Friday, October 24, 2014

Be a beaver

The shootings in Ottawa this week have brought out a lot of fear as these things tend to do.  People worry about when another madman with a gun will decide to kill some people and fret about what we should do about it.  As always there is incredible pressure on politicians and police to do something, anything, that will convince the populace that now they are safe.  Build a wall around Parliament, stand soldiers shoulder to shoulder, round up suspicious types, spy on people more, whatever it takes to keep us safe.

But what the people behind those exhortations don't see is that we can't be safe.  If we build an invincible defensive fortification around Parliament any shooter can just walk into a mall and kill a dozen people easily.  Even if they want to attack the barrier they can be as successful as the recent shooter and just gun down one single guard.  Who will guard the guards?  What we can do is make sure that when something like this happens the perpetrator ends up in a box.  Whether that box is made of concrete or wood doesn't matter that much.

After that single individual is dealt with we rebuild.  Mourn the dead, patch the bullet holes, rebuild the buildings, and move on.  No amount of surveillance will be enough, no physical barrier can be effective, no preventative measures will stop the very rare murderous lunatic from killing someone.  But we can show them that they don't matter.  We can make it clear that we will not be intimidated, we will not be afraid, and we will not flail about madly in response to a single random incident.  We will stay calm and carry on.

We can be like the beaver, one of Canada's national symbols.  I know from childhood what happens when you smash a beaver dam - they rebuild it.  They rebuild it so fast that even if you gather a group together and spend an afternoon smashing a dam it will be rebuilt in a day or two.  The beaver simply demonstrates that it will outlast you.  It will never be broken, never give up, never quit.  It will simply keep on doing what it does until you give in to the inevitable.  Be the beaver.

It can be hard to give up the desire for revenge and it is difficult to accept unavoidable losses.  But we cannot prevent these disasters, especially not with knee jerk responses that deal with an attack that is already in the past.  All we can do is show the world that we will grind over these few deranged individuals like a steamroller over a worm.  We will defeat them not with panic but with the raw power of numbers.  Their loss, their complete lack of efficacy, is inevitable.  Let us treat it as such.

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