While I generally do not care to discuss my relationship with my boyfriend (as I like having that part of my life fairly private), since he pretty much suggested this entire post (complete with the title), I kind of have to.
He’s an interesting & captivating man, compassionate & smart & sweet & pretty much every good adjective you can think of. He supports my crazy desire to become the world’s greatest reporter/cell phone princess & reads literally every word I write. But, in addition to all of these amazing things, he entertains my needs to ask questions.
I’m an inquisitive sort; I need to know everything about the world around me. So, I ask a million questions; about the world, my family, etc. I ask him a million questions every day; how is your day, your life, your daughter, tell me about your job, etc. and he answers them all. I think it’s because he’s like me; he likes information. Whether it’s sports, politics, current events, world religion, he likes to know. I think that’s why we work; he’s the intellectual and I’m the journalist, the supplier of information. He loves to learn & I love to inform, we’re quite the pair. Also, he hasn’t complained about my inability to shut up ever, so either he’s mastered tuning me out or is a glutton for punishment.
However, he possesses dual citizenship & unlike most Canadians, he would actually prefer to be American. We have conversations about when Thanksgiving is supposed to be (pro-tip; he’s wrong) & I often end conversations with “YOU WERE BORN HERE.” So, we tend to differ on the “American” vs. “Canadian” way.
Today’s horrible shooting in Ottawa put a halt to our mock fights about national pride to listen & read about what was happening. This was a horrible thing & a young man lost his life for no good reason. He’ll never have another birthday or Christmas. His beloved dogs will never see their master again. His parents will never hear his voice on the phone & my heart breaks for them. No 24 year old should be taken from this world in such a terrible way & I hope that we as a nation will stand by the Cirillo family through this horrific time.
I wanted to know why this happened, what measures will be taken to protect our Prime Minister & Members of Parliament going forward, how did a man with a gun get into Parliament, is there a second shooter, etc. The RCMP was mum. The Canadian Press seemed mute except about the lockdown. Meanwhile, CBS already had the identity of the shooter & breaking news site heavy.com had a bunch of facts about him, before the Canadian Press knew what was up. I was so frustrated, because as a journalist (albeit a fluffy celeb journalist) I didn’t understand why no one was informing us & why we as Canadians seemed to be okay with that. I texted my beau a huge rant, which prompted my epiphany that perhaps his “American” thought process wasn’t so off base & he told me to write this because I’m a genius.
The truth is; we get the media we deserve.
My American friends are not afraid to question everything they hear. My Facebook timeline is inundated with them questioning their government, their police, the FBI, Mark Zuckerberg, and the list goes on & on. They live in a “stranger danger” sort of world. When the Boston Marathon was horrifically bombed, we had real time updates from every reliable news agency in the world, as the American media kept people appraised. We knew who, why, who was at large in hours & people knew what was happening. Today, people in Canada sat questioning how this happens here & when I would ask why it happened, I was told I was nitpicking the coverage instead of the tragedy & shame on me.
While Americans live in stranger danger, we in Canada do the opposite; we don’t care. We’re ostriches. Political scandals are overlooked (one of my colleagues once wrote an amazing piece for a magazine we all wrote for about Canada’s apathy to political corruption) because that doesn’t happen here (yes it does), we flip out whenever there’s a major crime because it doesn’t happen here (a prime example was when a meth lab blew up near my old house right before I moved & everyone freaked because that doesn’t happen here), and we’re so focused on being perfect utopia Canada that we miss that bad things happen here & we need to accept that so we can learn from it so it doesn’t happen anymore. People get murdered, there is crime, there is corruption & pretending it doesn’t happen won’t make it any less true. While my feelings towards Prime Minister Harper’s politics follow “I don’t agree with anything he says ever,” he was very realistic when he said we are not immune to terrorist attacks. We are not. Fortunately our Nation escaped this horrific day with only one tragic loss. But we need to be smart and arm ourselves with information, we need to ask questions so we won’t be shaking our heads wondering how this happened because it doesn’t happen in Canada. I love my Nation; I think it’s a beautiful place and I am so proud to be Canadian, but we are not a utopia and the biggest lesson we need to take from this tragedy is like Mr. Harper said, we are not immune to tragedy, so we need to stand in the face of these things and not hope it just goes away.
Perhaps we do need to borrow a page from our American brethren and accept that bad things happen and start asking questions. It is perfectly okay to question your government. It is okay to question law enforcement. It is okay to ask what is happening in the world around you, if you are safe, because when all is said and done, these people work for us to preserve our way of life and for the most part, they do a damned good job. But if we as Canadians are not asking, we won’t be informed and we’ll have to learn from our neighbours what’s happening in our own backyard. We cannot peer over the fence and ask America who is attacking us. We need to find out for ourselves.
So, ask questions. Seek knowledge. Make the media answer those questions. Hold them accountable and let’s make it a point to make sure we aren’t ostriches as the world goes to Hell around us, because it CAN happen here.