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Kevin Vickers tackling an Irish protester in Dublin is pretty far from heroic

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Kevin Vickers became a Canadian hero for shooting and killing Michael Zehaf-Bibeau after his attack on Parliament Hill in 2014, which left army reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo dead. Vickers was rewarded with the plum ambassadorship of Ireland as a result.

Today, social media is abuzz with Vickers fandom after the Canadian diplomat tackled an Irish protester at a ceremony honouring British soldiers slain in the infamous Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916.

"Listen world, don't mess with Kevin Vickers," tweeted Conservative MP Michelle Rempel. Jason Kenney called him a "superhero."

On Easter Monday in 1916, about 1,600 Irish nationalists seized a number of key buildings in Dublin in a rebellion against the occupying British army in attempt to establish a free republic. The date is loaded with historical and cultural resonances and Ireland began centenary celebrations earlier this year, using it to mark the beginning of the fledgling Irish republic.

Britain declared martial law. Fighting lasted six days and about 500 people were killed, over half of them civilians -- and 2,000 were injured. Roughly 125 British soldiers and police also lost their lives. In the weeks that followed, 15 leaders of the rebellion were excuted by firing squad and 2,000 suspected republican supporters were rounded up and deported to Britain for detention without trial.

This is only a brief sketch of the complexities of the fight for Irish independence that Ambassador Kevin Vickers chose to blunder into. It was at best tacky and at worst, extremely inappropriate to tackle an Irish citizen as he peacefully protested British imperialism during a ceremony honouring casualties of an occupation army -- that took place in Dublin.

The protester was not violent. Reports say he was yelling "This is an insult" and "It's a disgrace" at the notion of celebrating British troops who slaughtered Irish citizens with impunity. I'd say that's fair comment.

The protester was later arrested for public disturbance -- but it's notable that the Irish gardaí showed a great deal more composure in dealing with the unarmed man than Vickers, whose job is literally to be diplomatic with the complex cultural and political forces at play in Ireland.

For all the talk about how feminist Canadian politics are, we've now witnessed two occasions of men ostensibly "snapping," allowing their inner forces of brawn loose. Rather than celebrating these actions, we need to remind outselves: this is textbook  toxic masculinity. There is no excuse for it. As I remind my four-year-old: using words is always better than using our fists (or elbows).

I suppose we should be grateful that Vickers didn't tackle Brigette DePape when she stood up in the middle of the Canadian Senate with a Stop Harper sign in 2011.

There is no need anywhere to tackle a peaceful protester -- but when you are the Canadian ambassador to a country with a thorny past, keep your hands in your pockets.

And to any Canadians cheering Vickers' grit for tackling a man at a funeral because he's a bit annoyed at several centuries of British imperialism, get a grip.

This entire post was basically cribbed from Nora Loreto's Twitter feed. Then she wrote some sentences for me which I just reprinted as is. It is stolen here with permission.

Image: Twitter/RTE

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