OPINION: We must stand against violence

Dave Hayer is the MLA for Surrey-Tynehead.

No one who seeks or wins office should be in fear for their lives. All politicians are really doing is working, to give back to their communities, to their regions and to their countries. We are trying to make things better for everyone.

The tragic shooting in Arizona was carried out by someone with severe mental illness … not only did he target congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, but he spent 30 rounds from his pistol shooting anyone and everyone he could indiscriminately. There is no excuse for this tragedy.

My father was assassinated for the stance he took to bring justice to the victims of Air India Flight 182. He was targeted specifically because he intended to bring out the truth behind this terrible act of terrorism, and he became himself a victim of the criminals who perpetrated it.

These acts of violence touch so many lives, so many victims, not just those who were injured or died but their families, friends and our collective future. We all lose when these things happen, when so many lives, which hold such promise, are simply lost through the random acts of a violent person.

As a politician and a person, I feel a great sympathy for the tragic attack on the congresswoman’s life and I grieve for all those innocent people who died or were injured.

While these acts of random violence are often not preventable, it will not discourage people from speaking out against injustice, will not discourage people from speaking up for the rights of victims and will not discourage lawmakers from continuing the fight to rid society of violence.

Each of us has the right to speak out and stand up for what is right. Even in the face of tragic events such as the one in Arizona, we must stand up for what is best for our communities and our society.

If we allow violence and criminals to scare us into silence, then the wrong people will win, and we cannot, must not, let that happen.

– Dave S. Hayer, MLA for Surrey-Tynehead, is also parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism

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