There have been a lot of these… London. Munster. Berlin. Barcelona. Paris. Nice. Stockholm.
It’s hard to recall the details of any one specifically or to tell them apart. There’s a van or a car. Often it is rented. The driver steers it into a crowd, killing as many pedestrians as he can. Most end when whoever is behind the wheel is shot, or shoots himself.
Today it was Toronto, 10 pedestrians dead, 15 injured… A horror. A tragedy.
But this one may stand out in our memory for more than the fact that it happened here, in Canada. It will also be remembered as “The one with the cop… the cop who didn’t shoot.”
No motive is currently known, all we know is that the criminal is a 25-year-old fucked up!
At any point if the cop had fired and killed the suspect, the public, his peers, the press, even the driver himself, everyone would have understood. In fact, we likely would have called him a hero.
What held his finger? Bravery? Training? Compassion? Perhaps we will find out in the days ahead. But whatever it is, it deserves attention.
It is easy to take a life. A quick turn of the steering wheel and 10 people are gone. A small amount of pressure on the trigger, and the suspect is dead.
We kill each other out of hate, or fear, or ignorance, or duty. Sadly, we understand this instinct well. This is the dark side of humanity. And rightly, we are mesmerised by the horror of it.
But we also possess the instinct to keep each other alive.
This part of us can be more difficult to understand. But it deserves our devotion much more than the act of killing does.
These moments of humanity are not uncommon, but they are precious. It would be good if we could remember that about Toronto, remember the cop who didn’t shoot the bastard.
My thoughts go out to the victims of this senseless act of violence.