Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ottawa shooting: Making sense of that which makes no sense

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"
Fred Rogers
I've got to hand it to Mr. Rogers, as he always had a way of cutting big stuff down to size and restoring that sense of comfort that seemed to insulate my childhood from the nastiness just outside. Every time something would threaten that delightful cocoon, a little time with him - well, his televised persona - seemed to fix whatever had caused that breach to occur.

Today, these are just words. They do nothing to fix what happened in our nation's capital today. They don't bring back the life of a Canadian soldier, Nathan Cirillo, shot in cold blood as he stood guard at the National War Memorial. They don't undo images of police sweeping through our House of Parliament as deafening gunshots ring out - the police bravely continuing into harm's way, the journalist bravely continuing to shoot the surreal scene.

This is not the Canada I know. Things like this aren't supposed to happen here. Yet, now, they do. And we are forever changed because of it.

Maybe the blissful sense of contentedness that marked my childhood and seemed to extend into my very Canadian adulthood is no longer as blissfully content as it once was. Maybe the outside world - of terrorists, of those who wish us ill because of who we are, of those to whom freedom is something to be hated and forcibly taken away from others instead of protected and aspired to - leaked in today, and we'll never fully sweep it back from where it first came.

But I'll go back to the inimitable words of Mr. Rogers, because there always has to be hope. And despite the growing threat to our sacrosanct freedoms posed by those who seem to play by their own murderous, life-hating rules, tonight I'll tell my kids that they should always look for those who help. And to fashion their own lives so that they, too, will become those individuals who seek to become those helpers, running toward peril, when everyone else would be running for safety.


I'll be talking live with NewsTalk 1010 Toronto's John Moore tomorrow (Thursday morning) at 6:40 a.m. Topic: Technology's role in the events of today, and whether online tools like Google Maps (here's an interactive map of every building on Parliament Hill) made it easy for the gunman.


Cloudia said...

Carmi - I cited the SAME quote in my note to another Canadian friend today.

"Maybe they hate me
because I'm too good."

"I've never tried to hide the fact
that it is my intention
to become the best."
Cristiano Ronaldo

Canada IS the Best
because Canadians
are great people!

We Stand With You
A L W A Y S!

Fondly, cloudia

Hilary said...

Well said, Carmi. It's been a heartbreaking day.

R.I.P. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo

Unknown said...

Your childhood and mine, Carmi, bear many similarities. Our society has changed drastically. I'm very saddened by this senseless violence. My thoughts and prayers are with Nathan Cirillo and his family tonight.

Tabor said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Americans are used to being hated and we slowly accept that we are vulnerable, but Canadians have felt they were "above" the fray. Evil gets in everywhere and it takes all hostages. I have faith that we will win this nasty war eventually.

21 Wits said...

Perfect post Carmi, very well put. Speaking of one of my beloved memories as well. Dear Mr. Rogers- I fear our world began it's spiral as far back (long before our days) as the day when folks began making light, (some still do) and so much fun of (ill thoughts) of Mr. Rogers, as well as of that adorable purple Barney. The very day we let lack of empathy prevail we were doomed. God Bless that soldier's family and all the other soldiers everywhere.

messymimi said...

My heart hurts for Canada, and you are in my prayers.

Rosaria Williams said...

I came from Hillary. Well put. These horrific acts can happen anywhere.