Friday, June 30, 2006

4:30am - Shots fired...

Image from Toronto Star, basically taken from our front steps.

How you see the world is forever changed when you have a kid.

How you see the world the day that you are awoken at 4:30am by the sound of gunfire on the street in front of the house where you are trying to raise that child is a change that I had no pregnancy holding time during which I could at least grow acustomed to the idea.

Once before I was woken in the wee hours of the morning by what sounded like a round being fired out of some kind of handgun - exactly 6 bangs followed by a woman's scream. Of course that turned out to simply be an exploding power transformer the night the ice fell in the great ice storm that hit parts of Ontario and Quebec a few years back. And the screaming, no doubt someone surprised by the lights going out in a very dramatic fashion.

But Thursday morning was not like that. Although the sounds sounded a lot less like movie gunfire than the transformer did, as I leapt from my bed, I was greeted by the sight of a cop in the middle of the road holding a shotgun... I tried to convince my wife it was simply firecrackers but she didn't buy it. She was out of the bed before I was.

Having experienced firsthand cops firing weapons at citizens during the FTAA protests in Quebec, I have been wary of them ever since... Since Quebec City I have always felt somewhat betrayed by the police and our government - I thought we had a right to peaceful protest but the taste and sting of teargas had lead me to think otherwise.

For the first time in many years, as the cop with the shotgun glanced around nervously at the dark edges of the building across the street, I really understood that they do truly 'serve and protect' far more than I would ever be able to. That cops life was on the line to protect me and my little family - his very life... Obviously that was not his main concern, he was trying to round up a man on the loose, firing at cops and ambulances, having just shot a man a few blocks away. But as a citizen, I thanked God then and there for people who are willing to take on the task of trying to make our streets safe, whether or not i always agree with their methods, attitudes and tactics.

And I prayed for courage in those officers to do their job nobly and peacefully, even in the face of this awful situation. You could see in their stance and hear in their voices that they were afraid (probably as much of simply having to wield deadly force as the potential threat on their own lives) and yet they faced what they had to, thank God...

In Canada, we're the lucky ones. We rarely wake to such things, rarely live in such proximity to threats like that (although it seems, sadly, to be coming more common in Toronto)... I don't think living on our street will ever seem quite so safe. Even last night the darkness brought chills and that funny feeling - peering a little harder into those shadows... looking a little more cautiously at those passing on the street...

(Although yesterday morning I also finally got to talk to neighbours we've been saying hi to for a few months and haven't yet had a good excuse to converse with - funny how crisis bonds people. One of them quipped that, like the house that Garp buys in the John Irving novel "The World according to Garp", our house had been pre-disastered now, less likely for something like that to occur again!)

I don't really know how to sum this all up in the context of this blog... and yet, like most things for me it connects. Violation of the safety of my family in the little space we call home... somehow in some way I don't understand... things have changed... I have changed...

weird days man, weird days.

read the news story here...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

pentecost recycling

so last year i posted a flash piece for pentecost (posted here) and just recieved some fresh comments... for those of you interested in using the piece tommorow if it's not too late, simply click on the link in the other post and exchange the '.html' extension in the address bar with '.swf'

(this is usually the easiest way of stealing/using/borrowing flash files. if the naming system is not so straight forward you can always go to VIEW SOURCE and search for '.swf' and then copy the address from the html. while some people may not like you stealing their flash, feel free to borrow mine any time, just let me know it's being used - i always like to hear about and support other peoples creative ventures!)

now that you've learned something, here's the shortcut anyway to save you the trouble: pentecost flash file. of course you'll still need to right click or control click and save target as... as well as having a flash player installed on yer church's computer.