A nation is still healing in the tragic aftermath of last week’s terrorist attack on Parliament Hill that left Canadian Forces member Cpl. Nathan Cirillo dead and others wounded in trying to apprehend shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau before he was shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.
The blow-by-blow details of a 30-bullet-plus shootout are splashed everywhere in simple Google searches and repercussions will be long lasting. House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer has called for a review on the attack on Parliament Hill as people scream for answers on how a gunman could get so close to the symbol of our democracy.
It comes on the heels of extremist Martin Rouleau running down in a car, one soldier and injured another in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que. before he was shot dead. The radical convert had been under watch by the RCMP and had his passport seized when he tried to fly to Turkey this past summer to join ISIS — just as Zehaf Bibeau’s travel documents had been revoked.
Response has been all over the board, but a most disturbing joke image found on Facebook was someone welcoming a Muslim to the neighbourhood with a ‘house-warming party’ by committing arson and burning their house down. It is the type of knee-jerk reaction of hysteria us as media are guilty of perpetrating with our flowery prose painting the grimmest of pictures. And it is the type of knee-jerk reaction that whatever flavour-of-the-month terrorist group that is out there be it the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) or some other faction that preys on the disenfranchised to join its ranks, wants us to have. Although Bibeau has been found not to have any direct links to these groups.
As thousands are slaughtered abroad in the name of ethnic genocide, it is this one singular act that has some calling for armed guards in every classroom, zero immigration for those of certain ethnic backgrounds and distrust of anyone that is not like us.
If every Muslim truly felt the way these radical groups feel about the West, we are certainly in trouble, given they make up nearly a quarter of the world’s population given a recent count this decade.
Having those many in the ranks, there likely would have been a more co-ordinated attack on the symbol of our democracy than one lone gunman with a rifle that seemed to have no rhyme or reason to his methodology in its randomness other than being a malcontent with a petty crime rap sheet, looking for a group that hates as much as he did.
Keep the power with us in our way of life and do not let the extremist few lessen our spirits. It would be exactly what the oppressive, extremist factions would want for us. Canada has an international reputation as one of the most beloved nations in the world given our laid-back, non-assuming and welcoming ways.
Now is not the time to go against the traits that make this nation great.
Say a prayer for the fallen or injured in these attacks to whatever God you may worship. Have a quiet moment of reflection for the fallen or injured in these attacks to whatever God you do not worship.
Take stock political leaders of whatever security gaps there may have been that week on Parliament Hill and fill them…but do not make a mountain out of a mole hill as you fill those gaps and make us into a military state. Shooter Zehaf-Bibeau had been reading posts from a Canadian jihadist. Does that mean any media outlet or Canadian citizen who does Google searches to learn more about terrorist groups will be red flagged in this heightened sense of panic?
Keep closer tabs on the estimated 90 ‘potential’ terrorists in our midst of a nation of 35-plus million that live in the country. That does not mean strip the liberties of the 35 other million that truly love the Maple Leaf.
Keep that head up and say a cheerful ‘good morning’ to the complete stranger you meet on your walk. Pay for that Double Double for the driver behind you in the Tim Hortons drive-thru. Hug your child and make time for your family and friends in this thing we call life.
For in the end no amount of bullet fire, beheadings, panic and hysteria will take way what makes us who we are and compassionate — the human spirit.
We cannot and will not let terror make us live in a constant state of fear. For if we do then the life of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and the brave soldiers’ souls he looked after guarding the National War Memorial would have died for nothing. For if our spirits are not free to do the things we love — what exactly are we living for?