Calgary stabbings: How knife crime in Canada can cause ‘moral panic’
What Calgary police chief Rick Hanson called the “worst mass murder” in the city’s history didn’t end at the barrel of a gun.
Instead, the 22-year-old suspect identified on Tuesday as Matthew de Grood is accused of entering the kitchen at a house party, taking “a large knife” and using it to fatally stab four men and one woman, all of whom were students in their 20s.
The scene was “horrific,” Hanson told reporters.
Matthew de Grood, the suspect in the killings of five people, graduated from the University of Calgary and was admitted to attend law school in the fall. (Facebook)
But as police continue to investigate, the tragedy was also a grave reminder that stabbings top the list when it comes to violent crime in the country, with Statistics Canada reporting in 2008 that one-third of homicides or attempted murders involved knives — more than any other type of weapon, including firearms.
The attack at the house party came the same day that four shoppers in Regina were stabbed at a mall, a 17-year-old student was stabbed at a Brampton, Ont., high school and a week after a 47-year-old man was charged in the stabbings of four ex-coworkers at a Toronto office.
As details emerged about the Calgary slayings, social media users anticipated swift legislative action.
“About time to ban assault knives!” one person tweeted, linking to the Calgary story.
Another Twitter user questioned whether a “ban all the knives campaign” was forthcoming.
Criminologists say neither scenario is likely.
“I call it moral panic,” said Janne Holmgren, director for the Centre for Criminology and Justice Research at Mount Royal University. “Sometimes fear drives a lot of legislation, unfortunately.”