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Bill Trudell

Arms and The Man

T.S. Eliot was wrong. June and July are the cruellest months, not April. Minneapolis, Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge, to name only a few locations, featured death by firearms.

Rolled out almost immediately by the gun lobby was the old slogan: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I think the slogan ought to be reworked: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people . . . with guns.”

The violence throughout our world this summer is overwhelming. Everyone seems to have some random sense of fear. Should I travel? Is it going to happen here? Will it ever stop?

But, in reality, I think our familiarity with violence has translated into a culture of complacency.

In our neighbour to the south, political finger pointing and angry demands for law and order are helping to promote one of the most dangerous and divisive political figures of the century.

Donald Trump plays with fear and racism in his plain-language diatribes.

He is the catalyst for anger and isolationism. Making America “Great Again” and “Safe Again” are slogans that appeal to the armchairs of disappointment throughout the United States.

The air in the cities of America has particles of poison just waiting to explode. The streets of Cleveland were surreal and otherworldly. Police officers dressed in terminator apparel maneuvered bikes around growing groups of protestors.

The crowds, however, seemed to be a microcosm of America. Citizens had guns strapped to their waist or high-powered rifles over their shoulders like handbags.

Dodge City in Ohio!

This, of course, crosses all party lines, but it was incredible nonetheless.

Is this America? Citizens apparently feel safer when they can carry. The Republican Convention may seem to some more like a National Rifle Association event. The candidate has suggested that “good” people armed would take out the “bad” people.

Ironically, however, guns were not allowed inside the convention; they were OK outside though. It makes one wonder, perhaps even sheepishly ask, what the problem may have been. Could it be that someone may have misused a firearm on the convention floor?

On July 21, 2016, I was hoping that Trump would see the irony of this and declare in his speech that, contrary to his earlier feelings, as now the candidate of the Party of Abraham Lincoln, he was going to gather leaders together and introduce legislation to restrict guns in the United States to make America “Great” and “Safe.”

It didn’t happen. Rather, the Republican presidential candidate did nothing to address this problem. It remains to be seen if Hillary Clinton has the courage to address the issue at the Democratic Convention.

Interestingly, the United States, on false information, invaded Iraq to control the use of weapons of mass destruction. That phrase was open to considerable debate as to its meaning. I would like to suggest that firearms in the wrong hands are weapons of mass destruction . . . but, of course, the right to bear them is “protected” by the United States constitution. I think Americans need to give themselves a wakeup call.

They are setting a terrible example throughout the world. Their condemnation of terrorist attacks, often by dangerous gunmen, may ring hollow.

Sniper attacks, mass shootings, undisciplined use of force and racism have become as common as apple pie.

The prevalence and glorification of violence is available on every phone and in every American’s living room. The innumerable video games of war and destruction are incredible and are hot sellers. You play most of them alone. They are supposed to be entertainment.

I suggest that they are dangerous seeds of violence that glorify killing, so very, very often with guns.

I have a question. Why do you need a gun in the city? Is it so you can protect yourself, your loved ones, your neighbour, your police force?

I have another question. From whom do you need protection? Could it be from your loved ones, your neighbours, your police force, your country?

This is insanity.

The legal profession needs to come together in our world and lead the way to restore peace and sanity, tolerance and new restrictions on firearms. There will continue to be shrill demands for law and order.

President Barack Obama’s frustrated pleas for understanding will be ignored. I suspect Donald Trump will continue to sell the walls of “me first” and smouldering anger.

If he is elected, I think there may indeed be a wall — around the White House! It may be necessary to keep the angry, disappointed gun owners away when they realize their anger has not abated, America is no safer, is far from great and there are many more cruellest months ahead.

  • Shocking

    Paul Morrison
    It shocks me that a criminal defence lawyer might be so ill-informed of the effects of firearms laws. In Canada we have a whole host of laws, many of which have serious sentences, mandated, which can arise solely due to paperwork problems or creative interpretations by law enforcement. Police can, and do, aggressively go after otherwise law-abiding citizens (see: R. v. Login). Why, just a few days ago the RCMP put out a new "bulletin" interpreting a particular magazine, which has been lawfully sold in Canada for more than 20 years (and which to my knowledge has never been used in a serious crime), as being a prohibited device. There are literally tens of thousands of Canadians in possession of such magazines, and they are all now criminals.

    The solution is not "new restrictions", its on revising existing laws to make actual sense.

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