Sometimes I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

and this would be one of those moments.

 There has been a lot of discussion going on at Bill Tieleman’s blog in response to his post in support of the gun registry in Canada. I’m not going to get into all the details, but suffice it to say that the comments are heated and there are very few people without a firm opinion on the  matter. That’s all fine and it’s great to see the debate evolve from opinion to hard facts. But this one point is why I must open my mouth.

Using gun related spousal murders as a reason for continuing this gun registry is not only ridiculous, but possibly dangerous to women on the receiving end of domestic violence. (I really like you Bill, but I’ve got to say this). I back up my points, rather than relying on vague allusions and unsubstantiated generalities to make a case, unlike some of the largely anonymous commenters under his post.

 After looking around the net at discussions currently ongoing, it appears that there are a large number of gun registry supporters across Canada who  would have you believe that the gun registry can prevent or at least reduce the number of spousal murders in this country, especially in rural areas where rifles are more prevalent.  Bullshit on all counts.

 One commenter (the first – Maureen) had this to say:

  It was a bad week for women’s rights last week – first the gun registry attack by the NDP and Liberal enablers, a registry that has reduced gun-related spousal homicides.

 Sorry to say Maureen, but I can’t find any hard facts to back that up. If you happen to read this, point me to your information source.

 Bill says this in his post:

 Despite claims that the registry unfairly discriminates against rural gun owners, the reality is that access to firearms is a key factor in domestic homicides.

 Now, this is  partially correct, because traditionally in rural areas ,rifles are a common household item. More on this in a bit.

 However, Bill goes on to say this in the comments section:

 Take a look at the firearms deaths stats my friend. Take a look at domestic violence in rural communities.

 So, I did look at firearms death stats- with relation to domestic violence, and conveniently enough, another commenter to his post brought up a recent, 2008 report that indicates firearms are no more significant in cases of spousal murder than stabbings ( but no one seems to be stepping up to register or prohibit knives…) info quoted is from page 39

 Between 1997 and 2006, the most common method
used to kill male spouses was stabbing (69%). In contrast,
female victims of spousal homicide were equally likely to be
stabbed or shot (30% each). A larger proportion of female
spousal victims were killed as a result of physical force
such as beating, strangulation, suffocation or drowning

Over the past decade, the rate of firearm-related spousal
homicides decreased by nearly 50%

 In 1996 there were
27 firearm-related spousal homicides compared to 16 in
2006 (Chart 4.3).

Sadly enough, there isn’t a lot of recent or current Canadian research on spousal murder in Canada , but there has been research done in the past that says this:

 Guns

While the prevalence of violence using guns against women in rural and urban communities is not statistically significant, the current literature does highlight the greater accessibility and use of guns in rural areas to intimidate, terrorize and murder women who are in violent relationships (Websdale, 1998). In many rural areas, guns are part of the household, often used for hunting and protection. Nolan (1992) suggests that:

Domestic killings occur disproportionately in rural areas and it is believed that this may reflect the high levels of gun ownership in the country. Many victims of domestic violence also report being threatened with firearms. (1992:23)

 This finding has also been reiterated by Dansy Consultants Inc. who found that violence was a factor in 80 percent of the cases involving firearm homicides (1992:15). While gun ownership and accessibility may not be the sole reason for wife-killing in rural areas, the fact that they are present and accessible may accentuate their use in situations of violence. Second, it may be more viable to discharge a firearm in a rural area without being detected or attracting police attention.

 There you have it. Guns are used to kill women and men in that sometimes screwed up institution of marriage – but so are knives, fists, hammers, boots, boards, ropes, pillows and anything else the murderer can get his or her hands onto. In fact, I know that when responding to a domestic violence call,  the RCMP will  operate under the assumption that there ARE weapons in the house,unless told otherwise. Yes, you may argue that the gun registry will tell them prior to arrival if there is a registered weapon in the home,but how the hell that prevents the murderer from firing it, I don’t know. 

 Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.  No gun registry is going to stop a man from pulling the trigger when he chooses to kill his wife or girlfriend.

 Please. Don’t use the excuse or pseudo-concern of women getting beaten and  then possibly murdered with rifles as an excuse to continue this  gun registry. It sickens me to hear that. It’s like saying having a license to drive will prevent deaths on the road from alcohol, or speed. They don’t, they just show you passed a test and keep track of your personal information. Again, bullshit.

  If someone really wanted to prevent needless deaths of women, they would be lobbying for much-needed changes to the Criminal Code that still treats the abusers with kid gloves( especially on a first offence) , demanding a reinstatement of mandatory charges for the abuser in BC, and educating Crown on how to handle domestic violence cases – not fighting to save a gun registry!

 The amount of money spent on this registry so far, would have done far more to prevent spousal murders, through public education programs, shelters and resources for women suffering the kind of severe abuse that often leads to murder. Especially in those rural areas where  women are often isolated and stay silent because there are no resources to go to.

 Yes, Bill Tieleman was right to call all these politicians gutless – but in my opinion, for the wrong reason. At least, that’s the way I see it.

18 thoughts on “Sometimes I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

  1. Joan

    I admire you for sharing your story in that link above. I’ve been through the same shit, just a different pile, and have always been made to feel like I should not talk about it, by my family and friends. I lived in a really remote townsite, and everyone knew what was going on, even the one cop that was there. But where was I going to go? The bush? Everyone figured I either deserved it ,or liked getting knocked around. But I had no money, and no one wanted me to stay with them in case he would take after them too, you know?

    My ex used to hit me with the butt of his hunting rifle and tell me that there was more where that came from. His gun is registered. I left the day I came home and found him sitting in the hall chair, loading it slowly, looking at me the entire time. He had a look in hiseye I had never seen before, and I knew this was it.

    When he took off to his buddies to watch a game and drink a whole bunch of beer, I took the car and threw all my clothes in the back ,and some things I really liked and drove to the next town, then left the car there and called my mum to pay for a bus ticket over the phone. I hoppedo nthe bus with my stuff in some garbage bags I got from the gas station lady, and I wont ever go back.

    You’ve got it right, they law needs to change and so does the way people think about women like us. So what his gun was registered, he still would have killed me , I know that. I worry what happens if he takes up with someone else.

    Thanks for writing this. Thanks so much .

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  2. Very well researched and well written Laila.

    Living in the Cariboo (and fairly remote) I know full well the dangers out here. The long gun is needed as Ed Deak pointed out with a cougar nearby. We have lost pets in our community by cougars that come right into the yard and snag them But I also own a scanner and in spite of what they claim the RCMP uses the registry for calls other than violence.

    And you are correct in saying that the registry could be used for more useful things. I saw the reference to $8 million in his post but my understanding is that this farce has cost very close to, if not, a billion dollars.

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  3. Laila

    Joan – I’m so glad you left,because I know that look you refer to – dead, soul-less, intense. Like the person is gone and something darkly evil has taken hold. I hope you are well now, and recovering. If you need help getting in touch with certain resources, please email me through my contact page and I will be more than glad to help you in anyway I can.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share your story here Joan. The more we talk about it, the less people will feel shamed and hide from the truth, and perhaps then something positive will come from it. I always think if even one girl or woman leaves because of reading my story, then any demons that resurface from telling it will have been worth it.

    Peace and love to you.

    Gary E –

    Thanks, we are on the same page. This is the comment I posted on Alex T’s site yesterday:

    ” You are right on the button with the statement ” Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

    I grew up just north of Prince George,in a family of hunters, who still hunt for meat to this day,preferring the taste of wild meat to domestic. As children, my father sat my brother and I down and taught us about his rifles,( has had/has several) and about gun safety. They were kept in a safe location,as was the ammunition, and were never kept loaded.

    Many people also had handguns, or Defenders, as ” worst case scenario” protection when hunting/camping/hiking in bear country, but handguns have long required registration and permits to carry or move them, and people who have them legitimately generally do so.

    To us they were of no more consequence than my mothers wooden spoons used for cooking, and for all the other families in town, it was the same.

    When we were old enough to be able to safely handle a rifle, my father taught us how to shoot, so that if anything every happened to him or my mom while we were out in the bush, we could defend ourselves or hunt food. All kids who grew up around the bush were taught these skills, and still are.

    If you aren’t a hunter,or haven’t grown up around guns, my opinon is that some people just don’t get it.

    I could never see the benefit to the registry, and I’m sure hunters everywhere are shaking their heads at the wasted time and money that went into the venture.”

    The bigger problem by far, is the endless stream of illegal and prohibited weapons ending up in the hands of criminals across the country. Not likely to be registered, are they?

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  4. Leah

    Fabulous article Laila!! You’ve said exactly what I’ve always thought, as has Alex.

    Joan, I’m glad you’re free…and I hope your days are filled with goodness. You did the right thing, the only thing…we can only hope that any future partners he might have will have the same strength that you did. He won’t change – they never do. Yep, I’ve been there too.

    Gary, I’ll try to find the article – but I’ve read somewhere that the gun registry has actually cost closer to 2 billion. If I can find it again, I’ll post the link for your reading pleasure.

    Again Laila…excellent article. Thanks for getting some truth out in front of some very ignorant (not knowing/believing) eyes. The longer we stay silent and ashamed to talk about this – the longer it will go on, and the harsher it will become.

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  5. Kim

    I once read a study in which somewhere around 90% of women responded to having been abused by men at some point in their lives. I know I have. Thanks for sharing.

    I come from a long line of hunters. My Grandad was locally famous for supplying anyone who needed it with fresh game. There is a photo of him parked on the legislature lawn with two cougar draped over his hood. My Dad was very careful to teach us firearm safety. I’ll never forget the day in the reserves, first time at the range, the surprise on their faces when they saw my grouping and back to me, brown haired quiet little mouse.

    It’s not the registered hunters (mostly, sorry Joan) so much as the gangs in cities. I commented on Bill’s thread too.

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  6. salvatore bennedetto

    A cynical person could say that the gun registry is a make work project to get votes because it simply does nothing to deter gang shootings and the violence against women.

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  7. Hooray, I find myself agreeing with Sal, and Gary and you Laila. The long gun registry is a crock (I hadn’t thought of it as a make work project for bureaucrats, thanks Sal). It doesn’t really even help the police very much to know where the rifles and shotguns belonging to LAW ABIDING citizens are located. anyone likely to register their firearm is less likely to shoot at a policeman than say a gang-banger with a non-registered stolen pistol or assault rifle. In BC far more civilians are shot by police than visa-versa. The last officer shot in BC that I can recall was the officer shot kicking down the door in Kitsilanto back in the eighties, and though the registry wasn’t in effect yet then, I doubt that gun would have been registered if it were supposed to be anyway.

    I find it ironic that law abiding folks are expected to sign search warrants in advance so a cop can come to your house whenever he wants to check to see if your rifle and ammo are stored correctly. Yet at the same time the Bacon Bros are trying to get charges dismissed for possesion of illegal, unregistered and likely unregisterable weapons because the police found them hidden in a secret compartment of a siezed automobile without a proper search warrant!

    Harper and the PsuedoCons agenda contains virtually nothing I can agree with other than his ongoing pledge to eliminate the registry. Of course his reasons for promising that may not be legitimate and if you notice it took a private member’s bill to even get it to this point – in other words it isn’t top of the agenda with the PMO – but it would be a pleasant shock to see them actually fulfill an election promise that makes sense (or a campaign promise – period).

    There is a real gulf on this issue between urban and rural folks and unfortunately for us country mice, Canada is much more urbanized than our gun happy neighbor to the south. I think currently over 80% of Canada’s population lives in the major metro areas of the country. Therefore the understandable fear of gang bangers by folks in Vancouver or Toronto is much more important to the politicians than the fact that to country folks rifles and shotguns are more like tools than weapons. Indeed it is irresponsible to not have a rifle if you are responsible for livestock that are vulnerable to predators or may suffer serious injury.

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  8. I can still hear, the Liberal Hemorrhoid, Allan Rock lisping, about how safe and secure the gun registry would make the Canadian people.
    Over on Bill Tieleman’s blog I made a remark along these following lines.
    How effective was the gun registry in helping to save the women that were butchered by Picton?
    How effective was and is the gun registry for all the missing woman on the highway of tears?
    Has the gun registry helped find the many women that are missing in Manitoba?
    As yet, no one has replied to say how effective it is, or was, on behalf of all these dead and or missing women.
    We also do not know how many beat cops were removed from their duties to go about the country teaching and advocating this worthless colossal waste of money registry.
    salvatore bennedetto said in part,” the gun registry simply does nothing to deter gang shootings and the violence against women”. And that ladies and gentlemen is the rest of the story, Thanks Sal, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  9. Laila:

    Superb post. What I found most distressing was the notion that the evidence was quite the opposite of what was being shoveled on Tielman’s site. Incredible.

    As for the link to your former personal circumstances, I have this to offer: Women like you are heroines. The abuse at the hands of a man, who does not understand or care what he is doing, is one of the most abominable acts of evil a human can commit to and still be considered human.

    I used to know someone like you once, and there was no one there to help…

    Bless you and your children.

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  10. Chretien served his real constituents well. We got multi-billion dollar boondoggles. He got: honours. From July 2009:

    “Queen Elizabeth has appointed former prime minister Jean Chrétien to the Order of Merit, placing him in the exclusive ranks of such figures as Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.

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  11. Laila

    First of all, thanks to everyone for these comments. I’m never sure where it is going to go on a post like this.

    Kim, I’m sorry to hear that you are in those statistics. But as great as statistics can be to educate, that is half the problem. We need to put faces to these statistics to make them real for most people- real enough to make people realise that this needs more than 10 seconds in the news to change anything.

    Alex-

    Thank you. My heart sinks to hear the words: ” I used to know someone like you….and there was no one there to help.” If you ever care to share, get in touch.

    To hear that, is evidence of our failure as a society, and as individuals.

    The unintended result of the this blog was the receipt of many, many emails from women all over North America, and as soon as I compose myself, I’ll be blogging about this again on Monday.

    As for the gun registry, I still think it should be scrapped. Information collection and make work project( as Sal said) sums it up best for me. But then again, I’m a northern gal living in Surrey,one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada ! Geez, I’ve had more close calls with gunfire here in the last two years than I did in 18 years in Prince George. And none of these incidents included rifles…

    And hey, look at the harmony among Koot, Sal and everyone else! Let’s all raise a virtual toast to each other this evening…

    Norman, that’s a little surreal, eh?

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  12. Hi Laila – thanks for promoting discussion of this important issue – even if we don’t agree. I suggest your readers who are interested in the long gun registry debate see my latest column today – the longer Tyee version is on my blog now, or http://www.thetyee.ca and a shorter version in 24 hours newspaper.

    I reply to many of the arguments made here by your readers.

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  13. salvatore bennedetto

    Sorry Bill, but you got done again by “Feldgrau” in his reply on the Tyee site. Your two examples of how the registry worked for the cops is also flawed as warrants could have been issued without that information. If you want to have the persons guns turned over to the state, that is a court decision that could be followed with a warrant as well. As pointed out licensing and registration are two different things. At a billion dollars its a load of make work for no return. If you could tell me that it has stopped or slowed down the gunfights lately, maybe, but you cant. If somebody is enraged enough to grab a gun and kill someone, then if the gun is not there, it will be some other weapon.

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  14. Laila

    Well, Bill, we can’t agree all the time, can we ; ) I’m rather enjoying the debate though. Look for some more on the issue of guns and public safety, hopefully sometime today if this baby gives me a break.

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  15. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » I’m Laila Yuile, and This Is How I See It

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