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“How do two neighboring, wealthy democracies have such different experiences with guns, one that makes a shooting on the northern side of the border so much more shocking? Maybe it has to do with trust in government. Alan Voth, a firearms expert formerly with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said after the shooting that ‘Canadians have the mentality that the government will protect us – and we’re more likely to look to them for [our] safety. Americans take more responsibility for their own security.'” – Natasha Rudnick in Why Canada’s gun culture is different – and why its shootings shock America [at washingtonpost.com]

51 Responses to Quote of the Day: Irreconcilable Differences Edition

  1. I think it may be related to the fact that the Canadians are British Commonwealth subjects; Americans are citizens. We tossed off the yoke of British government “security” for freedom and independence. I think it produces a very different mindset.

      • And then there are those South of the Border folks.
        They get it from both ends. The government won’t and can’t protect them, they are not allowed to have guns and the criminals, often with the help of a crooked government attack them too.
        And people wonder why they want out of there. I would too.

    • While they may be called “subjects” and we may be called “citizens,” that picture up top begs to differ.

      That responding officer looks like a police officer, with a blue uniform, soft body armor, a hand gun, and a squad car. If this happened in the US, you’d see a guy dressed in multicam, with rifle plates, a ballistic helmet, an AR-15, and a MRAP. Labels are one thing, reality is something entirely different.

      • Hey armchair the Canadian would still be disarmed. And there are plenty of American towns that still look just like this cop.

      • I did see some pictures of the Canadian Parliament shooting where some of the responding police officers were kitted up like ours, so that mentality is there as well.

        • Yeah go on Netflix and watch Flashpoint–yeah, it’s TV, but it’s Canadian TV, and according to some brothers in blue up in Canada, actually a fairly accurate portrayal of that type of police work

    • Yawn! Even a superficial search of the intarwebz will show that there have been no “Subjects” British, Canadian or otherwise since 1983.

      It’s a tired meme, please stop using it.

  2. “Canadians have the mentality that the government will protect us – and we’re more likely to look to them for [our] safety.” — Alan Voth

    Police often take down a violent attacker well after the fact. While that is fantastic, two problems remain: a violent attacker rampages unopposed for several minutes until police respond … and police don’t always catch violent attackers after the fact.

    Would it be ideal if police stopped every violent attacker before they harmed anyone? Of course. But that isn’t reality. An armed citizenry is a stopgap measure, plain and simple. It may not be pretty or even desirable, but it is necessary.

    • If an armed citizenry is a “stopgap measure,” what is a complete solution?

      The only one I can think of is complete eradication of violence, poverty, welfare, and dishonesty. I don’t see that happening. So, citizen first responders it is.

  3. “Americans take more responsibility for their own security.”

    I am amazed this made it into the story, considering the source of the article.

    • I think the Post thought they were writing a disparaging line about the horrible, awful, backwards Americans as compared to enlightened wonderful Canadiens, eh! Doesn’t quite come off the way the author intended.

    • Same here. Seriously, I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I’m pretty sure the post thinks people like me have rabies.

    • Definitely agree. The longest undefended border in the world runs between the U.S. and Canada. Canadians know that nobody is ever coming to get them. Anybody would have to answer to America for it. In most cases, they’d have to go through America first, anyway, even to get to Canada.

      That comfort breeds a great degree of complacency on the part of the Canadian population and a strong willingness to cede responsibility for their security to others beyond the Individual.

      If the first rule of winning life’s lottery is to pick your parents well, then the second rule may be to pick your geography and neighboring countries well.

      • Yet, people still get annoyed when we start playing police for them. A lot of countries are like children rebeling against their parents, but too lazy to take care of themselves.

  4. Be that as it may, a group of Canadian MPs turned flag poles into improvised spears and set up an ambush. Some Canadians do take responsiblity for their own safety. I wouldn’t generalize.

  5. Canada is a huge nation geographically, but it has only about 1/10 the population of the U.S. That’s easy to forget.

    Anything bad that involves misbehaving humans will happen with only 1/10 the frequency in Canada, compared to the U.S. It should be no secret why horrific, headline-grabbing crimes happen relatively infrequently in Canada. It’s just math.

    • You make a good point, but these things don’t scale linearly with population. So, it’s not quite fair to say 1/10 the population = 1/10 the frequency. There is often a bit of ‘buffer effect’ and it can go both ways.

      Problem is probably more related to population homogeneity than size. Or, to be fair, it’s probably both those factors and others as well.

  6. You know what common theme in a lot of these post-incident “stories” is a bit annoying?

    The hand wringing with “why why why.”

    There’s reality and we have to deal with it. Or not. It doesn’t matter all that much.

    I don’t care who chooses to pretend the world is a “happy place” or whatever. The real issue is do they get to set the rules for everyone else.

    It’s a nice, fun game with the majority is pushing their way on what color to make the table cloths at Saturday Night Dinner. It’s something else entirely when it comes to matters of life – both quality and existence.

    r-Selected groups should not have decision making power. It’s a bit unnatural.

  7. According to FBI crime stats, most of our “gun violence” is drug gang related among our minorities in the inner cities. Take that out of the equation and our “Gun violence’ would be equivalent to Canada’s.

    Google the demographics of Canada, it looks like Utah in its level of a homogenous culture with the same level of crime which is a fraction of the rest of the US.

    • Yes, and in fact some of their rural provinces actually have higher rates of murder than Utah, Idaho and Montana, which have much looser gun laws than those provinces.

      It really is mostly about demographics.

    • Good point. It might be interesting to do a demographic historical investigation to discover if there is a correlation between immigration patterns, divergence of ethnic, racial and religious homogeneity and types and frequency of crime in the United States. (Anybody out there looking for a Master’s Thesis subject?) We Americans are far more diverse than homogenous today than we were a hundred years ago. The Canadians have probably experienced some expanded diversity, but are probably still more homogenous than we are.

      You cannot overlook the significance of the violence directly related to drug trafficking among urban racial groups as it affects crime statistics in the U.S….except by conscious choice to do so, which is all-too-commonly done by certain factions in the U.S. today.

    • I had a conversation with a woman from Toronto last year on my vacation. She told me that 30 out of the 40 murders in Toronto involved Jamaican drug gangs. I told her “now imagine what the murder rate would be if those Jamiacan drug gangs operated in 1/3 of the City.”

  8. I have a feeling that the author never left the big cities in the south of Ontario, otherwise she’d know about how often guns are used in Canada to stop predators of the four (rather than two) legged variety.

  9. The real problem here is that they are already henpecked to death, so hyper-ninnies look at Canada and can’t really find a way to make their lives more miserable. Maybe if we start referring to Canada as having a “maple syrup problem,” or that their people have “a dangerous obsession with moose,” we can offload some of these busybodies on them, and then they will understand how two neighboring, wealthy democracies have such different experiences with screeching harpies.

  10. More agitprop. They are so eager to point out that America’s homicide “from” gun rate is over 7 times higher than Canada’s, but their not so eager to point out that the overall homicide rate is less than 3 times higher here, or that Canada is 95% non-Hispanic white and that their homicide rate is just about exactly the same as the non-Hispanic white homicide rate in America (or western Europe). The left loves to fool idiots into believing that its all about guns.

    • I’ll give the Governor a “harrumph” on this one. The white population of the USA and Canada have murder rates comparable to the white populations of Europe. These are facts, if inconvenient ones.

      Law-abiding peoples like the Canadians have low murder rates. Law-abiding demographics in the USA have low murder rates also. Stop worrying about the guns, it’s about the people.

      • Well in all fairness, the murder rate by law abiding citizens is zero, since committing murder excludes you from being ‘law abiding’. And it’s not all about race either, the murder rate in western Europe is very low like Canada and America’s white population, but the eastern Europeans are white too and their murder rate is much higher than our overall rate. These are complex social problems. The solutions don’t fit on bumper stickers. But then fixing the real problems while empowering citizens to defend themselves does nothing to transform those citizens into subjects.

        Harumph!

  11. Why are they so surprised at how much more shocking this shooting is? This wasn’t some random nutjob shooting up a school, this was a terrorist attack on Parliament, with the Prime Minister in attendance. It would be like somebody shooting up an American State of the Union address. What wouldn’t be shocking about it?

  12. Ask any cop. The feeling of people being killed as you are driving as fast as you can even though you are still a good 10 minutes away must be terrible…

    • Really? Cuz I am willing to bet that for the cops that think that the regular Joe should not be armed that thought would never cross their mind.

  13. ThomasR was the first to put a full stop to the dodging. Let’s back him up.

    A greater percentage of the U.S. population than Canada is in that 15-24 age group. In fact, the U.S. as a whole has a lower median age of males, in particular, than Canada. That demographic combo is more violent, more fatalistic, more entitlement-minded, and less established.

    A greater percentage of the U.S. population than Canada lives in urban areas. That means a more transient population, more apt to be renters than owners, living in closer proximity, but less familiarly. Of course you’re going to have more violent encounters among such people.

    The U.S. also has a lower mean age of mothers at first birth, too. That presents as more unwed mothers, more absentee fathers, fewer household resources (certainly fewer earned household resources), and less adult supervision growing up. Of course that will yield a more violent society.

    Ethnic differences, and the associated subcultures, between the U.S. and Canada play a huge role. Different subcultures prize different priorities and adhere to different moral standards. Of course our homicide rates will reflect that reality.

    Now, if you want to get into it, compare Canada to a U.S. state that more closely resembles it, instead of to the U.S. as a whole. How about Vermont? There you see about 4 annual firearm homicides for a population of about 626,000. Now the question becomes, when compared apples to apples to Canada’s 1 per 28,000 rate: why is Canada such a God awful, gun violent place? Could it be that victims are disarmed and dependent upon the government?

  14. Honestly, it’s not so much that it was a shooting that’s shocked us, it’s more the locations that shocked us.

  15. Interesting article.

    I found one major flaw in the story… the article presumes it is the gun that is the problem. The article tries to blame the firearm for the crime and the violence. The article implies that if there were fewer firearms there would be less crime or violence.

  16. An entire article by WaPo without admitting that Canada’s supposedly admirable lack of “gun culture”, and relatively strict gun control regulations, both did not prevent a crazy jackwad from finding a gun and doing his thing.

  17. ThomasR says:
    October 28, 2014 at 08:47
    “According to FBI crime stats, most of our “gun violence” is drug gang related among our minorities in the inner cities. Take that out of the equation and our “Gun violence’ would be equivalent to Canada’s.

    Google the demographics of Canada, it looks like Utah in its level of a homogenous culture with the same level of crime which is a fraction of the rest of the US.”

    Very true. Suicide deaths are also often included in the total count. Which throws off the total fatalities by a wide margin. If gang killings and suicides are removed from the statistics for all countries and then compared the differences between all countries would be much smaller. In fact, I would hazard to guess that violent deaths by firearms (less gang and suicide deaths) in the USA is far less than most think. Especially when you consider the number of firearms that we have in this country. The violent deaths to most Americans by criminals or mentally ill persons is likely to be extremely low.

  18. I don’t think this is a model shooting to make vague Canada-US comparisons.

    Picture the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Virginia. Imagine a fake jihadist wannabe shoots an unarmed US Army Tomb Guard soldier in the back before fleeing to continue his rampage at the White House or Capitol Building.

    Would you really wonder out loud why everyone is so shocked and outraged that such a sacred place would desecrated? The President wouldn’t attend that soldiers funeral?

    You want to make dumb comparisons? The main difference is that the attacker would get further into the Whitehouse than anyone wants to admit, and then the soldiers funeral would be picketed by those God Hates Fags psychos if this went down in the US.

    There are now Canadians passing around petitions for CCW laws to be loosened up here but of course nobody wants to cover that story.

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