On Wednesday, a terrorist killed a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and then walked into Canada’s Houses of Parliament. He engaged in a shooting battle with security guards and was killed while standing only one door away from federal politicians.
Kevin Vickers is the person responsible for order in the House of Commons. He wears ceremonial robes and carries a large golden sceptre into the Commons as proceedings begin. Many people see his role as a symbol of the past, as an example of unnecessary ritual. Kevin shot and killed the intruder.
What should a good person do when faced with evil? What would I have done? “Thou shalt not kill.” “Do not harm any living being.” The calls of Christianity and Buddhism are clear. And yet …
Kevin is a good man. As his niece Erin expresses it, “He’s a thoughtful and considerate person. He’s halfway to a saint in my opinion. He’s a very capable human being.” Clearly. And he had never shot anyone before Wednesday.
I like to think that I would have shot that man as well. That, in order to save the lives of others, I would have been willing to live the rest of my life knowing that I had killed. And willing to grapple with the daily emotional pain.
I see sporadically that I’m on the planet not to become a better person, not to accumulate experiences, not to be smart and witty and rich. I am here to serve and love.