A Shifting Opinion

It’s no secret I have strong opinions regarding America’s constitutional right to bear arms My Canadian heart and soul lacks any point of reference to allow understanding of the NRA or gun lobbies. My stance is unlikely to budge when it comes to unelected, non-profit basking bullies being allowed to call the shots. Likewise fanatics like George Zimmerman, or the lust some Americans have for semi-automatic weapons. My tendency has always been to dismiss legal gun ownership outright. As a Canadian; our system seems to work just fine – hunting rifles yes, anything else and you have some explaining to do.

At least that was the case before an innocent response by wordpresser xbox2121 got me pondering.


Last night I wrote about the crash of Canadian cell phones for a number of nail biting hours from coast to coast. Pondering what we would do if an actual disaster took place and how it would be coped with. xbox2121 commented on his ability to survive at his rural property, and all else failing his ability to defend himself using his guns and ammunition. At that moment – a holy crap light bulb went off – I knew he was right.

My family has an emergency plan of sorts; actually more than one but in case of a true breakdown, our destination would be the homes of my brother and/or father 250 miles away. Why? They have guns – even if they are only hunting rifles – they have weapons, ammunition and mad skills on matters of survival without everything I take for granted. The truth is, the average Canadian city dweller wouldn’t last five minutes if bat shit actually hit the fan. Truth be told; if  finding myself in that situation, I would wish we had a gun for protection on that 250 mile march.

This unexpected shift of opinion is a double edged sword. For the first time in my life a small part of me “gets it”, while my head screams in outrage at a perceived questioning of  fundamental core beliefs. I loathe guns, abhor gun violence, detest the NRA and believe America’s gun obsession is out of control – at the same time I really want a rifle at my side if the unthinkable were to happen.

Shotguns Just Blew My Mind

Slugging my way home from work today, I  happily pondered what I might write about tonight. Content with my thoughts; a pleasant way to spend the afternoon rush hour. The radio played as backdrop, and all was right in the world. Without warning a news story aired that nearly blew my mind. My Jekyll became Hyde; removing the gloves of quiet contemplation, I raced home possessed by the need to learn more.

Houston, Texas resident Kyle Coplen started a privately funded group called the Armed Citizens Project. Coplen is giving away 20-gauge shotguns, complete with ammunition and a lesson, to primarily female residents of mid to high crime areas in the city. A graduate student in Public Administration at the University of Houston, Coplen claims to have come up with this gem while writing a paper for the masters program.

“Pro-gun activists have largely been content to simply fend off new potential gun control laws. It is my opinion that gun-rights activists must take the offensive, and actively encourage the increased presence of defensive weapons in society. Both sides believe that their policies will result in less crime, and it is about time that our side begins to act with the conviction and courage that it will take to win the debate.” – Kyle Coplen

Coplen calls his program a “study” to determine once and for all if more guns reduce crime. Quick to point out he’s not forcing guns on any body, and believes the 20-gauge shotgun is of little value to a criminal. Guidelines stipulate all recipients must pass a back ground check, have lived in their home for at least one year, and complete the Armed Citizens Project training course. Ideally for his ‘study” to work, the goal is to see entire neighbourhoods armed. Coplen points out; you don’t need to be a great shot to take an intruder out with a shotgun.

Not only does Coplen want to put a shotgun in every household, he stresses his intention to counter government programs aimed at buying back guns with education on their merit. Those considering turning guns into the government would be urged to trade them for a shotgun.

My goodness America. I’ve heard rumblings that your education system was in shambles. For grad students in Public Administration to be spewing this nonsense – not only are my suspicions confirmed; you’re in far more trouble than I feared. By all appearances the University of Houston gave Kyle Coplen the high five; keep patting these fools on the back and in no time at all it will be every man for himself.  All I ask is that I never have to read another American scratching his head and asking where it all went wrong.