Within one day of the attack in and near the Canadian Parliament, its government sent two clear lessons to President Barack Obama. The first was a reminder of what defines terrorism; the second was an example of how a nation properly treats its heroes.
It’s doubtful that the president noticed, let alone learned either.
On the very day that Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau murdered Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at Canada’s National War Memorial, and then continued his rampage inside the halls of Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the attack as an act of terror in his address to the nation.
“Fellow Canadians, in the days to come, we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had,” Harper said, after briefly describing the day’s violence. “This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.”
Watch this address via YouPoliticsNews: Story continues below clip.
It didn’t require the appointment of a committee for the prime minister to reach his assessment. He didn’t call for months of study and debate over the precise definition of the word “terrorism.” Harper just called it as he saw it, political correctness be damned.
He added a note of warning to future would-be terrorists.
“We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and our institutions of governance are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all, he continued. “But let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”
Compare that to the case of Nidal Hasan, who murdered 14 unarmed people, including the unborn child of Francheska Velez, a 21-year-old private who begged for her baby’s life, and injured 33 others at Fort Hood, Texas while shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
Five years after this event, it’s still ruled an act of workplace violence. Certainly Hasan was employed by the Army and was stationed at Fort Hood, but his rampage didn’t arise as the result of his employment–it was rooted instead in his Islamic extremist views and deep hatred of America.
Just as Zehaf-Bibeau waged his personal attack on Canada’s seat of power, Hasan waged his on America’s symbol of power–its military. Both were acts of terror, pure and simple.
Thursday, the day following the violence in Ottawa, members of Parliament in the House of Commons demonstrated how a nation thanks its heroes. The chamber rose as a body to give Seargent-At-Arms Kevin Vickers a thunderous and prolonged standing ovation for his role in bringing down the terrorist.
Vickers was visibly moved, and at times seemed to be holding back tears of appreciation. Watch this clip of the event via CBC News. Story continues after video.
Part of Obama’s problem may be an inability to actually define a hero. A hero isn’t Bowe Bergdahl, a probable deserter and arguably an enemy collaborator who wandered off-base in Afghanistan.
Nor is he Sanford, Florida’s Trayvon Martin or Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown, who both also received special recognition from the White House.
If the president wants to find a hero, he has only to cast his eyes southward, to our other neighbor, where U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi languishes in a Mexican prison because he merely got lost.
The United States is filled with many more such heroes–men and women who quietly risk life and limb by filling the ranks of our military and who ask for no recognition in return. They only want the chance to serve.
What defines terrorism? What defines heroism? Canada teaches; will Obama listen?