Making Sense Of Yesterday’s Attack In Ottawa

My work day had barely begun when news hit that a terrorist attack had broken out in Ottawa at the War Memorial and on Parliament Hill.  Conflicting reports were being thrown onto the Internet like bullets being fired in the marbled hallway of the Centre Block.  For hours afterwards, Ottawa was on lockdown as the Ottawa police, the OPP, the RCMP, and the Canadian Armed Forces joined forces and worked together to secure not only Parliament Hill, but Ottawa as a whole.

The shooter was identified as a “high risk traveller” by the federal government and his passport had been seized.

His step-father was a Libyan businessman, Bulgasem Zehaf, who returned to Libya in 2011.  After marrying the boy’s mother on July 15, 1989, he adopted her son on December 14, 1995, and the boy named Michael Joseph Hall at birth became Michael Joseph Zehaf-Bibeau (he was 13 years old at the time of adoption).

The step-father travelled between Canada and Libya for business over the years, and he found occasion to take Michael with him from time to time.

Zehaf and Bibeau divorced in 1999 … four years after Zehaf adopted Michael.

His mother is a Canadian woman from Manitoba named Susan Biebeau — a high-level federal staffer.

Susan Bibeau holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the Université de Montréal, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Concordia University, as well as a graduate certificate in business administration from the Public Administration University (Université du Québec à Montréal).  Since 2012, she has been the Deputy Chairperson of Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada after serving from 2008 to 2012 as the Director General of the Immigration Division.  From 2005 to 2008, she was the Director of the Immigration Division for the Eastern Region where she managed the delivery of the Immigration Division (ID) program and advised the Immigration Division on technical and legal issues.

There are those who may point to the fact that he was allegedly bullied as a child for being overweight but can that really be used as an excuse for the criminal activities that seem to be a core aspect of the shooter’s adult life?

There are others who point to the fact that in high school, he allegedly had a serious drug problem, and used marijuana and acid.

Michael had a troubled and troubling past that allegedly started with a credit card fraud charge in November 2001.  Two years after that, in 2003, he was incarcerated for 2 years on robbery and weapons charges.  Between 2003 and 2011, there was a flurry of other lesser charges such as drug charges involving marijuana and PCP, as well as possession of a dangerous weapon.  And in 2011, there were charges of uttering threats (found guilty) and robbery in Vancouver.

It has been alleged that he had an acquaintance with 25-year-old accused B.C. terrorist, Hasibullah Yusufzai, who traveled to Syria in the hopes of joining a terrorist group there.  Interpol has a red notice out on Yusufzai.

And while it’s true that Michael seems to have held extremist views and was prone to criminal and violent activity, it should be noted that mainstream media has reported Michael had expressed to others that he believed the devil was after him.

At this point, more important than pointing fingers at what’s to blame for how yesterday’s tragedy happened is making sure that these horrors don’t happen again.  I don’t know what the solution is.  I don’t believe anyone knows what the solution is.

What I do know is that the world is becoming an uglier and uglier place these days, and that needs to be addressed — in our countries, in our states and provinces, in our communities, in our schools, in our homes, and in ourselves.  Peaceful existence doesn’t happen by accident.  It takes a concerted, constant effort on everyone’s part.

Now ask yourself this question:  What have you done to make the world a more peaceful, nurturing place to live?  Then ask yourself this question:  What else can I do to make the world a more peaceful, nurturing place to live?

In the days, weeks, months,and years that come, don’t glibly pass along the saying “be the change you want” on social media.  Become part of the process that will create the change you want, and make that change a change for the better.  Platitudes accomplish nothing when no action is taken to make things happen.

Elyse Bruce

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One Response to “Making Sense Of Yesterday’s Attack In Ottawa”

  1. Idle No More: Appeared Aboriginal | Elyse Bruce Says:

    […] Making Sense Of Yesterday’s Attack In Ottawa […]


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