From Our ReadersTo Big Sister America, from little sister CanadaFrom Our Readers

Dear America,

Hi, it’s me.  Your nerdy little sister, Canada.  We haven’t had a good heart-to-heart in a while, and I thought it was time.  I’m worried about you.  And if I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t be worried about you.  So, please, just keep that in mind while you hear me out.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’ve got way more experience at being a country than I do.  And you’ve done a stellar job! Just because I never really moved out of mum’s house doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about.  It’s not like I’m not independent; I just didn’t go all republic-y, like you did.  I can still do lots for myself!  And I know between the two of us, I probably have a stronger relationship with her, but she totally backed you up with the whole Iraq thing and I know you appreciated that.  And let’s face it: we both get all drool-y and giddy with Will and Kate.

Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about this Aurora shooting tragedy. It broke my heart. It seems like it’s one in a string of horrific tragedies that keep happening to you.  And it can’t be easy.  I know you’re really tough and super strong, but I also know that you have a good heart.  A super strong heart.  So, obviously, you must be bothered by all of this violence and negativity that seems to keep rearing its ugly head.  As your sister, I care about you deeply and I worry about what this is doing to you.

There are lots of different views on this, I know, and I’m not trying to start an argument, but I think maybe it’s time to take a look at your gun laws.  It’s a sensitive issue, I get it, but I think it’s worth taking a serious look.  I know how strongly you feel about checks and balances in your government, so why not with your gun laws?  Your Constitution says everyone has the right to bear arms, but the right to take away someone’s life with those arms is not okay.  There’s a lot that can be interpreted in that Second Amendment of yours.  Jason Alexander even pointed out that that amendment should apply only to people in a regulated militia.  So maybe that’s something worth re-examining?  I mean, I’ve got this whole gun control thing up here and, with the exception of the mess I’m trying to work out in Toronto right now, it seems to work fairly well.  It doesn’t stop all the people it should, but it’s helped. In 2011, 554 of my people were victims of homicide.  In 2012, you had over 12,000 homicides; of those, 8,775 victims were from firearms alone.

I’ve got a good thing going on up here, and I don’t see why you can’t have a good thing, too.  You deserve the best.  I know that I’m the square, the nerd, the rule-lover, but I think I should get credit where credit is due.  There are things at which you are so much better, and I love you for it.  I’m always thankful for the awesome TV shows and movies you’re always sending my way.  And I know that you’ve always got my back; you’re the kind, caring, protective older sister that any country would be lucky to have – but you’re my big sister, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’re very different, but we come from the same roots.  We’re family.  And family looks out for each other.  So just take take a step back, a deep breath and reflect.  All I’m asking you to do is think critically.  Because I’m worried about you.  And I’m worried about you because I love you.  Don’t ever forget that.

Hugs and kisses,
Canada

You can follow Anna Hambrook on Twitter @annahambrook.

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  1. In Canada and many other countries you have to get a gun licence; similar to your drivers licence. The statics are in the open for everyone to understand, having these gun regulations cut down drastically on the deaths of innocent people. In many of the States I could walk into a store and walk out with a gun; that is INSANE! I can’t even comprehend this. Gun regulations dont make it impossible to get a gun, it just means the Country has made sure you are getting a gun for the right reasons and not to go on a shooting rampage.

  2. I agree, the gun laws in the states need to be changed. That law was made during a time when it was appropriate to carry around a gun. At this point in time, it’s not.

    And people getting angry at the analogy of Canada as the “little sister” are missing the point of the article. I’m Canadian and I wasn’t bothered by it at all, Canada is a humble country. It’s a nice way to be.

    • Thank, Nicole!

      The “little sister” analogy was based on the fact that both Canada and the US were once British North America (a British colony). The USA became a republic in 1776 (growing out of revolution), while Canada is still part of the British Commonwealth (growing out of evolution), but is still it’s own country as of 1867, making the US older.

  3. The fact remains that the right to bear arms is an antiquated and dangerous law that should be repealed. The foreseeable causes for which an american citizen would need arms, such as rightfully challenging a corrupt government or protecting yourself or your property from harm are all ancient notions from technologically inferior periods of time. If the government decided to turn on it’s people and could somehow coerce the military to act for it’s cause, no law abiding american citizen, pea shooter in bedside drawer or not, stands a chance against the military. All other self-defence type arguments are moot because protection of the self has been effectively transferred to the state. There are very few cases in which a modern court will find a defendant not guilty for using a gun in self defence. There is almost always the option to flee, and there is even a duty of retreat for plaintiffs who are often found to have violated that duty having proceeded to disable their assailant with undue force and harm, and become the defendant in another trial. I would argue (and courts will find) that no defence of property calls for a gun, with insurance and police forces in existence.
    Access to guns of any size, type, or registration status is good for crime and bad for citizens. Period. Take as many guns as you can out of society, and people will have to do crazy things like exchange words to resolve problems, or punch pillows in anger instead of shooting the subject of their anger in a blind rage. NO it doesn’t stop the crazies, but at least it would reduce some of them to using knives for violence. I can run from a knife, not so much from a gun. Regulation would certainly be a step in the right direction. PS I’m not so very proud of Canada’s government for repealing the long gun registry. For some reason, you need to be in a computer system to do just about anything in this country, except carry a hunting rifle. That is be a step in the wrong direction. So I guess Canada and the USA are becoming closer neighbours indeed.

  4. I don’t have answer to what should happen and would not try to pretend that I did. I would however warn against drastic changes out of fear. Many times fear can seem like logic, but truthfully it will set us up for our downfall. I believe in justice, and therefore I think that those who commit a gun crime should be held accountable for their actions.
    It is funny, because this article is written like one country talking to another. But the reason for the second amendment is so that no one could force the american people into submission weither it be internal or external. It is as simple as v for vendetta states is ‘People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
    I think for many people, when you talk about taking away guns or creating more gun laws, it means taking away constitutional rights. That scares people and it angers them. That is why if anything is done it cannot be reactionary, but critically thought about and party neutral. There cannot be an extreme solution.

  5. I agree with the point you’re making about firearm laws needing control-certainly I think Canada’s are working well, and I know people who have gun licences and they appreciate having them. But I don’t like this comparison of Canada being the little sister. It just reminds me of a story I heard about some Texans visiting Ontario and telling my friend (their waitress) about how huge Texas was and how she’d probably never seen anything so amasing. Or this thought about how Canada is a scared nerd who lives it their mother’s house still (Look up some Canadian history, please. Trudeau? The Queen?). The USA (read: United States OF America-America, by the way, is a continent, not a country) is more like Canada’s short, angry little half-sibling (England had a baby with France, but then also had a baby without France). I understand where you’re coming from, but the analogy is just so frustrating. Surely you must understand my point if view as well.

  6. The statistical argument “Canada” makes is still valid, even though she didn’t take the one extra step to make it a true apples to apples comparison. Assuming her numbers for homicides and Amy’s for population are correct (because I’m too lazy to look them up for myself):

    - Canada: 554 homicides for 35 million people = 1 per 63,177 people
    - USA:
    — 12,000 homicides for 315 million people = 1 per 26,250 people
    — 8,775 firearm homicides/315 megapeeps = 1 per 35,493 people

    As you can see, the US has a firearms-related homicide rate 1.8 times Canada’s rate for all homicides combined. If you include all our homicides, our rate is 2.4 times greater than Canada’s.

  7. Gun laws don’t always mean taking away everyone’s guns. I feel like every time someone mentions gun laws everyone’s like (hick voice) “DON’T YA’LL TRAMP ON MY AMENDMENT RIGHTS. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAVE MAH FAMILY FROM THESE THUGS AND HEATHENS.” and the lovely “They bad guys will still get their guns!” (A lot of people killing their families/strangers in public/etc are mentally screwed up, and most aren’t involved with any of this underground black market gun exchange, they literally just go out and get a gun – and with gun laws this wouldn’t be so easy for them). Look, when people say they want gun laws, usually they just want stricter regulations – to drive a freaking car you have to have a drivers test, as you get older you have to take it again/renew it, and you have to register your car and whatnot. All we ask is that similar sh*t is going down with guns. Even Sudafed is more heavily regulated than guns and amo! For instance: to buy sudafed an ID is required, there’s a legal limit of sales, all sales are entered into a SINGLE database, sales above the legal limit are blocked, and police investigate when it’s appropriate. CAN WE NOT DO THIS WITH BULLETS AND GUNS? Just to make sure that someone isn’t about to kill a bunch of people? Is it really infringing upon your rights if an officer stops by and says “Hey just saw you bought a ridiculous amount of amo, just making sure it’s for a valid reason” when it could save a ton of people?

  8. The reason for the second amendment: at the time before our revolution, the colonists had no way of defending themselves against the growing tyranny of the British. Their homesteads and towns were pillaged by out-of-control Redcoats, and they had no protection. When our founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights, they wanted to forever protect the people of America by making sure the innocent had the right and the means to protect their homes. There’s a reason they put it near the top of their list. Crime is just another form of tyranny, and if we citizens of the United States revoke that right, then we are giving in to tyranny. And we just don’t do that. I won’t insult Canada. Canada does things its own way, and I respect that. But we do things our own way too, and taking away a citizen’s right to be armed and defend their home is not going to solve the problems of violence and insanity.

    Besides, when the zombie apocalypse hits, we’ll be better prepared :)

  9. Listen, little sis. You don’t understand gun laws, do you? We have the right to keep and bear arms, and taking that right away from us will only make the bad guys stronger. You’re operating under a false assumption that bad guys get their guns legally. They don’t. So you’re sweet, but you’re wrong. Limiting a citizen’s right to protect herself is the same as tossing her in front of a moving car. So thanks for the sentiment, little sis, but leave this discussion to the grown-ups who have rights.

  10. That’s a nice thought and all, but the statistics are skewed if you make a direct comparison. Canada has about 35 million people and the U.S. has around 315 million. That’s like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, we have some crazies. Yes, I pray every day that people everywhere will change and treat each other better. I don’t think that taking guns away from the law abiding citizens will protect them. A criminal or a lunatic will find a way to get what they want – and if they want guns they will find them. I don’t want one of those people to come into my home unless I am equally protected.

  11. Wow, thanks for the completely unnecessary theme of demeaning Canada in order to get your point across.
    It only comes across as proving correct the American stereotype of complete arrogance. You need to demean Canada in an article meant to be calling out the problems of your own country.

    Very uncool
    -A Canadian Reader.

  12. I love my country, but we are so totally backwards when it comes to… well… a lot of things. Great article! It just makes me sad that we are so far behind!