Guns on the Street

Written by Harold McNeill on January 15th, 2016. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Kids and Guns USA

January 9, 2016 (Web Source).  Over the past several week’s various media groups have posted video’s or photos of kids in the USA practicing with handguns and various high power weapons. Parents being interviewed made it clear that learning to protect one’s self is important.  Clearly, no bully will chance an encounter with this little girl in the playground.

President Obama’s Executive Order on Guns

This post flows from a FB post made by my nephew, Greg Yochim, showing a video of President Obama at a townhouse meeting on Anderson Cooper’s 360.  Greg also made the following comment “It’s no secret that I like Obama, and as I watched the town hall meeting on AC 360 I tried to imagine Trump in this forum and it just seemed so inconceivable. (Yes, I know what that word means.).”

Since making the post, several comments have continued to flow on FB, across media screens and on press columns including the following short byline this morning (January 9, 2016) in the Times Colonist:  Iraqi refugees in Texas and California face terror charges. This headline followed with details about two young men, both in their early twenties, one living in Sacremento the other in Houston, having made comments on their FB homepages to the effect:   “O God, grant us martyrdom for your sake while engaged in fighting and not retreating; a martyrdom that would make you satisfied with us.”

Please note, those comments appeared on FB back in 2012 and 2013, at a time when both men had just entered their twenties. Either the details of their conversation were set aside by Homeland Security for future use, or the agency was so backlogged in their FB monitoring they only just discovered the offending quote. Does no one check these ‘facts’?

The background story revealed one man had fought in Syria against the Assad regime during his teens (sometime around 2010), then some years later after emigrating to the US offered to give the other man (his friend) some weapons training and advice on how he could be assigned to the battlefield in Syria.  Both men were Iraqi born Palestinians who entered the US as refugees.  The article stated there was no evidence either man planned attacks in the United States. I won’t go further on their story other than to note both men now face terrorism charges that could see them spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Meanwhile, in Oregon, a group of heavily armed men (domestic terrorists) have taken over several Federal buildings and a wildlife reserve, where authorities can find no means to end the occupation.  Each day, across the United States, people are using all manner of handguns and high powered weapons to kill each other Federal and State governments cannot find a means to stem the tide.  Meanwhile, two hapless individuals in their early twenties who speak of another religion and who talk about firearms training now face life imprison because of a FB exchange of two years earlier in which the suggestion is made one man might like to fight a dictator in another country.

This is happening in a country where weapons of all kinds are are not only legal, but where ownership is encouraged as a means of ‘protecting’ ones self and family from the slaughter that takes place daily in cities and towns across the nation, and as a means to of protection against the democratically elected government as in Oregon.  I don’t have reliable comparison figures, but several websites suggest the number of citizens killed yearly by guns in the US exceeds the number civilian gun deaths in Syria by a wide margin.

How do people in the US feel about guns on the street? Following is a sample from the same AC360 FB Page where President Obama spoke.AC360 Chart

How does this relate to Canada?

If you were to take a sample of the Canadian public response any number questions similar to that in the above chart, you would likely obtain a similar percentage split. While the US tends to be more evenly split in general election voting patterns (Democrats vs Republicans at about 50-50) Canada sits about 63-37 on the Left/Right scale.

However, as in the US, it often seems the side taking a negative approach to life and society, that is the 37% who support guns, a war on terror, war on drugs, war on crime and dozens of other wars,  carry with them a big stick called fear. Fear, it seems, has the unique ability to cause people to do stupid things and in this regard, it carries with it far greater influence than does a positive, open approach towards living in a free and democratic society.

This happens in part because of a willingness on the part of the negative, fear-mongering side to discard facts in favour of fear, to install hate in place of love and to view minorities as dangerous to our way of life. Dictators, as it is with schoolyard bullies, learn that lesson early, just as politicians on the right understand how to play these cards in order to gather votes.

The real danger and it is happening in many countries today, is a slide towards a form of fascism as a sizeable fringe on the right seize the moment to gain a political foothold by highjacking the agendas of their respective right-wing parties.  Donald Trump is doing the same thing to the Republican Party in the United States. By grabbing enough of the Republican fringe, he is able to stir up hatred against visible minorities in the US just as others are doing in England and the rest Europe.

Look what has happened in Canada over the past 10 years. Another ten years of playing having the fear card played on a daily basis, and Canada will become so much like the United States as to be indistinguishable from that country. And, this will happen even if a large portion of our population objects (as noted in the above poll result). As a supporter of a positive approach, I have often been accused by some of my conservative friends as ‘sticking my head in the sand’ when it comes to dealing with crime, terrorists and any number of other social issues that float around on a day to day basis.

Can we turn things around in this country? The next four-six years will tell the story, but I think we have a much better chance because a large percentage of Canadians support positive, rather than negative. That being said, it would only take one terror attack similar to any of those that have recently occurred Europe, or heaven forbade, a 911 event on our own soil (or in the US), to throw us back ten years.

That is what happened across Europe following the recent sexual assaults in Germany on New Year’s Eve and over the early hours of New Year’s Eve morning. While those events certainly deserved widespread media attention, it is often oversized when involving immigrants or other visible minorities.  There are plenty of statistics that reveal immigrants and migrants are far less likely to commit serious offences than are regular citizens of a country.

Just look at how terror cases that continue to pay out in Canada. The Korody/Nuttall, and Esseghaier cases again expose the extreme lengths to which police and security agencies will go in order to secure convictions. This is being done for ideological purposes rather than the normal administration of justice.

Given there is a huge ideological component in cases involving suspected terrorists, for Muslims (and other minorities), the cases can be used as a means to turn the tide against them as well as against people who promote inclusiveness, fairness and equality in any number of countries.

While we face a tough road ahead in Canada, I think we have a much better chance of success in pushing those demons into the background than does the US where the drive-to-divide people is extremely strong as demonstrated by the base who follow Donald Trump. What The Donald has done is expose a serious fault line in the US that will cause far more damage to that nation than a dozen natural disasters on par with Katrina or the worst of the California earthquakes or, heaven forbid, another terrorist attack in the order of 911.

A thought to take away and consider:

What if after every criminal case in the United States in which three or more people were killed or a woman raped by a deranged criminal, became headline news around the world for several days after the event? It would be a never-ending stream of thousands of headlines that would bury the world press.

How would people around the world view the United States and the largely Christian population of that  nation? No one would travel to the country for fear of being murdered or raped.  Yet, such headlines are written every time an event defined as ‘terrorist’ attack occurs somewhere in the world.  It does not even require that someone actually be murdered or raped to draw a headline.

That is fear-mongering and our mainstream media is drawn in every time.

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  • Harold McNeill

    January 15, 2021 |

    Wow, Graham, I was taken by surprise (but then again that’s not too hard). Having all you fine folks (my children by other fathers and mothers) would have been great. I’m hopeful that sometime in the not too distant future, we can reprise that trip. Perhaps we’ll just set aside a time for someone else’s landmark day, and we can surprise them. Love to you two. Harold

  • Graham and Nazanin

    January 15, 2021 |

    How could we miss this historic event my friend!!!
    Nazy and I were booked for that cruise Harold, we were looking so forward to it.
    We will be together soon! We both wish that continued unconditional love you receive from everyone to continue as you are that special someone that makes a difference in this world.
    Happy birthday sir, cheers!

  • Harold McNeill

    January 7, 2021 |

    Glad you found the site and that Dorthy enjoyed. I’ve added a lot of school photos in other locations linked to the High School Years stories. Cheers, Harold

  • Shelley Hamaliuk

    January 2, 2021 |

    Hi there, I am Dorothy Marshall’s (nee Hartman) daughter. Mom was quite excited when she discovered this site while surfing the net yesterday, so excited that she told me to have a look! She quite enjoyed taking a trip down memory and seeing old pictures of herself.Keep up the great work!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]