Wednesday November 26, 2014


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Support must continue


Some people can find positives amidst even the most difficult of situations.

The recent shootings in Moncton, New Brunswick, would certainly fit the description of a tragedy. Three RCMP officers were killed. Two more were injured. It's carried a terrible toll on the families of the victims, and on the community of Moncton. 

And yet, something positive has emerged: the unwavering support of people from across the country over the past week.

Once Canadians were informed that RCMP officers were the victims of the shooting in Moncton, they voiced united support for our national police force. Condolences were expressed for people we'd never met.

And on June 10 – the day of a community-wide funeral service in Moncton that attracted thousands of people – Canadians everywhere wore red – the colour of the RCMP's internationally-famous serges.

It really has been beautiful to witness the heightened respect for law enforcement officers in recent days. It's reminiscent of what happened following the murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, in 2005.

But support for officers waned in the months following the Mayerthorpe massacre, just like it died down after dozens of police officers were killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City.

And, unfortunately, the support will also likely diminish as Moncton starts to fade from our memories.

Critics who like to bash police will go after law enforcement after a few reports of rogue officers surface in the media. Someone will cry foul when a video surfaces on YouTube, although they'll fail to research the source, the context or the possible editing of the video. 

Perhaps those critics are jealous because of the importance of police to society. Or maybe these critics are petty individuals. Or perhaps they're just criminals who are bitter at police for sending them to jail.  

There are thousands of police officers and law enforcement personnel in Canada. The majority of them are noble and honourable people. The conduct of a fraction of the officers shouldn't spoil the reputations of the majority.

But police typically don't receive media coverage for just doing their jobs. Unless an officer does something truly heroic, media coverage is reserved for officers who do something wrong.

Canada is very fortunate to have its law enforcement personnel. Regardless of whether it's the RCMP, provincial police, municipal police, customs officers or other officers, law enforcement workers are well-trained and mostly upstanding individuals who are focused on preserving the safety of people in our communities.

They work long hours, they're often underpaid, they have incredibly stressful jobs, and they don't know when, or if, they'll encounter somebody like the gunman in Moncton.

And so we can only hope that the outpouring of support will continue. 



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