This past week will be remembered as the time when Canada lost its global innocence. No longer will we feel totally safe and exempt from the violence that goes on in the rest of the world. We suffered the loss of a soldier in Quebec who was callously and viciously murdered by a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. Apparently,the murderer, traded all the freedoms of this great land for a Jhadist ideology. Another soldier was injured in the same act of terror. Then there was the unspeakable tragedy that happened in Ottawa where a soldier doing his duty at the cenotaph was murdered as well. He was shot to death by an assailant who later was shot to death inside the Hall of Honor–irony strikes again. I fought the need to start flinging people out of our country. I wanted to tell them to get out and go back to the hell hole they had left. My anger was quickly subdued by the questions which arose instead. Why did this happen? How did this happen? What drove two young Canadian men, both citizens, to randomly select and then take the lives of fellow Canadians and to do so right here at home on Canadian soil? I realized that this is a home grown problem and in so many ways has nothing to do with those who come here. These were disenchanted Canadians who chose to kill their own.
I have no desire to give either of these two murderous ingrates any of my time finding out about who they were. I know who and what they were. But knowing ‘why’ is important. When I think of the last 20 years and all the horrible mass murders and shootings and rampages that have taken place I see that the vast majority of them were created and fashioned by angry, disillusioned young men and this brought me back to what I wrote about in my book. This is about fatherless boys who struggled to find their place in this society. They were not connected to much of anything or any one. They were cut loose and left to find their own way when their fathers abandoned them. The internet became their classroom. They got connected to anyone who seemed to care regardless of the message. They wanted to punish as they felt they were punished. Anger and power become a deadly combination. Outside voices saw this and took advantage of it. If you hear the same message over and over again after a while and without any thing to counter it, misplaced passion grows and converts rise up. Suddenly they believe in something and they find others who are disillusioned. They find a group out there who seem to agree that our way of life is at fault and needs to be challenged–brought to it’s knees–punished for going against the laws of nature. Terrorism is born of less.
Now our primary question becomes how do we prevent this from happening again? We need to understand that it will if we don’t recognize what we are not doing. For me it goes right back to the messages we send out to our kids–our sons in this case. What are we telling them? What are we teaching them? How are we engaging them and how do we make sure that they feel important and connected and clear about what their role is in this society? How do we in-still a sense of importance, ownership and allegiance to this country? How do they become proud Canadians?
How do we fix it? We can start at the beginning:
As stewards and teachers to our kids we can begin to demonstrate the importance of spending more time re-building our nuclear families. Unfortunately, many who have abandoned their sons either physically, emotionally or mentally can’t bring themselves to think that they may be, in some small way, responsible for harming their sons. However, once we commit to the mindset of reconciliation there are three things that our kids, especially our young men, need to learn from us:
1. We need to STOP trying to protect them from the world and all its lessons. Our kids are not fragile and they wont die because they are heart broken or disappointed. If we do our job right we can teach them how to use these set backs to their advantage so they will become better equipped mentally and emotionally to manage what comes their way. Right now many of our kids are poorly equipped to deal with most of the negative emotional states they will have to engage at some point. They need to learn from their mistakes. They need to be free to make mistakes and not be judged by them. That is how we learn. We need to stop trying to protect them from pain, disappointment and discomfort. Let them live by their strengths. They will be healthier for it.
2. We need to STOP excusing them from the consequences of their decision making efforts and we need to stop blaming others for our parental shortcomings. Our job should be to teach them how to live their lives with confidence and dedication and competency. Excusing them from the natural consequences of how they live their lives teaches them nothing and they will flounder aimlessly when they are closer to manhood especially when parents are no longer around to make their decisions for them. Give them a break and teach them how to think for themselves. Hold them accountable.
3. Teach them how to be self sufficient. Teach them how to use their given talents to their advantage and STOP trying to make them into people they were never meant to be. Teach them about respect, equality,and tolerance and how to live as men in the new world.
When we get back to doing these things with our young men we will be less likely to hear about tragedies, like the ones from this week, less often.
Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim