Some of the stories on mass shootings and gun crime coming out of Canada and the United States these days are downright nightmarish:
• A masked gunman killed 12 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in a suburb of Denver early on Friday, sparking pandemonium when he hurled a gas canister into the auditorium and opened fire on moviegoers.
• Gunfire erupted in a northeast Calgary eatery early Sunday, leaving one dead and three others injured. At about 2 a.m., cops were called to Basil Ultimate Pho and Fine Vietnamese Cuisine, responding to reports of several shooting victims.
• Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty will visit the east Toronto neighbourhood today where a shooting rampage left two people dead and 23 wounded. McGuinty will visit the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club this afternoon to speak with local community leaders who are trying to prevent violence and steer youths away from joining gangs.
Predicably, amid all the tragic bloodshed, comes calls for tighter gun control and slams on the Harper government for dismantling the long-gun registry.
It’s been said before, but we’re going to say it here again — it’s not guns that kill people; people kill people.
And anyone with a few screws loose who is hell-bent on going out in a blaze of glory and taking as many innocent victims with them is going to get their hands on a gun. Very few mass killers have actually been the legal owners of the guns they used to commit their atrocities.
That’s why we take exception to the critics of a recent event near Brandon.
Westman retailer Wolverine Supplies hosted a fundraiser last weekend called Glock Days in order to raise money for Westman Dreams For Kids.
Admission was charged and there was also a raffle for a new Glock pistol.
The event was “about raising awareness for the shooting community and getting first-time shooters or people who are familiar with guns out to try some new models,” Daniell Hipwell, part-owner of Wolverine Supplies, told the Brandon Sun.
Hipwell said they choose Westman Dreams For Kids because “we needed to find a charity that didn’t have a problem with guns. Sometimes that can be a challenge. Once we contacted these guys they were so open-minded and supportive of us and our cause, and the gun thing didn’t seem to bother them — some people it certainly does.”
Said Westman Dreams For Kids president Kerry Campbell: “If people want to donate money to Westman Dreams For Kids, and they aren’t doing anything illegal or immoral, we really appreciate the support.”
However, that open-mindedness didn’t extend to some media outlets, especially CBC Manitoba.
While Hipwell was doing the rounds of media interviews to drum up support for the charity event, her interview with CBC on July 6 took a decidely strange turn.
After grilling Hipwell on the moral values of holding such an event, CBC Radio Noon host Marilyn Maki blurted out that it was a Glock that was used to shoot Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives Gabrielle Giffords.
On Jan. 8, 2011, Giffords was a victim of a shooting at a public event in Tucson, Ariz. The assassination attempt left her critically injured with gunshot wound to the head. Thirteen people were also injured and six were killed in the shooting.
How that had anything to do with the charity event being held in Brandon last weekend is beyond us. And for the CBC host to equate the two events is simply beyond the pale.
There will always be guns and the great majority of gun owners are responsible and law-abiding.
The Glock Days event was for the shooting community to try a specific brand of firearm.
The gun problems that lead to mass shootings are largely the result of untreated mental illness or gang warfare.
Now of course, our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones, or who have been injured in any of these recent shootings. But those horrific events have nothing to do with sport shooters engaging in some brand promotion.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 21, 2012