Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To a Tee

There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.

An act of cowardice began events today in Ottawa. Nathan Cirillo, a twenty-four year old reservist from Hamilton, stood guard at his country's War Memorial. According to commentators, this hallowed place is analogous to our Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Cpl. Cirillo was murdered by an assailant armed with a long gun who gave no warning. This asshole (who has been named, but will not be here - ever) then entered Canada's Parliament building. One can only imagine his intent.

Events inside, at least a portion of them, were recorded by someone bearing a shaky camera and an iron will. The images captured reveal something few police officers see in real life - a textbook response to an active shooter. 

Officers move in unison toward the shooter. Discussions with a friend (a former SWAT officer who happens also to be from Toronto) involved "diamond" and "T" formations, variations of which most police officers learn and practice. The video reveals a sort of hybrid, maybe now called the "Lazy T." They remain in the center of the hall, where (believe it or not) it is safest. It is, however, extremely dangerous.

 Visible at the far end of the hallway is a figure, presumably the suspect. The officers do not halt, take cover or falter. They drive, as they have been taught, toward the man with the gun. There is shooting, and the camera operator flinches. When they recover, the Lazy T continues forward, driving on the murderer. The threat is eliminated. In plain English, they shot bullets into him until he died.

News continues to pour out of Ottawa, as their nation comes to grips with an act of terrorism. They mourn the loss of Cpl. Cirillo, and as Americans we share in their grief, just as they did in ours thirteen years ago. 

They can be proud, as are we as fellow police officers, of the bravery displayed by the men and women of Canadian law enforcement. They did not just run to the sound of guns, they ran to the sight of one as well. They risked their own lives and ended the shooting spree. 

Out of the senseless murder of a good man arose heroes. 

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