Today’s letters: Blame the owners, not the dogs

Local Input~ American pit bull terrier (named Tuttle) seated. Credit: Dante Alighieri/Wikipedia Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

Re: Bred To Maul, Barbara Kay, Aug. 1.
This piece on breed-specific legislation took yet another lame stab at this years-long debate.

Barbara Kay uses a lot of stats to “prove” her point that pit bulls are, ipso facto, potentially fatal predators doomed by genetics to demonstrate such behaviour. While the numbers on the surface tell a compelling tale, Ms. Kay ignores an important element of this story.

Pit bulls can be wonderful, amiable and loyal family pets that do not bite — ever. Sadly, they have physical characteristics (hyper-focus, touch insensitivity, strong jaws) that make them an obvious choice for drug dealers looking for guard dogs or other scum looking for dogs that could win an illegal dog fight.

The same things can be said of assault weapons. Assault weapons can be and are used by responsible owners, in gun clubs, for nothing more than recreation. But they too have physical characteristics (automatic or semi-automatic firing mechanism, deadlier ammunition capacity) that make them ideal for someone who wants to, say, enter a movie theatre and kill, wound and terrorize innocents.

In these scenarios, does either the dog or the gun “decide” how it is used? No. They only become deadly weapons in the hands of humans with warped, illegal ideas.

An outright ban on either would certainly alter the statistics. But let’s not kid ourselves; people who want to have dogs to fight or who want to go on killing sprees will not go away. Without pit bulls or assault rifles, they will find other “weapons.”
Garnet Pratt Siddall, Toronto.

Guns, not cops, prevent crime

Re: Re-examining Gun Crime, letters to the editor, July 28.
Letter-writer Azhar Goraya makes some stunning claims in his tirade against gun ownership. He speaks of “the immense danger created by … first-time gun owners.” Could he be so kind as to quantify that danger and tell us just how many innocent people have been hurt lately by law-abiding first-time gun owners? I’m pretty sure the answer is nil.

As for his demand to know “how many shootings have been stopped by an armed citizens,” it is an insult to intelligence. It is obvious to everyone except people who live in Ontario that “these shootings” started happening precisely because there are now gun-free zones in the U.S., where no armed citizens are to be found.
Pavel Sorokin, Vancouver.

Whatever else might be advocated to curb random acts of gun violence, like those that took place in Toronto and Colorado, more police is clearly not the answer. To prevent the well publicized events of the last couple weeks, one would have to station armed police officers at every public gathering, including private parties, schools, sporting events, malls, etc. This is clearly an an impossible task.

We’ve seen what happens when there is a plethora of security: Airport screeners confiscating all sorts of “threatening” materials like nail clippers and toothpaste; swarms of police hassling all manner of innocent bystanders at the G20 in Toronto. When the state is given too much authority to use force, it targets all the wrong people and alienates those who are meant to be protected. Some measures of gun control are, of course, reasonable and necessary, but more cops are not needed.
Morton Doran, Fairmont, B.C.

French gold

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