By in Gaming

Roses in the Snow

Something few of my online friends know about me is that I was a gamer in college. A role playing gamer, not a video gamer. I belonged to a gamers society that originally consisted of some twenty or so male students, and three of us girls.

One was a pretty hard core gamer, who played pretty much any role playing game the guys brought out. The second was her best friend, who wasn't much into the role playing games but was dating one of the guys. I was the third, and ironically though I did play AD&D (a version of Dungeons and Dragons) I never played with that group. But I loved the guys bunches, and I had lots of fun spending my spare time in the club room or going out in the evening with them.

Most of the members of the gaming group spent more than the allotted two years at the college – often due to a change in program or spending too much time playing games and not enough studying! But for many of us, it was just that this group of friends had become family. This was a place where everyone was welcome – the social misfits, the science geeks, the tomboys, and the jocks who were too smart for their own good. Each person was embraced as they were. No need to try to be different, or to hold back on some part of ourselves in fear that people just wouldn't understand. Everybody was loved in that group. We all understood what it was to be different.

Even after I left the college and went off to work, I used to come back and spend the day with my friends. By that time, there were a lot more girls in the group. And some 20+ years later, I'm still in touch with one of those girls whose own children are now in college.

That group was like home for many of us. Even years after college, there was a group that would vacation together. Several of the guys are still among my Facebook contacts. And a few of them are actually godparents to each others' kids today.

One of the things that really cemented the bonds in our group was the 1989 school shooting at the École Polytechnique , the science and engineering school of the University of Montreal. The massacre resulted in the deaths of fourteen young women from the engineering faculty. One of them was a girl who had been part of our gaming group.

The days following the shooting were filled with a flurry of phone calls and impromptu visits, as we first tried to find out of Anne Marie was OK, and then realized she had indeed been among the fallen. Later there were gatherings, the visitation at the funeral home, and the huge public funeral at one of Montreal's biggest cathedrals. Some of the guys even went home with her parents afterwards, and spent the night talking with them, telling them of all the memories they had shared with this sweet and cheerful girl.

My most powerful memory of this time was the roses in the snow. When the school had been cordoned off as a crime scene and people wanted to do something in memory of the young women who were killed, someone placed a single red rose in the snow near the building where the massacre had taken place. It was photographed by the daily newspaper, and soon more and more flowers were showing up. They became a symbol of the innocence of youth, and of the blood spilled because one young man had felt left out.

I guess maybe things would have been different, if only Marc Lépine had found himself a group like my gamers, where he could feel loved and accepted....

This is my Gaming entry for Dawnwriter 's A-W Category Challenge

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Image credit: Rose in the snow by Michael Hoelzl/Wikipedia (Public domain)

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bestwriter wrote on November 29, 2014, 8:42 PM

There are so many angles to this post Ruby, but I will talk about that rose that was responsible for more emotive thoughts resusting in flooding of more flowers in that area. :(

AngelSharum wrote on November 29, 2014, 8:52 PM

So sorry your friend died that way.

celticeagle wrote on November 29, 2014, 9:12 PM

How touching. Yes, if only people like him got the attention they needed before they went over the edge.

Ruby3881 wrote on November 30, 2014, 4:21 AM

I think people were relieved to have some way to express their grief in a public way. As you said, there was a flood of emotion....

Ruby3881 wrote on November 30, 2014, 4:23 AM

I can't imagine how her parents must have felt. My oldest is almost the age Anne-Marie was, when I first met her. The thought of someone taking her from us that way is most horrific....

Ruby3881 wrote on November 30, 2014, 4:25 AM

I believe he was crying out for attention years before. There were a lot of newspaper stories back then, talking about his home life and how the men in his life were harsh and set an example of anger and misogyny. I believe at least some people knew there was trouble in the home.

midastouch wrote on November 30, 2014, 5:33 AM

So sad that someone had to take laws into his hands and took the lives of innocent people just because he felt "left out" but I rally think that psychopaths no matter what they find themselves doing or in whose company they may be would still exhibit the dangerous characteristics of psychopaths - really!!

Kasman wrote on November 30, 2014, 11:29 AM

Considering his abusive childhood Lepine was a tragedy waiting to happen. It seems that many of this type of serial killer target women - why? Another sad indictment on our society, I'm afraid.

celticeagle wrote on November 30, 2014, 8:01 PM

Some make it through those things and some don't. It is weird.

Ruby3881 wrote on December 1, 2014, 3:56 AM

I think a lot of times it's because there is support from somewhere. It could be a teacher who takes a special interest, or a friend's parent or an older sibling or cousin. Or maybe it's participation in Scouting or a sport, or through music lessons. Something for the child to feel good about, and someone to help guide him a bit. Sometimes I think that can actually save lives. I never turn from the opportunity to be that person for a young person who needs some encouragement and an adult to help them sort things through.

Ruby3881 wrote on December 1, 2014, 3:57 AM

I'm sure you're right when it comes to a true psychopath. But I wonder if we'll ever know who the real psychopaths were, and if those shooters were merely damaged in a different way....

Ruby3881 wrote on December 1, 2014, 3:58 AM

Society shapes them, but more often than not it's a misogynist in their midst too.