Tuesday, March 08, 2005

When Will Canada Learn?

What follows is a brief survey of the events following the recent and tragic slaying of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. First, some details of the story

MAYERTHORPE, Alta. (CP) - James Roszko lay in wait inside his Quonset hut for four Mounties he gunned down in a battle that ended with Roszko himself being wounded, RCMP said Saturday.

"Our officers, all four of them, were shot and killed by James Roszko," said regional Supt. Marty Cheliak, releasing results of post-mortem examinations.

"None of our officers were struck by friendly fire. James Roszko was hit by return fire by our officers. Those strikes did not result in his death. James Roszko then took his own life."

Cheliak labelled the attack an "ambush" but wouldn't elaborate, except to say: "The investigation has shown that that's exactly what took place. That's why we're releasing that at this time."


Roszko, 46, was a convicted child molester, a community menace and a known cop-hater.

It was common knowledge that he had weapons on his farm. An application to search the property for stolen goods and a marijuana operation indicated Mounties were well aware they were dealing with a volatile individual. The application by Cpl. James Martin expressed concern about officer safety.

A few things about this disturbed me: First, why wasn't this piece of rat sh-t in prison? Second, why did the RCMP think it was prudent to send four lightly-armed officers to deal with a man known to them as a menace to society/cop-hater/armed lunatic/drug manufacturer? It boggles the mind.

But here's the main point, and one which is not lost on Canadians: what good are Canada's tough gun restrictions if they can't prevent this sort of thing from happening?

Officials had this to say about the effectiveness of Canada's gun registry
"This is obviously a tragedy of enormous proportions, but it's probably better described as a new chapter in a book that we already knew about as opposed to a whole new book." - B.C. Attorney General Geoff Plant, saying the danger posed by marijuana grow-ops is serious across the country.


"The need to discuss tougher sentencing for marijuana grow house operators is paramount. (We are) facing an epidemic of marijuana grow-house operations in my riding" - Toronto-area MP Jim Karygiannis.


"This has gone too far, it's not a laughing matter. We have legislation that may have the unintended effect of increasing marijuana grow operations. I think it's now time for Parliament to target marijuana grow operations, shut them down." - Liberal MP Dan McTeague.


"We don't solve anything in society by legalizing things or by pretending they're not harmful to society." - RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, on the issue of decriminalizing marijuana.
And Canada's Public Safety Minister, Anne McLellan, sprung into action by
...quickly [holding] a news conference to say she will consider tougher penalties for grow operations in the proposed marijuana decriminalization bill.
Uh, yeah. Seems that more than a few Canadian officials are trying desperately to spin this as a drug issue, not a gun issue. (Nevermind that Zaccardelli has it completely bass-ackwards -- legalizing some things does solve things in society.) Meanwhile, some in the Canadian media, like Arthur Weinreb of the Canadian Free Press, are asking why Canada's infamously expensive gun registry failed to prevent this tragedy

Introduced in 1995 at an estimated cost of $119 million, the cost of the registry has now exceeded $1 billion. All this money has been spent by the government to force law abiding citizens to register their firearms. Meanwhile James Roszko, who was described by his own father as a "wicked devil"; who had a lengthy criminal record; who had served time for sexual assault and who had shot at people on prior occasions, was allowed to walk around possessing weapons to the knowledge of everyone in the community, including the police. Were the weapons that Roszko used to take the lives of the young police officers who were just beginning their careers in law enforcement registered in compliance with the law? It doesn’t really matter; whether they were or they weren’t, those men are still dead.

Instead of letting the Liberals focus the debate on marijuana, they should be forced to account for their gun registry and how their wonderful legislation allowed a violent and unstable convicted child molester to possess firearms while everyone around them knew that he had them.

If only that money had been put into providing more resources for the country’s police officers, those four men might at least have had a chance. But unfortunately, the government will continue to beat their collective chests and brag about the fact that they want to increase the maximum penalty for cultivating marijuana from 7 to 14 years. They should all be ashamed of themselves.


And not all Canadian officials are spinning this away from the gun issue. Garry Breitkreuz, a Conservative MP and gun registry opponent from Yorkton, Sask., makes this charge:

"Incident after incident like this clearly indicate the gun registry does not prevent this kind of crime," Breitkreuz said Monday outside the House of Commons.

"It does not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It is a paper-pushing exercise."

Breitkreuz argues Canadian citizens would be much safer if Ottawa simply invested the $2 billion spent on the registry in boosting the resources of front-line police forces.

"In this case, (Roszko) was already prohibited from owning firearms. The gun registry has no effect on this case."

The gun registry has had no effect on any case. To my knowledge, the gun registry has not been used to solve one single gun crime in all of Canada since its implementation. Nevertheless, gun control advocate, Wendy Cukier, likens the abolishment of Canada's gun registry to

...dropping seatbelt laws just because someone dies in car crash while wearing a belt.

"The fact that in this case the law obviously wasn't sufficient is not an argument to say therefore it doesn't work at all," said Wendy Cukier of the Montreal-based Coalition for Gun Control.

"What a tragedy like this does is highlight the fact that we can do better."

As Kevin at The Smallest Minority is wont to say, If it doesn't work, keep doing it, only HARDER. Right, Wendy? We also have this pearl of wisdom from Cukier

"Gun control works," said Wendy Cukier, a professor of justice at Ryerson University in Toronto and president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

Gun control works, except when it doesn't.

The debate appears to be progressing from the (lack of) effectiveness of the gun registry to the (lack of) effectiveness of Canada's restrictive gun control laws

Former RCMP commissioner Norm Inkster said the tragedy raises questions about how the gun registry failed to keep a powerful weapon from the hands of James Roszko, a man known as a violent psychopath.

"My fear in the process is that we will lose sight of the fact that what happened is that four young members of the RCMP were murdered by a person who was an individual described by his own brother as a psychopath in possession of a powerful weapon," Inkster told Sun Media.

"I would hate to see the aftermath of all of this overlook the fact that we are in a country where, apparently, people can acquire and retain powerful weapons."

Americans, TAKE NOTE. We'll never be able to prevent every criminal and nutbar out there from acquiring weapons. The only thing gun control laws do is disarm the law-abiding. And you ought to ask yourselves, do you really want freaks like Roszko to be the only citizens with guns?

Update: Zaccardelli and others have backed down from the drug issue, citing an initial lack of information as the reason for jumping on the grow-op issue so quickly after the killings.


Post a Comment

Testing ...

<< Home