I recently rode from Vancouver to Merritt on the Greyhound bus. I was surprised to see security guards at the gate to the bus platform, looking at tickets, turning people away, asking security questions like “are you carrying more than one gallon of wine in your carry on bag?” and searching luggage using those green latex gloves.

Good to know that there won’t be any hijackers demanding the bus be driven to Cuba. Thanks Greyhound!

However, that did get me thinking about the idea of “security” and what that means. Do we take our security for granted? What does it mean to feel secure?

I think it can be safely said (no pun intended) that Canada is a secure place to live. We have rule of law with uncorrupted police and fair courts.

Gun registration notwithstanding we have responsible gun ownership and usage.

We can rely on the basics of living and then some.

We have democratic elections on a regular basis and there has never been a coup or government overthrow (the 1837 Upper Canada and the Riel Rebellions were the closest) and just one war about who owned what in almost 500 years.

Most of the world doesn’t have those luxuries.

Take Africa for example – there have been more coups, civil wars, bad governments, takeovers in the last fifty years than any other time in history anywhere else in the world, combined.

The “peaceful” demonstrations of the Arab Spring Revolution were and continue to be blood baths. Central and South America haven’t done much better and China is just plain naughty.

Maybe security is linked to how well we treat each other and how reliable things are like food, water, housing, education and health care.

Maybe it’s about income disparity the 99 per cent chant about in the “occupied cities”.

In countries where food security, drinking water, health, education and freedom from government led violence are not daily expectations, feeling safe and secure is not ensured. Greed, corruption and indifference to social problems are not the sole purviews of banks, big corporations and their moguls.

Live in any low-income country or the new “economic powerhouses” of Brazil, India and China and see how the other 99 per cent live.

The “occupiers” have a valid point when using their democratic right to protest real or perceived inequalities, abuses and moral turpitude. When I was young we were protesting the Vietnam War with sit-ins and marches. Whether it changed the final withdrawal of American troops is debatable as the war was already lost. What it did do was bring to a greater consciousness the terrors of modern combat, the insanity of war and the “west versus the rest” clash of political and religious ideologies (hmm, sounds like Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East).

So the occupy your local city movement (which frankly to me seems to have a pretty vague agenda) may do better at raising consciences about poverty and homelessness than the (perceived) greed of banks and big business.

Ironically, living here in Canada has largely protected us from the economic debacles of the rest of the world largely due to the well-ordered and regulated Canadian banking system. The proof of success of the occupy movement will be after the tents come down.

Governments, local and federal and we, society, need to address not the “problem” with banks and corporations but poverty (particularly among women and children), income disparity and the alarming number of homeless. Here the pen will be mightier than the sword. The young have traditionally been the least likely to vote yet they represent the majority of the occupy protesters.

I hope the occupiers were not so busy demanding their constitutional rights but took the five minutes or so to scratch an “X” on a piece of paper and democratically vote people into positions who can change the system.

They represent today the changes that will happen tomorrow. I hope they do more than just hijack the bus.