Re: Re Look out! long hair gun loon!

Geoff Smith (
Sat, 20 Dec 1997 14:53:39 -0800 (PST)

On Sat, 20 Dec 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> > Canada? Well, I live here in fact. Last month, a bunch of 13 year old
> > girls broke another girl's legs with baseball bats (please note:
> > baseball bats are sporting equipment, not weapons?) then threw her into a
> > lake to drown in the small, peaceful town of Victoria, British Columbia.
> > My point?
> >
> > a) Anything can be a weapon, you can't get rid of
> > them, so there's no point in saying "it's too soon to say."
> >
> > b) Canada is not the peaceful little place you think it is, and the peace
> > you do see is definitely not the result of a lack of guns. The only way
> > you can stop people from hurting each other is if you put everyone in
> > their own padded cell. Guns just make the process less painful for the
> > victim. (would you rather be shot in the head or stabbed to death?)
> >
> > Conclusion: There will always be weapons(even if it's just a big rock
> > off the ground, or your fist), ergo the only way to stay free
> > is to arm yourself against those who would oppress you.
> >
> Having spent fair amount of time traveling through Canada, and knowing a
> few Canadians extremely well, including a few former girlfreinds, I
> would say that the main reason Canada is so peaceful is, and you are
> going to call me racist or something for this, is because it is,
> compared to the US, so ethnically homogenous. Minorities are extreme
> minorities in Canada, for the most part, and have been that way for so
> long that Canadians have never felt threatened or needed to feel
> xenophobic, except possibly toward native Canadians, or between the
> French and English speaking populations.

I think your concept of an ethnically homogenous Canada either comes from
only seeing certain parts of Canada, or from the lack of
African-Canadians. Most African-Canadians come from the underground
railroad, as Canada was the first colony to abolish slavery; however, many
other ethicities are highly represented. Where I'm from (Vancouver), the
asian population is massive (there are many reasons for this, including
the exodus from Hong Kong) At my university, as a person of
Western-European desecent, *I* am a minority. So, this explanation for
the lack of violence doesn't hold water. I don't buy the whole slavery
thing as an explanation either-- Roman society was built by enslaving the
population of conquered countries then incorporating those slaves into
society as free citizens... the result was a very stable empire.

> This is changing, though, as
> evidenced by the increases in the asian and islamic populations and
> concurrent rises in crime in the areas where these minorities are
> concentrated.

I'm very sceptical of that. There has been an increase in crime in
Vancouver, but it is minimal, and there is a very good explanation for it:
Vietnam has decided that they can't afford to imprison their criminals so
instead they ship them out of the country... guess where they end up?
Here, of course. Canada needs to do something about its immigration
laws... Vietnamese gangs are beginning to be a bit of a problem.

> ANother big factor I can't identify in words, but it is definitely
> related to the Canadian psyche and is possibly the same reason why
> during the American Revolution, the Canadians did not join in the
> revolt.

Yes, I agree fully. I think the best explanation for the violence of the
US compared to Canada is culture. Americans began their country by
fighting, Canadians just waited it out until we were *given* independence.
Which was the better strategy? Who cares, but the point is that this is a
reflection of cultural differences (which I think are slowly blurring)
One important motivator for Canadians to avoid violence is that many
Canadians pride themselves on being as un-American as they can, and most
Canadians see Americans as violent (just look at all the movies that come
out of Hollywood!) Hopefully, the Canadian tendency towards nonviolent
solutions will rub off on the US, and the US tendency to prize individual
liberty will rub off on Canada, as the walls of nationalism slowly break
down. I'm not much of a nationalist/patriot. I'm proud to be a citizen
of the universe... call me a universalist!