The rampage of Kimveer Gill, the Montreal gunman who killed one woman and injured 20 others, has shocked Canada. It's also led to intense, nationwide introspection about the rage that fueled his act - right now, video games and guns are getting a lot of the blame. This is being billed as Canada's Columbine.
For Sikhs worldwide, the shootings have been particularly tough to swallow. Gill was not an observant Sikh but the very fact that he was Sikh has caused some to wonder how this will reflect on the community (the same goes for many Indians).
One online message board at SikhSangat.com has a member fretting about a Times of India article, where Gill is referred to as a Sikh...
man i hate it when the stupid media does this. i mean if a christan person commits a crime they wont say that the person is christian but any one else they'll mention their faith.
Further down the same page, another person is relieved that CNN didn't mention the killer's Sikh connection.
While the Indian press has predictably made much of the connection, the Canadian mainstream press hasn't. The National Post has a long profile of Gill, in which it quotes one Sikh who creates distance between the Gill family and the Sikh community:
"It appears that the father, Gurinder Gill, is not very popular among the Sikh community and rarely visited Gurdwara, Sikh Temple," Devinder Singh Chahal of the Laval-based Institute for Understanding Sikhism, said.
At SikhNet, a message thread has listed similar messages about how this will affect the Sikh community, but the concensus here is that the mainstream media has been responsible, and that race isn't being made an issue here:
In all honesty, I hardly think that people will begin to blame the Sikh community for this man's actions. He was like any of the other shooters. Since the school shootings began as a more common trend in the mid-90s, shooters have been white, black, mexican, and everything in between.