Thursday, 19 March 2009

Bowling for Breitkreuz

Bowling for Columbine begins with a scene of Michael Moore receiving a hunting rifle as a promotional gift for opening a savings account. While shouldering the weapon, Moore turns to a bank employee and asks her whether she thinks it a good idea to hand out free rifles to strangers.

I remember watching the movie in a theatre and being hit by the waves of laughter: everybody thought, "Those crazy Americans," safe in the knowledge that what we were witnessing on screen was a bizarre foreign rite far removed from what our own society would tolerate.

That was seven years ago--long before a small minority of my fellow countrymen decided to hand over federal office to a conclave of moral dwarves whose sacred mission it is to push our faces into every malodorous cloud of toxic cultural gas that wafts across the southern border.

Now we hear that the noisome cranks of the pro-gun Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) plan to whoop it up in style at their annual general meeting in Mississauga. They've arranged to dazzle their guests with a special raffle prize: no, not a Chapters gift certificate; no, not tickets for two for a performance of La Sacre du printemps; no, not a coffee-table book on the Group of Seven. The lucky winner will get a semi-automatic Beretta PX4 Storm handgun.

Now, this may disappoint those more in the market for a link-fed 5.56 mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon with complimentary five-metre belt of armour-piercing rounds, but this Beretta is a special "Canadian Edition" of the handgun, something sure to impress whoever will get the honour of being mugged at its barrel point once it is stolen, sold, and bought by some thug.

The featured speaker at this lugubrious event is to be the "Conservative" Party's own Garry Breitkreuz. In a city swamped with American handguns and desperate to snuff out the rising tide of gun-related violence, Breitkreuz will be toasted for his undertaking to abolish the federal gun registry and relax controls on handguns and other restricted weapons.

For the record, I've never seen the value of a long-gun registry, and I consider that particular component of the Liberal program to have been a costly mistake. The members of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police disagree, however, saying that they "strenuously oppose any weakening of Canada's current firearms control regime". Despite my own misgivings, then, I suppose I shall have to defer to the cops on that issue: they're the experts.

What really astounds me here is the rank stupidity of a Member of Parliament waltzing into a town still mourning over its dead in order to clink champagne flutes with a gaggle of uneducable ghouls who think a semi-automatic is an acceptable choice of party favour (and who are so apparently stupid as to forget that only someone licensed to own the fucking thing will be legally free to take it home). One wonders if the same crowd attempted to book a New York ballroom for a "Celebrating Thirty Years of Airline Hijacking" party on September 12th, 2001. Perhaps we should take this as confirmation that Harper and the CPC have simply written Toronto off (as well as Quebec and the Maritimes) and are happy to serve it whatever offensive diarrheic effluent flows out of its members' distempered souls.

I wonder, though: why would the CSSA be so banal and unimaginative in its choice of raffle prize? Why not go for something roughly equivalent to a handgun but with a playful soupçon of novelty?

Think about it: a handgun is designed only to kill human beings. Ho hum. Why not award the lucky guy something designed only to torture or maim human beings? Such a device would be much less ethically objectionable, as wounding is more humane than outright killing (football and hockey players wound each other as a matter of course), and it would threaten less danger if it ended up in criminal hands. Using it might also be so much more fun.

But for some reason, whilst so many of us accept the propriety of a homicide-delivering handgun as a raffle gift, we would be stunned and appalled to hear of an MP’s complicity in handing out thumbscrews, garrotes, cattle prods and switchblades. Why is that?

Perhaps we should ask Garry Breitkreuz...



UPDATE:

We'll not get the chance to ask anything of anyone, since Breitkreuz's invitation has been withdrawn by event organisers--meaning that someone on Breitkreuz's staff, realising the ghastliness of the optics, asked the CSSA to "withdraw" the invitation as a way of liberating the MP from the obligation to attend without making him appear to be running away from public outrage.

Happily, the raffle will go ahead. Good luck to those of my readers who plan to compete.

7 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

That name...Breitkreuz; it's just so perfect.

Sir Francis said...

Are you sure "Dimkreuz" would not be more appropriate?

Ti-Guy said...

Not Teutonic enough for Herr Garry Blutundboden.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

Excellent post!

I could quibble, but why?

Raffling off a hand gun!!!!!

Even better "The lucky winner will get a semi-automatic Beretta PX4 Storm..."

This will be remembered. And it should.

Sir Francis said...

This will be remembered. And it should.

As I imply in the post, I am by no means averse to gun ownership per se, and I'm comfortable with fairly unrestrictive long-gun laws. I acquired a taste for shooting while in Army Cadets, and I've often considered gettting an FAC (though I would never keep a gun in my home; that's what armouries are for).

But this event is the perfect definition of "neither the time nor the place". I would feel the same way about Vancouver. A small rural town where gun violence is virtually unknown? Maybe.

Dylan said...

While the long-gun registry has been one of the primary targets of the CPC since it's inception, the CPC ignores the fact that long-guns have been used in some of the most public of crimes.

It's true, gangsters in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver are not toting shotguns when they decide to gun-down a rival gang member. However, long-guns were the weapons of choice in the Montreal Massacre, Columbine, Taber, Dawson College and the Amish School shootings.

If farmers and hunters think it is inconvenient to have their guns and ammunition locked in separate boxes along with license and registry renewals, they should consider the inconvenience of having your son or daughter gunned down in their school by some maniac who can easily get their hands on a long-gun from a friend or relative.

The long gun registry does not protect against handguns that come across the border illegally and are used in many urban-gang related crimes. To curb that, we need tighter border security and to ban all handguns from the country. There is simply no purpose to having a handgun other than to kill another human being. Furthermore, many handguns used in violent crime are stolen by law-abiding citizens in burglaries and sold on the street.

Border control and a total handgun ban in Canada - that's how we'll tackle the violence of guns on our streets. Beyond that, gang membership is a systemic problem which the CPC choose to ignore in favour of legislating longer prison sentences.

Which begs the question: given the argument above, is the Conservative government even capable of solving the problem of gang crime in Canada?

Kel Morin-Parsons said...

First of all, Lady Francis is a little dismayed to learn of Sir F.'s dreams of owning a FAC in the annals of his website; but then, we have always been a classically aristocratic couple, content to stay far, far away from one another's business. 'Tis the secret to a long marriage. And I myself have long been curious about learning to use a gun, but would under no circumstances keep one in the home, a point on which I am delighted to learn my spouse agrees.

The late, lamented Frank magazine used to refer to Gary "Not So" Breitkreuz, and I still think of him in this way, with great affection.

And while part of me is inclined to agree on the matter of the long-gun registry, I rather fancy that if I were, say, a Mountie in Backass, Saskatchewan, I might feel differently. Either way, there's little question that the Liberals fecked up the matter so badly that it has been handed as a gift to the current administration. Sigh.