Editorial: Thou shalt not kill

It’s not really hard to understand

Four mass shootings in the U.S. in about a week; 31 dead. Gilroy, Calif., El Paso, Tx.; Drayton, Ohio; Brooklyn, NY.

God (by whatever name you know her) must be rueing the day he came up with the idea of free will and decided it would be a nice gift for her creations.

People are basically good, he thought, they’ll work it out for themselves. And she added some simple instructions, like ‘Thou shalt not kill,” just to be sure people were on the right path.

Who could get that wrong?

Before you switch off and say ‘that couldn’t happen here,’ don’t forget there is a manhunt on for a pair of spree killers who fled from BC to Manitoba. The recent murders in Penticton and Salmon Arm show how easily it could happen.

Likely the people of New Zealand also thought “that can’t happen here,” until 51 people were killed at mosques in Christchurch.

So don’t kid yourself. It could happen here, though less easily thanks to us having more rational gun laws. But all it takes is an unbalanced individual with a grudge and a weapon, which could be anything from a gun to a car.

No, Canadians are just as capable of murder as anyone in the U.S.

Stronger gun ownership laws would further help prevent such an incident in Canada (In the U.S., any rational approach to gun ownership would help). That’s the easy part. The harder part is changing hearts and minds to steer people away from hatred.

It’s not as strong as in the U.S. but Canada is also seeing a rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment, and that is a cause for worry. The El Paso shooting, at least, seems to have been motivated by racism, like the Christchurch shooting or the one at a Pittsburgh synagogue late last year.

For some people, far too many, anyone with a different colour of skin, religion, culture becomes an easy target to blame for whatever is going wrong, even just gradual changes in Canadian culture.

As much as worrying about guns, that kind of racism and bigotry also has to be guarded against. As long as we fear others in these ways, there is always the chance that some unbalance individual is going to take it into their head ‘to protect our Canadian way of life.”

That Canadian way of life, however, is one that is based on equality, inclusivity and fairness. There may be a long way to go, but the idea is to build a just society. You don’t protect those ideals by killing people.

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