Canadian Parliament Attack

Armed persons have attacked Ottawa, shooting a soldier at the Canadian War Memorial and attempting to enter Parliament.  The attack in parliament was apparently stopped by the quick action of the sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, formerly of the RCMP.  Vickers shot the assailant in front of a room where MPs where sheltering.

Some vowed in gratitude that "he will never pay for a drink again."

Canadian authorities had intelligence of "ISIS style" attacks for weeks and had raised the threat level before the shooting.  But apparently there was not sufficient detail in that intelligence to prevent the current attack.  Parliament Hill is locked down as police and CT forces clear it.

Prime Minister Harper was attending a meeting in the building when the incident occurred. Here are some scenes taken from inside the Canadian parliament building.  President Obama has spoken to Harper and expressed his outrage during the phone call, according to ABC news.

In other, but possibly related news. "A Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police called a terror attack."

The Canadian gunman has been identified.

The natural question is whether these incidents presage a set of Mumbai-style, or lone-wolf type attacks in the West. It will also raise the issue of whether any country can stand apart, or detach itself from events in the Middle East whose characterization is itself controversial.

What is this part of, if it is connected to anything? To ask the question is to pull at the most evaded public policy question of the last decade.  It will renew the debate over whether certain ideas, whether cast in religious terms or not, are ipso facto seditious, in the sense of once accepted or believed, lead automatically or inevitably to deadly action.  It will raise the question of whether more power should be given to government to  monitor and curtail the actions of its citizens with all the attendant dangers.

But most of all it should revive the question of whether this problem, for want of a better word, has a center of gravity. Or whether it is, as some argue, a vague, ghostly and amorphous malaise for which there is no remedy but either chronic, low-level conflict or fatalistic and inevitable cultural suicide -- like a pre-emptive civilizational mastectomy -- to avoid all possible sources of offense.  Will we be locked down forever? And who pray tell, are we?

USA Today notes that the United States, for one, is a never ending emergency that never seems to finish. In an article titled "The United States of Emergency", Gregory Korte writes:

The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.

Thirty separate emergencies, in fact.

An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.

A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror.

Tuesday, President Obama informed Congress he was extending another Bush-era emergency for another year, saying

"widespread violence and atrocities" in the Democratic Republic of Congo "pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."

The Congo. Just imagine that.

And it seems sad to think that Canada -- and probably Australia as well -- will soon join America in this century of anxiety. It used to be they had a parade on Main Street on the 4th of July. But now it's don't wear your uniform. Perhaps others will suggest, don't fly the flag, cancel your Facebook accounts.  Take away the sentry at the Canadian War memorial. 'Someone' might shoot him. (Hat tip Dr. Mabuse)

A top military official Tuesday warned soldiers in Canada’s eastern provinces to avoid wearing their uniforms in public out of fear of being targeted in the wake of deadly attacks on personnel in Quebec and Ontario.

In an email titled “urgent measures,” Rear Admiral John Newton – who commands the Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic, a combined 23,000 personnel – tells soldiers “to restrict movement in uniform in public as much as possible.”

The note also asks personnel to stay in their respective buildings for the time being and to get the message out quickly, according to the Halifax Herald News. The email was sent out about an hour after a series of reported shootings in Ottawa.

Civilizations run on the basis of dishonesty are a little like the jokester's vision of hell. It seems the Devil ushered one of the damned into the caverns of the underworld. There, the condemned man beheld a limitless lake of ordure, the future scene of his punishment, in which each of the sufferers was up to his nostrils in the foul liquid. A murmur filled the cavern, which after a while resolved itself into a distinct chant in the ears of the unfortunate.

"Don't make waves. Don't ... make ... waves."

"This is the way it is Mondays through Saturdays," the Devil added. "Sundays though, I go power boating."


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