Today, half of U of T was locked down because apparently, there was a man with a rifle near the ROM.
This resulted in a flurry of “do we have class today?” comments and posts on our course facebook group. I didn’t get much of a resounding answer from Facebook but decided that since this was UTSG, which never closes down even when the other two campuses are closed for snow days, that class was probably on.
The lockdown, coupled with the soccer thing that started at 3pm (I’m clearly out of touch with football), resulted in a fair number of people missing class. Our professor was ruthlessly kind enough to gift is with a mini in-class quiz anyway (though to be fair, it’s only worth 1%). The class is interesting and all, but I’m still irked by the fact that our final exam falls on the first day of exams, only three days after our last lecture. Not nearly enough time.
After class, I went over to the Psych lab I’m RAing in and started prepping for a session. I’m finally getting used to the process, but I started to get frantic when my partner didn’t show up twenty minutes before the session. Turns out the session was rescheduled to Wednesday due to the uncertainty of the lockdown. I must’ve appeared horribly awkward to the new RA that was in the lab tabulating data. Silly me for not checking my email, right?
Nevertheless, this awkwardness pales in the face of the recent tragedies in Orlando. Both the night club shooting and the murder of Christina Grimmie, a YouTuber and singer I loved and had spent hours watching, have left me flabbergasted with US gun policies and wholly disheartened. These events are indicative that something needs to change. Counselling needs to be more accessible and gun security needs to be more tightly regulated. However, in the face of the current state of American politics, little change is likely to occur.
The lockdown today comes in clear contrast to American policy – the simple appearance of a gun has a good chunk of downtown Toronto in lockdown. It should never be okay to wield a dangerous weapon in a public area when you do not have the authority to do so. Sure, you can have your guns for hunting, for private property (home) self defence, but the moment you bring it into a public venue, you should be locked down. No one should feel in danger when at a concert or a club, but these recent events express otherwise. My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased.
On a happier note, my Facebook feed has been flooded by photos of friends graduating. These photos remind me that this time of the year is supposed to be joyful and a breeding ground for new beginnings and new adventures. Although this cannot erase the shadow of these recent tragedies, the thought of my friends going off into these diverse paths and making their mark onto this world leaves me with a serene feeling of hope. Maybe change won’t seem as impossible of a task in the incoming generations.