July 21, 2018

A Short Reflection on the Week that Was

Nathan CirilloCanada, or at least its institutions were attacked this week.  In two separate incidents two soldiers were killed.  One of them Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was from my home town and was a friend of a friend. Although my son didn’t know him, they did have a number of mutual friends.

My facebook feed is filled with thought and comments (mostly good) by friends who have been affected by this tragedy.  One commented that 10/22 has become Canada’s 9/11.  It is the date on which we were attacked within our own country.  Another commented that both attackers were known to have a history of mental illness, and that maybe the debate should not be about Canadian security, but about the lack of treatment for mental illness in Canada.

There will be an inevitable over reaction to this over the next days, weeks, months, and possibly years.  As for me, I am filled with great sadness over this and similar events.

My grandfather served in the military.  So did my father.  I have as well, in sister units to the unit of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.   I don’t see a military solution.  Instead, I long for the return of the Prince of Peace to put an end to all war.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo leaves behind a young son.  I pray for him and for all others who are grieving at this time.


  1. Mike the Geologist says:

    No military solution. This.

  2. Instead, I long for the return of the Prince of Peace to put an end to all war………..+My heart too

    Are enemies are not flesh and blood. It might be me and in a way a question but I wonder why we are so important that these beings would so much need our worship. I wonder why we are so important to want to steal what little we seem to have. Other than the ability to love and hate we are seemingly powerless on our own.

    Involved in some cosmic struggle that I never wanted from the beginning. My beginning, yet there is no choice because if I just lay there in the fox hole refusing to fight the enemy roles over me anyways. I Have been rolled over.
    If I lay there in the fox hole I am loved anyways and I am not staying here. If I enter into rest and assurance of I am because of the I am then I have no need to fight anymore. I am just thinking and writing as I move through this.

    I think I’ll choose life. The one that can’t be taken from me along with the love that made the way.

    • I have no title it just came out. Make one for your own

      In the assurance of the great I am
      There is a place waiting for me
      Led here by the hold on my hand
      I am given it and I’m free

      Free to be with no need to fight
      The very thing I wanted from the first
      I stand within this glorious light
      Love has quenched my long dry thirst

      Do you think the tears that wet my pillow
      Have they gone unanswered for so long
      The storms that bend the bowing willow
      Whistle out the majesty of Your song

      Many troubles these eyes have seen
      Tears that fell only You know the count
      The horrible stench of where I’ve been
      It was what you conquered on that mount

      I love you Lord with all I am
      My heart pours out to you in song
      For now I know with You I can
      You were right here all along

  3. Canada’s 9/11? No, just one more example of an unbalanced person who was triggered into violence by a particular religion. It is sad all around. Sad for the soldiers killed, sad for their families, sad for the attacker’s family who expressed horror over their son’s act, and sad for the country of Canada.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to all involved…

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

      Yeah, that was more than a little insulting. But I’m not sure this person was triggered into violence by any religion. I rather suspect that unhinged lunatics select reinforcement paradigms (religious or otherwise) that support their latent tendencies.

      • Agreed. Moslems I know are uniformly appalled by the terrorism in NAmerica and everywhere, which does not grow out of their religion. Islam is a religion of peace, like Christianity. But there will always be unhinged people driven by shame, fear, poverty and powerlessness (not to mention mental illness…) who will use any excuse they can to express their anger. Religion (of whatever brand) being a convenient ultimate excuse. The Spanish Inquisition and the 30-years’ War were both grounded in Christianity, remember, just like ISIS and Al Queda claim to be grounded in Islam. Not really…

        • Christiane says:

          I have similar experience with Muslims that I know. They are appalled by the violence and consider ISIS to be a rogue group of extremists who have departed from the peaceful faith of Islam. I have great sympathy for my acquaintances’ concerns and fears for what the future may bring.

          I am fearful of the new attitude among many right-wing folks who label whole groups by the actions of some extremists. I am fearful for the children of American Muslim people who attend public schools with other children who are being brought up to hate them for their religion and their heritage. It is said ‘never again’ by the survivors of the Holocaust, and they work for the end of intolerance towards all minorities and faiths and races. Is it too great to ask us when we are under attack by ISIS not to become like ISIS? Maybe the way they want to destroy us is to make us be as violent to innocent Muslims as they are? Yes, they victimize those of the Islamic faith who do not share their extremism.

          This is a time to remember what hatred can do when a country allows it free reign against innocent people.
          This is a time to protect our own from harm. And that means we also must find a way to shield our law-abiding Muslim American people from harm. We, in this country once imprisoned thousands of Japanese-Americans in ‘camps’ unfairly, out of fear. We have a history of this kind of behavior. I hope this time round, we don’t inflict unfair treatment on another entire ethnic group that has found a home in our land. I hope for the best. If we turn on our own, we are copying ISIS. We are way, way better than that.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            It is said ‘never again’ by the survivors of the Holocaust, and they work for the end of intolerance towards all minorities and faiths and races. Is it too great to ask us when we are under attack by ISIS not to become like ISIS?

            What happens when “NEVER AGAIN!” becomes “BECAUSE NEXT TIME WE’LL DO IT TO THEM BEFORE THEY CAN DO IT TO US!”?

            Fictional example: Magneto in the movie adaptations of X-Men. Survived the Holocaust as a child, became obsessed about a similar pogrom against Mutants. By second movie, had planned (and started carrying out) extermination of all non-Mutants to make sure.

          • Wonderful thoughts, Christiane.

      • The vast majority of Muslims are irrelevant when it comes to fighting Islamic terror.

        They are afraid to speak up…or they tacitly agree.

        There were good German people and good German families, also, in WWII.

        What good were they in fighting Nazism?

    • Andrena LeBlanc (@DrenaBlanc) says:

      Not 9/11 in scope or scale, but it was an attack from within. A lot will never be the same again in Canada, especially in Ottawa.

      I’m sure he did not say it to be insulting, but conveying what many Canadians, including myself, over the incident. Now is not the time to look for ways to be insulted, but to stand together… and I think it is too close to the event to get into debates about whether it was mental illness, or religiously motivated…

      Personally, I’d rather hear more about the victims than the shooters. The victims and their families where my sympathies lie. Regardless of motive or cause, the assailants still are responsible for the death of two people. They acted as cowards, they should be remembered as cowards, if they have to be remembered at all.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Unlike Europe, after 9/11 all the Jihadi terror acts in North America have been independent copycats, usually acting solo. LAX El Al Terminal shooter, Fort Hood shooter, Boston Marathon bombers (leader/follower duo instead of solo). These are more copycat crimes than actual terrorist plots.

      • You have your chance to hear about the victims and the good people. This was broadcast nationally


    • As is usually the case, some responders here jump to the knee jerk “Most Muslims are peaceful and are appalled”. I DIDN’T say that Islam MADE him do it, I said it triggered his unbalanced and confused mind. There IS a difference, but when you immediately go to the old standby response WITHOUT asking “Did you mean…?” then you miss the point of what I said.

      That being said, Islam DOES have a problem. It, ITSELF is not the problem, but the very few who are preaching the jihadi doctrine ARE! Think about this: There are 1.6 BILLION Muslims in the world and if even 1/10 of 1% of them are jihadis then that means a MILLIONS PLUS are sympathetic to the goals of groups like Islamic State, Hezbollah, , etc. In reality though, the numbers that sympathize are MUCH higher. If only 10% of those millions take action (such as those in Islamic State) we have hundreds of thousands who are ACTIVELY working to advance the cause. The numbers are sobering.

      In essence, it doesn’t matter how all of the Muslims you know are peaceful and aghast at the minority violent ones. People are dying violent, horrible deaths because of a small minority and the VICTIMS deserve all of the compassion, sympathy, pity and prayers that we can offer up.

  4. Such a powerful reading ! We are a family touched by mental illness struggles. All the more to lean heavily upon our Lord ! One of the tragedies of so many nations is the inability to be better to understand mental illness and provide more people and compassionate places to help in what we can for us all who struggle in these issues. Jerry

  5. Wow, the picture really puts a face on that story. Sorry for your country which is, generally speaking, much more peaceful than America (gun ownership being sacred above all else for some but that’s a can of worms) and I’m sorry in particular for Nathan’s family and friends. I hate the thought of that little guy asking for his dad. It’s not so easy keeping a hopeful life outlook in these days of tremendous violence in every corner. Peace and comfort upon both of those families.

  6. God’s grace and peace on Canada today

  7. David Cornwell says:

    “There will be an inevitable over reaction to this over the next days, weeks, months, and possibly years.”

    Thanks for bringing this tragedy to the personal level. I’ve heard several American reporters comment on the beauty and peacefulness of Ottawa. Also the ability of the public to access the buildings housing democratic institutions. I hope the government finds ways to preserve the spirit of Ottawa past, and openness to the public. It is very easy to overreact. We want revenge and crave safety. Many times we let fear decide the future.

    I was reading the Google news aggregation when I first heard about the incident. I found a live news feed from the CBC and left it on for several hours after the incident started. What I first noticed was the calmness and the self assurance of the commentators. They reported the facts and did not feed fear. They did not editorialize or report unconfirmed rumors. I was impressed. Apparently I wasn’t the only one because later Mother Jones had a piece entitled “Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame.” Later I did something I seldom do. I tuned in for a few moments to Fox News. They were in the middle of a diatribe about President Obama and his lack of military zeal in handling terrorist threats, even though they were reporting on the Canada incident.

    • Word.

      American press is all about fear and hype. Fear and hype produce ratings. Ratings produce money. Unless there’s a change in the U.S. that makes news less about money, American media will remain fear and hype based.

    • On a semi-related note, I was living in Oxford, England when 9/11 happened. Among many odd memories associated with that day, is the memory of the BBC commentators narrating the events remaining calm, and almost reassuring in their subdued clarity. As you put it, “confident” – as though the public responsibility of a commentator facing a crisis must be to remain collected. One is reminded that this is a public that once managed nightly air raids over cities.

      Despite a ferocious tabloid press, ‘official’ public rhetoric in the British world does seem to carry this flavor.

      (I have no idea how the American press sounded, because I wasn’t in the US for another few months.)

      • David Cornwell says:

        After the London Underground attacks a few years ago, I was struck by the relative calmness and the Brits and heard others discussing it. I think it does go back to England’s wartime experience. Maybe we in America have come to believe that we are off limits to those we go to war with and so when it happens we are dismayed. Those days of our relative safety may be over.

        I feel for any President who is in office if/when we are struck again because for some it will not be attributed to an act of war, but to a leader who failed to defend us. However we should remember that a perfect defense is impossible and that more horrific events are likely sooner or later.

    • Andrena LeBlanc (@DrenaBlanc) says:

      Thank you for the kind words. And yes, CBC did an excellent reporting it as they always do.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I tuned in for a few moments to Fox News. They were in the middle of a diatribe about President Obama and his lack of military zeal in handling terrorist threats, even though they were reporting on the Canada incident.

      Activist Disease. Where death and destruction are nothing more than “WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE *MY* AGENDA!”

  8. Christiane says:

    My father was born in St. Armand, Quebec just north of the Canadian border. I am looking at the picture of the young soldier with sadness for his loss, for his family, for his nation, which is home to members of my own family. My father’s family came to the United States when he was five. Like many Americans, I share a personal history with Canada and when the people of Canada hurt, so do we. We stand with Canada in its grief, MIKE.

  9. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    I would encourage folks to listen to the speech made be the leader of the opposition in Canada’s parliament, Thomas Mulcair. I might generally not agree with his politics, but this was an excellent speech. Listen to the whole thing, it is only 7 and a half minutes long.


    • David Cornwell says:

      Excellent example of what “loyal opposition” should look like. Two phrases struck me as particularly important (from memory)

      “Let’s not become ore suspicious of our neighbors…”

      And speaking of the terrorist act itself: “acts designed to drive us to hate others.”

      So often we let these things take control of our actions and our politics, which is sad.

  10. Good word…short, simple, but very profound.

  11. Dana Ames says:

    Lord, have mercy.


  12. As I watched the week unfold and the tragedies that have rocked my beloved country I find there is a deep sadness in my spirit that this will change us. Listening to our media and political leaders has greatly encouraged me that as Canadians we hold our openness and tolerance very dearly and we will not be bullied.

    I do realize also that these two incidents were not pre-planned armed attacks but the acts of angry young men with drug and/or mental illness issues who found a place of belonging within the ideas of radicalism. My prayers are with the families of all who lost their lives this week and that we as a nation would seek healing with forgiveness and wisdom in the weeks ahead.

  13. It was a sad day.
    My daughter was a reservist for a while. My father is ex-air force.

    What is really sad is he was guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier. I don’t think they are actually armed.

    It remains to be found if this is part of a bigger pattern-too early to say.

  14. OldProphet says:

    Which is worse, The Canadian soldier or the NY policeman killed by the ax wielding Jihadist? Or, the kids shot today in Washington state? Where are we heading? Such senseless violance! Lord have mercy on us!