Friday, September 15, 2006

A deadly caricature...

As I read about Kimveer Gill, the gunman at Montreal's Dawson College yesterday, I can't help shaking my head at what a caricature he seems: "Metal and Goth kick ass", the "Trench" handle to go with his coat... And yet we must take him seriously.

My second thought followed on the heels of these three quotes:
Gill is believed to have been carrying at least three weapons: a handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun and a semi-automatic or automatic rifle.

He was armed with three weapons that media reports say were legally registered to him.

Neighbours told CBC Radio that Gill lived with his parents in the house.

His parents were "shocked", meaning they didn't know their son was amassing (and registering!) an arsenal of weapons to rival a Terminator. At least Harper isn't making any knee-jerk commitments; my initial thought is that this isn't a failing of legislation (at least not first): nobody needs that many guns.

Update: September 20: a related interview with the creator of the video game based on the Columbine shootings.

Update: October 2: Andrew Spicer suggested the idea of legislation that allows certain municipalities to ban certain firearms. I don't know whether that would work, but I do like the idea of formally recognizing that rural and urban municipalities have different concerns. I guess it could open us up to the confusion one can face crossing state borders down south, but, still, I feel the concept has merit.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Canada and Afghanistan

In a recent conversation with a friend, I struggled to express my position on Canada's mission in Afghanistan:
[W]hile I still feel that it shouldn't be debated now - waffling is bad for morale, and I don't see how the situation could've changed that much since we first agreed to it, old gov't or not - answering Layton's questions during one or more question periods seems reasonable to me:

* What are the goals and objectives of this mission and how do they meet Canada's foreign policy objectives?
* What is the realistic mandate of the mission and how is it being enforced?
* What are the criteria to measure progress?
* What is the definition of success?
* And what is the clear exit strategy for this mission?

Reading the news this morning, I realized Rex Murphy did a much better job - than Layton, and certainly me - of isolating the major problem, and, very importantly, suggesting a way forward. I particularly liked this passage:
[F]rom the very beginning of this mission, from the long ago days of Mr. Chr├ętien through Mr. Martin's term as prime minister to this present moment, a clear, full, articulated case for the mission has not been made.

We've had everything else but the full statement of why the mission is important to us as Canadians, how it relates to our national interest and values and a full description of what we hope to see as a result of our troops being there.

Well said, Rex; well said.