TORONTO - A city that prides itself as one of the safest in North America is bewildered by a surge in violence that has produced a record number of shooting deaths this year, the latest a 15-year-old girl on a street filled with holiday shoppers. Canada's prime minister and Toronto's mayor blame weapons smuggled in illegally from the United States, but others point to a growing gang problem.
Whatever the cause, Canadians recoiled Tuesday after a gunbattle the previous day in Toronto left the teenage bystander lying dead and six other people wounded in a street near a popular shopping mall.
It was the 52nd death inflicted by a firearm this year in Canada's biggest city, which is nearly twice as many as last year and raised the overall homicide toll to 78 _ not far below the record 88 homicides of 1991....
To supplement Mike's remarks, popular American views on firearms, and our greater willingness to use force in general which so baffles British & Europeans, have been strongly influenced by the 300 yr old frontier ethos of the original Scots-Irish. These were people who unlike more intellectual Puritans & pietistic Germans, didn't worry their heads much about due process or "Just War Theory," they acted instinctively against the perceived threat, whether Irish, Indian, British, Mexican, Yankee, Axis, Communist, or now, Islam. It still permeates the South especially, and people from there.
I like reading history, and several different historians from different perspectives have pointed this out; it will help you understand America better. The popularity of the country song "Beer for the Horses" shows it's still alive and well.
You are on the mark when you say the real problem at issue is the desperately wicked heart of all men. It is the main reason I oppose gun laws. The question is this: How is it a good thing to entrust liberty to governments composed of wicked men? If the wickedness of a criminal is, well, wicked, how much more is the wickedness of wicked governments?
You are also on the mark when you say we could go round and round endlessly on this subject. I think the reason being we view the role of government in the life of the governed differently. Nothing wrong with that. If we(Americans) place liberty a little higher on the scale of values than security, as compared with other countries, we willingly enjoy the freedom and deal with the problematical consequences. It is unfortunate in my view to see an increasing number of Americans cheering on their eroding freedom, that they may be more 'secure.' So much for understanding the wicked heart of man. Thomas Jefferson was right when he said "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."
It has been said we have a 'gun culture.' Yet even today I was reading of the 'knife culture' in Britain. Creative, the evil heart is. Think you may need to register kitchen knives one day?
Chris Well OK lets just respectfully say we disagree. BTW if you are saying part of the health problem in the USA is from sugar I agree with you 100%. And no I am not into population control. I seem to have went to far overboard to make a simple point. You not being an American may find it difficult to understand the analogy I used in my postings. God Bless
RV, can I suggest you take a look at the USA's annual gun death figures, then compare them to other western countries and come back and tell us if your system is working fine or not.
You argue that it is the person, not the machine. But at the same time don't like restricting the persons access to the machines. I think you have too many crazy people in the US (partly due to the very high sugar diet) to allow unrestricted access I'm afraid. Unless you like this form of population control.
Chris You are completing missing the point here. I will say it a different way. If a drunk is driving down the road and kills someone with his/her car the questions we could ask are...
Did the car kill the person or what is the person driving the car who was influenced by the alchol?
In this country they want to take away everones right to even own a gun. They will say it is because the guns are weapons that kill people. But they can also be used to protect people from people who want to kill.
Just like the car did not kill anyone, it was the drunk behind the wheel. Do we start taking peoples cars away now because they kill people?
Maybe you guys dont have this sort of problem in Australia. You are lucky. But there are many places in this country where you do not dare walk out after dark. And there are many businesses in the Chicago area who have to invest in steel bars surrounding there property for fear of vandalism.
RV compares guns to booze: "I have never heard of a gun walking out of the gun shop, and going on its own murder rampage. Every year thousands of people are killed from drunk drivers. I never heard anyone suggest that cars are to blame for these deaths."
The problem with this simplistic logic is that men are sinners and have a tendancy to sin. So most western societies attempt to limit the freedoms of men more inclined towards sin by restricting their access to guns, cars or airplanes etc - ie tools which can be used by them in their evil deeds.
But it seems you think these restrictions are bad and - incredibly - seem to think Christians should carry a concealed gun if they so desire! What a sad state of affairs the church is in today....
Please could you define a set of statistical data that you would ever accept as rigourous for evaluating this. With the sheer complexity of society and the interaction of so many factors how would one ever categorically prove the effectiveness of licensing? Gun crime could increase under licensing, but what you would never know is whether it would have increased by more in that particular period, in that particular area, without licensing. In any event, the real problem at issue is that the heart of man is desperately wicked. That is all men. Do we want all men to have unrestricted access to firearms well beyond the firepower of David's slingshot?
What do we know for sure? Gun crime and accidental deaths from firearms are off the scale in the USA compared with other countries. Indeed even where other countries are deteriorating, such as Canada in this article, one of the chief concerns in addition to the human heart is the illegal importation of legal American guns.
1 e.g. "In 1996, handguns were used to murder 2 people in New Zealand, 15 in Japan, 30 in Great Britain, 106 in Canada, 213 in Germany and 9,390 in the United States. Center to Prevent Handgun Violence"
I would support licensing for the protection of the citizens, if the data from places where licensing is established bore the fruit of the promises of protection. But the data points to little or no connection, and often the opposite as in my previous post. Government uses the issue emotionally to get support for gun control, because it knows this little fact: Guns used in causing death, whether deliberately, accidently, or suicidally, add up to .02% of the total number of the guns privately owned. Control over the other 99.98% doesn't seem too urgent or in need of government help. The majority of cowboys in stetsons are law abiding and peaceful without it. (Arthur take note)
The proposal finally passed the House in its present form: "A well regulated militia, being necessary for the preservation of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." In this form it was submitted into the Senate, which passed it the following day. The Senate in the process indicated its intent that the right be an individual one, for private purposes, by rejecting an amendment which would have limited the keeping and bearing of arms to bearing "For the common defense".
Samuel Adams, a handgun owner who pressed for an amendment stating that the "Constitution shall never be construed . . . to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms," would be shocked to hear that his native state today imposes a year's sentence, without probation or parole, for carrying a firearm without a police permit.
I agree with you that gangs should not have hand guns, but how are you going to prevent them from having them when they are so widely available?
I was only in the states a couple of times in my younger days for a short trip. However, I have seen much television news from the U.S. over the years and read a lot. I have learned more than I would by travelling through there is a week or two. I do know that most cinemas and TV movies are full of violence. It would appear that society in general has a love of watching violence and a lot of young people are into these violent video games as well. All of this coupled with the easy availability of guns does not make for a safe or secure society.
Boy my remarks seem to have encouraged an explosive response. I'd better get my colt 45 and stetson on to protect my wee house here in the highlands.
I had a notion that I would touch a nerve in you guys across the sea. Sorry fellas I'm just an incorrigible sinner.? I promise to try to be good in future. So please don't shoot me yet, - even you 33k with your double-barrelled shotgun.
I appreciated most of your thoughtful comments on this thread. Surely the point of fees is to pay for the cost of administering the system, ensuring that the cost itself falls upon those who wish to have the privilege of carrying a gun. I would have thought that Americans would object to the cost falling upon the general taxpayer indiscriminately.
Again, no one regards gun control as a panacea for gun crime. I do agree with you that there is a role for the citizens to have a gun in some circumstances for the "freedom-maintenance toolshed". But can you not also see licensing also as a legitmate tool of government for the protection of it's citizens too?
Why do you not oppose driver licensing and license fees on similar grounds?
I meant I agree that parents should accept responsibility for raising their kids. Still can't agree with you on guns though. I do believe in the safety training and certification required for hunters in Canada. I have gone through that. They also require registering of every hunting rifle in Canada. They have wasted two billion dollars on the long gun registry in bureacracy and should be held accountable for that. It has done little or nothing to stop gun crime because criminals do not register their guns and don't use hunting rifles anyway.
Why not gun licenses? Actually, we are required, in many States, to license handguns. The purpose is to extract fees, not prevent crime. In New York State, handgun licenses require a long process, taking months to attain. Now, this having a positive effect on crime is contradicted by the fact that New York has a higher handgun crime rate than other States which do not require licensing. And long guns, which do not require licensing, are rarely used in criminal activity.
For government to have a legitimate role in this area, the burden of proof of need is upon government. The data doesn't seem to support that role.
Yes, I agree. Right now the Liberal are proposing to bring in a multi-billion dollar state-run child care system. If they get elected in the current election, that looks like it will happen. No help for people who stay at home or have relatives help look after their kids. There is no end to their madness.