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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Amongst the Canucks

How does a Canadian, who has been living in Texas for several years, feel when visiting home.
It's knowing that every single person on this block is probably unarmed, as well. And that everywhere I go, the only people who are armed are criminals (there is virtually no police presence in Vancouver). I like to tell Canadians that I am surrounded by armed and dangerous people in Texas -- my neighbors -- and that's a good thing. But Canadians just don't get it.
Really a pretty good piece... Light hearted funny... But with a real point...
My first couple of times to the range, I wasn't 100% sure that the guy next to me wasn't some kind of maniac. It was weird trusting a complete stranger with the power of life and death over me -- and that's the root of Canada's problem with guns. Canadians just don't have faith in freedom. They worry that people are going to screw it up, which people do, but really not all that often.
Most of those who fear guns, fear them because they don't trust themselves with a gun. If they can't trust themselves with the responsability, then no one else can be trusted either.

Anyway... Read the whole thing...I really wanna try one of those Coffee Crisps!

Otter

8 Comments:

Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

The funny thing is, Coffee Crisp doesn't taste like coffee. Maybe it's thusly named because it goes well with coffee. We may never know. But Canada has other fine candy products, too. For instance, Smarties mop the floor with M&Ms.

Anyhoo, thanks for the link. Just for the record (and I realize it wasn't obvious), I'm an Amurkin who had the awesome privilege of growing up in Hoserland. :-P

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Hey Scaggsvillians (or Scaggsvillains, if you prefer)... haven't been over in a while. Hope you're well.

I found several articles that corroborate your link's sentiments. I also found several people -- primarily politicians and spokespeople for business organizations/lobbyists -- claiming that crime in British Columbia is 2 - 3 times worse than the worst city in the U.S.

This sounds like total bullshit to me. Here's why:

This is a quick comparison of statistics from the Vancouver, BC Police Department and CityLiving.com's Baltimore, MD listing.

Here's what I found. And please keep in mind that Baltimore is not the worst city in the U.S. We're not even in the top two. ;)

2003
Homicide
Vancouver: 16
Baltimore: 270

Attempted murder
Vancouver: 19
Baltimore: not immediately available

Sex crimes
Vancouver: 495
Baltimore: 204
(Important Note: Vancouver's number is for "Sexual Offences", and Baltimore's is for "Forcible Rape", which are completely different categorizations of crime.)

Assaults
Vancouver: 4,805
Baltimore: 6,370

Robbery
Vancouver: 1,606
Baltimore: 4,339

Breaking & Entering
Vancouver: 10,235
Baltimore: 7,789 (burglary) or 22,824 (larceny or theft)

Car theft
Vancouver: 7,121
Baltimore: 6,857

Arson
Vancouver: 297
Baltimore: 485

Population
City of Vancouver, 2001: 545,671
Baltimore City, 2000: 651,154

(I do not know if the Vancouver crime stats are for the City of Vancouver or the Greater Vancouver Regional District. I'm assuming it's for the City of Vancouver, which is about a quarter the size of the Regional District.)

Crime sources: CityRating.com's Baltimore crime report and the
Vancouver Police Department.

12:13 PM  
Blogger ZooooM said...

I liked this little story. Thank you.

As a child of a military family, I was raised with first a bb gun and then a 22 rifle in my hands. I then moved on to pistols. Always target shooting (waaaay out in the desert) and then ranges when we moved to the city.

I can handle a gun, correctly and safely. But, I never considered how it must feel to those who are never around them until they have to be.

6:20 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

Chuck, I have comments.. just not time...soon... thanks for the post...

d

12:02 AM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

Chuck,

I found several articles that corroborate your link's sentiments.

I assume this is directed at me. In my post I made no claim about crime rates. I simply stated that I do not feel protected in Vancouver. (And, although I refer to Vancouver, my relatives live outside of Vancouver proper.)

Nevertheless, if you want to talk stats, then let's. First, you make a small faux pas comparing populations for year 2001 and crime rates for 2003. Also, Maryland is a restricted state with respect to concealed carry, and as such is more like Canada than most of the rest of the United States. A better comparison would be between, say, Austin, Texas, and Vancouver. In any case, direct comparison of crime rates in comparably-sized cities of two different nations is only a naive measure of gun-control efficacy. You must address population differences between cities like Vancouver and Baltimore. American liberal policy in the 1960s and 1970s is directly responsible for creating the cancerous inner city culture that plagues most of urban America. The result of this is young black and hispanic males being disproportionately represented in U.S. violent crime statistics. Canada has largely avoided this problem, though Toronto is trying to catch up. And while it is true that Canada has a minority population that is roughly equal to that of the U.S., percentage-wise, this population overwhelmingly consists of Asians, who tend to integrate with the dominant culture (i.e. whites) far better than blacks and hispanics. If you adjust for this, U.S. violent crime rates become comparable to those of Canada and Western European countries.

A simpler and more appropriate measure of how well gun-control works is to compare trends. The hypothesis is that gun ownership drives crime, so let's examine this. States have increasingly recognized the right to concealed carry -- as of this moment, 33 out of 50 states are shall issue states -- and it is estimated that there are approximately 200 million privately-owned firearms in the U.S. with millions more being purchased each year. So, according to the hypothesis, U.S. crime rates ought to be increasing at a corresponding rate. Yet, this is not the case. In fact, the FBI reports that the violent crime rate in the U.S. has been dropping substantially. Moreover, the drop in U.S. violent crime rate is outpacing that of Canada. The data don't support the hypothesis -- availability of guns doesn't drive crime.

Now, this doesn't address the perception of public safety. Police response times in Vancouver are terrible. I personally witnessed numerous violent crimes during my 10 years in Vancouver, and in every instance except one, the police took a minimum of 30 minutes to arrive at the scene. When we called 9-1-1 to report that our elderly and handicapped neighbors' home had been invaded, the RCMP took 45 minutes to show up. The one and only time the police showed up within 5 minutes of my 9-1-1 call was due solely to my mentioning that I saw one of the thugs flash a handgun. Police in the GVRD are terribly undermanned and overwhelmed. In Texas, this wouldn't be a problem, because neighborhoods can police themselves. I can carry my pistol any time I am travelling in my vehicle, and I am permitted to take defensive action against anyone who unlawfully enters my property after dusk.

I do not know if the Vancouver crime stats are for the City of Vancouver or the Greater Vancouver Regional District. I'm assuming it's for the City of Vancouver, which is about a quarter the size of the Regional District.

Vancouver has its own police department, while other parts of the GVRD use the RCMP, so your stats are probably for the city of Vancouver alone.

7:37 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

Howdy Chuck... I was going to reply to your post... But ummm... Well what he said.

Otter

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Interesting response. I only have a few minutes, so I'll address some of the easier points now.

Faux pas acknowledged, and it was intentional. (And I appreciate your mentioning it but not dwelling upon it. So often a minor error will take on an enormous significance, and ultimately negate any true debate. Bush's speech patterns are a perfect example.) In my quick research, the most accurate population stats I found were from 2000 and 2001, respectively; The most accurate crime stats I found were from 2003. I opted to use more accurate sources for different years rather than less accurate sources for the same years.

I acknowledge that you made no claim about crime rates. It seemed to be a recurring theme as I read about the increase of crime in Vancouver, though. I read (and I do not have the links anymore, my apologies) at least two people who commented that Vancouver had a significantly higher crime rate than even the worst cities in the U.S. So while my response was inspired by your comments, it grew much broader than that.

Also, I did not mean my comment to be proof (positive or negative) of gun control efficacy. Perhaps comparing Baltimore to Vancouver is not accurate. I do not know enough about the political, economic, legal, or social history of either Austin or Vancouver to know if a comparison between those two is more accurate.

I do not know the details of Maryland's gun control laws. I'm merely making observations about the crime rates in two different cities, and gun laws are but one of many issues that play into those statistics.

You wrote, "American liberal policy in the 1960s and 1970s is directly responsible for creating the cancerous inner city culture that plagues most of urban America." That is one viewpoint, and there is evidence to support it. However, a few other points should be noted.

American cities have always had problems when a whole bunch of poor people were stuffed together in one relatively small location. These problems have transcended the tides of conservatism and liberalism. To attribute our current situation entirely to liberalism of the 60s and 70s is perhaps a bit short-sighted.

Conservatism of the 80s spawned the U.S. War on Drugs, which has had much the same effect as prohibition had on alcohol in the 20s. In my opinion, the crack epidemic of the 80's and the resurgence in heroin use during the 90s did far more to perpetuate the cancerous plague on our inner cities than any political policies by either political party.

Yes, my neighborhood is decidedly more dangerous due to a liberal housing decision made by a Baltimore mayor 20-some years ago; however, the ultimate reason my neighborhood is dangerous is because there are kids on the street corners making $3,000 a day selling smack, and there are whores whose teeth are falling out because of the crystal meth habits they support with $10 blowjobs.

And as with any "good" war, a true War on Drugs would have had a plan to indoctrinate the survivors of the enemy camp into the victor's culture. Policies regarding treatment and education for recovering addicts would have gone a long way to putting the cancer of our cities into remission, but neither the conservatives nor the liberals have made it happen under their respective watches.

Okay, I'm wandering too far, from gun control to drug policy. I have a bad reaction when I start seeing "Liberal" and "Conservative" introduced in debate, because the words have grown almost meaningless. We (not we as in the people on this site, we as in our culture at large) might as well just stand on opposite sides of a line and yell, "YOU SUCK" at each other. Liberals have fucked up a lot of things in this country. So have conservatives. It's time to stop with the name-calling and start holding politicians and criminals (so often synonymous, I know) responsible for their actions.

Obviously, politicians in Vancouver are not being held accountable if it takes 45 minutes for police to respond to a home invasion. The same is true in Baltimore. Do I think guns are the best solution to the problem? Not really. Am I opposed to guns? Not really. I just think a knowledgable and informed populace will ultimately result in a stable and reliable government, something that appears to be lacking in both Baltimore and Vancouver.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

Just for the record, Otter, I'm a "she" not a "he." :-)

Thanks for the response, Chuck. WRT your comment about the War on Drugs, I am in complete agreement that it was, and remains, a huge mistake on the part of Conservatives, and has contributed significantly to the decay of the inner cities. Point taken.

Do I think guns are the best solution to the problem? Not really.

Guns are one solution, and an attractive one when you hear glass breaking at 3 AM and know that a call to 9-1-1 is pointless.

There is a more important point here, which is whether or not you believe you have the right to self-determination or whether you believe that only the government should decide how and when people will be protected. There are many of us in the pro-gun community who like to say that the police are the people, and the people are the police. There is no dividing-line between the public and the police. The police are there to help you if you cannot or will not protect yourself. If you value individual rights, that means you have the right to choose. You may choose to call the police or you may choose to protect yourself in a life-threatening situation -- without the government dictating by what means. And everyone will agree that guns are, hands-down, the most effective means for self-defense. Now, realize that if you believe that only the government can protect individuals, then the government de facto owns its citizens (in which case they cease to be citizens and become subjects). I don't know about you, but that thought is really unappealing to me.

Am I opposed to guns? Not really. I just think a knowledgable and informed populace will ultimately result in a stable and reliable government, something that appears to be lacking in both Baltimore and Vancouver.

Well, the criminal populace in Vancouver is knowledgable and informed WRT the odds of meeting resistance during crimes, and that factors in a cost-risk analysis of invading a few homes to score some quick loot. There is an irony here, too. Vancouver authorities are pretty lax WRT marijuana, and the result has been that the GVRD now has countless grow-operations in residential areas -- which has, in turn, inspired many home invasions where criminals are looking to steal the dope. They just invade several houses in a given neighborhood and hope to find one with a grow-op. If they expected to meet any significant resistance (as they would in Texas, for instance) that would certainly cut down the home-invasion rate.

1:39 PM  

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