Now, Mayor Miller was a dread king
Posted by Nick Milne on May 27, 2008
He’s also a complete dingus, apparently.
Mayor David Miller wants to close recreational shooting ranges in Toronto, along with giving the city power to block gun manufacturers and wholesalers from opening new plants or warehouses.
“Nobody can deny that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city,” Miller said of sport shooting yesterday, amid debate on a possible gun bylaw.
Thinking you can end or even seriously curtail gun violence by making new laws against it is bad enough, but such naked disdain for the safety-conscious and wholly law-abiding sector of the gun-owning population, and in such unambiguous words, is just one more plodding step on the road to a soft tyranny. His language is appalling:
“It’s a hobby that creates danger to others. Guns are stolen routinely from so-called legal owners. It’s time that we got those guns out of Toronto,” he said.
“So-called legal owners,” as though the laws themselves were just smokescreens for murderers-in-hiding. You can keep tightening the noose, and people will likely keep going along with it – for we are a tired and beaten country – but the further you go, the more apparent it will become to candid observers that your actions and rhetoric are motivated by a sort of madness rather than any genuine concern for your fellow man.
Especially distressed by such plans are those for whom sport shooting is a profession.
Canadian Olympic pistol shooter and downtown resident Avianna Chao begs to differ. She says that if Miller gets his way, it could mean an end to her sport – and it won’t make the streets one bit safer.
Steven Spinney, firearms safety officer for the Scarborough Rifle Club, was also stunned by the news.
“It doesn’t make any sense to be zeroing in on a gun club,” he said. “We’re an Olympic sport … I’m not sure how shutting us down would help to cut the gun crime.”
Participants are required to take a safety course and the club uses only single-shot rifles.
So much for them, I guess.
All of this is bad enough, anyway, but Miller’s reasoning in calling for such action is disastrous both practically and philosophically:
“Do we as a society value safety, or do we value a hobby that creates danger?” he asked. “Nobody can deny that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city. Those are the facts. And they’re provable again and again and again.”
Apart from the fact that he is exaggerating the link substantially, that first sentence should set off certain alarms for any reader. Perhaps Toronto (or even Canada) values safety, “as a society,” but he seems convinced that the Canadian people don’t value responsibility, or maturity, or liberty. I should also point out that, in a city as full of cars and personal watercraft as Toronto is, coming down on “hobb[ies] that create danger” could go in several more effective directions than suppressing the unspeakable scourge of single-shot-rifle-wielding gangsters skiing down Bloor or Spadina while gracefully plugging one another.
Mayor Miller does not actually care about activities that are dangerous, and he certainly does not seem to care about working towards a just and reasonable society. What he cares about is the fact that criminals – you know, the ones who will just ignore any laws he drafts, because that’s sort of what criminals do – keep shooting each other, and innocent people to boot, and while there’s not a damn thing he can do about it the electorate nevertheless expects him to do something anyway.
But banning firearms in Toronto (no doubt his eventual goal) is not the answer, and banning shooting ranges even less so. If we look back historically for precedents when it comes to disarming your citizenry through legislative and punitive force, it is difficult – impossible, even – to find any that have turned out well, or that have been undertaken by virtuous people with virtuous ends in mind. An armed citizenry is the first line of defense against top-down tyranny, and those like Miller, who have far-reaching schemes they’d like to see implemented, certainly can’t tolerate that.