In the aftermath of the Ottawa shootings, the fear level will grow. The loss of two young lives, one aligned culturally and one counter culture is an absolute shame. Each was brought to a circumstance by different paths, one can deliberate of their respective paths, what is unequivocal however, is that their deaths came from a conflict larger than themselves. It is important however, to bring the loss of these two young men into perspective in the context of governance, policy and real threat. While there is no means by which to value their loss, there is a means to ground ourselves in reality so that the sentiment from their loss will be directed appropriately and proportionately.
To offer context, last year, direct deaths attributable to terrorist attacks ZERO, deaths attributable to preventable medical accidents 10, 000. Where, then, should the focus of legislators be and where is it now? It was reported that 3,000 people died in attacks related to 911, that same year in the USA, 100, 000 people died from preventable medical accidents – where did legislators focus their attention. It was reported that due to the fear of flying post 911 there was an incremental increase in deaths related to car accidents that exceeded deaths attributable to 911. Due to the events around 911, there was an assault launched on civil liberties at a scale that would never have been permitted absent the skewed sense of risk projected by 911, as it was portrayed by media and government. The United States Constitution is a beautiful document that should be held up as the preeminent example of freedom governance, post 911 there was an unprecedented incursion on the spirit of the document and by extension the American way of life. We need to be cognizant of what transpired south of our boarder, and bring the rational mind to the challenge, or we too will forfeit hard-won freedoms given to us by preceding generations to protect.
There is talk of preemptive justice, the capacity for state intervention when someone is “thinking about doing something”. We have as the most basic right, as a fundamental legal tenet the presumption of innocence and for our rightful state of liberty to be interrupted, the state must prove wrong doing. There is no room here for preemptive justice, the notion is oxymoronic. It is the case now, if the state can prove intent to harm, the state can intervene. We have the means by which to counter terrorism, it is a matter of directing them correctly. In the event of a serious domestic or international event, we have the War Measures Act. Watch closely how our government responds to this, it is easy, especially in the face of a direct threat, for legislators to go too far and jeopardize our rights and freedoms.