How Not To Solve A Problem

Colt 1911

Yet another example of how legal Canadian gun owners – and not the criminals – face all the hassles

If you’re a legal gun owner in Canada, you’ve probably heard the buzz about how the Liberal government would like to ban all handguns. Maybe you’ve even begun to wonder why it is that every time there is a high profile shooting, “progressive” politicians come after you, rather than targeting criminals with illegal guns.

After all, over the last 25 years you’ve enrolled in (and passed) the government’s lengthy courses on the safe handling of firearms. You’ve applied for, and been granted a licence to possess firearms, and to buy ammunition.

For a time, when it was required, you registered every old gun you had, and every new gun you bought. You acquired (at significant expense) all the trigger locks and gun safes needed to comply with safe storage rules. You informed the government of your new address every time you moved. And when you went to renew your firearms licence, you dutifully informed the government of any changes in your marital or employment status.

You even went to the trouble of acquiring a transport permit to carry a gun from your home to an approved shooting range, locked in a case, locked in your trunk. And rather than stopping for a pee at a gas station, you held it on the way home because, technically, that’s what Canadian law requires.

If you are an official gun collector, you’ve even agreed to let police search your home randomly, without notice, once or twice a year. In other words, you’ve jumped through every new hoop that Ottawa could think up to burden law-abiding gun owners, in the name of solving gun crime.

Now you learn that’s still not enough. If they can figure out a way to do it, the Liberals want to take away any handgun that you own altogether. All of that is frustrating enough, but there’s something that you didn’t know, that will blow your lid: No-one who has ever been banned by the courts from owning firearms is subject to the same scrutiny.

Neither Canada’s criminal justice system, nor its police information computers, keeps track of the whereabouts of people subject to weapons prohibition orders. The federal firearms center reports that there are nearly 450,000 convicted criminals prohibited from owning firearms, including thousands who should be “monitored closely because of their high risk to acquire firearms illegally and use firearms in the commission of a subsequent offence.”

The Federal Government doesn’t keep track of people who have been banned from owning guns, as closely as it keeps track of ordinary duck-hunters, and target shooters. Here’s the ultimate irony – or is that hypocrisy? We know that the banned 450,000 already have criminal records, and we also know that crime rates among law-abiding gun owners are lower than for the population as a whole.

Governments who want to ban, restrict, or register legal guns in the name of reducing crime, are truly going after the wrong people. Of course, to justify this unwarranted targeting of legitimate gun owners, governments and police services have recently begun spinning the tall tale that legal owners are the No. 1 source of guns used in crimes, either because they have carelessly stored them and the guns have been stolen, or because they have sold their legal guns on the black market.

This is utter bullshit! Little by little, over the past few months, Public Safety Canada, the Toronto Police Service, and others, have been forced to admit that they have no data to support their contention that most crime guns start out as legal guns in Canada.

This is just another way that legal gun owners in Canada are being blamed for a problem that they have not caused. If governments want to reduce gun crimes, they need to stop wasting so much effort on the good guys who own guns.

Flash Fiction #180

bonfire-anshu

PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

A CHILLING NOTE

Indian build small fire, sit close, keep warm.

White man build big fire, keep warm chopping firewood.

Damn global warming!
Damn the EPA!
Damn bureaucracy!

This will be the last night we can do this.  Tomorrow, the City’s open fire ban goes into effect.  The kids will be the ones most affected – no more toasted marshmallows, no more charred wieners, no more waving glowing sticks in the air.

We can still sit around and drink beer and tell lies in the dark.  Somehow, I don’t think that an extension cord and a radiant heater are going to bring back nostalgia.

Radiant Heater

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #173

Squeaky Wheel

PHOTO PROMPT © Nick Allen

GOING’ROUND AND ‘ROUND

Nobody was embezzling.  It was just a minor accounting anomaly which occasionally caused me problems.

I approached the bookkeeper.  She said she wasn’t authorized to modify procedure.  The Office Manager was always hip-deep in alligators.  At the weekly progress meeting, no-one wanted to accept responsibility.

The CFO said to get his secretary schedule a meeting, and we’d ‘discuss it.’  I finally got the Documents Clerk to include a line-item in the annual shareholders’ report.  Suddenly the President was all about transparency.

The squeaky wheel really is the one that gets the grease.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Religious Freedom To Be Paranoid

Bible

Christianity is again under attack.  So says a newspaper article that’s as predictable as tomorrow’s sunrise.  The headline is actually ‘Freedom of religion disappearing in Canada,’ but Christianity is the only religion mentioned.

The writer gives two examples of loss of (Christian) religious freedom which I can refute quickly and easily.
The man is a paranoid, fucking moron.

What??!  You were expecting something deeper, and more considered?  Alright!

He whines about the Federal Liberal government refusing to give grant money, for the hiring of summer students, to any organization which will not guarantee support for birth control or abortion.   He, and many others, feels that this is loss of religious freedom.

Not so!  Any such church, or Christian organization, is still free to hold and teach any and all moral positions.  The Federal Government is just telling them that they cannot finance proselytizing their restrictive, judgemental views with MY tax money.  He complains that the churches can’t get back “their money,” but all churches are tax-exempt.

Locally, the Federal Government has tried and failed four times in the last 15 years, to strip a successful businessman of his citizenship, and deport him.  He came to Canada in 1948, and became a real estate developer.  He employed over a hundred people, and he and his wife were active in social causes, donating over $2 million to various worthy causes.

He was a 17-year-old ethnic German, living with his family in the Ukraine, when the Nazi death-squads arrived.  When they found that he could speak both German and Russian, they kidnapped him and threatened him and his family with torture and death if he didn’t translate for them, so that they could find the Jews and Gypsies.  Under U.N. regulations, this made him a ‘child soldier,’ not subject to prosecution.

After 50 years of raising three successful children, and giving so much to the country, the Canadian Jewish Congress discovered that he’d ‘been part’ of this hated death squad, and began fomenting for his exile.

It is not illegal, under Canadian law, to have been part, but it is illegal to have lied to immigration officers when he attempted to enter the country.  He says that, when he applied in 1948, Immigration saw him as a young Ukrainian, and only asked him, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?”

Ever anxious to foster the myth of an infallible bureaucracy, the tribunal decided that, “On the basis of probabilities,” he must have lied to officials.

Skip happily with me now, out to British Columbia, to the Trinity Law School, a church-run Christian College.  They require all their students to sign a Code of Conduct.  While enrolled at the College, students may not support abortion, birth-control, or same-sex marriage.  In fact, no sex of any kind, except with someone you’re married to.

Law Societies across Canada have declared that they will not regard a certificate from this school as valid.  The College, and writers like this article’s, are howling that this is an infringement of their religious freedom.  Again, not so!

They are still free to teach and instill this code of conduct, just as the Law Societies are free to decline to take the school and its graduates seriously.  In an area of business and society where neutrality and equality are valued, “On the basis of probabilities,” it is assumed that students exposed to this constant propaganda will have, at least an unconscious bias, detrimental to the even-handed practice of law.

Freedom of religion does not include the freedom to impose ‘yours’ upon anyone else, no matter how wonderful and ‘divinely inspired’ you feel it is.  That’s the quota of ‘Rants and Rambles’ that I’m free to publish today.  I hope to see you again soon, for something sillier.

Flash Fiction #167

Taxes

PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

TAXING FREEDOM

Start your own business, they said.  Become an independent sub-contractor.  Be your own boss and answer to no-one.

It was a great idea, but this was a downside that the cube drones only had to worry about once a year, by April 15thHe had to calculate and pay his business taxes quarterly.

If he had a heart attack while filling in all these arcane forms, would the cause of death be listed as ‘acute bureaucratitis?’  He wondered if he could list the government as a dependent.

Another shot and a smoke, and he’d be filed by the midnight deadline.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

2017 A To Z Challenge – E

Challenge2017

I know that, according to my own, self-imposed schedule, I should have had a post composed and ready to publish today, about the letter

Letter E

Just about the time the daily A to Z Challenge bloggers were posting their offerings for the letter E, I contracted a case of 48-hour flu. By the time I got back to the computer, it was too late to acquire a list of possible theme words.  Between the virus-induced mental incapacitation and the lack of inspiration, nothing got written.

The situation was made worse by bureaucracy. One of the drive motors on the daughter’s power wheelchair seized, and Murphy worked overtime to ensure clerical catastrophe.  What should have been a (bad enough) two weeks inconvenience, has become more than three months of dragged-on denial of service, before the Provincial disability office finally decided that it’s too expensive to repair a 13-year-old chair.

New rules say that, since she doesn’t need it all the time, she can’t have a new one.  Now she has to break in a new case worker, and jump through all the hoops to find an acceptable handicap scooter, for which the Government will (eventually) pay monthly rent.  Winter cabin fever was bad enough.  Now, the nice summer weather is here, and she still can’t get outside and be independent.

Besides the afternoon-long, hour drive up the highway and back, for her anti-pain treatment, this means that I have taken her shopping several times, to the Farmers’ Market, twice to her dentist, once to the next city to pick up cheap, bulk, dog and cat food, and each week to a counselling forum which helps her deal with the physical and emotional problems of having her loving, supportive son 500 kilometers away.

Eighteen months after being told that the wait time would be 12 months, the wife was finally contacted by her orthopedic surgeon, (the same guy who installed my artificial shoulder ten years ago) and was told that her first knee replacement, the right, was a go.  This required two trips to the hospital to fluff their paperwork.  The first was a mere two hours, the second, an extended, four hour clerical comedy show.  At least it’s finally going ahead.  On June 27th, Hobble-Along Cassidy meets Dr. Stabby McStab-Stab in a dance to the death.

All of this means that, instead of having time to write my usual, knife-sharp, crystal-clear, diamond-hard posts which inform and entertain you, you are being afflicted with this whiny, apologetic, idiosyncratic, fogbank collection of Excuses, for my E contribution.

Thanx for your sympathy, and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks with something a little more solid, for the fabulous letter F.

(ARCH)ON The Road Again

SDC10992

SDC10991

WARNING, Long involved DMV bureaucratic rant.
Proceed at your own boredom.

After almost 30 years, my ARCHON vanity plates, first acquired here, are back on the road.  The wife and I bought our last car.  It’s actually a rice-burning, Kia Sorento SUV, which sits high enough that the semi-disabled wife and daughter don’t have to fight to get down into, and up out of.  Properly maintained, it should last 10/15 years, perhaps longer than us.  In any case, the next one’s up to son Shimoniac to buy.

This is the first NEW car we’ve owned in almost 50 years of marriage. We purchased two that were less than a year old, taking advantage of the 30% depreciation in value, but were still new enough to be reliable.

SDC10986

For years, we’ve had the wife’s 3 TEASE plates on our cars, because they were registered in her name, and we’d been told by the DMV that that was necessary. It was all a Lie.

I’ve used the term, ‘DMV’ mostly for my American readers. Here in Ontario, we have the oxymoronically named “Service Ontario.”  That’s where you have to go, for aggravation, incompetence, poverty, hunting and fishing licenses, drivers’ licenses, licence plates, birth certificates, and certified ID cards for people like the daughter, LadyRyl, who can’t drive.

After the heart-stopping negotiation of financing this beast, yea, verily, unto the second and third generations, the first problem came when we had the salesman (try to) put my old plates on my new car.

I gave him my old plates, along with the plate ownership form, and the transfer form. The last sticker was applied in 1987.  When we went back the next day to pick the car up, he handed me back my plates (but not the two forms), and said that the licence bureau wouldn’t let him use my plates because they were registered in the wrong name. We had to take generic plates, and arrange to apply the ARCHON plates ourselves.

A couple of weeks later, we were ready to try. The first thing that the user-(un)friendly Service Ontario did, was ensure that the relatively handy, downtown branch, only 4.2 Km away, DIDN’T PROVIDE AUTO-LICENCE SERVICE.  Instead, we got to drive 9.7 Km to a branch on the other side of town.  We chose a quiet Wednesday afternoon, when the lineup was only 45 minutes long.

The first time we went, we exchanged the generic plates for the old ARCHON plates.  Having a brand-new car, the wife wondered, for a niggling fee of $93.20, if I’d like a brand-new set of plates.  It seems a good idea, except….new plates are no longer paint, baked onto steel.  They are now printed plastic, laminated on, and there have been many cases of them delaminating, costing drivers $55 to replace faulty Chinese manufacturing.  We’ll see how these ones last.

Six weeks later, my new set arrived by mail, and off we set once more, to surrender the old set, and validate the new ones. The clerk picked up each set, and found she had to struggle with the old ones.  They weighed twice what the new ones do.  She’d never seen a set that old.  She wondered why we’d gone from generic to vanity, and then to a new set.

The female branch manager was sitting at the next service wicket, and overheard our conversation. Every time I described what happened, or what I was told, she shook her head.  I explained how I was not allowed to put my plates on a car registered to the wife.  ‘No, you can do that.’ (With the proper, paid-for form)

I bitched that I wasn’t allowed to transfer the ownership of the plates to the wife, without surrendering them to the Provincial Government. ‘No, you don’t have to surrender them.  You can transfer them to your wife.’  (With the proper, paid-for form)  My clerk looked up, surprised.  “They’re registered in your wife’s name now.”  Wait, what??!  After telling me that they couldn’t do it, they changed the plate registration – but didn’t tell me they had??  And we paid to buy the wife her own set, and mine languished for decades??!  So that explains the dealer’s problem. I can’t put her plates on my car.  ‘No, no, I told you that they should have done that.  (With the proper, paid-for forms)

So we transferred plate ownership back to me – for $20. Then the clerk wanted to know where the plate ownership and vehicle transfer forms were.  “I gave them to the dealer, and I never got them back.  I assume that the clerk at the office that they use, kept them.”  Manager is shaking her head again.  ‘They should have been returned.  We’ll have to generate new ones.’

The clerk then charged me $20 to use information that’s already on their computer, to print out an ownership form, and another $20 for the same computer information to print a transfer form, for their own paper files.  The plate licence expires on my birthday, late in September.  Should we renew for just one year – or two??  The manager piped up, ‘The yearly fee is increasing from $100/year, to $120/year, starting September 1.  Why don’t you pre-pay for three years and save?’

I begin to understand why Canada has such restrictions on gun ownership. Do any of you have bureaucratic duel stories (shorter than this) that you want to share??   😯