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Feb-28-2010 12:38printcomments

Socrates' Gun

Perhaps it’s time for pro-gun people to seriously examine why they believe what they believe.

Growing Pains

(CALGARY, Alberta) - You may remember Walter Koenig, who played a Russian crew member on the original Star Trek from the 1960s. Last week, during the Olympics, his 41 year-old son Andrew committed suicide in Vancouver. Andrew had played “Boner” in the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains.

I remembered the name, but nothing about it (maybe I’d never watched it) but I assumed that Google would find something on it to jog my memory. The search came up with several items, one of which was an article called Growing Pains by Brian McCombie.

The picture is of people at a picnic or barbeque, with some wearing handguns in holsters. The man in white almost made me laugh, he looked so ludicrous. He immediately gave me an image: Affectation:

  1. an effort to appear to have a quality not really or fully possessed; the pretense of actual possession: an affectation of interest in art; affectation of great wealth.
  2. conspicuous artificiality of manner or appearance; effort to attract notice by pretense, assumption, or any assumed peculiarity.
  3. a trait, action, or expression characterized by such artificiality: a man of a thousand affectations.

This may seem like an attack on gun owners/carriers, but I am trying to show how non-gun people often see the gun aficionados strutting around with their armaments. It raises, to me, a fundamental question to which I am still seeking a reasonable answer: Why do ostensibly civilized people feel the need to arm themselves with weapons to kill (when necessary or provoked) their fellow citizens?

Like almost all Canadians, Brits, Europeans and citizens of many other nations, I don’t believe that walking around with a gun in a holster is a socially positive act. I’m trying to understand the mentality of the armed American. Perhaps through your comments, you can give me further insight.

1. I see gun-carrying as a form of paranoia—the whole world is potentially out to get me. Even though they are probably a tiny minority, they all look alike and I can’t tell them apart.

2. By carrying a gun, people believe they are exercising their freedom when, in fact, they are losing some of their freedom. They are letting their fear of criminals dictate how they live their lives.

3. They are also saying—civilized society does not work. Each citizen must look after their own safety.

If this is true, why aren’t gun-carriers pushing for the disbandment of police forces across the nation? At a time when the economy is in such parlous condition, the savings to the taxpayers would run into the tens of billions of dollars. Let individuals themselves choose to what degree they wish to be armed. People could also band together into neighbourhood militias (Call it a militia and there would be no conflict with the Second Amendment. You’re automatically covered).

4. I am really trying to understand what is behind the gun mentality. You don’t see citizens in Canada, the UK or the EC pushing for gun ownership on a wide, or even narrow, scale. Only in the U.S. does this phenomenon exist. But perhaps I am missing the obvious point—compared to other developed nations, perhaps the U.S. is that scary.

It was Socrates who said so many centuries ago: The unexamined life is not worth living. Perhaps it’s time for pro-gun people to seriously examine why they believe what they believe.

I am looking for reasoned, rational explanations from gun owners and gun carriers on the points I brought up.

============================================
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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Marc April 6, 2010 6:44 pm (Pacific time)

We Americans aren't even as nice as you've painted us. There is a great sense of entitlement in this country, both as a nation and as an individual. Seems like everyone thinks they deserve to be handed whatever they want, instead of being thankful they've been given a life and a will of their own and WORKING for what they want. It started before we were even a country. The Native Americans were here first, but that didn't stop us, and just barely slowed us down. Since then we pretty much make USA shaped holes through any obstacles between us and our objective. Patriot that I am, I am not blind. This country has very serious problems. My apologies for the rant, I think I pushed one of my own buttons.


Marc April 4, 2010 5:27 pm (Pacific time)

You're absolutely right, I did forget. Typed up my response and forgot to fill in the rest of the information.

I agree with you when it comes to meddling in the affairs of other countries. I really wish our government would learn to mind it's own business and quit bullying the rest of the world.

I do believe, however, that despite it's many problems, the USA is still the best country to live in. I'm thankful that I was born here.

Thanks for your response. 

There's a bigger picture. The meddling has been done, in almost every case, at the behest of private capital. The term "banana republic" stems from the corrupting of Central American countries on behalf of companies like United Fruit and (in Hawaii, in 1898) Dole. If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend Stephen Kinzer's book Overthrow. Then, if you have the stomach for it, try Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine

Another part of the picture is the American consumer. Iran was overthrown in 1953, primarily to keep oil flowing to Western (read primarily American) consumers at something like a fifty cents a barrel. And Chile was overthrown because Allende was going to exercise his country's sovereignty over its own resources--something the US believes in, for itself, but not so much for others. After all, what American elected government would stand a chance if it couldn't ensure cheap gas and cheap and plentiful consumer goods?

For some America is a wonderful country to live in, but at what unacknowledged cost to the rest of the world? Therein, I think,  lies the fundamental problem. 


Jerry, in Oregon April 3, 2010 3:25 pm (Pacific time)

I wanted to ask what gave you the right as a foreign journalist to criticize another country's culture in that country's media, but then I remembered our First Amendment. You know, that first of the other nine that are all protected by the Second. You seem comfortable with Canada's nanny-stating you; I suggest you stay there.

I want to ask what gives America the right to overthrow legitimately elected governments around the world--about a dozen since 1898. The most egregious example is Iran in 1953. Iranians did not forget that, which became the source of the hostage affair of 1979-81. America had put the Shah back on the Peacock Throne, which was almost the equivalent of putting Hitler back in power after a putsch. America is widely hated by a lot of people for a lot of good reasons. The biggest failing for most Americans is an inability to see their own warts of which there is no shortage. To the contrary, many, if not most, Americans believe that the United States is the greatest nation, not only on the face of the earth but in the entire Solar System, probably the greatest nation in the Galaxy. 


April 1, 2010 4:32 pm (Pacific time)

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdgeff.html

There you go. I doubt you'll give any credence to a Guncite report(I don't blame you, I personally give no credit to the Brady Campaign or the Violence Policy Center), but the books cited are Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control and Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms. You can look them up separately.

http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/Gun-Facts-Download

The link above is chock-full of independently cited and verifiable facts. It's a .pdf file and fairly lengthy(there's a lot of info), but well worth consideration. Again, I doubt you'll give any credence to the report, but every fact is cited and independently verifiable.

I opened them and they look interesting. I'll give them a fair look.  I suppose you forgot to put in your name or at least a moniker. 


Marc April 1, 2010 10:21 am (Pacific time)

There are many interviews with criminals and gang members both in prison and out on the street stating that they fear an armed victim far more than the police, and that they avoided anyone they thought to be armed. Most criminals watch the same news you and I do and talk to other criminals, word will get around. At the very least, recidivism rates for rapists would go down. Way down. Rapists get paroled from prison all the time. From the graveyard.........not so often.

Less rapists walking around and more rotting in a hole in the ground. THAT, Mr. Johnson, is a safer status quo.

Cite some sources for your opinions, otherwise they are just your opinions. 


Marc March 31, 2010 9:28 am (Pacific time)

Not everyone will be armed, just those who wish to be. Probably fewer than half the people walking around. Even then, imagine if just half of all women were armed? What would a rapist do, knowing that there was a 50/50 chance his attempt at rape would get him killed? Even those not carrying a gun would be protected, because the rapist simply could not tell who was carrying and who wasn't.

That is a SAFER status quo. Before you disagree, please keep in mind that criminals that want to be armed already are. They do not obey laws, that is why they are criminals.

You're making the assumption that rapists are rationale and would go around calculating odds, etc. 


Marc March 30, 2010 5:03 pm (Pacific time)

Mace and pepper spray are not assured of stopping anyone. Many people can shrug off pepper spray even when completely sober, and neither mace nor pepper spray will effect those high on illegal drugs. A can of mace of a size that can be carried easily is at best good for inconveniencing one attacker, while a similar size firearm can completely disable several attackers.

I disagree, there is nothing as effective as a firearm and training for self defense.

Keep going until everyone is armed. Then where are you? A new, more dangerous status quo.


Marc March 24, 2010 12:24 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson, you never answered my question about effective alternatives to a firearm for self defense. My wife is 108lbs fully dressed. She is an RN and frequently works odd hours, coming and going late at night or early in the morning. If not a firearm, then what would you suggest she use to protect herself from a 250lb rapist? What else could even the odds so effectively? Please keep in mind that the police will take minutes to respond.

Mace and pepper spray are very effective deterrents.


JJ Swiontek March 18, 2010 9:57 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson, sir. There is an excellent article on the analogy of sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. If you would, please google it and write me if you find the time. Your servant, JJ Swiontek Denver, CO swiontek3625@yahoo.com

I've read the article and while it is interesting from a specific point of view, it proves nothing. It looks at human beings from a single dimension while human beings exist over an infinite range of dimensions. This, I suppose, is the fundamental issue I have with the gun nuts. They define society primarily along one dimension of fear, potential violence and self-protection, ignoring all other dimensions. Should the American astronauts at the International Space Station be allowed to carry concealed or open-carry? There's the question of the day. Thanks for your comment.


Bob_Robertson March 15, 2010 7:44 am (Pacific time)

Do you own a fire extinguisher? If so, does having it demonstrate you INTEND to start a fire? By carrying fire insurance, do you therefore show you INTEND to burn your house down? By having a car that can exceed the speed limit, does that in of itself prove you speed? Rather than looking at the guns, look at the people in that picture. A bunch of perfectly normal people getting together to do perfectly normal things. Absolutely un-remarkable. And that's the real lesson here: Peaceful firearms owners are just that, peaceful. Let us celebrate that the overwhelming majority of people are peaceful, that a BBQ on a saturday afternoon can be held without any worry. ...unless you're in a place where private firearms ownership is illegal and the crime rates are high, like Chicago and Washington DC.

"Perfectly normal people"? Only in America. That's the question Americans don't want to address. Virtually everyone in the developed world owns a fire extinguisher and buys car insurance. But Americans are the only people in the world who feel that personal weapons--whose only purpose is to be used against their fellow citizens--are necessary. It's an expression of latent fear of their fellow citizens.


greenfloyd March 6, 2010 2:14 am (Pacific time)

Dear Tim,

thanks for your comments and all your good work, I am a big fan. If you're paying attention, you must be insane. Or, paying too much attention to things like the Sabow case can lead to mental illness. It's true. I've known more than one person driven over the edge by what I call conspiracy overload. The Pentagon shooter, John Patrick Bedell, appears to be the most recent example. I think people will discredit Bedell on their own, for his senseless act, although it has been interesting to see all the different spins that have emerged over the last 36 hours. At any rate, as the old saying goes, any publicity is good publicity and at least now a few more Americans know the name and a little about, Colonel James Sabow. So what do you think Jerry Brown is going to do? Peace be with you...

Tim: Greenfloyd, it is all about watching and waiting now I guess, it is on their radar.  Your comments are appreciated here brother, thanks.


greenfloyd March 5, 2010 11:21 pm (Pacific time)

Well, another day and another senseless shooting, this time at the Pentagon. Ideologies aside, this new case does present us with a very real problem; the suspect had a long history of mental illness, including institutionalization for "bipolar disorder." However it appears he had no problem buying the gun he used from a shooting range in California. We have a national "No-fly" list, perhaps we also need a "No-buy" list?
Along with a lot more investment in mental health treatment.
People going about their business with a gun strapped to their waist does not bother me a bit. But allowing people with mental illness to buy guns bothers me a lot.
Of course, to be blunt about it, anyone can buy a gun today. Just find someone in the drug business, they can hook you up with some heat.
I hope this might help set focus with the extreme attitudes reflected in these comments. Focus people, focus.

Tim King: Greenfloyd, points all well taken, but he also was a graduate student who was not on probation from school and his criminal record was pretty scant.  You know I only care about the Col Sabow angle, and so on that point the guy had a worthy cause for frustration, though nothing excuses any violent act.  I still can't believe that the legacy of this Marine that we all care so much about was part of the story.  I think they are discrediting this guy intentionally, to take heat off that particular aspect of his points of view.  


Layton March 5, 2010 11:16 am (Pacific time)

To the writer of this article regarding freedom: "People sleep peacefully each night in their beds because of what rough men do each day on their behalf." By George Orwell. Certainly freedom is not free and though I don't know what percentage of Americans can relate to the above quote, I certainly can, as well as those within my social orbit. How about you , and some of you other posters? Who do you think may be more complacent about our freedoms, the American or the Canadian? It would not be difficult to measure. I don't know anything about the behaviorial sciences, but I know something about what it takes to maintain our freedom, and frankly I doubt many of those who consider the 2nd Amendment as not a natural right do. Currently 7 out of 10 Americans feel that gun ownership is a right, the same percentage going back to 2008 before the Washington DC handgun court decision. It is the law of the land, so for now, we will continue to maintain the status quo. When gun crime does not increase in Chicago, and actually goes down with what the Supreme Court will rule by over turning the gun ban, those who are for the ban will not miss a beat and continue with their emotionally-based agenda.


Hank Ruark March 5, 2010 8:34 am (Pacific time)

Friend Jack P.: You are indubitably correct re the issue here --both the one you so awkwardly inflate, and the gun-toting/thing--are "behavioral science'. BUT what you unconsciously overlook (understandable with you, re your comments !) is that it is also and undeniably a psychological thing, and in many cases (as demonstrated by statistics knee-deep !) also a psychosis-thing. See any Psych 101 text; OR you may wish also to check out such classics as "A Necessary Evil" by Wills, cited early in this fine series by DJ. BTW for all: How many now commenting so freely have even bothered to check Amazon or other sources for reviews so easily found re Wills'book ? OR seek any other similar solid source for points really pertinent to palaver here ??


Jack Peller March 4, 2010 2:04 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson you posted :"If the US had been on the top list, then you would not be calling it subjective but agree with it as a good list. It's called a blinkered bias. Most Americans have it. You sound like a reasonable guy who, like a fish, is not even aware of the water in which he swims." I see no reason to insult me. I spent over 40 years working in the research field as both an independent contractor and as a federal employee. During those periods, as is the case now, it was essential that I be in tune with my environment. Frankly I have debated many people who have used similar comments as you do about America, they have always reinforced my very high opinion of America and how we seem to get under the skin of those who fail to recognize just what promulgates their critical comments. It's a behavioral science thing Mr. Johnson.

I was just pointing out fact. What is subjective about the listing? The U.S. is not on the list because the press freedom is only "satisfactory" compared to "good". I'm still suggesting that you only like something if it coincides with your beliefs. I agree, it's a behavioural science thing.


Ken Grubb March 4, 2010 12:40 pm (Pacific time)

America is by no means violence free, but when one looks from state to state, a very different picture emerges. Here in the state of Washington, with one of the highest rates of concealed carry, we enjoy relatively low crime rates. Compare Seattle (with a lot of legally concealed guns) to Baltimore (with almost no legally concealed guns) for a stark contrast.


Jack Peller March 4, 2010 10:45 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson you believe you would be refused entry into the United States because of your association with a website? I find that highly unlikely unless it was one listed as a terrorist site or one that advocated harming us in some way. We have a First Amendment for our citizens and this does also apply to non-citizens it seems. For example there are many non-citizens here who constantly pray for our destruction, not many get deported. Visit our college campuses sometime and see for yourself. Actually there is a history of Americans saying things about other countries within our borders, and when these Americans have gone there they have been prosecuted. Regarding the source you used for rating what countries are the most free, subjective and not applicaple to us. But if you were arrested for writing for this site, then I would be inclined to agree with you, otherwise there is no evidence, just suppostion. Though I frankly would like to see our list of people who are refused entry to grow, and that certainly would not impact our individual freedoms, it is a security issue. I am a regular visitor to Canada, and I have always enjoyed these visits, but upon returning to my home, I feel much safer, and also consider my individual freedoms superior to what Canadians have. So, have you spent much time here, and in different locations over time? I also must admit that in different states I have not felt as free or safe as in my home state, but still in all the other countries I have traveled to, America still remains the best place to be for overall quality of life. I expect that to continue far into the future, to the chagrin of our detractors.

I was speaking somewhat tongue in cheek. You say: "Regarding the source you used for rating what countries are the most free, subjective and not applicaple to us." If the US had been on the top list, then you would not be calling it subjective but agree with it as a good list. It's called a blinkered bias. Most Americans have it. You sound like a reasonable guy who, like a fish, is not even aware of the water in which he swims.


Jack Peller March 4, 2010 7:45 am (Pacific time)

This aspect of gun ownership, regardless of one's opinion on the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, deals with security and freedom, not just on the individual level, but also collectively. The below news story falls into this security scenario, which in time may allow us to address those things from Canada we do not want to come into the states and vice versa. "U.S. will determine who can board some Canadian flights" Montreal GazetteMarch 4, 2010.
QUEBEC — Starting in December, some passengers on Canadian airlines flying to, from or even over the United States without ever landing there, will only be allowed to board the aircraft once the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined they are not terrorists." This is a great idea and will help towards making America safer. Of course this will subordinate Canadian policymaking in this area, but to keep us the most free nation in the world these actions must be taken, even though Canada must abide by our rule-making. As most people know we have had many terrorists come here from Canada, not counting the meth drugs coming in. Canada is the world's biggest exporter of meth. Being safe is what all governments are primarily charged with doing for their bosses, "We the people."
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/gets+which+Canadians/2639893/story.html#ixzz0hDmFKcki

A potent jingoistic example of American paranoia. I remember years ago when the no-fly list was first implemented and Senator Ted Kennedy was initially stopped from getting on a plane.

This is necessary "to keep us the most free nation in the world". Not.
See 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 it says: "According to the rankings of the table above, the most free (the "all-blue") countries are... (13 countries)" Canada is on the list. The U.S. is not! Americans need to wake up. The No-fly list is a diversion and divide and conquer strategy that is working perfectly towards objectives the American people are not even aware of.(This doesn't mean I "know" the objectives, but I'm pretty sure it's not what you've been led to believe.

One last point. As a regular contributor to S-N, I strongly suspect that I would be prevented from getting on a plane--to the delight of some of you readers.


DFS-Toronto March 4, 2010 7:11 am (Pacific time)

Hey, I agree that carrying a gun is not a great thing.. but so is NOT carrying a gun when you need it. I rather have a gun when I need it than think that oh what will the society think if they knew I am carrying a gun.


Hank Ruark March 3, 2010 7:53 pm (Pacific time)

D.J.: Washington held slaves and used their labor at his famed estate, but on his death all were then freed, I do believe. Will check and report on others of our Founders, but do understand most held slaves and most followed Washington's policy, which must have been seen by most as pragmatic in the circumstances of the times and given the constant severe labor shortages then.


Brian March 3, 2010 6:17 pm (Pacific time)

It's amazing the number of research studies that those who disagree with the Second Amendment introduce into court proceedings. The below one like all of it's equally unimpressive reports, never stand up to peer review.

Even a first year student in Research Analysis can smell a turkey in this research: "James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University and joined in an amicus brief in McDonald v. Chicago before the Supreme Court yesterday. He is one of four contributors to a NYT piece, "'States’ Rights vs. Gun Rights" The Bill of Rights trumps any state right, otherwise someone like the political machine in Chicago could just as easily do away with the First Amendment. By the way in countries like Cuba and Venezuela, there are no First Amendment rights, and pretty much no other rights either. The thing that really scares me about the upcoming ruling is that it will be 5 to 4 instead of 9 to zero. Though this ruling will be the law of the land for decades.

On Jan 2 you wrote of me: "Since you have this remakable need to make warlike comments about my country, from this moment forward I will consider you an enemy to my country in the same level as any other enemy that represents a threat to the welfare of my people." Except that your name then was Thomas. I post this only so others can see you for who you are--dishonest and cowardly. We have your IP address, so exercise your "rights" and feel free to not come back here again.


Daniel Johnson March 3, 2010 12:38 pm (Pacific time)

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University and joined in an amicus brief in McDonald v. Chicago before the Supreme Court yesterday. He is one of four contributors to a NYT piece, "'States’ Rights vs. Gun Rights"

He wrote: "In preparing an amicus brief in support of the handgun ban, I analyzed detailed homicide data for Chicago and dozens of other America cities, adjusted not only for population size but also for each municipality’s demographic and socio-economic profile. My analysis of the Chicago data found that, compared with other cities, the handgun ban had lowered the rate of gun homicide. In fact, over the past 25 years, there were an estimated 800 to 1,000 fewer murders in Chicago because of the handgun ban.

The article is at http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/states-rights-vs-gun-rights/


Rick March 3, 2010 11:46 am (Pacific time)

Oh dear, I hate making multiple comments on the same article, but you wrote: Guns have never had to be confiscated in Canada, the UK, the EU countries after 1950 because there hasn't been widespread or significant gun ownership and we non-American citizens are as free or more free than any American. And that’s simply not true. In England, following the Dunblane massacre, the government passed the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 which means that as of 1997 handguns have been almost completely banned for private ownership. Since all guns were registered in theory, the police literally were able to go house-to-house and get the guns that were not voluntarily turned in. Nor was there an option to sell the weapons overseas. Thousands of guns were destroyed, to no avail I will point out. Britain’s rate of violent crime has continued to rise. The same is true in Australia. Since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, all semi-automatic longarms and pump shotguns have been almost completely banned. There is an on-going amnesty for those who surrender such weapons. Because all legitimately owned firearms (as opposed to criminals guns) were registered in AU, the turn in was again, a confiscation. Owners were –not- reimbursed at the market rate for their firearms. You are of course correct that there have never been confiscations in Canada. The EU is –not- exempt, but you can go look those up yourself. What’s the result of this? Well, you can attribute the violent crime rates to whatever cause you like, but please note this: The 2000 International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS-4), conducted by Leiden University in Holland, found that England and Wales ranked second overall in violent crime among industrialized nations. ( I can’t find summary information from ICVS-5 just now.) Twenty-six percent of English citizens -- roughly one-quarter of the population -- have been victimized by violent crime. Australia led the list with more than 30 percent of its population victimized. The United States didn't even make the "top 10" list of industrialized nations whose citizens were victimized by crime. Jack Straw, the British home secretary, admitted that "levels of victimization are higher than in most comparable countries for most categories of crime." Highlights of the study indicated that: • The percentage of the population that suffered "contact crime" in England and Wales was 3.6 percent, compared with 1.9 percent in the United States and 0.4 percent in Japan. • Burglary rates in England and Wales were also among the highest recorded. Australia (3.9 percent) and Denmark (3.1 per cent) had higher rates of burglary with entry than England and Wales (2.8 percent). In the U.S., the rate was 2.6 percent, according to 1995 figures; • "After Australia and England and Wales, the highest prevalence of crime was in Holland (25 percent), Sweden (25 percent) and Canada (24 percent). The United States, despite its high murder rate, was among the middle ranking countries with a 21 percent victimization rate," the London Telegraph said. • England and Wales also led in automobile thefts. More than 2.5 percent of the population had been victimized by car theft, followed by 2.1 percent in Australia and 1.9 percent in France. Again, the U.S. was not listed among the "top 10" nations. • The study found that Australia led in burglary rates, with nearly 4 percent of the population having been victimized by a burglary. Denmark was second with 3.1 percent; the U.S. was listed eighth at about 1.8 percent. Interestingly, the study found that one of the lowest victimization rates -- just 15 percent overall -- occurred in Northern Ireland, home of the Irish Republican Army and scene of years of terrorist violence, and the one place in the UK where private fire-arms ownership is still high (more than double that of the rest of the UK)

You're playing a bit of a semantics game. Banning and confiscating are not the same, not even equivalent.


I think part of the problem in these comments is that I am not arguing that Canada or other countries don't have their own warts, but too many commenters try to come from the position that the U.S. is smooth skinned and odor free. It comes across as arrogant and a lot of people, myself included, resent it and end up being reluctant to admit that there might be some good to the U.S.


Rick March 3, 2010 11:09 am (Pacific time)

I've read over the responses, and your replies, and I'm going to try to answer for me. Only for me of course, but you asked for us to examine our reasons. Your reason 3 was “They are also saying—civilized society does not work. Each citizen must look after their own safety.” Then, you went on to suggest that if this was the case why did we not call for the disbanding of police agencies and etc? It is certainly the case that each citizen must look after their own safety. Two cases: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Rock_v._Gonzales from 2005, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia from 1981 and DeShaney v. Winnebago stand as examples of a long history of cases in which the court has clearly stated that the police do not have a legal responsibility to provide personal protection to individuals. This does not mean that the police serve no function. The police investigate crimes, they apprehend and hold suspects for prosecution, they maintain databases of offenders which enhance the investigative process, but they are under no obligation to protect an individual even when the individual has requested assistance. There are a whole series of cases where people have called 911 or done other things to request police help in an emergency, and the police for one reason or another chose not to act. Police are empowered to act in portions of enforcement where individuals could not or should not act such as highway traffic enforcement, embezzling, fraud, counterfeiting, etc. Additionally, the police function as “score keeper” providing a source of official records of traffic accidents and so forth. So, in essence, you’ve come close to, but missed the reason. It isn’t that civilized society doesn’t work. It’s that civilized society doesn’t work –perfectly- there are substantial gaps in the coverage available in a civilized society where it becomes the responsibility of individuals to protect themselves. Consider that the British rate of reported and recognized violent crimes has been going up since the 1990’s (with a tiny down tick last year) and stands at approximately 1 million violent crimes on the official police records (see http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_2_british-crime.html ) Britain, in particular has a violent crime rate substantially higher than that of the US. ( http://www.unicri.it/icvs/publications/index_pub.htm ) Additionally, almost half of British burglaries happen when the occupant is at home, while only a tiny fraction of American burglaries do. Most authorities directly attribute this to the fact that castle laws and firearms mean that American homes are more likely to be defended, while British criminals take no such risk. So, while civilized society provides me with many things I’m happy for, there are rather-a-lot of times that it can not cover me. I willingly take that responsibility onto myself rather than crouching as a victim. In Britain, on the other hand, the government has chosen to disarm the population in order to prevent the few high profile killings at the trade-off of increased violent crime and victimization of their population. Rick


Armed Texan March 3, 2010 10:52 am (Pacific time)

I find it difficult to believe that you're from Calgary, Alberta. After all, that's the "Texas" of Canada. I love the people there. I'm sorry that you're the face that the rest of the world sees of such a great country. You should let the real cowboys show the rest of the world how great Canada truly is.

Not everyone from Calgary is red-necked and ignorant although one writer who moved to Calgary wrote an article about the city and said "you can taste the avarice in the air." A lot of Republicans, here, which is probably the source of much of my animosity to so many ignorant/arrogant Americans. I write for the good, progressive people south of the border who share my positive feelings.


douglas benson March 3, 2010 7:11 am (Pacific time)

Dan you might need a little history lesson yourself . Thomas Jefferson inherited slaves with his fathers estate .He was a strong advocate for freeing the slaves but there was very little support for it . Blacks unlike the white slaves were slaves forever .

Thanks, Doug. What was Washington's position on slavery?


Black Eagle March 2, 2010 9:50 pm (Pacific time)

I carry a gun because my job requires that I go into areas of cities where there is violent gang activity. I carry concealed because I don't want the good people I meet to feel intimidated or threatened by a man with an exposed gun.


Paul Meyer March 2, 2010 5:58 pm (Pacific time)

Several newswire stories today have stated that the Supreme Court has sent signals that Chicago's illegal ban on firearms is going the way of Heller. Just an observation that the gun laws in Chicago don’t seem to make any difference. The well armed youth gangs have turned vast areas of that city into a war zone. Some of the gangs have better weapons than the police. And this is after decades of community organizing efforts modeled after Saul Alinsky, who along with Keynesian economics, have been abject failures. As far as our 2nd amendment rights are concerned, I always thought the plain language of the 2nd amendment was pretty clear, and glad to see the world's top constitutional scholars are on the same page as me. If the Supreme Court reinforces the meaning that is plainly spelled out, it will help set good legal precedents, and strike a major blow against those who respond on emotion, not substance. It is the latter quality why we are the most free country on the planet. Others who say they are have no evidence, unless their high taxes and diminished liberties make them think so. The liberals have used pretzel logic to try to tell us that the 2nd amendment doesn’t really mean what it says. And that pretzel logic is what’s behind such laws as Chicago’s handgun ban, which as noted, is ignored by the gangs anyway. Currently the only people in Chicago, besides law enforcement, that can carry concealed, are politicans like Mayor Daley and his puppet alderman. Soon, as more people exercise their natural rights we shall see crime go down, and with this data the confiscators will go back to their drawing boards looking for other ways to injure our liberties, they will of course fail.


Marc March 2, 2010 2:11 pm (Pacific time)

"I read the link but I take anything from the NRA with lots of salt because they have an agenda as the front men for the gun makers. I don't actually see them as a disinterested party." Most certainly not a dis-interested party. Here is the FBI's statement, which I was unable to find this morning. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2009prelimsem/index.html


Ithaca March 2, 2010 1:42 pm (Pacific time)

"The next step in your philosophy is to send me and people like me to re-education camps. Think about it." If that were true, and it may well be, wouldn't you want to have a gun to fight back?


SolarN'arms March 2, 2010 12:30 pm (Pacific time)

I'm afraid I haven't had time to read all the other comments, so this may be a duplicate. I belong to a liberal pro-gun forum called The Liberal Gun club http://www.theliberalgunclub.com/phpBB3/index.php We are generally liberals and progressives who see a practical need for firearms in modern society. Generally we try to avoid the rhetoric common to other American firearms advocacy groups, rhetoric which you have unfortunately been subjected to by previous posters. One of the members (I'm afraid I can't remember which one) recently posted this quote, "I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop." The movie Bowling for Columbine has a great quote (unfortunately from a less than rational seeming militia member), “When a criminal breaks in to your house, who is the first person you’re going to call? Most people would call the police because they have guns. Cut out the middle man; take care of your own family yourself. If you’re not going to protect your family, who is?” Even this quote seems a bit paranoid. Having weapons for self defense isn't about paranoia or fear. It is about being prepared. I've routinely carried a pocket knife since I was a kid and I end up using it at least once a day. Carrying a gun falls into the same category, though where I need to open boxes or cut twine at work, I may (hopefully) never need to use my gun.

As long as firearms are made somewhere on this planet criminals will carry guns and they will carry them concealed. I used to be torn between the idea of arming everyone as in much of America or arming no-one as English law favors, but now that gun violence and illegal gun ownership are on the rise among criminals in countries with strict gun control I believe that strict gun laws only prevent already law abiding citizens from carrying weapons. Why would someone intending to use a gun for a crime care that it is illegal to carry that gun on the way to the crime? The argument that stopping legal gun sales will stop illegal gun ownership doesn't hold up when you consider illegal gun ownership in strict gun control countries (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/2656875.stm). I'm lucky enough to live in a state that allows concealed carry. I've had a gun on me every day for the last five years, I've never come close to having to use it, but it is there if I need it for self defense or to defend someone else.

There is also the more controversial issue (covered several times already) about governments using gun control to subjugate their citizens. Plenty of historical cases have been provided, which I don't need to repeat, but one case that I didn't see was Iran. After the recent elections people were wondering if there would be a second revolution, but a revolution is not possible without arms, which the revolutionary government restricted after the first revolution.

While there are plenty of valid points in favor of gun ownership, organizations like the NRA seem to prefer jingoistic diatribes to rational arguments. It is very difficult being a liberal gun owner who sees someone like Charlton Heston as the face of gun ownership in America. I swear there are rational, thoughtful gun owners on both sides of the political spectrum, its just that their voices are often drowned out by reactionaries.

I hope I presented more rational points than some of the above posters. I appreciate the article and the curiosity about gun culture in the US.

Thanks for your reasoned comment.


Ian March 2, 2010 11:30 am (Pacific time)

Well, Ian, you've proved one thing: The pen is mightier than the sword. You've overwhelmed with posts that run four or five times the length of my original article. So, I give up. Maybe you have nothing else to do, but I have other writing projects that are left hanging so I can respond to your endless minutiae. If you kept your posts down to a couple hundred words and two or three things to comment on...

You stated: "You have to make comparisons between apples and apples. None of the countries mentioned are developed societies as we see today in Canada and the US and in Europe and the UK. Germany was a special case--see William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"

My response: I believe your argument to be a cop-out defense. I provided real historically verifiable examples of how governments have disarmed their people leaving them at the mercy of the government. The form of government is irrelevant when the citizens are disarmed by law and they comply. You asked for something tangible to back up a statement I made. I provided it.

Also you state that they were not developed societies... I beg to differ, China has a very complex and advanced society. Many of OUR sciences and technologies are based off of the Chinese. Germany was one of the most advanced nations in the world during it's time. They had theater, art and music along with higher education. The others are a wash in that they never could attain our level of development because the oppression of the unarmed citizen prevented them from overthrowing the noose of tyranny and moving forward.

I believe you do not like the fact you have been shown that gun bans do not work as intended. This is called the law of unintended consequences. Also England is a great comparison when you take into account that with the exception of it's government, it is very similar to the United States and Canada in it's make up.

The bottom line is quite simple and most irrefutable. It is not the inanimate tool we call the gun that is the problem, but the perverse human being that makes a conscious decision to use that tool against another human being. And it doesn't matter, those of criminal intent will use what ever tool is available, even if it is their bare hands. This again is validated in the types of violent crimes we are seeing in a “civilized” society as represented by the United Kingdom.

I will start now with providing some news and information for you:
Dated 2009-07-2:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...of-Europe.html

From some very bright people, unless you think you are more intelligent than people from Havard...

http://www.theacru.org/blog/2007/05/...terproductive/

Dated 2009-03- 11


http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereport...ent_crime.html Even though guns are banned violent crime still occurs with knives. This only goes to support the premise that it's not the inanimate object but those willing to enact violence for what ever reason they have.

Dated 2009-07-07


https://www.2oceansvibe.com/2009/07/...-south-africa/ Keep in mind that the top two on the list are society's with strict gun control or outright bans... this speaks volumes to your idea of what civilization is.

I am sorry but it is readily apparent that you do not really want to know the answer to why Americans refuse to give up their right to firearms. It's also readily apparent that I, and any others that take the time to educate you are wasting our time as you refuse to open your mind to the possibility that your premise is faulty.

I leave you with this last piece... about a society that is supposed to be the epitome of civilization.

Dated 2009-11-22


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...t-1807095.html

I will continue to carry and own firearms and I will continue to teach my child as well. It is our Constitutional right as well as our duty as American citizens to do so. Failure to uphold our duty will lead to the demise of our Constitutional Republic. Granted our government is far from perfect but we the people have the power to change that any time we deem it necessary. This is why many envy the United States, we have the power to change that which we do not agree with. If by vote fails then by the barrel of a gun, as so declared in our declaration of independence.

I leave you with these quotes:

‘‘Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.’’

— Mahatma Ghandi, "Gandhi, An Autobiography", page 446

From a man of peace, civilization and love... ironic, no?

‘‘The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the underdog is a sine qua non ["something essential" lit. "without which not"] for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or police.’’

--*Adolph Hitler, Edict of March 18, 1938

‘‘Four out of five politicians surveyed prefer unarmed, ignorant peasants.’’

— Unknown

‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’

— Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764



I will make one comment however. You suggest that you and others are wasting your time trying to educate me. It's this kind of intellectual arrogance that is so off-putting. You have a direct pipeline to the absolute truth and anyone who does not agree with your point of view is wrong and deluded. The next step in your philosophy is to send me and people like me to re-education camps. Think about it.


Ken Grubb March 2, 2010 10:51 am (Pacific time)

Daniel, It may surprise you to learn there are those us who fit into the category of "gun nut", complete with a Washington State Concealed Pistol License, who cling to some of the following views, in no particular order.- We need to get out of Iraq ASAP and we never had any justification for going there in the first place. - Government isn't evil because if it is then there has to some even worse description for far too many American corporations. - Assuming some sort of "healthcare reform" legislation passes into law here in the U.S. in 2010, it's going to fall woefully short of providing any real, substantive help to those in need, even if the legislation took effect 3 months after signing. Even a public option, if it's included, there's not likely to be any real change or improvement.- Anthropogenic climate change is going to force humans, one way or another, into some very drastic lifestyle changes over the coming decades. We can choose to act of our own accord, and make it easy on ourselves, or we can continue to ignore all the science and just wake up one day to the Wrath of Gaia.

Thanks for your comment, Ken. On the last point someone sent me this youtube video about an hour ago and I just watched it. It's about the development of the Bloom box to produce electricity with no pollutants, etc. This invention, and it's already being test used by FedEX, Wal-Mart, Google and Ebay to produce electricity to run their plants and warehouses. This video, which is an exerpt from 60 Minutes is a must watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khK_QTWl5Nc&feature=related


Marc March 2, 2010 8:27 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson, I'm curious. 1. While most of us work towards a civilized society, that society does not exist now, anywhere, and there are people who will do other people great harm for very little or no gain to themselves. 2. Police can not be there to protect each and every individual at all times. More than that, our Supreme Court has ruled that they have no duty to protect people....at all. With these two points in mind, instead of lambasting us blood thirsty Americans, would you care to give constructive advice? What would you suggest as a good alternative to carrying a handgun for self defense, with proper training? Keep in mind that mace or pepper spray is nowhere near as effective as a firearm even on unimpaired people, while those on drugs may not notice it at all. You also state that more guns equals a less stable and civilized society. I disagree, and I leave you with this tidbit to back up my opinion: Guns have been flying off the shelves since it looked like Obama was going to get elected. The torrent increased once he did get elected. Despite gun ownership being the highest it has ever been in this country....ever, crime is down to levels we have not seen since 1963. We also experienced the biggest single year drop in crime in our recorded history, and it neatly coincides with the gun-buying frenzy. Clearly, guns in the hands of good law abiding citizens are not only not a problem, but a considerable deterrence to those who would do evil. Please read: http://www.ihatethemedia.com/fbi-reports-decrease-in-murders-increase-in-gun-sales

I read the link but I take anything from the NRA with lots of salt because they have an agenda as the front men for the gun makers. I don't actually see them as a disinterested party.

In terms of my making suggestions, please bear with me. One reader has suggested I read Abigail Kohn's book Shooters: Myths and realities of America's gun cultures. I expect to acquire, read and digest that in the next week or so. That will give me more information and I'll review the book and my response to it. Thanks for writing and being patient.


Morley March 2, 2010 12:17 am (Pacific time)

Short answer Dan, I open carry a firearm because I know it pisses of the liberals and scares the dickens out of the gunphobes. Oh yeh, also for self defense.

Doesn't sound like a very well thought out lifestyle choice. Sounds more like a teenager on why he has a noisy car or why, (in previous generations), he wouldn't get a haircut.


Daniel Johnson March 1, 2010 10:11 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).


WayneK March 1, 2010 9:39 pm (Pacific time)

Interesting perspective Daniel, but not uncommon from those who chose to be a victim rather than a survivor. I can cite incident after incident where a armed citizen either came to his own defense or that of another. Your comments show the error in your logic. You say "Why do ostensibly civilized people feel the need to arm themselves with weapons to kill (when necessary or provoked) their fellow citizens?" I don't know a single gun owner who carries a gun to kill another. I've carried for over 25 years, never have used it and hope I never do. I carry to meet force with equivalent force to STOP the threat, not kill. If the perpetrator dies in the process, that's a result of his action, not mine. Yes. Each citizen is responsible for their own safety. You must not be familiar with our Supreme Court case that ruled police are NOT under a legal obligation to respond to your emergency. So if that is indeed the case, who but ourselves is responsible for our safety?Another flaw in your logic. Fear of criminals. I have zero fear of criminals. I am in the business of risk mitigation. It is a smal risk for me to carry a gun on the occasion I may need to prevent serious risk to me or my family. That's all it is. Risk mitigation. I don't expect to be a victim of a violent crime but then again, the people who were shot in church, a restaurant, a gas station etc didn't plan on being a victim either. Odds are low until you're in the middle of it. Paranoia? No. Realism? Yes. Criminals are just that. They don't follow laws. Do you expect them to honor your wishes if you ever happen to be on the wrong end of a gun?I'm sorry Daniel. As long as you accept that being a victim is okay, you will never understand the thought process behind being ready to defend yourself and your family to the death if necessary. Just remember. It's not the people you see carry guns you should be worried about.

The more I learn about the U.S., the more I quote Alice: "Curiouser and curiouser"


Ken Grubb March 1, 2010 6:01 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel, I don't plan on being involved in a car accident, but I still wear my seatbelt every time I get in a car. I've been in five car accidents over the past 26 years while having driven many hundreds of thousands of miles, and I don't really see my obsessive need to buckle up, even before the laws of the U.S. demanded it, as even remotely paranoid. Sidenote: I was only at fault in one of the five accidents, and there no damage to the other vehicle and no harm to the other driver. My fear of criminals does indeed dictate how I live my life, and as such there are just some places I won't go. If there's someplace into which I won't go unarmed then I certainly would not ever consider going into that same place armed. Each citizen must look after their own safety. To expect otherwise is to invite a police state. However, that does not mean civilized society does not work. Armed police officers are an integral part of civilized society, and the essential thin blue line of police officers is razor thin in most areas.


Levi March 1, 2010 5:51 pm (Pacific time)

I'm an American gun owner, and I agree with probably 90% of what you said!


Josiah Turner March 1, 2010 5:34 pm (Pacific time)

Here are some of my insights: 2. By carrying a gun, people believe they are exercising their freedom when, in fact, they are losing some of their freedom. They are letting their fear of criminals dictate how they live their lives. I completely agree with this statement which is why I do not let any irrational fears, laws or other peoples feelings dictate how I live my life. I always drive without a seatbelt because I refuse to live in fear car crashes. Besides, driving is so much more fun without a seatbelt. I also don't believe in fire extinguishers or smoke detectors because I don't want to live in fear of my house catching fire. I believe if it is my time then there's nothing you can do anyways. I always get a kick out of watching people when they cross the street and how they usually look both ways first. Why are people in such fear of getting hit by cars? Its completely irrational. I never look both ways when I cross the street and I haven't been hit by a car or a bus yet and I don't even walk very fast. 3. They are also saying—civilized society does not work. Each citizen must look after their own safety. If this is true, why aren’t gun-carriers pushing for the disbandment of police forces across the nation? At a time when the economy is in such parlous condition, the savings to the taxpayers would run into the tens of billions of dollars. Let individuals themselves choose to what degree they wish to be armed. People could also band together into neighbourhood militias (Call it a militia and there would be no conflict with the Second Amendment. You’re automatically covered). I completely agree with this point too. This is another reason why I refuse to own a fire extinguisher or learn CPR. That is why they have firemen and paramedics, so normal people don't need to be putting out fires with their fire extinguishers or trying to perform CPR on a dying person. Just call 911. Besides, if you try to do CPR on a dying person, you might do more damage than good anyways. Leave lifesaving to the professionals or else people might get hurt or killed.


goosekiller March 1, 2010 5:26 pm (Pacific time)

This is the direct result of fearmongering being applied to those ignorant enough to fall for it. Manufactured paranoia bodes well for the NRA and those who sell ammo. In the vast majority of America, the odds of one being assaulted are even lower than the odds of finding an honest politician.


Ian March 1, 2010 2:52 pm (Pacific time)

You stated: “Perhaps the source of American cultural schizophrenia comes from that statement right there. I believe that sentence was written by Thomas Jefferson and it was not self evident because he owned slaves. What's your response to that situation?”

My response: Ironically many American founders owned slaves. I do not agree with slavery and while I do see the hypocrisy of it, you have to understand that at the time blacks were considered to be animals, not men. Doesn't make it right. Also take into account, something that is rarely mentioned, and that is on the matter of slavery many of the Africans sold into slavery were done so by their own people, who themselves were black. Generally it was a result of tribal warfare. Again do not take this as condoning the action of slavery.

According to the history we as a nation fought a civil war over slavery and ending it. While on the surface this appears to be true, it's in fact a front to the real reason we fought the war and that was due to the Federal government overstepping their rights. Several states rebelled against the incursion of the the Federal government and seceded from the union. In order to gain support Lincoln used the slave issue as a platform to sell the war against the South.

I digress, since you are not an American you fail to understand the American mind set. You attempt to disparage my nation and it's people with detracting statements without any real knowledge of my nation. None of my countrymen, myself included are under any delusion that the founders were perfect. But we do understand the full intent of our governing documents and founding documents as written. It's readily apparent you don't.

You stated: “You don't even understand your own Constitution. The 2A, for all the controversy around it, was clearly established to protect the States and the Nation against the British. That's why the term "militia" was used.”

My response: Oh I understand the Constitution quite well. You see the Federalist papers have many entries as to why various amendments were written along with personal insight and translations. You are attempting to redefine in your own way the full intent of the 2nd Amendment by taking only a piece of it and addressing it out of context. As has been supported again by our highest court, the right to bear arms is an individual right of every American that meets the criteria clearly outlined.

Also, a militia is a group of armed citizens organized for the defense of the common good against threats from both foreign and domestic sources. The 2nd Amendment was adopted 15 December 1791, the war for independence from Great Britain ended in 1783. We the people were an independent and fledgling nation. So your premise of the 2nd Amendment being about protection from the British is unfounded.

The Second Amendment states that in order to maintain a free state, the people must retain the right to keep and bear arms. The presence of armed citizens is what keeps the government "honest". No government would be foolish enough to impose a dictatorship on people who have the ability to resist. So in clear English (is French your native tongue?), it's about keeping our government in check to prevent what happened with Great Britain from happening Again.

You stated: “This is a pretty general statement and without some specifics, is not very meaningful.”

My Response: A more clear and concise answer, one that his recorded in history:

1911 – Turkey established gun control. Once implemented law abiding Turks and Armenians complied. From 1915 – 1917 1,500,000 Armenians were rounded up and murdered.

1929 – Soviet Union established gun control. Once implemented the law abiding Russians complied. From 1929 – 1953 20,000,000 dissidents were rounded up and murdered by the state.

1935 – China established gun control. Once implemented the law abiding Chinese complied. From 1948 – 1952 20,000,000 political dissidents were rounded up and murdered.

1938 – Nazi Germany established gun control. Once implemented the law abiding Germans (many of whom were Jewish) complied. From 1939 – 1945 13,000,000 Jews, Gypsies and others were rounded up and murdered.

1956 – Cambodia established gun control. Once implemented the law abiding citizens complied. From 1975 – 1977 1,000,000 educated people were rounded up and murdered.


1964 – Guatemala established gun control. Once implemented the law abiding citizens complied. From 1964 – 1981 100,000 Mayan Indians were rounded up and murdered.

1970 – Uganda established gun control. Once implemented the law abiding citizen complied. From 1971 -1979 300,000 Christians were rounded up and murdered.

You have to make comparisons between apples and apples. None of the countries mentioned are developed societies as we see today in Canada and the US and in Europe and the UK. Germany was a special case--see William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Right now, Mexico which has extremely strict gun control laws is seeing an explosion in illegal activity and corruption. Of course the uninformed are blaming the US but the truth is most of the weapons that are being used in crimes in Mexico are coming from South America.

England has a total ban on firearms and is still seeing an increase in fire arms deaths and crimes. Also the people are in the process of losing even more of their rights and freedoms as more onerous laws and regulations are being brought down on them from the Labor Party. While there no mass murders are occurring at the hands of the government, the people are at the mercy of the criminal element. Much like Mexicans are.

While these events outlined above have happened well after the founding fathers had passed, they are exemplary of why they created the 2nd Amendment.


Anonymous March 1, 2010 2:22 pm (Pacific time)

"Are you saying that governments, in and of themselves, are evil?" Not always, but they can be. Governments are comprised of people. Those people can be evil. The government controls the armies and the police forces. Such forces can be used for the purpose of evil. Therefore, the people need to be armed and ever vigilant. Goverments do not always become evil. Look at good Canada, for example. However, even the Canadian government could become corrupted by the evil politicians from within the USA. If that happened, the people of Canada may want to put a stop to it. The people need to be armed in case the leaders do not yield to peaceful democracy.

You've made your point. Thanks for writing.


Ithaca March 1, 2010 2:08 pm (Pacific time)

"The evil government in this case would be the US. Agreed?" Correct. Any goverment can become evil. Therefore, as we both now agree, the people need to arm themselves. Hopefully you have that right in Canada. And hopefully all people in the world have that right. The United Nations should champion the cause of liberty and self-defense, and support the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Are you saying that governments, in and of themselves, are evil?


Ithaca March 1, 2010 1:32 pm (Pacific time)

"More nonsense: "Countries around the world are not peaceful victims imposed upon by the USA." I think the people in Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, Argentina, et al would vigorously disagree with that fatuous statement. You sound like a typical American--you have no idea what your government does in your name. Have you heard the term "banana republic". That term arises from the US government's support of the United Fruit Company against the natives of those countries. In 1898 the US overthrew the Queen of Hawaii at the behest of the Dole Fruit company. I think you need to learn some real American history before you embarass yourself further." We seem to agree. People need guns to protect themselves from each other and from evil governments. I am glad that I could help you to understand this.

The evil government in this case would be the US. Agreed?


Ed March 1, 2010 1:31 pm (Pacific time)

You, Sir, obviously incapable of truly understanding what freedom really is. Freedom isn't about carrying guns, or being able to own guns, and the tyranny the "gun nuts" keep talking about isn't the tyranny of an opressive government. It's the freedom of being responsible to yourself first of all and having the right to act on your own behalf in all situations, including that of peace officer or cop. The tyranny that we're afraid of here in the US is not an opressive government, but a fear of a government that takes our right to fend, and yes, defend, ourselves and be responsible for ourselves. You see, the more a goverment provides for you, the less you're able to fend for yourself. Take for instance the national health care of Canada. Granted, everyone has health care. However, does everyone get the best health care? Definitely not. It's the same way with defending yourself. Yes, the police provide a defense for you against harm. However, it's far from the best, because no one can carry a cop around with them all the time. The ONLY thing Americans want with their guns is to provide themselves and their loved ones from people that would do them harm, even if that someone is an over protective government that wants to provide the same limited and admittedly inferior protection to everyone.

When I look at American society, it seems pretty clear to me that Americans don't understand what freedom is, either.


JT March 1, 2010 12:46 pm (Pacific time)

I am a Canadian. My brother was murdered in his home by a gunman. I wish that he had had a gun to protect himself. This violence though does not make me wish to carry my own gun because on the other hand I may be tempted to use it in an unlawful manner...like the time a few years ago I caught my husband cheating on me. I am nearly positive that if I had been carrying a gun at the time, he and his mistress would be dead and I would be in jail. I guess it isn't really a black and white issue though, since if another person had experiences such as mine, they would want a gun. I am glad for the most part that we do not carry weapons in our country. I would be much more anxious if we did.


Ithaca March 1, 2010 12:16 pm (Pacific time)

"You're spouting nonsense. Those societies did not have guns because they were peaceful until the U.S. showed up." So much for trying to understand. People in all societies have guns and weapons. Countries around the world are not peaceful victims imposed upon by the USA. The history of the USA is relatively short, but yet the history of the world is filled with the history of warfare. I think you give the USA far too much credit. Violent Canadians are murdering each other today, without the help of the USA. Indigenous peoples in Canada were murdering each other long before the USA ever existed. People kill. A gun at least lets the average woman be on equal footing with the average man. People have the right to self-defense. A gun is a but a tool of defense, not a cause of violence. Murder pre-dates guns.

More nonsense: "Countries around the world are not peaceful victims imposed upon by the USA." I think the people in Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, Argentina, et al would vigorously disagree with that fatuous statement. You sound like a typical American--you have no idea what your government does in your name. Have you heard the term "banana republic". That term arises from the US government's support of the United Fruit Company against the natives of those countries. In 1898 the US overthrew the Queen of Hawaii at the behest of the Dole Fruit company. I think you need to learn some real American history before you embarass yourself further.


anomie March 1, 2010 11:28 am (Pacific time)

Links to court rulings showing that police have no duty to protect individuals: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/28scotus.html It varies somewhat from state to state according to state laws, but in general, police do not have a duty to provide protection to specific individuals, with some exceptions for cases where there was specific protection promised, or the police have you in their custody. See, for instance, Riss v. New York, 240 N.E.2d 860 (N.Y.1968) (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7419460174732322492andq=22+N.Y.2d+579+%281968%29andhl=enandas_sdt=2002) If you call 911, in many places in the U.S. the police don't legally have to do anything. Which doesn't mean they won't attempt to, of course, but the basic point that you need to be responsible for your own safety and defense is valid. If you call the cops in a life threatening situation and they can't get to you in time for whatever reason, you end up dead. Whereas if you're taking responsibility for your own self defense, you have a better chance - it's not a guarantee, of course, but you'll be able to attempt to defend yourself, and the cops will also probably get there at some point.

What a strange situation.


Ithaca March 1, 2010 11:25 am (Pacific time)

"Tyranny is one of those buzzwords that gun owners use as if it is magical. Two things about this word alone: First, America as a nation has been a promoter of tyranny around the world that is as bad or worse than anything the Soviets ever did. I refer to the overthrow of a legally elected president in Iran in 1953 and support of the Shah, no lover of democracy who had his own Nazi-equivalent secret police; the overthrow of a legally elected president in Chile in 1973 resulting in the murder and torture of hundreds of thousands of innocent people who wanted the democracy that was denied them by the actions of the tyranny-hating USA..." Are you still trying to understand? If so, I won't debate whether the USA actually did what you are saying. Instead, I'll say, if they did, then shouldn't all those poor oppressed peoples have had guns to fight back? If the USA overthrew the Canadian government, shouldn't the Canadian people have guns to fight back? Surely the Canadian Army would fall in a matter of days. But it is the people, millions of them, well armed, who would be able to fight against tyrrany.

You're spouting nonsense. Those societies did not have guns because they were peaceful until the U.S. showed up.


Ian March 1, 2010 11:11 am (Pacific time)

You state: “I see gun-carrying as a form of paranoia—the whole world is potentially out to get me. Even though they are probably a tiny minority, they all look alike and I can’t tell them apart.”

I respond: I have not reason to be paranoid. I am armed and capable of defending myself. A gun is easier to carry than a cop any day. And the world is an unpredictable place and people are unpredictable as well. It is each individuals responsibility to ensure their safety. Read this one more time... it is each individuals responsibility to ensure their safety. In the United States our highest courts upheld that the police are NOT obligated to place themselves in harms way. If you are facing an assailant that is armed with any type of weapon, you are at a disadvantage. If they are bigger than you... you are at a disadvantage. You do not know what they are capable of and have to assume they are far more skilled at physical altercations than you. And you don't know if they are in an altered state.

I do not live in fear. I know I have the means to defend myself should the need arise. To be honest I live in an area where crime is relatively low. But it still does happen and the police rarely show up in time to catch the criminal.

You state: “By carrying a gun, people believe they are exercising their freedom when, in fact, they are losing some of their freedom. They are letting their fear of criminals dictate how they live their lives.”

I respond: Not true, we are letting the criminal element know that we refuse to be victims. It's the criminal that will live in fear. This is supported by numerous interviews with dangerous criminals. The thing they fear more than anything is a armed citizen, especially ones that have CCW. You can look this up yourself. I have lost no freedom by carrying a firearm. BUT I have taken on a great deal of responsibility by doing so and I, as many others that carry understand this and do not take it lightly. But we all have one thing in common, we will not be victims.

You state: “They are also saying—civilized society does not work. Each citizen must look after their own safety.”

I respond: We are responsible for our safety. In the United States we are citizens not subjects and as such we have a great deal of personal liberty and freedom. But with that comes responsibility and accountability. Again in our highest court it has been upheld that the police are not responsible for our safety and do not have to place themselves in harms way for our safety.

You state: “If this is true, why aren’t gun-carriers pushing for the disbandment of police forces across the nation? At a time when the economy is in such parlous condition, the savings to the taxpayers would run into the tens of billions of dollars. Let individuals themselves choose to what degree they wish to be armed. People could also band together into neighbourhood militias (Call it a militia and there would be no conflict with the Second Amendment. You’re automatically covered).

I respond: This argument is rather ridiculous. Common sense dictates that all should have fire extinguishers in their home in the event there is a fire. Would you disband fire departments because citizens are being proactive in ensuring their home and their personal self is protected against fire? And what about first aid kits? Each home should have a first aid kit as well for those times when accidents happen. Are you saying that we should also disband ambulances as well? Owning a firearm for personal defense and protection is akin to keeping a fire extinguisher in your home/car along with a first aid kit. So your statement about disbanding police forces is ludicrous at best.

You state: I am really trying to understand what is behind the gun mentality. You don’t see citizens in Canada, the UK or the EC pushing for gun ownership on a wide, or even narrow, scale. Only in the U.S. does this phenomenon exist. But perhaps I am missing the obvious point—compared to other developed nations, perhaps the U.S. is that scary.

I respond: The UK has a total ban on personal owned firearms and their violent crime is on the rise, stabbings, bludgeoning, rape, murder. Just last year the UK was found to be the most violent nation in the EU, more so than South Africa or the United States and they are no longer armed. Also their gun crime is on the rise. And try as they might they can't keep that a secret. The UK is the most regulated and under more surveillance than any other nation in the world and still they cannot get crime under control. After speaking with several people from around the UK, they blame the labor party and the disarmament of the subjects of the UK for the continual rise in crime.

Even Canada still has violent crime. The facts are simple and clear, if you wish to continue to live life in a cloud of oblivion you are welcome to do so. But dis arming American citizens will be a most dangerous task of certain failure. Either way we as Americans are exercising our rights as we see fit.

A parting note:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

Perhaps the source of American cultural schizophrenia comes from that statement right there. I believe that sentence was written by Thomas Jefferson and it was not self evident because he owned slaves. What's your response to that situation?

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” – This is an excerpt from our Declaration of Independence. The content is very clear in our duty as citizens of the United States. The 2nd Amendment to our Constitution was created so we could carry out this directive from the Declaration should the need arise. You don't even understand your own Constitution. The 2A, for all the controversy around it, was clearly established to protect the States and the Nation against the British. That's why the term "militia" was used.

History... every unarmed nation was conquered by it's very own government as some point and time. It is only when the people are armed and able to put up a fight and resist a totalitarian regime that governments bend to the will of the people. This is a pretty general statement and without some specifics, is not very meaningful.


Ian March 1, 2010 10:55 am (Pacific time)

Test [B]Test[/B]


Sam March 1, 2010 10:50 am (Pacific time)

Uninformed opinions about our gun laws whether made domestically or abroad will never have a significant impact. I think it's enjoyable reading assessments from people who actually think they know of what they talk/write about. Regarding Canadian gun laws your country a number of years ago embarked on a national registration process that has turned into a financial boondogle. So it appears that this registration process is not going to happen, which from a historical process sounds like a good idea, because it's quite obvious that a significant percentage would not get registered anyway. Criminals would never register their guns, plus many law abiding Canadians are no different than we down here who really do not appreciate government intrusion. Regardless, it is not going to happen. When a below poster got the postion of an individual incorrect below who came here for healthcare, this actually demonstrates the dissonance most Americans have for Canadian culture. Why would we really need to know all the nuances of Canadian culture? I imagine if I was writing for some Canadian site and decided to take a tack similar to yours except about Canadian culture I would certainly study and prepare my articles on my opinions in a scholarly manner. When one does not do that, well their credibility is severely limited.


A US Gun Owner March 1, 2010 10:33 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson. I am wondering how your reading of the court decisions is going. Have you changed any opinions after reading them? Have you gained any insights?


A US Gun Owner March 1, 2010 10:26 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson. I agree with your statement that "Believing that every person you meet might be aiming to do you harm is anti-social." I hope you agree with my statement: "Believing that some person you might meet might be aiming to do you harm is realistic." Planning for that possibility is prudent, in the same vane is wearing seat belts and having a fire extinguisher next to the fireplace.


Curly March 1, 2010 10:12 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson, As an American gun owner I feel that it is my duty to be a mature, positive contributor to society. I consider myself an open minded individual who is open to discussion and even willing to take into consideration points of view that differ than mine. From what I have read in your original text as well as in your replies it seems that you have a close-minded "beef" with America. Making statements like, "fundamentally an American attitude", and "This reflects back on my assessment of American society being "scary", and "Because America is such an intrusive culture, it behooves us Canadians to resist as much as possible." and so forth. It "sounds" to me that your bone to pick is with the United States of America not necessarily the right to bare arms. I find it ironic how people from all over the world try and come to this great nation and that people like you feel that we are on some kind of mission to overtake the world. Is it really us "Americans" (Which even though you reside in Canada, you are still an American in the sense that you live in North America as are Mexicans and so forth) or is it society and human nature? I am sure you know that Hollywood is quite anti gun. Yet the all-intrusive culture you speak of is greatly fueled by Hollywood and the movies, TV shows, Music etc that it puts out. It seems you refuse to discuss or debate the issue that you put forth questions about. It appears to me that you are guilty of thinking you are the center of the universe at the same time you are accusing the citizens of the United States of doing just that. There are numerous reasons to justify carrying weapons just as there are numerous reasons to justify banning of weapons. However, ever since man has been on this earth he has been looking for ways to improve his weapons. Did they have people trying to ban swords when most carried clubs? I agree that in a perfect world, people would not need any weaponry since there would be no abducting, rape, murder and so forth. However we do NOT live in a perfect world. If you could wave a magic wand and eliminate all guns from the face of the earth, there would still be crime and criminals would use the most advanced weapons they could get their hands on to take advantage of law abiding citizens. Human nature has ensured that the weak will be taken advantage of either through intimidation or force. I have lived in and visited over 40 countries in this world and have seen first hand how those with a criminal mind will use whatever weapon they can, to obtain the results they are looking for. I have been to far too many countries and seen citizens with no way to defend themselves, live in fear daily. I am not saying that carrying a gun eliminates all those fears or issues. It does not. But when you take away a human beings ability to defend themselves in any way, it is not right and I don't see how you can call that civilized. There are far too many countries that have dictatorships, corrupt governments and so forth that prey on their citizen’s lack of being able to defend themselves and stand up to the tyranny they are forced to endure. In the United States, our constitution was written so that we as United States of America citizens will hopefully never find ourselves in the predicament of being unable to stand up to tyranny.

"Tyranny" is one of those buzzwords that gun owners use as if it is magical. Two things about this word alone: First, America as a nation has been a promoter of tyranny around the world that is as bad or worse than anything the Soviets ever did. I refer to the overthrow of a legally elected president in Iran in 1953 and support of the Shah, no lover of democracy who had his own Nazi-equivalent secret police; the overthrow of a legally elected president in Chile in 1973 resulting in the murder and torture of hundreds of thousands of innocent people who wanted the democracy that was denied them by the actions of the tyranny-hating USA...

I could go on with at least a dozen more examples, but I direct you to Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow which refutes your statement: "There are far too many countries that have dictatorships, corrupt governments and so forth that prey on their citizen’s lack of being able to defend themselves and stand up to the tyranny they are forced to endure." The US itself has been behind many of those tyrannies.

Second: "Tyranny" in the sense that Americans use it is an 18th century concept. Of all the developed nations in the world, the US is the only nation that has the express fear of tyranny, i.e., government. Throughout Europe, the UK and here in Canada, we may sometimes vilify our governments, but there is no groundswell feeling that the government is ever about to become a tyranny. This is something I still don't understand: Why Americans stand out that way among the community of nations.


ithaca March 1, 2010 8:56 am (Pacific time)

"Believing that every person you meet might be aiming to do you harm is anti-social, pure and simple." Here you are failing to understand. The key word in your own sentence is "might". Any person I meet MIGHT want to do me harm. We cannot predict the future. That is a statement of fact. It is not a an anti-social statement. Believing that NOBODY will ever want to do you harm is delusional. Ever hear of murder? War? We can trust people, unless they start murder or war. We can be social, unless they start murder or war. If you and I, and your country and my country, eliminate guns, what keeps someone else from murdering or starting wars?


ithaca March 1, 2010 8:29 am (Pacific time)

Do you really want to understand why some people carry guns? Societal level efforts to reduce rape, torture, and murder are a good cause. In the meantime, murderers are out there. Hopefully I never run into one. But if I do, I'll be carrying my gun. I like to target shoot and hunt. So, carry a handgun on me is no big deal, aside from making sure I always follow the law. I never draw my handgun from it's holster. And it is under my shirt, no one ever sees it. Lots of people, legally or illegally, could have handguns and you'd never know it. Law abiding citizens should be allowed to have and carry guns. Having a gun on you is like having insurance. Nobody wants to use insurance, but we have it anyway. The insurance, like a gun, won't cover all situations, but it may help in the time of crisis. There is no difference between countries with regard to these issues. Some countries just allow legal self-defense more than other countries do.


douglas benson March 1, 2010 8:27 am (Pacific time)

One more thing Dan .You make it sound like you have no violent crime in Canada .Thats funny because as I pointed out before you have a huge gang problem up there .Bet some of the victims would have liked to be armed ,like that bar owner i read about that kicked some bikers out of his bar and when they returned assaulted him and still harassed him afterward [wish I could find the article again ].Bet he wished he had a weapon .


douglas benson March 1, 2010 8:11 am (Pacific time)

Come on Dan ,the police might and I do mean might show up after its all over .They are not omnipresent or even close . Let me share my own experience from many years ago. I was driving in texas and missed my turn ,so I pulled into this apartment project to turn around . As I pulled in a group of 10-15 african american men surrounded my car so I couldnt get out without running them over .Things were looking mighty grim but what do you know I had a weapon and when they saw it they all moved out of the way .With no weapon any unsuspecting tourist would have been lucky to leave with thier life .Also this country and our constitution is based on the rights all men to ,and I will quote from Thomas Jefferson the main author of our constitution ,equality ,the natural rights of man ,the sovereignty of the people and the right to revolution . The true defense of all of our natural rights lies in the people being armed .The smart man hopes for the best and prepares for the worst not as a matter of paranioa but a just in case I have the means to fight back and a legal system that most times backs that right up .Got a pistol whoopie ,that doesnt scare me I know 99% that open carry folks are law abiding citizens that would never use it unless they were in fear of thier life and I am not that threat . I carry a spare tire ,just in case,I carry some toilet paper just in case , so why not a firearm ?


Roger von Bütow March 1, 2010 5:41 am (Pacific time)

DJ: Let's see, you have repeatedly criticized the USA as a "Rogue Nation," been very aggressive about our gun control laws, or perhaps I should just drop the "Guns" part? You wrote a relatively generic, open-ended statement: "I am really trying to understand what is behind the gun mentality" then appear perplexed by the responses. You mildly chastised me because you responded to my comments that you weren't commenting on gun control, but "Gun mentality" is so sweeping that it doesn't exclude such a discussion. I'll agree that some of the ones I've read by readers are a little edgy, but to use a shooting metaphor you created a pretty large target by the sentence I quoted. A "Rogue Nation" is a diminutive, very provocative, you're carpet-bombing in your verbiage, yet castigate responders. Knowing how controversial ANYTHING distantly related to the trigger word "Gun" is, it hardly seems just that you want to "control" what was obviously going to be a chain reaction. Words, as Plato alluded to in The Republic's Allegory of The Cave, are mere shadows of reality, of the things they intend to explain, they shouldn't be confused with the thing itself. You keep hitting America's emotional buttons using wide-swathed words, picking fights, then you shouldn't be castigating but engaging. You can't have your cake and eat it too, act like "Wow, now why are they reacting that way." American's feel righteous about criticizing other American's, it's our most precious right: The 1st Amendment Free Speech gig. Surely you're not going to respond and say you didn't intend to insult us? Ragging on us as "Rogue" might sound funny when written by the author, but until such a pollyanna and perhaps impossible time as we see that borders are barriers to world-wide peace (like John Lennon's IMAGINE) then nation's remain sovereign. Using inflammatory rhetoric then acting indignant is beneath your superior intelligence, and DJ I KNOW in my heart that you're as bright a person as I've ever read. The Law of Unintended Consequences is one thing, your verbal assault weapons, your mind-shattering choice of words is an oral version of an AK-47. So these responses are intentionally provoked by you. Intent is 9 of the 10 points of criminal law, and I feel you're guilty of being disengenuous---You keeping picking fights with your neighbors, demeaning us generically, when we are in fact a broad spectrum of people and interests. I'd have to say that I'm getting uncomfortable reading about how f---ked up my country is by a non-resident. I could start a column, call it "Eh, hoser, eh, want some Moosehead and a doughnut, eh?" or something, but that would be like starting a column in the USA called "Black Sambo's Pithy Oreo Aphorisms" or something, very PC, sell a lot of ad space to the KKK or Aryan Brotherhood, but being denigrating to Blacks. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you do it. You beg the question(s) then act stunned or outraged by our responses. So you intentionally pick fights with a nation you consider a bully, a country so violent it's destabilizing the continent and the world, then claim you're trying to socially reform or educate us by holding up a mirror. How's that working for you, DJ? To paraphrase the CAPITAL ONE credit card commercial, "What's in YOUR mirror, DJ?"

Roger: See my response to Curley, 1012am for clarification. Further: One reader has recommended I read a book by Abigail Kohn, Shooters: Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures As soon as I get a copy I'll read it and write a review, giving me a second opinion to offer you and my readers and critics.


Joe February 28, 2010 11:01 pm (Pacific time)

I'll just add that this carrying openly thing is more of a political statement and likely to be seen mostly in groups supporting a cause. I'm in an open carry state but I never see this happen in general public around the state. I think most firearm owners realize it actually makes them a target. Now everyone knows you've got something of value, they know right where it is, and they know they can use it against you or others if they feel they can get at it. I believe they know that it stands out and everyone around is aware of it. The owner then has to be very cautious not to get into a situation where it could be used against them. This is why you'll see groups such as in your photo at an event but rarely see a lone individual walking around town openly displaying a firearm. I can't speak for those that do but support their right to do so. I doubt you will find this in the daily grind as taking an armed robbery scenario as an example...do you really want to be identified immediately as the greatest threat to the suspect when he walks in? Probably not.


Joe February 28, 2010 10:42 pm (Pacific time)

LOL I don't really need a seat belt or airbag to feel safe but why not? There's feeling and there is reality. "I don't need to own a gun to feel safe." I feel safe 99.7% of the time. However it's been proven time and time again that violence does happen and there aren't enough police officers to shadow you and protect you everywhere you go. So I really don't see why someone not legally prohibited from having a firearm shouldn't have the ability to protect themselves if it becomes necessary. Heck, someone broke into my car and I didn't realize it until I was at it. They had decided to come back for seconds and didn't expect to find me there so he pulled a gun on me. Almost as quickly I pulled mine and rolled to the back of the trunk. As he saw it I heard him say "f-this!" and he turned and ran down the street. He was as lucky as I was since the threat was then gone so I didn't need to fire. Regardless --I guess if you're ever out camping and someone decides they want your money, SUV, and decide to rape your significant other and you can close your eyes and repeat to yourself: "I don't need to own a gun to feel safe."..."I don't need to own a gun to feel safe."... Great that you feel that way but I'd just assume have the possibility of preventing a situation like that. That kind of thing does happen and they don't always leave witnesses behind. I'm not going to go cite the specific articles but I assure you I've seen numerous cases similar to that in the news over the years. Is it that minority threat that causes me to carry? Not at all. It's really no burden to me to be prepared so I can't seem to convince myself I've lost any freedom as you suggest. It's really not the Old West you know. Say someone wants to rob a bank and there's 5 people in their with concealed handgun permits. Chances are nobody will do a thing or let on. They'll let the suspect take the money and go. Take the same scenario with a disgruntled bank employee and they start systemically shooting people. Probably any one of those 5 would take the suspect down to protect the other individuals in an instant. The fact is, when that decision is made and the suspect starts it will be all over before help can arrive. Paranoid? Nope. What is that saying? "You're not paranoid if they really are out to get you". I do sense some paranoia here. But it sounds a lot more like "Everyone with a gun is out to start a gunfight" to me.


Marc February 28, 2010 9:32 pm (Pacific time)

"I would think you would put more effort into making your society work rather than being prepared for the fallout because it doesn't work and you don't do anything about it." You insult me, sir. I most certainly do work towards a more civilized society. However, that does not at all change the fact that the society we live in now is not perfect and is not entirely civilized.

I apologize you feel insulted. That was not my intention. I was thinking of priorities and would think that helping to make society work would be a priority which it is in your case; it just hadn't come across earlier.


beatbox February 28, 2010 9:26 pm (Pacific time)

You ask the wrong question. It should be "Why do people feel the need to defend themselves against others?"

I have asked that question numerous times in contrasting America with other developed nations. So the question I've asked is why do Americans feel the need to defend themselves against others (fellow citizens) when the same feeling is pretty well non-existent in other developed nations--certainly here in Canada it is not that kind of issue. Of course we have crime and violence but we obviously don't see it the same way as Americans.


greenfloyd February 28, 2010 9:18 pm (Pacific time)

You wrote, in response to the question of what instability you were referring to, "The additional instability of having a bunch of people running around with guns." With all due respect I don't think you answered the question. So, Exactly what "instability to society" is caused by people peacefully carrying guns?

Peaceful, yes, but the potential for violence and instability is always there when so much of the social fabric is unravelling. I just read today that in Nevada, as only one state, the current unemployment rate is 13% and 70 percent of the homeowners are underwater. Without social cohesion in America--All Americans are patriotic in support of the soldiers gone off to war, but there is little sign of patriotism to fellow Americans--Nevada, the victims of Katrina many of whom who are still suffering and will never be able to put their lives back together, and 40 odd million Americans with no health insurance and even those that do have it, are just one serious illness or accident away from bankruptcy. Throw in 300 million guns around the country. Get my drift?


ShaneD February 28, 2010 8:48 pm (Pacific time)

"1. I see gun-carrying as a form of paranoia." Are using smoke detectors a form of paranoia? Are wearing seat belts? I have a 72-hour Red Cross emergency--is that paranoia? We all take actions to mitigate potential risk even if the probability is low when the cost of being unprepared is potentially very high. It is not paranoia; it is simply preparedness. "2. By carrying a gun, people believe they are exercising their freedom..." Again, this is just risk management. Hikers often carry bells or other noisemakers to ward away bears? This allows them to more safely hike. Are they losing freedom to the bears and other predators? Or do they only lose freedom if they choose to also pack a shotgun as additional defense. "3. They are also saying—civilized society does not work..." Not really. They are more saying that civilization is imperfect, and it is an individual's responsibility to ensure their own safety. Police and society will be around to pick up the pieces, but they can not respond to threats as readily as you can. This is especially true in rural areas. We have one police station with one care for several towns. Firearms and defense is, realistically, only one small part of it that is often over-emphasized. First aid and emergency supplies are also things everyone should have. "4. I am really trying to understand what is behind the gun mentality." It about individual responsibility and self sufficiency. It extends to things beyond mere firearm ownership, but that is probably most emotionally visible for you. "You don’t see citizens in Canada...pushing for gun ownership on a wide, or even narrow, scale" Expand your horizons a bit. I am Canadian. "Perhaps it’s time for pro-gun people to seriously examine why they believe what they believe." Perhaps it is time for you to examine why you think firearm ownership is socially negative? Where has expanding open or concealed carry rights actually created social problems? It is easy to hand wave at "instability" or the "Wild West" (the popular concept of which is entirely a Hollywood construction), but what basis does this really have? I think you are projecting what you believe gun owners think instead of what they really do. If you want to really understand there is a good book called "Shooters: myths and realities of America's gun cultures" by Kohn which is probably a good place to start to perhaps answer some of your questions.

Thank you. I just read the introduction to the Kohn book online and will track it down and read it as soon as I can. In the interest of balance, it's the kind of book I should write up in a review.


Clyde February 28, 2010 7:59 pm (Pacific time)

It seem Mr. Johnson is a victim of his own mentality. Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" comes to mind, and he is simply watching the shadows on the wall from his Canadian lair.


Kenneth Garland February 28, 2010 7:41 pm (Pacific time)

You asked for a link to a case in which the Supreme Court has ruled that police have no "duty" or "obligation" to protect individual citizens. Here you are: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/28scotus.html . This has been a very controversial issue in the United States, but there are many others like it. Essentially, as American citizens, personal protection really IS up to us.


A US Gun Owner February 28, 2010 7:26 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Mr. Johnson,  Since you asked for a citation, you can start by reading the 1989 US Supreme Court decisions in DeShaney v. Winnebago County. In that decision, the court held that "The [due process] Clause is phrased as a limitation on the State's power to act, not as a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security; while it forbids the State itself to deprive individuals of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, its language cannot fairly be read to impose an affirmative obligation on the State to ensure that those interests do not come to harm through other means."  Another major decision is a 1981 DC Court of Appeal decision in Warren v. DC which states "....DC appears to follow the well established rule that official police personnel and the government employing them are generally not liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection." The court goes on to explain "The creation of direct, personal accountability between each government employee and every member of the community would effectively bring the business of government to a speedy halt."  In case you are thinking that these are 20 and 30 year old decisions and surely we must have evolved in the intervening years, I would direct you to the 2005 US Supreme Court decision in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, which again reaffirms that the government does not have a duty to protect any particular individual, even in the presence of a court order of protection.


Jon February 28, 2010 7:36 pm (Pacific time)

My fiancée likes to have the choice of a legal abortion. She doesn't have to get one. She does not live in constant fear that her birth control might fail. There is a small chance it will. Should I remove her right to have that option? It's her choice. I don't want the government teaching creationism in my schools. If they want to read about religion then they could chose to go to a library. I choose to carry a gun. It's not someone else's choice as to what I choose to do about my personal protection. It is a tool that I have, should I need it. I never want to pull a gun on another human being. I do acknowledge that I might have to in order to protect myself and the ones I love. I don't live in constant fear that someone is going to try to kill me. I have a gun on my desk as I type this but my concentration is on this post, not the unlikely case of a home invasion. I don't have a hero mentality and accusing all gun owners of having that mentality is stereotyping. It's funny you should mention such a quote from Plato's Apology as I just finished reading it. You seem to imply that pro-gun people are incapable of self-reflection. You dismissed many comments here as “arrogance”. Are you seriously examining what you believe? Perhaps “civilized society” isn't really so civilized. Can it be? Perhaps if we truly knew the pious from the impious. But that would just be retreading an ancient dialogue. Here are those links you wanted. In the US the police are not liable for a citizen's personal protection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Rock_v._Gonzales http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia


Al February 28, 2010 4:11 pm (Pacific time)

"I have to wonder, though: you say "I recognize that there are evil and violent people in the world". This reflects back on my assessment of American society being "scary". You seem to have that feeling and it's not a feeling that exists to any significant degree in other developed countries--certainly not here in Canada."  I am not concerned with what happens up in der Canada eh. I am concerned about where I live, which is the USA. There are people here who do not wish to participate in "civilized society" as you put it, and whether or not you choose to realize it, there are people like that everywhere, even in Canada. It is because of this that I choose to arm myself. You saying that because Americans choose to arm themselves, the police forces should be abolished. That is absolutely absurd. While it is true that the vast majority of violent crime happens in a situation where the police are not, and cannot, within reason, be present, there is still a large amount of non-violent crime that are a police matter, and not that of an armed citizen. The only reason a firearm is carried is to protect oneself from things the police cannot.  What you're talking about happens so rarely in Canada that it's not worth the additional instability in society to have a bunch of armed people running around, even if it is legal."  Why does a legally armed, responsible individual automatically induce civil instability? "Thanks for your comment. You've given me a new insight into the gun mentality. It's men who want to be heroes or to be part of a company of heroes."  What an ignorant, stupid comment. I'm not even going to waste my time responding to something like this.  If there were no criminals, would you still "choose" to carry a firearm? That's my point. The potential existence of criminals (you never know where they are or what they might do) doesn't give you the choice to carry or not carry. You seem to believe you have no choice but to carry. Ergo, pseudo-freedom."  If there were no criminals, I probably wouldn't carry everyday. The only problem with that is that it is purely fantasy. There is no such thing as no criminals, period. It is not "potential existence of criminals", there is the existence of criminals, everywhere. The chances of me having to ever use my firearm to protect myself, or others is very, very slim, but as long as there is the slightest chance of somebody causing me harm, I will carry. I will not be a victim.  You're confirming another one of my observations. People who carry guns don't believe that civil society works or can work. Why are you not advocating for the dissolution of police forces as I said in my article? You believe that in society it's every man for himself (which is fundamentally an American attitude) so why not?"  Civil society cannot work because you simply cannot rid society of every bad person. Anybody who believes so is living in a fantasy land. It would be fantastic if that were the case, but it isn't. Like I said earlier, the abolishment of police forces is ludicrous. Believe it or not, not every armed American is some lunatic looking for every single chance to shoot someone. No crime committed can be dealt with by an armed citizen, they armed to prevent them from being a victim of a crime. It is the job of the police to deal with the perpetrator of the crime, and any other crimes that are committed. It is far from every man for himself. What you fail to understand is that it is impossible for the police to be everywhere, and it is the responsibility of the armed citizen to look after himself, and others and try to protect them from things the police cannot.


greenfloyd February 28, 2010 2:38 pm (Pacific time)

You wrote, "I guess that's the difference between here and there. What you're talking about happens so rarely in Canada that it's not worth the additional instability in society to have a bunch of armed people running around, even if it is legal."  What "additional instability" are you referring to?

The additional instability of having a bunch of people running around with guns.


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

I have examined what I believe. I believe if anyone threatens family, I will do whatever it takes to protect them. I am proud to live in a country that gives me the right to use a firearm for that protection if I so choose. Rogue nation? Interesting that millions of people each year chose to move to this rogue nation....including a large number of Canadiens. Also interesting that your own Prime Minister chose this rogue nation to take care of him when he needed heart surgery.

Well, Mike, I hate to break the bad news to you but you're just another ignorant American. We're Canadians, not "Canadiens" and our Prime Minister did not head south for heart surgery. It was Danny Williams, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. But then I wouldn't expect you to know what you're talking about.


Jake February 28, 2010 6:53 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel, Please stay out of the USA if it frightens you. If we have a negative affect on your culture perhaps you shouldn't watch Hollywood movies. Stick to the Red Green show. What do you think about your leftwing brothers in the USA making money glorifying violence in music and movies?


Mills February 28, 2010 6:44 pm (Pacific time)

Congrats that according to you Canadians have more freedom than we Americans. Possibly you can have your political leaders demand that we cease all joint miltary operations and other American born costs we have provided for you up there. Regarding the photograph accompanying this article, is there a context to it? Maybe they were finishing up a gun safety course? Rarely have I seen people wearing sidearms unless it was at a function that included some type of training program. For example to have families together after a gun safty class for children, it is not uncommon to have a social function later to get some feedback from the participants. Glad you feel safe where you live, I also not only feel safe, but statistically live in one of the safest locations in the country, and the world, but I still carry a concealed handgun. My background is that of a Vietnam combat vet, but I stayed away from hunting and guns in general upon returning stateside in the late 1960's. After the 9/11 attack, my sense of security became shaken, as it did for millions of us. I see that your legal system just sentenced some home grown terrorists, my hope is that you don't take a hit like we did, or worse. As far as your safety, do your police carry firearms? Are you familiar with gunownership laws in the UK and Australia? My guess is that you never served in the military and have never gotten familiar with rifles or handguns, they really are safe for those who have been trained in their use.

Go back to the article and you'll see the link to the article by Brian McCambie. He gives the context and background to the picture.

And I'll just add that you're a typical ignorant American who knows little or nothing beyond your borders. Do our police carry firearms? Ask Google.


alx February 28, 2010 6:20 pm (Pacific time)

You make a good point there joel. How could a Canadian possibly understand "American" freedom? Only those who grew up in the US could understand freedom the way you do. Only those whose minds were conditioned to believe in US freedom since they were in diapers could be so gullible. Do you really think you are free? Free from what? True freedom is a state of mind. It doesn't exist in any legally protected way. You don't have rights. You only have privileges. I think freedom is too abstract for you. I think it passed you by a long time ago. You missed out man...


Robert February 28, 2010 6:09 pm (Pacific time)

why in the world are you lecturing another country on their gun laws, of all things? you make it sound as if there is no crime in canada and it only we would follow your lead we'd be in paradise too. please talk to me about your 'freedom' when crime is absent and everyone is safe to walk the streets. until then, why don't you spend some time with local victims and talk to them about how great society is.

In terms of safety we have it pretty good here in Canada. Because American culture has such a dominant, often negative, effect on what happens here in Canada, it behooves Canadians to understand your culture a much as possible.


Jerome February 28, 2010 5:39 pm (Pacific time)

Hello Mr. Johnson,
The U.S. Supreme Court has definitively ruled that no U.S citizen has any expectation of protection from the police against any danger.I know that you think that people who find themselves victimized by other people should whimper and comply, die if necessary, to confirm your magnanimity and bonhomie. In my own case, for my own interest, I choose to be prepared to resist an assault and I don't really care what you think of me for doing so.

I would be very interested in getting a link to that ruling. Thanks.


James February 28, 2010 5:20 pm (Pacific time)

I do not believe civil society works, you're correct. Thats why our jails are overcrowded, gang activity continues to grow and drugs are becoming more and more popular. There are violent people everywhere, not just here in america. I choose to protect my life, and the lives of my family members. I appreciate the police and the difficult job they do, but I do not have the illusion that they will be there the second I make an emergency call. As long as criminals carry firearms, I will continue to carry as well.


Anthony February 28, 2010 5:03 pm (Pacific time)

Sir, The Canadian frontiers were first settled by the excellent Royal Canadian Mounted Police, not so the frontiers of the fledgling United States. As America expanded, citizens used their firearms to provide both food and protection. Not much has changed in the American citizen's mind. Americans look to themselves first for protection against violence, the government second. In the United States, when seconds count the police are minutes away. I wish you peace in your life.

I wish no ill of any Americans (except Republicans on whom I wish boils and locusts) but our foundings were completely different. The border at the 49th parallel was established after the Jay Treaty of 1794 and finalized in 1818. The British then moved into West and peacefully settled the land, making provisions for the native Indians through treaties. They weren't treated fairly, but at least the British didn't try to exterminate them as the Americans did with their native Indian population. After that American expansionism involved taking over land from others. I suppose the violence of the country's growth just became became ingrained in the national psyche.


Roger von Bütow February 28, 2010 4:55 pm (Pacific time)

DJ: Good on you, brother, I was just trying to be pithy and pull your chain a little down there at the deep end of the pool. Working Socrates into gun control takes some heavy lifting! :+) :+) :+) Speaking of which, you sure got a lots of pissed off people down there in that area of the pool, think I'll go back to the shallow end and fight with eco-criminals. The responses I'm reading make me think that you hopefully have an unlisted address or something. Maybe the computer keyboard is mightier than the AK-47? Shades of why Sock (Socrates) was asked if he'd rather commit suicide (death of the soul in his day) or be executed by the City of Athens. Some of these responses have me thinking that the NRA should include a cup of hemlock with every automatic weapon, their choices of weapons shouldn't include indiscriminate death dealing potential like these autos. I have a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver I got to protect myself from a psycho who was on an increasing arc of violence here in Laguna 12 years ago, of course I didn't know he was on that increase until our paths crossed, he started stalking and/or confronting me wherever I saw him. I just happened to catch him when he had peaked (he had been in bar fights, pulled a knife on a bouncer at a local bar, etc.). He pulled a small bore rifle out of his car on me (no witnesses), then two weeks later tried to run over me with his car. That time I had a witness, a woman I didn't know. They searched for him for days, no one had a current address. He finally got arrested for ADW (the car), pled down to Reckless Driving (geez), spent 90 days in jail. I got that revolver for my own safety as I felt the 5 year restraining order I received wouldn't stop this maniac---But 6 heavy grain hollow points would.

After he got out, I ran into him, he pointed his fingers as if a gun and mouthed BANG BANG! So I yelled at him: "C'mon motherf---ker, over to my house, asshole, I haven't moved. I've got Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson waiting. If you wanna die, I'll gladly oblige you."

Then I laughed at him. He left town a few months later. I shot that pistol at a local range every year for about 6-7 years subsequently, it's now put away untouched for 5 at least. See Restraining Orders won't stop s---t, but I gotta admit, I felt more confident and less fear having one. Now I'm trying to remember where I keep it, oh yeah, under my desk. It has about 300 rounds of ammo in case Iran drops the big one and anarchy rules. Not sure what my point is other than to share that there's nuances, difficulties depending on the situation, and if humans feel that basic threat, to their lives, then the biological drives take over. I wasn't going to live in fear and let him assault my entire lifestyle. Kind of like the question, What Would Jesus Do?, I'm not sure what my hero Socrates would, but he's not around so I chose to arm myself so that my stalker wouldn't harm me or my girlfriend without dying himself. maybe that's a false macho assumption, I am a former Marine, I fired the weapon a lot both left and right handed, both with and without my glasses, so I guess I felt it was the lesser of evils---The alternative being dead myself.

I didn't even mention gun control. What I was trying to do was get some reasoned responses (not screeds) so I could understand the gun mentality. Your case is specific. I'm more interested in the gun people who want to be armed just in case.


Anonymous February 28, 2010 4:55 pm (Pacific time)

So why do you (publicly) ask for rebuttals, when you aren't prepared to publish them? Typical- thank you for wasting my time.

I see you've made a couple of comments. I just haven't got to them, yet. I'm doing that now.


Bruce B February 28, 2010 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson.....why dont you just stick to what works in Canada....and we will stick to our individual freedoms in the United States....please keep your beliefs and your laws out of my Country.

If the U.S. didn't have and continues to have such a negative impact on Canada, it would be good advice. But America is a rogue nation and really can't be trusted. Even many Americans acknowledge that reality. It's those people that appreciate what I write. In your case, take your freedom, and don't read my stuff.


Clyde February 28, 2010 4:49 pm (Pacific time)

I'm an American citizen and proud gun owner/carrier. I'm also a very well trained martial artist. I have a right to carry a gun, not a need, the same could be said for my extensive martial art training. You see, we cannot forsee the future, and having the best tools available for any emergency is quite simply the prudent thing to do. I'm assuming you have a fire extinguisher in your home or office, if so, why? Are you expecting a fire? Do you wear a seatbelt in your car or put on a helmet and protective riding gear when on a motorcyle? If so, why, are you expecting to crash your car or lay down your motorcycle? The mindset of most American gun owners is simple, prepare for the worst and hope for the best, not paranoia.

Believing that every person you meet might be aiming to do you harm is anti-social, pure and simple. No other word for it but that's an attitude that is built into your culture. Look at Katrina. That was an act of nature and people are still suffering from it. The rest of America has forgotten about them and just don't care.


Kenneth Garland February 28, 2010 4:35 pm (Pacific time)

To address your points in order: 1) I do not see carrying a firearm as "paranoia" at all. As others have mentioned, we wear seatbelts when we drive vehicles. Does that mean we are "paranoid" that we will be involved in an automobile accident? Do not confuse prudence with paranoia. 2) I live my life without fear of criminals specifically because I DO have access to a firearm at all times. Criminals do not dictate my choices, and neither does the fact that I carry a firearm. I do not fear leaving my wife and child at home when I am out of town on business, specifically because she has access to and knows how to properly utilize a firearm. We take other precautions as well, such as sturdy doors and locks, an alarm system, and motion-activated security lights. Again, this is not "paranoia," it is prudence and common sense. It is an extra layer of protection against an unlikely, but very possible eventuality: violent crime. 3) Civilized society does indeed work, for the most part. But again, that does not mean that we have no individual responsibilities for our own safety or security. Where I live, the response time for police is around four (4) minutes. Assuming I am able to dial the emergency number, four minutes is still an eternity in the event of a home invasion or violent encounter. I am Red Cross certified in CPR and First Aid, but I do not call for the dissolution of Fire and Ambulance services. I am capable of purchasing bottled water, but I do not call for the dissolution of the Water and Sewer service. These are services, provided to us by our government. They are not always perfect. As responsible citizens, we do what we can to look after ourselves. Most Americans abhor the idea of relying on the government for everything, but such is not the case in many other countries and cultures. Finally, it is obvious to me that the principle of the matter is lost on you. Our Constitution guarantees us certain liberties. Our Constitution is designed specifically to protect us from a tyrannical or authoritarian government. Americans are not gun-crazed, wild-eyed killers. We are not cowboys. We do not spend our weekends drilling with militias and digging fallout shelters beneath our houses. We are the most productive and powerful nation, culture, and country in the history of the world. That success is a direct result of our Declaration of Independence from Britain and the creation of a Constitution that nearly every democracy since has used to model its own. Your personal worldview may be that firearms are unnecessary, and you may have a forum through which to share your views, but the truth of the matter is that you are ignorant. I do not mean this as an insult or an attack. I mean simply that you do not understand what it is that makes America the anomaly that it is. We value liberty, we value security, and we value independence. Firearms guarantee us all of those things. Is there a downside? Do we experience some firearms-related crime? Yes. But is "security" in the form of the banishment of firearms worth the price of "liberty" that they protect? Absolutely not - at least, for most of us.


Rick February 28, 2010 3:58 pm (Pacific time)

Sir, you wrote: "Thanks for your reasoned comment. I have to wonder, though: you say "I recognise that there are evil and violent people in the world". This reflects back on my assessment of American society being "scary". You seem to have that feeling and it's not a feeling that exists to any signficant degree in other developed countries--certainly not here in Canada." Whatever the viewpoint you may hold regarding American society and the attitude of Americans such as myself, the fact of aggresively violent people in this and every society is fact. I think the pertainent point here is that you yourself do not feel that the posibility of a violent confrontation is reason enough to take responsiblity for the protection of yourself and your loved ones... so be it, that is your choice. That such a possiblity exists cannot be denied. You choose to "play the odds" as you percieve them to be, and assume that chance favors you. I simply do not accept that I may as a responsible adult dismiss ANY chance of a violent encounter, no matter how remote that chance may be today, or any time in the future. Again, I wish you all the best. We all must make choices, my choice is to have the means and ability to protect myself if that occasion ever comes.


Tim February 28, 2010 3:50 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Mr. Johnson: Do you wear a seat-belt every time you get behind the wheel, or only when you plan on getting in an accident? You say "If there were no criminals..." please. You and I know that this will never happen. Violent crime has been around since man first invented the club, and will never go away. Knowing this, one has basically two options: 1. Arm yourself with a firearm(s), train accordingly, and sleep soundly at night, and refuse to be a victim of violent crime, or 2. Rely on the goodness of others (scoff) and leave yourself and your family as a target for whatever scumbag decides to target your house for a little rape, robbery and perhaps murder, which you see all of the time in the news. Yeah, as a free American I know what option I am, and do, choose. You can call it paranoid; I call it living in the real world. Violent crime DOES happen to good, law-abiding people. It's happening right now. Are you prepared to handle it if it happens to you, (and don't think you're immune?) I am.


Doug February 28, 2010 3:28 pm (Pacific time)

A lot of what you see is the fight for gun rights. If gun owners didn't feel threatened with disarmament, you'd not see as much in-your-face carry. Most would prefer concealed carry, never used.


Bob February 28, 2010 3:13 pm (Pacific time)

I find it a bit odd how preoccupied Canadians are with aspects of U.S. culture they disagree with. You don't like guns, thats fine, I'm perfectly OK with that, as are most U.S. citizens. Right prior to the 2nd amendment guaranteeing our right to own firearms, the 1st amendment guarantees the rights of others to write about how much they dislike the 2nd amendment. Fortunately, the Constitution here isn't an ala carte menu. If you stay on your side of the fence, it's unlikely that you'll attend a picnic and face the horror of seeing a law abiding gun owner. I'll stay on my side of the fence and not have to endure hours of hockey on TV where grown men beat on each other with sticks.

Fair trade, yes?

Because America is such an intrusive culture, it behooves us Canadians to resist as much as possible.


Marc February 28, 2010 3:12 pm (Pacific time)

I have a CHL and legally carry a gun. I carry, not because I think that civilized society can't work, but because the truth is that it doesn't. Not yet. There IS evil in the world. As long as there are humans, I'm fairly certain there will be evil. Worse, there are people who just don't care, people who will happily kill you for enough money to buy a couple of beers. That is simply the reality of the world, here in America, up there in Canada, across the pond in Europe, etc. We live in the world as it actually is, not as we would like it to be, therefor I protect myself with tools that work in the real world.

I would think you would put more effort into making your society work rather than being prepared for the fallout because it doesn't work and you don't do anything about it.


Greg February 28, 2010 3:08 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson. If you WOULD read the constitution and study American history you would find that owning a gun has little to do with self defense and everything to do with protecting oneself from an oppressive government.

Sir, you are not a free citizen and yes I do fear.. I fear that in the future I will not be free and neither shall my children.

I do not believe I am the center of the universe but my country (which I have served for the last 18 years) is the center of freedom for this world.

By the way? how safe would you be if America had not been involved in WW2. Because of England's confiscatory gun ban America had to send guns over there so your beloved queen and her subjects could defend themselves. If it was not for Winston Churchill and the American soldier you would be speaking German.

Tell me more about England's "confiscatory gun ban". As for America being the "center of freedom for this world", I think you've spent too much time drinking George W. Bush's Kool-Aid.


Bryan February 28, 2010 3:04 pm (Pacific time)

You wrote, "I guess that's the difference between here and there. What you're talking about happens so rarely in Canada that it's not worth the additional instability in society to have a bunch of armed people running around, even if it is legal.". I would like to point out that it was in Canada that the guy on the bus beheaded the other passenger in front of the rest of the passengers. I believe that it is in Canada, where all these severed feet are washing ashore. Just because you don't hear about it doesn't mean it doesn't happen- Canada is plenty violent, as is the UK (well, actually, all of Europe).

You can't use exceptions to prove a rule. The bus beheading was so bizarre that I doubt that anything like that has ever happened anywhere in the world outside the Islamic countries. And severed feet? Eight in two years, seven off BC and one off Washington. And it happened in 2007/08. The authorities can even agree if foul play is involved. May be related to UFOs.


David Keough February 28, 2010 2:55 pm (Pacific time)

Hello, as a person who owns firearms I don't regard myself as afraid. I lived in states where even though we have the right to conceal and carry you'll find no one carrying like in the western days. Now, I have a CHL, that does not mean that I live in fear all the time. I have feel many who may want to get a CHL, so as they will have the option to carry. Many may feel a need after working hours for needed protection. Law enforcement stands behind CHL holders. CHL holders go through extensive background checks. As I have. For me that means Federal check. And I have yet to see people carrying weapons openly. It's wrong to classify Americans as afraid, or we love in fear, because we choose to own weapons. In regards to the suicide, this is do to depression. If he used a gun? A razor? Or if he overdosed on medication. Depression is something to be taken serious. I'm sure you feel the same. As a friend once told me, after he attended a funeral of a young women who killed herself. Why I asked, did she do this, my friend simply said some may find solutions, where other may not. This gentleman may have found no solution. If his career didn't take off he should have tried something else. I lean more towards God, I know aviation for me is what I know. It may seem like all I know. But like my friend ounce mentioned, some people find solutions. For me God is such a solution.


Joel February 28, 2010 2:48 pm (Pacific time)

Its obvious from your responses that you dont care to be enlightened at all. Many of the comments made are quite valid and would more than likely pass the "common sense" test. The individual who stated that scores of people who have saved lives or stopped violent crime was trying to illustrate that they would have been unable to do so if unarmed. You however make a condescening comment that they want to be "heros" (implying they are searching for acceptance or something). The fact that what the poster detailed is accurate and innocent people were helped, doesnt have any impact on you. You'd prefer they were injured, hurt, killed.. It would feed more appropriately into "your ideology". I'll save you some trouble.. As a Canadian you simply cannot be expected to understand American freedom. It is a shame, however a reality. Not sure why you care though?

You are a good example of what I wrote about in my last piece, the Tyranny of the American mind. Unless I believe what you believe, I can't possibly be enlightened. It's American arrogance, believing they are the centre of the universe.


Bryan February 28, 2010 2:43 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson, I would begin by pointing out some things that I can say with relative certainty, namely, that I am fairly certain that you utilize seatbelts while you are in a moving vehicle. Is it because you don't trust our paramedics or doctors? I can say with a lesser degree of certainty, that I suppose that you have one or more fire extinguishers in your residence. If so, then why? A fire extinguisher can certainly be used as a weapon, and besides, we have fire departments in virtually every community in America. Your diatribe presupposes that a gun owner lives in fear. On the contrary; there are not a whole lot of situations I find myself in where I would describe myself as 'afraid'. I would never go to a place where I felt that I 'needed' to be armed- if that's the case, I'll either stay home or go somewhere else. Furthermore, you also assume that the only danger that exists has two legs. Aside from my own personal experience with vicious animals, every couple days I read again and again of good people getting mauled and/or killed by all types of animals. It is me who feels sorry for you, in that you don't seem to have anybody in your life that you feel is worth protecting. Carrying a firearm responsibly is a big pain- it is heavy, uncomfortable, expensive, and carries a tremendous amount of personal risk. I really hope that you haven't deluded yourself into thinking that I or anyone does it because it's 'fun', because it's not. There are dozens of kitschy little phrases relating to gun ownership, but the one that stands out in my mind is that it's better to have the need-nots than it is to need the have-nots. I am no more dangerous to you with my holstered firearm, than I am with a large screwdriver, a can of lawnmower fuel or (gasp!) a motor vehicle. I sincerely hope that you never have to feel the burning sting of regret, knowing that you should have done something to protect someone you care about, but found yourself unable to because you allowed yourself to fall into a mindset that 'it could never happen to me'. It could. It does. Hundreds if not thousands of times every day.


Adam February 28, 2010 2:43 pm (Pacific time)

Maybe I can help. 1. I don't carry a gun because I'm paranoid. I carry a gun because a police officer is too heavy and he/she takes to long to get here if I need to call them. Crimes happen anywhere to anyone and I want to be able to defend myself. Do you keep a fire extinguisher in the house on the off chance that a fire is started? I do and I also keep a gun on me because of the ever so small chance that someone chooses to hurt me. I really really hope I never ever have to use it. Same goes for my fire extinguisher. 2. I don't really have a response. Nothing in my daily life is changed by carrying a handgun. I just do it with a handgun on my hip. I go the same places I always go and do the same things I've always done. Just like I have keys to my car and my cell phone at all times. 3. Police officers are not everywhere. There are many small towns and unincorporated areas that do not have a police force. People who choose to live in these areas are pretty much on their own when it comes to protecting their family. They might have a county sheriff that will show up in an hour or so but until then, they need to be able to defend themselves. 4. I also see a lot of murder being committed in some of those areas. England has just recently presented a bill (if that's what it would be called there) to ban knives with sharp points because they were being used in too many crimes. Guns are not what make a criminal commit a crime. Besides this, the definition of a criminal involves disobeying laws, so if we make a law against handgun ownership, why would the criminal follow it? He's a criminal.


Rick February 28, 2010 2:39 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson, If I may offer a response to your question...I am an American who owns several firearms, including defensive semi-automatic handguns. I do not have a permit to carry a handgun, so I do not do so. In the future I may obtain such a permit. If you feel it sufficient to entrust the protection of your life and wellbeing to law enforcement, then more power to you, I wish you all the best. As for myself, I recognise that there are evil and violent people in the world and I choose to place a high value on my own well-being. For this reason I recognize that when confronted with violent force, the police are at best minutes away. Much can occur in the space of a few minutes. I choose to take responsibility for my own safety. I very much hope that I will never find myself in a situation where the application of deadly force is needed to deter an act of violence, but I choose to have the practiced ability to do so if that situation should ever come to pass. I wish all the best for you and your readers.

Thanks for your reasoned comment. I have to wonder, though: you say "I recognise that there are evil and violent people in the world". This reflects back on my assessment of American society being "scary". You seem to have that feeling and it's not a feeling that exists to any signficant degree in other developed countries--certainly not here in Canada.


greenfloyd February 28, 2010 2:24 pm (Pacific time)

Opps, I just noticed the link under the image and I was incorrect, it's not an "anonymous photograph." Sorry.


T.D. February 28, 2010 2:22 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson, If you were as steeped in world history as you say you are then surely you would know of the heinous acts committed on the centenary of the world after gun confiscations. If not let me direct you to 1929 Russia,1938 Germany, 1935 China, 1970 Uganda and 1956 Cambodia to start.

Germany before WWII was a special case (see William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, but give me an example among any developed nations. There are none. Guns have never had to be confiscated in Canada, the UK, the EU countries after 1950 because there hasn't been widespread or significant gun ownership and we non-American citizens are as free or more free than any American.


Anonymous February 28, 2010 2:14 pm (Pacific time)

Let me get this straight---So if you and I are ever in a restaurant, movie theater, etc... together and a gunman comes in and opens fire, shooting innocent people (like Va tech for example) and I am sitting there with my legally owned, concealed firearm and I have the means to take the guy out before he kills you, you prefer I just sit there and take no action? I bet when such a moment ever happened, you would change your mind.

I guess that's the difference between here and there. What you're talking about happens so rarely in Canada that it's not worth the additional instability in society to have a bunch of armed people running around, even if it is legal.


greenfloyd February 28, 2010 2:11 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Daniel Johnson, I think the overt act of carrying a sidearm is a natural response to the dramatic decline in the rule of law. People want to feel safe and have a right to defend themselves. It's only noticeable because it has become something of a rarity. It was once common. Rather than projecting or speculating based on an apparently anonymous photograph, it might be more productive to focus on renewing our collective efforts to "make the world a better place." Thank you for all your good work.


Mills February 28, 2010 2:10 pm (Pacific time)

It seems that your opinion of Americans that own guns is an opinion that is most likely shared by those who have no impact on the status quo. I carry a gun, concealed, and have done so for quite some time now. Curious, have you ever done any research on how gunowners like me, there are tens of millions of us by the way, have saved lives and stopped violent crimes because we carry guns? In regards to your academic training in "world history," have you ever done much world traveling and lived in various parts of the world to see if your academic training matches up with the reality of going to different world locations and use the resources at those locations to study that locale's history?

Thanks for your comment. You've given me a new insight into the gun mentality. It's men who want to be heroes or to be part of a company of heroes.


Anonymous February 28, 2010 2:07 pm (Pacific time)

I'll keep this brief. First off.. you claim I have lost freedoms since my paranoia "dictates how I live my life". Freedom is having the CHOICE to carry a firearm. In the quasi- socialist places you talk about (Canada, Great Britain, rest of Europe) you cannot "CHOOSE" to carry a firearm. Wanna talk about lack of freedoms? Criminals dont dicatate anything to me. I can choose to carry or not. Freedom! Please also remember.. my country FOUGHT for our FREEDOM from Great Britain. The fact that the British or others dont care about the right to bear arms is of no interest to us... The USA was borne from British revolution. Lets not forget that. We rejected British policy before and we do now. Want to compare the success of both countries? Dont make me laugh. Furthermore, dont get me started on the number of people who wish to come to the USA vs. the "paradises" you reference (Your quote: Like almost all Canadians, Brits, Europeans and citizens of many other nations, I don’t believe that walking around with a gun in a holster is a socially positive act.) Well buddy.. if its so great in those places, why are SO MANY of those people trying to get to the USA?!?!).. How many people are just dying to get into England or Spain vs the nubmer trying to get into the USA? I think we know where this is going. As far as paranoid? Hmmm.. maybe so.. But being well protected nets out to one thing... "Being well protected". And thats how we like it. You shouldnt spend another minute thinking about it.. You're Canadian, and your government has already made your decision for you. :)

If there were no criminals, would you still "choose" to carry a firearm? That's my point. The potential existence of criminals (you never know where they are or what they might do) doesn't give you the choice to carry or not carry. You seem to believe you have no choice but to carry. Ergo, pseudo-freedom.


John Rea February 28, 2010 1:55 pm (Pacific time)

I think the open carry people just like guns or dont have concealed carry laws. But its their right. The police cant help you when someone is trying to rape/kill/harm you.Typically they help you when its over. Its merely about being prepared. I conceal carry and I forget the gun is there. Im not worried or paranoid. I would rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Think of all the crimes that do happen. Rape, murder, home invasion, people being robbed and beaten half to death. Its in the news every day. If you were one of these people would you not wish that you had a gun while it was happening? Its only about being prepared. Is it a bad idea to have a fire extinguisher because we have a fire dept? Or a first aid kit and training because we have paramedics? Tell me this...how many cases have you heard of people who are licensed by the government[concealed carry] shooting someone illegally? Out of millions you could probably count them on one hand. You're going to use the uk as an example...where defending yourself gets you jailtime? I read an article yesturday about a man who was at his own home and someone came came up to him with a knife to try and rob him. He pulled out a bigger knife and said "That's not a knife; this is a knife" which made the robber leave...and the home owner got 100 hours community service and nearly got jailtime.

You're confirming another one of my observations. People who carry guns don't believe that civil society works or can work. Why are you not advocating for the dissolution of police forces as I said in my article? You believe that in society it's every man for himself (which is fundamentally an American attitude) so why not?


Roger von Bütow February 28, 2010 1:34 pm (Pacific time)

DJ: Sorry, dude, love your stuff, but you might want to check out this and other websites: http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/athenians.html Socrates never wrote anything down, we only have people with their own agenda quoting him. Plato placed him as an integral foil in his dialogues, but we know that it's impossible to know where Socrates ended and Plato started at this point, or if Socrates said any of the things attributed to him. We sort of know that he was a consummate dialectician, but then so was Buddha, Krishnamurti, Betrand Russell. It is ironic, that like Lao-Tzu, Jesus, Zoroaster, Buddha, et al, many of the greatest philosophical minds left little or nothing in their own hand. I know those evangelicals will go beserk (they do that, you know) but we have accounts of what the parables, teaching and philosophy embedded were as gossiped or passed along, many who nevr even met him act like they did. Written and edited by innumerable successors, I like the Essenes work (Dead Sea Scrolls and Gnostic texts) far better for historical accuracy. There is a mythological story about Socrates going to the Oracle at Delphi. He wanted to know why she exclaimed that he was the wisest man in Greece. Her response: Because Socrates knows that he knows nothing! We philosophy students believe this alludes to the Zen state the Indian Yogic Traditions term citta vritti, the true mind state of Sunyatta, The Void, Emptiness. Over the arch going into the Temple of Apollo (?) at Delphi I observed a good piece of guidance: Know Thyself.

Trust you, Roger, to point out the one thing that most people don't know. LOL Whether he said it or not, I think it's apropos. If someone wants to push then I'll say I said it. Thanks for your comment. I'm sure you enlightenened some readers.


Greg February 28, 2010 1:34 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Johnson. I am an American gun owner. That's why I am a citizen and not a subject of the queen. You are a journalist, start by reading the US constitution and then some world history. Regards.

The Queen is the symbolic head of Canada and the Commonwealth. She has exactly zero power. I, too, am a citizen but I regard myself as more free than you because I don't need to own a gun to feel safe. I am well steeped in world history, in contradistinction to most Americans (sounds like you fit the bill) who believe they are the centre of the universe.

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