Terrorism in Ottawa – Some Thoughts.

An accurate definition of terrorist has never been defined. The term “terrorism” comes from French terror, from Latin: ‘terror’, “great fear”, “dread”, related to the Latin verb terrere, “to frighten”. (1)

Today Ottawa experienced an attack by one or more people who could be called terrorists. At this point we don’t know what if any groups were behind this. It is simply too early and foolish to make any assumptions on this. The specialists will be working to find the answers in the days and weeks ahead. Prime Minister Harper links it to Canada’s actions abroad. This needs to be confirmed either way.

Some random thoughts of the day in no particular order.

Although there will be an investigation on how this individual got in the building, the Parliament Hill security force led by Parliament Sgt of Arms Kevin Vickers stopped the shooter in a fairly short time and without anyone else being killed. It is reported that they have been training for such a possibility happening. Like many first responders he ran toward the danger to protect his fellow citizens. A true steward of the role he has.

It is very hard to stop a single or small group of attackers if they are bent on doing an act like this without worrying about surviving the attack. We saw that on Sept 11th 2001.

How are we to find a baseline to balance our freedoms and democracy with the need to gather and try to prevent this sort of event? We have seen what has happened in the US when too much power is given originally for the right reasons but then allowed to run out of control in some cases.

We will see a rare time when all political parties and citizen’s of all faiths will come together to support those who stopped this attack happening and will agree that as Canadians we must stand together against this sort of event.

We must not allow ourselves to become angry towards those faith groups that these terrorist groups claim to be acting in the name of. Many times faith has been corrupted in many wrong ways by people claims to act in it’s name.

We as a country are shaken by the events today but we must not be turned away from the ideals that make people want to come and live in this nation. If we allow ourselves to remain fearful then we allow these terrorists to win.

A final thought, I hope the guards at the war memorial can be put back to their post as soon as possible. It will send an additional message that Canadians will not be scared.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_terrorism#Etymology


Posted in Life, News, Rants Tagged with: ,

On racism and the truth in campaigns and the media

I’ve have been fortunate enough to know and work with several communications professionals in my personal and professional career. What we saw today from the Paul Cheng campaign would make any of them cringe.

I think I can safely say that any of them would agree with me on the following points.

When a member of your volunteer staff does something extremely stupid and wrong, like post a racist tweet. It’s a good idea to get rid of them. - Paul Cheng did this.

Instead of just moving on at that point instead blame your opponent, the victim of the racist comment or anyone else who brought it to you attention. – Paul Cheng alas did all of this, therefore politicizing the issue. Racism is an independent issue outside of politics. This then made a small issue bigger.

Then his campaign manager accuses a local media outlet for putting words into Paul Cheng’s mouth. Only problem was Paul was recorded saying that and knew he was on the record. Never tell a lie particularly when there is proof out there.

I don’t always agree what is presented in print/radio/tv , but the ones I’ve met are good people and realize that lying would be very bad for their professional careers and for the industry in general. I realize that the media has a job to do as well, and in the era of cutbacks and mergers it’s tougher then ever. I have a great deal of respect for the profession in general.

There are people I agree with and people I disagree with on issues, but if anyone I know ever behaves in the manner that this person did, they will get called out. Racism has no place in civilized society. No excuses.

UPDATE: Just before I hit publish,  Paul Cheng has offered his apology to Craig Needles and AM980 for the statements made by his campaign manager.

Posted in Politics, Rants Tagged with: ,

On tea and tools. Why choice is a good thing.

keyboard coffeeI

’m sitting here on my front porch on a gorgeous sunny September morning and having a cup of tea. I realize this is the first cup of tea I have had in several months. For me tea seems to be a more cooler weather drink then my usually morning coffee.

For many a choice of beverages is a good parallel to what sort of tools we use in our professional and personal life. For example I may use Focuswriter to write an initial blog post than import it into another application for the formatting and final editing. There are many different apps and services that can help you manage your todo list. Every single one will have fans who think it’s the perfect tool for their needs, and to them it is. Someone else may have tried the same tool and found it lacking, instead turning to another one that meets their needs.

In this way both people are happy. There is also nothing wrong with trying another tool to see if your opinion of it has changed. Like the tools, those who use them may change over time.

A personal example – Over many years I grew to become a big fan of Microsoft’s Outlook email client. I loved the way it displayed and managed several email accounts I have. When I got my first iPhone I started to use the built-in mail client and one feature I loved was a unified inbox. This allows you to view mail from multiple inboxes all in one place. Unfortunately Outlook never has had this feature.

I’ve tried several other email clients, before finally settling on Gmail through the web browser using the activeinbox plugin. With that it met the needs that I needed the most currently in my personal and professional live. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would use gmail on the browser I would have just laughed.

Similar cases can be made in many other aspects of technology, productivity and life. Use what works for you but be open to change, both in the tools and in yourself.

Question: What tools have you changed that makes you more productive now?


Posted in Life, Productivity Tagged with: , , , , ,

Finding Our Way

Most of this was written several months ago but it has been occupying my mind of late. With recent events I think it is time I get it out of my head. Perhaps it’s another step in helping myself (and others) in finding our way.

This post will probably not make me popular with some folks, but please read it all the way through. This has been very difficult and conflicting for me to write. And it is still is more of a rant than a fully structured blog post.

As has been reported in the media, the London and Middlesex Health Unit is looking to distribute crack pipes in two of its locations. This is similar to a program currently in place that distributes free needles to intravenous drug uses.

I have no objection to this plan as long as it’s is fully implemented including offering these drug users alternates and ways to kick the habit. Over the long-term this sort of program does save money in the health sector. However you will never get someone to quit until they are ready to quit.

Many people have spoken out against this program, including business owners and residents in areas where high drug use and homeless / mental health issues seem to be concentrated. I think these business owners and residents should not be dismissed as being NIMBY. Many of these business owners and residents care about and want to help people in these circumstances. But if they are out of business because no customers are coming in, or feel uncomfortable stepping out of their homes, what should they do? Do we allow someone to commit a crime or be anti social just because of their income or health?

Many will say the businesses and residents should suck it up and help change the system. Most people will agree the system has to change, but the complexity’s involved mean that it is going to take time. What can be done in the mean time?
There will always be a small percentage of people who do not want help and will be anti social. How does it helped the community if a business moves away because of this issue. We all have equal rights, but do we have blind spots in some areas?

We see similar things in terms of mental health. We all know the current mental health system has many problems and far too many people are not getting the care they need. This can also be tied to the state of homelessness in our country.

There is also a shift needed in health care for people on low and fixed income. These folks are often shocked to see drug users obtaining needles for free where they have to pay out-of-pocket for needles and supplies for valid health issues like diabetes. Not having the ability to afford such items ultimately drives up health care costs. These concerns need to be addressed as well.

Helping those who need the help the most should not just be restricted to the most at risk. How do we bring all these elements together? How do we draw a line that all can agree and live with? There are no simple answers and it’s going to take all of us to come up with it.


Posted in Random Thoughts, Rants Tagged with: , ,

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