[photo] Mark Jeftovic

easyDNS CEO, Career Contrarian & AntiGuru

Not enough guns for Sieg

My friend Sieg is back from his vacation in the USA and he laments the sad state of gun ownership in Canada and compares with the States. This is another area where I have mixed feelings and sometimes disagree with him.

Sieg’s problem is he gives people too much credit. Although he advocates “outlaw idiots, not guns”. We live in a society where you are pretty much rewarded for being docile and stupid and penalized for being smart enough to know better. He also doesn’t live in downtown Toronto, like I do.

Here in Toronto it’s not unheard of to get your head blown off waiting at a bus stop. There’s been between 3 and 5 fatal shootings within a 10 block radius of my apartment in the last month. If there were any more guns around this place would be Beruit, or maybe Fallujah.

Would I feel safer about things if everybody owned a gun? Probably not. It would imply that I trust people to have half a brain in their heads when it came to using them and I don’t have that faith in my fellow man. Not when I turn on the evening news.

Of course, on the other hand I see the logic in gun ownership and responsible self-defense. Don’t come crying to me if, while breaking into somebody’s house they empty a shotgun into your gut, or your face. As we unix geeks like to say “Don’t do that then”. In my book when you violate somebody else’s rights you forfeit your own. It seems almost silly to have to explain that but the point seems lost in civilized society.

There is an unconfirmed anecdote I’ve seen around (seems almost urban legend-ish to a guy here in Canada) that the Swiss citizenry are all well armed and trained. There is a gun in every household apparently, and they know how to use them. The Swiss haven’t been in a war in over 500 years. After 9/11, while the rest of us were hastily giving up our rights and having our shoes x-rayed at airports, the Swiss advised their citizens to begin carrying their bayonets on flights. Any would-be hijackers trying to commandeer a plane with a pair of box-cutters would find themselves confronted by a plane full of bayonet-wielding passengers.

Which approach has more long-term viability?

Alas, if this were true, it illustrates a completely different headspace and culture among the Swiss, far more enlightened and not easily transportable to our instant-gratification addicted and attention span deficient culture. It would probably take 2 to 3 generations of intense, conscious *therapy* on our own collective society to get the maturity level up to a point where that approach would work.

Otherwise all you’ll have is what they have in the US (or maybe downtown Toronto). And that clearly isn’t working.

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