The would-be mass murderer in Montreal (as of this writing, thank God, only one innocent person has died, but six more are critical) has his own website. Of course. UPDATE: It's been deleted. My, that was fast.
People’s online lives have been traced after their crimes of infamy – remember superspy Robert Hanssen, who posted a clumsily-written effort to alt.sex.stories years ago? – but now that the net and blogging are so mainstream, look for an awful lot of folks in the future to meet the same fate. I would lay odds that spree killers, who tend towards depression and mental anguish between bouts of rage, will be the most likely to have detailed and thorough web sites. some_stars observed once that depression and/or disability do a remarkable job of keeping people inside the house and thus on LJ; narcissism and real-world unpopularity probably do a pretty good job of it, too.
The murderer’s name, it appears, is Kimveer Gill. He was twenty-five years old, of Indian origin, and a Goth. Anybody who knows Goths who’re in school now should probably keep “Voices from the Hellmouth” and the related articles handy in the days ahead. They will probably need it. Geeks are going to get some more scrutiny, too. In the caption to one picture on his web page, he asks, “Wouldn't it be cool to have blades come out of your hands (like Wolverine).” Well, yes, asshole, it would; but you know what’s cooler? *Not murdering people.*
My chief sympathies are reserved for the real victims of the crime – you know, the people who were actually shot – but I can’t help but feel a little bad for the people on Gill’s friendslist. Expect a lot of deleted journals, and people running to hide. Look for the famous people Gill admired to get some shit, too: Gill was a big fan of Kane, the WWE professional wrestler who assumes an outsider persona (for a while, Kane’s shtick was that he was the Undertaker’s evil brother). He (Gill) took several pictures of himself wearing an officially-marketed Kane mask. I'm glad I'm not Kane tonight; it has to suck for him to see a killer citing him as a personal inspiration. And if you don’t think Bill O’Reilly’s producer is leaving messages on Kane’s machine, I envy you your innocence.
The gun control debate has already started; as is typical in these cases, everybody takes their time, considers all the available information, and then takes that information as supporting evidence for what they already believed anyway. The gun banners will argue that every gun in Canada should be confiscated and melted down in a steel furnace; the gun nuts will see further confirmation that all responsible adults should carry a concealed handgun 24/7 so that they can shoot anybody who tries to do something like this, and politicians will do something stupid and meaningless just so they can look as if they’re doing something, because that’s what they’d be doing anyway. (Culture warriors will also have a field day; Gill’s likes included Goth, Massacres, The Daily Show with John Stewart, Quentin Tarantino “(Keep making those kick ass movies man, you rock),” and all the bands you’d expect and that Dr. Laura hates. His dislikes included “American Government,” “Anyone Who Supports the American Government,” “Capatalists” [sic], and “Republicans.” Also, Gill had a certain contempt for black people. Or, as he called them, “niggahs.” Which of these aspects of his charming personality gets more play will tell you more about the media outlet you’re getting the news from than about him.)
With regard to the weaponry, details are still sketchy. Gill’s web page has pictures of him proudly displaying a Beretta Cx4 Storm carbine. A carbine, for those not gun-inclined, is a light rifle of relatively small caliber. A lot of the ones in fashion these days fire pistol caliber rounds and often accept pistol magazines. This is convenient for shooters in general, and particularly useful for police, who can be prepared for short-range and long-range engagements without needing to carry extra magazines or ammo. (The longer barrel of a carbine offers increased accuracy and muzzle velocity over the same ammunition in a pistol.) According to this article, Gill had “a 9-mm semi-automatic rifle [that’d be the Storm], a .45 pistol [different caliber, magazines not interchangeable] and a bag containing a 12-calibre gun that can shoot four bullets per shot." [this is just… I don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about here. Um, 12 caliber? Like, half a .22? That’s not a bullet; that’s *birdshot.*] My guess is that if Gill didn't carry a pistol that could interchange magazines with the carbine, it's because he didn't have one. Which means he was carrying the carbine because he thought it looked cool, or he saw it on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. If he'd carried a heavier-caliber rifle, this could have been much, much worse. It is of small consolation to the victims, but a lot of people are alive tonight because of that.
In his profile, he answered the question of how he wanted to die: “Like Romeo and Juliet -or- In a hail of gunfire.” Well, he got the second. According to the Ottawa Citizen:
The SWAT team poured into the five-hectare campus and straight into the building as soon as they arrived, unlike the police at Columbine High School, who waited outside for information.
The timeline shows they arrived at 12:41 p.m. and killed the gunman three minutes later "after an exchange of gunfire," practising a philosophy of quickly attacking an "active killer," which is being adopted by police across North America.
As is typical in these cases, there’s more news immediately available regarding the killer than the victims. The one confirmed fatality is a young woman named Anastacia DeSousa, whose age has been given variously as 18, 20, and 22 in various media accounts. The number of injured is at 19; six are in critical condition, two, with head injuries, are extremely critical.
If you ever happen to be in a situation like this, God forbid, and you are unarmed, you have two options: 1) run away or 2) jump the gunman. If you are relatively close to the shooter, your chances may well be better if you attack, particularly if there’s more than one of you. (I know of a case in which a policeman was cut very, very badly by a guy with a knife who’d started from a point twenty feet away *with the officer’s gun pointed at him.* The cop made it out alive, but IIRC he had backup.) If you do have to attack a guy with a gun, move fast and don’t hesitate; take him down to the ground and try to keep him there, and yell like hell for people to help you.