Editorial — 11 October 2017

Published: October 4, 2017

BY JENNIFER PARSONS

I had a great weekend. Spent some time in the city and shared more than a few laughs with some near and dear friends. I returned back to work on Monday invigorated (despite a head cold that comes with staying up till late around a campfire) and was fully intent on writing about the race bib I found still pinned to the shirt I wore for the Red Lake Road Run a few weeks ago. I had been working on a few analogies and cute race stories until I turned on the news and spent a good solid 20 minutes wrapped up in the horror and shock that gripped Las Vegas after the Route 91 shooting.

If you missed it, and I can’t imagine how that is possible, a gunman fired on a crowd of 22,000 people on Sunday night from the 32nd floor of a neighbouring hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Almost 60 people were killed and a further 500 were taken to area hospitals making the event the deadliest shooting in modern history in the United States, taking the title from the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida last year.

I watched and listened to the video clips of the events as they unfolded a few times this week and a few thoughts continuously came to mind. That pop-pop-pop is the sound of automatic weapon fire. It may sound a little foreign because that is not how it sounds in the movies but that is what it is and it is downright chilling.

The second, unfortunately more controversial thought was that using the old adage “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” to justify a lack of gun control laws for our neighbours to the south is just plain stupid. Although people are pulling the trigger, there is no denying that firepower is making it even easier for the least amount of people to inflict the most amount of damage.

While I would hazard a guess that more than just a few of us have a gun case somewhere in the house, here in Canada it takes more than just a driver’s license and a smile to purchase a gun of any shape and size and our crime rates prove it.

Lawmakers to the south need to start looking at the prevention side of gun violence because in every other aspect of our lives prevention has been proven time and time again to be life-saving. Prevent kids from smoking and their risk of lung cancer decreases significantly. Get people to exercise more and it will prevent obesity, diabetes, heart conditions and the list goes on. Prevention is the buzzword of the last two decades.

When a kid is hurt on the playground the incident is investigated and those responsible for negligence are taken to task. 30, 40, 50 people are killed with a gun and no one of importance is going to stand up and actually put pressure on the negligence that goes into allowing these destructive weapons to be so easily accessed?

Prayers and condolences are nice and are comforting to us all in a time of devastation and need, but they don’t get automatic weapons out of the hands of anybody. I remember listening to former President Obama after the shooting before Orlando and the anger that resonated at politicians and opinion leaders for not wanting to address the issues. Blue or red or Canadian, can we not all agree that arming every household in America is not the answer because someone always has something bigger and better and their intentions are not always the best.

In honour of those who have lost their lives to senseless gun violence can those with the ability and responsibility to keep their constituents safe please try to do something to prevent it?

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Jennifer Parsons

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