On Saturday, April 18, 2020, an active shooter held up Portapique, Nova Scotia. The shooter initially killed two people over what appeared to be a domestic dispute before turning to acts of more randomized violence, including setting at least five separate fires.
By the end, the suspect was confirmed dead, along with many innocents.
As of writing this post, there have been at least 22 casualties.
In the midst of a world in quarantine, this tragic event will continue to affect the surrounding communities for months to come as the investigation continues.
What We Know:
- There is an ongoing investigation, with multiple crime scenes.
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is moving forward with stricter gun laws, especially concerning assault-style weapons.
- People in Nova Scotia, Canada, and beyond are being encouraged to seek help and to grieve while still practicing physical distancing.
How You Can Help:
- If you live in the affected areas, do not visit any of the crime scenes while the police are at work or attempt to gather in any way until quarantine is over.
- Mark yourself (and your family) as safe on social media.
- Do not make the shooter famous. In many cases, these large acts of violence are carried out by those that want notoriety: let’s remember the victims instead.
- This can naturally add to the stress that many are already facing, especially near the attacks. There are mental health services for residents of Nova Scotia, which can be accessed online. If you need to talk to someone, there are also phone banks available to Canadians toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-855-242-3310.
- Relief funds are being set up for the victims of this attack and their families. Consider donating to one of them if you are able.
- Another such example is the #NovaScotiaStrong First Responder Fund.
- The nature of these attacks may have many people on edge—especially on top of quarantine. Do your best to remain kind to those around you, including strangers you meet in your day-to-day life, even while you practice physical distancing.
Above all, don’t forget to look after your own mental and emotional health. These are tough times, now more than ever we could all use some mental breaks. Remember Random Acts Co-founder Misha Collins’ words: “Be kind to yourself, so you can be kind to the world.”
The world can feel overwhelming and awful at times, which is why we, like Mr. Rogers, remind you to look for the helpers, even if you aren’t able to help. Just because we are practicing physical distancing does not mean we are alone. There are always those out there that are doing what they can to make a positive change, and we can discover how we can best support them in their mission.