I find it so interesting to examine my past, and reflect on how I came to believe what I believed for most of my life. Though my awakening on feminism and on the “radical” left began years ago, there have been many other views that I’ve clung to for much longer.
Guns are one example.
I have been wrong about guns for most of my life.
Until about three years ago, I drank the liberal Kool-Aid on gun violence. I’ve seen Bowling for Columbine like ten times. I spouted the tired talking points you’ve heard a million times. And, worst of all, I truly believed what I had been told about guns.
Until about one year ago, I kept completely silent on the topic, because I didn’t know enough to really claim that I was in favor of guns, but also knew in my heart that there was a lot of illogical arguments being made on the left wing side.
Now, I’m making up for lost time. This article is step one.
I want to deeply educate myself on the topic of gun control, so that I can defend the Second Amendment in America. I believe deeply in the First Amendment, in the right to free speech for all – so why would I ignore the Second Amendment which protects the first? The more I learn, the more I am convinced that my voice can add value to this never-ending argument.
Speaking up for what I believe is right, even when it means admitting I was wrong, is something I consider integral to who I am. I will learn to argue fiercely for gun rights, because I believe in the power of good debate. I believe in the power of passionate debate.
I also have a more personal – and more urgent – reason that I want to educate myself on guns.
I live in Canada.
I’m a woman.
I have dangerous ideas, and write about dangerous topics.
And my government has decided that I have no right to protect myself.
No, really. I’m not even being overly hyperbolic – Canada’s self defense laws are so much worse than I ever realized, which makes my ignorance on the topic even more unacceptable.
Even though I grew up around a lot of alternative media and “don’t just blindly trust the government” rhetoric, I guess I sort of internalized the idea that the government would protect me from violence by way of the police. How naive. I’ll say one good thing for Canada in this article: Unlike in the UK, our police, at least, carry firearms.
But the good ends there. No, self defense is not illegal in Canada. We do have the right to defend ourselves. But there are a lot of very frightening legal realities for those of us who are forced to use that right.
Take the example of firearms instructor Ian Thompson, a Canadian man who was charged for firing warning shots over the heads of assailants who were, oh, you know, throwing molotov cocktails at his house in an attempt to burn him alive.
Though you may theoretically be legally allowed to defend yourself with reasonable force using whatever you want, the reality in Canada is pretty simple.
You cannot possess any weapon in Canada with the intent of using it against another person in self defense – yes, including pepper spray, knives, or those cute little cat ear stabby things. You can carry, for example, bear spray when you’re going camping – but if a police officer sees it in your car on a traffic stop, you could be in legal trouble.
Ironically enough, Canada should actually serve as an example of why the American gun violence problem isn’t actually about guns. We don’t have as many guns as the United States does, but we still have a lot – around 10 million guns in a country with a population of only 36 million. And yet, we had only 156 gun related homicides in 2014.
Apparently, according to liberal logic, every Canadian who wants to defend themselves with a weapon should be proactively penalized because 156 people got shot in an entire year.
This infuriates me.
If you break into my home, or try to hurt me, or try to hurt my son, I will do whatever it takes to try to protect myself. Even if that means thousands of dollars and hours spent in a courtroom. It’s better than being hurt, or dead.
And, despite liberal virtue signaling, even the most staunch anti-weapon advocate would and will do the very same.
Forbidding me from carrying a gun for self defense will not change this fact. Forbidding me from carrying pepper spray for self defense will not change this fact.
All it will do is ensure that I am less likely to survive if, God forbid, I was faced with a situation where my life was on the line, and I had to fight back.
And that truly terrifies me.
I realize Canada is in general a very safe country, and I am thankful that this is the case, even though I think this will be a pleasant memory if we don’t make some changes.
This safety, though, has a dark side. It made me complacent, and it allowed me to bask in my own ignorance, because the reality of violence being committed against me didn’t seem real.
Now, it does seem real, and all the more real knowing that my government is taking steps to ensure my freedom of speech is not protected.
I talk about dangerous things. Which means, of course, that despite being a non-violent and very normal person, I make dangerous enemies.
Of course, there’s the feminists and leftists, who are known for their violent riots, and, of course, “punching Nazis” based on nothing but their own ever changing definition of who is one.
The threat that I may say something considered “hate speech” under Canadian law is always there, and though I am quite confident Canadian law enforcement would not want to physically harm me, I put no faith in the Canadian government not to wish to charge me with a crime simply for speaking fearlessly and truthfully.
Sure, the latter threat is the most likely.
But there’s also Islamic jihadists.
You know, those guys, who are pretty well known for wanting to kill people who criticize Muhammad. Seeing as I frequently criticize Muhammad as the terrorist he was, this concerns me. Though this enemy is far less likely to ever come to my front door, the stakes are much, much higher.
I have no illusions that I’m Brigitte Gabriel or Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I have a small platform, I’m not famous, and I haven’t received any credible threats.
Yet. Nothing has happened yet.
There’s the key thing.
Whenever I mention just how frightening Canada’s self defense laws are, people give me the old “better to be judged by 12 than buried by 6” adage.
Yes, this is true. It is true, even if I were to shoot someone with a hunting gun in Canada who was attacking me, the chances of being acquitted are massively in my favor.
It is also true that my chances of being attacked by a jihadist for criticizing Muhammad are slim.
But both of these things are largely irrelevant.
In my short journey as a relatively unknown writer, I’ve experienced a bit of the media circus (A story for another day). I’ve experienced the frightening emails wishing brain cancer on my toddler. I’ve experienced the direct messages on Twitter from an Islamist saying he doesn’t have any ability to hurt me, but if he was closer, he would be compelled to do so by his beliefs. I’ve experienced the insane hatred of leftists who have dug into my background in attempts to discredit me. I’ve experienced multiple hacking attempts, which could lead to my personal information being found.
The point is this: I’ve gotten a taste of the possibility that I may someday be targeted. And I am ashamed it took reaching that point to wake me up.
How many are like me? How many of us, especially in Canada, assume our present safety implies that we will not ever have a reason to want to carry a gun, or even pepper spray? How many of us are still drinking the Kool-Aid, and de facto blaming responsible gun owners for illegal gun violence?
I hate being late to the being on the right side of an argument.
But it’s better late than never. Better to know now what people are capable of, than to find out if I ever were to face it head on.
I was wrong about self defense, and because of that, I was wrong about guns.
I will demand the right to protect myself from this day forward.