Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Blunted Wit Indeed

A comment pertaining to Of Mice and MPs, December 8th post

At 3:51PM, Anonymous said... "Blunted wit" is right. Kinsella spoke for a lot of us when he criticized aGallaway (sic) for attacking the registry on the anniversary of the mass murder that gave rise to it. That's democracy, "John." And we're grateful people like you don't work on Parliament Hill anymore. Kinsella may be tough, but you think the murder of 14 women is no big deal.

Well, Anonymous and I agree on one thing. We're both grateful I don't work on the Hill anymore. Secondly, I have no doubt that Warren Kinsella speaks for many on this matter. Thirdly, we agree that Mr. Kinsella's threats are part of "democracy." It is, of course, democracy of the party backrooms and it is of a crude and boorish sort, but it is a manifestation of free speech, disputatious as it is. Add to that my self-confessed blunted wit and Anonymous and I have achieved a consensus of opinion on four of the matters at issue in yesterday's short blog.

Alas, my interlocutor and I don't agree on everything.

Firstly, on the evidence of Mr. Kinsella's statement, Mr. Kinsella is not tough. Pierre Trudeau was tough. Even when one disagreed with him one had to admire his courage, tenacity and intelligence. I admired him a great deal, even when I didn't agree with him.

Mr. Kinsella, though, doesn't present as tough. Now he may well be tough as nails. As I said, I don't know him. But he doesn't present as such. On the evidence, he presents as a bully and a bully who is full of himself. Of course he is quite entitled to be a bully if that is his wish, as it is my right to be critical of him for it. It no doubt gets him a lot of attention in the party, if that is his aim. But as Anonymous (my disputant with whom I have so much in common) says, "That's democracy."

Secondly, I am not opposed to gun control, per se. Now I know I wasn't directly accused of this, but I feel the need to be clear about it. In fact, I support the registration and tight control of handguns and assault weapons and the prohibition on automatic weapons. These weapons have been tightly controlled since the 1930, long before Marc Lapine murdered those innocent women and they ought to remain tightly controlled. Among my objections to the long gun registry are that:
  • It is a collossal bureaucratic failure. (May we declare consensus on this obvious point?)
  • It is a collossal fiscal boondoggle. (The Auditor General has made this clear. Surely we can agree on this point, as well.)
  • It is bad public policy. "A wise prince does not give orders he knows his troops will not obey." (For elaboration read Machiavelli and transpose provincial legislatures for the troops.)
  • It is alienating thousands of law abiding long gun owners, particularly in rural Canada, where people don't spend their in Internet cafes sipping lattes and plotting the defeat of elected party members of their own party with whom they disagree.
  • It is all spin and no substance (see bullet points above).
  • It draws much needed fiscal and human law enforcement resources away from where the current problem with firearms lies ... with illegally smuggled handguns ... one of which may be being fired right now in Scarborough, a stone's throw away from where I write. The innocent victim of such a crime may well be another innocent 11 year old girl riding the bus with her mother, as was the case last week in Toronto. Hell, it could even be happening right now on my street, or yours.

Now Anonymous, you may not agree with my objections to the long gun registry and clearly don't agree with my views on how to build continued success and consensus in a political party by not viciously threatening your own elected representatives in caucus with internal party "war room" electoral mobilizations. (Why are those so opposed to "guns" in civilian hands, so inclined to martial analogies?)

Perhaps, despite best efforts on our part, the hard won intitial consensus of John the Mad and Anonymous is doomed to fracture and I can expect further barbs about not caring a whit for those poor doomed women of the Montreal massacre. I promise you that even if you do make more nasty comments, I won't stoop to accusing you spuriously of not caring about 11 year old female transit riders in Toronto, just because of your apparent unwillingness to consider redirecting the wasted long gun registry dollars to stopping handgun smuggling and gang violence in our cities.

You see, I'm somewhat afraid of making unsubstantiated leaps of logic. I suppose that makes me something of a softy and not at all like the much admired Warren "scourge of the backbench" Kinsella. But a democracy takes all types, right?


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