Friday, December 14, 2012

Killing In The Name Of... the second amendment?

That's it. I'm officially fed up with guns, the gun lobby, gun toting freaks that claim "the right to bear arms"... all of you. How can you claim the need for guns in urban society in the face of this? There are 18 dead kids and 7 dead adults at an elementary school in Connecticut. And, just like all the other dead kids in movie theatres, on remote islands in Norway, at American schools and universities, and on Toronto buses, they were killed with guns
The NRA, Sean Hannity, Fox News, Ted Nugent, Stephen Harper (and the entire Conservative Party) can all go screw themselves. If I hear one word about how "guns don't kill people, people kill people" I'm going to scream. You know who kills large numbers of people with ease and efficiency in this day and age? People with GUNS!

With the tragedy in Connecticut there have now been 31 school shootings in the US that have happened since Columbine. There are those who are already making the argument that these shootings are not gun-control issues. They are mental-health issues. Yes, they are. However a mentally-ill person with easy access to a firearm is a lot more dangerous to a school full of kids than an mentally-ill person without a gun.

Mental illness is one of the most pressing community-health issues we have in North America and we should be focussing more resources on it than we are. But to blame mental-health issues for these killings is only giving weight to 1/2 the problem. There is no way a mentally-ill - or any other person - would be able to kill 27 people, in one go, with a knife or a sword or a machete. They would not be able to strangle 27 people in short order.

Conservative pundit (and all around, small minded, cretinous troll) Matt Drudge tweeted today that 22 students had been slashed in China, in a classroom attack; as if to say "see people don't need guns to commit violent crime against kids". *Sigh. Yes Matt Drudge, people commit violent crime with other weapons. However, you will note that the children in the slashing attacks were not killed and the attacker was apprehended. The difference in the attacks is the gun, and the culture that glorifies easy access to guns and romanticizes gun violence.

The other argument I'll address, just to get it out of the way is this: "If there was an armed person in the school, fewer people would have been killed." First of all, suggesting that teachers, principals and janitors patrol the school with side arms, is beyond ridiculous. Secondly, let's assume that the armed staff member wasn't one of the people killed outright. Nobody outside of a soldier or police officer trained in stressful shooting situations, is going to pop up from behind a desk or from around a door frame, and get the shooter with one shot - just like the movies. More likely fear will take over - as it should - and they will run for cover with the rest of the masses. Or, more tragically, they'll stay to fight it out with the shooter and more people will die from poorly aimed, frantic shots. An armed society is not a safe society.

I'm now beyond wanting the gun registry reinstated. I just want them banned for the majority of the population. I think, and I've posted this in other places in the past, that if you want a gun, you should have to prove that you need a gun.

Do you live in the city and never venture into the woods to go hunting? You don't need a gun. You don't get one.

Does your job require you to carry a gun? ie/ Police, private security, conservation officer, prison guard, soldier? No? Then you don't need a gun. You don't get one.

Are you a competitive shooter that can leave the gun in a secure location like a gun safe at a range? No? You don't need a gun. You don't get one.

Now, please keep in mind that I'm writing this from a Canadian point of view. We do not have a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms. Did you get that Canada? This is not the USA. You have no guaranteed freedoms when it comes to keeping a firearm. In this country, that's not a valid argument.

Canada is country that - in the words of Will Fergusson - "was partied into existence . We have no tradition of using gun violence to settle out problems. We didn't secede from the British in a bloody confrontation. We haven't had our northern brothers fighting their southern brothers. Canada was created at a cocktail party in Charlottetown, PEI in July 1867. Canada was a behind-the-scenes deal, brokered over martinis.

If you have a problem with the idea of a gun registry - and I don't mean the cost because that's a whole other topic - ask yourself this question: "If I have to register my car, an object that while deadly, isn't designed to kill people, then why shouldn't I have to register my gun, which is specifically designed to kill people?"

I'm angry today. Angry and sad, and feeling like I want to wrap a big blanket around my own school-age kids and keep them indoors. I won't of course. Kids need to be free to run and play. They also have the right  to live violence-free, and unencumbered by the threats of the modern world. Guns don't alleviate those threats. It has been shown time and time again that guns exacerbate them.