Saturday, January 15, 2011

Americans and Canadians are similar - but different

Mary Kool holds a rose outside a church in Tucson, Ariz., Friday before the funeral of U.S. judge John Roll. Photo by Morry Gash, The Associated Press.

I read an interesting article in the Guelph Mercury: “Arizona shooting raises unsettling issues” which compares some differences between Canadians and Americans.

The shooting in Arizona highlights differences in attitude between the two countries in relation to guns, and whether an affordable health care program that would have addressed the gunman’s mental health problems would have prevented this tragedy.

Many Americans do not believe that health care should be made available for everyone. Most Canadians feel that everyone should have access to health care (including mental health care) and that we are all healthier if everyone has access.

Further, the current political rhetoric is full of “it’s not my fault, we are a nation who embrace individualism, therefore, we are only responsible for our own actions”. This does not seem to address that people with mental health issues may have difficulty understanding that a political opponent who says "Get on Target for Victory in November - Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly," does not mean go and shoot someone.

Tim D'Annunzio, House GOP candidate for North Carolina's 8th Congressional district, held an unusual fundraiser last year at Jim's Guns Indoor Shooting Range in Fayetteville, N.C. The $25 ticket got guests a plate of North Carolina barbecue, sweet tea, and a semi-automatic machine gun magazine, and a raffle ticket for a chance to win an AR-15 assault rifle. Guns are so engrained in the American psyche. This is very disturbing?

I believe if your political campaign remarks cause someone who is mentally unstable to get a gun and shoot and kill people, you are also responsible for the carnage.

It’s not good enough to dismiss the shooting as “just a random lunatic with a gun who shot some people at a grocery store”.

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