“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.”–William Burroughs
When I lived in Spokane, Wash., I exercised my right as an American citizen to own a handgun. As an American living in Canada, I no longer have that right. And while there may be fewer guns in Canada, I feel less safe than I did in the U.S. That is because up here it is the criminals that have guns.
There is no constitutional right to bear arms in Canada. Instead, most of us hope that we won’t someday look down the barrel of a gun drawn by a felon.
It is a worry I hope Americans don’t ever have to live with. But you don’t have to be much of a prognosticator to expect a crackdown on guns following the Tucson tragedy. Just days after the murders which almost took the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) was already planning to introduce legislation that would put restrictions on law abiding citizens’ freedom to obtain firearms.
No doubt McCarthy and other liberals will decry gun ownership and will stump about the need to make America safer.
But I can tell you laws don’t make people safe. Canada has some of the strictest gun control legislation in the world. Yet Canadian criminals seem to have easy access to guns.
Such was the case on New Year’s Day 2009. I was in my office in Calgary. I looked out the window and saw half a dozen police cruisers racing down Bonaventure Drive, sirens blaring. They went to a usually quiet strip mall two blocks from my office.
It was around 3:45 p.m. when a car pulled into the parking lot of the Bolsa Vietnamese Restaurant. One man remained in the car while two others entered the restaurant. There they shot dead two members of a rival drug gang.
An innocent victim, 43-year-old Keni Su’a who happened to be eating alone that day, was also shot dead.
The press named it the Calgary New Year’s Massacre and it was an escalation in an ongoing war between rival drug gangs: The “Fresh Off the Boat” (FOB) and the “Fresh Off the Boat Killers” (FK).
This and many more murders have happened even as the Canadian government has cracked down on gun registration. None of which seems to have bothered immigrant gangs like the FOB and FK who have gone from carrying knives to toting high-powered assault weapons. Such guns were in use again this past New Year’s Day when two gang members fired shots that killed one man and left another in serious condition.
This is happening in Calgary which has a population of 1 million. Things are more dangerous in larger Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. And it is not just the drug gangs that breed gun violence in Canada. There is no shortage of crazies who always seem able to arm themselves.
In 2006 a Canadian gunman uploaded pictures of himself posing with a rifle. He bragged on his blog that he loved the Internet game based on the Columbine shootings. One day he decided to stop playing. He went to a Montreal college and, when all was said and done, he killed one person and seriously wounded another 19 before he shot himself.
On Jan. 13 the Ottawa Citizen, concluded that Canadian gun legislation is a failure:
“As strict as Canadian gun laws appear, they do not prevent the movement of illegal firearms in or out of this country, nor their possession, and only cover those firearms that have been registered. Last year, Canadian police services reported some 8,000 victims of violent gun crime, ranging from assault to robbery and homicide — a rate of almost one person per hour victimized by violent gun crime. On average, more than 1,200 Canadians are killed and more than 1,000 injured with firearms each year.”
Canada’s stringent gun laws don’t simply take aim at handguns. In 2001, the registration portion of Bill C-68 was implemented. With that law the Federal government demanded all firearms — including rifles and shotguns — be registered. Then, in 2003, Ottawa passed a law that failure to register any and all firearms would result in criminal charges.
There are a lot of old ranchers and farmers in Alberta that couldn’t be bothered to do the paperwork on an old Winchester. In the eyes of Ottawa’s bureaucrats these people are criminals.
Canada Once Embraced Guns
I was born in Alberta and I grew up around guns. On my 12th birthday my dad bought me a single-shot .22 rifle. On my 18th birthday he bought me a 12-gauge pump action Remington shotgun. I never imagined that a time would come where I would have to level my shotgun at a person; that I would take deadly aim with it.
But that happened when I as a senior at the University of Calgary and was cramming for a final. Around midnight I heard a car screech to a stop outside my parent’s home which sat on an isolated street. I was home alone with the family dog, Elsa, a Great Dane with a gentle disposition.
In the news had been reports that two men were terrorizing women on Calgary streets. Two young women, Laurie Boyd and Debbie Stevens, had been dragged from their cars at night and murdered.
I heard pounding at the front door. I knew something was seriously wrong when I opened the door to find my girlfriend Angela standing before me crying. Before I could even ask her what was happening a second car pulled into our driveway with the high-beams on.
I took Angela inside and went outside to see what the commotion was about. I brought the family dog with me and kept her leash wrapped tightly around my hand.
Two men were walking straight towards the door; neither one saying a word and neither showing any regard for me or our dog which was growling and barking.
I dragged the dog back inside and gave her to Angela. I remembered the Remington that I kept in the front closet. I found it and then fumbled for the single target load shell that I kept in the corner of the hat shelf. It was all the ammunition I had, but I was damn happy to have it.
I was shaking, but I loaded the shell. I slipped back outside. I was surprised at how close these strangers were to me; perhaps fewer than 20 paces. I remember the taller of the two had his hand reached inside his coat.
It was dark so at first I don’t think they noticed my shotgun. But they knew it was there when I raised it to my shoulder and pumped the fore-end, chambering the shell.
In a split second they spun and ran to their car, roaring off into the darkness.
More than a year later two men, Jim Peters and Rob Brown, were charged and convicted on multiple charges of murder.
My girlfriend Angela later became my wife. To this day we don’t know if those men were the Calgary serial killers. All these years later we remain certain of two things: These men had evil intentions and we were damned lucky to have that shotgun.
Yours in good times and bad,
– John Myers
Myer’s Energy and Gold Report