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Letter: First responders provided aid with care and compassion following Lynn Valley attack

Despite it all, I was made to feel safe and cared for.
LV Stabbing Memorial 09 web
Residents lay cards and flowers on a quickly growing memorial outside the Lynn Valley library complex Sunday, March 28, one day after a man killed one person and injured six others in a knife attack.

Editor's note: The words below are by a woman who had an accident while on a hike Saturday and was in the emergency department at Lions Gate Hospital, at first near the Lynn Valley stabbing suspect then later, separately, the victims in the attack.

Dear Editor:

A broken ankle, big boot cast, and a banged up body don’t make for great sleeps quite yet. Nor does having witnessed the immediate aftermath of the random stabbing attack in North Van. Some late-night thoughts that wouldn’t let me sleep:

How surprisingly calm the [suspect] was as he lay next to me on his stretcher. He must have felt so much rage and distress just minutes earlier, and yet he lay there speaking calmly to the medical staff and the two burly police officers who stood guard. Spelling out his unusual name slowly and repeatedly. Why couldn’t he find that calm earlier? What triggers such madness and selfishness? How could he be so calm after what havoc he brought to so many?

The care of the medical staff in treating him for his self inflicted wounds. Their gentleness towards him, so professional, so remarkable.

The injured women who lay in the hallway with me. All looking like something out of a terrible Hollywood film. Dried blood on their faces, torsos and hands. How one victim could barely speak and the other couldn’t stop talking about what had happened, what she had seen, how she tried to stop him by hitting him with her umbrella. Her non-stop chatter regularly punctuated by her repeated worry for her young daughter who had witnessed all of it, including his subsequent attack on her mom.  The woman’s attempts to make everyone feel better with small jokes and words of reassurance. Telling the other victims “we are all going to be OK.”

The paramedic who spent 10 minutes carefully cleaning a blood-soaked leather purse while allowing his patient to talk and talk, just quietly giving her lots of space and time.

The ER staff who received the shocking notice that multiple stabbing victims were en route and their swift, professional, preparations for the arrival.

The security guards donning bulletproof vests under their white shirts, anxious that being the only two on duty would be enough to keep everyone safe. The police who subsequently rushed to secure the perimeter.

The fireman, one of the first to arrive, and how strange his hands and arms looked soaked in blood. His search for a sink so he could clean up in order to return to the scene.

The kindness and attention of all the caregivers. Despite it all, I was made to feel safe and cared for. In the deepest sense of the word. It was very moving.

The doctor who had treated three of the victims, the most severely injured, who told me how grateful he is that we don’t live in the States where owning guns is so normalized. The kindness and fatigue in his eyes.

The realization that it is so important to remember all of the good people in the world. Especially at times like this. There are many.

I’m very grateful.

Inge Mueller-Langer
East Vancouver

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