This past week I was in Montreal when two men were shot dead in the street. It happened not far from where I was staying.

(see more details at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec/montreal-police-face-searching-questions-after-deadly-shooting/article2052688/ )

The first man Mario Hamel was a 40 year-old father of three. He had been separated from his family for the past two years and was living at a shelter. Apparently, he suffered from bipolar disorder and had a drug addiction.

The police were called when Mario was seen travelling down the street cutting open garbage bags with a knife.

It was between six and seven a.m. In the confrontation that ensued, shots were fired and Mario was killed.

The second man Patrick Limoges was a 36 year-old hospital maintenance worker. He was walking to work on the other side of the street, when a police bullet whizzed past Mario Hamel and struck Patrick in the back of the neck. He dropped to the sidewalk and never rose again.

There is public outcry in Montreal as protestors took to the streets with claims of police brutality and inappropriate response.

When these things happen in the free world, people speak up. They protest, they write letters to the editor, they blog and they tweet. It is table talk at break rooms and pubs.

And yet, there are many places in the world where you would keep your mouth shut and look the other way. For fear of reprisal, bullies prevail and bystanders hide.