How Much More Do We Need? Libertarian Gun Culture and Cultural Irresponsibility

It’s an image infinitely sadder, for me, because of the dog.

Three RCMP officers gunned down by a madman in Moncton were laid to rest yesterday, and the images streamed from the procession were solemn, sad and filled with a sense of pregnant inevitability. We don’t yet know why Justin Bourque, garbed like “Rambo” and armed with assault rifles, a bow and knife, killed three Mounties in the usually quiet Moncton. But, we know that it will happen again, in the same way that Columbine was neither the first, nor the last school shooting. It seems we’re already a little desensitized to spree killings and shootings like this. Really, how widespread was the coverage and how shocked were you at the news of the Seattle Pacific University shooting last week? Was the coverage as intense, or your shock as profound, as when the Virginia Tech shooting happened? Not likely. And, as these shootings continue to occur and our desensitization deepens, the question left lingering is how many is enough? How many people need to die needlessly before we turn a critical eye on the culture and legislation that has created the environment within which these tragedies breed? When is it enough, and enough blood has been shed, for us to set aside our falsely principled defense of rights and freedoms in the interest of greater safety for the many? Or, are we too arrogant to do what’s best for us?
Read more

Fool’s Errand: Finding the Way Forward, and the Right Candidate, in the Ontario Election

This is the final installment in my take on the platforms of the major contenders for Ontario provincial leadership. You can see the first here, the second here, and the third here.

The choices are between a candidate who touts a feel-good plan unsupported by evidence and flawed by faulty calculations, an incumbent so overburdened by the baggage of the previous leader that no message is likely to get through, even if that message were not as questionable as her’s already is, and a candidate who seems to be unsure of which party she is leading into this election, but is sure she doesn’t know how to lead them to victory anyways. After a superficial analysis of the platforms of Tim Hudak, Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath, the only thing that can be concluded with any degree of confidence is that the beleaguered Ontario voter is faced with a decision akin to which kind of poison pill they’d like to die from.

I’ve never believed that refusing to vote is a valid protest of the quality of politics you have to choose from. I won’t say that you don’t have any right to complain if you don’t vote, because I think the right to complain is sacrosanct and unalienable. But, it’s in moments like this, when the choice between candidates is so poor, that a sort of paralysis sets in that makes that impulse to simply abstain from choice understandable. Since I still don’t believe that abstaining from our duties as voters is right, the only thing that we’re left with is a choice between evils, whichever we feel is the least also likely the most likely to win our vote. What is a voter to do? And, what do these candidates seem to want us to do?

Read more