Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Who Gets The Guns & Who Gets The Boot

There's a reason I'm a David Terrenoire fan. Beyond being funny, open and kind, David's also sharp. I was reading JD Rhoades' blog this morning, and David had posted a comment. Part of what he said was:

This is a real human tragedy, one that causes me to think about our place in this extended family, the pain a mother must feel waiting for that call that tells her her child is safe, the darkness that would bring a young man to do this horrible thing, and the trauma the survivors feel now and will feel for years, wondering why the kid next to them is dead and they're not.

David summed up so well what goes through my mind when I hear of these tragedies. And not just the shooting at Virginia Tech, but the bombings in Baghdad and the 17 corpses being found at a school in Iraq.

Why did I get to be born here, in a wonderful, free, relatively peaceful country? Why do I get to sit at my computer this morning and type, while elsewhere children are scrounging dumps for food? The questions could go on and on.

I hadn't planned to post this week at all, but it's cathartic. Maybe that's self indulgent. Maybe it's unfair.

One thing I know: David Terrenoire understands things about the human condition. He asks questions I ask myself, and that has a huge appeal to me. I understand all the reasons he doesn't want to blog on this subject, but his is a perspective I would actually want to read.

I feel strongly that lobbyists jump on situations like this to promote their agendas. It's cropped up on blogs and forums - the shootings are an excuse to attack the US, Bush and anyone ignorant enough to disagree.

That really isn't supposed to be the point here. I started a comment at Contemporary Nomad and knew it would be a mile long. So I just typed my thoughts. I didn't read it over and spell check it or check to see if it made as much sense as I thought it did or anything. Just posted it. Raw thought, which is about what you get here on the average day anyway, but yeah, there was a bit of knee jerk because I knew the gun control debate would rage.

My opinion: Focusing on gun control is missing the real point.

On that note, a sign of hope, and a final point about gun control that must also be considered. I don't disagree with having gun control laws. That doesn't mean I think nobody should be allowed to own one, but I do think the rules for purchasing guns should be tightened... but it doesn't matter what I think. I am Canadian. I live north of the 49th. And I have no business telling the American people how to live - when I say it I say it for my country. The thing is, I just assume people realize that, and then I see people refer to Spinetingler as an American ezine...

Tough gun laws don't eliminate gun killings. When Nagasaki's mayor was fatally shot in southern Japan, it wasn't much of a surprise that a gangster was arrested for the attack. In a country where regular citizens face strict gun laws, the mob does most of the shooting.

Please don't kid yourself. Criminals can always get guns. Anyone who knows me knows I love the UK. I've been there more times than anywhere else in the world, except the US, and sometimes think I could move in a heartbeat. But I was in Northern Ireland in 1990 and it was a different world then. I saw more guns there than I did when I was in East Germany when the wall came down. I went to the UK in July 2005, right after the London bombings. We're all well aware of the history of terrorist attacks on UK soil.

I never go to the UK and think there's not a chance something could happen to me. In the UK it would be a bomb. It's just different. And for all those gasping with shock that I've said it, and automatically thinking, "What are the odds, that's so rare, you're an idiot" consider this: The school shootings in the US are also extremely rare. In no way does that lessen the tragedy. It's just to say that people completely distort the truth by focusing more on some things out of context. Check out the history: Out of 42 incidents listed (not all involving a murder) 11 happened in Canada. A country with about a tenth of the population of the US racked up 26% of the incidents, and we have tougher gun laws than the US.

We are also taking a more proactive role in addressing school violence issues. The Ontario government will add bullying -- including the cyber kind -- to the list of infractions for which a student must be considered for suspension under a revamped Safe Schools Act. I am curious to see how this will be implemented but I can at least applaud the government for recognizing that threats must be taken seriously, and that schools must do more to ensure the safety of students.

It is this kind of action that could help prevent another Taber or Columbine. That is my hope, anyway.

Now, back to the blog holiday.


David Terrenoire said...

You give me far too much credit. I have no understanding.

I only know questions.

The answers are slippery shape-shifting things I can never seem to grasp. Not today, anyway.

Sandra Ruttan said...

We don't even come close to the answers if we don't ask the questions, though. The act of asking demonstrates the kind of mind that processes and learns from things, instead of just reacting to them and using them to bolster their political views.

Even I have my opinions that the solution to this type of violence begins long before the day someone buys a gun...but none of that changes the fact that 33 people are dead today who shouldn't be, and none of us can really know the depths of the pain their families feel, never mind the survivors, who will also be asking questions and finding few answers.

At least, no answers that really solve anything.

Laurie Wood said...

As always, your post is right-on and informative. And thanks for introducing me to Dave Terrenoire! With the release of that haunting video by NBC, this whole tragedy rises to a new level.

Also, Sandra, have you heard/read anything about Dobson's parole hearing?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Laurie, the reality of the video is just shocking. This story just gets worse and worse.

I haven't heard anything further about Dobson's parole. I hope that, with what's happening, it hasn't been overshadowed in the news. I really hope there'll be some progress there, especially towards a permanent change in the laws.

David's a great guy, and rather modest, as you can see!