Multiple gunmen stormed a mosque in Quebec city during evening prayers and six people are dead. This is my home. This is my place of birth. I have to look my children in the eyes on Monday morning when I tell them this happened. I have to tell them that people went to a mosque just a few hours away from where we live and were shot while worshiping peacefully.
In a desperate plea to my fellow Americans who remain dogged in their devotion to the Second Amendment, please consider the words of someone worthy of respect -- Jesus Christ: "The law was made to serve man, the man was not made to serve the law." In other words, Jesus is saying that if the law isn't serving us as a society -- we should fix it!
The events in Ottawa on October 22, 2014 shook me and I will always remember the details of when I heard the news. I was standing outside the preschool waiting for my son's teacher to open the door when another parent said, "Oh, it's going to be a bad day..." My gaze rested on the top of my son's head. And then I turned to his Chinese friend, and then his Indian friend, and over to his Caucasian friend. From child to child, my eyes moved, and filled with tears. Please let them always be like this, oblivious to their "differences." Please let this not get ugly for them.
Confronted with the senselessness of this tragedy, and given how many details have yet to emerge, understanding the implications of this horrific act is difficult. But it seems clear that this is more than merely an issue of national security -- it is an issue of national identity. Rarely have Canadians so acutely felt a sense of collective loss. The easy thing to do is to respond to this tragedy with anger, rashness, and xenophobia. Already, some pundits have found a way to politicize these events -- to call for a barricading of public spaces, a reform of the gun registry, and a military presence on the Hill. All of these things may indeed be sorely needed. But they are beside the point.
A young reserve solider was shot and killed in our capital city of Ottawa by a gunman. Most of us are still reeling from this news and trying to make sense of what has happened today. But we also need to respond to our young people and help them understand what has occurred. There is much we will need to understand and process around this horrific event, but here are some tips to help you talk with your children right here and right now.
They were at a cottage. Just two days ago on a crisp September morning. My friend sat on a raft with her 19-month-old little boy. They were cuddling and soaking up the sunshine when she heard a strange noise; her toddler started to shake and wail uncontrollably. When her husband rushed over to them, another shot hit the boat beside them.
I have two boys. They like to turn their fingers into guns, their toast into bayonets and the household firewood into rifles. For a while I was worried that banning guns in the home made them more desirable, like our North American drinking restrictions. But now I think it's simply part of that Y chromosome. So it's up to me as a parent to teach responsibility and empathy.
The Newtown, Connecticut killer is not a Goth. And so I shouldn't even be writing this. The fact that the most media outlets who have run with this are generally tabloids or right-wing is not a surprise. That's what they do best, inflame and demonize. And so they picked up on one comment from one rather dubious source. I have something to say about what happens when you link a criminal, especially a mass murderer, with an entire subculture of people he or she has absolutely nothing to do with. How it not only doesn't help to answer the question "why?", it actually causes more hurt, more harm.