Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gun Control: It's the Culture, Stupid.

Last year, one of my fellow Trent students was shot and killed outside a bar in Montreal. His family is advocating for tougher gun control legislation, and understandable so. The vicitms' families of the Montreal shooting are demanding tougher gun legislation.

But we can't make legislation based soley on emotions. Emotions cloud issues and people can have irrational judgement making decision based on emotion.

Here's an appropriate example. Here's a CTV web poll taken AFTER the Dawson College tragedy.

Aside from the fact that web polls are completely inaccurate, this shows 70% of these people taking a very strong stance on an issue based soley on emotion. I wonder what this poll would have looked liked one day prior to the tragedy.

Tougher gun control is not the solution. And people don't get this. It's cultural. Although Bowling for Columbine proved to be a sloppy cut and paste mockumentary, the main point was that comparing Canada and the US with the use of guns and murders, it was the culture, not the number of guns or amount of laws in place.

The guns used in the Dawson College shootings were registered. I was completey disgusted with Jean Charest to use this tragic event for political debate with Harper about the gun registry. Charest used only his emotions and ZERO logic and failed to realize that these regisitred guns did not prevent Gill from going on this killing rampage.

A commentator at Dust my Broom provides an excellent example on why it's cultural:

Switzerland is a very safe and peaceful nation, where every male citizen is required BY LAW to have an automatic rifle and at least 200 rounds of ammunition at home at all times (unless he is at the range or training with his military unit).

I don’t recall ever hearing about rampaging Swiss men running through schools or public places firing at other people, but I also have seen the statistics that suggest Switzerland is one of the safest places to live on Earth.

Wide availability of firearms and ammunition (far more powerful than can generally be purchased in Canada or the United States) in the hands of European White Males is not a recipe for disaster, but the factors which allow the Swiss to maintain their freedom and dignity has little to do with weapons and everything to do with a culture which stresses duty, responsibility and accountability for their own actions.

It's easy to blame this tragedy on gun legislation or border control. But, that is how a child reasons: Man A killed Man B with gun. What killed Man B? The gun.

There was a lot of child-like reasoning in the papers surrounding this tragedy. But we need to reason like adults and look at other nations and cultures and see that more gun laws will not prevent tragedies like this but rather a cultural change that stresses responsibility, caution, and respect for guns, needs to take place.

It's become cliche, but it's true. Guns don't kill people, People kill people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a thought...

Sat Sep 16, 02:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger alleta2006 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat Sep 16, 03:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger alleta2006 said...

The question is: if people, not guns, kill people…then HOW would: Marc Lepine, Gill, Fabrikant, the Columbine shooters, etc, etc, have succeeded in killing people without a weapon? While there are many other methods to commit murder, I doubt that if Gill had run around the halls of Dawson stabbing people, he would have had as many victims, or gotten as far. And most people, generally speaking, don’t have the materials or expertise to pull of large scale attacks, such as bombings. So while, yes, the bottom line is not guns but the problems/situations that lead a person to such drastic and deplorable actions as we saw here in Montreal this week.

But, the guns are still at the heart of it. If someone doesn’t have access to a weapon, he can’t use one. I don’t think that the issue is creating a gun registry, so much as surveying much more rigidly just who can get a weapon, and who can continue using one. Someone like Gill, who evidently had deep-rooted psychological problems, should not have been given a weapon in the first place. Yes, he’s yet another trench-coat wearing loser that slipped through the cracks of society. But people that have slipped through the cracks shouldn’t be given a means of killing people, to exact their revenge on society.

Charest’s logic, for once, was flawless this week: in a time where Harper is talking about dismantling the gun registry, something does need to be done. A completely innocent 18 year old girl DIED when she was just beginning to live. 2 others are in critical condition, one with a bullet lodged in his brain. Numerous others shot, and many, in a school of 7000 students, not to mention staff, faculty and admin, are psychologically going to be scarred for a long, long time. This is not the first time Montreal has seen this; it’s the 3rd, not counting 2 other school shooting attempts. 3 times in 16 years? Charest, as leader of the province, has the right to speak out, to criticize the federal regulations that allowed Lepin, Gill, and Fabrikant the means to collectively shoot over 30 people. My best friend from high school had to run for her life as Gill and the SWAT team were shooting at each other in front of the library of her school. Is that not enough evidence that something needs to be done to ensure that guns are only in the hands of those who are mentally sound enough to control homicidal urges?

Somehow, arming all of the men in Canada doesn’t seem like the answer. Violence does happen in Switzerland…they may be a neutral country, but violence happens everywhere. Just think of all the gang-related violence that characterizes Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver…think of: rapists, muggers, robbers, car thiefs, murderers that already exist in our society. Give them guns, yeah, that makes sense. Think of all the suicidal individuals who, given ammo and a weapon, may just choose to use it on themselves. Heated domestic dispute? Just reach for your government-issued weapon and end it there. The fact is, human beings are very emotional, and when emotions kick into overdrive, not very logical beings. Sometimes, it’s impossible to walk away and take deeo breaths, in certain situations. Add a gun to the scenario, and you have a solution to how to prevent senseless deaths.

Sat Sep 16, 03:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jarrett said...

It's one thing to say that guns are the cause, ergo guns should be banned. It's quite another to make it happen. Sort of like saying, we can prove that drugs are bad, so let's ban 'em. And we've seen how well that worked out.

The problem is the presumption that access to weapons can be controlled. The fact that the killer acquired his arms legally essentially drives that call to all-out prohibition. And as those opponents to the war on drugs like to point out, prohibition doesn't work for a reason.

That's why gun crime rose in Britain when they made possession of firearms practically illegal. The fact that anyone with half a brain of mechanical inclination can make his own guns and ammo at home from stuff freely available on the internet doesn't help matters.

Sat Sep 16, 09:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger No said...

I believe your Switzerland theory is pushing it.

Have you ever been to the U.S.?

Mon Sep 18, 09:45:00 AM EDT  

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