This has been a week of loss, and every cop – really, every Canadian – across the planet has felt it. Three men, three Mounties, were murdered in Moncton, and two more injured, after a man ambushed them with a high-powered firearm.
This incident has left me angry and heart-broken. I am not so arrogant as to say that I feel this loss more keenly than someone else – because there are a lot of people who are hurting more than I am – but the men in Moncton were still members of my extended family, and their loss stings for us all.
Some of the things I am angry about are valid, and some really are not. My valid anger does not need to be discussed here, because it has all been said by people much smarter than me, but I think I need to air some of the more ridiculous things I am angry about.
On Wednesday night I was sitting on my couch, thinking about going to bed so I could get up and go to work for 0600 hours, when my wife looked up from her phone and said, “Three members were killed in Moncton”. I took to the internet and quickly found news of the shooting, all with sketchy details, but all confirming that three of my brethren were dead. I spent a mostly sleepless night looking for updates, wondering if the shooter had been caught, wondering about the condition of the survivors who had been taken to hospital, wishing the whole thing had never happened. I went to work the next morning, bleary eyed and distraught, still searching for updates.
It was about noon when I completely lost my shit and wanted to launch into a hysterical social media melt-down, and it really didn’t even have anything to do with the Moncton shooting. Several of my Facebook contacts, who initially shared the news of, and weighed in on the tragedy began posting things that were not concerned with Moncton: “I pressure washed my deck,” or “It’s time for drinks on the patio”, and “I painted my nails and they look FANTASTIC!”
I was enraged. Several Mounties had been killed in the line of duty, making the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the people they served, and someone actually had the audacity to carry on with their lives while I was still locked in a shocked state of mourning. The more social media updates I saw that were not concerned with Moncton, the angrier I got, to the point where I began writing a long rant on Facebook that would likely made me appear insane.
After I’d decided that being the crazy person on the internet was not going to serve the fallen, I tried to think rationally about why I was so mad.
The only conclusion I could come to was that I was not ready for the world to move on from the event. I was not prepared that someone could possibly care about anything else when something so obviously tragic had occurred. I did not think it right that people have lives outside of my grief.
As I sit here, thinking about this, I realize that I am wrong. It is not reasonable for the world to come to a screeching halt, and we will not honor the dead by doing so. I also have to force myself to remember that just because people have lives outside of this event does not mean they no longer care about it. It does not mean that they have forgotten.
The grieving process for Moncton – for any loss, really – is going to be slow, and it is going to hurt. But I – we – cannot shut down and call it quits. The cop in me still has to get out of bed, strap my gun-belt on, step out onto the street and face down the things that lurk in the dark. The storyteller in me still has to get out all the stories that live in my heart and the far recesses of my imagination and tell them the best way I can.
It is through our continued lives that we honor the dead. It is in our stories, our memories, our accounts of their heroism and the inspiration we draw from their lives that we keep them best. It is okay for me, for us all, to mourn, but it is also okay for us to live.
I didn’t personally know the men who died in Moncton, but I will remember them. I hope you will, too.
As always, thanks for reading.