Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Terrorism comes home

It's been thirty years or so since there was a coordinated terrorist attack in Canada - the bombing of the Litton plant in Toronto that was making guidance systems for American cruise missiles. Since then, and especially since 9/11, we've kind of hoped and prayed that it wouldn't happen again. Well, it has.

Two days after a soldier was shot and killed and another maimed at Saint Jean sur Richelieu, Corporal Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Hamilton was shot and killed while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. A second shooting then happened inside Parliament, with a gunman firing in rapid succession until the Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Vickers, shot him dead. The gunman was Michael Joseph Hall, also known as Michael Zehaf - Bibeau, and it turns out that 1) his passport was revoked as he was considered a high risk traveller, and 2) the FBI also had him on their watch lists. There is a present a second shooter on the loose. Reports a shooting took place at a nearby mall are, fortunately, false.

On days like this, it's easy to jump to conclusions. I think it will be quite some time before we find out the why.

But all I want to say about this is the following. First, we cannot let fear become the new normal. We have to keep vigilant, but we can't let the fear of something make us do things we would normally do. This is the only way to stay one step ahead of the terrorists - by saying as clearly as we can we won't let them have it their way.

And second, the news that we've had two converts to Islam (or rather what they call Islam but really isn't) is undoubtedly going to cause a wave of violence against Canada's Muslims, just like after 9/11. We can't let this happen either. There is no better time than this for all peace-loving Canadians to stand united. Whatever our political views, we have to say we won't let violence overtake us either.

That's all I have to say, other than that seeing so many news crews at the Armoury here in Hamilton, just a few blocks from where I'm writing this, would be telling. Far more telling, though, are all the flowers in front of the front gate. Out of our grief can come hope for a better tomorrow. That's all we can ask for.