Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Last Night I dreamed....

I hate guns. I live with a man who has a locked metal cabinet full of them. I have a daughter who has been extensively trained to use them. My neighbourhood becomes a shooting gallery each fall during deer season. I have a neighbour whose solution to any animal predation is to shoot the predator. It is all profoundly discouraging, especially when the morning paper and evening television news are both full of the aftermath of the desolation at Virginia Tech.

My first experience of this kind of tragedy took place in 1975 when a highschool student in Ottawa went on 'a shooting rampage' at St. Pius X High School. A coroner's jury in this case recommended that all school lockers be searched randomly every semester. I was a school board trustee at that time, and it was clear to the board that this idea was not practicable. The jury also recommended a ban on pornography and severe restrictions on gun sales. Those recommendations were also found to be impractical although some tightening up occured. The coroner advised that there was a need for research into what makes such a person reach 'such a tragic state' without being detected.

That's a good idea, but the putting it into practice is pretty complicated. Even if you detect the mental aberration and the tendency, what do you do? It is obvious to say that you keep the person away from guns, but how do you do that when they are readily available on the black market. It is also obvious to say that the person should have counselling, but you cannot make someone profit from that. Nor can you lock him up on the supposition that he could become a shooter.

I don't have any answers. I didn't at the time, and I still don't. My husband, daughter, and neighbours are not going to become insane revenge shooters and they get a lot of pleasure from their hobby and avocation. They would not thank me for taking away their guns. But, today, I really wish I could. If I could do it, I would bury every weapon in the world in a deep, deep pit and cover the pit with steel reinforced concrete a yard deep. And have a night's sleep untroubled by horrible dreams.


  1. Mary, you were a school board trustee at the time of the St. Pius shooting? I was a student in Ottawa much later, 20 years later in fact, and I remember hearing about it and thinking it was just a rumour. I've only now realised it was true when all of the Canadian news services are listing off school shootings.

    I am so torn on the gun issue. I don't know what the answer is...I think it's interesting that Americans are no re-evaluating gun control and yet I see so many cases of this kind of tragedy in Canada, when we have gun control. What is the solution?

  2. Well, with semi -automatic handguns hard to get, the Canadian shooters don't seem to kill as many people.
    I think our only hope to reduce the incidence of these tragedies is to look for the disaffected kids and help them. Easier said than done, however.