An Open Letter To Nora Loreto

Dear Nora,

You may not know me, or remember the tweets I sent you, as they were civilized rebuttals outweighed by all the rape and death threats you received, but I don’t have the patience or hatred of you to compose a thousand tweets that detail how heartless, untrue, and stupid your now infamous tweet was.

You claim you tried not to be cynical, and made note of the unimaginable tragedy of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, but as a journalist you should know one sentence, or paragraph can ruin your premise, argument, or make you appear to be the worst kind of asshole; one who applies race where it doesn’t belong, presumably to get brownie points from your tribe, or at worst, to get attention on the back of tragedy.

As a Canadian you should know hockey is the fabric of our nation. Americans make fun of us for our obsession, as almost every one of us owns a hockey stick. We bleed hockey from every inch of our souls, and although many of us may not know the individuals who perished, we cried and mourned along with their loved ones, because we relate to them through hockey, and the nation we call home.

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Canadians have played hockey at some level. They rode on buses just like the Humboldt Broncos; in many cases through terrible conditions. They cultivated everlasting bonds through laughter, the sting of defeat and elation from victory. Throughout the country’s history parents have woken up in the early mornings to take their kids to practice, and worried like parents do, every time their child boarded a bus. If an individual kid is good enough, their parents trust complete strangers in another province to take care of their child. Those billet parents become second families to those kids, and just like the unfortunate biological parents of the kids killed on that bus, those billet parents share the worst kind of heartbreak.

For those like me who lacked the skill, determination, and or finances to play hockey, millions of Canadians played street hockey any chance they got. As a child, my friends and I would shovel out a parking lot during a bitterly cold winter storm, to spend hours playing street hockey. We didn’t always get along, but hockey united us, and those cherished memories are still remembered decades later.

We play on the streets, on ponds, and in the hundreds of community rinks across the nation, and for those who played any level of hockey, there is a strong kinship that allows men and women to compete like warriors for hours, but still hold a unified respect for each other. I may have never played any organized hockey, but all you and I have to do is listen to current and former hockey players to understand how the sport can bring competitors together.

Millions of Canadians from different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds have donated their hard earned money to help the bereaved families of individuals they never met. Others have reached out to the victims families to support them. Hundreds have placed their hockey sticks at their front doors as a sign of respect, all because we are Canadians. To insinuate a black kid on the team wouldn’t have gotten the support, or be mourned in death, is baseless, and goes against what should be common human decency.

I don’t have a maple leaf tattoo, I can’t recite any Tragically Hip lyric, and I’m not very fond of Canadian bacon. I’m not an overzealous patriot, but in times like these I’m a proud Canadian. I was proud when Canadians opened their doors to grounded Americans on 9/11; I was proud when Syrian refugees with little money, mere months after they landed in Canada, gave money to the victims of the Fort McMurray fires, and I am proud, as you should be with the response of our country after this tragedy. Our country isn’t perfect; no country is. We have issues with injustice, and bigotry, but to suggest we care about these victims because they were young, white, and male, insults their families, the kindness of our country, and perverts your cause.

To argue race has anything to do with our heartbreak, casts millions of people you don’t know as racists. You are telling the families of the deceased, we only care about the colour of their loved one’s skin, and not their kindness, determination, or their souls. When people erroneously suggest racism isn’t real, or not applicable to a certain case, they will use your dumb tweet to support their idea. You make those who are working to end racism look like selfish and provocative trolls. You do a far more greater harm than good.

The sad part of all of this, I have yet to mention is how predictable your tweet was. Identitarians like yourself always look to demean tragedies for attention and retweets. The fact you have retweeted many of the responses to your dumb post, looks like you used a terrible tragedy for attention; that itself is sickening and classless.

Hockey and Canada is like football to Texas, baseball to Cuba, and soccer to England. If a bus full of Cuban kids died on their way to a baseball game, Cubans would mourn like us. The fifteen Humboldt Broncos who died, weren’t white people, they were kids and young adults who were chasing a distinctly Canadian dream. We saw our peewee hockey son, on that bus; we saw kids who could have been ours, dead, instead of on the ice, fighting for a puck in the corner. We lost cherished brothers, boyfriends, sons, and husbands, doing something millions of Canadians have done without incident; riding a bus to a hockey game. A tragedy like this one resonates on so many levels to millions of Canadians, including those who coached, played with, or knew these kids.

One of my favourite original Jets, Dave Manson, coached 16-year-old Adam Harold on the Prince Albert Raiders, and sent him to Humboldt three weeks earlier, in a common hockey move, that is never news.

Speaking to TSN, Manson said, “We just wanted him to get in some games rather than sit and watch with us,” choking back tears, most likely thinking he is in some way responsible for the death of the kid he wanted to help develop into a better player.

So, Manson only feels bad not because he holds guilt, but because the kid was white? Another former coach talked about how great of a kid Harold was, by saying,“You could take the best kid you know and times that by 10 and you’d get Adam. I’m not just saying that because he’s gone. He was that special ­­– and the hockey was just extra,” not because of who he was as a young man? So without proof are you saying they loved the kid only because his race,played a part in their affection?

Using a gut wrenching tragedy of this magnitude as the hill you choose to die on, for your ideology, is a gross lapse of judgement, you should have been smart enough to avoid, but here we are, in a way, making this tragedy about you and your idiotic tweet.

We grieve because Canadians, most of them young, died doing something Canadian. We grieve because the loss is unconscionable; and we have come together because when it comes to hockey, it’s the love of the game that brings all of us together, in the locker room and beyond.

Canadians don’t turn tragedies into themselves, they use tragedies to come together, despite all of their differences to grieve, and support Canadians. We are empathetic and caring. We see ourselves in others, and see us all as Canadians when tragedy strikes.

I sincerely hope you let go of the selfish anger, and find any sort of fulfillment in your life, that removes any idea to seek desperate attention. And maybe, just maybe you can meet people; talk to them, before you peddle gross generalizations.

As Canadians we are collectively mourning, and are spiritually wrapping our arms around the families who lost loved ones, because although we aren’t perfect, we are Canadians and we stand united, like you should be, in being Canadians.


A Normal Canadian.

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