Further insight from the biggest tragedy since "Will & Grace" was given the project greenlight

  • The recent shooting in the U.S. highlights one of the major cultural differences between the two countries.

    No, not about guns. Some are already blaming U.S. gun laws, and clearly haven't read my blog post yesterday where I used a recent incident in Calgary to highlight that more gun laws don't really help out in this case.

    Specifically, this line from today's Edmonton SUN article about the shooting (emphasis mine):
    The massacre has attracted hundreds of journalists from all over the world to the small southwestern Virginia town of some 38,000 people, where life revolves around the sprawling campus of old stone buildings and modern dorms.
    Only in the U.S. would a municipality of 38,000 be considered a town. That's about the size of Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada's 68th largest city. (Meanwhile, Carson City Nevada counts as the U.S.'s 363rd largest city at 55,289, the smallest burg on Wikipedia's list)

  • Also of note, the killer, Cho Seung-Hui, has been living in the U.S. since 1992, so its only 90% accurate for me to refer to him as a foreigner. Yet I will continue to do so. Also of note, Cho [Seung-Hui? Are the Koreans like the Bajorans where the first name is the family name, or are the newspapers all being very very casual in referring to him? -ed] wrote a lot, complaining about "rich kids" (specifically, "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans"). Go figure that the one time an asian in North America is found not to be rich himself, he winds up shooting people up. Also, if writing about deceitful rich charlatans is such a warning sign, does that mean Eugene Plawiuk is gonna end up on a no-fly list?

  • The primary United States newspaper of record, the Corvallis Gazette-Times, is reporting that Seung-Hui was referred to the Virginia Tech school counselling service for his disturbing creative writing (he was an English major). Good thing he wasn't in Chemistry like the rest of this continent's asian university students, or they'd never have got to him in time....

Update, 12:16pm: Gnotalex at Blog Quebecois notes that the CBC took all of 12 hours to blame George W. Bush for the shooting. Gnotalex also observes that per capita, Canadian schools are more violent than the U.S.

Update, 12:23pm: Further cultural differences: the Wikipedia page on Virginia Tech shows that it has a faculty of 1,304 and 28,470 students. This means that not counting support staff, Virginia Tech makes up 75.24% of the city's population. This isn't abnormal in the U.S. (some towns of 12,000 are over 80% made up from the local state college, and often have 48,000 seat stadiums filled every Friday), but is completely unheard of in Canada -- Red Deer College is in a city of 82,971 and has only 10,000 students. Lacombe, Alberta is the home of CUC, Canadian Univeristy College, which has 400 students on the outskirts of a town of about 12,000.

Also of note, Wikipedia reports the population of Blacksburg as being 39,573. This puts it slightly larger than St. Thomas, Ontario -- Canada's 63rd largest city.


Anonymous said...

haha! love the reference to plawiuk... thats gold.

Enjoy the post... I've often spoke of the difference in population density as being a key difference when looking at crime..

It is often massively overlooked.