“Guns, guns, guns. Which are good, which are bad? Guns, guns, guns. Go ask your mom or ask your dad.”
In Canada people have guns. Hunting rifles. They shoot cans on their property. They bring home a deer or a couple turkeys every year. An avid hunter might kill more animals than that. My neighbour skinned a deer on his kids’ swing set once and I live in an urban area. Hunting is a normal thing to hear about or be involved with.
Handguns are restricted to those with a special license. You can’t walk around carrying one unless you’re a cop or a security guard.
If you have a handgun for recreation, you have to keep it locked up in a safe. You can transport it to a shooting range, but you have to keep it in a box, in your trunk, and you’ll be carrying an “authorization to transport” permit.
I’ve heard of collectors owning more exotic weapons but they are highly restricted.
Like abortion, religion, and politics, the gun control debate is one you might not want to bring up at a party. You might find that the person sitting across from you has very different opinions on the subject. You may find that a casual debate turns nasty fast.
I started this post after the senselessness that happened in New Zealand. I was hoping that as I wrote it, I would finally find my place on one side or the other of the gun control debate, but I did not. I can see both sides clearly from my spot on top of the fence.
So, in no particular order, and without taking sides, here are a couple of my thoughts on the issue.
I watched a video where a couple of fellas dressed up in full tactical gear and strapped weapons to themselves. I’m not familiar with the law in their area, but it seemed like they were quite well versed. The police had been called because these guys looked pretty intimidating. They were on a quiet residential street but they looked like they were geared up to bust into Bin Laden’s hideout. The female officer who stopped them asked them to kindly give it a rest, but they stated they could do exactly what they were doing under the law. She said something to the effect of, “I know, but would you mind not doing it. You’re freaking people out.”
How do I feel about it? Well, I don’t know. What kind of country do these guys want? Everyone walking around residential streets, armed to the teeth? Were they just trying to cause trouble? Did they want to debate with a cop for YouTube views? The area they were trolling looked safe enough that military-grade armour and weapons seemed a little unnecessary to me. But the law is the law, so I guess to each their own.
I watched a Netflix documentary about the University of Texas clock tower shooting in 1966. When it became known that an assailant had begun picking people off from the top of the tower, members of the public started showing up with their rifles to attempt to take out the bad guy. Even after the sniper had been killed, the members of the public kept on shooting at the tower, while the police waved a white flag.
How do I feel about it? Well, I don’t know. In 1966, the weapons the public had were ineffective at that far of a range, but nowadays, someone would have shown up with a scope powerful enough to be rid of that asshole. Of course, it is equally as likely that a brave Samaritan or a plainclothes police officer would have been shot.
Here in Canada, we had a situation in our largest city, Toronto, at one of the busiest malls, The Eaton Centre. A shooter walked into the food court and started blasting. Seven people were shot.
How do I feel about it? Well, I don’t know. On one hand, if all the young ladies in Canada had little miniature holsters tucked up alongside their lady parts, like RapidFire Rachel on Instagram, maybe the shooter wouldn’t have gotten so far. On the other hand, it seems that brave citizens stop shooters from time to time without the aid of a gun anyway. And of course, there is the argument that a cop, upon arriving at the Quentin Tarantino-esque scene might blow away the good guy instead of the bad guy.
Then there is the government-not-for-the-people argument. What if Trump pulled an Adolf H and took away all the guns? Seized control of the media and decided he was going to be president indefinitely? Imposed a curfew. Declared martial law. Then the people would need guns, right? To take the power back.
How do I feel about it? Well, I don’t know. If it gets to that point, then the people have already failed. There are things we need to pay attention to and things we need to do before it gets so bad that we need to take up arms against our own government. That being said, I think about the resistance in occupied France during World War II. It would be very hard for people to fight back without weapons.
What about teachers? Should they be armed to combat school shootings? The fact that there is even such a thing as school shootings is pretty fucking sad. When I think about my teachers from public school, I know that some of them would be quite confident handling a gun and would probably save the day if there was a school shooting. Others would probably shoot themselves in the foot.
How do I feel about it? Well, I don’t know. Most of these lunatic shooters want to die anyway, so I think arming the teachers might actually increase the number of school shootings. These nut jobs might see it as a challenge, or as a way to achieve suicide at the hand of someone else. On the other hand, if my math teacher could take out the bad guy before he shot up the whole school, I guess that’s a win.
I will say, that even though I once worked at The Eaton Centre, where the 2012 food court shooting took place, I would never feel at risk to return there. The odds of a shooting taking place are so minuscule that arming myself every day just in case would be akin to wearing a baseball helmet just in case a fly ball flew out of the SkyDome and hit me on the head.
As for protection against a rogue government, I suppose that is always a valid concern, but I’m not sure even an armed populous would stand a chance. They’ve got the media, the surveillance, the drones, the cellphones, the facial recognition, the military, the cops, the spies, and the sheep to help them.
Maybe a gun won’t help me save the world, or even save the day, but I might get my firearms license even if it is just to protect myself from some very bad aluminum cans.
Have you enjoyed sitting on the fence with me? The view is pretty good up here.