Peace achieved by understanding, not guns

The National Rifle Association (NRA) in the United States was not always supportive of military arms in the hands of anyone and automatic assault weapons openly carried by citizens on the streets.
Prior to 1970, the NRA was primarily an educational organization concerned with the proper respect and use of weapons by hunters and target shooters. The 2nd Amendment mantra was seldom heard.
I have never read experts claiming there is a correlation between the radicalization of the NRA and the Kent State shooting on May 4, 1970, but the two happened during the same decade.
In 1970, the Ohio National Guard was ordered to open fire on a crowd of unarmed, primarily white middle-class students who were simply protesting the Vietnam war. Four students were killed and nine were injured.
Surely this attack on unarmed students by government forces would have shaken the confidence of ordinary citizens towards their law enforcement agencies. Black Americans never had confidence in the system, and rightfully so, but now whites felt under threat as well.
The 1970’s was also the beginning of the militarization of local police forces in the United States as armoured military vehicles and automatic war weapons became standard issue for regular police departments.
Now if I was a member of the NRA after the Kent State shooting and my local police had become militarized, my trust in law enforcement agencies would have been seriously eroded.
I believe the lies from four successive Presidents about the Vietnam war, the Kent State shooting and the militarization of police departments were major turning points for the NRA.
Trust in government protection was gone and the natural reaction was to arm up to protect oneself.
Today, it is high school kids taking on the NRA. In the 1970s, it was college kids taking on the government. The guns were with the government in the 1970s, the guns are with the NRA today.
We can only pray that a similar Kent State shooting doesn’t happened to these kids who seem very committed to de-frocking the NRA’s power.
It is important for Canadians to realize that our history with guns is much different than the United States.
Successive Conservative leaders since Preston Manning have unfortunately been riling up law-abiding gun owners to manufacturer hatred towards liberals and urbanites.
In this country, we have no reason to distrust our police forces or our military, or our government for that matter. Of course, the exception being our First Nations and some black populations.
Sure, we as a nation have done awful things to the Chinese, Japanese, Jews, First Nations and sterilization victims to name a few. And we are far, far away from treating our First Nations with justice, reconciliation and equity—Mr. Trudeau’s greatest campaign failure to date.
That being said, no Canadian needs a huge cache of weapons. No Canadian needs semi-automatic and automatic military style pistols or rifles unless they believe the Canadian government is gunning for them. Which likely means you’ve spent far too much time immersed in “Americanization paranoia”.
The antidote to this paranoia, be Canadian!
The United States is the most violent and deadly country in the free world because they have never understood how true peace is achieved and they refuse to learn from others.
As Albert Einstein said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”
To believe otherwise is deadly folly!

B.P. Schimke
ECA Review

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