House essay: Canadians shaken by Connecticut school shooting

Evan Solomon, host of CBC Radio's The House, reflects on the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, in his weekly radio essay as heard on Dec. 15.
U.S. President Barack Obama wipes his eye as he speaks about the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)

Evan Solomon, host of CBC Radio's The House, reflects on the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, in his weekly radio essay as heard on Dec. 15.

Like his country, like all of us, the president of the United States Barack Obama was shaken.

He said as much with the tears in his eyes as he did with those words.

Because no words can bring back those kids and the other innocent people who were senselessly gunned down by a killer in the town of Newtown, Conn., on Friday.

Canada's prime minister, party leaders, and MPs also expressed their shock and grief.

We all share those feeling right now and that sense of confusion and bewilderment — who could kill children?

But amidst the tears, as the tragedy remains so raw, the beginnings of hard debate is coming to the U.S., and it's a debate about gun control.

Barack Obama said as much in his statement when he said, "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

I spoke with the U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, and he, too, did not shy away from raising the debate about gun control.

"As a parent and as a person, you can't see this and not have it break your heart. Obviously, our hopes and prayers go out to the families," said Jacobson.

The ambassador added "while it's probably not a day to talk about the details of policy, the one thing that I can echo from the president's comments is that we have to do something about this. We just can't have these things go on, over and over again."

What that meaningful action will be remains to be seen.

The details of this shooting aren't even complete yet.

Tragically, massacres such as this have happened before. The gun control debate comes and goes. But is this one the tipping point?

''We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a president, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do'— U.S. President Barack Obama on the school shooting in Newton, Conn.

We will watch closely.

Here in Canada, we recalled the Dec. 6, 1989, massacre at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal. It changed this country but even our debate about guns goes on.

For now, at least for a moment, let's take a pause from the politics.

Let's think about those families, those kids, those people.

They remain in our hearts, they remain in our thoughts and in our prayers.