Today inspiration actually struck twice. They will both be posted, but I figured I’d let one of them wait until tomorrow, so look forward to that, yeah? But now onwards to today’s topic! I’m afraid it’s not a particularly happy one, but as per usual, I feel the need to weigh in on a trending topic.
So last night in Moncton, New Brunswick (that’s in Canada-land for those of you who aren’t), a lone shooter killed three RCMP officers (aka: mounties) and wounded two others. The latest I’ve heard has the shooter still not found or arrested, but the search is on, and for a good long time people were being urged to stay indoors and lock all their doors and windows. The suspect they’re searching for is Justin Bourque, who by all accounts, is a troubled soul. Seems he took issue with the police, and lately had become quite an angry fellow.
Now, I wasn’t originally going to write anything about this, because unfortunately mass shootings have been happening far too often lately for it to be shocking and worthy of comment when it does happen. But that’s when a friend of mine posted on Facebook, saying that we should take Justin’s lead, and question the government. That there’s more to this story than just some guy who went nuts and killed people. Now before I get yelled at by this friend, I should point out that she absolutely does not support his methods. Nor do I for that matter. But her discussion of the message intrigued me.
I think in this case it’s fair to assume that there is an intended message. That this poor soul wants us to understand something, even if it’s just where the source of his anger and frustration lie. Now, I agree that we should question our governments. You should never just blindly accept what anyone says, for that matter. Always do your research and understand every viewpoint before you make your decision. But there’s no way I can agree with his method. As far as I’m concerned, you can question all you want, but when you decide that violence is the way to get your message across, you cross the line from activist to lunatic.
Look at what Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela achieved in their lives. And neither one of them had any need for violence. They effected change through impassioned speeches and pacifistic resistance. In most cases they change the system by becoming a part of it, not apart from it.
Now, our current systems desperately require change. Especially our governments. But they need to be rebuilt from the ground up. We need the types of people who would never actually want to be politicians to be our elected officials. They’ll be far more likely to do a good job because they won’t have the self-serving self-aggrandizing personalities that real politicians do. They’ll make sensible decisions that benefit the entire country, not just a select few.
And if you get enough of them into low-echelon positions then sooner or later they will move up the ranks. The current generation of politicians has to retire someday, right? Once you’ve managed to get sensible people into enough government offices, then they can legally effect the changes that we need.
Think about the issue of same sex marriage. Fifty years ago, no one would have even considered tabling a bill concerning it. But because more politicians are being sworn into office that either ARE gay, or else have been brought up to be tolerant in respect to this issue, many countries have not only tabled, but also passed same sex marriage laws. Soon enough, maybe even in as little as five years’ time, I could see marijuana laws being passed in Canada to make it legal to own or grow small amounts. Hell, we’re already halfway there, with the medical marijuana laws.
So honestly, I haven’t bothered to look into this Justin Bourque fellow too much. And I doubt I will. But there’s more to this. If he was trying to effect change, why didn’t he target much more important people? Three low-level RCMP officers don’t make the laws, they merely enforce them and then return home to their families. Killing them won’t change anything and will only make him out to be a villain. Was he trying to inspire others to question the things they take for granted? How could he think that anyone would really focus on that when he’s given them something far more sensational to focus on?
But what about his mental state? To be driven to the point where you think violence is necessary takes a hell of a lot. I would venture that a lot of the pressure and stress he endured was self-inflicted. I have a lot of experience with stress, depression, and an otherwise generally unhappy life. But none of it will get better unless I make the changes necessary. That being said, I know the kind of effect that is to be had just from knowing that one of my friends cares enough to say something to me when I’m not feeling my best.
What’s the real lesson here? That we should question government and authority? Well, sadly yes we should. But that’s not the lesson. Is it that there are better ways to spread a message of change? There’s that too. And we’re getting closer to the lesson, but that’s still not it. The real lesson is that we are all fragile, emotional beings. And no matter how stalwart or stoic one may seem, we all need a little support from time to time. We’re in this together, and it’s only by sticking together and helping each other out in our times of need that we’ll live to see a new era.
Give what you can of yourself to those around you. You might just be surprised how much of an impact it has.