A speeding car, a well-lit road, a “collision”, four deaths, an orphaned nine year old. 

June 6th. 

Premeditated and planned. The murderer is just 20 years old. 

Why do you kill?

May 27th. The remains of 215 Indigenous children discovered in unmarked and unnamed graves at a residential school. Three days for this government to lower the flags to half-mast. 

Ten days later, still not a word about further investigations at other schools, no perpetrators named, the crucial question still missing: why do you kill? 

I imagine Nathaniel Veltman, the man responsible for the murder of Muslims in London on Sunday, watched that news. 

He listened as government officials contorted their faces into apologies, shameless in their inaction. As even these meaningless platitudes were chastised by church officials. A silent acceptance of mass murder. Not in the name of religion, but by a religious institution hand-in-glove with government. 

I imagine what he heard: some lives can be taken, some children murdered, some, them, they can and should be killed. 

May 10th. Israel begins bombing Gaza. By the time a ceasefire is called 11 days later, 227 people are dead, 64 are children. 

As bombs dropped, Canada’s government issued statements in support of “Israel’s right to assure its own security”.

I imagine Veltman watching the news about Palestinians, most of them Muslims, framed as aggressors, worthy of forced displacement and indiscriminate killing. Brutes not freedom fighters. 

On June 4th, as he prepared himself for the assault, did Nathaniel read the Prime Minister’s tweets congratulating the incoming Israeli president saying “Our two countries are close friends, bound together by shared democratic values and many common priorities”?

Did Veltman think that killing was his shared common priority? Did he think that in killing the Afzaal family he was engaged in a common good? 

Much will be written in the days to come about the rise of far-right extremists, and the online atmosphere of hate that propels murderers like Nathaniel Veltman. 

Will it mention the ads by Ontario’s ruling Conservatives calling for border closures, suggesting immigrants are disease carriers? 

I imagine Veltman saw those ads. Did he in his mind think it was his task to rid of these outsiders, these intruders, those made killable?

Why do you kill us? 

Palestinians, Indigenous children, Black people, Muslim families. 

Are we an us? 

I imagine Veltman would think so. Dispossessed, disposable, murdered, killable.

Do we become an us when you kill us? And if we do, then who are you? 

If Canada can arm the bombing of Palestinians and Yemenis, if Canada can accept the hidden graves of Indigenous children, then is it not the work of those like Veltman to do their part? To kill too?

A speeding car, a dark road, a “collision”, death. 

Not June 6th but May 21st. Aneish Dalbarry, 29, a migrant farmworker walking down the street in Ontario, when a drunk driver mowed him down. 

One of ten migrant farmworkers that have died just this year. 

The tens of thousands of migrant farmworkers in Canada, living in rural communities, without cars or sometimes even bicycles, have no choice but to travel on foot on unlit highways, without sidewalks, at night — the only time they aren’t working. Accidents and deaths are common, acceptable losses so that you and I can eat, and the shareholders can afford another yacht. 

I know that Veltman did not hear about Aneish’s death. That he was not inspired by the power of a pickup truck to run down, maim, murder. Aneish’s death, a mere 200 kilometres away, didn’t make the news. 

But if he did, what would Veltman think? One less of them?

Why do you kill?

It isn’t Nathaniel Veltman alone, it is each and every government and institution that drops bombs, creates graveyards, profits from death.

Nathaniel was probably just 15 when the Conservative government introduced and then passed the “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” that demonized and vilified Muslims. Did he read the news then? And when London had its mayoral election three years later in 2018, did he support the current Mayor Ed Holder, who voted in support of that Act? 

What does Zero Tolerance mean to Mayor Holder? What would Veltman think it means? Does it mean running down a family walking down the street, a 74 year old grandmother, likely with her head covered?

Why do you kill? Why do you kill us? Who do you kill? 

Who are you? 

What is it that gathers you, against us? Why do you need an us? How do you emerge, as you, in our killing? It is laws and ideologies of the mainstream centre, and not just the fringes that makes it so. It isn’t Nathaniel Veltman alone, it is each and every government and institution that drops bombs, creates graveyards, profits from death. It is mass culture, it is every decision maker, each of you named here that kill us.

And we are done dying. Because why you kill us must be answered by you. How we stop being killed, how we refuse to be murdered is a question for all of us. 

So who are we? And what are we willing to do to live? Everything, everything, everything.