Open Letter from Hayder Kadhim - Survivor of the Dawson College shooting of September 13, 2006

    MONTREAL, April 2 /CNW Telbec/ -

    In view of the Conservative Government's attempt to repeal the gun
    registry by introducing a Senate Bill, I can stay silent no longer. I am
    not a politician, nor am I a political expert. I am a university student,
    who lives in Canada, a country I am proud to belong to. Nowadays, the
    economic crisis is the most prominent issue in North America, if not the
    world, but we also live in an age where violence, in any form, is not

    I don't understand when people say guns don't kill people, people kill
    people. Someone without a gun has a far lesser chance to kill in the same
    numbers than someone with a gun can.

    On September 13th, 2006, I myself was a victim of the violent acts of a
    crazed gunman who opened fire at Dawson College. I repeat, he was a
    gunman. Without his gun, his intentions to inflict pain and destruction
    would have been almost insignificant.

    Unfortunately, the screening process was not sufficient to prevent him
    from acquiring three guns, a semi-automatic Berretta Storm, a 12-gauge
    shotgun and a handgun. That said, he shot me three times with his semi-
    automatic, along with 17 other people. We, as victims and students
    witnessing the tragedy, have all suffered and continue to suffer
    physically or psychologically.

    My body received a bullet that passed through my left calf muscle, the
    dark scar it left still reminds me of what happened that day. I still
    have pain in my neck where a bullet remains lodged. Doctors could not
    remove it because of the proximity of it to my vertebral column. I also
    have fragments of bullets lodged in my skull.

    Clearly, there is a God. And with His will, I survived. But as we all
    know by now, a good friend of mine, Anastasia de Sousa, did not. It's not
    with ease that I say this as it hurts me to lose someone whose memory
    still reminds me of good times and the joy she brought to our lives.

    But what hurts even more is the position taken by the federal government
    to weaken gun laws in our country and dismantle the long gun registry.
    Whatever problems the gun registry encountered in the beginning, it is
    generally accepted that today, it runs well.

    Why destroy something that was put in place as a result of the shooting
    at Polytechnique in 1989, which left 14 women dead? Do the MPs sitting in
    our Parliament not have kids and families that they want to raise in a
    safe and secure country?

    At a time when many people have lost their jobs, is this really the time
    for the government to propose a bill in Parliament that would weaken our
    gun laws? In my view, this is disrespectful to all victims, survivors and
    their families of every violent gun crime to have to witness what this
    government is proposing to do to our gun laws.

    After the shooting in 2006, I wrote a letter to Prime Minister Stephen
    Harper to rethink his party's plans regarding gun control. He ignored my
    call. His message was clear. Clearly, there is no use in communicating
    with our government. So we started talking to opposition parties, hoping
    to have a unanimous vote against any bill that would propose weakening
    gun laws and dismantling the registry. Back then, the opposition parties
    pledged their support to us. The talk out there now seems to be saying
    something else.

    I call upon all opposition parties to honour their commitment to us. And
    one more time, I ask Mr. Harper and his fellow Conservatives to imagine
    for a moment that someone close to them was a victim of gun violence.
    Would they feel the same way about weakening gun laws? As always, I am
    open to hearing the answer from our Prime Minister directly.

For further information:

For further information: Wissam Allaif, Yacine Hadj-Henni, (514)
658-2897, (514) 969-6510

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