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Charla Huber: Why the negativity online about Horgan and robbery?

Charla Huber says that ­negative comments online in the ­aftermath of Tuesday’s bank robbery, where six officers were injured, were unwelcome. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

As sunny skies turned grey on Tuesday, we were hit with the sombre news of the bank robbery in Saanich that injured police officers from both Saanich and VicPD, and the news that Premier John Horgan will be stepping down.

It seemed fitting that the sky turned grey, and I felt a heaviness that came with the news of everything.

I found myself on social media looking for information on both stories.

I am on the Victoria-Esquimalt Police Board, and knowing officers were injured and subjected to such senseless violence left me in shock and saddened.

I read threads on Twitter looking to get more info, and unfortunately, I saw many tasteless comments from people using the incident to garner attention.

While I was waiting for the 1:30 p.m. press conference with Horgan, I also checked Twitter to see if there was any early information on the announcement.

Again, I found many tasteless ­comments from people. The ­comments weren’t all political — some were ­personal attacks on Horgan and others involved speculation on his health.

It made me sad.

I know that the argument is that politicians and people working in public service are subject to public scrutiny. I agree with that to a point, but we also need to recognize that they are people.

When officers have put their lives on the line, and been injured protecting our community, it isn’t the time to criticize a social-media strategy.

I am certain Horgan’s announcement wasn’t an easy one. Let’s honour that.

The majority of social-media posts were thanking the officers for their ­bravery and service and commending Horgan for his leadership.

As I always tell my daughter, most people are well-intentioned and there are a select few who have ulterior motives.

About a year ago, I was chatting with Horgan about statues being thrown into the harbour and totem poles being burned. I said I was saddened and scared by comments that were posted online.

“Don’t read the comments, Charla,” he said to me.

It’s wise advice and I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes it’s hard to skip past them.

I have the utmost respect for ­Horgan. I have known him for many years. As a community newspaper reporter, I ­covered his first election when he became an MLA. He has always been a leader I respect, and he’s always made time for me, and that is something that I feel such gratitude for.

I know I am not the only person who thinks so highly of him. He became the leader of our province because of the man and leader that he is.

I also have the upmost respect for our police and staff working to keep us all safe. In the past few years, I have ­gotten to know many through my role on the Victoria-Esquimalt Police Board and being president of the B.C. Association of Police Boards.

I don’t think we acknowledge enough the sacrifice people working in policing and their families make.

There has been an enormous amount of respect and gratitude shared for the Saanich police and VicPD. I know that there are more people working to support our leaders during tough times, and it’s important.

We don’t all have to agree or support everyone and their views, but in the midst of tough decisions, life-altering days and tragedy, it might be best to keep the negativity and unnecessary ­commentary offline.

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