When the guns come out, reason flees. So much the more, then, do we need men and women trained to keep their heads.

So all praise to the guard at the front door of the Parliament who grabbed the gunman's rifle, yelled "Gun, gun" and was wounded for his trouble. All praise to the man who blocked the door of the NDP caucus room with his body as bullets flew outside.

And all praise to Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers who, still in ceremonial garb, went to his office and got his gun to confront ... he knew not what.

He was rightly applauded by the MPs he was sworn to defend. The stories that have emerged of the man tell of an RCMP officer cool under pressure, a gentle warrior who could calm taut nerves by his very presence. His job, he said, was to protect Parliamentarians without impeding the people who elected them.

But my favourite story is of his interview for the job of Sgt at Arms for the House of Commons. He ended it by quoting from Robert Frost's 'Mending Wall.'

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense

As our representatives now debate what sort of new laws to give police and CSIS, let us pray they too know what, and whom, they are walling in or walling out.

David McLaren
Neyaashiinigmiing, ON