“Ottawa is a safe city,” the Fox News reporter said. People are in shock over the attack. It’s not the kind of thing that happens in Ottawa.
The mistake the reporter made was that he was working from a premise of a normalcy that no longer exists. At one time there was a faraway world of seventh-century barbaric slaughter. And then there was the civilized world, where people got up, went to work and came home to dinner. Then they would listen to the news about “normal” catastrophes — like a liquor store being robbed or a traffic accident causing a pileup on the highway. People in Canada — or in the United States, for that matter — didn’t go around mowing down police officers and soldiers.
But then the unthinkable happened. Multiple gunmen stormed the Canadian Parliament complex Wednesday, killing a soldier guarding the National War Memorial and spraying as many as 30 shots inside the government building in Ottawa in a shocking assault that left the nation’s capital on virtual lockdown just two days after a terror attack in Quebec.
Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, a former Mountie (member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), shot the gunman and stopped the attack at the Parliament.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was reported safe and evacuated from the area.
Meanwhile, more shooting incidents were reported, and later denied, a block or two away in downtown Ottawa. Schools and all public sites were placed on lockdown. The police issued an advisory to “stay off rooftops and away from windows in the downtown core.” They emphasized the need to avoid the downtown core altogether.
The attack came just two days after Martin Rouleau-Couture, a recent Muslim convert and jihadi terrorist, ran over two soldiers at a mall in Quebec. The attack left Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53, dead, and the other soldier wounded. Police shot and killed Rouleau, ending the mayhem.
Prime Minister Harper, a staunch friend of the United States and Israel, was planning to introduce new antiterrorism legislation and, earlier this month, the House of Commons approved an air-combat role for Canada in fighting ISIS.
Almost at the same time as the terrorist attacks in Ottawa, a three-month-old baby girl was killed when a Palestinian plowed his car into a crowd of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill station of Yerushalayim’s light rail.
Seven people were injured and the baby died a few hours later at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus. Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson Ofir Gendelman said the killer, a resident of Silwan, was a Hamas terrorist. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the driver got out of the car and tried to flee before he was shot by a police officer. He added that the driver “has served time in Israeli prison for terrorism.” Israeli media reported he was a member of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas.
Footage captured by security cameras indicated the driver, now in serious condition, deliberately struck people waiting at the stop.
Israeli officials condemned the attack. But, while the killer is being treated for his wounds in an Israeli hospital, the only reported response from Palestinians were dozens of masked youths blocking roads in Silwan, setting tires on fire and exploding firecrackers.
Is there any connection?
For decades, Israeli officials have warned that the constant terrorist threats Israel faces are about to engulf the entire free world.
For years, miners digging deep down into the ground used to take a canary in a cage with them. The delicate lungs of the canary made it a natural gas alarm. If the canary died, the air was not safe to breathe and the mine had to be evacuated.
Israel is the canary in the mine for the rest of civilization. It has, b’chasdei Hashem, survived, but its survival is miraculous, not from natural causes.
How symbolic that the War Memorial near Parliament Hill in Ottawa is called a cenotaph. That is a tomblike monument to someone buried elsewhere, especially commemorating those who died in a war.
The attacks in Canada were a local manifestation of a worldwide onslaught of jihadi terror. And the first step in fighting it is to recognize that, today, the entire free world is just like Israel.