This post is a little off my typical topic but I need to get it out because we are free to do what we do because of those who offer their service for the public good. Last week three RCMP officers were killed by a man with a hatred for those in uniform and two others were wounded. This led to a two day manhunt and the City of Moncton in lock down before the suspect was found and arrested. I have been to Moncton it is a nice little city not a place you would expect this to happen. Mind you neither is Spiritwood or Mayerthorpe where RCMP officer have also been gunned down en mass in the last decade.
The RCMP are a symbol of Canada as our national police force and we mourn losses like this greatly. Today was the funeral for those three who died and a reported 7000 officers were in attendance. As with previous losses like this in all too recent of years officers from across the country, the United Kingdom, and the United States were in attendance and I know previously when this loss of life has been experienced representatives from police forces and militaries all over the world have attended. To those countries who sent officers and military personal to the funerals over the years the solidarity is appreciated more than you will ever know. I am not always thankful enough to live in a country where I am as free as I am or that those who have sworn to protect and to enforce the law are respected so much that the world sees fit to honour them with us when they fall.
In the news story you will see the sea of RCMP officers in their ceremonial Red Serge (they don’t wear those all the time by the way) distraught and doing their best to maintain composure. The one was a dog handler and his dog was there sniffing his stetson and whining beside his partners casket, which is truly heart breaking especially if like me you are a dog owner. Perhaps it is because I live in Regina close enough to Depot Division where every RCMP officer is trained that I can hear the ceremonial cannons and that I see these young people around town working so hard to make it through, if you ever see what RCMP training is like you will wonder how any make it through. Perhaps it because I have seen them so proud to wear their Red Serge at their graduation. It could be the people I have known who have gone to the RCMP and I know they are good people and they choose to deal with the worst that society has to offer. Perhaps it is national pride but I, like the country, am hurt and writing with tears in my eyes. I have been avoiding going to Depot where the national memorial for the RCMP is located and where the names of all 234 officers who have died are listed in a wall but today I wore red to remember those who have died in service and take time to pause and remember what I have to be grateful for.
We can all take a moment to remember and mourn. We should also remember that Police deal with the worst we have to offer and perhaps they are being a little rough on you speeding because of the horrible accident they cleaned up the night before. We should also wonder how this came to be, perhaps it is the gun laws or a problematic mental health system but it is most likely the gun culture mixed with this anti-police culture. When we stand by and let these people spew this garbage about the Police we are enabling them. The RCMP has had problems over the years but each individual who joined is a person with a life and they want to do good for everyone. It takes courage to put on the uniform and to walk out the door each day and they do their best to serve with honour. We can honour them by not listening or better yet telling those speaking that we don’t want to hear it. It after all because of people like them that we are allowed to be who we are and I have often thought that while we honour those who have sacrificed their lives we don’t honour those who have offered their lives and service and thankfully never had to be asked to do so. If you’re ever in Regina go to Depot see the museum, the sunset ceremony, the parade, and the drills but also take time to stand at the cenotaph and remember that every officer doesn’t make it through to retirement and while some will die in car accidents or helicopter crashes there is no reason that someone with a gun and a hatred for the police should ever be able to do this again. He was arrested and will stand trial and undoubtedly will disappear into prison his name to be forgotten until he dies just like the last one but his actions can never be forgotten lest we let it happen again.