Youth versus Bullets

Tank Man, 19-year-old Wang Weilin faces Chines tanks on Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Wikipedia.

It’s an image that endures. It’s not old enough for us to call it historical yet. It only goes back about 30 years. But the frames of video taken by an amateur videographer show a man in a white shirt, dark pants, facing a column of military tanks. It was June 4, 1989. It was the final day of the student-organized, non-violence demonstration at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, just before China’s People’s Liberation Army gunned down hundreds of civilians for protesting government corruption and lack of free speech.

“Tank Man,” they called him. But the Sunday Express newspaper in Britain later claimed the man was Wang Weilin, a 19-year-old student, who’d joined the weeks-long protest, despite the threat of annihilation.

An address, not an email

President Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inauguration address trying to put the one aspect of his first term to rest. Courtesy Wikipedia.

The first one used just over 1,400 words to do it. That was George Washington. The most recent one, Barack Obama, took about 2,400 words. The one who took the longest to do it, with over 8,000 words, was William Henry Harrison in 1841. The first one to do it in the third week of January, did so in 1937, setting the precedent for every inauguration to follow; and that was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And the president-elect who spoke the fewest words at his inauguration, Abraham Lincoln, chose among the most eloquent 700 words to do it.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all,” Lincoln said in his second inaugural address, “let us strive on to finish the work we are in…”

Quips, jabs and the TV coup de grace

Munk Debate brought more of the politics of fear into play. (photo CQCC)
Munk Debate brought more of the politics of fear into play. (photo CQCC)

One could see the man was about to pounce. One could see that it was a debater’s moment – maybe even one of those so-called knockout punches. And the punch was aimed at the prime minister. Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau wound up and let it fly at Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

“Mr. Harper on (Bill) C-51,” Trudeau said of the anti-terrorism bill passed into law in June of this year, “wants us to be afraid that there’s a terrorist under every leaf and rock in Canada.”

Tunnel in a teapot

Toronto Police Services' Mark Saunders addresses media about tunnel discovery (courtesy CBC).
Toronto Police Services’ Mark Saunders addresses media about tunnel discovery (courtesy CBC).

Radio, television, the newspapers and most of social media were all buzzing, Monday night, because Toronto Police had found a tunnel a stone’s throw from an indoor tennis court facility in northwest Toronto. It wasn’t just any tennis court. It wasn’t just any tunnel. The tunnel was big enough to live in and apparently pointed in the direction of the Toronto Pan-American Games tennis venue – the Rexall Centre. But when asked at a press conference if he thought the tunnel was part of a terrorist plot, Deputy Chief Mark Saunders had a simple response:

“There’s no criminal offence for digging a hole,” he said.