There but for the grace of God, go I...

My spare period had me in a nearly empty cafeteria line deciding if I should choose the regular honey bun or the honey bun with the white icing; I couldn't help but turn back as the sound of running and screaming began to fill the hallway. As I looked towards the entrance to the cafeteria line, I saw a dozen students run by, and heard someone shout, "He's got a gun!"

As I tried to understand what was happening a self proclaimed rebel (and I suspect anarchist) sauntered right behind the fleeing students, looked at me, and said, "It's not a real gun, it's a fake". And then he was gone.

As I imagined what I would do, where I could hide, and how I could escape if in fact a gunman did appear at the entrance that I was fixated on — I heard a gun shot.

Leaving any thought of a honey bun with white icing behind, I hurried to the cafeteria.

May 25, 2017 by Jason Spencer  Brampton Guardian

It'll be 42 years ago this weekend that the first school shooting known to have taken place in North America occurred.

The traumatic event happened May 28, 1975 when Michael Slobodian, 16, entered Brampton Centennial Secondary School with two rifles. He killed teacher Margaret Wright and student John Slinger, 17. Slobodian also injured 13 people and killed himself.

A sculpture set to be unveiled Saturday, May 27, at the school will be a sombre reminder of the historic tragedy and an earnest attempt to alleviate the wound that remains years later.

The stone sculpture was created by artist Mary Ellen Farrow. It displays a pair of benches that face two figures that appear to be consoling one another.

Brampton Centennial Memorial Committee member Pam Hand explained in an email that one bench has the name of the sculpture, The Healing Place, carved into it, while the other bench reads: "On Wednesday, May 1975, all of us learned to love one another just a little more."

"We needed a place to go to reflect and to think and to heal," Hand wrote in an email about the sculpture.

The outdoor memorial has been a long time coming and was made a reality by fundraising, Hand noted, including a donation for $25,000 from Trinison Management Corporation.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m. Speakers include members of the Peel District School Board as well as others affected by the tragedy.

The school is located at 251 McMurchy Ave.


I found myself heading into my art class shortly after all of this, and could not help but notice the marks that bullets leave when they hit brick.

There but for the grace of God, go I.