It is not just that Canada is willing to call an act of terrorism by its name: terrorism. That is certainly refreshing clarity in these troubled times, clarity which will help Canada decide how to prevent future attacks. But Canada isn’t just calling terrorism by its name. Based upon Andrew Cohen’s letter posted to CNN, Canada is engaging in some self-reflection. In what I bet will be the Canadian equivalent of Leonard Pitts Jr.’s “We’ll Go Forward from This Moment” letter on September 12, 2001, Cohen wrote a very self-aware post “This is not supposed to happen in Canada“. Just a snippet:
It is too much a cliché to say — as many surely will — that Canada has lost its innocence today. Canada is surely not innocent; a nation that marched into the maw of two world wars and left 100,000 of its sons in Europe understands a few things. That’s particularly true at this time of year, when Canadians wear red poppies in their lapels until November 11, Remembrance Day.
What we might say, though, is that Canada has lost its ignorance today — and, perhaps, a good part of its complacency, too.
It is difficult to engage in that kind of self analysis, much less to have the courage to admit what you find. Compliments to Cohen, though he does seem to be struggling with “we were asking for it” and “we may not be interested in war, but war is interested in us” arguments. Perhaps that is why he failed to mention one other thing that Canada got right over the US.
There is a reason that the terrorist only managed to kill one victim. It won’t surprise readers here to learn that the limiting force was an honorable man with a gun. I doubt that truth will get much play in the US, but it should. On a whim, I did a news search this morning for “Canada Kevin Vickers Sargent at Arms” and all but three hits on the first few Google results pages were non-US news. Canada might be coming to terms with its security illusions. Would that the US did as well.