Issues with gun control bares its fangs again
Laura Melczer // Contributer
In the midst of arguably the worst hurricane season in recorded history, there was a social media moment that almost outshone the news of Hurricane Irma’s unbelievable strength.
It all started with a Facebook event calling for people to shoot at the hurricane to “show the storm who is boss.” Ryon Edwards, the man who created the event, had done so out of boredom and frustration. But, what started as a joke went viral (55,000 people had been listed as interested in attending), causing concern that some people would take the event seriously.
This lead to the local police tweeting a warning, which included a helpful diagram, not to shoot at the hurricane “You won’t make the hurricane turn around and it will have very dangerous side effects,” read the warning. This shows how dangerous the attitude towards guns has become in the US. What started out as a joke turned into something more frightening and it shows the difference in gun culture between the US and Canada, where the outcome would likely be very different.
The fact that the event was made (even jokingly) and got so much attention shows the dangerous relationship some Americans have with their guns. Unlike Canadians, Americans takes their “right to bear arms” quite seriously, where having and using guns is a source of pride. And, in a country where guns are so widely accepted, it makes sense that when someone is trying to process their emotions through sarcasm, it gets misinterpreted as a reasonable response to a hurricane.
In Canada, the public reaction would likely be quite different. Canadians respect that guns are highly dangerous and that there are certain limitations on what they can and can’t do. Like, shoot away a hurricane, for example. America’s trend of open carry (where people can carry a weapon without concealing it) and cultural belief that everyone and their baby have a constitutional right to heavy artillery is clearly a little problematic.
In comparison, Canada’s culture revolves more around gun control and how to safely use them. Canadians who privately own rearms tend to understand that weapons are meant to be locked safely away until they are needed in appropriate circumstances. Like a gun range or for hunting – animals, not hurricanes.
This is not to say that Americans are unsafe when it comes to rearms. There are Americans who go through the proper training and means to obtain a gun. And, even though there were thousands who RSVP’d to the Facebook event, most were probably just there to have a good laugh while having to process the threat of such a large storm. However, the fact that the police had to make an official statement confirms a fear that there may have been people who would have taken this seriously.
The culture around guns in America and Canada are like night and day, which is why a situation like this would have less of a chance of occurring here. Canadian policy and practice built around rearms is strict enough to prevent the inappropriate use of guns, especially the idea of shooting a hurricane. America, on the other hand, has approached their use of guns so casually that this whole situation feels unsettling.