The police officer and mayor hugging. The emotional drainage from what’s normally the stale setting of a news conference. The social media attachment to the word “pray” in the Moncton hashtag.
These are some of the images the impact of the killing of three New Brunswick police officers and injury of two more have had on the greater Moncton community. It’s something that quickly resounded throughout Atlantic Canada and the rest of the country.
Luckily, police killings in Canada just don’t seem to happen that often. When they do, a country becomes united.
The worst of the RCMP fatalities in the country was less than 10 years ago, however, in Mayerthorpe, Alta. On March 3, 2005, constables Anthony Fitzgerald, Orion Gordon, Lionide Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol and Peter Christopher Schiemann were shot and killed by James Roszko. The gunman was killed in the shootout at his farm/grow-op. Those disturbing images haven’t been erased from the collective memory of the country and neither will this tragedy in Moncton. Nor should they.
There’s something incomprehensible about killing another human in general, let alone an officer of the law there to protect us from such acts. When it happens in Moncton, a relatively small city in Atlantic Canada, the impact heightens and the questions surrounding human nature become even more muddled.
And while we may not know the answers as to why this happened for weeks, months — or never — there is one thing we can do: embrace. Send our best to the victims’ families, the people in the lockdown area, the Monctonians, New Brunswickers and all our neighbours, wherever they live. Show the solidarity that so many cities across the country — including Corner Brook — are displaying right now in the flying of their flags. Because if there’s anyway for those people to get through this, they’re going to need the help of their entire “family,” and not just their relatives.