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Final Reflections

Elizabeth Mandelman | PostedAugust 16th, 2009 | North America

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Tuesday morning I made the long drive back to Minneapolis from Waterloo. Not even ten minutes into my drive, the morning news update was aired.

The first story reported that a woman from the Kitchener area named Nadia Gehl had been shot in early February while at a bus stop close to her home. Waterloo police finally apprehended three suspects last week-her husband and two of his friends. The second story aired described a deadly shooting in Toronto.

Over the summer, the pro-gun community in Canada incessantly argued that gun violence in their country is so low that legislation to decrease and prevent it is not warranted. This assertion, clearly, is easily challenged simply by listening to or watching the news.

The correlation between gun control and domestic violence cannot be ignored, nor can the correlation between gun control and crime more generally.

Domestic violence is a gendered issue, and unfortunately is always likely to be. As a result, the use of firearms in domestic violence is also a gendered issue; this is why IANSA launched the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign this summer.

Canada is one of four countries with harmonized gun control and domestic violence laws. As such, Canada’s Firearms Act has been internationally recognized as good practice and is being used as a model for other countries looking to implement similar laws.

It is not perfect. Nobody is pretending it is. There were cost overruns in its implementation, and some existing loopholes need to be closed. That being said, its imperfections are very small, and eliminating any portion of the Firearms Act would result in a decline of public safety and increased accessibility of firearms to perpetrators of domestic violence and other dangerous individuals.

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DV Logo

While reflecting on the Firearms Act and my time in Canada, I feel the need to address the treatment I received from the pro-gun community this summer, specifically from members of CanadianGunNutz.com, described as Canada’s largest firearm trade and discussion forum.

According to the pro-gun community, I was in Canada trying to take away their rights. The gunnutz community repeatedly accused me of attacking their personal freedoms, namely their freedom to carry firearms with them at all times, no matter where they are or what they are doing. If they want to carry their gun with them to run errands or even just to buy a pack of a smokes, this should be their prerogative, is what they argued.

They told me I should be ashamed of myself based on my ‘sickening’ attempt of emotional appeal when linking gun control and domestic violence. Newsflash, Gunnutz: Domestic violence is emotional. It is horrifying and it is unfair. Pretending the issue does not exist does nothing to help make it go away.

Not only did the pro-gun community constantly try attacking the legitimacy of my work and research, but they also attacked me personally; I have never experienced such degrading language or inappropriate behavior by people who claim to be adults.

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What was most laughable about the treatment I received was the fact that the entire time the pro-gun community was trying to discredit my work, they were also trying to get me removed from the country. Paranoia and fear runs rampant among the gunnutz, and as such they try to ‘stomp out’ (their words, not mine) any opinion that differs from their own.

Among other tactics, the pro-gun community tried to get me removed from Canada by searching for me as a registered lobbyist, looking into ways of getting my Visa revoked (I did not need one, which none of them were able to figure out), starting a letter writing campaign to the dean of my school based on my ‘lack of academic integrity’, and beginning the process of filing paperwork with the Ontario Human Rights Commission claiming that I was an American terrorist in their country attacking their rights.

They even posted the link to my Facebook page on their forum and suggested that everyone try to befriend me. Making futile attempts to get me kicked out of Canada is one thing, but seeking me out on Facebook is disturbing and scary (especially when the screen name of the person posting the link is Nightmare). I was forced to take down the picture I had of me a friend laughing, because some individuals began making lewd and suggestive comments about it.

I was warned before arriving that the treatment I would receive would be aggressive and mean, but I honestly did not expect it to be as bad as it was. Gunnutz.com and the pro-gun community are doing themselves no favors by attacking rather than debating those whose opinions vary from their own.

While their constant attacks were frustrating this summer, their tactics of aggression and bullying did not work on me, and have not worked on Parliament. The Firearms Act was passed into law for good reason, and Parliament continues to recognize its benefits by upholding the legislation in its entirety.

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34 Responses to “Final Reflections”

  1. George says:

    Ms. Mandelman,

    Throughout the summer, you have insisted (both in explicit and implicit terms) that you know the Firearms Act inside and out and have implied on numerous occasions that you know more about it than many of those who have replied to your blog. And yet, with this most recent entry, you have demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge of firearms legislation in Canada. To wit:

    “According to the pro-gun community, I was in Canada trying to take away their rights. The gunnutz community repeatedly accused me of attacking their personal freedoms, namely their freedom to carry firearms with them at all times, no matter where they are or what they are doing. If they want to carry their gun with them to run errands or even just to buy a pack of a smokes, this should be their prerogative, is what they argued.”

    While you are correct in stating that people believed you to be an attacker on what little personal liberty they have left in Canada with respect to firearms, you are quite wrong in most other respects.

    Gun ownership in Canada is a privilege granted by bureaucratic fiat. There is no freedom to carry firearms on or about the person at all times. And to be sure, absolutely no-one is able to have a firearm with them to run errands or walk into the 7-11 to buy smokes…unless of course you happen to be an agent of the state.

    Objective analysis of data from Statistics Canada coupled with the Auditor General’s comments indicate that there is really little evidence that the Firearms Act and the long gun registry have had any impact on criminal activity at all including domestic violence…the key word here is “objective”. As many have tried to impress upon you, there is a long term trend of declining violence of all types that precedes the Firearms Act by decades. Yet, you repeatedly chose to ignore this. Looking at a subject through an “a posteriori” lens for any evidence that could support a desired outcome is not intellectually honest.

  2. George says:

    Ms. Mandelman…

    There was one additional point I wished to make but omitted in the preceding reply…

    In order to understand why the Firearms Act still exists, you will have to undertake a deeper understanding of partisan politics in Canada. If the Conservative Party were able to, the Firearms Act would be changed dramatically, and for the better…if not struck down in it’s entirety. That it still exists is testimony to the gamesmanship of the leaders of our other political parties.

    The Liberals have invested much political capital as the anti-gun cheerleaders for large urban communities plagued by gang and drug violence. The NDP have also thrown themselves into this corner. The Bloc Quebecois? Unless there was some serious monetary or political gain to further their separatist cause, they see no need to change the status quo. But, make no mistake, if they thought for an instant that there was something of benefit to be gained for their separatist agenda, they would be screaming loudly for the abolition of the Firearms Act.

    So, a deeper understanding of Canadian politics would allow one to see that the Firearms Act continues to exist because of nature of Canadian politics, and therefore more by default, than any questionable “benefits” “recognized” by Parliament. Again, viewing subjects through an “a posteriori” lens is not conducive to object reality.

  3. [...] Not only did the pro-gun community constantly try attacking the legitimacy of my work and research, but they also attacked me personally; I have never experienced such degrading language or inappropriate behavior by people who claim to be adults… more [...]

  4. Jim S says:

    Well, good ridance to you Lizzy. If you fel lthat you received a hostile reaction from the Gun Community here in Canada, I’m sorry you feel that way. Now, if you want to pull your Anti Gun shtick in America, let’s see the reception you’ll get from the NRA, to mention only one group.

    Your stand on Domestic Violence is commendable, but going after the Gun community was the wrong way to go Lizzy. You should have gone after the INDIVIDUALS commiting the violence, not the TOOLS used in the violence.

  5. Marcel B. says:

    Ms. Mandelman,

    During your entire blogfest while in OUR country, Canada, I do not recall a single accurate statistic or fact stated by you. Not ONE.

    You also stated numerous times you wanted healthy debate but you never accepted a single offer from the pro side. In fact you often censored commentary you deemed detrimental to your cause.

    Be aware that your tirade in Canada has not succeeded in furthering your anti-gun agenda one iota.
    Also be aware that the long-gun registry will be dismantled. It has not been useful in solving ONE SINGLE CRIME for a cost of 2 BILLION dollars. It has been a monumental waste of taxpayers money that could have been put to good use catching real criminals or actually HELPING the people of Canada. In health care for example.

    Be aware that after the elimination of the long-gun registry lawful gun owners will still be licenced, that criminals will NOT.

    Finally, there is a woman who does some work I would like you to look up. Her name is Erin Solaro.

    Prepare to open your eyes.

    Sincerely,
    Marcel B.

  6. Turfman Jones says:

    Elizabeth,

    I would have to say that your relections weren’t fianl ones. They were more aptly “bitter” ones. I beleive that your long drive home was fraught with a deep seated seething anger. Anger at the treatment you received from an audience you did not expect.

    You said that the pro gun community attacked rather than engaged in debate. You were the one that stifled debate Liz. You deleted many, many, many well reasoned and thought out responses to counter your arguments.

    You deleted especially those replies that exposed your bogus stats, misrepresentations, falsehoods and outright lies.

    You are continuing to do so with this latest round of vitriolic generalizations of gunnutz in particular and men in general.

    Remember this Liz. When you walk into a persons house and crap on their living room carpet, just like a dog you’ll be thrown outside along with the crap.

  7. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    Turfman, I waited almost a week to post that blog. I thought that if I let it sit I wouldn’t feel so offended by the comments made to me during my time in Canada and wouldn’t need to post it as it was written. Then, I opened up my email to a comment which said “You’re a facist cunt. I hope you get raped by knife point.” So you know what, Turfman, I changed my mind and posted it. The world needs to see how hateful and offensive much of the pro-gun community is. I have NEVER experienced such treatment or seen grown people act like such children, and I hope never to again.

  8. P. Dusablon says:

    Ms. Mandelman,

    I will never condone some of the comments you have (allegedly) received. I admit, some of those crossed the line and do not serve us in the firearms community well at all.

    However, YOU came to OUR home. YOU attacked US. YOU insulted US. YOU came here to tell US how WE should run OUR lives and OUR country. And you expect us to just take it lying down? That is not our way, Ms. Mandelman. We are attacked, we fight back. We are insulted, we want reparation. You want to interfere with our lives, we will resist.

    I too find your efforts to fight domestic violence laudable. However, I believe you have been going about this the wrong way. You decided to go after inanimate objects and advocated making life much more difficult, and stamping down on the civil rights, of their lawful owners. Why were you not speaking out against society and the culture of entitlement? The decline of family values? The failures of our legal system?

    Not to mention that not ONCE you spoke of domestic violence against men, or even violence against men in general. It seemed to me that the only victims who meant anything to you were female.

    Not to mention that you repeatedly refused to answer valid points raised by a number of people. Why didn’t you? Why did you not prove to us your claims of academic integrity by answering those? Why did you not even attempt to prove us wrong? Could it be because you knew we were right, or because none of the data you could find was able to discount our own claims?

    I will not lie to you, Ms. Mandelman, I am not sorry at all to see you go. However, I hope that you have learned a few valuable lessons this summer, one of them being that you do not have the monopoly on the ability to do research and another that Canadians do not just lie down and take it when they feel they are being wronged.

  9. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    P.Dusablon-I wouldn’t lump all Canadians into the same category when describing the way the pro-gun community chooses to fight their fight. I’ve worked and been involved in politics for a pretty long time and never in all my time working on controversial issues have I come across the rudeness and pure disrespect I did when dealing with the pro-gun community. The treatment of the pro-gun community towards others makes me sad for humanity.

  10. John Evers says:

    Liz…..

    If ( your deity of choice forbid) you were ever attacked at Knife point.

    Which would you rather have.

    A gun

    A knife

    A cell phone.

    If you say anything other than a Gun you are either nuts or a liar.

    A gun is the ONLY tool that can level the playing field for a petite young lady such as yourself or for ANY other human be regardless of their sex, age or stature.
    That is the ONLY thing that matters in this whole discourse.

  11. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    An article from The Star
    Antonia Zerbisias
    August 12, 2009
    `There’s not enough outrage,” lamented one women’s rights activist at a candlelight vigil for the three women cut down last Tuesday night in a Pittsburgh-area aerobics class.

    As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted, only 75 people showed up to mourn Heidi Overmier, 46, Elizabeth Gannon, 49, and Jody Billingsley, 38, massacred by a man, who didn’t know them, simply because they were women.

    That’s unusual as the vast majority of femicide victims are killed by their intimate partners or male relatives.

    But, as Toronto author Brian Vallee points out in his 2007 book The War on Women, nobody counts the dead, nobody connects the dots, nobody calls out the problem.

    “Compare the raw numbers,” he writes of the period 2000-06. “In the same seven-year period when 4,588 U.S. soldiers and police officers were killed by hostiles or by accident, more than 8,000 women – nearly twice as many – were shot, stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death by the intimate males in their lives. In Canada, compared to the 101 Canadian soldiers and police officers killed, more than 500 women – nearly five times as many – met the same fate.”

    There’s not enough outrage.

    As we all know now, George Sodini, 48 – whose racist and misogynist online diary reads like a terrorist manifesto – couldn’t get a date, couldn’t get sex, couldn’t lure any women to his modest side-split furnished with, as he points out in a spooky video, “Couch and chair; they match. The women will really be impressed.”

    Well, they weren’t.

    And so Sodini’s “exit plan” was to go down in history in a blaze of gunfire, taking as many women with him as he could.

    Just like Marc Lépine, who hated “the feminists” so much he slaughtered 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnique in 1989, just like Charles Carl Roberts who executed Amish school girls three years ago, and, arguably, even like Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, a reported stalker of female students who took up-the-skirt photos, yet another violent act of misogyny takes place.

    No, no, we say. They were just loners, losers, crazies with guns.

    There’s not enough outrage.

    That only feminist bloggers and a very few mainstream pundits called last week’s fitness club massacre the hate crime it was should jolt us out of our sexist complacency.

    “We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment,” The New York Times’s Bob Herbert noted on Friday.

    “The mainstream culture is filled with the most gruesome forms of misogyny, and pornography is now a multi-billion-dollar industry – much of it controlled by mainstream U.S. corporations.”

    When I blogged about the massacre last week, my “men’s rights activist” regulars – whose comments did not get past the goderators – expressed little or no sympathy.

    Instead, they complained that “feminists” demand special treatment for female victims of crime.

    Two blog readers even pointed to the recent Wisconsin episode of the philandering husband – who has since been charged with child and sexual abuse – whose penis was glued to his abdomen by a trio of vengeful women as somehow having equivalence to the Pittsburgh massacre.

    Cruise the men’s rights forums and you’ll be shocked by the sickening posts calling for the legal and sexual subservience of women and praising Sodini as a “hero” and “for being a symbol for the consequences of denying men sex … But something like this has to happen, perhaps hundreds of times over again, before feminists get the message.”

    There’s not enough outrage.

    Antonia Zerbisias is a Living section columnist. azerbisias@thestar.ca. She blogs at thestar.blogs.com.

  12. Dalton says:

    Elizabeth, it is with mixed feelings that I learned of the conclusion to your appearance on the Canadian “scene”. While we’ve never met, I feel that I’ve learned a great deal – both about and from you – courtesy of your postings. That having been said, and in that spirit of shared communication and education, I’d like to leave you with the following thoughts.

    The first is actually a set of referential responses: to your discussion with documentary filmmaker Shelley Saywell, I would like to reference the town of Bangadi as furtherance to my (as-yet-to-be-responded-to) comment vis-à-vis your interview and related commentary, while to IANSA in general I would very much like to cite a very special citizen of your country, one Erin Solaro (of whom my familiarity stemmed directly due to your postings).

    A second thought would be towards your “tying it all together” piece; while not as well composed or polished as my previous (and again as-yet-to-be-responded-to) comments to your site here, please permit my insights regarding the matter to be voiced? You see, your piece very much reminded me of the old aphorism “capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth, while socialism is the equal distribution of poverty”. It seems that the written work of that post (and others akin to it, it being a summary/concluding-style submission) was very much purporting for the equal distribution of helplessness; i.e. for both men and women, and for populaces of 1st and 3rd-world countries alike.

    The difficulty that arises from maintaining such a mentality/tendencies – in this matter as well as those to which it really is akin – say, economic and political (socialism) realms, is that – try as one might to avoid/work against it – there will always be one group wealthier/more powerful than another. The same holds true with armed individuals; universal disarmament – while a very lofty goal – is a myth for the world in which we live (just like “pure communism” is the stuff of which myths are made) – and a deadly one, at that: people unilaterally forgo their firearms (as well as their enshrined values of the right to self-defence and freedom from oppression) at their own risk/peril.

    The benefit to identifying a “disarmament-motif” for what it really is – a natural and interrelated outgrowth both from and amidst a larger host of essentiality socialist-academic worldviews – is that those that encounter it from hereon in will be able to confidently assess initiatives such as IANSA in light of their well-established ideological origins. The retort is as simple as it is succinct; those who would disagree with your points of view are neither misogynists nor misanthropes; they are merely individuals who rank the freedom and right to protect themselves “from” others with a primacy over the hope and ambition of universal agreement “with” others. For it is truly only with the real existence of the former that we as humans can ever hope to achieve the latter; it is a necessary precondition, and one that belies the cult of the infallibility of the human condition.

    A third and closing thought pertains rather directly to your visiting our remarkable country. As it has always been the mark of a scholar and a gentleman to critique another’s words – rather than their person, I find myself rather compelled to mention how similar I have found your experiences to that of one your fellow citizens, one Michael Moore. While I by no means intend to categorically define/refer to you as being cut of the same cloth as that aforementioned individual, certain select comparisons may indeed be made. While the term “interloper” is very much a “loaded” one, one cannot help but wonder if it is an equally fitting one for one who ventures into another’s country with a very significant amount of pre-conceived (and, I daresay stereotypical) notions about that land, and who then proceeds to do very much to (a) transmit his/her version (vision?) of reality built on those notions to (i) American audiences “back home” and (ii) potential audiences in Canada itself, and (b) take personal insult when confronted with native opinions and viewpoints that differ from the visitor’s own. It at once comes across as high-handed, paternalistic, belittling and close-minded, not to mention slightly offensive; while some might very well refer to this as a reason (though certainly not an excuse) for feelings of hostility and “dismissive-ness” that an aforementioned interloper may encounter, I for my part do digress. (Though I’d very much like to have the pleasure of your responding to at least one of my comments.)

    Elizabeth, you have favoured us with your brave forays into Canada’s physical, political and ideological landscapes. What I should like to think you might have (albeit inadvertently) discovered is that while – perhaps unlike in the United States – large, (at times) publicly funded lobbyist groups and public personalities in Canada dwell firmly amidst the disarmament camp, there does indeed exist a core of intelligent and passionate private citizenry in Canada that both understands and foresees (as well as recalls) the folly and horrific pitfalls inherent to the placing (and at times coercion of others toward) the theoretically obtainable benefit of a collective socialist harmony, at the very real cost of personal security, individual beliefs and freedoms not to be imperiled.

  13. P. Dusablon says:

    Ms. Mandelman,

    Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, despite what you call were your intentions not to do just that, you have actually insulted a large number of Canadians and that they have taken offence to it?

    Say, like all men, all soldiers and all gun owners?

    Speaking just for myself, you have insulted me. You have offended me. Maybe you didn’t intend to but you did it. You have likened my profession to the thugs in the employ of warlords in Somalia. You have all but called me out as a potential wife-beater simply because I am male. You have made your belief clear that the simple fact I own guns will turn me into a violent man.

    I have been civil with you, and at times, I will admit, it was extremely challenging to remain that way.

    You have taken offence to my referring to documented historical uses of gun control. You have taken offence to my questioning your credibility and academic integrity when you refused to back up your claims or seek to disprove mine. You have taken offence to my analysis of your positions when you clearly stated that domestic violence against women was a serious human rights abuse but said no such thing about the men who are victims of any kind of violence, domestic or otherwise.

    But since when is it offence to an academic to be questioned? Since when is it so wrong to put someone’s positions and information to the question? Since when is it offensive to not take what someone says for cash money, especially when they will not try to refute any counter-argument?

    I have taken offence to being called a murderer, a rapist, a wife-beater and an all-around criminal scumbag. You have taken offence to people questioning you about your work. I detect a small difference here.

  14. Brad from Alberta says:

    Elizabeth, which “pro-gun community” treated you badly? It may have been an individual, or even more than 1 person, but it was not a whole community.

    Did the anti-gun community treat us badly in Canada? No, maybe it was only you. Do you speak for the entire anti-gun community? Do you purport to?

    Then why would you think a couple of cranks speak for the rest of us?

    You have read our forums, but never participated. We have read your blog, and participated only to the extent you saw fit, or which you could somehow spin-doctor to your benefit. You never once met with or talked with anyone in the pro-gun community, if you had, we would know all about it. You said one thing (free and open dialogue), but censored what didn’t fit your cause or refuted your preposterous claims.

    If you think that someone who sees behaviour like this shouldn’t question academic integrity, you’re dreaming. Sorry to be blunt, that’s the way the world really works, not the way you think it should.

    Canadians have been more than nice and honest with you in your blog, as well as generally respectful. I suggest you try this on your native soil and see the reaction you’ll get. I promise you it won’t be as pleasant for you as your Canadian experience, and I think you know that.

  15. Marcel B. says:

    Elizabeth,

    By posting what you have to try to “prove” your point you have once again shown your pure agenda, your pure bias.

    Your opinion is no longer considered when objectivity has been thrown out your window.

    There is a possibility you might be unstable and should find out for the good of the peoples of the world.

    Sincerely,
    Marcel B.

  16. m0nkyman says:

    It’s true. You can find rednecks on Canada’s largest firearms discussion board. Shocking. And you have to be kidding if you are acting surprised that you were able to bait some of them into doing or saying something dumb. Give 50,000 members of any organization a target of ire, and some of them will do stupid things and say stupid things.

    The vast majority of the members of Canadiangunnutz support the statement at the top of the home page:
    CGN will not tolerate any activities or speeches, that make our members, which could be of any “race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability” feel unwelcomed in our online community. We embrace all Canadians that believe in ownership and legal usage of firearms.

    Personally, I think it should include ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation’, but what can you do.

    In your final statement, you claim that the Firearms Act was passed for good reason. It wasn’t. It was passed for bad political reasons, and was opposed by the entire NDP caucus with a single exception (Svend Robinson). The Firearms Act is deeply flawed in a number of ways that anyone not blinded by a hatred of firearms would find deeply disturbing from a civil rights point of view. When you start reading all of the search provisions, including provisions requiring citizens to aid the authorities in incriminating themselves or face further criminal charges, most Americans would be gobsmacked, as it would be struck down as unconstitutional six ways from Sunday there. Even here in Canada, the government has yet to charge anyone using the Firearms Act provisions, preferring the Criminal Code stuff so that it doesn’t get challenged.

    Is there a correlation between firearms ownership and domestic violence? Yes. Is it related to the correlation of poverty and domestic violence? Yes. If one starts to investigate the correlation of poverty and rural gun ownership, things become a lot clearer as to why that correlation exists. There is more domestic violence amongst the poor, and there are more poor people in the rural areas, and the rural areas have more guns.

    If we spent more time fighting for social justice, we wouldn’t have to spend as much time worrying about guns. Acts of violence tend to be a symptom of underlying problems in society. We need to address racism, sexism and poverty. Those are the issues. Not gun ownership. Indeed, it’s been my experience that most of the opposition to gun ownership tends to come with certain race or class prejudices, depending on the mental image of the gun owner as a young black man, or a poor rural guy (redneck).

  17. Citizen of canada says:

    Dear Ms Mandelman, I’m glad you came to Canada and hope you will come again. Your work is valuable to all who care about public and domestic safety.

    I’m not surprised at the rudeness and mistreatment you experienced from some of my compatriots. The anti-gun-control community in Canada is rabid in its hatred of the modest and sensible controls we have here and of all who support them. It cares little for the victims of gun violence or those who are injured or killed in gun accidents. Its dishonesty is demonstrated in demands for ‘proof’ that any measure to control guns be demonstrated effective in advance. It constantly claims that controls have no beneficial results and implies that more people are killed or injured as a result of controls than would be the case without them.

    Sadly we have far too many M.P.s who for the sake of a few votes are willing to pander to the insane demands of the anti-gun-control people. I fear that if the Conservative Party ever gets a majority in the Commons, our gun control laws will be repealed or rendered ineffective by one means or another.

    Sincerely,

    Citizen of Canada

  18. Turfman Jones says:

    “I have NEVER experienced such treatment or seen grown people act like such children, and I hope never to again.”

    You continually use these offensive examples to malign the entire pro gun community. For heaven’s sake why? The people saying those types of things and calling you obscene names are not indicative of the people that have replied honestly, respectfully, with passion and thoughtfulness. None of us condone that type of behaviour. Not in our personal lives nor, for the most part, on the forum. Why are you marginalizing an entire sector of society because of callous remarks made by idiots?

    Elizabeth, if you ever decide to be a politician and end up in DC, be prepared to see a whole lot of grown ups acting like children.

  19. Paul says:

    “Over the summer, the pro-gun community in Canada incessantly argued that gun violence in their country is so low that legislation to decrease and prevent it is not warranted. This assertion, clearly, is easily challenged simply by listening to or watching the news.”

    Statistically speaking this year is no different then last year. The media does not do a good job of showing the positive they tend to focus on the negative.

    “The correlation between gun control and domestic violence cannot be ignored, nor can the correlation between gun control and crime more generally.”

    Statistically speaking firearms play very little role in domestic violence. You have focused on an inanimate object which accounts for very little of domestic violence incidents.

    More guns actually equal less crime actually. Open and Concealed carry laws have decreased violent crime rates in US more then any other Federal, State or Municipal law.

    Did you not learn anything at all this summer?

    “Domestic violence is a gendered issue, and unfortunately is always likely to be. As a result, the use of firearms in domestic violence is also a gendered issue; this is why IANSA launched the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign this summer.”

    No its not it is a family issue. It is also a very complex issue. People like you focus on inanimate objects and divert funding from breaking the cycle of violence and programs that actually work.

    “It is not perfect. Nobody is pretending it is. There were cost overruns in its implementation, and some existing loopholes need to be closed. That being said, its imperfections are very small, and eliminating any portion of the Firearms Act would result in a decline of public safety and increased accessibility of firearms to perpetrators of domestic violence and other dangerous individuals.”

    Very small … Very small … Are you for real. Was suppose to cost 2 Million it actually costs us so far 2 Billion or more and it’s not complete yet. It costs 82 Million to run each year.

    I think we could do a lot more with 82 Million a year with other public safety programs that actually work.

    “According to the pro-gun community, I was in Canada trying to take away their rights. The gunnutz community repeatedly accused me of attacking their personal freedoms, namely their freedom to carry firearms with them at all times, no matter where they are or what they are doing. If they want to carry their gun with them to run errands or even just to buy a pack of a smokes, this should be their prerogative, is what they argued.”

    I thought you read and understood and studied the firearms act. It is illegal as a civilian to open or concealed carry in Canada. As a matter of fact I need a ATT to take any of my restricted firearms to the range.

    “They told me I should be ashamed of myself based on my ‘sickening’ attempt of emotional appeal when linking gun control and domestic violence. Newsflash, Gunnutz: Domestic violence is emotional. It is horrifying and it is unfair. Pretending the issue does not exist does nothing to help make it go away.”

    No we check out emotion at the door and view the issue factually. Pretending firearms are the issue and not the people involved does nothing to address the real issues.

    “What was most laughable about the treatment I received was the fact that the entire time the pro-gun community was trying to discredit my work, they were also trying to get me removed from the country. Paranoia and fear runs rampant among the gunnutz, and as such they try to ‘stomp out’ (their words, not mine) any opinion that differs from their own.”

    Is it paranoia when CIDA and DFAIT provide funding to organizations both directly and indirectly involved in your placement here? Both of those government departments are for foreign service work and neither are suppose to do anything domestically.

    CIDA and DFAIT funds organization involved in UN Small Arms Trade. It’s funny that our federal government has passed into law the UN resolution for markings on small arms it’s not effective yet, but could be in not removed.

    You call us paranoid.

    “While their constant attacks were frustrating this summer, their tactics of aggression and bullying did not work on me, and have not worked on Parliament. The Firearms Act was passed into law for good reason, and Parliament continues to recognize its benefits by upholding the legislation in its entirety.”

    Really …

    Why doesn’t our AG think so?

    Finally…

    I found your whole agenda of hiding and using victims as a shield to propagate the IANSA agenda offensive.
    I found your presence in my country offensive when all the other fellows are in 3rd world countries.
    I found it offensive bordering on criminal you are directly trying to influence a minority government in a foreign country around a topic that could topple that minority government.
    I found it offensive you have questioned my patriotism/trust of my government you know nothing about me or my history and if you did you would understand just how offensive your question was.
    Finally I find it offensive that in one sentence you can talk about life being unfair and abuse victims having to use second hand items then in the next sentence support the firearms registry knowing full well that the system has cost between 1 Billion and 2 Billion to date and costs over 80 million a year to run.
    PS This has been blogged.

  20. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    Turfman, I work in politics, as I’ve mentioned before. I have never seen politicians and/or lobbyists act in the same manner the pro-gun community in Canada does. Ever.

  21. P. Dusablon says:

    Ms. Mandelman,

    Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, despite what you call were your intentions not to do just that, you have actually insulted a large number of Canadians and that they have taken offence to it?

    Say, like all men, all soldiers and all gun owners?

    Speaking just for myself, you have insulted me. You have offended me. Maybe you didn’t intend to but you did it. You have likened my profession to the thugs in the employ of warlords in Somalia. You have all but called me out as a potential wife-beater simply because I am male. You have made your belief clear that the simple fact I own guns will turn me into a violent man.

    I have been civil with you, and at times, I will admit, it was extremely challenging to remain that way.

    You have taken offence to my referring to documented historical uses of gun control. You have taken offence to my questioning your credibility and academic integrity when you refused to back up your claims or seek to disprove mine. You have taken offence to my analysis of your positions when you clearly stated that domestic violence against women was a serious human rights abuse but said no such thing about the men who are victims of any kind of violence, domestic or otherwise.

    But since when is it offence to an academic to be questioned? Since when is it so wrong to put someone’s positions and information to the question? Since when is it offensive to not take what someone says for cash money, especially when they will not try to refute any counter-argument?

    I have taken offence to being called a murderer, a rapist, a wife-beater and an all-around criminal scumbag. You have taken offence to people questioning you about your work. I detect a small difference here.

  22. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    Brad from Alberta,
    There were a few very nice individuals from the pro-gun community who took the time to talk to me and who were very respectful. Overall, however, the reaction I got was very rude and childish. All anyone has to do is visit the forums on CanadianGunNutz.com to recognize this. If you want to keep ignoring the fact that I did interview people from the pro-gun community, so be it. Healthy debate involves respect, and the majority of people who commented on my blog refused to recognize my opinion and comments as valid, as your constant refusal to accept that I’ve spoken with people from CanadianGunNutz.com illustrates.

  23. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    P.Dusablon, You take offense to being called a murderer, rapist, wife-beater and scumbag only because you refuse to open your eyes and recognize that I called you none of those things.

  24. Eupraxsopher says:

    Elizabeth,

    Frankly, you need to toughen up if you want to be effective in a debate. Yes there will be cranks. As with every community, most firearms owners are not cranks. Like any population, there are more good people than bad people. Think this was hard? Try moderating a guitar forum.

    Also, sometimes you should expect snyde, arrogant, condescending, and even rude tones in an intellectual forum. The more evidence you ignore, the more derisive the tone. Example:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

    You wasted a summer controlling debate like it was a propaganda tool, instead of allowing everything but the swearing and personal insults.

    You interviewed people from the firearms community and did nothing to present the other side of the argument or even rebut it. In the end, you resort to asking people to ‘watch the news’ – seriously?

    I’m also disappointed that you what could have been took a summer’s worth of serious objective dialog, with hard work and hard evidence presented to you, and summed it up in a giant ad-hominem.

    Do you have any hard evidence to defend your stance, or are cheap shots and sour feelings your only defense? Instead of taking the high road and thanking the people who made you defend your position to confirm the truth, you lumped yourself in with the cranks on both sides of the debate.

    Remember that offense is often taken by people who haven’t got anything left to argue. Good luck to you.

  25. Eupraxsopher says:

    “Healthy debate involves respect, and the majority of people who commented on my blog refused to recognize my opinion and comments as valid,…”

    Having a position in a debate does not automatically accord respect for that position. Making a comment doesn’t automatically convey validity to that comment.

    Respect for a position or a comment comes with proof of that position. You could say that the world is 6000 years old, but you might get a snide comment about sniffing the glue that the Sumerians were learning to use around that time. You might even get laughed at. Can you handle it? So far you haven’t shown as much.

    Statements made with no proof are akin to snake oil salespeople: Best ignored most of the time, unless the town is giving their money to the salesperson.

  26. Eupraxsopher says:

    @Citizen of Canada:

    “Its dishonesty is demonstrated in demands for ‘proof’ that any measure to control guns be demonstrated effective in advance. It constantly claims that controls have no beneficial results and implies that more people are killed or injured as a result of controls than would be the case without them.”

    You don’t think laws that restrict liberty on a broad scale while spending billions of our dollars should require proof?

    There are reams of data already existent on gun control. The experiment has been performed dozens of times. People here have presented the evidence over and over and you obviously ignore it.

    Good job attempting to bolster your argument by calling groups of people names. Got a leg to stand on?

  27. Eupraxsopher says:

    One last one Elizabeth (sorry to keep you so busy):

    If you had allowed a comment or two that personally attacked or threatened you, I’m sure that you would have seen the firearms community ‘go to town’ on that poster in your defense, right here on IANSA. They’re very good people on the whole.

  28. Greg Popik says:

    Elizabeth,

    Canadiangunnutz is an open, public forum, and all are free to join there.

    As Canada’s most popular recreational, political and trade forum for gun owners it is true that we have attracted the ramblings of more than the occasional wing nut with an extremist agenda.

    But to be fair with CGN’s administration and members, the tenure of radicals there tends to be very…

    Short.

    We don’t need billionaire funding and a Global network to accomplish a balance of freedom, propriety and intellectual honesty that seems to have escaped your venture.

    I would strongly ENCOURAGE your audience to join and meet us in discussion there. Comments are not indiscriminately censored there by a privileged few, but rather countered by a community. Best of all, participants will be able to catch up with the vast majority of the comments you chose to edit, marginalize or censor out completely.

    What fun.

    It is a courteousy that we will happily extend to your readership that we must agree has not been accorded on your sight.

    Dissatisfied with that? Join up. Despite your antagonist comments dangerously bordered on misandry, you can have your say there too. But do not expect to play the victim card when you get called on your inappropriate behavior.

    The great thing about the Internet is that your comments never seem to disappear.

  29. Paul says:

    Citizen of Canada Wrote

    “The anti-gun-control community in Canada is rabid in its hatred of the modest and sensible controls we have here and of all who support them. It cares little for the victims of gun violence or those who are injured or killed in gun accidents. Its dishonesty is demonstrated in demands for ‘proof’ that any measure to control guns be demonstrated effective in advance. It constantly claims that controls have no beneficial results and implies that more people are killed or injured as a result of controls than would be the case without them.”

    Actually you are incorrect gun owners for the most part do support sensible controls and laws. Gun Control in Canada is not sensible, effective nor modest gun control laws.

    We care greatly for victims of gun violence, but we know the current rules placed upon civilian gun owners simply target the wrong people. And our government has wasted BILLIONS on the illusion of public safety.

    Yes, we demand ‘proof’ and ‘reason’ especially when a topic is as politically charged as this one is. You have no idea what is truly at stake here a freedom, liberty and property right.

    I suggest you read up a little on this topic before making comments such as yours.

    Citizen of Canada Wrote

    “Sadly we have far too many M.P.s who for the sake of a few votes are willing to pander to the insane demands of the anti-gun-control people. I fear that if the Conservative Party ever gets a majority in the Commons, our gun control laws will be repealed or rendered ineffective by one means or another.”

    You have no idea what the word ‘pander’ actually means if you believe for a second gun owners have been pandered to in Canada. We have been smashed in the teeth with a hammer for the last 20 years in the name of public safety and yet there has been no measurable gain to public safety.

    All the gun control laws in Canada are aimed at honest law abiding citizens as they are the only ones that will respect the laws to begin with.

    The current laws are ineffective. Gun Control is not Crime Control and it never will be.

    PS this has been blogged.

  30. Turfman Jones says:

    I promise, this will be my last post as I am too old to continue arguing with a young idealist such as yourself.

    You stated the following on your way to Waterloo:

    “The first few days of my fellowship with Project Ploughshares have been a whirlwind of meeting new people, reading up on gun control legislation in Canada, and exploring my new surroundings. The Ploughshares office is located in an old Seagram’s distillery and needless to say, it’s amazing. The building used to be a museum, and much of the distillery is still intact.”

    “reading up on gun control legislation in Canada” struck me right away. That statement told me that you knew very little or nothing at all on the subject.

    You came to Canada at the wrong time to discuss gun control. Personally, I’ve been fighting this for 30 years as have many others. The last 14 years have been miserable. The last straw came with a nationwide call for a handgun ban by the Liberal party of Canada and Mayor Miller of Toronto in the fall of 2005.

    For the last 4 years we have been fighting to keep what we legally own and we won’t give up without a fight.

    Gun control in Canada is a very, very touchy subject. We gun owners don’t have the luxury of an organization like the NRA. They have 3,000,000 members. Our largest org has 40,000 members. So, we use the best TOOL we have in hand. Not our guns, our pens.

    Put things into perspective from our point of view Liz.

    BTW, in 1967 I worked as a summer student at the distillery in Waterloo. My dad was a VP with Seagrams in TO and got me the internship. I had just turned 18 that summer and had a wonderful time there. Also worked on the experimental farm and lost my virginity to a 26 yr secretary in a store room off the main accounting floor.

    A summer I’ll never forget.

  31. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    Turfman,
    I don’t understand how you find it in any way appropriate to bring discussion of your sexual history into discussion when commenting on my entry. It just goes to show what I’ve been dealing with all summer.

  32. Ray Smith says:

    Ms. Mendelman

    I have carefully went thru your website and many other anti firearms sites as well. I find your statistics to be extremely in-complete and when actually checked into to only represent a distorted picture of the situation.

    All the websites that proport to be represnting a ture and unbiased picture of firearms contol in Canada in fact are poorly researched and contain nothing more than emotional arguments that have no basis in fact.

    The one so called study referencing the 2 billion dollar boondoogle is full of mis-reprentation.

    How can a study done in 2002 state that the dollar figure upto 2006 was only 1 billion dollars? Quess they have a crystal ball and can see with 100% clarity 4 years out.

    If you want the true cost to the registry look deeper you’ll soon see at present its well over 2 billion and nearing 3 billion. You’ll need to look hard but most of this is backedup in the Auditor Generals reports.

    If you’re really as educated as you site indicates you’re gulity of very shoddy reseach

  33. Greg Popik says:

    You’re dealing with people.

    You’ll have to learn to negotiate if you lean to a respectable career in politics.

    When enough people have their say you often need to deal gracefully with bizarre comments that have nothing to do with the central issue. It is just part of participating congenially in a democracy.

    But capitalizing on strange comments to discredit the ideals of millions of people in North America is disingenuous, and probably even ultimately damaging to your own cause.

    It is equally as nonsensical as discrediting PETA’s ideals wholesale on the basis of the radical actions of a few weirdos.

    It is a question on the mind of many why you communicate a deep need to discredit the pro gun view instead of entreating a genuine debate?

    I keep hearing your references to the powerful gun lobby, but that doesn’t reflect the real story. Maybe that is an artifact of your familiarity with the US gun lobby, and an erroneous assumption that the Canadian gun lobby is even remotely similar.

    The real story is that Canadian lobbies are strapped for cash, and often cannot get the gun owning public to pay a mere $50 for a yearly membership, let alone sizable donations from Billionaires with sweeping political agendas.

    When presented with the choice of buying another box of bullets or supporting an lobby organization that protects their rights, many if not most choose the bullets.

    Would you continue to call that powerful? I call that notion delusional. I am sure that Tony Bernardo of the CSSA reads comments here.

    I would happily accept his rebuke of my comments, but am pretty sure that I am unlikely to see that position taken by an powerfully unpaid volunteer.

    Instead, lets identify real lobbying power. What criteria would we set? Perhaps an organization with enough power to, say, control an news organization.

    I won’t spoil the surprise with my comments. Let the audience decide. That’s democracy, no? THAT is honesty. THAT is our position.

    Here is the MSNBC version:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYKQJ4-N7LI

    And now here is CNN’s report:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OCJn9XEfhU

    Too bad the carefully edited MSNBC piece never shows Chris’ hands and face while talking about the racist reactions to a black man in the white house.

    Then again, how else could they discredit a movement without having to develop their own defensible position?

    Powerful gun lobby? No. We can clearly see that it is a powerful anti-gun lobby. And yet another attempt from the left to discredit gun rights activists by carefully manipulated slander.

    As always ensuring that posts do not mysteriously disappear, this has been blogged.

  34. Elizabeth Mandelman says:

    The comment period for this entry is closed.

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Project Ploughshares in Canada


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