Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thank You!

The driveway sign is back. It’s a bit crooked, but it’s back and attached to the post.
My imagination is running wild about the conversation that must have taken place at the culprit's home, but regardless, the return of the sign is welcome and my faith in my community has been somewhat restored and my fears, though aroused, have been laid to uneasy rest.
Thanks to you for making the effort to return the sign and for reattaching it to the post. It would have been easier to toss it in the ditch and I am glad that you didn’t!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Don't Blame ME

I had a road sign at the end of my driveway. The key word here is ‘had’. During grad weekend, someone came and tore it from the post. It was amazing really. The bolts were sheared off cleanly and the post remained firmly set in the earth. How this was accomplished, I have no idea.
I am torn by the fact that someone came onto my property and took something that belonged to me, but at the same time I recognize that my loss is nothing compared to what others have suffered. Still, it makes me stop and think about the conditions we live under.
Not so long ago I had a conversation with a friend. We talked about the pros and cons of keeping our houses locked. Until now, I’ve been a firm believer that my personal freedom is more valuable than the risk of having my house broke into, but according to my friend, unless you lock your home it is not considered by authorities or the insurance agency to be breaking and entering.
One of the reasons that I’ve refrained from locking the house up is that the doors and windows have a significant value by themselves. If someone really wanted to break in, a pane of glass is not going to stop them. It would only add to the cost of the break in and if weather is particularly bad, that could cause further damage to the house.
All of this is a matter of semantics and really only the background for the point I’d like to make. The question is how is it my responsibility if someone comes on to my property and takes something that belongs to me, regardless of how easy the theft was?. If a purse or briefcase is snatched, does it make the crime any less of a crime if it was sitting next to the person on a park bench than if it was held securely in their hand?
We, the collective, buy into some idiotic ideas. One of them is that we have an obligation to protect ourselves at all times. I question this thought. While it is beneficial to make good decisions like staying out of Central Park after dark, I firmly believe that I should not be held responsible for a crime committed against me.
I propose a simple amendment to our way of thinking. It is the individual who is solely responsible for his actions. While there may be extenuating circumstances that may lead to some form of forgiveness, it is the shooter who kills, the pick pocket who steals, the one who swings the bat, thrusts the knife or pulls the trigger who is responsible for their own act.
It is not the home owners fault for being vandalized.
It is not the party host’s fault that a guest drove away and killed someone in an accident.
It is not the woman’s fault she was raped.

Where does fault lie? PLEASE, let us avoid blaming anyone or anything except the person or people who actually perform the crime. We are singularly accountable for our own actions, period. We are not responsible for the deeds of others.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chivalry is not Dead - Just Very Very Sick

Our office is more like a refrigerator than anything else. Those of us who work here every day make sure to bring an extra sweater to offset the effects of the heating system.
Today a teacher came into the room to work at a colleague’s desk. She was unprepared for the weather and within a few minutes goose bumps began popping up and turning her arms into course sandpaper.
One of the men - and I’m sad to admit that it wasn’t me – offered his coat and it was gladly accepted. This act of kindness was immediately noticed by one of the matrons in the room. She pleasantly stated that chivalry is not dead.

The diseases that afflict this poor beast are apathy and distrust. In a movie like Kate and Leopold, Leopold would never have been accepted as he was. A man running around in period clothes with impeccable manners would come across as a psychotic unable to apply simple social skills acceptably. More than likely he would be shunned or even institutionalized.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Guns in Canada

We Canadians contribute to being members of a pathetic nation. That may be a harsh thing to say and maybe it’s not a popular opinion to state, but it is nonetheless true. What better place to live where major government expenditures and changes are made without any consultation from the people? What citizens from a first world country would sit back and allow its government to spend billions to remove its people’s freedoms? And all for the sake of popular vote! Sounds like Canada to me.

I’m speaking of the firearms laws. Is there anyone out there with a shred of common sense that actually believes that further control and limiting of the freedoms of law-abiding citizens will reduce crime? We have spent billions to make it more difficult for people to purchase firearms. Have we really made it more difficult for criminals to get them? Wouldn’t have those dollars been more wisely spent on health care?

I have taken the training, paid the fees and completed the requirements that give me the right to purchase unrestricted firearms, something that any Canadian citizen without a criminal record can do. When it comes to importing unrestricted firearms, according to the ONLY publication that is available at any of the border crossings in British Columbia, a person simply requires their Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) and the willingness to pay the appropriate fees in order to import the non-restricted firearm. The efforts we as individuals put into attaining the PAL are supposedly the key.

I was afraid that it couldn’t be that simple so I got online and looked up all the information I could find. Everything corroborated with what I already understood. I didn’t stop there though. I took the time to go over the issue with a customs officer. I showed him my PAL and he verified that it was indeed as simple as the pamphlet stated.

Fearful, but confident, I bought a hunting rifle while in the US and brought it across the border prepared for success. To make a long story short, the rifle is sitting locked up at the Sumas border crossing waiting for me to complete the appropriate paper work (paperwork that I as yet have no access to and have no information about). When I asked if I could get the forms to fill out, I was informed that they were not available and it was not the customs official’s responsibility to provide them. So far, I have been unable to locate the mystery forms.

According to published propaganda, the customs officers are there to help you solve customs issues in the citizen’s best interest. I hate to say it, but there is nothing further from the truth. In my personal experience (and I cross the border about ten times a year) every case where understanding or help has been sought, the solution has always been confiscation, fees and, in some cases, fines.

Hopefully, when I am finished my research I will be able to find the forms that only this one customs officer seems to know about, fill them out and then drive the sixteen hundred Km round trip to retrieve something that is already rightfully mine and something that I already have the right to possess and transport. In the event that this customs officer is mistaken do you think our government will be willing to reimburse my time and the cost of my travels? If you as a Canadian citizen cannot see that it is unjust to arbitrarily change laws and then without informing anyone that they exist, begin to enforce them, then I am truly afraid for the future of this country.

If the purpose of the new gun laws has been to streamline the system and to correctly identify those people who are and who are not a threat to society, it has been a multibillion-dollar failure. We are pathetic because we would allow billions to be spent on setting up a system of laws and bureaucracy that doesn’t do what it has been set out to do. We stand dumbly by and shrug while our hard earned dollars are stripped from us and then spent, not in our best interests, but by a government whose only interest is in increasing its share of the popular vote.

In Canada we find it so easy to blame everyone but the guilty individual. That’s why if my car is stolen or if my house is broken into, I am asked first if the doors and windows were locked or whether the keys were readily available. It is as if by letting my guard down I am somehow responsible for someone else’s criminal behaviour. Why can we not place the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who deserve it? In Canada I don’t have to wait to be a criminal to be punished and discriminated against, I can do that simply by being Canadian. Shouldn’t we who are innocent and law abiding be able to live with the utmost freedoms? Isn’t that the main reason we choose to live in Canada? It certainly isn’t for prosperity.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Crazy North America

Recently the NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) was in the news again. I can’t help laughing about the whole issue.

I have dual citizenship and travel frequently. The reality is that many American citizens have no idea that there is an issue. Apparently, it just isn’t news worthy.

Obviously, protectionist lobby groups don’t want to see products hitting the US market cheaper than they can produce them. The net effect? For every dollar that is taxed against products coming into their country means that the people of the United States pay a higher than necessary price for the goods they use every day. These include lumber, poultry and beef, just to name a few.

Right now the most bazaar situation is happening. Over and over again, each appeal made by the US, which essentially claims that Canada is dumping cheap products unfairly onto the US market, has been overturned. The latest development is that the US government has supported NAFTA, the very agreement they entered into in the first place. Now the cattle industry in the US is suing the US government for infringing on their constitutional rights. Unbelievable!

Of course the Canadian government would love to see this dispute, which has plagued NAFTA since its inception, concluded in their country’s favour. To top the story off, the Canadian government is now supporting the US government in this strange lawsuit of the US government vs their own cattle industry.