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In Perspective

How to Talk About the Ottawa Shooting

Flowers, mementos and well-wishes are placed at the Canadian War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, October 23, 2014. Blair Gable / Courtesy Reuters

“Our world has changed forever today, and we don’t even know yet how much,” Canadian Senator Fabian Manning said on Wednesday, hours after a gunman entered Canada’s Parliament building and opened fire. In an editorial headlined “The End of Innocence,” the Calgary Herald solemnly declared, “Canada will never be the same again,” adding, “We crossed a threshold as a nation on Wednesday and we can never go back to being the way we were before.” Susan Clairmont, a columnist for the Hamilton Spectator, wrote, “Just as America changed the moment the planes hit the Twin Towers, Canada was forever altered the moment Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was struck down. In the hours and days and years to come, we will know that this was a pivotal moment that we can never turn back from.” 

And on it goes. Read any Canadian newspaper this week, and Canada appears to have been radically altered. We

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