“A lot of the people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt” (George Carlin)
One of my biggest fears - besides the universe, flying, insects, diseases, natural disasters, car accidents, drownings, kidnappings, aliens, food poisoning, war, famine, and long weekends when stores are closed - is guns.
Guns scare me. I used to have dreams about guns and being shot. I don't really know where this fear came from. I live in a safe city, and in a safey country that has pretty decent gun regulations.
When I was living in D.C., I did a 10 minute documentary for my broadcast journalism assignment back home. I thought it would be a great topic, and since I was living in what was the 'crime capital of the USA' I thought it would be fitting.
(As a side note, I have to say I never saw any violence while living in D.C. Bethesda, actually. The subways were safe, and I knew where to stay to not get in trouble. Georgetown. And at Montgomery Mall. Joking. Getting lost in the car with my mom in a really shady neighbourhood on another trip to D.C. is, well, a whole other post!)
In order to get 'good' footage for my story, I went to a shooting range in Maryland with my friend. It was the first time I ever held a gun. The man explained what I was suppose to do and I faced my target man, and began shooting. On my very first shot, I hit my 'man' in the chest.
I was so excited! I turned around and faced my instructor, while pointing my loaded gun at him.
"Did you see that? How good am I?" I said to him, waving my gun up and down.
His face went white, and he said to me: "Please never point that loaded gun at me again."
Oops... my bad. It was just an innocent mistake. But an innocent mistake like this is what kills people every single day in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. Guns are bad. Period. In my perfect world? There would be no guns.(And no crime, and no bad people, la-di-da.)
It was a crazy experience, and it did give me some great video for my story. But I was pretty sure I'd never want to hold a gun again.
Next stop? The scariest place I've ever been - a gun show. It was in a huge warehouse, and there were tables upon tables of guns, bullets, books on making bombs, and other paraphernalia. There were hundreds of people there, all excited, holding guns, buying bullets and books, laughing, having a good time. I saw some really scary looking people that day and I wondered what all this was for? Hunting? Really? A hobby? Bizarre. And no offense, but really, guns serve only one purpose - to kill.
My brother-in-law is a police officer. I worry about the fact that he sometimes brings his gun home - even though it goes in a safe, with the bullets removed. I tell my sister all the time that when she has kids, she has to be extra careful. I've read so many horror stories about a child accidentally getting their hands on a gun in their home. We don't need this type of tragedy - this can be prevented.
I interviewed a man who worked for The Brady Centre to Prevent Gun Violence in D.C. and was told about how bad the situation with guns really is. Although this interview took place several years ago, the numbers have not changed dramatically enough to say there isn't a huge gun problem today. For whatever reason - our laws, our population - Canada doesn't have as high a gun problem. (I'm no subject matter expert, but I'm pretty sure that's the truth.)
Each day in America approximately 85 people die from guns.
816 people were killed in 2002 by a gun in Canada.
(You'll notice this number is higher than the poster shows above - remember the poster is talking about murders only.)
I'm not good at math, but I think there is a vast difference here! Yes, we have a MUCH smaller population, but there are bad people everywhere. What I think we have here are better fireams laws.
What is that saying? "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." I have to disagree - the person holding the GUN is doing the killing. No gun - no dead person.
Remember the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002 that took place in D.C.? How insane was that? 11 people were killed. Innocent people, going about their day, being shot down for no reason at all. Brutal. That story totally haunted me. Imagine the fear people had to even go to the corner store?
Is there a safe way for people to own firearms? Probably. And of course there are many responsible people who own guns. Only, all too often, these guns fall into the the wrong hands and that's where the problem lies.
Bowling for Columbine, although controversial and heavily edited, was kind of an eye opener for me. It was scary. Columbine isn't the only school that has been so tragically affected by gun violence, and this is a problem that needs to be fixed. No one should have to be scared to send their child to school.
Every three days in the USA, an entire classroom of children are killed as a result of gun violence. I'm hoping these statistics, if true, will be drastically reduced with time. Since I'm not technically an American (even though I should be an honourary citizen because I love America almost as much as Canada) I still wanted to voice my opinion on this topic because it worries me. It worried me before I became a mom, and it worries me even more now.
The gun violence in Toronto worries me, too. There was a shooting in the Eaton Centre a few years ago, on Boxing Day. A mom and daughter were out shopping, and the girl was shot dead. It was a gang related shooting, in which an innocent person was caught in the middle. This is the type of story I can't stand reading about. This is what makes me angry, and makes me wish that guns didn't exist.
How do you feel about this issue? What can be done to make the situation better and our streets safer? Or is this problem too big to ever really change?