The Sensible Millions

by Ray Colon on December 14, 2012 · 13 comments

There will never be a tragedy bad enough to convince some that America has a gun problem.

No one is safe.

Nothing that I write here will change any minds, so I won’t even try to argue the point. It’s the rest of us, the sensible millions, to whom I address my plea.

Stop the madness.

The schools where we send our children each day, the malls in which we shop, and the streets of our cities have all become dangerous places to be. Just the thought of a parent being told the horrible news today sends me to a dark place. Knowing that twenty sets of parents are receiving this news, in Connecticut, makes me want to stay there.

I’m filled with sadness, or course, but I’m also filled with hate.

But who? Who should be the object of this hate?

The gunman? The NRA? The government? All three?  Others?

I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

There are more of us than there are of them. The time for debating half-measures is over. The gun debate, such as it is, should not be confined to the question of semi-automatic weapons.  The politics of profits over people; lobbyists over common sense has to end.

The debate needs to start with a goal of zero.

I’d rather wipe my ass with the Second Amendment than see it be used as justification for the continued slaughter of innocents.

Author Bio:

Ray Colon has written 167 posts on Ray's Blog.

He works with numbers for a living, but don't judge - boring accountants need love too. His blog has no niche (unless writing about things that are important to him is a niche). Some folks cringe when he gets “all political” on them, but he does it anyway when he's in that kind of mood. Sometimes, he writes something nice about someone, but you shouldn't get used to that. His first book, the one he hasn't written yet, is not available on Amazon. Subscribe to Ray's Blog via RSS  or Email.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda December 14, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I am still trying to get my head around this.. it never makes any sense these types of actions,
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Ray Colon December 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Hi Brenda,

It never does make any sense. So many little voices silenced. Unthinkable.

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Alicia December 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

My description of what the gun nuts could do with their bloodied copy of the Second Amendment was a bit cruder …

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Ray Colon December 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I hear ya, Alicia.

If I thought it would sway an opinion, I would go there with you.

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Jean December 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I wrote this on a forum earlier today as a note from Canada:

Recently the Prime Minister of Canada scrapped the federal gun registry database. Quebec is the only province that will try to administer theirs..

Gun possession and use is under Canadian federal law, it is not provincial law anywhere. As a former law librarian working for the Ontario courts and judges, from a legal research standpoint, I know this.

Statistics Canada is Canada’s federal statistics govn’t collection agency. Here is a report on mortality by gunfire and it’s relationship to gun control in Canada.

Also a legal summary of Canada’s history on its law.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/ads-annonces/82-003-x/pdf/4194126-eng.pdf

On page 37, there is a graph of info.

In Canada, laws regulating guns date back more than a century.
Even before the first Criminal Code in 1892, Justices of the
Peace had the authority to jail anyone who carried a handgun
but had no reason to fear an assault against their life or
property.1 Then in 1892, the Criminal Code required that
handgun owners who could not sufficiently justify ownership
have a basic permit to carry their pistol. A 1934 law was the
first to require handgun owners to formally register their guns,
and the records were maintained regionally by designated
police departments or by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
When the handgun registry was centralized in 1951, the
registration of automatic firearms also became mandatory.
More recent firearm restrictions were enacted in 1977
(Bill C-51), 1991 (Bill C-17) and 1995 (Bill C-68). The 1977
law mandated that people acquiring a firearm have a Firearms
Acquisitions Certificate attesting that they are at least 16 years
of age and have no criminal record or history of mental illness.
The later legislation reduced the availability of and accessibility
to firearms, requiring more extensive background screening
of prospective purchasers, registration of all guns owned, and
safe storage of these weapons. Compulsory registration, which
allowed each gun acquired to be linked to its owner, also
required that spouses and former spouses be notified about
the gun’s acquisition.
In 1995, when gun registration became compulsory, the death
rate for firearms-related injuries was 3.8 per 100,000
population. Over the following years, the rate, which had been
falling quite steadily since the early 1990s, continued to drop.
Of course, it is difficult to measure the contribution that gun
control regulations may have made to this decrease gun use.

I believe that mental health support services (low cost or free) plus gun control laws plus offering healthy long term social activities in a community that’s not expensive would go a long way to help us all.
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Ray Colon December 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Hi Jean,

Thank you for providing this history of gun laws in your country. Everything that I’ve read has shown that Canada has a far less incidence of gun violence than the U.S. despite the fact that Canada has so many guns. I would never suggest that gun laws are the only solution, but it seems to me that more stringent gun laws are an ideal place to start.

I rewatched Bowling for Columbine this weekend and was reminded of how relatively safe it is in Canada. I think that we would do well to import some of your county’s expertise.

Given all of that, I’m confused as to why your Prime Minister would choose to scrap the federal gun registry database.

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Jean December 18, 2012 at 6:21 am

Ray: Our current Prime Minister Harper is just a penny-pinching, short-sighted person. Super short-sighted. (He also cut down Statistics Canada in its role as our national census taker, collection of business related statistics which you know everyone wants, other demographic info. that is necessary for long term planning.)

In today’s national newspaper and from Canada’s biggest city and most diverse..over 3 million people, Greater Toronto Area:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/hiring-freeze-puts-diversity-efforts-at-risk-police-chief-says/article6496010/

“We’ve seen a fairly significant decline in the number of firearms seized by my firearms unit this year because the information that they once relied on isn’t available to them,” he said. “If someone was prohibited from possessing firearms and they had firearms registered to them, we would go and get them. Now we have no idea.”
Toronto seized 1,933 guns as of Nov. 30, 2012, nearly 40 per cent fewer than the 3,190 the force seized in the same period in 2011. This year’s total is also down from 2010, when Toronto police seized 3,416 guns.
Still, Chief Blair said Canada retains a strong gun-control regime. Last week’s slaughter of 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., is a reminder that this country’s system needs to be guarded, he added.
“I think there’s a good lesson in the experience of the Americans that we should be protective of our gun-control environment here in Canada. I think the American environment is not something to be emulated,” he said.
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Jean December 18, 2012 at 6:23 am

By the way I lived in Toronto for over 20 yrs., with 95% of my family still all there. I know the city, type of crime, etc.
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Heidi Caswell
Twitter:
December 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Ray, I’m going to have to disagree with the gun part. Not that this violence has to stop. It does need to stop.

No one is safe. We have to protect our children.

There is no sense to this madness. People who do such evil deeds don’t think like we do. Maybe they didn’t want to go down in history as a nobody, wanted lots of media attention. Maybe the drugs they are are play a part. Some messed up people feel no pain, no remorse, nothing. Do crazy stuff trying to feel something. Look at http://www.ssristories.com/index.php the meds which these people have in common. If not drugs they’d use other things, homemade bomb, who knows what they’ll dream up.

There are rural areas where one must have a weapon to protect yourself from wildlife. When my father-in-law flew around rural Alaska, bringing utilities to the villages, he would never go without more than one weapon. If his plane got stranded somewhere,, he could easily become prey. That said, it doesn’t apply to cities.

I’d hate to live in a world where only the bad guys and crazy guys were armed.

Our schools have a zero tolerance for violence. Sounds great. In practice not so good. Bullies hit others when the teacher isn’t looking, take their stuff, knock them down, break their glasses, call names. If their victim were to retaliate both go to detention. zero tolerance. But the teacher didn’t see it. If the victim reports it, they are often told not to worry about it, don’t be a tattle tail, or I’m busy. This rule simply gives the bullies a free ride. The good students are told not to make a fuss, just quietly go along with it. I’d prefer my kids find other ways to handle issues than violence, but what if the attacker doesn’t stop.

I see gun free zones much the same way. Here is a whole group of people, undefended in a confined area. No one is armed. They can’t fight back. At least our school has their own police, armed with at least pepper spray.

I’m not saying guns should or shouldn’t be in schools. Each local area should decide for themselves. And look at other forms of defense. Any place where you don’t allow people to defend themselves, you must provide adequate protection. Period.

I would not be comfortable with armed students at a school. Nor would I be comfortable carrying a gun. Pepper spray yes. But if my kids were in danger, and the only way to protect them was with a gun. Yes, but first I’d have to learn to use and store the thing safely.

There is not an easy answer. Just that simply banning some or all guns won’t solve the problem. If not guns (not drugs) they’d use other things.
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Ray Colon December 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Hi Heidi,

Thanks for your input. A debate should be just that, input from all sides.

In response to much of what you’ve written, I’d have to ask, why should everything other than the guns themselves be up for debate? If we are looking for real solutions, then the shear number of guns and the easy availability of them has to be in the mix.

Today I heard that the US has 5% of the world’s population and 50% of the guns. I’m sorry, but there aren’t that many rural hunters that need that kind of firepower.

There are no easy answers, I’ll grant you that, but assault weapons, 30-round clips, and the gun show loop hole are surely things that can, and should, be addressed now. These measures would be sensible, painless, and wouldn’t place any undo burdens on even the most rabid gun enthusiast. Yet, even measures like these seem to take some Herculean effort coupled with a major tragedy before they are even discussed.

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Heidi Caswell
Twitter:
December 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Everything should be debated, including the guns. It is just guns are all you see being discussed main stream media. Most importantly, plan overall safety. Better that the children evacuated as quickly as possible instead of waiting for the gunman to come to their room. Hiding children next best. One little boy and his friends survived because he ran past the gunman and left the building. Something his parents taught. Harder to shoot at several small moving targets leaving than a group huddled in a corner. One girl survived by faking death. Parents should be talking to their schools and see what kind of plans they have in place. Schools should be evaluating their plans. Should be more than one.

Guns are used for defense against criminals too. Best use is to hold off a bad situation till the police get there to take over.

Last summer a drug addict stole a heavy piece of equipment out of the back of our truck. He tried to climb our neighbors fence with it. That neighbor has motion alarms which went off. Armed he confronted the guy who quickly dropped the stuff and ran. He then called the police who after several hours in the woods chase, caught up with theif/drug addict.

My objection is to ditching the 2nd amendment. We should each be able to defend ourselves. And I’m not a member of the NRA nor do I donate money to them. But we should be able to defend ourselves.
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Billy October 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm

The loss of innocent lives is tragic, but as long as guns are legal for law enforcement, there will be an illegal gun trade. All the legislation in the world will not eliminate guns. A good focus would be on safety and mental health.
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