Thursday, 23 October 2014

More Post-Shooting Thoughts

First of all, everyone in my family is okay.  We all got home safe and sound.

But not everyone's family was so lucky.  My thoughts and wishes go out to the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was shot as he stood guard over the tomb of the unknown soldier.

The guard at the tomb was put in a few years ago when drunken idiots decided to urinate on the tomb.  To prevent further disrespect, a guard was assigned around Remembrance Day and Hallowe'en. 

The papers are identifying the shooter as a radicalized Islamic convert.  Personally, I have a problem assigning a religious identification to people who misuse doctrine as an excuse to justify their own violent leanings.  So my thoughts also go out to all Muslims who are once again being tainted by the actions of a few people who completely missed the point of faith.

Yesterday afternoon I did a lot of thinking about what I should tell my children about the shootings.  People need to talk to make sense of what happened.  We need to frame things in the context of a story and to do that, we tell it to each other over and over again.  So they will likely overhear things in the next few days.  People will even likely talk to them directly.

Alex will not care or recognize what happened.  He has a great deal of difficulty understanding the concept of the past, especially when it comes to things which didn't happen to him directly.  However, he probably will pick up on other people's upset and so I'll be watching him for signs that he's become unsettled.

Nathan is too young to understand directly but since he may become aware, I've tried my best to explain in simple terms.  I've told him that the adults may be sad today because someone got hurt by a bad guy yesterday.  But the police stopped the bad guy and he's not going to hurt anyone else ever again.  I've told him that people may be saying all sorts of things today because they're sad or afraid.  Some of it may be true but some of it will probably be wrong.  So he should come and talk to me if someone says something which makes him feel afraid or upset.

We had my father over for dinner last night.  He works downtown at the Department of National Defence, so things were very stressful for him yesterday.  My mother is currently away and I think he needed to be with family for awhile.  To get back in touch with the everyday world again and put yesterday in its proper context of a horrible exception.

It will likely be weeks or months before we understand just who and what was involved in this awful plan.  There will be much speculation and pointing of fingers, attempts to use it for political and personal profit, fear will be generated and we're all going to be much more nervous around loud bangs for awhile.

But in the end, I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that this was not a typical experience, that the shooter is not representative of any of the groups he claimed and that someone lost their life in what should have been a post of honour. 

Tonight I will be lighting a candle to honour the sacrifice of Corporal Cirillo.  He should not have died and it is a tragedy.  But it would be a worse tragedy if it spurred more hatred and violence instead of bringing us all together in mutual mourning.

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