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.

http://xbox2121.wordpress.com/

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.

Why Do We Shoot Ourselves In The Foot?


Far from being an expert in any way other than my wits; my mind has been plagued recently by this ponder. I can’t stop wondering if mankind has reached the limit of evolution. The basis of my thesis is our seemingly endless capacity to shoot ourselves in the foot.

It is entirely possible that I mistake common sense for reality – I’ve given that point considerable thought – and every time I reach the same conclusion. Despite our technological advances, understanding of science and nature, or light speed communication; we’re taking one step forward two steps back.

Call me a crazy idealistic fool, but I don’t see us getting over this hump without a few things happening. First – religion has to be taken out of politics. I mean eradicated; delegated to the privacy of our homes. Abolished from political speeches, made accountable for their actions, and subjected to the same rule of law as everyone else. Religious leaders who speak out against homosexuality or abortion should be charged with hate crimes. As should any group such as the Boy Scouts who choose to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Until we move beyond religion, and biased thinking based on religion – we’re simply shooting ourselves in the foot.

Next we need to come to our senses in regard to organizations like the NRA. It boggles my mind to watch unelected spokespeople dictate policy from the comfort of their tax exempt, non profit towers. I find it beyond comprehension for this or any other lobby group to be given the time of day. Shooting ourselves in the foot is putting it mildly.

Third – lets get over rehashing done deals; women have the right to vote, blacks don’t sit at the back of the bus – and news flash religious fundamentalists – abortion is legal, gay people don’t burn in hell. Memo to the state of Arizona – life begins at the end of a woman’s last period? You geniuses made this law which makes you about as clever as the 63% of Canadians who responded in a recent poll to be in favour of bringing back the death penalty. Shooting ourselves in the foot.

I can’t help but think evolution has ground to a halt. Correct me if I’m wrong but I see no chance of moving forward while stalled on out dated concepts and perceptions. Worse still, we’re too busy shooting ourselves in the foot to even realize it.

A Little More Gun Talk


Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, over 1000 Americans have been killed by guns. Think about that for a moment. Most of these deaths nothing more than a passing story on the local news. It hasn’t even been two months since America’s latest horrific headliner, yet 1000 people have been wiped from the face of the earth.

According to a report by Christiane Amanpour;  13,186 people were killed worldwide in 2010 by terrorist attacks. In the same year 31,672 Americans fell victim to gun violence. Her source for this data was a report by Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Centre.

On average the number of people killed by guns in Canada is 600 – 1000 annually. Of those 80% are suicide deaths. Canada doesn’t escape gun nonsense; just last week a stray bullet came through a townhouse wall in Brampton, Ontario – killing a nine year old boy.

I’m tired of debating America’s “right to bear arms”, the NRA, and gun control. Likewise defending my perspective as a Canadian. I accept that arguing gun issues with America is like trying to reason with evangelical Christians. I realize my broad generalization of America doesn’t apply to all. Hopefully my exasperation will be recognized for what it is by those enlightened few who understand my ponder.

My hope is that; if only for a brief moment – people will grasp the magnitude of far too many gun deaths.

http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/15/more-americans-killed-by-guns-than-by-terrorists/

Photo – Jessica Hill. The Associated Press, post Media News

Wish List


I’m not one to make New Year resolutions. Experience shows the folly of setting ones self up to fail. Beating myself up over broken expectations grew old a long time ago. Instead, I pondered a “wish list” of  things I’d like to see in the New Year. I’ve left out the obvious Miss America style references to “world peace”. My opinion of the NRA, Monsanto, Halliburton, and political circus are well documented. A simple wish list, offering some practical suggestions; in no particular order –

All children would be taught cursive writing in school. It’s not enough to be able to read, you have to be able to sign your name.

School curriculum would require that all children, at some point between the 5th and 8th grades; be taught, in an unbiased manner – the origins, beliefs, and practices of major world religions.

Reddit would view links to blogs as something other than spam.

Weather reports would include space weather.

Canadians would learn to spell the name of our Prime Minister. It’s STEPHEN not Steven Harper.

Legislation would pass banning shoes for dogs; on grounds of cruelty to animals.

Any organization or religion operating as a “non profit” and enjoying “tax exempt” status, would be forbidden to contribute to political campaigns. These organizations would also have to re-apply for tax exemption every few years.

Elected officials couldn’t refer to God in defence of their position on issues.

Consumers were informed of the actual difference between “free run” and “free range” eggs.

Vegans stopped wearing leather shoes.

Happy New Year.

Not Right America! (NRA)


MSNBC aired in the background as I dressed for work this morning. Back turned, mind closed to robotic dribble of an NRA member insisting armed guards in every school would eradicate mass shootings. Then NRA member dropped a grenade, arm every teacher. I stopped in my tracks. Excuse me?  Reporter asked – “What if the teacher didn’t agree?”  His response; “then I wouldn’t want my child in that classroom”

What’s wrong with America? Why is a pig headed NRA wing-nut extended validation by mass media? Am I too Canadian to grasp America’s affinity for free speech regardless of truth, consequence or detrimental divide? Who are these people? How can a non-profit tax exempt organization finance hand picked politicians and dictate public policy with impunity?

First stop, the NRA website. Their home page screamed “patriot”. Slick and interactive, proudly displaying an Eagle to mimic the presidential seal. The words “non profit” registered before I turned in disgust to Wikipedia. Formed in 1871, NRA was established to protect second amendment” right to bear arms ”  in the Bill of Rights.  In truth the NRA exists because the Union Army were lousy marksmen. NRA co-founder George Wingate traveled to Europe and fancied the level of training. Back in America Wingate lobbied the New York legislature to correct lousy shots by funding gun ranges. The NRA was born. The first NRA president was Civil War General Ambrose Burnside.

A humble enough beginning; completely understandable and practical in it’s time. This “non-profit” was funded by the likes of Remington and Sharps rifle manufacturers.  They established gun clubs, taught marksmanship and certified gun owners. The NRA of today is far more

Call me crazy but for the life of me I need to know how a non-profit society is able to become the most powerful lobby in America? Forget the gravy – all I want is a meat and potatoes answer. How can a non profit organization contribute millions of dollars to political campaigns? These people are not elected; yet are allowed to influence policy. How can we validate the NRA’s agenda by airing “press conferences” that subject reasonable people to nonsense?

I’m not an American, perhaps I’ll never understand.

Obama 'actively' supports assault weapons ban; NRA ends silence on school shooting

A protestor holds a banner during a march to the National Rifle Association headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Curbing gun violence will be a top priority of President Barack Obama’s second term, aides say. but exactly what he’ll pursue and how quickly are still evolving. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Dear America,


Dear America,

I am writing to inform you of a grave situation requiring immediate attention Your stubborn refusal to let go of an antiquated  constitutional “right to bear arms” has directly impacted your bottom line. In order to stay competitive it is imperative that you take  action. Only those willing to adapt and make sacrifices will succeed in today’s world.

Tough choices need to be made for the good of the country. Ask yourselves this; did the Constitution intend that an automatic weapon be placed in the hands of every citizen, or was it written in colonial times to readily raise a militia in defence of the country? Ask yourselves why you allow the NRA and powerful gun lobbies to call the shots. Ask yourselves why you are so afraid of amending the constitution.

It doesn’t take a single visionary, it takes millions of concerned voices. It takes common sense, conviction, and determination. Remember the courageous people who fought to abolish slavery, demanded  women had a right to vote, or marched to end segregation. Speak up and let your voices be heard.

America – you do not have the right to blindly ignore your out of control gun laws. You have a duty to address your shortcomings and take action. You owe it to yourselves to recognize your mistakes; you owe it to the victims of gun violence to take your heads out of the sand.

Sincerely,

notestoponder

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