Editorial — July 5, 2014

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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Our friends to the south celebrated Independence Day on Friday.

The United States remains a wonderful puzzle to those of us who look on from beyond her borders.

Capable of wonderful generosity, its citizens can also be close-minded and a little obtuse in dealing with other nations. It’s a land of contradiction.

The United States is a religious nation -- 77 per cent of Americans identify as Christian, compared to 67 per cent in Canada -- yet at times shows a hardness that belies that faith.

They prize individuality while something in this country’s nature makes us more likely to see issues from a wider societal standpoint.

Canada is actually slightly larger in land mass than the U.S., but America has 10 people to every one of ours, 318 million to our 35 million.

We have subsidized health-care, they have mostly private insurance.

While there is a schism between left and right in Canada, it doesn’t seem as charged or angry as the red state/blue state divide in the U.S.

An issue that many Canadians will never understand is the gun culture and the sway of the National Rifle Association. There have been 10 attempts at mass shootings in schools since the dreadful massacre at Sandy Hook in December of 2012 yet no substantive change has been made or even really attempted.

It’s not about taking away guns; perhaps limiting automatic weapons or even having a basic list of who owns what might be enough.

Instead, guys in Texas are walking into restaurants and stores with long guns to extend their open carry rights.

Obviously it’s right for them -- and we are in no position and have no wish to meddle -- but most Canadians are happy that ownership is a little tighter here.

It’s a country that thinks highly of itself, a phenomenon best described as the theory of American exceptionalism. While that stems back to the country’s unique birth, the new meaning of the phrase adds the idea that Americans shouldn’t be prosecuted as a nation because it’s above international law.

You can even argue that theory’s pervasive nature can be seen in the fact that about one-third of Americans have passports, compared to 64 per cent in Canada.

We could spend a great many column inches debating American interventions in other nations over the decades, but we’ll just say that their motivations are sometimes a puzzle and other times seem shady to people from other countries.

Americans have their oddities -- as do we and all other nations -- but a goodness remains in the people there that suggests they remain one of this world’s great hopes.

When they as a people answer to their best angels, the world is far better for their existence.

So to all of our American friends -- including the many warm relationships that people in this newsroom have with people south of the line -- may the year ahead be a great one for you.

 

Prince Albert Daily Herald

Organizations: National Rifle Association, Prince Albert, Daily Herald

Geographic location: United States, Canada, Sandy Hook Texas

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Recent comments

  • chicken little
    July 09, 2014 - 22:24

    Who gave you the rights to speak for us all ?? The next time you have .Nothing to say .Do so Instead of putting your foot in your mouth.In our names .

  • chicken little
    July 09, 2014 - 22:23

    Who gave you the rights to speak for us all ?? The next time you have .Nothing to say .Do so Instead of putting your foot in your mouth.In our names .

  • chicken little
    July 09, 2014 - 22:22

    Who gave you the rights to speak for us all ?? The next time you have .Nothing to say .Do so Instead of putting your foot in your mouth.In our names .

  • steve
    July 09, 2014 - 20:13

    I don't see anything wrong with the NRA or guns. Canada should only hope to have the guts the USA has.

  • steve
    July 09, 2014 - 20:12

    I don't see anything wrong with the NRA or guns. Canada should only hope to have the guts the USA has.

  • steve
    July 09, 2014 - 20:11

    I don't see anything wrong with the NRA or guns. Canada should only hope to have the guts the USA has.

  • Ken McChesney
    July 09, 2014 - 16:10

    I really don't think you will find many Americans even in Texas walking around with automatic weapons. Here is another journalist that doesn't know the facts.

  • max
    July 09, 2014 - 15:13

    As already stated "automatic" weapons are not readily available in the US. It would help the anti-gun lobby in this country to have even the most basic understanding of the firearms that they so desperately want to ban and destroy. Texas is the nicest state I have been to so far. People are beyond friendly there. Honestly if feel safer knowing there are plenty of law abiding, normal citizens that have the ability to defend themselves and others should the need arise.

  • Bruce Gold
    July 09, 2014 - 14:54

    People who want to regulate and reduce guns to reduce crime have not explained the American experience. Between 1994 and 2010 Americans increased the gun supply by 93,965,151 firearms including 40,681,376 handguns (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives manufacturing, importing and exporting records). The result (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report on Firearms Violence 1993-2011) Homicides dropped from 23,326 to 14,722. Firearms homicides dropped from 17,527 to 11,078. Fatal and non-fatal firearms violence dropped from 1,585,700 to 426,100 The reason; in the US, unlike Canada, the government does not empower criminals by guaranteeing them unarmed and defenceless victims. From 2007 to 2011 the Special Report identified 341,700 instances were firearms were used for defence of person or property. The impact of these defensive uses are multiplied many times over by the deterrent effect the ability to defend has on criminals. If you are really interested in reducing crime and not just moral posturing and condemning inanimate objects you need to support the right and the right to the means of self-defense.

  • Canadian
    July 09, 2014 - 14:42

    The "sway" of the NRA? Sorry mate but the NRA is simply a scapegoat. The NRA is 5,000,000 Americans but it is so much easier to demonize (and that is what it is, google "NRA is killing children" for more BS) a three letter slogan isnt it? 85,000,000 Americans own guns for self defense, sport shooting, and hunting, yet they and the 5,000,000 who joined the NRA are all somehow responsible for the latest spree shooting or gang violence in cities. Shame on you for such obvious scapegoating and stereotyping, which, imo, are the ROOT of hate, the actual cause of violence in most cases. ps: self defense is a human right intrinsic to the right to life itself

  • banditos
    July 09, 2014 - 12:55

    We don't understand the American gun culture? Yes we do. A lot of us wouldn't mind the Texas laws that say we could carry in public. I've been to Texas and the carrying of guns is no big deal and everybody seems to get along just fine. Why don't you go down to Texas for a visit and see for yourself. It's a beautiful state and the people are very nice. They all have guns. Or maybe you are too frightened of guns.

  • john smith
    July 09, 2014 - 12:38

    "....perhaps limiting automatic weapons". Really? Select-fire weapons are essentially banned in the US, with the machine-gun registry being closed since 1986. Do some research and stop throwing words around that you don't understand, spreading misinformation in the process. Democrats want to ban certain rifles based on cosmetic features, plain and simple.