In Ottawa, Ontario at Parliament Hill on Wednesday October 22, 2014, Michael Zehaf- Bibeau shot Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo and died trying to escape. Cirillo was shot while on duty in front of the Canadian National War Memorial. The perpetrator, Michael Zehaf- Bibeau was then shot to death inside the building in a gunfight with security personnel.
So what exactly does this shooting mean for Canadians? Are we officially under attack? Is this even a terrorist attack? What were Bibeau’s motives? Who exactly is Michael Zehaf- Bibeau?
Michael was born a Roman Catholic on Oct. 16, 1982 in Quebec City, Quebec. His mother is a French Canadian Quebecor while his adoptive father is a Libyan. Michael has a history of drug possession and usage as well as parole violations. Bibeau converted to Islam in 2004 and started to attend a Sunni mosque in Vancouver. He was later kicked out for his “unusual behaviour”.
Bibeau wasn’t someone who was very mentally stable let alone capable of being a terrorist. The reasons as to why this shooting is a big deal is because of many factors such as media, Prime Minister Harper’s speech and the fear of terrorism worldwide.
Media plays a huge role in the things we hear and see in our everyday lives and in the world around us. When we first heard of this story, the media made it seem like this was a terrorist attack but when facts were revealed and we find out a different side of the story.
Stephen Harper’s speech made this “attack” seem like it was a terrorist attack on Canada and that Harper was going to ‘save’ the nation. His choice of language and his heroism in the speech made it seem very exaggerated.
Terrorism is something we hear about from all over the world. From ISIS to Al Qaeda, there is something that all these groups have in common; they are all made up of extremist Muslims.
The media tends to show the shooter in this story as the “terrorist” because of his appearance and because he’s a recently converted Muslim. There may be no facts to back up that idea but people are certainly going to believe it. Everyone needs somebody to point a finger at and blame and in this situation it was Michael without even understanding why.
This shooting in Ottawa was definitely a depressing story for Canadians to hear about, especially because of a soldier being killed, but is this really an attack? Do we blindly believe everything the media tells us or do we decide based on fact and evidence?