In order to put the shooting in Ottawa behind us, as Canadians, we need to stop bullshitting ourselves
The Ottawa shooting last week, which saw a crazy Canadian born jihadist shoot and kill Cpl. Nathan Cirillo before being shot himself inside parliament, is not the national tragedy our media and politicians are making it out to be.
First off I should state that the murder of anyone, let alone a man sworn to protect our country, is obviously heart-breaking. It is always tragic for the family and friends of the deceased. And it’s a shame the twisted ideology of one man can cause such pain and suffering.
That being said, I believe the media and powers that be have been exploiting the Ottawa shooting for ratings and their own agenda. No one benefits more from fear than our increasingly Americanized media and Conservative Government.
As Canadians, we need to be honest and stop bullshitting ourselves if we are to truly get past what transpired in Ottawa. The first thing we need to do is think for ourselves and not rely on our media and political leaders to do our thinking for us.
The Ottawa shooting, while itself tragic, is not a national tragedy. It was not the Canadian “9/11” that some people are making it out to be. A national tragedy affects the population as a whole, like our national healthcare being defunded, a multiple bombing in different cities or a Prime Minister being assassinated. In this case, a national tragedy was averted. At the same time, believe it or not, it can be seen as a national victory.
The gunman had a lever-action Winchester Model 94 (as in 1894) Rifle with a max capacity of eight rounds that had to be reloaded bullet by bullet (which he never had the chance to do). With a criminal record, the gunman had to have obtained the gun illegally.
Without Canada’s tough gun laws, it is far more likely the killer could have gotten his hands on an assault rifle with a large clip size, making the situation much worse and potentially more deadly. The small capacity rifle forced him to choose his targets instead of targeting everyone. The Ottawa shooting can therefore be seen as a victory for Canada’s gun laws and security.
The over-hyped and sensationalized coverage of the Ottawa shooting can be very dangerous to Canadians, even more dangerous than so called terrorists themselves. It can give our politicians the political support they need to change our laws and restrict our freedom in the name of security. As a Canadian, I have no desire to live in a security state.
Following the attack, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said a few things that made my blood boil. His speech had a clear agenda and it was taken out of George W. Bush’s playbook. Hawkish Harper was quick to refer to the shooting as a terrorist act saying “this week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.”
The attack barely fits the mold of terrorism when you compare it to other terrible events that have taken place in Canada recently. The conservative extremist who shot five, and killed three RCMP officers in New Brunswick earlier this year wasn’t branded a terrorist by the Harper government. It was in fact more deadly and the thirty hour manhunt that followed his spree was arguably more terrifying.
Harper continued: “We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians, as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.”
Uh, no. An attack on a government institution is usually in response to a government’s policies, not the values of the people they govern. In this case it could be for joining the bombing of ISIS in Iraq, absolute support for Israel’s policies, you name it, we may never know. Canada has never been the peaceful country we all claim it be.
The text of his speech that angered me the most was the following: “We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated. In fact this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts, and those of our national security agencies, to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats, and keep Canada safe here at home. Just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world, and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores. They will have no safe haven”
The contradictions and agenda driven language couldn’t be clearer. We will not be intimidated? I know I’m not intimidated, I wasn’t even shocked at what happened. Stephen Harper’s language on the other hand suggests that he is.
When someone isn’t intimidated, they don’t overreact. Redoubling our efforts, taking all necessary steps, strengthening national security, those are the words of someone who is intimidated. It was one man acting alone with an old rifle. A lock on the door of parliament would have been enough.
Harper, who wanted troops in Iraq before he was even Prime Minister, is also telling us that the actions of one deranged man is forcing Canada into redoubling our efforts abroad. If we aren’t intimidated, why is he suggesting that we need to send more planes and personnel to fight ISIS? And how exactly would that make us safer at home?
Canadians need to take a serious, honest look at what transpired this past week in both Ontario and Quebec and realize one thing. Yes, there are people out there who want to hurt us, but there always has been and there always will be. We can’t allow it to change us.
The Conservative government is expected to give police and spies new tools to fight terrorism this coming week. One thing being hinting at (among others) are more powers being needed to make pre-emptive arrests. And so begins the slippery slope.
The point I’m trying to make here is that we shouldn’t allow the violent acts of one man dictate our foreign and domestic policy (we elected Harper for that). Especially less than a week after it happened. Keep calm, turn off CNN and CTV and wait to see if the real national tragedy unfolds within our government.