On June 26, 2017, the unthinkable happened to my family. My 25-year old son Ashton James Dickson was shot and killed outside a bar in Ottawa. Ashton was a wonderful man, a superior athlete, and loving friend. He had the highest personal ethics and was loved by everyone who knew him. He stood up for his friends and the underdog. He had a strong sense of integrity and wanted everyone to be treated with kindness and compassion.
Ashton had dreams of playing professional football in the CFL. He was an All Canadian running back with the X-Men at StFX University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, finishing his university career there as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards. The 2017 X-Men season will be dedicated to the memory of Ashton.
He did not deserve to die the way he did. Ashton was left bleeding in the street after an altercation in the bar and sadly succumbed to his injuries. His senseless homicide has left an enormous void in my life. I cannot put into words how my heart aches for my son and for justice. The police have not yet laid charges in my son’s murder, which makes moving forward difficult. The people who did this to Ashton should not be walking free. I fear for the safety of other young people in my community the longer these killers are on the streets.
In order to make meaning of Ashton’s untimely passing and to give back to the Ottawa community, I’ve been working with the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime to address gun violence in Canada’s capital, as Ottawa saw a record number of shootings in 2017 (69 as of December 18, 2017).
I am also working with CRCVC to advocate for a number of measures that will increase safety in bars and restaurants in the downtown core given that binge drinking and being young are factors found to be strongly associated with the risk of violent victimization.
The office is also helping me to start a weekly Support Group meeting for people who have experienced loss due to violence. I am very grateful to this agency and hope you might consider supporting their important work with victims and survivors.