A recent column argued that gun deaths in North America could only be stopped by following Singapore’s strict gun laws and severe penalties. This resulted in many responses now posted at docgiff.com/reader-mail-on-the-rule-of-law. They reveal an utter loathing by the public of politicians who are too weak-kneed to tackle this cancerous social problem that’s undermining society’s wellbeing.
From P.P., “My little city of 100,000 has now become the most criminal and dangerous city in Canada in the last few years. It’s no longer the same city I loved. I plan on moving.” This sad reaction was echoed by several people who have become afraid of being in large public places.
D.O. replies, “Finally someone talks about the impact of gun violence on one’s health. A great article and I posted it on Facebook.”
Another writes, “If only we had a leader like Lee Kwan Yew. Rather, we have a cursed charter of rights and freedoms and are governed by lawyers dressed in fancy robes called judges. Please keep up your good work.”
A few readers were more hesitant. “I’m disappointed with you, as murder is murder, whether by an individual or by the state. Capital punishment is barbaric.” But others defended capital punishment saying, “Jesus Christ taught an eye for an eye.” Or, “If you don’t like capital punishment, don’t do the crime.” Or, “If you bring drugs into the country, you hang.”
Politicians in Canada and the U.S. would not be amused by these e-mails. One reader writes, “Banning hand guns or semi-automatic rifles will not do a damn thing when it comes to criminals. I am surprised that this is not the number one priority in the federal election. I am making it mine when I receive a knock at my door from my candidates.”
Another, “You are spot on about politicians. They are gutless, clueless and mostly ignorant on the topic of keeping society safe.”
One reader who had worked in a penitentiary remarked, “I sure qualify to express an opinion. There was a time when punishment for crime was real, and prisoners were less happy to return to jail. That’s when the cat of nine tails was still in use and guards controlled the convicts, as opposed to inmates controlling the correctional system. Punishment does deter crime, but our so-called experts can’t see this, and political correctness in our system is overwhelming.”
Another correctional officer of 37 years says, “I worked in two of the largest maximum security detention systems, and hugs don’t work.”
Another wrote, “If these evil thugs KNEW that 10 years will be added onto any sentence they receive for a crime, they’d definitely think twice about carrying guns. Too bad our gutless politicians can’t see that.”
Another reader had a novel idea, “All those caught with handguns should be sent to a secure location and then given their guns back for protection. But just leave food and supplies for one person. It would be a kind of capital punishment.”
Responses had a recurring theme of injustice. Readers criticized the current justice system that favours criminals, enriches lawyers, and provides no strong measures to stop criminal behaviour. They agree with me that someone, like Singapore’s late Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew, is badly needed in this country. And that families who have lost a loved one to gun warfare are left with perceived solidarity and teddy bears, but no justice.
The message is clear. Readers want a return to more vigorous punishment, including capital punishment. They believe politicians have deaf ears to those concerned about increasing crime. Paying closer attention to these issues would help them get elected. But are they smart enough to learn?
Dr. W. Gifford-Jones can be reached at info @docgiff.com