Well, if we didn’t believe we here in Canada could be the targets of terrorist attacks, we know better now.
In the past three days, we have seen two attacks on Canadian soldiers. First, Martin Courture-Rouleau ran down two Canadian Forces soldiers with his car in Quebec. Police have subsequently confirmed the 25-year-old “radicalized” Quebec man was one of 90 suspected extremists in Canada on their radar.
Today, we are in shock with the news that a supposedly “lone-wolf” shooter, identified as 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24. He was serving at a ceremonial post at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa. The gunman then fled for Parliament Hill, where he unleashed more gunfire inside the Centre Block, where he was killed.
The question from those analyzing these killings: Could the police have done more? Especially in the first case, where the police had Couture-Roleau on their radar. Couldn’t they have kept him under surveillance? Or arrested him? The government had pulled the passports of these men, so surely they knew there was some possibility. If he and others are on a list of suspected terrorists, aren’t they just accidents waiting to happen?
The answer? Yes, and no. Yes, these people, and probably others, are a threat. But only if they “act out” their evil ideology of murdering people to threaten a society they hate.
For our own sanity and peace, we need to stop expecting to be able to anticipate any and every eventuality. That does not mean we do not observe, take note and use precautions, even extreme ones. But the reality is, we do not know what is going to happen. The perpetrators have that advantage, the element of surprise. The ability to attack when they will. It has happened again, and will always be the case.
The same rule applies to our own lives. Repeating “if only” will not help, though we may believe we could have done something or said something. Understanding our limits means being at peace with our inability to predict what will happen.
© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014
“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press.