(This was written prior to the tragic shooting rampages in Wisconsin and Texas)
In wake of the horrific shooting spate last month, beginning with dozens of people shot in a brazen attack at a block party in Toronto, culminating in the horrific massacre in a Colorado theatre, I can't seem to get guns off my mind. Strong but probably meaningless rhetoric from politicians about "cracking down" on crime is widespread, and the usual post-massacre damage control by the NRA and other right wing political groups and individuals is in full swing. This collective group, in the U.S claims that any move to regulate firearms is an infringement on their second amendment right to bear arms, and in Canada point to the recent spate of shootings as evidence that tighter gun control do not result in lower crime. One gentleman felt so sure about this he wrote to the Globe and Mail pinning the blame for the violence on Canadian firearms. This man who no doubt values his right to shoot his fellow compatriots, felt the need to point out how Canada's strict control of handguns had not prevented Toronto "from turning into a shooting gallery." Now I felt that this proud exerciser of the second amendment was overlooking one key fact: The large majority of weapons used in cases of gang violence were cheap handguns smuggled in FROM the U.S. Yes, we need more "hug a thug" programs, as our mayor calls them, and as long as he is mayor, we probably won't get them, but this man should really check his facts before he goes ahead and makes such a spurious and superficial statement with probably no research.
Now we can add the poor souls murdered for no good reason in Wisconsin and Texas, and not to mention the countless other unnamed but no less important victims of gun crime across North America since then. With the bodies piling up, you'd have to wonder when the conservative electorate will wake the hell up. The countless victims, their families and ordinary civic minded people cry for it. The Second Amendment was signed into law in a time where the country was under constant threat of invasion, and the founding fathers who signed it could not fathom the weapons that would follow in the future. It is technically legal to possess nuclear weapons in the United States, all because of the lack of foresight of the founding fathers, which they cannot be held accountable for, because no one would have fathomed the development of an entire industry churning out cheap and readily available firearms for anyone willing to pay, no questions asked, from a simple declaration that allowed Americans the privilege of defending themselves from invasion. I think it is time for Americans to revalue whether they really need full blown assault rifles and handguns to defend themselves, the safety of countless people not only in North America, but around the world depend on it.