Today, something terrible happened to a man, his family, and our country. A Canadian Reservist was shot to death at the foot of the National War Memorial on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It feels like we have seen so much loss lately. Loss of our heroes. And now, with this last tragic shooting, and one that was so violent and brazen, one that was obviously meant to send a message, I wonder too, like so many, if this will change Canada forever.
I don’t need to talk about the details – we have all seen the news. I don’t want to talk about it at all. Everyone is already talking about it, in that post-traumatic-event frenzied way. You know – when people sound almost too excited about the news, no matter how tragic? Even my seven-year-old came home from school and had heard about it. His teacher just couldn’t help herself and decided to enlighten the whole class of 2nd graders. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe she thought she had to, or maybe she just wanted to talk about it.
Speculation, fears, understandable sadness, disgust, and dismay. It’s all happening again, right now.
I have spent the day trying to pick some flowers out of the rubble.
I am just so exhausted with the bad news, as I’m sure most of you are in the face of yet another violent shooting. I can barely breath when I see photos of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, hugging his dog. And as I push back another tear for someone I don’t know, I search for hope. If you work at it, it is possible to have hope and be brave, even when things are so, so scary. But we have to choose to be brave. We have to choose to turn away from the frenzy. To not get angry, but instead get stronger. To not pass judgement, but to move forward with kindness and compassion…and grace.
I heard a reporter on the radio ask the question “What now?”
Col. Chris Hadfield posted a pretty good answer to this on Facebook today:
“The violence of the past three days sickens and angers me. I commend the bravery of those who faced the danger.
Please all console a neighbour, and look for ways to renew your efforts towards creating a strong and supportive community.”
Console a neighbour. Renew your efforts towards creating community! Wow. What fantastic advise. We shouldn’t spend our energy being angry, afraid or gossiping about what has happened. Rather we need to go out, build community, and strengthen our nation at a grass-roots level.
Know your neighbours, show love, and most importantly shut out the darkness with light. By your actions, tell those who think it’s okay to prey on our heroes that they are bullies who will never win. Replace love where there is hate, and we have already won. No matter what may come. Be a helper. Comfort a neighbour. Be brave.
I send my deepest condolences and prayers to the family, friends, and dog of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.