Monday, March 13, 2006

In Memoriam

I'd been in Waterloo, Ontario for about 6 months on the March 13th, 1996. DH and I had this basement apartment with a bedroom that had no exterior windows, so it was as dark as a cave. Because of this, I had a radio alarm to get me up in the morning.

On this particular morning I remember scrambling around the room looking for clothes. I caught the word Dunblane on the news and paused to listen to the report because I'd lived in Dunblane just the year before--in a lovely house next to the river with my wonderful flatmate Frank.

The reports made no sense. Children massacred in that tiny peaceful town? Must be somewhere in the States with the same name. It wouldn't have made the crime any less heartbreaking, but it would make it less personal.

But it was Dunblane, near Stirling.

I'd spent quite a lot of time in Dunblane Primary School taking evening art classes. It was just gorgeous and lovely--all those tiny chairs and miniature toilets. I remember in vivid detail coming out of my art class and bumping into one of the lecturers from my department at Stirling University. He was there for his daughter's parents evening. My first thought on hearing the news was 'Jesus, I hope Kim's daughter is safe.'

She was. Thank God.

But there were other people from the university who lost children that day and one of them shares his story in the link below. It is heartbreaking. It makes me weep, ten years on.

The Grade 1 class at Dunblane Primary School.
Most of the children in this class were killed in the shooting on 13 March 1996

One father's struggle as a town hides its grief

It was an ordinary Wednesday morning in a small Scottish town. Then, after one of the most shocking events in postwar British history, 16 children and a teacher lay dead. As Dunblane prepares for the 10th anniversary of the massacre, Lorna Martin revisits the town and speaks to one parent about his journey through grief and loss


  1. So tragic. Thanks for sharing that (though I will admit... I couldn't read it all)

  2. Wow, such a sad tragic story. I am absolutely for gun control, but I agree that no amount of gun control can stop a madman. If he has evil in his heart, he'll find a way.

    Have you ever watched the video Bowling for Columbine? I did this weekend. I had to watch it twice. He makes some very valid points. It's not necessarily the gun issue, but something deeper and perhaps beginning at a higher level. I couldn't agree more. I think George Bush will burn in hell for all the lives he has taken. The blood of all those innocent bystanders, hostages, and soldiers will be on his hands. I don't care what your issue or excuse, killing is wrong. Period.

    Hatred and fear is a disease that needs a cure, not a gun. These children will be in my thoughts today, Toni. Thanks for retelling their story.

  3. Peggy--I have watched Bowling for Columbine, and MM's comparison of the number of guns in Canada versus the US is eye opening. Definite culture differences.

    I wish there was something we could do to keep our children safe.

  4. A horrible, horrible thing to have had happen and a never ending burden of grief for their loved ones to bear. Senseless. Absolutely senseless.

  5. Lynne Connolly10:27 am

    After this, all handguns were banned in the UK. It hasn't happened again since. It might, but at least the possibility has been reduced.
    It was unbearable, and IMO the appropriate action was taken. There wasn't one word of dissent, even from the hobbyists who now have to keep their guns at their clubs.
    Thank you for remembering the children of Dunblane, and their teacher, who was also killed.

  6. Senseless tragedies like this just blow me away. It makes me so angry that we live in a world where this can happen. Makes you want to keep your kids under lock and key in a remote mountain cabin! But alas, that is not possible, and so we must do our best to keep them as safe as we can and put our trust in God.

  7. I knew about this from somewhere else - it is tragic.

  8. Eve, I've blogged about it before. It just makes me so sad. Lynne, you're right the handgun ban was very effective and when they eventually get the gun register going it'll be even better!

    Meretta and Melissa, I agree.

  9. Where has the time gone - and you are so right, it is no less heartrenching now than it was at the time. (I shed a tear as I type).

    One 'good' thing (if you could grasp onto something in such an absolutely awful event) has been the severe security upgrades in ALL the UK schools to prevent such an incident ever happening again.

    God bless all their little souls.

  10. I remember when this happened and being so horrified. My son was just a few months old and it really hit home how a part of our heart exists outside of our body and how losing our child really takes a piece of us away. My cousin was killed 19 years ago in an accidental stabbing. After I had my kids, I wonder how my aunt has survived the loss of her only children.

  11. I have no idea how a parent survives the loss of a child.