Canada remains strong

After the shooting that happened in Ottawa last week, there have been a number of different reactions to the tragic event.

After the shooting that happened in Ottawa last week, there have been a number of different reactions to the tragic event.

Many are lamenting the loss of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the soldier who was shot and died of his wounds while being part of an honour guard for Canada’s War Memorial.

Others are commending the heroism of Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, who shot and killed Cirillo’s attacker later inside Canada’s parliament building, putting his life on the line to protect others.

Some are criticizing Canada’s national security and asking why the gunman was not brought down sooner, or why such an attack could happen in the first place and hoping changes are made to prevent further such instances.

Most are overjoyed that no one else was hurt in this attack and that the assailant was stopped and are grateful to all who put themselves in danger every day to protect this great country of ours.

All are legitimate reactions. Most Canadians are probably feeling a mix of all of them.

Regardless of what the country is feeling in light of this attack, one thing is certain. We are not scared.

If the shooting in Ottawa last week (and in fact, extremist attacks throughout the world) prove anything, they prove that Canada will never back down.

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper said when he addressed the nation after the attack, “We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”

We are still learning about the motivations of the shooter, but in a way they really don’t matter. Whatever motivations this shooter had, or whatever he hoped to accomplish with this heinous act, one thing is clear.

Last week’s shooting was a cowardly act performed by a sad, misguided man. Cirillo’s shooter, who will not be named here as he does not deserve any form of recognition, fired at the unarmed Cirillo from behind while Cirillo was performing a service to our country as part of an honour guard.

Cirillo will be remembered as the soldier who died while performing, as the name implies, an honourable duty.

Vickers will be remembered as the man who put others’ safety before his own and stopped what could have been a violent rampage against our country’s leaders.

As for the shooter, if he is remembered at all, he will only be remembered as a petty criminal who paid for his crimes and failed to shake the confidence or resolve of all in this country who oppose such attacks.