The horrific and public murders of two Canadian servicemen days apart will surely become political fodder for debates about Canada's international and domestic policies and practices concerning terrorism. While these tragedies should indeed stimulate conversation and reflection, they should not be used to stifle debate and facilitate the speedy passing of any counter-terrorism legislation without due scrutiny or a critical eye.
It was strange to receive the news in a country where terror is an every day occurrence, that a deranged jihadist had shed blood on Canadian soil, rampaging through our normally peaceful capital, on the heels of another attack days earlier in Montreal. I knew, too, that the people of Afghanistan would have sound advice to offer Canadians.
Zehaf-Bibeau was driven by "political and ideological motives" in the murder of Cpl. Cirillo. Even before the day was out, our Prime Minister came out and labelled him a terrorist, without truly knowing who he was and why he did what he did. Knowing that Bourque intentionally targeted five Mounties, murdering three in cold blood in June, how come he wasn't (and still hasn't been) vilified as a terrorist?
We should honour the sacrifice of Cpl. Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent by refusing to bestow their attackers with a name that accords them prominence and stature. Let's dial this back several notches and call this phenomenon what it is: violent treason. And the mental health aspect cannot be dismissed. Our focus should be soberly fixed on appropriate security, not obsessing over unstable individuals who are by their nature unpredictable.
Twitter exploded with comments by people wondering how Michael Zehaf-Bibeau could get a gun in Canada. The myth is that private citizens can't own guns. While the country doesn't have something along the lines of a Second Amendment to the Constitution, citizens can own guns. That's because the Canadian system is more about licensing and registration than restriction. And even that's been watered down in the last few years.
Recently, Canada's military has come under deliberate, sustained attack. In fact, our Forces may already have been vanquished. Not by an enemy, but by the nation it defends. Faith in Canada's support is the one thing our Forces absolutely, positively must have to be effective. But that was taken away last year, bringing the days of selflessly charging into danger to a crashing halt.
Like so many others across our country, I was - am - so upset about these tragic events. I am upset that a reservist guarding our nation's war memorial was murdered so callously. I am upset that the building where the legislation that shapes our country has been discussed and debated and passed into law was violated in such a visceral way. I am upset that schools in the area had to put their lockdown skills to good use.
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.
Seventy per cent of illegal ivory ends up in China -- the world's largest ivory consumer, as the insatiable demand for the "white gold" is surging with the growing middle class populous. The root cause of this insane craving for ivory is ignorance. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), more than 70 per cent of Chinese don't realize that elephants are being killed for their ivory.
For those who have not being paying attention, the great Jihad is continuing but with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it has finally shifted into second gear. By now it should be evident to anyone but the most callow and most blinkered of us that there is an ideologically-driven evil loose on the world.
Lone-acting offenders were far more likely to have a history of mental illness than offenders who had been part of a group. Lone-actors with mental illness were also more likely to have a spouse or partner who was part of a larger movement (making them more vulnerable to outside influences) and to have parents who were divorced. Though offenders acting alone are often characterized as being "loners" without any real sources of emotional support, that doesn't appear to be the case.
suffering conjures deep emotional sentiments that can quickly turn to feelings of anger and of retribution. And yet all too often this anger is channeled incorrectly. It's a mistake to think that pro-Palestinian is the antithesis of pro-Israeli. Would the Israelis not wish for a stable, prosperous, and free Gaza territory? Of course they would, because it would bring about a concomitant level of security for both Israel and the people of Gaza. Let's not confuse pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian with anti-Hamas.
There is no fundamental difference between the conflict in Ukraine and that between Israel and Hamas. Each group in question sees itself as having its back to the wall. Each has had the bitter experience of trusting allies who let it down. This does not justify shooting down a plane filled with innocent people, but the fear of destruction that drives people to such exigencies is a terrible thing.