School shootings are not common in Canada, yet they do occur. On April 28, 1999 a 14-year-old student walked into his high school in Taber, Alberta with a sawed-off rifle and began shooting. He killed one student and wounded another. The shooting occurred only eight days after a massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in which two senior students killed 13 people. It was generally believed Taber was a “copycat” crime.
The young shooter, Todd Cameron Smith, had recently dropped out of school. He had been severely bullied since very young and had a difficult home life. He struggled with depression and had become reclusive and fearful.
The young person who died was 17-year-old Jason Lang. Jason Lang’s father, Reverend Dale Lang, an Anglican minister, publically forgave Smith for his son’s death. He and his wife Dianne reached out to Smith’s mother and tried to support her.
Lang also became an outspoken anti-bullying activist. Over the next years he criss-crossed the country, speaking to hundreds of groups about the need to prevent bullying and to extend friendship to isolated and marginalized youth. His main message to school students was, “You are a significant person. Your life is not a mistake, you count and you make a difference in the world.”
Based on "W.R. Myers High School shooting," Wikipedia; and "Rev Dale Lang--Forgiveness Talk," Youtube.
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