Yesterday, there was the incident in Toronto.
I was about to post a cigar review yesterday, and a couple other Cuba trip posts, but it’s not the mood / time right now. At this point, I’ve been able to hear that most family and friends in Toronto are not directly involved, and all appear to be safe and sound. Which is good to hear. And it’s comforting to see how that city / this province / this country is coming together for this incident.
I lived in Toronto for a number of years back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and a place that I worked at was right at Yonge St and Sheppard Ave, right at Spring Garden Ave, just a few blocks south of Yonge and Finch Ave. So, I know that region / plaza / street quite well – a very bustling area, with the Ford Center for the Performing Arts right there, and the plaza area surrounding the North York municipal center and whatnot.
Current reporting states that the arrested guy (and my hat’s off to the Toronto PS cop that nabbed the guy) used to be a Canadian Armed Forces member. It sounds more like he was a “recruit” than a “member”. By the sounds of things, he only made it through 16 training days out of his Basic Training when he started with the CAF last summer / fall, before he was punted out. So, no, he didn’t become a full member of the Forces, as it sounds like he got turfed for simply not fitting in (but doesn’t sound like there were big warning bells on an incident like this either). It might be interesting depending on what other info about this becomes known also.
But I know within the military, and policing as well, these types of incidents are always in the backs of our minds, as front line personnel, and for military and police planners. Lone wolf. Mental health issues. Soft targets. Hardened weapons-of-opportunity/convenience. Etc. Everyone worries about international terrorism, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, etc. But it’s these types of incidents that Canadians as a whole have had a lackluster approach to, as a society. How many times do we hear “I never thought it could happen here” in the media stories??? Unfortunately, we think about it in military and law enforcement circles – hell, an old Warrant Officer of mine from a number of years back (before the Ottawa attack even) used to say that what Canadians unfortunately NEED is to have one of these types of attacks occur, on Canadian soil, on a big, soft target, to make everyone wake up and realize that complacency and shoving our collective heads in the sand won’t make the threats go away. That our downloading of mental health beds/hospitals/treatment over two-plus decades has left a HUGE gap, and coupled with the budgetary limits placed on the Armed Forces and first responders, that it’s all a giant accident / incident waiting to happen.
So, we need to learn from this, and gain as much valuable insight as we can. To not to be Chicken Little, and be afraid of our shadows, and deviate from our everyday lives. But to simply have a slight vigilance about us, and to actually fund the personnel, training, and infrastructure for our military and law enforcement and first-responder institutions, to make us all the better prepared and ready should something terrible like this happen.
Thoughts and prayers (to whatever deity you worship) being sent to all directly or indirectly affected by this. Hopefully the coming days and weeks will yield more answers, more understanding, some forgiveness, more tranquility and calmness, and more awareness of the underlying issues.