boy, yet appeared determined to immolate his young hostage for no reason....

The incident, which took place only a week after the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech in the United States, has awakened fears that troubled individuals are targeting schools....

Children who spoke to the media said the man firmly gripped his hostage and made his way toward the gas station.

"I stayed in the class when he took the hostage by the neck and yelled to everyone to get out of his way," one of the pupils said.>/p>

None of the children was injured. The Globe and Mail, 25 April 2007

Meanwhile, the only other mention was by the CBC News when noted, in part:

Police said a man crashed his car into the schoolyard fence during morning recess, got out, walked toward the school, hit six children and then dragged a teacher who tried to intervene into the school.

The man then grabbed a seventh child, fled the school on foot with the nine-year-old in tow and headed to a nearby gas station where he doused the boy with gasoline....

The man they have arrested has two children at the same school but is not related to the nine-year-old victim, police said. He faces several assault charges, and a count of forcible confinement, provincial police said. CBC News, 25 April 2007

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