Friday, June 17, 2011

Senseless Acts of Violence

Disclaimer: Neither my employer nor my occupation has anything to do with this post. This posting is strictly my own thoughts and feelings. Like most disclaimers if you do not want to hear my thoughts, you can click the back button at anytime. Also the alleged murderer in this blog is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

As I posted in my last blog posting, a 19 year old former student of mine named Samantha was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend.

I think it is important for people who knew Samantha, to see that she was a victim of domestic violence. As I said yesterday, this girl was a quiet, caring girl, who, like all teenage girls was just wanting to be loved and cared for.

This "man" took advantage of her sweet, innocent demeanor. He betrayed her trust, her love and her life. 

Details are sketchy and pure speculation runs rampant I have heard some possible details, but due to the graphic nature of the details I have heard, I will not repeat them here. The only details we need are that a beautiful, innocent girl was killed in cold blood.

Some people may be angry at me for putting out the names. I say it is important to attach names to these crimes and even more important that the victims of these heinous acts are brought to the forefront.

I remember teaching Sammie and her twin sister. Sammie was the quiet, shy one. Her sister was the socialite of the two.

Sammie was sweet, innocent and caring. She would volunteer to help with anything. She was a genuine angel.
She was upgrading some courses at the local high school. No doubt she would go on to do great things. I do not know what her end goal was, I just hope it would have been in the service industry helping others. That is what Sammie did best.

Sadly it seems that her trusting nature would hurt her in the end. 

More often then not, when a person dies from domestic violence, there is a prior history. I hope that every person in an abusive relationship can see how it can end in a horrifying way. 

I want to take this moment to reach out to my current and former students. I want to tell you that no matter how old you are, no matter how long it has been since I taught you, if you are EVER EVER in this situation, if you are EVER EVER thinking of hurting yourself, come to me. I am at the school I will do everything in my power to help you through whatever you are going through. I have seen too many students take their own lives and now I have lived to see a student killed by domestic violence. You are not alone. There are people who can and will help you.

Men and women need to know that love shouldn't hurt. 

In Cold Lake you can contact the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, if you are in a different city or town, seek a shelter or call your local police or RCMP. 

If you know of someone in an abusive relationship, DO NOT turn a blind eye. Help them.

When funeral arrangements are made available for Sammie, I will post them here.

June 17, 2011 an unofficial candlelight gathering will occur at the Brentwood Estates at 9pm.

The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre motto is "Making a difference, 1 violence-free night at a time"
I just wish we could have helped this young lady avoid 1 violence filled night.

Youth & Dating Abuse
(taken from the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre Webpage)
Being a young person today isn't easy. There is home, school and peer pressures. For some young people, relationships with their parents can be annoying or embarrassing at times, but on the whole the relationship is 'normal'. They feel safe and secure at home, and they know their parents will protect them. But for young people who are abused, family life is much different.
If you're being abused or are exposed to family violence, the most important thing to know is you are not alone. You don't deserve to be abused. Family violence is a serious issue; and some forms of abuse can even be criminal. There is help for you and for anyone else who you feel may be abused. There are also things you can do to protect yourself and others who are affected by family violence.
Dating Abuse
Dating can be fun and exciting, but sometimes your relationship can turn into something you aren't comfortable with. Abuse can happen between people who are dating.
Dating abuse can include:
  • Name-calling, hurtful words and other forms of verbal and emotional abuse;
  • Hitting, punching, kicking and other forms of physical abuse;
  • Telling who you can spend time with or how much time you can spend with other people;
  • Controlling behaviours - deciding what you wear, how you can styler your hair, etc.;
  • Threatening to hurt you, destroying your things, and other intimidation tactics; or
  • Touching you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, not listening when you say 'no' or other forms of sexual abuse.
If you are being abused, help is available. Talk to a family member, close friend, teacher or counsellor you trust. You can also learn more about dating abuse.
Dating Safety Tips
  • Consider going on a date with another couple the first few times you go out with someone. This is a good idea until you get to know the person better.
  • Think of different ways to be safe if you find yourself in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation. Make a list of the people you trust who you could talk to if your partner abuses you; friends you can ask to help you stay safe; people you could call for a ride home if you are stranded; places you could go to quickly to escape an abusive person.
  • Before you leave on a date, make sure you know the plans for the date. Tell a friend or family member where you will be, what time they can expect you to be home and how they can reach you (ie: cell phone).
  • Let your date know that you are expected to call or tell someone when you get home.
  • If you leave a party with someone you do not know well, make sure you tell a friend you trust about your plans and the name of the person you are with. Ask a friend to call and make sure you arrive home safely.
  • If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your judgement and reaction time become impaired.

If we can save one person's life, it is worth it.

As of June 17, 2011 - Her boyfriend, Xavier Joseph Gagnon has been listed as a suspect. He is charged with 1st degree murder. Cold Lake Sun Article

RIP Sammie.


The purple ribbon is a symbol of Domestic Violence Awareness


  1. As a friend of Sammie's, I applaud your remembrance of her life. However there has been an outcry by close family and friends to not display details of what happened to her for all the public to see considering it is such a shock to them. She has been been described by all who knew her as a sweetheart and there has been a Facebook memorial started for her.!/home.php?sk=group_227644577263010

  2. I am not sure if you are saying I am putting out details...I clearly state the only important detail is that a young girl was killed in cold blood.

  3. Sammie's service will be held on Sunday June 26 at 2pm at the Cold Lake Baptist Church...also her family has openly invited all who would like to share stories about Sammie to come to the friendship center on Wednesday June 22 at 7pm.

  4. I would believe that if Sammy could help another by talking about what happened to her, then her life would always keep living in some way!!! For the parents and family and friends to know that their lost ones still help someone living is a pretty magnificent thing!!

  5. It has been almost a year and I have never heard any justice from this - has Xavier ever been convicted yet? What is going on with this case?

  6. As someone who met Xavier after this happened domestic violence is awful but also suffering from many mental illnesses is too. You may have known him though school and read the stories but you have absolutely no idea about other facts. It's unfortunate to say that many people mis judged the situation as cold blood. It was much more than just a fight !

    1. You have clearly been deceived.

    2. There is no excuse to take another persons life in cold blood,and then try to justify what he did to Sammy. What he did to Sammy was disgusting and her last moments in life is heart breaking.No body deserves to be taken the way Sammy was taken from us.

  7. Life in prison, with the possibility of parole in 10 years. Not enough in my opinion. There should be no parole oportunities for this sick person. My heart goes out to the family, I have many fond memories and think of her every day.

  8. Life in prison is not enough for what our family has had to endure. Lives have been changed forever because of this,I think of Sammy everyday and miss her beautiful smile.

  9. this is so sad, i wish everyone the best :(

  10. well its been 3 years and the pain from losing my beautiful daughter is still just as horrible as the day it happened. The five wonderful children that are still here with me on this earth some whom are adult now , but still my babies help me to keep it together everyday and i am very grateful to them and all my friends and family

  11. I was wondering if someone can give me an update on Xaviers case pls

  12. I have been looking for info about Xavier for a long time. I was a childhood friend of his through out elementary. I was wondering like the previous comment before me if anyone had any info about his current situation or where I may possibly find out where I can write to him.