We have, unfortunately, become such a wimpy overly politically correct society that it is a challenge to have an open and honest dialogue about the many issues we face in a world manufactured by oligarchs who plant fear through propaganda and reap trillions in profits yearly from their smoke and mirrors.
Let’s take the renewed passion regarding gun control as an example.
Mainstream media unapologetically tugs at the emotional heart strings following any school shooting involving more than three or four victims. Yes, it is tragic that some people in this plastic world which we created see no alternative to their angst and are propelled into making whatever bold statement they have conceived, by slaughtering children who are in an environment where they believe, as do their parents, that of all places that could possibly be chosen as a backdrop to such dastardly deeds, an education facility certainly adds to the hysteria.
I happen to live in the second most violent community in my city, and I happen to live in Canada where gun control laws are incomparably restricted than most of the United States. I recently moved here from the most crime ridden community of the city. A step up perhaps. I am also a double amputee who spends a great deal of time in a wheelchair, so I am always an easy target once I roll around the neighborhood. I believe I have a something of a unique perspective on crime from, literally, the ground floor.
Despite the restrictions Canadians face on gun ownership, I can easily roll outside and obtain a handgun and most other weapons in the time it takes me to reach the supermarket. I choose not to; however, I am compelled by recent events to rethink my current passive position on gun ownership.
The FBI released their crime statistics for the United States from 2011 (most recent year for which data is available as of this writing) intimating that where gun ownership is more permissible, violent crimes such as rape, aggravated assault, murders, robberies, etc. markedly decrease. Presumably someone about to commit a violent crime in these communities may think twice, fearing their intended victim might be packing heat.
I understand such an extrapolation. As a counter to this, violent crime generally in Canada and United States has reduced. So, the comparative literature from academia, law enforcement agencies and other credible sources such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), American Gun Facts, and Fact Check.org can seem foggy for the average bloke such as I. Like all statistics, they are subject to bias and interpretation.
So, lets take the statistics out of the equation for a moment.
The second amendment to the United States constitution, essentially the right to bear arms, was expertly crafted so that government cannot prohibit gun ownership nor the right to protect oneself, their property and their family. During the 20th century, somewhere around 200 million people were eliminated worldwide. The first tenet of being able to annihilate entire populations by deranged dictators is to greatly restrict, and then ban, gun ownership by their citizens, depriving them of any means of defence.
It is easy to imagine how the comfort and peace of mind armed citizens would feel, and how risky and audacious any despot would have to be, to march their robotic military, crushing any opposition, subverting intelligent debate, burning books, rewriting history to sanitize their carnage, and cleansing their little spot on Earth of whatever they consider vermin. Hitler. Stalin. Mao. Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and right on back to the colonial powers throughout antiquity that invaded and enslaved entire populations. And it continues to more recent times. Rwanda, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Chechnya, Ukraine, Iraq, blah, blah, blah. I wonder how much different the world would be if the victims of such oppression and horror were armed. And it’s that very thought that has me purposely rolling my wheelchair to the right to bear arms camp.
In February 2016, I interviewed David Thweatt, Superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District in Texas, and the spirit and driving force behind being the first school in North America to arm teachers and staff. You can read the article HERE. In it, you probably can hear my fence-sitting posture, trying to imagine what school would have been like for me knowing at least one teacher or staff member was armed. School for me was difficult with many “interactions” with teachers and principles, receiving various degrees of admonishment. Could one of those interactions have created a scenario where I would have been on the wrong side of a concealed gun? I can recall a few testy sessions where physical contact was used and can conceive the possibility. Would I have behaved differently having that little kernel planted in my head when I first enrolled?
It is also true that some people should not own guns. The system is broken. There are plenty of examples where assassins slipped through mental health cracks, law enforcement gorges, and other points of contact, failing to protect the public. Our social systems must learn to talk to each other, share pertinent information, arrive at solutions that limit infringement of personal rights while identifying and intervening where high-risk factors are imminent.
It’s a mountainous task indeed. So many lines in the sand are blurred. But we must be honest with ourselves and others, approach the conversation with an open mind, and most of all, we must be courageous enough to take those first bold baby steps. There will not be a magic wand that, when twirled, will be the one eureka moment.
Limiting gun ownership is not the answer. If someone wants to get a firearm, it’s almost as easy as ordering a pizza. The answer must be deeper, more intrinsic, thoroughly involved, and somehow more relevant than the systems we have, or arguably don’t have, now.
Here’s a baby step. Perhaps we can start by demanding background checks, waiting periods, and safety training across the board for anyone wanting to own a gun. I have not yet met a gun owner that opposes these basic foundations. Some jurisdictions already have components of this move forward. In this regard, the Canadian gun ownership process is far superior to any of those in the United States. It’s not perfect. No system is.
It’s also easy to pick on the low hanging fruit, in that the United States is always in the spotlight over gun ownership. Other countries also experience mass shootings. We don’t get to hear much about them in mainstream media. Some assassins use bombs rather than guns. We certainly hear about most of those. The IRA, the Unabomber, and whatever Muslim core we are fighting this week are but a few examples.
It’s rather easy to construct a bomb in your garage with rudimentary everyday items. The internet is rife with DIY bomb making tutorials. We don’t seem to be in any rush to restrict or ban the ingredients for explosive devices.
More people are killed in the United States and Canada every year with automobiles than with firearms. We are perfectly happy to welcome each new unveiling of these weapons of mass destruction.
The bottom line is anything can be used as a weapon. The concern surrounding mass shootings (beyond gun ownership) seems to dwell in the capacity of guns. Monstrous magazine clips and what are condemned to be called assault rifles appear to be the epicenter of eruption each time a mass shooting is overly hyped.
I get it. I don’t need a firearm that can shoot 50 rounds a second to hunt a deer. But if there are enemies, domestic or foreign, that want to ravage my country, I am guessing that 50 rounder is going to come in mighty handy.