Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Gun Rules or Guns Rule

Stop me if you've heard this before.

One topic of conversation that gets me riled is the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and people insisting that gives them the inalienable right to carry any weapon they choose - either concealed or in plain sight.

What they so conveniently ignore is the first part of that Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..."

The definition of "militia" is "A military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency" or "all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service".

Therefore, by that reasoning, a gun owner should be educated and trained in the proper use and storage of a firearm.  On top of that, said owner ideally should be a member of a trained unit of some form, whether it be a militia, the police, the National Guard, or the Army.  All those units are regulated and the types of firearms allowed in each are specified by law.  (Contrary to popular belief, the National Rifle Association is not a military unit even though they like to think they are.)

However that's not how the system in the U.S. works.  Just about anyone can walk into a shop and purchase a gun after going through a rudimentary background check, and sometimes not even that.  Adding to the confusion is that the regulations concerning licensing and registration in each state vary considerably.

What's worse is that many web sites perpetuate myths about guns and how "X would not have happened if someone had been armed".  Studies have clearly shown that if a gunman sees that you also have a gun, you are more likely to be shot and killed than the other way around.

Speaking of gun myths, someone I know who is very pro-gun shared a photo from a Facebook page called Alien Gear Holsters.  That photo and others like it on the page show Fred Rogers of TV fame holding a weapon of some type and saying "Not in my neighbourhood".  I take a huge exception to people using images like that, and I called out the creator of the photo.  Several members of the group told me about how Mr. Rogers had served in the military and was awarded medals for the kills he accomplished in Vietnam, and how he wore long sleeves on TV to cover his tattoos.

All wrong.

Fred Rogers never served in the military.  According to his official biography he studied music and the ministry, and went directly from college into the media.  The reason he wore long sleeves was to maintain formality and convey authority to his audience.  There are statements on official U.S. military web sites that Mr. Rogers never served.  So when I asked the hecklers on Alien Gear Holsters to show me the proof, naturally they shut up.

Here in Canada our gun laws are much more sane.  The statistics on gun-related incidents per annum prove it.  For example, the number of firearm-related deaths in Canada in 2013 was 1.97 per 100,000 people.

In the United States for the same year it was 10.5.

Think about that.

Friday, 3 February 2017


I have a message for Donald Trump supporters.

When is it going to get through your thick skulls that the man is insane?

Less than two weeks into his presidency, he and his cronies have already put the American train so far off the rails that it'll require many years of hard work to get it back - if at all.

He has insulted multiple heads of state, prompting Germany to abolish a law that prohibits prosecution of anyone deemed to have insulted one.

In addition he has become persona non grata in the UK and earned the ire of Prince Charles concerning the environment.

He has banned immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, but conspicuously did not include those countries with which he does business, such as Saudi Arabia.  This caused mass confusion and even prevented U.S. citizens abroad from returning home, simply because of their country of birth.

Incidentally, 15 of the men involved in the 9-11 attacks were of Saudi origin.  Look it up.

He has threatened Iran and also North Korea and expressed no compuctions against using nuclear weapons against them if things go sour.

He has said nothing about the recent illegal pro-Russian attacks on the Ukraine, which have left an entire city of 20,000 people with no electricity or water.  No doubt because he doesn't want to get on the bad side of his buddy Vladmir Putin.

My parents were young when they witnessed the start of World War II.  Now my child is young and we might be witnessing the beginning of World War III.

But Trump and his ilk won't care.  They'll most likely be the first ones to hide in their bomb shelters with their millions of dollars and gloat that they "won" while the rest of the world burns.

I'm really and truly frightened, and you should be too.