Tag Archives: guilty

The War on Freedom


I’ve been stateside for the last week, and after spending hours in various airports listening to “Homeland Security Advisories”, dealing with airport security and watching American newscasts, I’m now more convinced than ever that the Fear Industry is very real.

For reasons that I can only speculate on, there seems to be a concerted global effort to create a culture of fear throughout the developed world.  In countries like Australia and Canada, this industry is more subtle, but in the UK and the USA, there seems to be little or no attempt to hide it. 

As I type this, I’m actually sitting in the airport and listening to the “Security Advisories” being announced.  Has anyone else noticed that since they started doing these threat level announcements 8 years ago, the level has never dropped below “Orange”?  Be vigilant, they say.  Watch for suspicious activity.  Inform the police or Transport Security officers of any perceived threats.  Oh and while you’re at it, why don’t you subject yourself to our overzealous and ineffective security screening process?  You don’t mind do you?  Sure it violates a couple of your rights, but it’s in the name of public safety in the “War on Terror”, so you really shouldn’t complain.

What really disturbs me though is the number of people who truly believe that by carrying 100mL bottles of shampoo, the world, or at least the airport, is a safer place.  They truly believe that by taking off their shoes, they are thwarting the next 9/11. 

“Most people want security in this world, not liberty” ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956

Especially here in the United States, the people are constantly inundated with messages of violence and fear and possible terrorist attacks.  All of the major news networks flood their viewers with information.  There’s the news anchor with pictures and videos of some tragic story that they repeat ad nauseum for days on end.  There are the scrolling panels that are impossible to follow and leave the viewer feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  And my personal favourite, has been the gradual shift from reporting facts to intentionally eliciting a specific emotional response in the viewer.  “There was a motor vehicle accident on the highway this afternoon involving multiple vehicles that left one person dead and several others in hospital with minor injuries” has been replaced with “There was a horrific crash on the highway that took the life of an innocent young mother, left several others clinging to life in hospital, and left witnesses traumatized”.

The news writers carefully word the stories to guide the viewer to a precise emotional response, be it fear or grief or worry, etc. Whatever that emotion may be, it will very rarely be positive.  CNN hasn’t been dubbed “Constantly Negative News” for no reason.  This phenomenon is by no means limited to the US – it’s just far more blatant here than in other countries.

As I mentioned earlier, I could speculate endlessly on the reasons for this constant fear factor, but I think that would serve little purpose.  What’s more important, in my opinion, is being aware of what has been, and could be, done while people are in this state.  You see, when people are feeling afraid, or hopeless, or anxious, or overwhelmed, or stressed, they have a tendency to give up rational thought.  They’ll listen to anyone who claims to be able to make those uncomfortable feelings go away, and damn the consequences.

The consequences, however, are huge!  What I see happening on almost a daily basis is a gradual erosion of our rights and freedoms.  Every day we trade a little bit of freedom for the illusion of safety.  I’ll repeat that last bit: the illusion of safety.  All of the endless new laws and security screening procedures simply make us think we’re safer, while doing nothing to actually address the underlying issues. 

What many people fail to grasp, is that we live in a world of duality.  Light and dark, hot and cold, up and down, love and hate, good and evil.  You can’t have one without the other.  All the rules, regulations, laws and security procedures in the world will never, ever change that.  If someone is determined enough, they will always find a way. 

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to make the world a better place.  I’m saying that we need to carefully consider the wisdom of our current path.  Do we really want to live in a world where everyone is presumed guilty?  Do we really want to live in a world where people are punished because of what they might do?  Is legislating safety really making us safer, or just making us feel like we are?

Lastly and most importantly: what’s the point of fighting for freedom, if you’re going to use that freedom to create laws that take it away?

Body Armour Control Act


On October 20, Kash Heed, the Solicitor General of British Columbia, introduced new legislation that would effectively ban body armour in the province of BC (see here for the news story).

To put it rather bluntly, Bill 16-2009 (Body Armour Control Act) is an abomination of legislation that should never have seen the light of day.  In an effort to reduce gang violence, Mr Heed has proposed that only those who can prove a legitimate need for body armour should be allowed to purchase and possess it in BC.  Additionally, the legislation proposes that the province should create a permit system and a registry to keep track of all citizens who are legally allowed to own body armour.  Anyone found to be in illegal possession of this armour could face up to a $10,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.

I can see several problems with this proposed law, right off the top.

1)  There’s this pesky little document known as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Section 7 goes something like this:

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Somehow I really don’t think that the government’s argument, that a passive safety device needs to be restricted just because a criminal might use it, really qualifies as a “principle of fundamental justice”.

2)  The logic (and I use that word very loosely) employed by Mr Heed, is that if access to body armour is restricted, gangsters will no longer be able to use it, taking away their “sense of security”, and therefore reducing the number of shootings in our cities.

By that same “logic”, in order to reduce high speed chases, we should ban seatbelts.  After all, without them, criminals would no longer feel “safe” speeding and would stop running away from police.  Right??

Does anyone else smell the BS?

3)  By definition, a gangster is a criminal.  They have proven time and again that they have no regard for the laws of our society.  So by what stretch of the imagination does the Solicitor General believe that even one single gang member will abide by this one?  If, for some unlikely reason, a criminal wasn’t able to purchase body armour on the black market within BC, it wouldn’t exactly be a hardship to legally purchase it in either Alberta or the Yukon.  The last time I checked, there wasn’t a manned border between provinces and territories in this country.

4)  Say a criminal is caught committing a crime, and the crown throws the book at him, charging him with every firearm, weapon and body armour offense they can think of.  Do you really think he’ll ever be convicted of any of those lesser charges?  Of course not.  As has already been proven time and again with the Firearms Act, the lesser charges will be plea-bargained away in order to make the “important” charge stick.

So under this proposed new law, as usual, it will only be the general public who are convicted.  It will be the men and women who innocently forget to renew their permit, or make a simple mistake on their forms, who will suffer.  They are the ones who will be found guilty, convicted of “paper crimes”, while the real criminals go about business as usual.

5)  As I previously mentioned, one of the key components of this proposed Act is a permit and registry system.  Everyone who has a legitimate need for body armour will have to fill out a form and apply for a permit to possess body armour.  Every person who is deemed eligible to possess body armour will be recorded in a database. It will be that person’s responsibility to keep the permit current, and to ensure that all the information contained in the registry is correct.

So, where is the money to operate this permit and registry system going to come from?  Setting up the permit office(s) and starting the registry will be an expensive proposition, and that money will be coming straight out of the taxpayer’s pockets.  At a time when the global economy is in turmoil, you’d think the government could find something better to spend our money on.

6)  Continuing on the theme of the registry, one more question comes to mind: How does making a list of law-abiding citizens have any affect whatsoever on crime?  I’m sure the criminals are just shaking in their boots right now thinking about this proposed new law.  Shaking with laughter that is.  Our government and lawmakers are going to be so busy making lists of honest people that they’re not going to have time to go after the criminals!

This Bill has just passed first reading in the provincial legislature, so there is still time to try and stop it.  Even if it does pass (which I’m afraid it will), it would likely be overturned on a Charter Appeal.  But it shouldn’t need to be.

Why do our lawmakers insist on continually putting forward such flawed legislation?  If I, an average Jane, can immediately see so many holes in their argument, why can’t they?  Our leaders can’t really be this naïve and misguided can they?

There is a part of me that still wants to believe that these are just honest men and women doing the best they can for our society.  But the jaded cynic in me is winning out.  I can’t help but wonder why every single new law seems to strip away more of our rights.  I can’t help but wonder why so many people are so eager to willingly give up their basic freedoms. 

What makes me really sick though, is that this gradual erosion of our rights, always seems to be done in the name of “public safety”.  Call me crazy, but here’s a thought: if our leaders are truly interested in public safety, shouldn’t they be focusing on the criminals, rather than making lists of the innocent?

A Ray of Truth About Domestic Violence


When I created this blog, I had no desire to turn it into the Elizabeth Mandelman show.  But since she continues to post half-truths and outright lies and I’ve been banned from commenting on her blog, I’m left with little choice.

In one of my early posts on Ms Mandelman’s blog (now deleted), I made a comment about how victims choose to stay with their abusive partners.  Another reader took exception to that:

 Natasha says:

“…I find it very presumptuous to say that all Pat had to do was leave. How can you leave someone who is threatening your life with a gun? If she were to leave, how do you know her husband were not to follow her to wherever she was staying and harm not only her but also the people she loves? Also, it is important to note that her daughter must have been very young at the time. Thus, it was not solely her own well being for which she had to be concerned but additionally that of her child.”

I agree that once a relationship reaches that degree of violence and abuse, leaving is no easy task.  And children most definitely complicate the issue.   The point that people like Natasha and Ms Mandelman are missing is that abusive relationships don’t just “happen”.  People don’t just wake up one morning and say to themselves “I think I’m going to kick my spouse in the head today.”  These relationships evolve over time.  The incidents usually start out small and easy to rationalize with thoughts like “they didn’t really mean it”, or “it was an accident”.  But over time they gradually become worse and worse, because by staying, the victim is silently telling their partner that their behaviour is acceptable.  There are thousands of points along the way where the victim makes the choice to stay and accept the abuse. 

So I agree with Cindy Cowan when she says:

 “Spending money on ‘patching women up’ is not the solution to ending domestic violence.” 

Patching women up is quite literally, a Band-Aid solution.  Education programs in high schools, public awareness campaigns, treatment programs for abusers, an end to our “revolving door” justice system, these would be fantastic starting points to address the issue of domestic violence.  Increased restrictions on law-abiding citizens, on the other hand, would not.

The Firearms Act has done absolutely nothing to reduce the rates of domestic violence.  According to Statistics Canada, a weapon is used in only 7% of spousal assault cases, and it’s female abusers who reach for a weapon twice as often as men.  A firearm is used in spousal assault in a whopping 0.1% of cases, 0.08% of the time against women.  That’s about 35 women per year.  And there’s no indication as to how many of those women are threatened/harmed with a legally registered firearm.  At a cost of $100 million per year to maintain the incomplete and inaccurate long gun registry for only 35 victims (specific to their cause), it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how deeply flawed the positions of Ms Mandelman and IANSA are.

Additionally, the use of a firearm in cases of spousal homicide has been declining since the 1970s.  You’ll note from the graph below, that the rate of decline has actually slowed since the introduction of the Firearms Act in 1995.  I’ve asked this question before, and I’ll continue to ask it until the “other side” can give me an answer: What could a piece of legislation introduced in 1995 possibly have to do with a trend that started in 1974? 

   

In part of her interview with Cindy Cowan, Ms Mandelman made this video.  In it, Ms Cowan states:

 “…[it’s about societies] that say some people are worth less than, right, they have less value…”

I know exactly what she means.  I am a firearms owner after all.  According to the gun control lobby, my rights are less than the rights of abused women.  According to the gun control lobby, it’s perfectly acceptable to limit the rights of 2 million licensed firearms owners for the sake of 35 women.  I mean we’re only talking about the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, the right to be presumed innocent, and the right against unreasonable search and seizure, just to name a few.  It’s not like those rights are important or anything.  Those 2 million people are downright selfish for fighting to regain those rights when there are 35 women at risk who chose to stay in abusive relationships.  How insensitive of those brutish, Neanderthal gun owners.

I’ll leave the dripping sarcasm behind to finish with one last part of Ms Mandelman’s blog.

“When they do take the step to begin a new life, they must often do so with someone else’s used sheets and outgrown clothes.   How is this fair?  How is it, I wonder, that there are individuals that consider their privilege of owning a firearm more worthy than the right to safety and protection, afforded to all Canadian citizens by their government?”

Second-hand clothes and sleeping in a dorm are not exactly one of life’s great hardships.  Having done so for many years myself, I wouldn’t call it a hardship at all, but I realize that’s a highly subjective point.  If it concerns Ms Mandelman that much, maybe she should consider just how many new sheets and clothes $100 million per year could buy these shelters.

As to her claim that firearm ownership is only a privilege in Canada, well I now have the happy job of informing her that she’s incorrect.  I’ve recently been educated on that point myself.  The details can be found here about halfway down the page under the section titled Right to Bear Arms.

As Ms Mandelman correctly stated, in Canada we do have the right to security of the person.  This is the part where I get a little bit fuzzy about the gun control lobby’s stance.  They claim to be fighting their campaign in the name of public safety, or in this case for the reduction of domestic violence.  How then, do they justify taking away the very tool that a woman might use to protect herself?