Monday, June 05, 2006

Toronto terrorism threat (UPDATE 5)

An American perspective on the arrests of 17 suspected terrorists here in Toronto comes from The New York Times. It doesn't add much to what I've already linked to and quoted -- specifically, to what you can find in greater detail in The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the CBC, and various other major Canadian news outlets -- but there is this: "Several of the people arrested by Canadian authorities in a huge counterterrorism sweep over the weekend regularly attended the same storefront mosque in a middle-class neighborhood of modest brick rental townhouses and well-kept lawns."

In other words, they're all quite, well, normal. Which perhaps makes this all the more frightening to us normal Canadians.

The Times piece closes with this: "The arrests that seemed to shock Canadians when they were announced by the Royal Canadian Mounted police on Saturday morning did not appear to create much lingering fear in the Toronto area outside the neighborhoods where the raids took place. The roads near the Islamic Center in Mississauga was closed this morning for a road race. And downtown Toronto was shut down by a charity bicycle ride."

Certain media outlets have been hyperventilating in FOX-like fashion, but to me and to many I know, the Times's impression is spot on. I live and work in downtown Toronto. I'm hoping for a normal Monday, just like my normal Sunday. (Unless, of course, normal isn't normal anymore. I'll leave that for another time.)


Want an example of such hyperventilation? Check out Rosie DiManno's latest column in the Toronto Star. Here's how she begins: "Be sickened. Be frightened. Be angry. But don't you dare be shocked." She goes on to refer to "an enemy within" and "[t]he Jihad Generation," as well as to "[b]lood streaming, mangled metal, severed limbs, inchoate rage and immeasurable grief".

Yes, yes, I'm taking this very seriously, as I've repeated again and again in recent days, and our police and security forces have apparently done extremely well, but such unreasonably over-the-top responses, even from typically over-the-top columnists, amount to little more than rabble-rousing fearmongering.

It's normal to be outraged, I suppose, but let's not overdo it. Surely some emotional detachment is in order.

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