Anti-Anti-Gun Post

It felt like a very bad time to be firing a gun.

Not long after the horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, a local gun store invited the media to drop by on Saturday, June 4th, to shoot at some targets, as a part of National Range Day.

A newspaper reporter accepted the offer.  After getting a safety talk, he entered the range and fired nine rounds from a 9mm handgun.  His hands were shaky, and his aim was poor.  The manager made it perfectly clear that the gun culture and laws in the United States are completely different in Canada.  He told a personal story to illustrate the point.

Years ago, when he wasn’t in the gun business, he and some of his clients went to a Florida restaurant with a no-gun rule.  “So, just like your coat-checks up here, they had a gun-check at the restaurant.  My clients opened up their jackets, got their guns out, got their little chit for the gun-check, and the lady said to me, “Sir, you need to check your gun in.”

I said, “I’m not carrying” and she looked at me and said, “Come on sir, you need to check your gun.”  I said, “Honestly, I’m not carrying.”  She looked around and said, “You’re not carrying?”  I opened my jacket and said, “I’m from Canada.  We don’t do this up there”  And she couldn’t believe it!

Friends in Michigan have told him they can’t understand why he doesn’t carry a gun.  I said, ‘Here’s the difference.  Where I come from, we had six homicides last year.  They were all targeted, either gang-related, or domestic.”  They said, “That happened in Detroit yesterday.”  That’s the big difference.

In some states, almost everyone can buy a gun immediately.  This is not the case in Canada.  You’ll have to wait six to eight months.  You must take a 16 hour safety course, provide references, and be vetted by the RCMP.  It involves answering some intrusive and serious questions.  Have you been on medication in the last five years for depression?  Have you had a job loss, or a divorce?

Any red flag means No Gun!  If you do get one, it can only be used for hunting or target shooting.  Automated background checks are run on gun owners once a day.  We have to recognize that we are a different country than the United States.  We have a different gun culture and different processes.

He said, “Mass shootings in the US have nothing to do with Canada.  I refuse to be blamed for the actions of a madman.  It’s that simple.  There is no connection.

The Saturday event celebrated the lawful ownership of guns in Canada.  About 2.3 million Canadians are licensed to own a gun.  At the start of the COVID pandemic, the store was stampeded by people looking for guns.  “They felt like things were going to go bad – lockdowns were going to cause people to go crazy.”

Many were surprised they needed a licence and had to take a safety course, and pass a background check.  They said that they needed a gun immediately.  He told them, “If you are panicking, and the only thing that is driving you to buy a gun is panic – we need to have a longer conversation.  You don’t buy a gun out of panic, and you don’t buy a gun for self-defense.”

Many Canadian gun-control laws miss the mark.  Most guns used in crimes are smuggled across the border.  There is a serious problem at the border that needs to be solved.  Targeting businesses like his and their livelihood, and law-abiding customers, is not going to solve the problem of violent crime.

It was pleasant to see such a well-researched and thought-out article for a change, instead of the typical Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling, Big Brother Save Us rants.

Segway

I’ve recently read no less than three articles where the word segue was incorrectly used/spelled, because a writer, trying to appear erudite, had no idea what he was writing.  The word, pronounced, Seg – Way, reminded me of the Segway scooter, the two-wheeled person mover, which balances on its tiptoes, by means of gyroscopes.  The company is located near H. E. Ellis’ pile of tires in New Hampster.

On their website, the company brags about being green because Segways produce no emissions, and shows a picture of a wind turbine, but most people plug it in to recharge from an electrical outlet supplied by a sulphur-laced coal-burning power plant.  They also list Segway racing.  I wondered how you hop up a Segway, until I found that they were sponsoring BMX motorcycle races.

When these things first appeared, almost 11 years ago, there were people who touted them as a game changer.  They were to completely revolutionise the personal transportation scene.  These cheerleader types were what I like to refer to as seriously demented.  These things cost almost $4,000.  For that kind of money, you can get a decent-sized second-hand automobile which will carry four people at sixty MPH, enclosed and protected from the weather.

The only places where they are bought and used, is at companies with large, sprawling buildings, and malls.  If you’ve seen Kevin James, in Paul Blart – Mall Cop, you have my sympathy and pity.  If you send me a stamped, self-addressed postcard, I will send you, absolutely free, your choice of either two tickets to his new movie, Zookeeper, or enough IQ points to get you up to being able to watch Lethal Weapon or Rush Hour movies.

The automotive Big Three try to bully their suppliers into using single-floor plants.  It obviates many potential problems of moving parts from floor to floor in case of power failure, or other emergencies.  My company’s Plant II, which they sold, was one floor.  Despite the Jeep plant in Toledo being five stories high, Chrysler urged our management to move to a single-floor facility.

Plants like that often use golf carts for management to get around.  They cost about as much as a Segway, but again, will carry up to four people and/or freight, move faster, and you ride sitting down.  Some buildings are so crowded with machinery or stored goods that golf carts are not useful.

I did two weeks of Monday to Friday, midnight security in a building where furniture for Electrohome was made, stereo and TV cabinets, as well as easy chairs and footstools.  They had a boiler in the plant which required a 24/7 rotation of Stationary Engineers, but for the two-week summer shut-down period, the place was empty, therefore, security guards.

To make the hourly security patrol around the vast, winding pedestrian walkway on foot would have taken almost an hour, and then it would be time to do it again, with no-one to answer the phone or watch the doors.  For the supervisors, they provided three or four pony-bikes.  Remember them?  Small bikes, banana seats, back wheel larger than the front, protruding, chopper-style steering!  I suppose it would have been possible to roll Segways around the twisty, narrow walkways, if they’d been available back then.  I did it with the pony bike.

My then teen-age son accompanied me for a couple of midnight shifts.  Like the big kids we both were, we brought along water pistols, and rode around trying to hit different targets on the fly.  We each earned a compliment from the other.  I have taken almost 350 hours of gun handling/safety training.  Despite playing with “only water-pistols” I controlled the muzzle, and never pointed it at anything I didn’t intend to shoot.  The son lauded me for that, and I returned the praise for having noticed, and learning to do the same.

The furniture moved from department to department on roller conveyors, 30 inches off the floor, some of them powered.  In the shipping department there was a roller ramp, where the pallets/boxes rolled down to the floor.  The second night the son came with me, I rolled into the shipping department on my little pony bike, with him right behind me.  I saw that roller ramp, and silliness ensued.  I rode my bike right up the ramp, and onto the conveyor system, and he followed me.

Soon, we were making the security rounds by riding on the rollers.  The bikes were short enough that any balance problems could be immediately solved, just by putting feet on the conveyor side rails, but that never happened.  You had to maintain modest, steady acceleration.  A sudden powerful push on the pedals produced a short stretch of wildly spinning rollers. I bet you can’t do that with a Segway.

You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.  A big part of security work is boredom, and how to combat it.  The employer hopes that as much energy and attention as possible is directed toward actual security of the facility, but, ya gotta have a little fun sometimes.  My son also accompanied me on a Friday night shift in a small-town, where they had an arena full of expensive boats for a weekend boat-show, and a broken lock on the back door.

For obvious reasons they didn’t give us the key to the refreshment stand area, but there were chairs inside, as well as paper cups and ice we wished to use for soft drinks we brought along.  Two curious monkeys investigated the stand.  I found one way in at the same time the son found a different way.  When two of the organizers staggered walked in around 2 AM, after closing a bar, we immediately waved to them.

After being asked, we pointed out the soft spots.  One could be fixed by having personnel reminded to lock the steel roll-down.  The other was a hole in a concrete wall, where they had inserted an easily moved popcorn machine.  Not so easily remedied.  Fix the damned lock on the back door!