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From This Side of the Desk

Gun Control in the United States & the Lessons to be Learned
April 2013
Firstly, let me point out that I am probably one of the most apolitical people in the world.  I am an observer of life, purely and simply.
The recent demise of the legislative initiative undertaken in the USA aimed at placating the population following the atrocity in New England, died a natural and predictable death in the elected body.  The President of the USA pointed out it was a failure due to politics within the legislative body, and blaming the gun lobby while pointing an indirect figure at the opposition Republicans for the failure.
Mr. President, with the greatest of respect, you are a fool, and, more importantly you assume the great American public is as foolish as yourself.
To try and simplify the argument for gun control by making it into a Gun Lobby versus The People standoff will only perpetuate the problem and ensure more innocent people are killed by guns unnecessarily in the hands of people who really don’t need them.
You, and others, are missing the entire point of the argument.
The reason people are hiding behind their Constitutional Rights is very, very simple.  There is an abiding belief with a large number of Americans that the only thing that keeps the government from becoming a tyranny is an armed population.  While they believe in Democracy (note the capital letter), they believe as strongly, or maybe even stronger, in Freedom.
The issue is not Guns and Gun Ownership, the issue is Americans do not trust their governments.  Pure and Simple.
And does anyone think that the recent track record has done anything to help change the American public’s mind.  I sincerely doubt it!  America has gone through a series of poor leaders in recent years.  At best buffoons, in some cases mentally unfit and incompetent, and in some cases (if you carefully read between the lines) outright frauds.  America’s last decent president was Ronald Regan, whether you agreed with his policies or not, he understodd what was right and wrong and tried to always put America and Americans first.
The challenge for America is to find political leadership with the forthright ability to acknowledge the need for fundamental political change.  Do I think it will happen?  Probably not in my lifetime.
But there is one thing that we all can learn from the torment in the American political system.  That is American is not alone.  Every country around the world faces the same fundamental issues regarding the political connection to the populations they serve.  In a number of cases, that servitude is being expressed as Ruling.  And that is dangerous for everyone who espouses the virtues of freedom of thought, worship and life.
Canada is not immune to this issue, it may not be quite as far down the road to political gridlock and anarchy as other countries (especially in the USA), but being aware of the problem and putting checks in place to ensure we do not further decline into the morass would be a prudent starting point.
We need to see politician and political parties with the guts to start to look at reforms that re-connect with the average citizen; reforms that prevent the development of political elites; reforms that go back to the fundamentals of Democracy.
Am I the only person that cringes when I see governments being led by leaders who are the sons/wives/brothers of past leaders?  What kind of message does that give to the voting public and the broader constituency of people in countries trying to become more democratic?
From the desk of Ian Lawrence
This is a personal opinion piece created to stimulate discussion and provoke thought.
Your comments would be appreciated.

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