Friday, September 24, 2010

Two Wolves and a Sheep

In parliament this week a long overdue bid to scrap Canada's long gun registry failed. This failure highlights the flaws in rational thinking on the part of Canadians just as much as the inherent abuses possible in a democratic system.

The greatest threat and failure of Democracy is the ability of 51% to vote away the rights of the other 49%. J.S. Mill and other heavy thinkers called this the tyranny of the majority. With the final vote on the registry tallied at 153 to 151, 50.3% of parliamentarians have indeed managed to dominate the other 49.7%.

The vote also shows the duplicity of politicians and the undue power political parties have in our system. MP's like NDP Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore) who promised to oppose the registry in accordance with his constituents wishes but who devolved into a partisan jellyfish at the threat of party disapproval. Then there are the countless Liberal MP's who were under orders from their leader Michael Ignatieff to vote the party line. It is hard to know how many of them voted in favour of their party and against their constituents but Ignatieff's praise of party unity ought to send a cold shiver down the spine of anyone who is interested in the preservation of political freedom and liberty in this country.

This isn't only a political failure though, it's a failure in critical thinking on the part of a lot of people.

Cast a critical eye at the original article. The inclusion of Elaine Lumley's story about her son Aidan's death is designed to pull at the heartstrings, but look at the facts. Aidan Lumley was shot and killed by an unknown assailant using a pistol in downtown Montreal. Pistols in this country have been restricted and registered weapons since 1935. This registry is for long guns only, the kinds of guns found predominately in the hands of law abiding farmers and hunters.

The Governments own statistics demonstrate just how wasteful this program has been. In 2009 all the murders committed in Canada in that year accounted for just 0.025% of crimes committed, and of that number only 1/3 were committed with a firearm. Due to the statistical information it is impossible to know how many were from long guns as opposed to pistols but I am willing to bet it was less than 1/3 of that total, so a little quick math has the homicide rate by long gun approximately at 0.0027 % of all crime in this country.

Even with the statistics above showing the almost infinitesimal percentage of crime committed with long guns the most salient point is that no crime has ever been prevented by demanding that the weapon used be registered. What do people think, that a criminal will say to himself... "Well I was going to kill the guy, but then I realized that my gun was registered so I thought I'd better not..." ridiculous!

Although rather tongue in cheek, this is something one should think of too...

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