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Feb-24-2010 16:27printcomments

The Tyranny of the American Mind

Americans are tyrannized by 1776, The Second Amendment, The Bill of Rights, The Constitution and other colonial-era artifacts.

Hot chick with a rifle
Courtesy: a1.vox.com

(CALGARY, Alberta) - In 1987 philosopher Allan Bloom published the best-selling book The Closing of the American Mind. In it he wrote: “The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.

On February 23, 2010 Ian Urbina wrote in the New York Times: “In Virginia, the General Assembly approved a bill last week that allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month. The actions came less than three years after the shootings at Virginia Tech that claimed 33 lives and prompted a major national push for increased gun control.

His article is titled: “Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws”

Arizona and Wyoming lawmakers are considering nearly a half dozen pro-gun measures, including one that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

And there continues to be fear and paranoia: ““The watchword for gun owners is stay ready,” said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. “We have had some successes, but we know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us..”

Guns in bars. No background checks at gun shows. No permits to carry required. No restrictions on how many guns a person may buy (in some cases now it’s one per month).

What Americans don’t seem to understand is how crazy they look to most of the rest of the world. The reason they don’t understand is because of their one-thought tyranny.

Americans are tyrannized by 1776, The Second Amendment, The Bill of Rights, The Constitution and other colonial-era artifacts. They have been brainwashed into believing that those are the only thoughts there are. This is not freedom. Freedom means having a choice. If they could accept that there are other ways of thinking then they would have a choice! That’s what freedom is about and what many, if not most, Americans don’t understand.

Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class — a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably on a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves — writing and trying to make the world a better place

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mike w. March 3, 2010 8:23 am (Pacific time)

Gotta love the author's "logic." He claims that somehow denying individual choice (the very basis of liberty) equates to MORE freedom It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad. It's also laughable that he thinks Canada has a more free press than the U.S. Yeah, the country that sends the government after Canadian citizens who write something deemed "offensive to Islam." Some "free press" you've got up there.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_indices_of_freedom which compares various freedoms around the world. Canada's freedom of the press is "good situation" whereas the U.S. is only "satisfactory situation". In a summary at the end there is: "According to the rankings of the table above, the most free (the "all-blue") countries are..." Canada is on the list. The U.S. is not!

Or you can also check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index where the Canada Press Freedom Index is 3.70 and the U.S. is at 4.0 (the lower the better). Of all the countries Canada is at 19 and the U.S. is at 20, tied with Luxembourg and the UK. You need to check your facts before you start spouting off.

baldeagle390 March 1, 2010 9:18 pm (Pacific time)

"Not to mention that they are all young millionaires. So much for the Olympics which, in many ways have come down so far in the last few decades."  Your last statement we agree on. There was a time when the Olympic games were for the non professional athlete. Sadly things have changed. As far as your first statement...sorry, for the most part Canadians have made the USA hockey players rich...In the USA the hockey teams almost have to give away their tickets for the fans to show up.

Daniel Johnson March 1, 2010 10:12 pm (Pacific time)

Maybe this paragraph from Wikipedia will give some of you an idea of where Canadians come from, culturally, vis-a-vis the U.S.:

In Canada, "peace, order and good government" (in French, "paix, ordre et bon gouvernement"), often abbreviated POGG, is often used to describe the principles upon which that country's Confederation took place. Originally used in the British North America Act, 1867, enacted by the Imperial Parliament, it defines the principles under which the Canadian Parliament should legislate. Specifically, the phrase appears in section 91 of the Act, which is part of the block of sections that divide legislative powers between the federal and provincial levels of government. In section 91, the phrase describes the legal grounds upon which the federal government is constitutionally permitted to pass laws that intrude on the legislative purview of the provinces.

For the U.S. the equivalent phrase would seem to be more along lines of: War, partisanship and government is evil (or at least bad or minimally, unnecessary).

baldeagle390 March 1, 2010 9:41 pm (Pacific time)

Your last statement we can agree on. It used to be that the Olympic Games were for non-professional athletes. Sadly, things have changed. Your first statement about the hockey players being millionaires, while true, is curious. Without the Canadians these players would indeed not be millionaires. I can only speak for my hometown of Milwaukee…if they didn’t give away tickets nobody would show up.

baldeagle390 March 1, 2010 8:42 pm (Pacific time)

Oh I forgot...congrats to Canada on a gold medal in men's hockey. You must be proud. On Monday the bulk of the Canadian talent travelved to their home country of USA....but yeah congrats!

Not to mention that they are all young millionaires. So much for the Olympics which, in many ways have come down so far in the last few decades.

baldeagle 390 March 1, 2010 7:12 pm (Pacific time)

Ah yes, America bad…the rest of the world good. I could not verify your 98/2% numbers but I did find this study (http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html). I would like to direct your attention to the top 10% of wealth held by nation. Of course the United States must be first according to your screed. Not so. It’s Switzerland . After the US it’s Denmark and….. (wait for it) FRANCE. France is one of the most socialist countries of the developed world. And the numbers for wealth accumulation by population do not vary too much from that of the USA. Further let’s look at Canada’s numbers: The top 10% of Canada’s population own 53% of the wealth. When the top 10% of Canada’s population can be legislated to the hold 10% of the wealth you can come and talk to me. But as it stands your reasoning can only be “we suck but you suck more”. Secondly, you characterize the rich in the USA as evil bloodsucking capitalists. Fine. I characterize the poor in the USA as lazy people that expect their entitlement. You offer no proof for your claim therefore I am not obliged to offer proof of my claim. Fact of the matter there is a rich person who owns the company my son works for. Should my son get paid the same as the boss? I would like you to explain to me exactly what you would do to rectify the “wealth problem”. I already know what you will say..”tax them until the rich are poor”. Just remember what Margret Thatcher said “Socialism is fine until you run out of other people’s money” That's from the Mother country so it can't be wrong.

Anonymous March 1, 2010 3:19 pm (Pacific time)

To the writer: If you want us to ditch our Constitution, all you have to do is get 2/3 of the US Congress and 38 states to agree. You could probably get 1/2 of the US Congress and 1/3 of the States to agree to that right this instant. The rest of us, not so much.

Anonymous March 1, 2010 12:03 pm (Pacific time)

In the 2008 “Heller” decision, the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban and gunlock requirements. Unsurprisingly, gun control advocates predicted disaster. They were wrong. What actually happened in our nation’s capital after the Heller decision ought to be remembered tomorrow as the Supreme Court hears a similar constitutional challenge to the Chicago handgun ban. When the Heller case was decided, Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned: "More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence." Knowing that Chicago's gun laws would soon face a similar legal challenge, Mayor Richard Daley was particularly vocal. The day that the Heller decision was handed down, Daley said that he and other mayors across the country were "outraged" by the decision and he predicted more deaths along with Wild West-style shootouts. Daley warned that people "are going to take a gun and they are going to end their lives in a family dispute." But Armageddon never arrived. Quite the contrary, murders in Washington plummeted by an astounding 25 percent in 2009. Washinton’s lowest since 1967. While other cities have also fared well over the last year, D.C.'s drop was several times greater than that for other similar sized cities. According to preliminary estimates by the FBI, nationwide murders fell by a relatively more modest 10 percent last year and by about 8 percent in other similarly sized cities of half a million to one million people (D.C.'s population count is at about 590,000). This shouldn't be surprising to anyone who has followed how crime rates change after gun bans have been imposed. Around the world, whenever guns are banned, murder rates rise. . . .

It hasn't even been two years since Heller was handed down, so I think it's a little premature to celebrate.

Sam March 1, 2010 11:13 am (Pacific time)

Your analysis of American history reminds me of many entry level students I have had over the years who came to my American History class as college freshman. In fact many of their essays in the first pop quiz thay had were strikingly similar to what you wrote below. After an 18 week semester of relearning history as it was, they were absolutly shocked with what they first wrote when I returned their first essay responses. Also my background in Canadian history is beyond any Canadian I have ever met in the various US/Canadian educational conferences I have attended over the years. So I am not surprised by your lack of knowledge. You have an agenda and facts do not work well with that agenda. "Only one little flaw with the D of I: It was drafted by men who were slaveholders, Washington and Jefferson in particular. The slaves had all the rights of slaves (none) and did not get widespread suffrage until the 1960s, and even then they had to fight harder for it than the original founders fought the British. How many hundreds of thousands of "Americans" died in the Civil war to keep slavery. America's ideals of justice and freedom for all are built on a stained legacy that electing Obama pres, doesn't even begin to address."

What's your point in requoting me?

RonF March 1, 2010 8:24 am (Pacific time)

Actually, the American concept of freedom is well stated in the Declaration of Independence (I use quotes, but I may have a word or two wrong): "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that governments are instituted among men to secure these rights...." Freedom is the right to live and to have the liberty to determine what makes you happy and to pursue it without being interfered with by others or especially the State. Note that you do not have the right to attain happiness. That's up to your resources, will and to what you've decided will make you happy. It's the State's job to make sure it and people get out of your way. It is most assuredly NOT the State's job to see that you attain it or to give you anything.

Only one little flaw with the D of I: It was drafted by men who were slaveholders, Washington and Jefferson in particular. The slaves had all the rights of slaves (none) and did not get widespread suffrage until the 1960s, and even then they had to fight harder for it than the original founders fought the British. How many hundreds of thousands of "Americans" died in the Civil war to keep slavery. America's ideals of justice and freedom for all are built on a stained legacy that electing Obama pres, doesn't even begin to address.

RonF March 1, 2010 8:19 am (Pacific time)

Let's talk about that militia clause. When the U.S. was formed it had just experienced what happens when a powerful central government maintains a standing army and decides to use it against the populace. So they made sure that each State had it's own well-trained (= "well regulated") militia, paid for by the central government but staffed and under the command of the State. That gave the State the ability to resist the Federal government. I believe you'll find a further explanation of this in the Federalist Papers, #29. However; this only kicks the can down the road. Now the State is secure from the Federal government - but what is to keep the populace secure from the State? Simple. Since the necessary evil of "a well-regulated militia is necessary for the security of a free State" from the Federal government, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" so that they can protect themselves from both State and Federal tyranny.

RonF March 1, 2010 8:10 am (Pacific time)

What Americans don’t seem to understand is how crazy they look to most of the rest of the world. That's not a bug. That's a feature. We're liable to do anything, so I suggest you be polite. Don't poke the bear and all that. Understand this; the responsibility to protect myself and my family belongs to me. It's not transferable. The police have the authority to protect me, but not the responsibility. If you don't understand the difference, see what happens if someone breaks into your house and you try suing the police for not showing up fast enough. Remember; when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

pseudotsuga February 28, 2010 10:24 pm (Pacific time)

"They have been brainwashed into believing that those are the only thoughts there are. This is not freedom. Freedom means having a choice. If they could accept that there are other ways of thinking then they would have a choice! That’s what freedom is about and what many, if not most, Americans don’t understand." You seem to be thinking that us poor, benighted 'Mericans would choose differently, IF ONLY we KNEW there were other ways to think about it. Then again, perhaps most of us do realize there is a choice, and reject your way of thinking. This, of course, is human nature. You seem to think that only wrong-thinkers would reject your other choice/choices, whatever they may be.

Matt Johnson February 28, 2010 8:44 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel, your words carry great strength, you must get a laugh out of some of the reactions. Gun talk really sets 'em off doesn't it?

Jaime February 28, 2010 8:40 pm (Pacific time)

OK you win. I guess we should adopt the Marxist/Communist/Soviet ideal that was completely apolitical right? Rule of law is a sham, get real. You know if you came down here and lived and worked like all the normal people do you would realize that all of this political BS is just that. My day to day life is ruled by the exact things that rule yours, feed the family and keep the lights on. Probably 99.9% of Americans are exactly the same. Uproot me from here and move me to Canada and I would do the exact same things I do here - wake up, go to work, try not to hurt anybody. You think that we're all crazy, blood-thirsty animals that are just waiting for someone to leave their doors open so we can eat their babies? We're people just like you. Imagine how you would feel if Canada was the most powerful country in the world and I was down here crapping all over your dream. The US may not be perfect but it's been a nice place for me to grow up, get married, and raise kids. And on top of that I'm an 'oppressed' hispanic. My parents came here from Mexico to give me, my brother, and 3 sisters a better life. I'm the youngest and was actually born here but my brother told me that dad would not allow him and the girls to speak Spanish in the house until they learned fluent English. I learned Spanish second and still don't speak it very well. Millions come here for a better life, think about that. As awful as it seems, it's a far cry better than most of the world. You don't have to like it, we're fine without you.

Jaime February 28, 2010 7:43 pm (Pacific time)

"Ah, yes, the Heller decision. What Americans don't seem to understand is that you have a nation of people not laws The ruling was by four conservative justices and Kennedy. If Clinton had been able to appoint another liberal-leaning justice or two, then the ruling certainly would have gone the other way. Your justic system has become completely politicized and more like a spectator sport, so don't hoist up your SC too high as an example to the world." We're a nation of people that believe in the rule of law. And it was a 5-4 decision, do your homework. By your logic, if Bush had appointed another conservative justice, then it would have been 6-3. The supreme court is far from perfect and has been used as a political tool for a very long time, never worse than FDR. What about my second point about the common law? No response to that? The common law is in affect in Canada, too, is it not? The concept came from the British tradition and was not invented by me or the US.

But you make my point for me. You say "We're a nation of people that believe in the rule of law" but you acknowledge that your law depends not only on who gets appointed by the president, but who the Senate will affirm. On the lower levels, judges are elected by the citizens, which is 100% political. Your rule of law is a sham.

Mike February 28, 2010 7:30 pm (Pacific time)

I like Canada, been there several times and I probably would enjoy living there. I also like the USA and I have lived here all my life except for a few years in Europe and the Middle-East for a company I was with. I'm sure that if you want to have a reasoned discussion about some grievance you have we could sit down and hash it out. The broad brush you're using is a little off-putting. To say that the US "is, overall, one of the most violent societies in the world and no amount of misdirection will make that fact go away." is the kind of blind hyperbole that shuts down civil discourse. Take Liberia for example. As soon as the US devolves into cannibalism and general lawlessness the way they have then, by all means, make that statement again. Otherwise, as far as 'violent societies' go, I'd say the US is pretty far down the list. We may have some issues with violence but Brazil is a far cry more violent on a good Saturday night than the US has ever been. And those are just a couple of examples, I can go on if you like. And please do not blame the US for all the problems in the world, that is a tired old argument that doesn't hold water. I'd suggest you temper your generalizations with a more expanded world view.

In terms of violence, Liberia and Brazil are not among the developed nations so they are not comparable. I suggest you read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine and Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow and see if you can back with the argument that the U.S. is not responsible for a lot of the problems in the world over the last half century or more.

Jaime February 28, 2010 7:09 pm (Pacific time)

Heller v. Washington DC decision says that the 2nd amendment does , in fact, apply to the people as individuals whether they are formally associated with 'the militia' or not. CASE CLOSED. More evidence: In every other instance where the term 'the people' is used in the constitution it refers to individual rights. Without an explicit redefinition of the term in the 2nd amendment the common usage must be applied. Stop arguing this point, it is more settled than global warming.

Ah, yes, the Heller decision. What Americans don't seem to understand is that you have a nation of people not laws The ruling was by four conservative justices and Kennedy. If Clinton had been able to appoint another liberal-leaning justice or two, then the ruling certainly would have gone the other way. Your justic system has become completely politicized and more like a spectator sport, so don't hoist up your SC too high as an example to the world.

Linoge February 28, 2010 4:23 pm (Pacific time)

"Nonetheless, it doesn't refute the fact that the U.S. is the most violent society in the world among the developed nations." I am not at all sorry to say that the above sentence is a bald-faced lie: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html

From that article: "In the UK, there are 2,034 offences per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-placed Austria with a rate of 1,677. The U.S. has a violence rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, Canada 935, Australia 92 and South Africa 1,609."

The United Kingdom has a violent crime rate over four times that of America's, and Canda's violent crime rate is almost twice that of America - and that is all from a *British* newspaper.

When should I be expecting the retraction of your above lie, Daniel?

I quote from the story. Police Minister David Hanson said: 'These figures are misleading. Levels of police recorded crime statistics from different countries are simply not comparable since they are affected by many factors, for example the recording of violent crime in other countries may not include behaviour that we would categorise as violent crime.

And it's pretty clear that you're a Republican because instead of finding out if an honest mistake was made, you immediately jump to the conclusion that I have "lied". Joe Wilson a friend of yours?

Shane February 28, 2010 4:18 pm (Pacific time)

"Freedom means having a choice." Yep, and if you don't like those American values, you are free to move to Europe.

Frank February 28, 2010 2:26 pm (Pacific time)

> "My article was not about guns so your long involved post is irrelevant". LOL. Perfect illustration of your point that "If they could accept that there are other ways of thinking then they would have a choice!" Typical Lib: freedom for you is what I want you to be allowed to say or do.

Joseph Friday February 28, 2010 12:12 pm (Pacific time)

"Arthur Kellermann's studies have been discredited." "I need evidence, not just your opinion..." For a full analysis of the bias in Kellerman's work (including a Climategate-like refusal to publish his data) read: Public Health Pot Shots - How the CDC succumbed to the Gun "Epidemic" @ http://reason.com/archives/1997/04/01/public-health-pot-shots

Ted February 28, 2010 11:51 am (Pacific time)

5-3. Suck it, Canada!

Interesting comment. The game hasn't even started yet.

Mark D. February 28, 2010 11:50 am (Pacific time)

Sweet chica with a nice looking SKS. She can come to my house and shoot anytime. Yes, I can shoot MY SKS off my back porch anytime, because I live in a nice part of the USA. Yes my neighbors shoot,too. Police response time here is 45 minutes minimum. But the second amendment is NOT about protecting my family from criminals. It is about ensuring that Citizens are armed, so a central government does not enslave them. Just because the liberal idiots in DC have consistently (and partially successfully) tried to whittle away the protection of my God Given right to self protection, does not mnake it correct.(the Constitution does not grant the right - it only recognizes it) You are wrong. There is a very small part of the world that is still free. The free parts of it are pretty darn safe. The parts where average citizens cannot legally have guns for self defense are dangerous sewers (Chicago, New York City, LA , and DC) And you want to make all of us less safe. Shame on you.

Continuing commentary about the U.S. being saved from tyranny and yet there is no evidence of tyranny in Canada, the UK or the EU unless you want to argue that we are "tyrannized" because we are not allowed to be armed publicly.

Burton February 28, 2010 11:14 am (Pacific time)

While I think your overall point is sound, it seems you have chosen a very poor example. Just because an idea is "outside the box" doesn't mean it is better. Groupthink is bad, but conventional wisdom is GENERALLY in place because it has been proven throughout time. Slavery? Groupthink. McCarthy era communist hunts? Groupthink. Gun control? While it is certainly outside the box and looks good on paper, it has never had any measurable success in America, Canada, Germany, Australia, England or any other country that produces data on such things. In fact, the less regulated states in America have the lowest crime rates, while highly regulated states (Maryland, New York, and Illinois) still have the highest crime rates. So while I see your point that groupthink is bad, some things are the way they are for a reason, and you probably should have picked a less polarizing issue that has some evidence going for it.

Mark February 28, 2010 10:52 am (Pacific time)

Well, let's see, according to this article in the Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html the top ten most violent nations are UK Austria South Africa Sweden Belgium CANADA Finland Netherlands Luxembourg France "The U.S. has a violence rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, Canada 935, Australia 92 and South Africa 1,609." Yeah, tell me again how horribly we're terrorized by our Constitution and BoR. And how wonderful everywhere else is.

You have to read the whole story. “But Police Minister David Hanson said: 'These figures are misleading. Levels of police recorded crime statistics from different countries are simply not comparable since they are affected by many factors, for example the recording of violent crime in other countries may not include behaviour that we would categorise as violent crime.”

In other words, you can’t rely on tabloid journalism.

Vic February 26, 2010 7:41 am (Pacific time)

For what it is worth, the last peson murdered in San Blas, Mexico where we live,and where personal guns are rare, was killed with a rock....

Hank Ruark February 25, 2010 7:07 pm (Pacific time)

alx: Oh, you noticed ? Right-on, sir, and your interpretation is echoed in nearly every classic book on early American history. The overwhelming emphasis in all those in which I have pursued the matter is on the connection clear to most who read with the facts of the militia-emphasis then the clear and complete sense of the words-involved. It is only when those who clearly intend to profit from gun-emphasis begin their own dollar-driven designs on what most linguists see as clear statement that we find ourselves in the controversy now so clearly and continuously evident here. fter a decade in Chicago, believe me, I understand the points-made by those seeking self-protection, too;but that does not preclude full control by society for its own full self-protection, either.

alx February 25, 2010 4:44 pm (Pacific time)

The second amendment doesn't actually say anything about individual citizens owning guns. "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." That's only one sentence. You always see people quoting part of that sentence "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" as if that was all the amendment says. It means something completely different if you leave out the rest.

Hank Ruark February 25, 2010 3:26 pm (Pacific time)

Friend Mike: Yours re stance of writers and artists in defense of First Amendment and others flies in face of yours re Klein and her now-famed work built precisely on that strong characteristic of her ouvre. Somehow that clouds your expressed judgment on BOTH issues, since if you demean what has won her worldwide acclaim and far more publication that either you or me, there's gotta be a mote in your eye (or elsewhere !) somehow... Could it be easy-shot smear-bit building ego ??? That does seem to happen here, don't you agree ? IF you have particulars to place on record re Klein and her work, give it a shot via direct contact; ID self with phone to Editor and we can dialog, since I use her stuff regularly and surely do not feel I've been deluded, as you seem to infer...

Joe West February 25, 2010 2:54 pm (Pacific time)

"What Americans don’t seem to understand is how crazy they look to most of the rest of the world." Yet they begged our help during The Great War and again during WWII. Frankly I never cared WHAT the rest of the world thought, only that they know the United States is full of men of steel ready to due violence in the name of life and liberty for all.

World War II, the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Airlift--the last major things the U.S. did for the world. Since then there has been Vietnam, Nicaragua, Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

Mike February 25, 2010 1:56 pm (Pacific time)

Considering what happened during Senator Joe McCarthy's anti-communist purge in the 1950's, today's American writers, actors and filmmakers should never forget the heavy hand of a government blacklist. Maybe if the nation's artistic community could see the Second Amendment as the ultimate protection for the right to confront any authoritarian entity that seeks to silence them, they might give this basic right a fairer shake. In some of today's countries it's been rocks against bullets whenever confrontation arises. That's what happens when something as precious as a Right to Keep and Bear Arms is rejected by an authority that fears it. Artists, writers and actors should understand this better than anyone else. After all, it's their ability to exist as an uncensored creative force that's always one of the first to fall when a government grows too powerful. There are many current countries that acknowledge the latter as a real time reality.

Although the press is Canada is not particularly free, we have more overall press freedom than the U.S. Having said that, the 10x population of the U.S. allows for more independence to arise, like Salem-News.

Diamondback February 25, 2010 1:36 pm (Pacific time)

Nice weapon. The AK (or SK)ain't bad either.

Paladin February 25, 2010 1:34 pm (Pacific time)

MOLON LABE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do I need to make an appointment?

Dan in Colorado February 25, 2010 1:29 pm (Pacific time)

Could you explain how I am "chained down" as an American? I have everything I need, and most of want I want. I own my home, my car, and some guns. At the current rate I will be debt free in about 10 years. I work at a job that I enjoy and make decent money. I travel a few times a year, and I am quite happy and satisfied. I can even afford to buy a new gun now and then and enjoy my hobby of competitive pistol shooting. Don't let the 98%-2% ratio fool you (if it is indeed accurate) most Americans are doing just fine. The ratio is just skewed by the fact that there are some incredibly rich folks. That doesn't meant the rest of us are in abject poverty, dulling our senses with beer and self delusion. If I wanted to have more money, I could achieve that goal. But I choose not to give up the time with my family or my hobbies that that would require. I am satisfied and that is what counts. Now, am I being swindled into complaceny by a corrupt system? Am I dazzled by circuses and propaganda? I see no compelling argument to support that statement. By the way, thanks for taking the time to respond to comments. Perhaps if you can understand the mindset of one American, you will understand the country a bit better as a whole.

You don't sound like a "typical" American, but here's my viewpoint.

Freedom is about choices. You say that you hope to be debt free in ten years. I sincerely hope that comes about, but it's out of your hands. This is where your lack of freedom is evident (no different in other countries, so I am not singling out the U.S., here). The 2/98 figure is accurate and I've been following these statistics since 1972 and today the concentration of wealth in the U.S. is about equal to the 1920s.

The chains I refer to are cultural and mental. There are about 45 million Americans with no health care. As long as they are healthy, they are "free". But, get sick and all their options go out the window. You talk about a job you enjoy with decent money. How quickly would that change if the 2/98 crowd (and they are the ones who run the show behind the scenes) decided to offshore your company or your job. When it comes to your job you would quickly discover that you have no options and no freedom. That's that position (not you, fortunately) that tens of millions of Americans are in, or could be in without warning.

I am not anti-American and I know many fine people there and there are millions more I don't know. Many of them are in an invisible trap they know nothing about until economic disaster, over which they have no control, strikes.

JT February 25, 2010 12:25 pm (Pacific time)

Just a point on the whole gun thing...although I realize the article was getting at the tyranny of America...I think that you will see more of the negative effects of the "right to bear arms" if you look at the statistics for suicide and manslaughter between the States and other gun controlled countries. Murder is murder and with or without a gun people always find a way to kill eachother, but it is the depressed person who knows where the gun is hidden in the house or the 5 year old that shuffles around in closets and happens upon daddy's handgun that I would have the most concern about in a gun happy society such as the USA.

BobC February 25, 2010 12:20 pm (Pacific time)

Re: the picture She must be Canadian -- if she knew anything about guns, she wouldn't have her finger on the trigger.

BobC February 25, 2010 12:13 pm (Pacific time)

"There are many gun control utopias and only one America. Why are Canadians so bothered by that?" "Because America exports both guns and violence into Canada." Simple solution: Close the border (as you are free to do). I don't think we would be very inconvenienced. Funny how you define freedom as having fewer things you can do without government permission. Have you ever read "1984"? You have double-speak down. But then, you also think that wealth is stolen from the poor, rather than created by human ingenuity (when it is unleashed from tyranny, that is). Talk about unfree! Your brain is captured by a meme (collectivism) that has never worked well (except when it comes to spreading poverty and death). It prevents you from seeing where wealth really comes from and that the USA has done more than any other society in the history of Earth to raise people from poverty and tyranny. If you think this is hyperbole (I'd give it about a 99+% chance), then maybe you can list some of the collectivist utopias that compete with America's freedom-based society. Most of the world's uneducated peasants are more clear-headed on this subject than you -- which is why so many of them want to come here. "There are some things so wrong, than only a highly educated man can believe them." (George Orwell)

About 98% of American's wealth is held by about 2% of the population. About the same level of concentration as medieval society. The only reason Americans don't notice how chained down they are, is because they are allowed bread and circuses (which includes guns) which keeps them distracted. Your "vaunted" democracy is the biggest distraction of all.

Jim In Houston February 25, 2010 12:05 pm (Pacific time)

"I was not aware of Kellerman's shortcomings as it's not an area I follow. Nonetheless, it doesn't refute the fact that the U.S. is the most violent society in the world among the developed nations." Sorry, not true either. England has a far higher violent crime rate than the US...this has to be teased out because the two countries measure crime differently. The end result is that England uses a methodology that grossly underestimates crime in comparison to the US. As for guns and crime in other countries, you'll really like reading this: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf Here's a handy, dandy little quote from the intro:"International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths.1 Unfortunately, such discussions are all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative. It may be useful to begin with a few examples. There is a compound assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate. Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement(b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so. Since at least 1965, the false assertion that the United States has the industrialized world’s highest murder rate has been an artifact of politically motivated Soviet minimization designed to hide the true homicide rates.2 "

I've downloaded the Harvard pdf and will get through it when I can.

Dan in Colorado February 25, 2010 11:47 am (Pacific time)

Are you still taking comments for this article?

Editor: Dan, Daniel approves the comments on his own story, if you leave one he will be able to get to it.  Unlike most media, we approve comments in person, thanks,.

Mike February 25, 2010 11:43 am (Pacific time)

Naomi Klein? Not a very objective source for 2nd Amendment issues, and other than far left thought and analysis, nothing else worth reading. I realize that she has a following, but it is like that former failed American far left radio program, not many listeners to make even a small wrinkle.

Shane February 25, 2010 11:18 am (Pacific time)

Just a note about Kellerman; he is an emergency room doctor not a criminologist. This gives him a certain type of starting bias (there are generally heavy biases in gun control research) and a tendency to use study methodologies derived from epidemiology which are not always appropriate to tackling these kinds of questions. Specifically, his methodology (case control methodology) is insufficient to demonstrate causality (which Kellerman carefully avoids, and instead uses suggestive language to imply it). Kellerman himself admits the "risk was significantly less than the increased risk due to sociological factors" and any risk was due to a handgun being "kept loaded and unlocked". There are flaws and criticisms of the study which I won't go into, but the study really has no bearing on the "mythology" of defensive firearm use. In any case, when you look at the problem with a more sociological perspective firearms are a small piece of the picture. From my reading of the literature, social and economic factors completely overshadow the availability of specific weaponry. So much so that it is difficult to get enough data from disparate states and countries to effectively control all other variables to measure the effect of gun control (either positive or negative). A quick example is the recent release of the Brady Gun Control scores for each state. If you look at the raw scores compared to homicide rates there is no significant correlation (0.04). My conclusion is that gun control and gun availability is essentially irrelevant to violent crime. As far as your "one thought tyranny" idea goes--I agree in principal, but I think you are applying it selectively. Humans are by nature a social, tribal, in-group/out-group species. You will find the same kind of thought constriction in devoted members of the Canadian NDP Party as in any American. It is ubiquitous. It is an insidious type of bias, and though you obviously consider yourself a man of "many thoughts", so to speak, I would urge caution. This type of close-minded bias only strikes those who believe themselves immune.

You make good points. I appreciate your comments.

Dan in Colorado February 25, 2010 11:11 am (Pacific time)

Another quick comment if you allow. Your statement that "People can learn they don't need them." referring to guns. How can you argue that people don't need guns? That would be like arguing that people don't need fire, or telephones. Yes, we could survive without them, but why? Guns give us increased power over our environment, like all tools do. They allow us to survive in situations where we could not without them. They allow us to harvest meat much more easily. But most importantly they allow us to win a fight that we would othrwise lose. That includes fights with animals as well as fights with violent humans. Yes, some humans abuse the power that tools give them. But that doesn't mean that we should take that power away from all people. Keeping people weak in order to better govern them is not what a free nation does, that is what a "tyrant" does.

What makes man different from animals, is his superior brain power. In America you have a society that has put men on the moon and built a space station. Yet there are so many millions of small-minded people who think they're safer running around with pop guns. If, after 1972 or so the space program had been continued and expanded, I think you would have a much better society today because you would have had more people looking up at the stars, instead of down at the ground.

AmerLastStand February 25, 2010 10:53 am (Pacific time)

The "colonial-era artifacts" you mention are the very things that have held back Tyranny. How about you know about what you are writing about before actually writing it?

Really? The "colonial-era artifacts" are not in Canada, or Australia or any European countries. Why are those and other countries not under tyranny today? Here in Canada, we have a more free press than you do. I think Americans have produced an artificial solution to an artificial problem.

Joe Doakes February 25, 2010 10:44 am (Pacific time)

Rep. John Hall Washington, D.C. October 20, 2008 Dear Sir, A few days ago I received a letter posted to me, at taxpayer expense, (2 weeks before an election?) detailing out your view of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution; which sates “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” After reading your letter it is now apparent to me that you failed to pay attention in high school history class. Simply put the Constitution details out what powers the people are willing to loan to the federal government to administer our affairs within specific limits. The Bill of Rights holds massive areas that are placed beyond the reach of the federal government. Essentially, the Bill of Rights is a laundry list of tools that would have enabled the founders or would enable future generations to maintain or regain liberty once lost. From the founding fathers perspective their recent history was teeming with one pyrrhic victory to another and what they wanted most was to ensure a durable representative republic not yet another self destructive aristocracy. Thus, the First Amendment implicitly demands we protect an atmosphere for ideas to compete and should one idea prove itself destructive to liberty we have the capacity to fight via the Second Amendment. Further, to ensure such violence would be staved off we have a bloodless revolution every two years via the ballot box. The very reason we have elections while a President is in office is so we can register our approval/disapproval with out having to resort to violence. I’ll make you a gentleman's bet - if in some far distant future we modify the Constitution so that we do not have midterm elections - there will be a revolution in this country. Now to your letter, clearly the residents of Washington, D.C. are equal to those of Syracuse, NY or Salt Lake City UT, and after meeting necessary basic safety requirements and background checks posses an inherent right to keep and bear arms; and thus you should advocate for such and not permit the Washington D.C. council to deny the right to keep and bear arms. When you have the chance go see the actual Constitution - you’ll notice something right away - the first three words are bigger than all the rest - WE THE PEOPLE. Every notion in the Constitution is meant to ensure that for freedom to be safe from tyranny the government ought not work to deprive people of their inalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Sometimes a rifle or a pistol is all someone has to protect their family, don’t work to take it away from those who most need it, work for laws that empower responsible law abiding people to possess them and deploy them lawfully if and only if it is absolutely necessary and justified by circumstance. And to those who would abuse this right give them no mercy. Respectfully,

Dan from Colorado February 25, 2010 10:32 am (Pacific time)

It seems that you think that having guns equates to being a prisoner to our fears. Quite the contrary. I was standing in an empty parking lot late the other night talking to a friend when a car pulled of the road and approached us. It pulled up along side us and the passenger leaned out and asked for a cigarette. Neither of us had one, and we told him so. The car then drove back onto the road and left. We both thought it was strange, and wondered if the people in the car had considered robbing us and then changed their minds. Perhaps it was innocent, perhaps we were lucky. I'll never know. I do know that I felt better knowing that at the time I was legally carrying a handgun. If things had gotten dangerous, I would have had a method to defend myself. Again, nothing happened, and chances are it was an innocent occurence. But I felt better knowing that I was armed. Is this fear and paranoia? I consider it being safe and prepared. I also enjoy shooting for sport, and I have the freedom to buy a wide range of guns for my shooting pleasure. It is a freedom I enjoy. It seems to me that it is actually your narrow view of "freedom" that constrains your thought. My view of freedom is that I can do anything that I want as long as my actions do not infringe on the freedoms or rights of another person. My guns have never harmed anyone, therefore my right to have them should not be limited. You are free to live wherever you want, and to vote for whatever laws you feel are appropriate. Here in America we generally prefer personal freedoms over the supposed "greater good". I would argue that the "greater good" is generally an illusion if the individual has to give up too much to achieve it. To me "freedom" is not protection from risk, or protection from failure. It is not guaranteed health care, or a sure future. It is the ability to make my own decisions and choices. It is the abillity to live my life as I see fit with no regulations, requirements, etc. Of course I have to temper that freedom with regards to respecting other people's freedoms as well. But that is my responsibility. If I break the law and hurt another person, then punish me. But if I am a good citizen, don't restrict me. If believing that personal freedom trumps almost everything else makes my an anachronism to you, then so be it. That is why I do not live in Canada, or Europe, or California for that matter. I couldn't disagree more with eddie zawaski. If all he needs are his basic needs met, the he would theoretically feel "free" in prison where he got his food and shelter. I would rather be hungry and cold if that is what it took to be able to make my own choices about my life.

Here's part of what I said to another commenter. About 98% of American's wealth is held by about 2% of the population. About the same level of concentration as medieval society. The only reason Americans don't notice how chained down they are, is because they are allowed bread and circuses (which includes guns) which keeps them distracted. Your "vaunted" democracy is the biggest distraction of all. Freedom means having choices, but as a result of your country's concentration of resources, the concentration of choices and freedoms are in the hands of a small minority. Your real choices are among a bunch of material gew-gaws.

Mike February 25, 2010 9:46 am (Pacific time)

I see that the writer of this article has plugged into some erroneous info, e.g. , the poorly constructed paper by Kellerman. Papers/reports such as these have always been proven to be faulty and misleading when placed under scientific scrutiny. It's like reversing the experimental process, you take the conclusion and work backwards, even though the conclusion is faulty to begin with. There are superior works that expose Kellerman and like-minded reports put out by the Violence Policy Institute (and other similar groups) that are based on emotion and misdirection. Fortunately they have never gained political traction, for even the lowest IQ people in congress understand what their goals are, plus the fact that they want to get re-elected. It appears on a statistical level Canada has nearly the same gun (rifles) ownership that America has, but in the final analysis, our firearms are not going away. Tell me, how do you explain that with record gun sales since November of 2008, the FBI has reported that gun crime is down approximately 10%? That data clearly refutes the projections of gun control groups that state more guns will mean more crimes/homicides. Or let's look at those states that allow guns to be carried in schools--- we have no gun crimes happening in these locations. Have you looked at gun crime stats in places like England and Australia since they made it illegal for the average citizen from having firearms? It's gone up. Watch what happens to gun crime stats in places like Chicago when the average cittizen can carry, it will go down, as it has in all other urban areas that allow carry licenses. Too big of a database to allow misinformation to get traction.

Michael Z February 25, 2010 9:31 am (Pacific time)

Its not that we have only one mode of thought, its that we reject inferior modes of thought.Try this article for another way of thinking: http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel120501.shtml

It's still the same thought: guns. And there are ways of becoming gun free without banning guns: People can learn that they don't need them. That idea, of course, doesn't fit with your basic assumption that society is, by definition based on violence.

Michael Rash February 25, 2010 9:26 am (Pacific time)

Either you are for freedom or you are for big government. The author of this article seems to think that people are more free if they do not have the option to own a gun. By extension, people would be more free with no freedoms at all. There is a basic logic problem here, and therefore the article is fundamentally flawed.

Ah, a man with two thoughts. Still not enough, however.

wellarmed February 25, 2010 8:57 am (Pacific time)

Wait. What was that sound? Was that a yapping stray out digging in the trash heap? Oh no. It's just a fat, old hippie Canuck howling at the moon or something.

Dr. Kellermann is a quack February 25, 2010 8:48 am (Pacific time)


theaton February 25, 2010 8:43 am (Pacific time)

Background checks are required at gun shows in exactly the same way they are anywhere else. FFL's are required to do NICS checks at gun shows and at their place of business. Citizens are not required to do background checks anywhere, California may require it. As a citizen, I can't legally sell a gun to someone that I know is disqualified. I wish the antis would get it through their heads that there is now "gun show loophole."

Carl Bussjaeger February 25, 2010 8:00 am (Pacific time)

I live in New Hampshire, where guns are allowed in bars. Not only does New Hampshire have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country, but the only "bar shooting" I can recall while I've lived here was an armed patron defending unarmed bouncers from a drive-by shooting. By the way, the Constitution, The Bill of Rights (part of the Constitution), and the Second Amendment (part of the Bill of Rights and thus part of the Constitution; silly of you to list them as if separate entities) are from the Colonial period. If you really want to comment on American history and culture, you should learn something about it first. But since you don't live here, why do you even care?

Robert February 25, 2010 7:08 am (Pacific time)

You say America is a racist, single minded, rogue nation and the most violent society in the world among the developed nations. I don't know how you can say that with a straight face considering we have a Black President, diverse opinions and far less violent crime than England. Maybe its the part about rejecting the royal rule of Kings and Queens that has you in such a huff.

The facts supporting my assertions are overwhelming. Read Michael Kinzer's Overthrow or Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine as only two introductions.

Anonymous February 25, 2010 6:32 am (Pacific time)

I see you are posting under different names: ArtifactLover, ColonialEraArtifactGuy, BradyGuy, Anonymous, ComeOnPost, BewareOfQuebec, RespondtoCanadienCensor.
The result is that I have deleted all the other posts and will respond to none of them. Honesty is the best policy.

WhiteKnight February 25, 2010 6:20 am (Pacific time)

America's founders knew great freedom was also subject for great abuse. Hense, America's "violent" culture. If not for America's exportation of violence, the Nazis or Soviets would rule the world. I suspect the author would prefer to live in slavery that die free. Fine for him, as for me I'll die a free man. How's that for freedom of thought.

douglas benson February 25, 2010 6:10 am (Pacific time)

Come on Dan you say your article isnt about guns ,thats funny because it sounds like your same old rant join the Un arms treaty garbage . We can think beyond our weapons and our penis .We will keep them both thank you very much. You say our constitution and bill of rights is out of date I say nay .There is nothing new under the sun in goverment or politics .I am currently reading the portable Thomas jefferson and its the same issues we face today that he and other of our founding fathers struggled with at the inception of our country . Currency ,banking ,taxes ,fedral law, millitary ect. ect ect . You say we import our guns and violence to your country? I say you imported it yourself with your participation in the war on drugs because the majority of your violent and non-violent crime just like our country revolves around drugs .I find it hard to believe that after all the stories I have heard about the gang violence in your country that Alberta has only had one murder in fifty years. Isnt that the reason your own country is easing restrictions on firearms and the conservative party is gaining strength ? Give it up Dan yes our minds slam shut when you even suggest firearm control so why not agree to dissagree and move on to more important issues ? Like what we can do to insure that the people in this country not big money companies direct our goverment on what we want them to do [and bet gun control wont be on the table ] . The most disturbing comment you have made though is our constitution is some idea thats time has passed .Our constitution is the regulation that keeps us free [or mostly anyway ] It stops groups from using the majority to remove basic freedoms of the minority .For example I say screw religion we should outlaw it ALL OF IT ,my personal wish but I must respect others rights .Mabey we should make belonging to the KKK illegal oops once again they have the right to believe how they wish ,say what they wish even if it turns my stomach .Much like my opinion that you have the right to be offended but nobody has the right not to be offended that is the core of freedom .

You just misread one thing: I was referring to a single town that had not had a murder in 50 years.

Other than that I appreciate your taking the time to write a detailed comment.

Robert February 25, 2010 6:00 am (Pacific time)

Slavery, Canada's best kept secret remains locked within the National closet- but all you have to do is Google slavery in Canada. Slavery remained in Upper and Lower Canada until 1834 when the British Parliament's Slavery Abolition Act finally abolished slavery in all parts of the British Empire.Thereafter, most of the emancipated slaves of African descent in Canada were sent to settle Freetown in Sierra Leone and those that remained primarily ended up in segregated communities such as Africville outside Halifax, Nova Scotia.

America's rascist history is so long, intense and murderous that I'm surprised you don't know it. I'd suggest you put your own house in order before you critize Canada on this point.

Erik Quackenbush February 25, 2010 5:41 am (Pacific time)

What America has is far from a single thought culture. We have a wide variety of political and social leanings. Those labeled "progressive" happen to have leanings that fall more in line with the current popular thinking in Canada and Europe, and they comprise roughly half of our nation. Those labeled "conservative" have more in line with an older school of thought, and comprise roughly the other half. Both these groups contain a myriad of people that fall somewhere in the middle. Your article seems to be addressing specifically the conservative side of the American spectrum, and it indicates that they hold their opinions only because they stay voluntarily blind to other lines of thought. Having many friends on both sides of the argument, I can say that from my experience, that's simply not the case. Though most Americans are brought up in a household where only one point of view or another is taught, our nation is open enough that most are exposed in their young life to the variety of thinking that exists, and are able to make their own decision. I know progressives turned conservative, and conservatives turned progressive. We're not all tyrannized by 1776. I do feel the need to make the argument, however, that I don't feel the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights to be solely a "colonial-era artifact". They are the founding documents of what was at the time a new experiment in modern government. Though it took many generations of people to truly begin to follow the principles set forth in those documents(and we're still working on understanding them), I don't consider them out of date or irrelevant. The principles of a government with limited powers, balanced my several branches, and elected by the people, are still a sound governing structure. The freedoms to say what you want, believe what you want, be secure in your possesions, and have the means to defend your life are still sound principles. Much of the world has learned from our examples since 1787 in reforming and updating their own governments. I don't think believing in the principles contained in those documents makes us crazy. Perhaps it just makes us unique.

leemcgee February 25, 2010 5:27 am (Pacific time)

Note: 1] Rights predate government. 2] Rights, akin to breathing, require neither permission nor affirmation to exist. 3] Rights are often most evident while being violated. Since the definitions of "unalienable" and "infringed" remain the same today as they were in the 18th century when the Bill of Rights was ratified, exactly what part of "shall not be infringed" do you fail to grasp? I also have the right to choose not to be armed. Those who beat their guns into plowshares will end up enslaved and forced to plow the land for those who don't.

You've just made the point of the article. As far as you're concerned there is no other way of thinking about rights that don't involve guns. As Bloom said, and I requote: "The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside." You think guns and there is nothing outside that.

Another point: I've been reading you Americans on rights, for the better part of a year and you all write the same way and use the same words. It's like you're all robots. Certainly no independent free-thinkers among you, that's for sure.

Jim In Houston February 25, 2010 4:58 am (Pacific time)

"Jim In Houston February 24, 2010 8:35 pm (Pacific time) Arthur Kellermann's studies have been discredited. You should know that by now. You're probably just not paying attention to the research. I need evidence, not just your opinion, whoever you are." Some of the evidence was given to you by Oakenheart. Read it if you have a scintilla of pretension to intellectual honesty. As for who I am, I am a retired scientist. I have more than passing familiarity with conducting and judging research. One additional problem with the Kellermann "study" that is rarely brought up is that his sample is inappropriate. He did a retrospective study of crime victims and perpetrators. This might be appropriate for an epidemiologist who could reasonably assume that his study group was representative of society at large (at least as a first approximation). However, this was patently not true, and if he were a criminologist he probably would have known better. Approximately 80% of crime is between criminals. So all of his findings AT BEST pertain only to the gangbangers and their families. Extrapolating his findings to you and me (well, me anyway) is scientifically irresponsible.

I was not aware of Kellerman's shortcomings as it's not an area I follow. Nonetheless, it doesn't refute the fact that the U.S. is the most violent society in the world among the developed nations.

skippydog February 25, 2010 4:01 am (Pacific time)

So the freedom to take freedoms away from others. That's your idea of freedom? And you also believe that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution should shift in the winds of international opinion.

America has been taking away the freedoms of others around the globe for a century or more. Currently the U.S. with 5% of the world's population consumes about 25% of the world's energy. Such disproportionate usage deprives the developing world of potential because of American greed and selfishness. That's part of the point of my article. Americans tend to trapped into a single mode of thinking which hinders their progress.

Richard February 25, 2010 3:52 am (Pacific time)

Freedom means WE, The People can chose to own anything we want, as long as we do not use it to harrass or harm innocent people. That includes guns and fast cars and big homes and loud stereos. A peorson with a gun is a citizen, a person without a gun is a subject or a slave..

As long as you don't use your freedom "to harrass or harm innocent people". America has been taking away the freedoms of others around the globe for a century or more. Currently, "WE the People of" the U.S. with 5% of the world's population consumes about 25% of the world's energy. Such disproportionate usage deprives the people of the developing nations of potential because of American greed and selfishness. That's part of the point of my article. Americans like you tend to get trapped into a single mode of thinking which hinders your progress as a nation. Considering you're up against the growth needs of China and India, it's now too late for America. Sorry.

Josh A. February 25, 2010 3:14 am (Pacific time)

Well DJ I have to admit if your trying to make a solid point here, you have chosen the most distracting picture humanly possible for me umm... hm... He MUST BE mossad counter-intelligence! Is there some writing someplace in the article... I see a very attractive woman... A gun... huh? oh now that you mention it she does seem blissfully unaware of the firepower she is holding... Then again I could say that about any female if she were within 1000 yards or so... an ak-74 or 47 hahah. Sorry but that picture alone will turn this article into a gun debate DJ. No offense to your writing AT ALL! Plus bonus points if you like Jon Lajoie he is the most funny person in the continent right now forget Ferrell and John C Reilly.

Well, Josh. Ya got me and I'm not afraid to admit it. I didn't choose the picture but once it was there, my editor and I fell into the trap I was writing about. I was just using the gun culture as an example but with the gun image (a very powerful image, I think, if the article was about guns) we both slipped into a single thought pattern. See how easy it is to happen?

Wondering February 25, 2010 1:45 am (Pacific time)

If your "article" isn't about guns, why are they mentioned seven times?

The gun culture is an example, which is bracketed, you'll notice, by the first and last paragraph, neither of which even alludes to guns.

Robert February 25, 2010 1:26 am (Pacific time)

Americans have exercised their freedom of choice by rejecting the Hegelian-Marxist thinking of social engineers such as Allan Bloom and Alexandre Kojève. We are proud of our traditions and reject your assertions to the contrary. Our "relics" as you call them are the foundation of our civilization, a civilization founded upon individual liberty and justice for all. Your assumption that we are so ignorant as to not understand there are other ways of thinking reveals the true intention of your anti-gun screed. And another thing, if you actually believe Americans give a damn how most of the rest of the world views our devotion to the principles set forth by our founding fathers, you don't know anything about that either.

Don't try to snow me with this Hegelian-Marxist crap. I know that Americans don't give a damn about anyone else in the world. Founded on justice? Washingon and Jefferson were slave owners. Remember the blacks who were being lynched/murdered in the South as late as the 1950s. Read the story of 14 year-old Emmett Till who was murdered in Mississipi in 1955 for whistling at a white woman. http://www.salem-news.com/articles/september272006/emmett_till_video.php

Here's Tim King's report on racism in America going back to before the founding: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/july122008/prejudice_history_7-11-08.php America--try to deny it--is a rogue nation and you have a lot to live down before, as a nation, you can hold your head up with pride!

Jarhead1982 February 25, 2010 1:05 am (Pacific time)

My article was not about guns so your long involved post is irrelevant

Amanda Leduc February 25, 2010 12:59 am (Pacific time)

Daniel, point well made. I think this also proves to show that Americans refuse to accept that they have a violent culture. The points here were violent in nature, even regarding protecting yourself. I am not anti guns but I do believe Americans are desensitized to what it means to really take a life.

Jarhead1982 February 25, 2010 12:57 am (Pacific time)

My article was not about guns so your long involved post is irrelevant

Oakenheart February 25, 2010 12:55 am (Pacific time)

re: the Kellermann study -http://www.guncite.com/gun-control-kellermann-3times.html If you want to study crime, ask a criminologist. If you want to study disease, ask a doctor. Kellermann was doing research outside his field, and approached the study like an epidemiologist. His conclusions are wrong, because his methodology was wrong.

Wrong methodology or not, thousands of Americans are still just as dead every year, year in and year out--no other country like yours in the rest of the developed world.

Anonymous February 25, 2010 12:54 am (Pacific time)

My article was not about guns so your long involved post is irrelevant

Jarhead1982 February 25, 2010 12:43 am (Pacific time)

My article was not about guns so your long involved post is irrelevant

rlcsr Phoenix,AZ February 24, 2010 11:29 pm (Pacific time)

I don't see how believing that we have a right to own and or carry a weapon is caused by tyranny in the mindset. As it stands if you want to own a gun you can, in most pats of the country, an if you don't want one that is OK. The actual tyranny is when a small group of self appointed guardians says you don't have any such right and should disarm. Only one little problem with that type of thinking. Even if you passed a law banning all firearms, criminals would just ignore that one like they ignore all the other laws. Just one last thought "When you dial 911, in an emergency and seconds count, police are only minutes away"

Only one thing wrong with your point of view: you're letting "criminals" be the anchor of your thought processes.

BambiB February 24, 2010 11:20 pm (Pacific time)

Yes, blinders are the bane of evolved thought. Narrow thinking doubtless leads the average American to think we should be the 'policeman" of the world. Certainly our economy would be better off if we ceased blowing trillions on "defense" of Europe and Japan... and if we closed the majority of the 700+ military bases around the world. But as to guns in private hands - it would be a narrow view that says because America is different, America is wrong. Germany, China, Russia, Rwanda, Turkey - and many others give us over 100f million examples of the state killing its own citizens. So far, that hasn't happened here... at least not on a large scale. State-sponsored executions of innocents have generally been limited to a few bonus marchers, victims at Ruby Ridge, the Waco massacre and scattered murders by police, FBI and ATF, often in the name of the "war on" something or other. The majority of murders in this country, for example, are committed by those who profit from the fact the state makes certain chemical compounds illegal - and would not happen if those compounds were legalized. State-sponsored murder to be sure - but limited in scope to those who choose to play. How much more forceful might our own government become if not throttled back by 250 million arms in private hands? Feel free to experiment in other parts of the globe under the likes of Mao, Stalin or Hitler. But please, no such experiments here. Broaden your horizon and think on that.

Daniel Johnson February 24, 2010 10:59 pm (Pacific time)

The point of my article is made. Out of 17 comments, only one alluded to the subject--a single thought culture--almost everyone else focussed on the example, guns, and missed entirely what the guns were about in my article.

Josh A. February 24, 2010 10:49 pm (Pacific time)

A valued outside opinion... I do believe I need to become familiar with Canadian laws to hold some water in debate here. Heck most of us Americans need to learn our own government's law first! Myself included.

Eric February 24, 2010 9:27 pm (Pacific time)

Ever had your house broken into while you were at home? I have, and simply chased the perp away by yelling at him. But if he had had a murderous intent, at least I could've saved my own life because I'm armed. There's nothing noble about letting yourself be killed by a scumbag for no reason.

Ersun Warncke February 24, 2010 9:25 pm (Pacific time)

I have no problem with gun ownership. I am indifferent to it. But the fact of the matter is that the NRA is an ad agency for small arms manufacturers. All of their b.s. has nothing to do with individual rights, and only with selling more guns. Most importantly, they want unlicensed sales, and unlicensed sales of the most powerful weapons possible, so that these weapons can be bought up in the after market and then exported to Mexico, South America, and around the world, where the manufacturers could never legally export to. The "2nd amendment" nonsense is really just that. The NRA creates cover for gun manufacturers to illegally export guns through third parties to drug cartels, organized crime groups, revolutionaries, etc, and to put those guns onto the streets in the hands of criminals. They also like to sell as many guns as possible to American gun nuts. It is just a business. Nothing to do with individual rights or freedoms.

Kevin February 24, 2010 9:25 pm (Pacific time)

There are many gun control utopias and only one America. Why are Canadians so bothered by that?

Because America exports both guns and violence into Canada.

Hank Ruark February 24, 2010 4:36 pm (Pacific time)

Friend Daniel:
  Do not be too perturbed by the continuing crazy/crafty perturbations of some of our non-cogitating co-citizens.

  There are (literally !!) many more millions mightily motivated by those same sacred dates and developments you named --and we've succeeded in keeping these others within  reasonable bounds most of the time, in most of many still mostly "civilized" situations.

Jack Burton February 24, 2010 8:39 pm (Pacific time)

Citing the long-discredited Kellerman certainly won't win any style points. Even Kellerman now admits he did a bogus study. And if you're looking for a cite here is a place where all your little myths about the goodness of gun control and the badness of guns are brought up and destroyed one by one. http://hubpages.com/hub/Answers-for-those-who-think-that-gun-control-is-the-best-for-America

Your site (not cite) is self-serving and only presents one side of the picture. If Kellerman disavows his study, I'd like to see the link.

Jim In Houston February 24, 2010 8:35 pm (Pacific time)

Arthur Kellermann's studies have been discredited. You should know that by now. You're probably just not paying attention to the research.

I need evidence, not just your opinion, whoever you are.

Matt Johnson February 24, 2010 8:35 pm (Pacific time)

There is an incredible blanket of ignorance over the American people, they are blindsided by their own lack of understanding and they are yanking the rug out from under their own feet. It is time to move into the modern age.

Mike February 24, 2010 7:28 pm (Pacific time)

Instead of relying upon your good old folksy Canadian wisdom, why don't you provide some evidence to support your argument that loosening gun restrictions results in increased crime? Perhaps you can't because there is little evidence to support your argument. Better to rely upon a high profile tragedy like the Virginia Tech massacre, right? You definitely do not want to mention the thousands of cases each year in which armed citizens use firearms to effectively defend themselves against violent criminals. You probably shouldn't mention that two students at the Appalachian School of Law where able to stop a school shooting because they had their personal firearms concealed in their cars either (Oh my, concealed weapons on a school campus?!?!) Moreover, its probably best for you not to mention that the areas with the most severe gun violence problems in the United States are, oddly enough, the places where restrictions on gun ownership are tightest. My own community of Washington DC is a perfect example. Gun violence in increased by nearly 8 fold following the passage of legislation that all but banned handguns in DC. The bottom-line is that if you create an environment where ordinary citizens are disarmed, then violent criminals will flourish. The history of gun control in the United States is a monument to that lesson.

Arthur Kellermann, a professor of emergency medicine and public health at Emory University wrote in the Washington Post on Jun 29/08:

"More than 20 years ago, I conducted a study of firearm-related deaths in homes in Seattle and surrounding King County, Washington. Over the study's seven-year interval, more than half of all fatal shootings in the county took place in the home where the firearm involved was kept. Just nine of those shootings were legally justifiable homicides or acts of self-defense; guns kept in homes were also involved in 12 accidental deaths, 41 criminal homicides and a shocking 333 suicides. A subsequent study conducted in three U.S. cities found that guns kept in the home were 12 times more likely to be involved in the death or injury of a member of the household than in the killing or wounding of a bad guy in self-defense."

In his next paragraph he wrote:

"Oh, one more thing: Scalia's ludicrous vision of a little old lady clutching a handgun in one hand while dialing 911 with the other (try it sometime) doesn't fit the facts. According to the Justice Department, far more guns are lost each year to burglary or theft than are used to defend people or property. In Atlanta, a city where approximately a third of households contain guns, a study of 197 home-invasion crimes revealed only three instances (1.5 percent) in which the inhabitants resisted with a gun. Intruders got to the homeowner's gun twice as often as the homeowner did."

Mythology just doesn't stand up to factual information.

Joe February 24, 2010 7:00 pm (Pacific time)

Alcohol and drug use was evident in 50% of all homicides in Canada. Historically, alcohol has been estimated as the most important contributing factor in two of every three homicides in Canada. Also the beating deaths of baby seals in Canada is 100% higher in Canada than the US.

If you have verifiable data, I'd like to see it, but on the surface it looks like another example of misdirection.

Anonymous February 24, 2010 6:51 pm (Pacific time)

Violent, but still people continue to put it on the line to come here, legally and illegally. Have you looked at the immigration rates between our two countries? You ever take any graduate courses in urban Sociology (or Geography) and focus on high population concentrations? I have often used cities like Mexico City and other large urban areas in different countries to compare and contrast the similarities and the disimilarities in violent crime rates. Of course looking at the endless causal variables promulgate some interesting theories. Suffice, there are clear empirical reasons why people prefer to come here than say other places. Us yanks no the reason why this is so.

In addition to the violence, the U.S. is also the most materialistic, consumer-oriented country in the world. When you come from a poor country, it's things like that that attract. The stories of immigrants going to the U.S. simply so they can have things are legion.

JT February 24, 2010 6:46 pm (Pacific time)

Hey, Eddie, your "freedom from want." and "I don't have to struggle every day to get my basic needs met" statements sound like Communism to me. A Communist country can take away your "wants" by making you all the same and they will take care of your "basic needs" too. If that's freedom, then I guess that's your vision for the States.

Anonymous February 24, 2010 6:05 pm (Pacific time)

One has never needed a permit to carry in Vermont and we have a much lower crime rate there than in rural and urban Canada. Canadian gun crime is pretty high for your rural areas. Actually if Obama wanted to do something about gun violence then he should focus on the inner cities. We have federal laws on the books that come down hard when felons are caught with guns. The feds have plenty of resources. My feeling is that when you have sanctions with some bite this will lower the inner city violent crime rate. If you look at the homicide rate for white on white, you will see that America has a lower rate than Canada and Europe. Unfortunately for some when this is pointed out they want to say that is racist, well the database is compiled by the U.S Justice Department.

There are certainly areas in the U.S. with low crime rates. I recall reading a story a few months ago about a town (I think it was here in Alberta) that had a murder. First murder in more than fifty years. So the exception does not prove the rule. America is, overall, one of the most violent societies in the world and no amount of misdirection will make that fact go away.

mjolnir February 24, 2010 5:42 pm (Pacific time)

Right. We poor benighted, uneducated Americans are just too stupid to know that we're being tyrannized by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Fortunately we have you enlightened Canadians to show us where we're going wrong. Thanks so much!

America is the country in trouble, not Canada. Just trying to help. (And I am not being sarcastic)

eddie zawaski February 24, 2010 5:42 pm (Pacific time)

Freedom means having a choice? I doubt that's what the word freedom means to many Americans. Perhaps your readers will send you their own definitions of freedom. For me, freedom is an economic thing, freedom from want. If I don't have to struggle every day to get my basic needs met, I am free to do whatever else makes me happy. This is the kind of freedom the USA can spread throughout the rest of the world if it is so inclined. Unfortunately, too many Americans are authoritarian followers who think freedom is the American brand we are all loyal to.

Joe February 24, 2010 5:18 pm (Pacific time)

That poor girl can catch a cold being dressed like that in the woods. Hopefully she's Canadian and has free health insurance.

Mike H. February 24, 2010 5:04 pm (Pacific time)

Nice picture.

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