Fairview-area bomb scare puts things in perspective

Marc Lalonde
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Tuesday afternoon's ordeal brought fear, relief and more worries all in one day


Tuesday afternoon's bomb-threat scare in Pointe Claire was the worst part of a tough week  for me and my family. Forget the big stresses, like filing income-tax returns and getting kids signed up for summer supervision activities, or even the little ones, such as 'what am I going to make for dinner tonight?'

Those were all put on the back burner when I heard that a suspicious package had been left at a gas station in Pointe Claire – a gas station that sits adjacent to the West Island's largest indoor shopping centre and one of the region's most-trafficked intersection.

Oh, man. That's when the worrying machine started right up. I grew concerned that my daughter was close by (she sometimes accompanies her aunt on Costco trips after school) and then I grew concerned that other people I knew were caught close by. Then, the Facebookverse – yes, it's a word. I just made it up – exploded all over my screen.

Suddenly, my concerns were being mirrored by thousands of other parents – some whose kids take city buses home from school and change buses at the Fairview Pointe Claire terminal, some whose kids have jobs in the area and some who were just fearful for a repeat of Monday's tragic and frightening events in Boston.

Fear came home that day for many West Island parents, unfortunately. Much like 9/11, the Dawson College shootings and the Polytechnique Massacre, it managed to push the small stresses aside in order to embrace the big picture. Comments like 'I'm going home to hug my children,' abounded on social media – and it was a popular trope, given the way parents are pushed on all sides by work, activities and other ultimately superfluous self-set deadlines. The fear, which subsided when the suspicious package was taken away without incident by the Montreal police bomb squad, gave way to re-organized perspective. It's often sad that tragic events such as the ones mentioned above, or scary ones, like Tuesday afternoon's saga, for us to get some perspective on life, isn't it?

(By the way, the way Montreal police handled the affair, with maximum transparency and efficiency, deserves praise. The department has endured plenty of criticism over the years – much of it justified – but in this case, they kept the media, and by extension the public, informed throughout the ordeal, thereby making it easier for drivers to avoid the area and allowing the public to be informed)

Ultimately, it was a great big pile of nothing that really took place Tuesday afternoon – which is great, frankly. It could've been so much worse. Escaping that type of situation with no injuries – to anyone save the bomb-squad robot, which fell on its side momentarily -- and no deaths, yet allowing the moment to shape us and give us pause is exactly the kind of reminder we need that life is precious, families were able to re-connect, if only for a moment, and now, life goes on.

Perspective regained  -- and not a moment too soon.

Organizations: Dawson College, Costco, Fairview Pointe Claire terminal

Geographic location: Pointe Claire, West Island, Fairview Montreal Boston

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