Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Gun Registry and the Great Divider

This is the place I came from. I sometimes call it a town, but it's really just a village.

I took this picture standing in a field full of sheep. Baaaaa. A couple of days before, I assisted at the birth of a cow. Mooooo. And when I was a boy I saw farmers protect their animals with guns. Bang. Bang.

So now that I'm living in a city I think I can safely say, I know both sides of the Great Urban Rural Divide.

And because I love both sides. How could I not? It really really pisses me off to see how Stephen Harper and his ugly Cons are using the gun registry to divide Canadians.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper rarely got through a speech here during his five-day tour of northern Manitoba and the territories without mentioning the crucial vote over whether to abolish the registry scheduled for when Parliament resumes in September.

And I hate how the debate is being framed.

Rural voters, the vast majority of whom are white, don’t understand why people in cities want further restrictions on their way of life and a culture that is under threat as Canada becomes ever more urban and multicultural.

I just don't buy it. City folk don't want to torture country folk, or take away their guns. People who live in the country know what community means better than most. And are perfectly capable of filling out a form and registering their guns just like they register their cars.

Because they're not dumb eh? Gun crime and domestic violence are a problem in rural areas just like they are in cities. And so is suicide.

“As a rural emergency physician and coroner, I can safely say that I’ve never seen a handgun injury. I have however seen my share of injuries and deaths inflicted by rifles and shotguns. I have felt the pain of investigating a double murder-suicide as a result of escalating domestic violence. Suicide, contrary to public opinion, is often an impulsive gesture. Keeping guns away from depressed people is essential.

In the assaults and murders I have seen that have involved guns, the perpetrators acted on impulse and the unsafely stored long gun was readily available. Gun-related injury is not just a Toronto problem that involves gangs. It has occurred in my small idyllic rural community and involved people that would otherwise seem quite normal. Registration of firearms is important to ensure accountability and compliance with safe storage.”

So when doctors, and nurses, and police officers and women's groups support the gun registry, both the rube country boy and the city slicker dweller in me agree: it's a good idea eh?

And I support the people who are trying to make us ALL safer.

As Toronto Police Chief William Blair, who heads the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, told the Star, “Frankly I don’t tell hunters how to hunt. I’m not sure why hunters want to tell the police what we need or don’t need to do our jobs.”

And that's all I'm going to say. 

Except that I'll always be proud to be a country boy.

This debate over whether to fill out a form is totally absurd, totally manufactured, and verging on MADNESS.

A man who would defy reason, endanger lives, and pit Canadian against Canadian just to win votes, isn't fit to be Prime Minister. 

We need a Great Divider in this country like we need a gun shot wound.

And the sooner he is defeated the BETTER...


C4SR said...

Great post.


ck said...

This city slicker would like to take away their guns actually. Never more so than now. All this defense of insisting to have the right to have firearms without registering them, to me, is frightening. I ask why, and never get a straight answer.

They remind me of some of those wingnuts who were interviewed once upon a time on the Chris Matthews Show, when Matthews asked them, "Why don't you feel free in your own country?" To which these rednecks responded "Because I can't carry a gun with me as I walk the streets of DC". Chilling, to say the least. Just another example of how much more Americanized Canadians are getting.

I argued the about the registry with a co-worker I used to respect until that day. Her husband actually did register his hunting rifles. She believes that they were suckers for doing so. To which I responded, "No, you're responsible, law abiding citizens". That whole notion that she believed that she and her husband were suckers for following the law sounded so stupid to me; it's synonymous to someone saying "I'm a sucker for working on the books, because I pay such high taxes, while my neighbour is on welfare and works under the table". Or, "I'm a sucker for paying for my purchases while Mr. X uses the 5 finger discount and gets away with it". Again, flimsy arguments for insisting on having concealed weapons.

Great article by Antonia Z. She's probably the only one to date who really covered the conjugal violence angle. I guess not too many care about that as much as the "right" to own concealed weapons.

Perhaps if we had even tighter gun control laws, Kimveer Gill, who did purchase his guns legally, would never have been able to procure them and young Anastasia De Souza would still be alive.

As for hunting, I've commented about my experiences living in Lac Megantic at a number of pages. So I won't rehash. Suffice to say, hunters ain't exactly law abiding citizens neither. Nor are hunting laws exactly enforced with the rigor they deserve.

Jim Parrett said...

Whew. Wish I could've said it first. Great comment from ck, too.

Anonymous said...

Your keyword phrase at the bottom of the post says it beautifully:

Rural-urban divide.

Typical of Conservatives to set one group against another.

So, where's the nation building in that tactic?

Simon said...

hi CfSR...thank YOU. You and Antonia are leading the charge. And I'm just grateful... :)

Simon said...

hi ck...personally I'm such an animal lover I couldn't hunt anything. When I make mussels I feel like a mass murderer. And if I could wave a magic wand over the world and make all guns disappear I would. But I can't. Guns are necessary in farming areas, and some people collect them like others collect comic books. So what are you going to do? All I ask is that we do our very best to control and keep track of them, so we don't end uplike Amerika.
And in this case all I'm asking is that gun owners fill out a form.
If I'm willing to compromise my beliefs, so should they...

Simon said...

hi Jymn...thanks and you're right ck did have a great comment. As for me I'm just so annoyed that so many country folk are letting themselves be manipulated by Harper and his gang. Have they ever stopped to think what it would be like if the city people really started to hate the ones in rural areas. The Great Divide would become a CHASM, and this country would become a truly poisonous place. As I told CK, all I'm asking for is for a little compromise and a little sanity...