‘I Hope He Isn’t One of Us’: When ‘Good Guys’ Go Bad
TheGunBlog.ca — I’m crying again. Four innocent people were shot dead this morning in Fredericton, New Brunswick, including two police officers. I don’t know anything more. I want to vomit. I want to comfort the families. I want to protect the people I love. I want the killer to pay. And I hope he isn’t one of us.
Back in the old days, before I cared about “political messaging” and when “optics” were devices mounted to a gun to aim at the target, killings were like any other bad news. Nice factoid, sucks for the people affected, nothing to do with me.
That changed after the slaughter on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue three weeks ago. A reporter asked me early on: If the murderer were a licensed gun owner, how would that affect the gun-rights movement, “the cause,” as she put it.
How would it reflect on the 2 million Canadian men and women with a firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL)?
I told her it wouldn’t affect the movement or the cause. Murderers have nothing to do with me.
They have nothing to do with us.
What if the butcher of Federicton has a PAL?
Nothing to do with us.
My Community, My Cause
The movement or community I feel part of doesn’t say “gun rights for all.”
It’s more nuanced and makes for a lousy slogan on a bumper sticker. Maybe something like, “Innocent until proven guilty. Respect and rights for good people. Bad people go away. Maximum freedom for honest, responsible people, including freedom to own and use guns and other objects responsibly, competently and legitimately. If we haven’t done anything bad, leave us alone.”
As a slogan, “gun rights” is cleaner.
Phase 1: Emotion
Every time there’s a homicide by bullet, a whole bunch of us in Canada feel a range of emotions: sadness, rage, helplessness, hate, blame, desire to assist, desire to avenge, etc.
At some point some of us get to: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Muslims: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Blacks: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Whites: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Arabs: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Christians: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Domestically Sourced: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Foreign Sourced: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
PAL Holders: “I hope he isn’t one of us.”
Nobody wants to include a murderer in their “us.”
We want a scapegoat to blame, and the scapegoat can never be “one of us.” We invent ways to make them “other.”
It’s gotten worse lately as people manufacture identities and twist events to blame and shame and advance narrow political interests. Right vs. Left. White vs. Dark. Straight vs. Gay. Male vs. Female vs. Unlimited Genders. PAL vs. Non-PAL, etc.
Phase 2: Reason
After the waves of emotion: reason, discernment, nuance.
I know that the individual doesn’t define the group. It’s wrong to punish a good group for the actions of a single bad individual, or even a few bad individuals.
When a Muslim commits murder, we don’t blame all Muslims.
When a Jamaican commits murder, we don’t blame all Jamaicans.
When a driver commits murder, we don’t blame all drivers.
When a journalist commits murder, we don’t blame all journalists.
When a PAL holder commits murder, we don’t blame all PAL holders.
Zero Guilt, Strong Response
When someone looks like me, worships my god or shares my interests and does something bad, it has nothing to do with me. I have zero responsibility for their actions and feel zero guilt.
You might blame me and my community and even try to pass laws against us because you’re looking for a scapegoat. But don’t expect me to go along. Expect a strong response.
Legal vs. ‘Good Guy’
Legal firearm owners are almost always “good guys.” Almost.
- The deadliest shooting in Canadian history was committed by a man who acquired his firearms legally.
- At some point in the future, other murderers will have acquired their gear legally.
- A tiny handful of PAL holders buy guns and gear with their licence, then resell it illegally to people who want to harm us.
They may have the paperwork, but they aren’t good guys. They lied, cheated or fell through the cracks. They aren’t part of my community. They aren’t one of us.
I want the law to come down on them hard. I want it to crush them. In some cases, harder.
The instant anyone intends or acts to directly or indirectly harm innocents, they’re done.
At that point, even with a licence, we know they aren’t lawful firearm owners. They aren’t part of my community.
They aren’t one of us.
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The most important part of gun rights isn’t “gun,” it’s “rights.”
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