Source: The Star
How naive we have been, whistling by the graveyard as carnage was wrought in European and American cities, Rosie DiManno writes.
A sneaker. A purse. A tiny backpack. A cellphone.
Personal possessions scattered along the path of a rampaging, careering white van, the maniacal and homicidal man at the wheel purposefully mowing down pedestrians.
Heartbreaking artifacts now of a weaponized vehicle attack.
And the bodies. My God, the bodies.
Two near a pharmacy south of Finch, one at Yonge and Empress, one close to Parkview.
A trail of blood and wreckage stretching from Finch to Sheppard on a sunny spring afternoon in Toronto.
A day when apparent random terrorism struck in this city.
Any fanciful notion that we are far away from the dogs of war unleashed, from the seething corners of the world where hatred fulminates, buffered from European capitals, from American metropolises where mayhem has been inflicted down through these recent years — that comforting thought died on Monday.
Toronto van tragedy bonds city in blood. But no one will say the word ‘terrorism’
Along with the 10, at least, killed in a mass murder, and the 15, at least, injured, ambulances racing to hospitals and sirens blaring.
An abomination of a day.
How naive we have been, whistling by the graveyard as carnage was wrought in Manchester, in Nice, in Paris, in Orlando, in London, in Madrid, in Toulouse, in Barcelona, in Istanbul, in Berlin, in Stockholm, in Boston. On and on in this new normal. When it’s not guns and makeshift bombs, it’s knives and axes and the thousands of pounds of lurching vehicle steel. Into a promenade crowd, into a Christmas market, into a pop concert, into the subway.
When it’s not a clash of civilization ideology or the desecration of a religion, it’s the madness of a nihilist shooter bristling with assault weapons — Las Vegas, Parkland, Sandy Hook, nursing a grudge.
Maddened or mesmerized or mentally ill. And how can you even sift the difference anymore?
On Monday, the horror rose on its hind legs in Toronto, up onto the sidewalk along the city’s main artery, the pulsing core of North York.
The bedlam began around 1:10 p.m., the van racing helter-skelter, banging into bus shelters and fire hydrants, mailboxes and benches, but mostly, according to stunned witnesses, mounting the curb and dead-aiming at people. Young people, including students. Old people, basking in rare April warmth.
Hours later, in ghastly scenes along the miscreant’s route, lifeless bodies still lay on the ground, tarps thrown over them.
How many fearful families, unable to reach loved ones, must have scoured those photographs of victims, straining to recognize a shoe, a hoodie, an outstretched arm. Please don’t let it be, don’t let it be …
And the countless many who saw it unfold, from the driver of a TTC bus who raised the first alarm, to other motorists who slammed on their brakes to avoid colliding with the erratic van, to scores of pedestrians jumping out of the way, running for their lives.
“I thought someone had a heart attack,” one driver who found himself close to the van told CP24. “Oh my God. Oh my … it wasn’t a heart attack. This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody. I’m going to be sick … I stopped at Empress, he was just going on …one after the other, all the way down to Yonge and Sheppard, I seen people get hit, one by one … They went down one after another. An old lady, crumpled. I seen a stroller split in half … flying in the air. Ah man, I can’t believe this. Oh my God. The most gruesome … a woman’s leg … blood all over. Ah man, ah man.”