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The Right To Bear Arms: An Open Letter

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on December 14, 2012

An open letter to my American friends:

Today’s elementary school shooting has resulted in this petition calling for gun control .

In Canada we don’t have the right to bear arms.  Which doesn’t mean there are no guns here.  There are, but they aren’t easily accessible.  Still, we’ve had some tragedies here, too.  But not as often, and rarely as bad.  Our École Polytechnique massacre was pretty devastating. When I looked it up just now I was surprised to see it happened way back in 1989. I can’t think of anything that bad since. 

Ironically, there was a  similar school attack in China just today.  A knife wielding man injured 22 children and one adult.  Yet there were no fatalities.  Bad stuff still happens, but guns change the equation. Its a question of severity.

An American friend of mine pointed out that the gun used today in Connecticut was legal. It was apparently available in the disturbed young man’s home. The gun’s availability made it easy for him to kill his mother, and then go to the school where she taught and efficiently kill her class full of students, and then himself.

Had the disturbed young man’s family lived here in Canada, there is very little chance there would have been a gun in his home. Absent a gun, today’s outcome would have been very different.

What is the “right to bear arms” for?

People worry that not having the right to carry a gun will somehow infringe on their freedom. But there are plenty of examples of government restrictions on freedom.

American Law restricts the use of motor vehicles.  People need to prove themselves able to handle them safely in order to get a license.  Because misuse of motor vehicles, whether an automobile or an airplane, can have pretty devastating ramifications. Its a question of the public good.

The right to bear arms was intended as a defence from government oppression.  In this day and age, no matter what weapons you have, the government will have more. If you and your friends amass an aresenal to take on the government, you will lose. A handgun won’t help you. Nor will a bazooka.

Rather than fighting to keep a handgun in your kitchen drawer, perhaps citizens might fight for accountable government.

Fight to keep government spyware out of your computers, fight to stop the erosion of your hard won civil rights, fight for free speech, freedom of the press and the rule of law…

Of course, what you all decide to do is up to you. If it was up to me, I would sign this petition. Because bearing arms doesn’t seem to be a good idea to me. I simply don’t see any good outcome.

Clearly, this isn’t the only issue that needs to be looked at, but it would be a good start.

Wishing you all the best,

Further Reading:
Wikipedia: School shooting
Wikipedia: School shootings in the United States

One Response to “The Right To Bear Arms: An Open Letter”

  1. teeater said

    For US readers – please sign and help to spread the link:

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