I’m sure everyone has heard the news by now about yesterday’s events in my nation’s capital. We have a young relative in Ottawa who we visit there several times a year, and we have been to all those places; we were relieved to speak to him last night to find everything going well. The teachers were in ‘safe’ mode but not actual lockdown, so although the school doors were locked and the windows closed and curtained, they were able to run a regular school day and he had no clue anything was going on.
We of course had been following the news updates all day, and I was struck by how differently Canada seems to handle this sort of tragedy. Several members of the media became overly pushy during the police briefing, and were roundly slammed for it. Most people seemed to fell that the America-esque ‘right of the public to KNOW!’ was superseded by the right of the public to be kept safe, and that people should stand aside, let the police do their jobs, and wait for them to tell us the news when they saw fit.
This exchange from the live feeds at CBC.ca was typical:
I have watched this media coverage all day! This has been a total puppet show.
Where are the real questions from media? All they have done is follow a script all day.
I knew it was bad but this is down right scary. Can we not talk about the issues who are we hiding from? CNN has provided more info than and before our own media here in Canada. How is that possible? No disrespect intended to Nathan RIP.
@Fear mongering CNN has provided more info sure, just unconfirmed random info that does nothing but sensationalize the whole situation. What you’ve seen from CBC is actual journalism, providing just confirmed facts with no bias.
As far as the emotional narrative of the day, the three things I see being emphasized here are
1) The shooter being Canadian, born-and-raised. This is being brought up, again and again, in response to questions about whether Canada’s borders are tight enough and whether we should be screening ‘Muslims’ more carefully. That’s all a moot point if the guy was born and raised in Montreal.
2) The heroism of ‘Sergeant-at-Arms’ Kevin Vickers, whose ceremonial role as the mediator and protector of the House of Commons turned actual when, in the heat of the moment, he dropped the ceremonial mace, picked up his firearm and felled the shooter as he attempted to enter the chamber.
3) The very-Canadian helpfulness of a number of good Samaritans who stopped to help the fallen soldier, and made a valiant, although tragically unsuccessful effort to save him.
I must, say, I do approve of the decision the Canadian press has made to print only verified information and to resist the sensationalist pull of the American media on this. We really do have a different mentality about handling these things, and I’m sure that as more information becomes available, we’ll see the story evolve and develop.