With shooters ‘there is no real type,’ says York professor

Analysis of school shootings in the past 30 years in Canada, the United States, Europe and elsewhere offer few clues to those looking for patterns, reported The Globe and Mail Sept. 14. There is no profile of a school shooter, the study said, and few of the attackers threatened their targets before using force. “There is no real type,” said James Sheptycki, criminologist in York’s Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts. “Any psychological profile that people could come up with would identify too many individuals to actually be useful and wouldn’t necessarily fit all potential perpetrators. There simply isn’t a profile that works.” The Seattle Times online reported comments by Sheptycki on Sept. 14 that ordinary Canadians cannot obtain military assault weapons or semi-automatic weapons without special licences.

MacLean enjoys the view during his seven-hour spacewalk

“Just flying into space is hard enough,” said CBC TV’s Peter Mansbridge during the Sept. 14 edition of “The National”. “Today, Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean went one step further. He spent more than seven hours walking in space, working on the solar panels of the International Space Station. The CBC’s Ron Charles is watching the mission.”

Charles: The work may be gruelling and repetitive, but just look at the view.
MacLean: Boy, that is pretty. Not something you see every day.
Charles: Steve MacLean became just the second Canadian astronaut to see it like this when he took his first ever spacewalk this morning.
Charles: MacLean and US astronaut Dan Burbank had to unscrew and tighten dozens of restraining bolts on a new set of solar arrays attached to the International Space Station. Once unfurled, the arrays will double the amount of power the station can capture from the sun’s rays. The job didn’t go perfectly. At one point, MacLean lost one of the bolts…. NASA wasn’t very concerned about that, or a bolt lost by another astronaut yesterday. MacLean and his partner checked to make sure the bolts hadn’t drifted into the mechanism that will turn the solar arrays to face the sun, while 350 kilometres below, MacLean’s family watched on a live feed at the Canadian Space Agency.
Nadine Wielgopolski (MacLeans’ wife): It’s breathtaking. I cannot even imagine how you can describe that, being in his place right now.
Michelle MacLean (daughter): You’re very excited, but at the same time, you’re a little nervous for him. But I’ve seen him train so hard that I’m really happy for him, and this is such a great adventure.
Charles: MacLean is clearly enjoying his space experience. He even asked York University music professor David Mott to compose something for him to listen to as he looked out into space.
Mott: He loved it. He said, “That’s it, you know, that’s the sound, that’s what it’s like.” So I was really excited about that.

  • Mott, professor in York’s Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, also spoke on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” program Sept. 13 about the music he wrote for MacLean. Graham Huber, one of three York alumni from the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design who created MacLean’s space shuttle mission patch, was also interviewed, along with Bob Prince, professor emeritus in York’s Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science & Engineering, who spoke about special apple seeds from York that MacLean also took with him.

  • While discussing live video of MacLean during his space walk Sept. 13, Frank Ferragine (BA ‘93), weather and gardening specialist for Toronto’s CITY-TV, noted that he was also a York graduate, from the Public Policy & Administration Program, Faculty of Arts.

Osgoode professor expects Law Society to move quickly in ethics case

Explosive allegations of professional misconduct against George Hunter, the former treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, come amid a debate in legal circles over whether any circumstances exist in which lawyers can engage in consensual sexual relationships with clients, who may be in a vulnerable or dependent state, reported The Globe and Mail, Sept. 14. Trevor Farrow, a specialist in legal ethics at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said that the central goal of the law society is to protect the public interest, making the allegations as serious as they are unusual,

“My speculation is that this case will move along quite quickly,” Farrow said in an interview. “It’s going to be in the interests of the law society to keep a lid on this and to ensure that at the end of the day, the public trust is not decimated by it.” Should Hunter be found guilty of the allegations, Farrow said, the penalty could range “from a slap on the wrist, to some type of suspension, to disbarment. I think it’s likely to fall on the heavier end of the spectrum.”

Horn takes issue with letter writer’s application of history

Ken Bendelier’s letter (Hate Match – Sept. 13) contains a classic misapplication of history, wrote Michiel Horn, professor emeritus of history at York’s Glendon campus, in a letter to The Globe and Mail Sept. 14. Bendelier claims the same right of interfering with voter preferences for the Taliban that “we exercised when we disagreed with the preference of people in Leipzig and Munich not so long ago.”

But we did not go to war with Germany because Germans voted for the Nazis, wrote Horn. We went to war in 1939 because Britain went to war, and Britain went to war because Germany had invaded Poland. If Germany had kept the peace – a huge if, of course – Germans could have voted for the Nazis until the cows came home. Although Canadians might have disapproved of their preference, does anyone seriously believe we would have gone to war over it?

Samba Squad’s percussionists ‘capture joy’

They got rhythm. Oodles of it. They are the members of Samba Squad, the roaring ensemble that’s been pounding out such perfect percussion storms this millennium, and who are firmly on the global music map, wrote The Toronto Star Sept. 14. Blame your encounters with their delightfully clattering cacophonies on Rick Lazar, who founded this outfit in the distant past – well, actually 1999. The affable Lazar (who confesses he’s Samba Squad’s oldest member) plays 15 instruments on the group’s latest album and does rap vocals. He says one reason for the group’s success is that the musicians do it for fun. Lazar has plenty of other musical interests; he teaches at both York University and Humber College while his jazz-fusion band the Montuno Police is popular.

Ex-Terrier lands on his skates at York

All 17 hockey players committed to the Couchiching Terriers for the 2006-07 season have found another place to play, including 2005-06 captain Kyle Searle who graduated from Junior A last season and has enrolled at York University in Toronto [where he will play for the York Lions men’s hockey team]. The players, who found themselves without a sheet of ice to skate on after the club announced a year-long hiatus from the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League, have joined various squads across the country.