I learned of some heart breaking news today through Facebook. Canada, my home country known for peace and one of the most peaceful nations in the world to live in, was shocked by the senseless act of a gunman.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian born in 1982 according to news sources, had killed reservist, Corporal Nathan Cirillo during a shooting rampage at the National War Monument in my nation’s capital.
Armed with a rifle, he killed Corporal Cirillo before hijacking a car and heading to Parliament Hill, where he allegedly released between 20 to 30 rounds before he was killed by Parliament Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.
Vickers is being hailed as a hero for putting his own life on the line and protecting the government officials in the building.
We’re not gonna let punks, or crazies, or terrorists, take us down. Not gonna happen.
Following the shooting, NDP Member of Parliament Charlie Angus told American media outlet Fox News that Canadians would not be intimidated by acts of terrorism.
“We’re not gonna let punks, or crazies, or terrorists, take us down. Not gonna happen,” said Angus.
How did the Gunman Walk into Parliament?
That was the question American media outlets asked of Canada.
How can a place that houses our highest level of government, where decisions affecting every Canadian is made, be so open?
Our security is quite relaxed only because we have such great citizens. We live in such a peaceful country that such acts aren’t given much thought.
Parliament Hill is not a fortress because it belongs to each and every one of us Canadians. We have some freedom to enter and exit. To be inspired by the building and the stories of the people who helped build our nation.
“I think we also have to ensure that we don’t turn Parliament Hill into a fortress because that would send a signal that the terrorists and those who want to do harm to our system of government and way of life have won,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau also felt the same way.
“[Criminals] do not get to decide how we use our shared public places,” Trudeau said.
Was it Terrorism?
While terrorism hasn’t been confirmed, it did come on the heels of another attack on two Canadian Forces soldiers in Quebec on October 20, two days prior to this incident. A radicalized muslim convert, 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau, drove a car into the soldiers before being shot and killed himself.
Before we jump to conclusions and let our prejudices run wild, do consider this quote from NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
“We woke up this morning in a country blessed by love, diversity and peace,” Mulcair said in a televised statement immediately following Harper’s.
“And tomorrow we will do the same. These acts were driven by hatred but also designed to drive us to hate. They will not. We will stand up and we will stand together.”
Though ISIS had tweeted a photo of the shooter claiming credit for the incident, the Toronto Star reports that Zehaf-Bibeau had a long history of run ins with the law.
Looking deeper into that past, it would seem that even if he was acting on behalf of ISIS, it is clear that it wasn’t because he was a good Muslim disenfranchised by his Canadian roots.
Instead the situation with ISIS provided him with an excuse to express his violent tendencies.
Salute to Cpl. Cirillo and Kevin Vickers
My condolences to the family and friends of Cpl. Cirillo for his sacrifice and salute to Kevin Vickers for his heroic act!
On Sunday, we asked a very handsome guard for a picture with my friend visiting from Cali – RIP Nathan Cirillo pic.twitter.com/q80EZ6nwmo
— Megan Underwood (@megunder) October 22, 2014
I’m happy and proud to hold a Canadian Passport as I travel around, knowing that the sacrifices of our troops and general security of our nation allows Canadians to be welcomed with open arms at most borders. For that I’m grateful!
You can read more about the hero, Kevin Vickers.
You can also watch a video of the attack on YouTube. The sound of the bullets echoing through Parliament Hill is deafening!