Start with compassion
January 2, 2013
The recent shocking massacres in the United States have sparked new discussions surrounding guns and gun control.
My own view is that no hunter needs an assault rifle to bring down a moose or bear and if he does, he shouldn’t be hunting in the first place.
Guns are lethal and easy access with little or no control or oversight has done no one any favours. The ill-fated gun registry should never have been embarked on without a meaningful discussion with Canadians, however, I think all gun shops should be required to keep careful and permanent records of sales that are available to law enforcement officials and that existing laws with respect to the purchase of guns continue to be stringently enforced. I am definitely not in favour of easing access.
On Christmas day Alda Sigmundsdottir, a young Icelander, posted a story on her blog, which she called “the next-best Christmas story.” In it she recounts how a prisoner escaped from Iceland’s only maximum security prison and, although a man-hunt was underway for over a week, the culprit (charged with attempted manslaughter) could not be found.
In the early morning hours of Christmas eve a farmer and his daughter in an isolated community were woken to the sound of someone at their kitchen window. There at the window stood the long-searched-for prisoner. Armed to the teeth, the escapee told them he was turning himself in and asked them to call the police. Instead of panicking, the farmer and his daughter struck up a conversation through the kitchen window, asking him if he needed warm clothes and offering him hot soup.
Seeing that he appeared to be in control of his faculties, they asked whether he would be prepared to leave his weapons (a rifle with silencer, ammunition, an axe and several knives) outside and join them inside while waiting for the police to come.
Agreeing, the man entered the house where he was invited for coffee and cake. As they waited they talked about the man’s future, whether this wasn’t the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and create a new life for himself. The farmer even encouraged the convict to get an education while in jail. Almost an hour later the police arrived to return the prisoner to the jail in Litla-hraun.
The point that Astrid Sigmundsdottir made was that had this happened in…say the U.S., this encounter could have had a much nastier outcome with guns blazing before any questions could be asked.
This kind family chose to use good sense, calmness and above all loving kindness. They approached this person as a human being first; a human being who had wandered down a dark path but who still had the potential to turn his life around.
Not all convicts are sensible or redeemable, but I think we owe it to ourselves and to the families of those who have lost their way, to ensure that our penal system is not just about punishment.
The recent “law and order agenda” undertaken during a time when crime is actually declining has taken a negative turn as has our sensible approach to gun ownership.
Let’s hope the New Year brings less chest thumping from gun owners and the despicable N.R.A. and more thoughtful policy directions from parliament.
This article is for personal use only courtesy of cottagecountrynow.ca - a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd.