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We hear about the horrific shootings in the United States and grieve with our southern neighbours. Canadians generally think these situations are isolated in the US and don't believe it can happen in Canada. It actually happens in Canada more often than we believe, and we have stricter gun laws than America. How can this happen in Canada? I'm not so sure and I have no idea how to remedy the problem but I do know that it is becoming more prevalent.
I remember after the Florida and Las Vegas shootings—my friends on Facebook would be outraged and rightly so. These shootings shouldn't be happening anywhere. A common comment I read stuck out like a sore thumb. A lot of people were posting that Americans need stricter gun policies. This general comment circulated everywhere, I saw it on the news and heard it in conversations. I think it's easy to point a finger when it's directed to another country, but when it happens in our own backyard we are suddenly a loss for words.
We suddenly had shootings in Toronto that was all over the news. I mean Canada has always had shootings, but since the media was hot for shootings, these stories were pretty prominent. All of a sudden the excuse was that Toronto is densely populated much like the states, and that Torontonians follow American norms. I don't believe this for a second. Shootings happen, and sometimes we just can't explain them. We're always curious about what goes on in the mind of someone that would snap so hard they'd take these drastic measures but everyone thinks differently and placed in different situations. So sometimes it's impossible to pinpoint what happened.
My assumptions were correct because there would be other stories of gun violence in a small town in New Brunswick and another in Winnipeg. I really don't know what makes one national news and what isn't worthy of a story. Gun violence is everywhere. I hear about gun violence in my own city but they don't always make it to the news.
One theory the media mentioned is that it's an issue with what the media claims toxic masculinity. I think the theory stems from the fact all the shooters have been male and seemed to have been in isolation or maybe felt ostracized by society. I'm not quite sure of this because there's a conflict in that theory and how men are taught to be "masculine." When I grew up I was definitely exposed to a stereotypical perception of masculinity. This masculinity also included taking stress and internalizing it. Showing stress or acting on it actually shows weakness. It means you cracked. You're showing you aren't strong enough to take the heat. I guess the argument is that these individuals are conceding to their weakness and using the gun as their representation of power. The thing is, if they were truly trying to be masculine, they would want fights to be fair. A coward brings a gun to a knife fight, or a weapon to a fist fight. The only argument to that would be that they thought of themselves so low that they needed a gun to make it a fair fight. That's probably a stretch.
Anyways, gun violence is everywhere. If it was simple as changing policies I'm sure policies would have been changed by now. I'm surprised a lot of us think that all problems can be changed with legislation. We have so much legislation today yet we still have a ton of crimes being committed. Do the laws actually reduce gun violence? I doubt someone not in the right head space would consider laws when they're about to commit their crimes, but I could be wrong.