I have been to Israel. You see people in uniform everywhere. On one hand, you feel safe. On the other hand, you feel like there is a reason to be scared. It heightens your senses. It makes you feel uncomfortable. In short - it changes the way you live your life.
The feeling was no different when I visited Belgrade. On one hand, you feel like the military people are there to maintain order. On the other hand, you feel like the military people might shoot you on site if you do something wrong. The military is trained for combat. It is not trained for public relations.
Fortunately, Halifax-based blogger has knocked down Cherniak's straw man quite nicely:
Seeing as you've lived in a city with a naval base while attending Dalhousie, you've no doubt seen people in uniform on a regular basis. Did you feel threatened in any way by their presence then? Did you feel as though you had a reason to be scared if you rode a bus with a member of the CF on it? Did you alter your way of life as a result of the base here?
True indeed. Halifax is by far Canada's most military city. It was born of Britain's military necessity, its downtown streets laid out by British military engineers, naval dockyards built, ringed by forts and crowned by the Citadel. Halifax has always figured in every war fought in and by Canada since its founding. Soldiers, sailors and airmen in uniform are not uncommon sights in the streets, on the buses, in the malls. Everybody there knows a relative, neighbour or friend in the Forces.
No one has ever expressed the fear that they might turn on the civilian population; the days of press gangs and the V-E Day riots are long gone.
The mere presence of a few hundred soldiers at a base in Toronto will not turn the city into an armed camp.
Cherniak's post manifests the strange animistic belief that so much of the left has about weapons and soldiers, that the mere presence of a firearm or a soldier will turn peaceful, law-abiding folk into bloodthirsty killers.
It really is unbecoming of a man who prides himself on being open-minded and tolerant to be seized of such irrational prejudices.