Monday, March 22, 2010

One pull of the trigger: from "law-abiding" to "law-breaking"

The most recent spate of gun violence, including the shooting of 3 women near Belleville, and 3 men in an Edmonton car dealership almost 2 weeks ago, remind us that, although Stephen Harper and the gun lobby pretends otherwise, the boundary between “law-abiding gun owner” and “criminal” is easily crossed. It only takes a second, one pull of a trigger, to get to the other side. Many lives have been lost at the hands of "legal" gun owners. In January, Stephanie Hoddinott was shot dead by a former partner with his legally owned handgun. He later turned the gun on himself. Joan Hanson, her daughter, and granddaughter, were also shot dead in July 2009 by her estranged hunter husband with his legally owned rifle, which he also later turned on himself. Last week, Const. Vu Pham was shot and killed by a hunter despondent about the break up of his marriage.

The risk factors associated with gun violence are well known. To reduce the chances dangerous people will have access to guns, we need to maintain and strengthen rigorous licensing and registration procedures, not undermine them by abolishing the long-gun registry, as Mr. Harper is attempting to do.

We need to remember all guns are dangerous. We need to lose the fallacious rhetoric and ensure that citizens understand the risks, so they can take appropriate action when friends, neighbors, or loved ones with depression or anger issues have access to guns.


Anonymous said...

thank you for this article.. I am the uncle of Stephanie Hoddinott. She was a beautiful girl. The police said the murderer was emotionally immature. Hand guns should be left at the shooting range and not transported or banned all together... You should not be allowed to buy a weapon before the age of 25.... My sister is so heart broken

Beverly Akerman MSc said...

Dear Anonymous

I cannot tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your beloved daughter, niece and cousin. Please know there are many of us doing what we can to make our society safer for all our Stephanies.

My heart goes out to your entire family, especially Ms. Passa. If you could pass along my best wishes to her, I would be much obliged.

Please feel free to contact me further at if there is anything I can do, including interviewing you for another post or article.

Anonymous said...

"The risk factors associated with gun violence are well known."


So leave it up to Ms. Akerman to misrepresent them. She'll tell you exactly what she thinks you should hear, and censor out the rest.

This person misrepresents data so hard that she should have her MSc. revoked. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

If Ms. Akerman cared about violence, not just violence involving firearms, she'd be blogging about mental illness and social justice.

Any murder is horrible and tragic. To blame the implement instead of the murderer is a sign of mental dysfunction. These horrible things that people do in our society come from problems that aren't caused by owning types of objects. 2.4% of all victims of violence involved firearms. Does Bev not care about the rest?

Put your effort into resolving the roots of violence and you'll save lives. Focus your efforts on what violent offenders use to hurt people, and you'll still have violent offenders running around hurting people.

Anonymous said...

One pull of the trigger: from "victim" to "survivor".

Seventy five news reel videos of real people using real firearms to save their lives and the lives of others.

Oh look, here's an 82-year old who saved her own life with a gun:

Here's a 57 year-old woman who shot and killed an attacker while on 911 with the operator:

The flip side of Akerman's ideology is that she is committed to ensuring disarmed victims.

Unknown said...

Just a trigger pull away, eh Bev? I could stab my wife while making dinner. I could swerve my car into a pedestrian. I could shove someone off of a balcony. I could club someone dead with a wrench.

But I don't do any of these things, the same way I choose not to shoot anyone. That is because I, like the vast majority of Canadians, am a good and honest citizen who wishes no ill will on anyone. Beverly, you have once again completely missed the point: the tool used to commit violence is immaterial.

Timothy McVeigh murdered 160 people with a truck and some fertilizer. People with a predisposition for crime and violence will still hurt and kill others. Maybe targeting these people is a better idea than painting the rest of Canada's 3 million legal gun owners with the same brush.

Food for thought: according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, just 1.6% of all homicides between 2003 and 2008 were committed with a gun that was "known to have been registered at one time" (Google it). That includes legal guns stolen and used by criminals. Your argument that legal firearms owners are the problem simply doesn't carry any weight, and leaves one wondering what you feel about the other 98.4% of homicide victims. Shall we move on to banning kitchen knives, baseball bats, and hands?

Anonymous said...


That's exactly what they are doing in UK. They banned most firearms in 1998 and gun crime has since doubled. Violence on the whole is getting out of control there and police are doing random searches of 16-25 year-olds who step off buses in Nottingham, for knives. These searches are performed with police dogs, metal detectors, and full-body scanners.

UK is quickly turning into a police state where police are expected to deter spiraling violence which stringent legislation and a disarmed population could not.

How come it wasn't like that 20 years ago in UK, when everyone was armed? Could violence have little to do with firearms ownership?

Anonymous said...

Blog post is way off base because the registry does nothing to keep firearms out of the hands of these so called "law-abiding turned law-breaking" individuals.

What Beverly is really saying is that we have to keep wasting money on the registry so that it looks like something is being done. If it saves just one life, it's worth it... or in this case "even if it doesn't save any lives, at least it keeps a few people in Miramichi employed".

More lives could be saved if these CFC employees at Miramichi randomly called Canada's 15 million women and asked them if they are in danger or feeling threatened.

M Foreman said...

Ms Akerman,
I have been a police officer in Canada for 14 years. I commend you on how dedicated you are to your cause. Violence against women and children and violence in general is something I have seen too much of in my career.
Unfortunately you are focusing your energy in the wrong direction. We need to get to the root of the violence and try to change things from there. Banning guns will do as much to stop violence against women as pissing in a volcano will stop an eruption. Your demonizing of law-abiding gun owners is disturbing. Maybe you should walk a mile in their shoes. Try recreational shooting. I have taught quite-a-few "gun scared" people how to shoot and they loved it. Your blogs also reek of man-hating sentiment and make you sound petty.
Also, on another of your blogs you refered to the 3 Mounties killed in Meyerthorpe. There were actually 4 Mounties killed there. When you exploit the deaths of my brother and sister police officers to further your cause at least get the facts right.
I am sorry to see your enthusiasm wasted on such a misguided objective.

Cst Mark Foreman

Anonymous said...

From the mother of Stephanie Hoddinott. Humans are unpredictable.. until humans become humane.. guns should be left at shooting ranges... you have no respect for the dead...these people are innocent... they are our youtube man... I'll spell this slowly for you.. we are in CANADA... Crooked cop.... your bad should be taken away from you.. dick.... where I come from.. the Midland Police Department wants to sign a petition to ban handguns... you're not a brother piss off...

Anonymous said...

mr crooked cop.. your badge...! it's mine...

Anonymous said...

Using your logic you are one trick away from becoming a prostitute!