The Slippery Slope an opinion piece by Clinton Halladay
When does four equal 46? You can be forgiven if the answer escapes you, the logic will also! In 2017, Americans made up four percent of the global population and owned 46 percent of the entire stock of guns in the world, not including the police or military. American gun ownership is twice that of the next nearest country, 120.5 guns per 100 residents vs 52.8 of the next highest nation, Yemen. Of the wealthiest nations, the ownership rate is three times higher the nearest rate, Canada, and six times higher than the average of the wealthiest nations. Three percent of American adults own half the country’s firearms. If that isn’t bad enough, gun ownership spikes after a major massacre on the fear that regulations will be imposed restricting purchase and ownership to the point they might not be able to get their next one. Specific, definitive metrics are not available for more recent years; however, all anecdotal information points to the situation worsening.
The fear of regulations has never materialized, namely due the right-leaning Republican Party (GOP). The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun lobbyists are major funders of Republican senators and governors, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect campaign and legislation support.
The search for and/or retention of political power and wealth is apparently more important than the lives of innocents. I find it incomprehensible that lawn darts are illegal in the United States, yet guns are worshipped! As recently as the Texas school massacre of 19 children and two adults, Senator Ted Cruz (R) politically announced that if school doors were locked, these events would not happen, and then had his bodyguards forcibly remove a civilian questioning him. The NRA irresponsibly moved ahead with their national convention mere hours after the school carnage. Many GOP members prominently addressed the assembly, and NRA leader Wayne LaPierre proudly stated the only way to stop a bad man with a gun, is a good man with a gun.
Barrels of ammunition was available for attendees to fill their grab bags. Do you find it bizarre, that in many states open carry and concealed guns are perfectly legal, yet at the NRA Convention, no guns were allowed in the room during the past president’s address!!
Shootings of any sort are tragic, but why share the above information? Simple. The rapid rise of gun criminality is in direct correlation to the escalation of right-leaning political activity. Misinformation, disinformation and the myriad of conspiracy theories are fueling the rise of discontent. The immediate past president roiled the masses with lies, misrepresentation and conspiracies, and the far right-leaning extremists are capitalizing. Hashtag “whatever” has become the news feed for many on the premise that mainstream reporting, analysis and objectivity cannot be trusted. After all some individual with a computer obviously is better equipped to report news accurately than a trained, professional reporter!
Again, why is this important. Well, what happens south of the border eventually happens in Canada. It’s just a matter of when. We are seeing it now. Our political leaders are being attacked, spit on and pelted with gravel and crowds hold cities and border crossings hostage on false pretenses and vandalize national monuments. The Québec government tramples human rights with Bills 21 and 96, bills that the majority of Quebecer’s oppose, and improperly invokes the “notwithstanding clause” to ensure passage. The Legault government’s next move is an attempt to isolate Québec through provincially managed (segregationist) immigration laws.
The conservative party is in the midst of a leadership selection process. Candidates run the gamut from left-leaning, to centrists, to far right-leaning, some dangerously so. Regardless of who wins, the party is fractured and in serious danger of not surviving.
The Ontario election will probably have been decided by the time you read this; however, the slate of candidates, and consequently political views, are/were noteworthy. No less than nine plied for recognition and your vote.. Aside from the four “main” parties, Conservative, Liberal, New Democrat and Green, five others joined the ballot: the Ontario People’s Front, the New Blue, the Ontario Party, the Populist Party and the Libertarians. All are on the right wing and far-right wing of the spectrum.
No party can deliver everything we as voters would like, and we don’t have to agree with everything any of the political leaders do or say; however, we cannot descend into the far right, extremist quagmire. The present social and political situation in the United States is proof of how entrapping the slippery slope is. I certainly do not want to go there, do you? Increasingly we tend to select leaders who are confident, narcissistic and charismatic, when the traits required are competence, humility and integrity. Huge differences, with huge impacts, and sadly the first three are trending