Inspired by what appears to be Islamic extremism, Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed a corporal guarding the National War Memorial before entering Parliament building where he died after a shootout with the RCMP. With the Prime Minister calling this a terrorism attack, Doug Saunders argues against turning the seat of government into a fortress.
All terrorist attacks are, by definition, symbolic. The assailants are not seeking to overcome their perceived enemy by military defeat or to use persuasion to change the state of affairs they detest, but rather to create a sense, among public and officials, that their most open, welcoming and observed institutions – markets, border crossings, vacation resorts, public-transit systems, hotels, airports, trade centres, and legislatures – will never again, so long as that state of affairs continues, be places where people can peacefully gather without fear of physical harm.
As such, attacks on legislatures and parliaments are among the most primal, well-established and frequent forms of terrorist attack, reaching back to the origins of terrorism and taking place, in one country or another, almost every year.
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