Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: police

Quebec city shooting and aftermath

Monday evening a man with a gun walked into a Québec City mosque and began shooting those who were there to worship. Within an hour, two university students were in custody, Alexandre Bissonnette and Mohammed Belkhadir. Before long, the police announced that only Mr. Bissonnette was a suspect, Mr. Belkhadir was a witness; he was released after several hours. Mr. Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of murder. Two more victims remain in critical condition in hospital. All were shot in the back.

Mr Bissonnette did not belong to an extremist group. He had voiced some critical views about Muslims and others, but nothing that would have sent any warning signals about his intentions to proceed to such drastic actions. He is not a symptom of something terribly wrong in Québec society or Canadian society. I don’t know what can be done to stop persons acting alone who feel that they have received an illumination revealing that they can make the world a better place by going out and killing a few people.

Mr. Belkhadir spoke to the media after he was released and explained why he had been arrested. He had been leaving the mosque when he heard gunshots and went back inside. He had been providing first aid to one of the injured when he saw a gun pointing at him, thought it was the gunman, tried to get away and was quickly apprehended by the police. He said that he fully understands that running away made him appear suspect, but that the police had treated him well and he had no ill-will toward them.

The gun pointing at him was in the hand of a police officer, not the gunman. I am thankful to live in a country where police officers are not trigger-happy. The gun was not fired, Mr Belkhadir is alive and unharmed.

Government leaders and politicians across the country said all the right things about feeling sorrow that such a thing could happen and feeling compassion for the victims and all those affected by the shooting.

Perhaps Philippe Couillard, Prime Minister of Québec said it the best: “Spoken words matter. Written words matter.” He was not advocating censorship, but urging us to be careful to get the facts straight and to use words of kindness to others. He finished by saying: “We are all Québecois. Once we say this, then we talk to each other. Next time you walk past someone of the Muslim community, why don’t you stop and say hello?”

We have been tested by the hatred shown by one young man. The reaction from across the country has given me an assurance that the great majority of Canadians are people of compassion, not hatred.

Big Mistake at McDo

This is a departure from the type of article that I normally post, but I was amused by this account of a crime gone wonderfully wrong.

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French speaking people often refer to McDonalds as McDo.

Yesterday (Sunday) evening around 8:30 two young men entered a McDo in Besançon, France.  One was armed with a shotgun and fired a load of buckshot toward the ceiling while the other dashed behind the counter to grab the cash register, which would typically contain around 2,000 € at this time of day.

There were 15 staff in the restaurant and 30-40 customers. Among the customers were 11 plain clothes police officers meeting for lunch. The police officers did nothing to alarm the robbers while they were inside the restaurant, but as soon as they  were out the door the police were right behind them to make the arrest. The young man who was carrying the cash register stumbled and fell under the shock. The other tried to threaten the police officers with the shotgun and received a bullet wound in the abdomen in return. They were taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries and will face charges of armed robbery and threatening police officers.

I suppose it seemed like a good idea while they were planning the robbery. What could possibly go wrong? It appears that Murphy’s Law applies in France, too.

Please slow down

It is winter inauto-70075_1280 Saskatchewan. Last night there was a heavy fog; the fog deposited its humidity on roads and streets where it formed a sheet of ice. After a rash of accidents in Saskatoon this morning, the police issued the following bulletin:

Speed limits are set based on ideal road conditions. THESE are not “ideal” road conditions. Please slow down.

What is wrong with the world?

Yesterday at the Walmart checkout there was a lady with three children ahead of me. The oldest child, a boy of about eight, was sitting in the shopping cart. The mother kept asking him what happened to a small toy that he had picked up, and he denied knowing anything about it. Finally she wrestled him up and pulled it out from under him and placed it with the other items on the checkout belt. The boy wailed his frustration.

A little later, while I was eating supper at Tim Horton’s, a mother and a boy of about ten were standing in the lineup to order. She gave him some money and he immediately barged up in front of others who were waiting to order and ordered a hot chocolate. He repeatedly called his mother to join him, but she refused and waited her turn. I noticed the design and printing on the back of the boy’s jacket: “bad boy,” ” bow to no one,” “warrior.”

There are children in our cities who dare not go home at night for fear of drug and alcohol fuelled violence. Many children are removed from homes where they are not properly cared for and placed in foster homes. At the first hint of trouble they are moved to another foster home. Many who would make good foster parents are afraid to try because of the heavy hand of the social service agencies.

Violence against women is increasing, there are many unsolved disappearances and murders. Violence against police is increasing. Police officers are more heavily armed than ever before and occasionally they overstep their authority, yet instances of assault and even murder of police officers far outnumber instances of assault by police officers.

Where can we look for answers to set aright the things that are going wrong in our society? To the schools? It is the schools that are teaching children that all ideas of right and wrong are only someone’s opinion. That is the source of the problem, not the cure.

What about the news media? They have succumbed to following every turn of the wind  of political correctness.

Politicians? They rule by public opinion polls and the polls reflect what the schools and media teach.

The churches? There was a time when the churches stood for something, now most are like the politicians: they stand for what they think the people want to hear.

Yet if there is any hope for our society, it will have to come from those who have convictions based on reality. The Bible understands us better than we understand ourselves, because it was inspired by our Maker who understands what we really need in order to experience peace and happiness.

But we cannot help the world by continually pointing out what people are doing wrong. People already know that things aren’t working out quite like they hoped, yet they continue to hope that the same “experts” who got them into the current mess can lead them to happiness.

The Bible has better answers for people’s needs. They are not easy answers, but they work. Let us be clear though that we do not have the answers. If we talk and act like Pharisees we will not be any more useful that they were.

What the world needs from Christians is compassion, understanding and a conviction to teach and live the basics of the faith which we claim. Simplistic answers and pep talks will not help. We need to steadfastly refuse to be swept along with the madness of the world and we need to have the courage to explain why. Many will consider our explanations scandalous, but some will listen.

Today’s weirdest news story

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This morning, two young men walked into a Tim Horton’s in Saskatoon and ordered breakfast sandwiches. They insisted that the onions had to be diced, not just sliced. The counter person explained that they could not do it. This led to an argument and finally one of the young men reached into the other’s pocket, pulled out a garter snake and threw it behind the counter. Everyone scattered.

The police came, picked up the snake (garter snakes are harmless) and found a temporary home for it. It will be released into the wild in spring. The police also found the two culprits and they probably won’t get off so easily.

Now, people do not ordinarily go around with a snake in their pocket – not even in Saskatchewan – unless they are planning some outlandish stunt. Asking for diced onions on a breakfast sandwich was just a way to start an argument.

It was probably about a year ago that someone went into a Tim Horton’s, in Edmonton I think, bought a coffee and then left money to buy coffee for the next 100 customers. That soon spread across Canada, with unknown benefactors paying for coffee for large numbers of Tim Horton’s patrons that were unknown to them. That was a copycat streak that created a string of good news stories for about a week.

Times being what they are . . .  Well, I just hope that all the garter snakes in Canada have gone into hiding for the winter.

Ce sont des choses qu’arrivent

We left home in the afternoon, foolishly leaving the curtains wide open to announce our absence to all the world, attended a church service an hour outside of Montréal, then drove a lady to her home on the west side of the city. It was after midnight when we returned home. The first hint of trouble was when we drove in our driveway and the motion sensor light did not come on.

Our computer, printer and fax machine were gone, some pieces no doubt carried inside the pillow case that was missing from our bed. The culprit had come in through a basement window at the back, unscrewed the bulb in the light above the outside door and made off with the things that could be quickly sold. The police came, took down all the information, and said “Ce sont des choses qu’arrivent.” (These things happen.)

Not a very encouraging message, but we understood that the likelihood of ever seeing our stolen goods again was about zero. Even if the police could have found the culprit, he would have sold the stolen items almost immediately. If the police could have located the stolen items, we had no way to identify them as ours. We didn’t even have the serial numbers written down anywhere.

A police officer once told us that he and his wife had bought a recliner for his wife’s mother. The store delivered it to the lobby of her apartment building where it promptly disappeared. They checked all the apartments, found the recliner in one of them and the man said “Prove it!” With no eyewitnesses and no way of proving that this was the chair they had bought, their hands were tied.

It is really amazing how many crimes the police are able to solve under such circumstances. We can make their job easier by engraving our name in some inconspicuous location on valuable items and by keeping a list of model and serial numbers. More experienced criminals know this and will remove labels and tags and sand off any identifying marks.

Murphy, whoever he was, spoke the truth when he said “If something can go wrong, it will.” Nothing is completely idiot proof, including our sophisticated electronic devices. My printer would not print this morning. It worked fine yesterday, but something changed overnight. I did all kinds of troubleshooting and found nothing wrong. I finally deleted the printer driver from my computer and reinstalled it. That worked. My best guess is that the anti-virus program renewed the computer firewall and blocked access to the home office network. Reinstalling the program renewed the exception status for the printer.

There is a skunk who wants to make his home under our mobile home and keeps digging his way in under the skirting. There is also a stray cat who thinks he belongs in our home. Every time a new hole appears he crawls under the trailer, squeezes through the opening where the water pipes come up and comes out through the cabinets in our main bathroom. He’s really quite a nice cat, except for this obnoxious drive to find a way in. We already have three house cats. Is there anyone within driving distance who wants a cat?

After fixing the printer problem, I went out and hauled more wheelbarrow loads of gravel to try and make it more difficult to burrow under the skirting. There’s no guarantee it will work, my best hope is that the skunk will get frustrated and go somewhere else. We had this problem last year and tried a skunk trap, didn’t work. I am using an animal repellant, but I’m not sure the skunk or the cat have read the label and understand what it is. Ce sont des choses qu’arrivent.

Here and there

Tomorrow is our  anniversary and I am taking my wife out to dinner in a restaurant that opened just one week ago.  The restaurant is in Moose Jaw, the city where our married life began 43 years ago.  One of my cousins and his wife will meet us for dinner, we plan to visit two other elderly cousins after dinner, then meet my wife’s sister at 5 o’clock at Tim Horton’s. That means a 2½ hour drive each way, but it will be a pleasant break from our normal routine.

Tim Horton’s is a Canadian institution, far and away the biggest fast food chain in the country.  There are no burgers on their menu, just paninis, wraps, bagels, muffins doughnuts, soup, and coffee of all kinds  I have a special fondness for their mocha latte.  Apparently 80% of the coffee served in Canada is served by Tim Horton’s.

I don’t make a practice of commenting on the news, but two incidents in the last couple of days have got me wondering.

In Toronto, a young man, 18 years old, got on a street car behaving bizarrely, pulled a knife and ordered everybody else off.  The police came, 20 of them, and one of them went on the streetcar and ordered the young man to surrender.  Apparently the police officer felt threatened, even though the young man was not near enough to harm him.   He shot the young man nine times and ordered another officer to tazer him.

In Montréal, a seventy-two year old man threatened meter readers with a gun, then locked himself in the house, leaving his wife locked outside.  The police came, as many as in Toronto, and the man fired one shot at them.   The police were aware there were other guns in the home.  They tried various means to communicate with the man and finally after 20 hours one policeman entered the house and fired one bullet.

The results: in Toronto a young man is dead, the family is hurt and angry, a police officer is suspended, an investigation will be held.  In Montréal an elderly man with dementia is safe and sound, the family is relieved and happy, the police are heroes.

The bullet fired in Montréal was a rubber bullet.  Hasn’t Toronto ever heard of rubber bullets?

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