The debate on firearms and violence focuses on the desire of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to scrap the gun registry. The real debate should not be there, but on finding ways to prevent the violence that it is present everywhere in the world.
I remember my adolescence in Gaspé Peninsula during 1970 while firearms were a simple tool that we could buy at the corner store or at Canadian Tire. Each family had one or more shotguns in their homes. In fact, guns were a deterrent to violence. The few bandits in the village did not come to stole in the homes of gun owners because they knew they would be greeted by a volley of lead. In addition, there were as a kind of moral code. A bandit could not buy a weapon because people would have denounced it the municipal authorities. There were, of course, occasional incidents but overall people managed the firearms pretty well.
Quietly, however, things have started changing and society became more violent. It's as if moral values were no longer to exist. What caused that change? Immigration and culture, urbanization, globalization and access to weapons smuggling, hard drugs, violence in movies and on television? Probably all these causes.
Once we were respecting the policeman and now, generally, we hate them. Why? Probably because the police themselves have ceased to act as the guardians of peace, but rather as bearers of power with an arsenal. Formerly, the police used rarely their weapons. They imposed their will with bargaining power and with ability to convince. It worked better than it work today…
A journalist from the Montreal daily The Gazette has tried the device simulator of the Montreal Police. It simulates electronically armed attacks where you play the role of a policemen who must respond. It is interesting to note the result. It is a losing situation all the way because neither of the two sides survive... (See video link below)
The gun registry is a failure but it does not mean we should stop to control the right to have firearms. The society has become too nasty, too limited and too individualistic. Nobody respects anyone ...
The return to peace may be possible with a return to the word. As stated by Ingrid Betancourt, the greatest power is that of words. She is herself evidence that one could survive a long stay in the Colombian jungle with only the power of her word to convince his jailers who were yet armed to the teeth.
We must find a way to restore respect for authority and peace. And as we know: "Respect is not given and one must deserves it ..." Currently, few people in our society deserves our admiration and our respect. Politicians are profiteers, bankers are dishonest police provocateurs, parents kill their children and finally the bandits are ruthless. This situation is probably the source of the problem.. Our society has lost all moral values!
In conclusion, we must also retain one element in the tragedies such as Rivière-Ouelle, Dawson College or Binghamton New York and it is that in each case, investigations showed that all the perpetrators of violence have been victims of ridicule, isolation and rejection from their neighborhood before they become violent. In other words, we are all a little responsible for what happens to our society. Bang! Bang! Bang!
Photo 1: Stephen Harper au Stampede de Calgary
Photo 2: Bernard Bujold en Gaspésie (1974)