There Are No Words

I didn’t pop on here yesterday to say anything about what was happening in New Brunswick. I was too busy pacing, praying, and refreshing every browser window that might bring news.

I don’t say good news, because there’s no happy ending in a situation like this. The Mounties might have got their man last night, but that fact does little to ease anyone’s pain.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the events, here’s what news reports told us:

On Wednesday evening in Moncton, a man walked around wearing camouflage and carrying several guns until someone called the police. He waited for them– not threatening any civilians– and opened fire when he saw uniforms.

He killed three RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officers and injured two others before he fled.

Someone posted a video on Facebook of a police officer being killed. People watched it, and shared it.

The manhunt shut down much of that small, usually quiet city. Schools closed. Buses not running. One neighbourhood blockaded and residents asked to stay in their houses and leave the porch lights on overnight.

Police asked the public not to share their location, and (citation needed, sorry) it sounds like the media complied, going so far as to warn other news outlets when it seemed like they were revealing too much.

After something like 30 hours, police surrounded the suspect in someone’s yard, and he surrendered. He’s alive.

Those are the facts as we know them. Background information is slowly emerging. Like the fact that one of the officers killed had three children, and another had a 19 month old child and a pregnant wife*. Like the killer’s Facebook page, which is plastered with pro-gun and anti-police sentiments. Like the rumour that the shooter had planned this, and no one reported it.

I don’t know what to say about any of this. It’s senseless. It’s heartbreaking.

It cuts right through the feeling of security that some of us might have when we think it could never happen to our spouses, children, or friends who are police officers.

There is evil in the world, and Moncton witnessed it on Wednesday evening.

I know, I’m supposed to say I’m relieved that they took him alive so he can face justice. But I can’t. There is no punishment that fits this crime. Nothing the courts do can balance out what was lost.

But this isn’t about me. This is about the heartbreak of every member of the RCMP family. This is about the officers who went without sleep for too long, who rushed in from other provinces to help with the investigation, who had to keep working even in their grief. They had to keep tracking a man who was specifically targeting them, knowing that they were putting their own lives in danger.

They do that every day, you know. It’s not the most dangerous job in the world, but it’s one of few where you never know who might decide to shoot at you because you’re trying to make the world a better place, and it’s interfering with their idea of a good time.

It’s about the city in lockdown and its terrified residents. It’s about the families of the officers involved in the hunt, who didn’t eat or sleep until their loved ones were home safe, many of them trying to put on brave faces for their kids. It’s about officers who had to face the press and answer questions, trying to hold back tears for their fallen friends.

It’s a little bit about the killer (and there are other words I’d prefer to use for him). But I’d rather never say his name. I’m praying for his family. I can’t bring myself to pray for him yet.

It’s not about the person who got video of the shooting, and instead of just forwarding it to police decided to post it to social media for the world to see. I have thoughts on that, but I’m not going to share them here. This is a beautiful piece on the issue that handles it better than I would.

You know, I don’t know what it’s about.

Yesterday we were all praying for it to be over. Now it is… sort of. Though it seems like what they call an open and shut case, I doubt anyone will rest easy until we have a verdict saying this man’s going to rot in prison for the rest of his life.

Yes, I’m pissed. I’m heartbroken for every person directly affected, from the victims to the shooter’s family to the residents of Moncton.

I don’t really have anything else to say that I’m willing to have on public record. Just wanted you guys to know what’s going on.

Note: If you followed search terms here and want to post anti-police comments, don’t bother. I’m not going to approve them. This personal post is not an invitation to debate. If you have grievances, this is neither the time nor the place to air them.

 

—-

*This is not to say that a person’s death is more tragic when they have a family, or that spouses/parents have more value to society. Had these all been single members without a friend or family member in the world, the loss would have been just as great, and just as painful. It’s only to say that this is the information we have, and these families are innocent victims, too.

 

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About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, an intentional boxer and an accidental chihuahua. She's the author of the bestselling Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy). www.katesparkes.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

14 responses to “There Are No Words

  • Charles Yallowitz

    I saw the headline last night, but didn’t look at the article. That’s terrible, but I hate to say that it isn’t the first time I’ve heard of someone setting a trap like that for the cops. Feels like the world is becoming a more disturbing place by the day.

  • Jade Reyner

    I hadn’t heard about this. What a terrible tragedy. My thoughts go out to everyone affected.

  • Sue Archer

    Well said, Kate. We are following the story here in Toronto and have been horrified by this terrible tragedy. Our hearts are with the people of Moncton and the RCMP officers and their families.

  • wendyalowden

    Beautifully said my daughter. Even as a Minister/Pastor who preaches forgiveness and God’s love, I have prayed for the killer ‘s family and the guilt and shock and future distress they will go through…..but I too have not either acknowledged him by name or been able to pray for him….I am not sure what that says about me except that I am human. This has left me scared….terrified even, about our false sense of security and what can happen to any of us, and to our beautiful son in law and his family in the blink of an eye. My overwhelming feeling today though is pride in the men and women of the RCMP, their restraint, their professionalism and their love and support dor each other. I love you. Thank you for putting so much of what we have been feeling into the written word.

  • Emily Witt

    Wow. I had no idea this had happened either. Thank you for letting us know.

  • francisguenette

    This event was the first I have ever followed as it unwound on Twitter and the experience is one I will reflect on for some time. The immediacy and the horror of what was happening put me in a grip I can’t really describe. The world has changed in so many, many ways. As a fellow CND, I shared the disbelief that this could happen here – though this does happen here, like anywhere else. A suspect is now in custody and that, obviously, has people letting out a held breath of fear and anxiety. But, as you say, we are so far from being healed of such an event and the underlying processes that lead to such utterly senseless violence.

  • ROW80 Update: Not Much to Say Edition | disregard the prologue

    […] it’s been a rough week around here. It’s been difficult for this country, for RCMP members and their families, for the city of […]

  • jetgirlcos

    Very cool. Found your site because of Celine Jeanjean. I just read your chapter 1 of “Bound” and am looking forward to reading the rest upon release. Because I really want to know what happens next!

  • jetgirlcos

    Sorry, hit “post” too soon…I want to tell you that I had not heard of the tragedy in Newfoundland until today but I will add these families to my prayers as well. It’s horrible! And even more so whoever saw fit to put someone else’s tragedy on FB or whatever. What is the world coming to?

    • Kate Sparkes

      I know. I haven’t watched the video. I can’t.

      It was actually in New Brunswick. I’m in Newfoundland… I feel guilty being thankful that it wasn’t here. Still too close. Makes you realize it could happen anywhere. :/

      Thank you for adding the families to your prayers. I don’t know them personally, but I know they appreciate all of the love and support people are sending.

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