With more horrendous news coming out of the United States from yet another mass shooting – this time in Orlando, Florida – it’s easy for Canadians to fall into self-righteous mode and feel smug and superior.
But keep in mind, we’re not totally immune to this sort of mass murder ourselves. We have had our own horrendous incidents despite our much trumpeted gun control laws. Not, by an stretch of the imagination, as many as the U.S. but they’ve still happened.
Now, make sure you understand what’s being said here: our gun controls keep us safe; certainly safer than the United States. America’s cavalier attitude towards guns is a danger to its citizens and needs to be corrected. That is an underlying theme behind this editorial.
But Canadians need to understand that, again, we have our troubles with shooting incidents too. We also need to recognize the diversity of American society and realize that there are many U.S. citizens – probably millions – who oppose their “liberal” gun laws and speak out about them whenever they can. Admittedly, they face a formidable opponent in the National Rifle Association and a gun culture that is deeply entrenched. In fact, many interpret it as constitutionally-entrenched but it’s hard to imagine that America’s founding fathers had envisioned the carnage that happens in the United States too often. This is a state of affairs that worries millions of Americans too and they are just as horrified and as mystified by the indulgence in firearms that many citizens in other countries mock the U.S. for.
They need to be supported, not lumped in with a segment of society that is dismissed as crazy, accompanied by a shrug that says, “What do you expect?”
It’s a complex issue that is not going to be an easy one to resolve. Powerful forces are aligned with the gun lobby in the U.S. Only a change in mentality along the lines of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and other efforts to make American society more sensitive, will bring about change. Americans who are horrified by these shootings will have to rise up in mass marches and demonstrations to stop some of these killings.
Canadians can help and show support but this issue is serious and needs more than the holier-than-thou attitude that we see too often.