July 29, 1999

Peace Symbol

I want to write an entry tonight.

I don't want to write about shooting sprees and gun control.

I don't want to write about the events of the day in Atlanta which provided the latest feeding frenzy for CNN and its ilk.

I don't want to gloat and say it can't happen here (Canada) because it can and it does. The difference perhaps is, the right to "bear arms" is not part of the Canadian Constitution and our resultant culture (yes we DO have a culture). Charlton Heston is (thankfully) not Canadian. Gun ownership is not an important consideration, a topic of conversation, a focus of pride, except perhaps in the small community of hunters, and the larger community of professional criminals.

Over a year ago, in a news-related chatroom, I was told that guns were responsible for my freedom. In those exact words. Try as I might, I just can't make sense of that in the context of history or in the context of everyday life. Perhaps it's true for Americans who had to fight for their independence and then again for the unity of their country, but there are armies for that, and it doesn't explain the need for a gun in every bedside drawer.

The gun culture in the United States has instead robbed people of certain basic freedoms. Quite obviously, the freedom to feel (indeed, BE) safe and secure is gone from just about everywhere. There are no longer any "good" neighbourhoods. Would a gun in my purse have protected me against Mr. Barton in Atlanta? Rather, if Mr. Barton had been unable to procure a gun, he might have gone on his rampage with a knife or a baseball bat and been more easily disarmed, or at least not been able to kill nearly as many people. Are you in fact free in your shuttered homes, wired to the alarm company, guns at the ready? We already know what this teaches your children.

"When will they ever learn.."

I don't want to write about this anymore.

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