A Mount Allison alumnus is partially paralyzed, a man is charged with attempted murder, and LGBTQ activists are choosing their words carefully after a stabbing just under two weeks ago.
Scott Jones, who graduated from Mt. A in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music, was stabbed in the early hours of October 12 outside a New Glasgow bar. Jones’ throat was superficially slit and his spinal cord severed after he was stabbed twice, leaving him paralyzed at the waist.
Media have made much of the allegations by Jones’ family and friends that he was stabbed because he was gay.
New Glasgow Regional Police have told media that evidence does not suggest a hate crime was committed. The investigation is ongoing.
LGBTQ advocates in both Sackville and Nova Scotia expressed hope that Jones’ stabbing was not motivated by his sexual orientation.
“Based on the investigation of the stabbing, it seems that there is still debate over the perpetrator’s motivation. We sincerely hope that it was not based on his sexuality, as we like to hope that gay bashing is becoming a thing of the past.
“While we await discovering the motivations of his attacker, we are keeping Scott, his family, and his friends in our thoughts. We wish that regardless of his sexual orientation, people feel safe to be out in Sackville and other similar communities and that this incredibly distressing event does not affect people’s security,” read a statement from Catalyst, Mt. A’s queer-straight alliance, in response to The Argosy’s request for comment.
The Halifax-based Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project stopped just short of calling it as much in an October 15 press release, but called for police to “look at the possibility that [Jones’ stabbing] is a hate crime.”
“Our community takes incidents like this as a serious reminder that homophobia and transphobic hate is still out there,” the release quoted spokesperson Kevin Kindred as saying. “We know that these attacks send ripples through the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.”
The advocacy group pledged to support Jones, regardless of whether the attack was motivated by his sexual orientation.
While Mt. A has not issued a press release on Jones’ stabbing, the university is using its alumni Facebook page to circulate information about the incident. The university has posted two links so far: one linked to a CBC news article, the other to a fundraising website set up to help Jones with his expenses. The posts sit adjacent to an image of a pride flag being raised over campus, taken during Mt. A’s pride week this year.
Jones’ alleged assailant, Shane Edward Matheson of Trenton, Nova Scotia, will appear in Pictou provincial court for a bail hearing on October 31, and will remain in custody until then. Matheson faces three charges related to the incident: attempted murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a weapon.
Matheson was also charged with assault with a weapon relating to an alleged incident earlier the same evening.