Armed RCMP officers head towards the Langevin Block on Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014. A Canadian soldier was shot at the Canadian War Memorial and a shooter was seen running towards the nearby parliament buildings, where more shots were fired, according to media and eyewitness reports. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)
The shootings in Ottawa Canada this week illustrate that nobody is immune from the reach of global terrorism especially as jihadism is “outsourced” via internet and social media chat rooms. Like it not we live in a global village.
My "CC" sent me an article which details even more horrific "gun violence" incidents in a nation like the US where guns are part of the culture and ironically where the current government has relaxed gun laws!
But the attacks in front of Canada’s War Memorial and within the chambers of her Parliament when Prime Minister Harper and MPs were meeting in their party caucuses suggests the “targets” were chosen to make an ideological point.
On 9/11 the World Trade Center was a symbol of US economic hegemony, the Pentagon military hegemony and Capital Hill the power center saved by heroic passengers. Never mind those killed were innocent victims of Islam turned into ideology.
Events like this in Canada, as in the US, will spur debate about guns and how we balance freedom vs. security in the age of terrorism.
Such events may even rachet up the debate over the national security state on both sides of the US/Canadian border even more? Given the ubiquitous reality of data mining by government and business will this increase Big Brother's role in our lives?
In this latter case my "CC" forwarded me a missive which raises the paranoia level in an oddly ahistorical context. Critics on the Left often don't distinguish between Bush I and Obama - they in fact conflate them (see more in "Comments" section).
Some will assert that if we quit “meddling” in other people’s countries – the terrorists wouldn’t bother us. Sounds reasonable enough at first but if that’s true why does ISIS target the innocent in its emerging Caliphate?
The historic origins of modern terrorism go back to the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. The point of terrorism is to strike fear into the hearts of the average citizen to bring down the power structure of the “evil empire.”
The terrorist’s goal is to tear down the nation-state by re-creating a Hobbes-like state of nature while substituting the state with their dystopian vision of paradise by subjecting humanity to a “war of all against all.”
The terrorist is not a rational actor as game theorists assume – quite the contrary. Like the plotters of the Oklahoma bombing of the federal building they are so alienated that they prey upon the innocent.
The terrorist’s furtive imagination conjures up an “enemy” then strikes out. In the USA the KKK terrorists hated Blacks, Jews, Catholics and Commies. So they targeted such people. Jihadists are caught between the old order and modernity.
Todays terrorists strike out against symbols of modernity – and Western society’s have given them many targets from the days of European colonialism to Pax Americana – US economic and military hegemony in the post Cold War era.
But the events in Canada illustrate the trip wire of the terrorist mind is not deep but reactive. A war memorial or parliament building become targets. It makes me pause about the risk factors of driving to the Puzzle Palace in Salem…
Life must go on. But we can’t afford to put our heads in the sand and assume if we’d just leave ‘em alone, they’d leave us alone. Despite Eric Snowden’s conjuring the demons of the NSA while he sits in Putin’s safe haven – we live in a global village.
There is no safe haven largely because “the other” be it people like you or me living abroad or “the other” immigrants living in the USA, Europe or Canada occupy the same spaces.
Fortunately for most of us the risk of being a victim of terrorism is the same as getting Ebola – it’s much riskier just walking across the street to get a latte at one’s favorite java joint here in the Grove or in Portlandia.
As they say in golf – stay in the moment and hope for the best! I don’t want to live in a gated nation or play golf anywhere where I have to go through a security check. But alas one never knows, does one as Ottawa found out on Wednesday.
As I told Pacific students on 9/11 “your days of innocence are forever lost.” It’s time we understood our impact on other people but the same holds true for the “other” as well – we all inhabit the same small thing called spaceship earth…
Things wouldn’t be so messy had four things happened in the USA in 2000 – had Al Gore been a better debater, had Nader not taken 90,000 votes in Florida, had the Supremes not stolen Gore’s victory and had Dubya not been POTUS.
When I come home from playing golf my wife asks “how I did” – my response is the classic “if only….” On a larger scale I take consolation from the words of a young girl at the beginning of a life cut short by the “terrorists” of her day.
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”