Listening to the news after hitting the gym yesterday was hard. I literally drove home in tears because of the eyewitness accounts I heard on the radio. One guy said he saw an old lady get hit and then run over. Another eyewitness said the driver of the white van hopped the curbed and it looked like he was aiming for people. My heart broke. My mother-in-law said her friend’s daughter was a paramedic who was with a victim that passed on the way to the hospital. I thought of all the parents not coming home to their kids after a day at work. There were young adults who would never get to live up to their potential. It was such a beautiful day so many were probably out for a walk or enjoying an afternoon movie. Yonge and Finch has to be one of the busiest hubs north of the city. Certainly no one enjoying the lovely day anticipated this kind of ending. No one thought they wouldn’t be going home.
This morning, driving into work had a different feel for me. I was waiting to field questions about this attack and for students to ask me, “Why?” Perhaps the age group I teach is old enough to know what happened and watched the news already. I was glued to the t.v. last night. I’m waiting to discuss the topic more today with my own kids. How do I explain why one person’s actions caused pain for so many? Why would someone hurt others because he is hurting? Is it safe to walk around anymore?
I have to admit that I never thought Toronto would be the site for something like this. Toronto, known for being peaceful and quiet, multicultural and buzzing with throngs of people who get together to watch sports games, never did I think something like this would happen in my own backyard. The accused, Alek Minassian, lives just a few minutes from where my husband grew up. It’s scary to think about how we must all have six degrees of separation with a victim, injured, or those who live in that area. My cousin was in the area an hour before the attack. I have several friends who live around Yonge and Sheppard. It is still unsettling and unbelievable.
In the next few days, we will learn more about the accused and the victims. We need to heal together and understand together. Please hold your family a little closer tonight and pray for all those who have lost their lives. Their families will be grieving and we need to make Toronto stronger for them.