Created Using Android’s Pic Paint
Created Using Android’s Pic Paint
We Canadians have a saying “guns don’t kill people Americans do”.
Over the growing debate on gun violence in America I’ve noticed that Canada has been very silent on the matter. I know some may say that “we are not Americans so it’s not our problem.” Actually to those people we ARE technically Americans! We live on the continent of North America just like they do. So why have we been so silent on this big issue? I think our opinion should be viewed considering they are our next door neighbours. What they do affects us.
Maybe if people saw that even though we are directly next door and have millions of guns in our backyard and are also a heavy gun country with a large hunting and sportsman history, yet do not have a fraction of the gun violence and murders that they do every year.
Why can’t we see it from the Americans perspective? They are a society that is heavily immersed in a “gun culture”. That is something we all can agree on and this whole nonsense that is coming from the NRA that America has more violent video games and movies is just preposterous. The rest of the world has violent games, movies and yet the number of gun related deaths cannot be compared.
So what’s the difference between Canada and the States? For starters is that in America you can carry a firearm on you at pretty much all times. My girlfriend learned this fact recently when she entered a Denny’s breakfast house and they were raffling away a gun with your breakfast! She’s lived in both Canada and Europe and Asia and never experienced that before. That’s really scary coming from a Canadian who’s never even seen a gun until my teens. You cannot carry a handgun for protection in Canada. However, if you need to move one, e.g., to a shooting range, you have to go to a police station and get a “Permit to Convey.” This allows you to move the gun at a certain time on a certain date from point A to B. If you are a member of a gun club, then you can get an open permit to convey that allows you to take the gun from where it is stored (usually at home) to the gun club. Both must be named on the permit, with addresses, etc. If you wanted to visit a different range, you would need a separate permit.
Handgun ownership in Canada is legal, but very difficult. I think a gun license should be hard to get and easy to lose.
In the United States less than 1 percent of all gun applicants are denied. Over 40 percent are purchased without a background check.
Is it that simple, stricter Gun laws? I would say it’s a step in the right direction. However I believe the United States are many years away from having even remotely similar gun laws as Canada does.
I’ve lived in this country for 30 years and only come across gun stores twice by accident. You just don’t see them let alone being able to buy guns and ammo at a Wall-mart like in the USA for example.
So what do they do? Well they are beginning with a ban on all assault style weapons. Sounds like a good start considering the law was already in place for years until the Bush party let it expire in 1994. This is going to be an uphill battle to get these guns re-banned outside of the military. Especially since I’ve heard a few gun enthusiasts refer to the AR-15 as the ‘Lego gun’ comparing it to the child’s plastic brick toys due to their limitless customization, and people love their ability to customize.
It’s in this type of culture it’s very difficult to address the issue because to them it is normal. To me as a non-gun owner it seems almost simian.
I have been watching the debates and incidents for many years and something I find that is so obvious I don’t know how anyone has not brought it up before?
Do you not see the real reason they want to hang onto their guns? It’s not because they want to defend their homes against intruders or government. To fight off the “red coats” as a recent moron pontificated. It’s not even about the second amendment as many believe to be so. The answer to all this is actually quite simple and Americans are afraid to admit it.
Guns are fun!! Wait… what?? Did I just say that? Yes I did! Guns are fun!
I learned this as I entered my teens and my friend moved out into the country with a few friends and zero adult supervision. This was the first time I fired a rifle and I’ll have to admit it was a hoot. Lining up those pop cans from far away and picking them off, watching them flip and explode to the excitement of all around. Even a few beers made it all the more exciting and increased danger. I could get used to doing this every weekend. Sadly this ended months later. But I realized that guns are a form of entertainment.
I had never felt like this before. I understand it; I’m not thrilled about it but understand it. When I held that rifle for the first time I felt it. That power. Maybe the power over life and death, maybe danger as well but mainly I just felt the power. This must be the underlying feeling shared by all Americans who regularly carry a firearm on their person. I used to think as a little kid about how cool it would be to grow up and carry a gun. I’d just be like an action star. The reality is that life is not a movie. As shocking a statement this will be to some Americans I say “Life is not the wild west either”!!!
I see and hear people like Peirce Morgan ask the question “Why do Americans need a weapon like the AR-15? You have your answer Peirce! Guns are fun and the American public know that if their only excuse to own that gun is because it’s fun to shoot: then they are going to have them taken away. Of course they have to push the 2nd amendment down your throat.
Yeah the 2nd amendment also says it needs to be updated every 20 years but you don’t hear them argue about that.
Why do they need weapons and ammo clips like that? They Don’t!
So what do we do? We can’t take away their fun. If I lived and grew up in America who knows maybe I would have been a kid who got into playing with guns instead of video games. The difference is at the end of the day there is zero chance I’m going die while playing “Call of duty” as opposed to playing with real weapons.
My argument is that America needs to be slowly weaned off guns like a smoker with a Nicorette patch. I would love to say “let’s make a guns that sound and shoot like real ones but non- lethal. A gun that fires rounds that immobilize a human but doesn’t kill them (like a stun gun). So people wanting to defend themselves have no argument. Would that suffice or do they need death as well? I know they have rubber bullets but more advanced than that.
Canadians need to be more vocal about the gun violence happening across the border. Maybe with some help from us we can sand out some of the rough edges to our friends to the south. If you’re skeptical it’s simpler to look at statistics like this.
Deaths by guns in America in 2011: 12,664
Cross an imaginary line into a neighbouring country containing millions of guns with the difference of not being able to carry a gun on your person:
Deaths by guns in Canada in 2011: 598
I still believe 598 deaths are too high but when compared to the United States, the stats speak for themselves.
Was this another tragedy that could have been avoided? Another fire at a night club that’s casualties has entered the triple digits. How could this have happened again? Is it just another chance event? History is against us on this being chance.
For example a 2009 fire at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, Russia, killed 156 people when an indoor fireworks display ignited a plastic ceiling decorated with branches. Or in 2004 a fire killed 194 people at an overcrowded working-class nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a flare ignited ceiling foam. Or a 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003 killed 100 people after pyrotechnics used as a stage prop by the 1980s rock band Great White set ablaze cheap soundproofing foam on the walls and ceiling.
Are we seeing a pattern?
As someone who has worked and operated directly in the bar scene for many years I’ve learned about safety regulations and crowd capacity in a restaurant, bar and night clubs with live music. I know that when I was working in these situations a severe strictness of how many people entered the building was regulated. On our busier nights we even had police officers along with the bouncers at the front door on keeping the fire code in check as well with checking Id’s.
It is in this light which the crux of my opinion surfaces. In Brazil a few days ago in which a fire broke out during a live music show and in panic 234 people were killed. Most were killed of asphyxiation or being trampled. Also most victims were between the ages of 19 – 25.
The reports have shown that the night club “kiss” had a maximum occupancy of 1000 people and there were about 2000 people in the club that evening. The exit was also the entrance!? There was only 1 way in and out of that death trap.
The last and most disturbing facts is that when the fire broke out, the security guards blocked the doorway and prevented people from leaving the nightclub. This was due to Brazil’s way of handling customers in a night club. People just start a tab and have to pay before leaving. This ensures serving a lot of customers quickly. I prefer cash bar, if the bartender is any good they should be able to handle customers quickly and efficiently anyway. The bouncers and owner clearly cared more about people skipping on their tabs than the safety of everyone in that club.
Another factor to such a high body count in such a small amount of time was due to the extremely flammable “spray on” foam that covered the walls and interior of the club in order to cut down on the noise. Sound familiar?
So after looking at all these factors I arrive at negligence. Negligence on the owner and staff and I would not be surprised if charges were laid in the following days and weeks to come.
My deepest sympathies go to the families of the victims. I hope in the coming future there are decisions made about the regulations and enforcement of the safety at clubs in Brazil. More fines and imprisonment should be pushed when owners are negligent and especially when it cost people their lives.