… from the boys’ early days of dating long-distance…
Today, all across the United States and Canada, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people are going to be out in force to demand the US Congress deal with the issue of gun violence.
I’ll be blunt here: I dont think it’s going to make one whit of difference in the halls of power. There appears to be something in the Congressional water or the Congressional air that, once you live there for a while — like Mitch McConnell, who apparently has been in Washington since the days of Ulysses S. Grant, if not before — you eventually just tune out on what your people want. Not to be too cynical about it, but when it comes to dealing with any kind of truly serious issue, the US Congress has to be dragged kicking and screaming into actually taking action on anything more important than (1) throwing more money at the Pentagon than it actually wants or (2) renaming post offices, which I believe it’s now run out of and will start re-renaming them next week.
Rather, these somewhat-esteemed men and women will return from yet another vacation and take up such vital concerns as…. well… uhm…. give me a minute, I”m sure I can think of something here.
Having lived on both sides of the border, let me make a small suggestion, for whatever it might be worth. You have to understand, in Canada we have more guns per capita and about one-tenth the gun violence than our neighbour to the south. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but the biggest is that we restrict the hell out of these things. You want a handgun? In Canada, you might as well forget that right now, because you will be put through all kinds of hoops to get one. If it’s anything more involved than a shotgun or a long rifle, and you’re not either a cop or military, you have a whole lot of ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy, as to why you think you should own it.
And it’s worked damn well. Unfortunately, we have a party leader who aspires to be Prime Minister who thinks we should pull many of these restrictions and take a Second Amendment approach to gun ownership in Canada. I am so not down with that. Frankly, it’s a dog whistle to get votes from a rising number of paranoid, fearful people who think we should be like the US in every way possible, because after all “look at how well things are going for them!”
They never quite grasp the irony of that statement.
So… my suggestion. It’s a small one, I’ll grant you, but what it comes down to is this: you own the gun. The gun does not own you. In Canada, we treat gun ownership like we do the acquisition of anything else: a house, a car, a pair of shoes. In the US, in certain quarters that seem to hold sway when this subject is raised, it is a fetish, an object to be worshipped, a necessity that comes before all — and by God, no home should be without one! Students are being killed in their schools, and what’s the response? Not more education, not more mental health advocacy… nope, more guns. “Oh, but we’ll train the teachers to use them!” Gosh, how about we train you to think some other way about that piece of metal and wood you cling to and stroke so gently in the night?
If you seriously think more guns are the answer, then you dont own that gun. It owns you.
And that has to stop.
The NRA claims a membership of five million. There are probably many more gun owners in the US who dont want to bother with an organization that has become so righteously wing-nutty over the years, and there are plenty of NRA members who wish the organization’s leadership would give its head a serious shake or two, so that’s not leaving a whole lot that actually support the “everything short of a shoulder borne surface to air missile launcher and even then we need to talk!” approach to gun worship — and yet these people are the ones dictating gun policy in the US. They say the current laws arent enforced. Well, with all due seriousness, that’s because they have encouraged an atmosphere where they dont want the current laws to be enforced. They dont want background checks. They dont want age restrictions on high power assault-style rifles. They dont want limitations on magazine capacity, all because they have this bizarre credo that says the Second Amendment gives them unfettered rights to anything their dark little hearts desire.
They are owned by their guns. Period. End of story.
I honestly believe the US is too far down the road for any effective change to happen. There are too many people who take the Second to absurd extremes for there to ever be meaningful controls put in place to stem this tide. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong, but history would suggest otherwise. The US is too adept at putting band-aids on gaping wounds to ever treat this issue with the seriousness it demands. All I can hope for now is that my Canada does not follow that same idiotic path.