column was published in the
April 28, 1999)
Shootings are a symptom
By Leo Knight
many who watched the gripping images, broadcast live in our
living rooms, of the shootings in Littleton, Colorado, little
sense could be made of it all.
too many will adopt an ostrich attitude and say it couldn't
a New York minute.
with the inevitable calls for gun control emanating from within
the U.S. and around the world, it's too easy for us in Canada,
with our strict gun controls, to say it's an American problem.
While it's true that guns are easily available in most of the
United States, it is simply not true to suggest stronger gun
control laws make our children safe.
the first place, according to news reports, the guns used in the
Columbine school shootings were unregistered, illegal firearms.
In other words they were already the subject of gun control.
our considerably stricter gun laws in Canada, it is as easy to
get an illegal firearm in Lynn Valley as it is in Littleton,
a North Vancouver man was shot three times at point blank range
in front of a couple of hundred horrified witnesses at an
Esplanade cinema, it wasn't with a registered, legal handgun. In
fact, in virtually all crimes committed with firearms in our
fair city, none are with legal weapons.
the obvious visceral reaction to horrifying crimes is to call
for the eradication of all guns. A noble thought, but not
are an estimated 220 million guns in circulation in North
America. If the ownership of all guns was outlawed completely,
it would take decades, at least, to get all the guns off the
streets. With the gun lobby groups remaining as active as they
are, the possibility of getting any such legislation in Canada,
let alone in our giant, gun-loving neighbour to the south, is
remote indeed at any time in the foreseeable future.
the end of the day, the lunatics who choose to take out their
anger on innocents would easily find other ways to wreak their
Britain, for example, another deranged individual ran amok in a
small town elementary school in sleepy little Dunblane,
kindergarten kids and a teacher were gunned down in 1996. The
Blair government reacted by bringing stricter gun controls to a
country with already stringent laws.
last week another collection of looney-tunes set off a nail bomb
in a crowed open-air street market in Brixton, a racially
divided area of south London.
week later, almost to the hour, the same group claimed
responsibility for a similar bombing, this time in Brick Lane in
the heart of London's east end, an area populated heavily by
Pakistanis and others from the south Asian subcontinent.
Saturdays, two bombs, both created with little more than garden
chemicals and nails, material easily available at any Revy or
Home Depot retailer. Forty five people injured. Do we now outlaw
what is the difference between the so-called "Trench Coat
Mafia" from Littleton, Colorado, and "Combat 18"
the racist blockheads who claimed responsibility for the London
bombings? Very little, I suspect, barring their method of
delivering death and destruction.
a day of the Littleton shootings, reports began to surface in
various newsrooms around Vancouver of a similar thing in a
Surrey high school.
17-year-old "loner," banned from using school
computers because of a fondness for neo-Nazi Web sites was
threatening his teacher and other students, "jocks"
who shunned him.
youth was kept in school while he "underwent counselling."
the wake of the Colorado massacre, the teen's principal decided
he should finish out the school year studying from home. Just in
of the youths who perpetrated the horrors in Littleton had also
to his probation officer's report, he "appeared to enjoy
his anger management course." No doubt he was doing well,
posting his hate messages and threats on the Internet on the
same day as he successfully completed his counselling.
schoolyards today are hotbeds of violence and potential mayhem.
What used to be settled with fists is now just as likely to draw
a knife or a gun in response.
Victoria, the trial of the killers of Reena Virk is horrifying
watchers with details of unrepentant violence and racism.
same mindset that caused those social misfits to crush cigarette
butts out in her face and kick her unmercifully before throwing
her tortured, half-naked body into the murky water under the
Craigflower bridge, is as explosive and dangerous as anything
demonstrated by "the Trench Coat Mafia."
today are inundated with messages of violence and hatred in
their music, electronic games and movies. Far too often they are
left to their own devices to deal with the troubles they incur.
unfortunately, society gives them the message they are not
responsible for their actions.
is only when they do something completely outrageous does
society take notice of their extreme anti-social behaviour.
social workers tell us that kids as young as 14 should be
allowed to make their own "lifestyle choices." Then
they ensure appropriate legislation exists to guarantee kids
rights over parental authority.
the same week as the Colorado massacre, the B.C. Supreme Court
took a small, first step in reversing the dangerous trend, by
awarding civil damages of $63,000 to Paul Glover, a victim of a
senseless, brutal attack by two teens in 1993.
criminal courts did nothing to those thugs, so for the first
time, civil redress was sought and won.
must be made responsible for their actions. Parents must
adequately interact with their children's lives to ensure the
appropriate life lessons are learned. And government should give
parents the authority to do their job.
do otherwise will virtually guarantee a repeat of the Littleton
horrors. Likely in a neighbourhood near you.
my March 17 column, "Bet on casino truth surfacing," I
mentioned a successful casino licence bid was made by Dimitrios
Pilarinos, carpenter, and Steve Ng, pub owner.
in the column I mentioned that Tony Ricci was Mr. Ng's business
partner. Mr. Ricci advises that he is not a partner with Mr. Ng
in the pub but, rather, Mr. Ricci manages the Marble Arch, a pub
owned by Mr. Ng. They have been associated in other business
dealings do not amount to a formal partnership.
regret any embarrassment or inconvenience that may have arisen
from my description of them as partners.