Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Could Get a Gun

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) These...
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) These dogs are wearing H-back freight harnesses. Photo from 1957. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



I could get a gun.

If I wanted to join a shooting club. 

I would have to apply for it, take a test, wait a while and there are stringent laws about storing weapons, but still, if I was so inclined, as a law abiding Canadian citizen, I could become a gun owner.

If I wasn't a law abiding Canadian, but  a member of the criminal world, I guess I could go downtown and buy a gun on the street.

 But, in general, Canadians don't want to be gun owners.

 So why the big difference between us and our BFF the Americans?

I mean we are small in population, sitting next to their massive, militaristic country that has invaded us once already. 

Why aren't we armed to the teeth?

 One explanation that has come up in my recent conversations with people, is that we always had the British army here keeping the peace in pre-Confederation days and behaving ourselves just became our norm.

Of course they weren't here to keep the peace, they were here protecting British interests, but law and order was a natural side bar activity.

And shortly after Confederation arrived in 1867 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, (Northwest Mounted Police in those days), with their red jackets so reminiscent of the British army, was established by an act of parliament.

 And if you are in any doubt about how they affected our Canadian identity, you must read some of the stories about the Yukon Gold Rush in 1898. 

Like a lot of the American west, Alaska was a crime ridden, death zone for the gold seekers, but when they reached the Canadian border at the top of the Chilcoot Pass they were met by Sam Steele of the NWMP. 

He and his small band of Mounties ensured the law was obeyed on this side of the border.

 The upshot of this is that we never developed a fear of other Canadians,
the way the Americans seem to fear each other.

And apparently we don't fear them either,

although I must say,
shopping stateside has become less appealing recently.

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