Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why I Support Strict Gun Control



"When a person excels at something, he should do something else in which he is a novice because that brings him down to earth."

- George Bernard Shaw


Here's what's on my mind today, Sixteeners. A 52-year-old taxi driver named Derrick Bird went on a rampage in Cumbria, England yesterday. He killed 12 people, including his own twin brother, before turning the gun on himself. There was speculation that the rampage was sparked by a family feud, but Bird's nieces denied that this was the case. Although Bird was convicted of theft in the 1990s, he was allowed to obtain a shotgun licence in 1995 and a firearms licence for a rifle in 2007. Why? When one is convicted of robbery or a violent crime, one should not be pemitted to own firearms.

Whenever an incident such as this occurs, it underlines the need for the strictist gun control laws possible. An individual convicted of theft should not have been allowed to obtain a shotgun licence or firearms licence.

My views will not make me popular with people in rural areas. They will not endear me to the National Firearms Association of Canada or the powerful National Rifle Association in the United States. I can't pretend to be what I am not. I do not live in a rural area. Although I am neither a hunter nor a farmer, it is not my intention to cavalierly dismiss their concerns. What I do not understand is why responsible gun owners feel so threatened by laws designed to protect society from deranged individuals. Nobody is stopping them from hunting or target shooting. It may be an inconvenience for them to register their guns or to undergo detailed backgound checks, but such measures are well worth the time and the cost. Too many guns find their way into the hands of unbalanced and mentally ill individuals such as Marc Lepine, the man who killed 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal or the young man who went on a murderous romp at Virginia Tech.

It is true that Britain has some pretty strict gun control laws, but they are obviously not strict enough to stop the Derrick Birds of this world. British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to do do everything he could to prevent a repeat of the Cumbrian tragedy. However, the prime minister cautioned against “knee-jerk” demands for tougher gun laws - saying that “you can’t legislate to stop a switch flicking in someone’s head”. No, you can't, Mr. Cameron, but there are psychiatric evaluations and other obvious signals that an individual is unbalanced - or as in Derrick Bird's case, there are records that show that an induividual has been convicted of theft.


The Blue Jays lost to Tampa Bay yesterday. Shaun Marcum pitched eight strong innings, but lost control in the 9th inning. Jason Frasor, who came on in relief, performed poorly. Tampa Bay looks really good. They are for real.

The Stanley Cup finals continued yesterday with the series moving to Phiadelphia. The Flyers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks still lead the series 2 games to 1. The contest is more interesting now, but I maintain that Chicago will win.

- Joanne