Canadian Character & Community

Light-hearted discourse might be what we'd like to see pop up on the paper as my fingers work the keyboard however my heart is heavy from the events of the week and light-hearted won't cut it.  Some may wish that the news would pick up a new disaster so we could all pretend that the events were isolated and will never happen again.  We know, that inevitably the radio and TV news will switch their focus and social media will latch onto another cause or disaster; it is only a matter of time.

Investigations will unfold over time to discover 'what went wrong' when a young man took an innocent stranger's life on Parliament Hill, shot his way through the Parliament buildings, and became a casualty himself.  Slowly the peripheral noise will die down.  All the ridiculous questions that reporters ask people who are caught in the midst of disaster will cease.  The phone-in talk shows will move along to a new topic; and where will we be?

Will we be in a better position to understand and address the sadness and brokenness that causes individual's to lose their moorings and become a casualty?  Or will we simply have a report that advocates more armed presence, less public access to Canadian buildings of import, more civilian surveillance, and less freedom?  The choice is ours as Canadians, it does not lie in the hands of our government.  The choice lies in our actions, in our character, in our communities.  

Canadians interact in their daily lives with those who are on the periphery, who have been harmed, who are lost, or whose spirits are being destroyed.  Those on the periphery are at greatest risk of becoming casualties, of creating mayhem, and they are in our communities.  Webster's dictionary describes a casualty as one who is "harmed, lost, or destroyed."  I suggest, that everyday Canadians and the communities they form, are the best and first line of defense.  We form the communities that at-risk-individuals need to be part of, to be loved within, to be cared for by.  When  humans are enfolded in community we have much better odds of avoiding harm, loss, and destructive behavior.  With strength of character, let's stand shoulder to shoulder to prevent the risk of more casualties in our community.

Let's take a page from the playbook on Canadians of character.  Stand in unity as they did in Cold Lake helping their fellow Muslim Canadians clean hateful graffiti off the mosque walls.  Volunteer in your community helping those who are marginalized and vulnerable.  Keep top of mind the image of our parliamentarians striding purposefully back to their work the day after, setting aside partisan differences and demonstrating appreciation of one another.

Be the Canada we need right now full of Canadians of character, creating communities of strength, refusing to let those in our communities become casualties capable of triggering further tragedy.