By Wayne Litke
Every week there is another report of a young person or persons leaving a democratic country in the Western Hemisphere and joining a radical Islamic group such as Isis or Al Qaeda. Personally, I think the entire matter is being blown out of perspective. I addressed this matter and the reasons it is occurring in a previous column. However, space restrictions did not allow me to explain how climates are playing a role in the exodus.
It has been reported that approximately 130 people have left Canada to fight with terrorist organizations overseas. The same number of people have also left the States with similar plans, but I don’t think we are being told the whole story. Canada has a colder climate than the southern U.S., so it’s logical more people will want to flee from the north than from the south. That being the case, we need to remember the northern States also receive cold and nasty weather such as this past winter which was brutal and caused even the most patriotic Americans to think about leaving for a warmer climate.
Think about this: the States has a population base of 319 million people while Canada’s population is 35.5 million. Despite having almost nine times as many residents as its neighbour to the north, the same number of radical sympathizers apparently leave U.S. soil as Canada. That is possible, but I think there is something wrong with those figures and it’s called bad math. I believe U.S. terrorism experts are counting their foreign fighters like their counterparts in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) count cases of BSE discovered in the States.
It also came to my attention that last Friday was the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness. With all the grief, war and terrorism in the world, an international day of happiness seems like a really good thing, as does a play list of happy songs. Topping off my list is I Can See Clearly Now The Rain is Gone by Johnny Nash and Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (my wife’s favourite). When it comes to a couple of easy-listening songs that really make me think about how to make the world a better place, it’s hard to beat John Lennon singing Imagine and the song What Will Be Your Legacy by Wayburn Dean.
Getting back to days with a special designation, last Saturday was the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. I like days and weeks that have a theme that can actually get people thinking about how to make our world a better place to live and raise a family. Earth Day is one example, as is Community Awards Day (Maple Creek) on March 25. On the contrary, I truly dislike how days are being designated for ridiculous things such as the International Day of the Muffin (and I like muffins).
I was too verbose last week regarding community standards (especially at Taber, Alta.) to applaud the actions of my two new superheroes. Their names are Delicia and Brenden. The oldest barely breaks the double digits when it come to age, yet their actions superseded their maturity level many times over.
Eight-year-old Delicia Wright and her brother Brenden, 10, gave chase and tried to catch the individual who snatched their baby brother from his stroller.
The bizarre incident occurred in the small town of Sprague near Spokane, Wash. after the children’s father left the kids in the care of a babysitter and went to work. The children were apparently playing unsupervised at a park close to the sitter’s house when a man stopped to talk. After chatting with the children for a few minutes, he suddenly snatched their 22-month-old brother from his stroller and ran down the street. Delicia chased after him with Brenden bringing up the rear (pushing the empty stroller), but they could not catch the kidnapper.
Screams from the children were heard by locals including two teenage boys in the vicinity. Andrew Crane, 15, and his 16-year-old friend, Isaac Yow, also gave chase. As they approached the kidnapper, he dropped the toddler in a vacant lot and then disappeared. The teens are being credited with causing the thief to drop his prize. For that reason, Andrew and Isaac are the runners-up on my superhero list.
Meanwhile, police searched for a man who was thought to be 20 to 30 years old. Then, last Wednesday, a 15-year-old boy from Sprague was arrested as the main suspect in the case. He is actually a classmate of the teens who pursued him, but they failed to recognize him since he disguised his appearance with a fake moustache and glasses. The suspect was arrested one year ago on suspicion of luring a child, but was not prosecuted.
Sprague, which has a population of approximately 500 people, may be burned into people’s memories due to the actions of a sick or mentally deranged teenager.
However, I will remember it as the town that has not one, but four superheroes – none of whom are adults. All four individuals achieved greatness in a moment by simply responding to a need. It did not take a lot of effort or planning, but it required a desire to help when a need suddenly arose, and then momentary action. It is something we can all do, so do not let personal inhibitions hold you back when a need arises – be a superhero or a humble aid to someone in need. In the end, it’s really the same thing.