Friday, March 20, 2015

More About That Gun Thing, Mr. Harper

Despite Stephen Harper's strong warnings last year about its dangers, two professors of criminology have thrown caution to the wind and 'committed sociology.'

In today's Star, Irvin Waller and Michael Kempa use that dark art to question Mr. Harper's recent professed enthusiasm for the use of guns as personal protection, especially in rural areas.

The professors assert that the facts, never especially useful to an ideologue like Harper, suggest otherwise:
In Canada, home invasions and violent assaults by strangers in rural areas are so rare that they are virtually unrecorded and unreported threats.

And random gun violence is only slightly more likely in urban areas. A quick glance at our recent police data confirms 505 homicides last year for our whole country of 35 million.

More importantly, of the 131 murders with a gun, 85 were gang-related shootings, which by definition do not occur in our typical rural communities. So you are left with 46 gun murders or less than 10 per cent of the total. There are few occasions where guns are likely to be useful for self-defence.
Beyond those indisputable facts, however, lies another element that makes Mr. Harper's demagoguery dangerous:
Suggesting that gun owners have their weapons ready for self-defence will encourage rural Canadians to break our laws requiring ammunition and guns to be stored separately. These laws are important because it is well-known that storing loaded weapons increases the suicides, accidents and murders that occur in emotional situations, especially in those tragic cases involving domestic violence.
Another statistic shows the folly of having loaded weapons readily available:
Nearly nine out of 10 Canadian homicide victims are killed by someone they know, too often their distraught spouse or separated partner. By loading up more guns, Canadians can expect to have more innocent victims killed, not fewer houses invaded by strangers.
Towards the end of their piece, Waller and Kempa commit full-bore sociology:
Rather than take the easy path of following some of the U.S.’s worst gun failures, rural safety in Canada would profit most through developing crime and violence reduction programs that have been proven through mostly American research. Massive databases of program evaluation results confirm that sensible prevention approaches that provide non-violent conflict resolution training in schools and community centres protect two of the most over-victimized groups in our society: women and youth.
Clearly, their words will be lost on a heart as densely obdurate as Harper's. One can only hope that there are sufficient numbers of Canadians who have not been infected with the prime minister's dark visions and philosophy and recognize his ideology as the true danger stalking all of us.


  1. One has to ask: How did such a dense man ever become prime minister?

    1. Considering who put him there, Owen, the answer is an unflattering one for many people.