It’s a very difficult subject but there is a common misunderstanding or deliberate misrepresentation of “safety” as meaning that the “sufficient amount of safety” can stop all bad things from happening. This simply isn’t true. A rush to judgement at this time will not help #OttawaStrong. We will analyze this with drier eyes and seek a reasonable balance of protection and freedom knowing that 1000 armed guards with assault rifles patrolling our city will not actually help us be or feel safer.
In the meantime, since I suspect most people are a lot like me and won’t even try to pretend they know what should be done about this type of senseless violence, I will try to be a little more kind to everyone, love my family, friends, city, and country a little more, and sing my national anthem with a shaky but louder-than-ever voice on Friday night. Those are things in my control and I know a little more love in the world can actually make a difference even if I am powerless over so much else that I cannot control.
If there is one way that my own expertise and experience can inform this situation it would be my thorough understanding that safety comes mainly from reciprocal and caring relationships with others. That’s not touchy-feely stuff. It’s a fact. I work in supporting a population that is at an exponentially higher risk of violence and abuse than the average person. They are at greater risk because they tend to have vastly fewer natural relationships than other citizens. It took me years to understand that making them safer means, for the most part, not a street-proofing course or cell phone full of emergency quick dial numbers (those are fine to have too!) but rather that I/we increase the number of people in the world who care about them.
For those of us who are not on the front lines, we can truly contribute to #OttawaStrong by building a more caring community.
My heartfelt condolences to those directly and indirectly harmed in yesterday’s tragedy. My thanks to our magnificent first responders and those who were simply “on the scene” by happenstance and showed the world that we are possessed of an unselfish spirit and a determination to live our lives as a community, not as islands of individuals.
Stay strong Ottawa.