As soldiers stand on guard for Canada, so should we all.
Nearly lost in all the post-federal election hubbub was the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Corporal Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa as he stood guard at the National War Memorial, across the street from the House of Commons.
It’s not a happy anniversary. It marks a moment in this country where an armed man took a life and nearly did the same inside of our nation’s seat of government.
Yet, it’s an anniversary that should be marked in at least a small way and for at least two reasons.
The first, of course, is for the young man who was killed.
He certainly did not expect to face his own mortality within Canada’s borders — although soldiers know that their very profession puts them in harm’s way. His death was shocking to most Canadians, as this type of incident is not a regular occurrence — compared with the sheer number of mass or single shootings in the United States.
That’s the second reason to note the Oct. 22 anniversary. To realize that gun violence is not a major contributor to fear in Canada — and to not let it become so.
Violence in general is a part of life in one form or another and it’s best that we do not forget the risks. Society can mitigate them and we can take personal steps to be better people and to not succumb to violence. But we also have to be realistic.
We are not going to stop all violent acts. At this point in time, it’s just not possible. If we accept this, and live as well as we can, the amount of violent incidents in Canada can stay relatively low and we do not have to live in fear.
If we did that, we’d never want to step outside our homes. Even then, we’d find something else to be scared of.
Remember Nathan Cirillo. Incidents like these spur Canadians to improve our lot in life, not seek to escalate violence or retaliation for the things we just cannot control.