The terrible shooting in Arizona a few days ago would seem to have brought clarity, in the U.S. at least, on the question of what can be done to stop such tragedies — give everybody a gun.
To be sure, that’s a little different than we look at things in this country. Wednesday, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff issued a statement condemning the shooting as an example of why we need gun control in this country. Not an uncommon reaction hereabouts.
South of the border, pro-gun and anti-gun people, Republicans and Democrats, are disagreeing with increasing volume over the issue.
One view gaining some traction is that if there were no restrictions on packing heat — and, in Arizona, there are very few — everybody would be a lot safer.
The impeccably logical rationale for this position is that if everyone who was at the supermarket parking lot in Tucson on Jan. 8 had been armed, Jared Lee Loughner could have been “taken out” by some other pistol-toting good citizen before he completed his rampage.
To the question of whether or not even more people would have ended up dead or wounded if a general shooting match had broken out, one gun lobbyist rationalized that bystanders were already in danger, so why not let them at least shoot back?
Those on the other side of the argument are pointing the finger at Arizona’s lax gun laws, but let’s not exaggerate. True, parents can legally carry a concealed weapon onto school grounds when picking up their kids, as long as they leave the ammo in the car. And, sure, you can take a gun into the bar, as long as you don’t get drunk.
What could possibly make more sense?
If you’re over 21, you can buy and carry a firearm without a permit. The right to bear, or bare, arms and all that.
It’s hard for Canadians to fathom this approach. Up here, we rationalize the need for guns based on the sport of target shooting, and the “sport” of killing animals. We actually believe — foolish us — that keeping firearms under lock and key is the way to go. We have this apparently outdated notion that we should not allow lunatics like Jared Lee Loughner to simply walk into a store and buy a semi-automatic gun that is capable of killing six people and wounding 14 others in a matter of seconds.
One can only imagine what might have happened if there had been a few more 9 mm Glocks with 30-round magazines in the pockets of the 30 or so people gathered around U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords for her meet-and-greet parking lot event.
But, of course, arming the populace would certainly solve a lot of arguments in a hurry. Rather than shouting at another driver for hogging your parking space, you could simply pull your Smith and Wesson and settle the matter right there.
The next time you get into a rancorous debate with a buddy down at the coffee shop over, say, the Liberal leadership campaign, you could get the last word in, big time. Unless, mind you, he beats you to it.
The playing field for domestic disputes would be levelled. Instead of one spouse beating up the other, it could all be sorted out with a little domestic gunplay.
As we all know, of course, guns — when they’re handy — are already used in all of those kinds of situations. Anger and guns don’t go well together.
There are two ways of calculating the odds. One is that the more guns, the safer we are. The second is, the more guns, the better our chances of taking a bullet.
I subscribe to the latter equation.