Thursday November 27, 2014

EDITORIAL - Reaction to Moncton shooting must look to cause


When writing an editorial for a weekly newspaper one of the first goals is to make sure it has relevance to the local community.

In most cases that means writing on something local, or relevance to readers here in Yorkton.

But this week we must pause and look to the East Coast in Canada where on June 4 three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were killed in the line of duty.

Any time a police officer lays down their lives in performing their duty, which is to protect the citizens of this country, it should send a ripple of unease through the country.

Perhaps no single act is any greater a front to the freedoms and liberties we enjoy than when someone kills an officer of the peace.

That three officers will killed in a single event only heightens the feelings generated, and the outpouring of support for the force in Moncton, and across this country, have been emotional, and heartfelt.

The question that remains is what we, a Canadian community will take out of the tragedy, so that we can work toward trying to prevent such incidents into the future.

The first reaction is likely to call for tighter gun controls, but that would be an over simplified, knee jerk reaction.

The firearms in the incident appear to be common hunting weapons, and to impose laws which would ban such firearms would be heavy-handed and ultimately do little good. A registration paper does not stop a firearm from being used in a crime.

To stiffen firearm laws in the face of this incident would be the same as toughening liquor laws the next time a drunk driver crawls behind the wheel of a vehicle and causes an accident where a family dies horribly on the highway. That is a scene played out all too often, yet here in Saskatchewan liquor laws are actually becoming less stringent with barber shops, spas, theatres and similar businesses now allowed to be licensed to serve liquor.

The Sask. government has gone that way because they recognize liquor does not kill people on the highway. Drivers who consciously drink too much and drive are the potential killers.

A firearm does not kill until someone points it at another human being and pulls the trigger.

A firearm is a tool for a deranged mind much as was a hammer in a recent incident where a 28-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder after a 13-year-old Windsor, Ont., boy suffered multiple skull fractures from a hammer attack.

What we need to do is look past the weapon used, and come to terms with how someone like the man charged in the hammer attack, or the man arrested for shooting the RCMP has gotten to that point in their lives?

Have they fallen through the cracks of our mental health care system?

Been pushed to a breaking point by economic circumstance?

Or has our justice system failed to hold them behind bars in the past?

We need to be wise enough as a ‘community’ to look for the causes of such tragedies, and not simply opt for the simpler reaction of reacting to the tool used.



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