25-year-old Kimveer Gill is reported to be responsible for the murder of one Dawson College student and injuring 19 others. Not to mention scaring and scarring the student population and bringing tears to the eyes of my hometown. His death at the hands of the police does not assuage our collective sorrow.
Talking about this tragedy, Prime Minister Harper is said to have stated that 'debates are sure to unfold about the government's role of censorship in video games and the monitoring of the Internet"?. I agree with his thinking. Let's start a debate. Here are my two cents worth.
News reports so far seem to confirm that the Dawson population helped each other, that the police acted prudently and quickly and that emergency personnel succored those in need rapidly. I'm sure that with time we might find flaws in how things were handled, to be denounced and addressed.
Aside from legislation that dictates the duties of police and emergency personnel, Art. 2 of Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms provides that every human being whose life is in danger has a right to assistance and imposes a legal obligation on every person to come to the aid of the person in danger, personally or by calling for aid, unless this would result in danger for the person assisting or someone else.
So the Good Samaritan rule of the Quebec Charter was respected.
What about Kimveer Gill? Did we fail to assist him? Should we have identified him as someone in need of aid? And if so, how should we have helped him? Would the censorship of video games and the monitoring of the Internet have helped him? Would we also need to consider censoring the music groups that Kimveer listened to (e.g. Marilyn Manson) or the websites that he frequented? What about Canada's gun register and gun laws? Should we revisit them?
It's a good thing that this is just a video game law blog. I don't have to pronounce myself on whether we failed to help Kimveer or not. I will say, however, that, in my opinion, the levels of censorship/monitoring and of government intervention that would be required to prevent crimes such as Kimveer's would be right out of 1984. Are we willing to give up so much freedom?