© Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now
Flags throughout Amherst flew at half mast in memory of the RCMP officers who were killed Wednesday night in Moncton. This flag was flying at half mast at Amherst Town Square.
AMHERST – The events in Moncton are having an impact on the minds and emotions of people in Amherst, and throughout the world.
IMP Aerostructures in Amherst has received calls of concern from customers throughout the world said Amherst mayor Robert Small, who is also the director for programs and new business development at IMP.
“There’s a lot of concern for folks affected by this terrible tragedy from people, not just from across Canada and the U.S., but from other parts of the world as well,” said Small.
Parts of Moncton have been in a state of lockdown since Wednesday evening after a lone gunman, 24-year-old Justin Bourque, killed three RCMP officers and wounded two other RCMP officers.
“A few staff didn’t make it to work today because of the lockdown in that area of Moncton and, obviously, we want them to stay home and be safe,” said Small.
Small said he was shocked when he first heard of the killings.
“It’s a shocker to hear about this anywhere, but to have somebody in Moncton decide to pick up a gun and target police officers who are simply trying to keep the peace and keep everybody safe is just terrible,” said Small.
He says he can’t understand why anybody would commit such a crime.
“It’s hard to understand what the heck is going through this person’s mind. A person should know the difference between right and wrong.”
In terms of preventing this type of crime, Small says there is no magic solution.
“We do our best to recognize people’s freedoms and rights as individuals in our country, so it’s not like we can be the big brother over every person in our country,” said Small. “There are people who have mental issues and circumstances that caused them to do things we just don’t understand.”
Rev. Byron Corkum, senior minister at the First Baptist Church in Amherst, agrees.
“He (the gunman) has ruined his life and ruined the lives of others. It’s a desperate situation, and something must have driven him to it,” said Corkum.
Corkum was shocked by the news as well but says it is something that can happen anywhere.
“I think we’re too lackadaisical. We forget these things can happen in small towns as well as large cities.”
He says tighter gun laws and less emphasis on violence in our society might help prevent these kinds of crimes.
“We’re a violence oriented society with violent movies and video games,” said Corkum. “Blood and gore is a normal thing. There’s no shock value. We need to talk about more non-violent experiences for our children.”
Both Small and Corkum say their hearts go out to the residents of Moncton and to the RCMP.
“Any family dealing with a death is a difficult time, but a situation like this is horrendous for the family,” said Corkum. “We feel so bad for them. I understand the victims have children, so you’re not just affecting one or two people, it has a long reaching effect.”
Small’s heart also goes out to the families of the victims, and he added, “From all the citizens of our area of Nova Scotia and across the province, our hearts go out to all the members of the police force and the Moncton RCMP and the RCMP throughout New Brunswick and the Maritimes.”