Turning inner space into outer space

December 16, 2010

Forced to live in fear

There’s no doubt police acted correctly when they suspected equipment found downtown was a bomb — evacuation was the safe and reasonable thing to do. What’s interesting, though, is that they suspected a bomb at all.

The reason I say this is because the police live in the same society as the rest of us, one in which we’ve become much more frightened. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear about a bomb going off in Iraq or Afghanistan. It happens less frequently outside of these war zones, but it’s not unheard of. Stockholm, for example, recently suffered a bomb attack. The perpetrator was apparently upset over Sweden’s role (as part of NATO) in Afghanistan. In some minds, NATO’s presence is an attack on Muslims, and they see terrorism as a way of fighting back.

Canada, of course, has been playing a major role in the fighting overseas, so it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that some individual or group would target a Canadian city as a sort of revenge. Would they pick on Kamloops? It seems unlikely. But who can say for sure. The airport here, after all, has strict security measures to guard against terrorism, so it certainly raises the possibility.

Even aside from terrorism, there is the possibility of homegrown violence. Police in Nanaimo are investigating a pipe bomb that exploded next to a home. The resident’s tires were also slashed, so it appears to have been a targeted attack. Or maybe it was just vandals picking on a random victim.

The point is that they used a bomb. Instructions for making one can easily be found on the Internet.

But let’s get back to Kamloops. In the good old days, I can imagine the police finding something similar downtown and simply placing it in storage so the rightful owner could eventually claim it. The idea of it being a bomb would not have entered their minds.

Unfortunately, the increase in violence as a way of solving real or perceived problems, or even as a form of entertainment, means we’re losing more and more of our innocence. If it could happen in Iraq or Stockholm or Nanaimo, it could happen here.