Peter Addresses the Tragedy in London

This week I will not be writing about what I was going to write about, my “adventures with the Minister” will make their appearance in a couple of weeks. Next week I will be writing about Pride Month. This week, this week has been overtaken by events.

I woke up Monday morning and saw a message from an old friend, hoping that Betty and I were safe. I replied in the affirmative and then began an online search, as I was unsure of what she was referring to. After some time searching, I came across a statement made by Ed Holder. (One of the things I do when I move somewhere new is to find out who the municipal leadership is, thus I knew that he is the mayor of London, Ontario.) 

Thus did I become aware of the horrible events of the previous night.

A family of 5 people were out enjoying a pleasant evening in “the forest city”. Two parents, a grandparent and two children were waiting to cross the street. I can tell you that Sunday night was a beautiful night here in London, and both the pending departure of Corona as the provincial vaccination “roll out” gains traction and the approach of summer contributed to an air of optimism.

However, things changed in the blink of an eye on that beautiful Sunday evening. The happiness, the peace, the optimism; all ended abruptly for that close family.

You see, someone wasn’t pleased that this family group was walking through the neighbourhood, and he made his displeasure known in a most terrible way. 

Pictured – Racist, Terrorist, Murderer, Nathanial Veltman

He ran them down with his pickup truck. He says that he did that because he knew that they were Muslims.

The three adults and the teenage girl all died. The sole survivor is a nine year old boy, who remains in the hospital as of writing.

I remember being 9 years old. I had older siblings, including two older sisters who were apparently put on the Earth for the sole purpose of bossing me around. I could dress and feed myself, after a fashion, but I was only starting to learn about how Life worked and how I would (eventually) fit in, when I was old enough to enjoy the privileges of adulthood.

My Mum’s mother was a very important part not only of my life, but of my family’s life as a whole, and indeed she would remain so until her passing in 1974. Her strength and wisdom were a constant steadying influence to me. 

As I advanced into adolescence, I came to value the “technical advice” which my older sister was able to provide to me about that seemingly unfathomable entity known as “the teenage girl “. Even after I had “figured it out”, I remained very close to my dear older sister Mary until her passing, and her spirit of love and quiet courage in the face of Adversity was an inspiration to me in some very tough times. 

I can’t even begin to pay tribute to the lessons which my parents taught me, but I will say that they are just as relevant and important to me now as they were when I first learned them.

My point is that I was able to reap the benefits of a solid family foundation during my formative years, which equipped me very well indeed to face the vagaries of Life. Sadly, the lad now lying in the hospital will never again have those valuable people in his life, to protect him, to provide him with much needed perspective when Life “throws him a curve”. 

Imagine the immediate aftermath of that vehicular homicidal assault for that young boy! He would be dazed and disoriented, surrounded by the bodies of his beloved family. Undoubtedly the atmosphere would be eerily quiet, as it tends to be in the wake of a traffic “accident”. 

Then people would start congregating in the immediate area, providing whatever assistance they could. Sirens would be heard in the distance as the emergency services started to respond.

Very shortly thereafter, trained and motivated professionals would be on site, sending him to the hospital, dealing with his deceased family members in a respectful manner. The police would swing into action, bringing order to the scene and seeking out witnesses and evidence.

In the event, the murderer, for that’s who he is, fled the scene. He was stopped and arrested some distance away, not very far from our apartment. In fact, if we lived in Apartment 1008 instead of Apartment 1007, we could have seen it happen.

You know, I have always thought that events like this occurred far, far away. After all, this is Canada. Everyone knows that this is the “greatest country in the world”. But is it?

Cracks have been appearing in our foundation, as we have to confront an ugly past. It is critical that we do so, that we atone for past actions.

However, there are many challenges which we also currently face, and these must be overcome. Chief among these is the rise of hatred and intolerance, aided and abetted by the mushrooming growth of social media’s influence in Society.

This is how the architect of Sunday’s heinous crime was inspired. The rationale for his attack, by the way, was that the targets were Muslim.

When he was arrested, he was wearing not only a helmet, but “a tactical vest”. Apparently he had swastikas on his shirt under the vest. 

Of course there have been many statements of solidarity with the victims. I had to smile wanly at the post roundly condemning the action which was posted by a site which routinely posts “hate”. All I could think was “What did you expect? Stop putting gasoline on the fire!” 

Loyal Reader, we all have a responsibility to confront evil and hate and injustice and intolerance, to prevent them from spreading and eating away at Society. Sadly, it’s an ongoing issue, and it’s an issue that we must be ever vigilant about.

The legal process has begun, and thankfully they are considering pressing “terrorism” charges against this domestic terrorist. I sincerely hope that, if found guilty, he gets punishment befitting the enormity of his actions. I think that sentencing him to 25 years in prison, then releasing him after 12 years served in a “Club Fed” will send an entirely inappropriate message. I feel the same way about the “Yonge Street van killer”, as an aside.

Clear, firm action must be taken to ensure that the forces of evil and intolerance never gain control of our Society. It will be a difficult task, but we must do it. I believe that we can do it. 

I can’t help but think about that poor young man who had his family taken from him by an act of unspeakable evil. I hope that he is lucky enough to receive the support which he will need in the uncertain days ahead. I apologize to him, because Society failed him. We can do better, we must do better.

See you soon 

Never. Forget.

=PJM=

A confirmed Cat person, Peter dabbled with being a water boy, a paper boy and an altar boy before finally settling on a career with the Canadian federal government.  Once, in his youth, he ate a Dutch  oven full of mashed potatoes to win a 5 cent bet with his beloved sister Mary’s boyfriend. (Of course he was much younger and a nickel went a lot farther!))

He has retired to palatial “Chez Montreuil”, which he shares with his little buddy CoCo the Fashionable. He is blessed to have the beautiful Betty in his life. He is not only a plastic aircraft modeller, but a proud “rivet counter”. Military aviation and live music are among other interests of his, and he tries to get out to as many shows as he can. He will be here for your enlightenment whenever the stars align. Profile photo courtesy of Pat Blythe, caricature courtesy of Peter Mossman.

One Response to “Peter Addresses the Tragedy in London”

  1. Catherine Says:

    It’s ignorance which needs to be eradicated and taught in schools about equality to end racism and hatred in children so they don’t grow up to be evil! Not many attend church these days but even though I was gifted with a good moral foundation in Christianity (love they Neighbor as myself) look what religious leaders did to our indigenous children in residential schools. That was racism at its core. Please we need to do better here in Canada and world wide!

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