When I lived in the states I accepted that there was a sad risk that I could be shot at any time. Sure that risk exists to a degree in Canada but it’s very small. I’m more likely to hit a large quadruped while driving — while this may sound funny hitting a moose is often fatal. I lived in a house where my landlord had a gun. He was certified and went to the shooting range. He was a responsible gun owner. It wasn’t my country. I couldn’t tell him I thought it was ridiculous and unnecessary. He said that he wanted to see a full gun ban but that until then he had to protect himself. I just nodded and thought to myself, “you people are totally crazy.”
It’s a sad part of life to the point where there is basically a mass shooting per day. In Canada we don’t hear about them unless they’re particularly bad. Even then I try not to think about it. Mass shootings are like car crashes. They happen, they’re sad but they’re such a part of the way a particular society is designed that you can’t really bat an eye at it. Otherwise you spend a lot of time feeling really sad.
I was at Folk Fest this weekend when one of the bands mentioned that they knew one of the people who was killed in the Lafayette shooting. They talked about how they feel the situation is hopeless and no one will ever do anything about it. They said that this time the shooting felt different.
It was also the day after federal funding for the Green Line was announced. As the lead singer spoke I wanted to believe everything he was saying about how hopeless the government is. For the most part I do agree with him. After Sandy Hook the gun inertia settled in. If that didn’t do it then nothing will.
But the buzz still hadn’t worn off. Sometimes governments do make good choices. Sometimes they do things will make people’s lives better and shape a brighter future. Sometimes they make the difficult changes that need to be made. I’m not naive enough to think that Harper isn’t trying to buy voters with the municipal capital fund he announced right before an election.
I do think that there is hope. That given long enough something good has to come and that sometimes even the worst governments get it right.
There’s a project I discovered today, which tracks mass shootings in the US. It has all the little ones people forget about, or ignore because they’re no longer newsworthy. There have been 207 so far this year. Projects like this probably won’t fix the problem but they might change a few minds.