What’s next must balance security, freedom

What we have to do now is not go overboard.

We must take to heart the words of Prime Minister Stephen Harper as he addressed the House of Commons Thursday morning, saying, “We will not be intimidated. We will be vigilant, but we will not run scared. We will be prudent, but we will not panic.”

We must follow the example of our federal politicians who showed up for work on Parliament Hill Thursday morning, not allowing one man with a gun to put a crack in our democracy.

Such cool-headedness is what

must continue to prevail in the weeks to come as our governments begin to consider security and procedures.

Perhaps there are changes that will need to be made, but we must not let fear dictate what those changes will be.

There are many questions that remain about Wednesday’s events. Who was the shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, and what were his motives?

We know he has a criminal record, but we don’t yet know if he was some kind of religious radical sympathetic with a group such as ISIL, or whether he had

some other agenda.

It is unknown if there’s any link to Martin Rouleau-Couture, the zealot who deliberately ran over and killed a Canadian soldier on Monday.

It doesn’t seem likely there’s a direct connection, though a shared extremist ideology that glorifies violence and bloodshed would not be a surprise.

Right now it is important to remember that these are but two men, both now gone.

They are not the first to commit terrorist acts against Canadian institutions.

They will likely not be the last,

either, which is why we do have to consider what can be done to better try to head this kind of thing off in the future, before lives are lost – though there will never be a perfect solution.

But we must also duly consider what it is that we’re trying to safeguard. Our citizens, our country, our democracy. Our freedom.

Freedom is one of the great and proud traditions of our nation.

Any increased security must be balanced with the desire to preserve that cornerstone, too.

Our public buildings have always been just that.

There is existing security; we don’t live in a perfect world. Perhaps there will have to be more. But these are our institutions, and we hope they will continue to be open to us. Otherwise, fear has won a hand.

We’ve also seen the opinion that our government should be given the power to arrest people because they might commit a crime.

That’s a dangerous, slippery slope. We don’t arrest people for their thoughts. Nor should we.

That kind of argument is giving in to terror. What we must do now is stand firm against it.

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