Do you feel pistolized? Canadian sociology professor James Sheptycki created the term “Pistolization” to describe the phenomenon of a society that integrates hand guns into commonplace daily life. It’s a more elegant and pointy-headed way of describing a society that is devolving into the Wild West. Oh, did I say America? No, but Sheptycki did. “America” is a Canadian term that is a more elegant and pointy-headed way of describing that cesspool of violence south of the forty-ninth parallel from whence many banned firearms are smuggled. America is pistolized because we have more hand guns than table salt shakers. Or so I’ve heard. Bloggerette Dominique Millette of Womenmakenews.com is calling for an international arms treaty between the neighboring countries that would ban pistolization in America so that fewer arms can be smuggled into the Great White North. She sounds like Mayors Daley and Bloomberg. Only they don’t use Sheptycki’s fancy word. Before we explore Ms. Millette’s essay any further, let’s stipulate a couple of facts . . .
First, Canada is not America. After the gaggle of malcontents who Americans call their Founding Fathers brazenly declared independence from England, many colonists who remained loyal to the crown fled north to commune in relative safety with likeminded royal subjects. Thirty-six years later they were still loyal to the King. You remember, “Oh say, can you see . . . ?” The war when President Madison enacted the Bush Doctrine and preemptively invaded peace-loving Canada without provocation (other than insults)? The War of 1812?
Anyway, some Americans (shall we call them “Neo-Cons”?) in the Madison administration believed that liberty-starved Canucks would revolt against their British overseers if America did them the kindness of invading. The military mission of mercy was an unmitigated failure. But America learned something: the people of the north actually liked the British. Canadians ARE different.
Fact two: there is no excuse for American authorities to be lax on controlling the northern border. America should prevent American firearms from being smuggled into Canada. Americans expect los Estados Unidos Mexicanos to do their part to curb the illegal flow of drugs, weapons and people from their country. We should be prepared to do no less for our northern neighbor.
However, drug trafficking from Mexico into the U.S.A. presents some interesting similarities to Canada’s War on Guns. By outlawing handguns, the Canadians have created a black market appetite. Guns aren’t being pushed into Canada, they are being sucked in by their own citizens who must get their firearms fix. It’s a disease. ‘Just Say No’ is a joke.
In her call for an international arms treaty, Ms. Millette quotes extensively from anti-gun activist Wendy Cukier. Cukier says, “The difference between Canadian and U.S. homicide rates (200 versus 10,000) is explained entirely by the difference in firearms.”
What? I don’t know where Cukier gets her numbers and the accompanying web link provides no details. The homicide rates (per 100,000) in Canada and the U.S. are 5.4 and 1.83, respectively. America has roughly 17,000 homicides a year while Canada has fewer than 700.
Saying that the difference is “explained entirely by the difference in firearms” doesn’t make it so. To empirically establish that firearms are the difference, the author would need to show that just as many Canadians (per 100,000) attempted murder but failed because they couldn’t get their hands on a handgun.
Millette further states the “Murders of women with guns are down 60% in the last 15 years alone, which correlates with stricter control.” That’s funny because overall, the murder rate in Canada has only dropped 17% over the last 15 years. So if the women aren’t being killed by handguns, they are being killed by alternate tools such as knives, hockey sticks, or curling stones.
Meanwhile, during the same period in the U.S. the homicide rate fell 43 percent, coincident with the liberalization of concealed-carry laws in many states.
What other nonsense did Ms. Millette manage to serve up? Try this:
Allowing civilians to bear arms can increase casualties immeasurably. The Virginia Tech shooting resulted in 32 deaths, while the one at Dawson College produced one death, with several wounded. Why the difference? Standing orders. In the U.S., police must worry about crossfire from self-defending civilians, so it takes longer to secure a perimeter. In Montreal, police were able to respond to gunfire immediately, notes Sheptycki.
I’ve never heard that the Virginia Tech police hesitated to intervene because they were wringing their hand in worry of taking crossfire. The “gun free zone” campus has stricter gun prohibitions than most of Canada.
A more accurate comparison to the Virginia Tech massacre was the 2002 shooting at Appalachian School of Law. A disgruntled former student killed three students – two executed at point blank range – and wounded three others. The shooting was cut short by the actions of three law students who happened to be off-duty police officers, two of whom retrieved their personal handguns from their vehicles once the shooting started.
Dominique Millette, James Sheptycki, and Wendy Cukier naively believe that they can eradicate violent crime through international arms treaties, gun control laws, and government-imposed social engineering schemes. It’s a nice dream, but their numbers and conclusions simply do not hold up under scrutiny.
As cliché as it sounds, the world is a dangerous place. There are plenty of evil people and governments who will victimize and exploit the weak. No matter how noble the intentions, every time governments strip people of their ability to defend themselves, they are weakening law-abiding citizens and setting innocents up for victimization.