I am back home from my mom's:  Mission Hide All the Gifts accomplished.

However, I have returned home to discover to sick little girls with cold and fever.

Thus, I find myself in no condition to blog or Ponder today, and instead of making my well intentioned spouse write out "I will not walk the children in the rain and have them eat lunch in wet clothes, then walk back home again" 100 times:  I demanded asked very sweetly for him to write a post about the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., from a law enforcement perspective.

This week I really want to ponder: Overcoming Loss

How do you do it? Have you done it? Do you have any advice for others?

 I am sorry Brenda, I am not sure how well he stayed on topic....if you want him to write any lines, just let me know.

My wife asked me to write a post relating to the recent shooting in Connecticut, and the subsequent issues that have come up as a result from my perspective as a police officer.  

Let me start with a little disclaimer; guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  Despite the semantics one could argue on that, it is a fact.  A firearm does not act on its own.  It requires a conscious act to implement.  It is merely the means.  In my line of work, if the gun goes off and you really didn’t mean to do it, it is termed an ‘unintentional discharge’.  Not accidental.  Finger had to be on the trigger for it to go off.  

With that said, I cannot adequately express the sorrow I feel for what happened to those children, teachers, families and community of Newtown.  

I am also impressed with the open, if not well controlled, emotion of President Obama when he addressed your nation.  That, my friends is a human being, not a politician and it is amazing to see.  Perhaps America should really look at the two term maximum thing.  I know you could get a dud, but the good ones are never in long enough.  Just sayin.

Responding as a father to that tragedy I am grief stricken and would have gladly laid down my life to protect those victims.  As a police officer; and I know I will echo the sentiment of those who responded, ‘LET ME IN THERE!’  I would gladly have been first in and pressing down on that (input your favourite descriptor of that monster here).   I am also a Christian and hold life dear, but don’t get me wrong, I would gladly have put him down if necessary.  But the more painful thing for him would to have been captured alive and have to live with what he had done.  He took the easy way out…..or maybe he didn’t, because he just accelerated the meeting with his maker and the judgment that would follow.

 With that said, now comes the aftermath.  Who, what and especially how or why, did this happen.  How could we have prevented it or seen it coming?  I would like to say that there is an easy explanation, but the reality is there is not and never will be.  Only that person knows the reason and he took it with him.   Could we have seen it coming?  Only time will tell.

The first, but not necessarily the most important issue, that has arisen is ‘gun control’.  I live in a country (Canada) that has pretty tight controls.  One has to take a federally mandated course before being able to apply for a license.  After that, you can apply for a possess only or possess acquire.  The former for those with firearms (say passed down in the family) but who don’t have the desire to buy any more.  The latter is for those who like to buy and expand their arsenal.   After that there are various permits for transporting and carrying.  Storage at home has strict rules and regulations that have to be followed, or you WILL lose those firearms and face criminal charges.

 As well, the rules are federally mandated.  Therefore it does not matter where in our country you live. The rules are the same for everyone. 
(Rory: what Left Brain is saying is that in Canada, no one can walk around carrying a gun without being granted special permission.   Permission that is rarely granted.  Even police officers; his gun does not come home with him.   And you cannot keep it in your beside drawer – it has to be in appropriate locked storage, with the ammunition separately contained. ) 

Not sure if my friends to the south are aware, but in the past decade, our former Liberal government implemented a long gun registry.  Why, I have no idea, but they said it would lower gun crime and give the police a tool to use in fighting crime.  I can tell you as a law enforcement officer it did nothing to help me in preventing any gun related crime.  It only told us who had ‘registered firearms’ in their homes.  At no time did any of the gang or crime related residences we entered with warrants to seize firearms illegally obtained, have any ‘registered’ long guns.  They were all stolen handguns or shotguns.

The poor honest owners who paid ridiculous fees for a system that did nothing for anyone.  Gladly our new government is scrapping it.  Bravo.  

Our gun crimes are not as prolific as those to the south.  It does happen, and it is getting more frequent, but they are getting them illegally and it is much harder here.  Not as many people have them in their homes.

As for my friends to the south, I think there does need to be tighter controls and a VERY UNIFORM structure regarding rules and regulations nationwide.  And I believe that in NO country is there a need for assault rifles, or rifles with magazines that hold more than 5 rounds.  Those are for military and police use.  No need for a civilian to have them.  I think your founding forefathers had something different in mind when they said you had the ‘right to bear arms’.  As well, let’s look at the context of that and when it was implemented.  That was a time when it WAS dangerous for you to travel and leave your home.  Not so much now I suppose.

I don’t believe in the theory that if everyone was armed then the prospect of mutual destruction is enough to deter the crime.  I know, I know, the cold war thing with the US and Russia.  Again; different context.

Now let’s get back to the shooting.  I know that with stricter gun controls, the person’s mother would not have had the firearms and ammunition that was available to him.  Could he have obtained them?  Of course, but it would now depend on how truly motivated he was and whether or not he would have had the means to illegally obtain those firearms.  I’m sure not everyone has a criminal contact that happens to run illegal guns.  HHmmmmmmm.

I do think that there may have been another issue at play here but that will have to be revealed in the aftermath of the oncoming investigation.  Was there a mental health issue, and to what degree?  Who knows?  We all think that he must have been out of his mind when he committed that horrible act.  Or was he?  Was Bundy?   Dahmer?  Gacey?  Closer to home; Bernardo and Homolka?

There was something wrong with all of them but they made conscious choices and knew what they were doing.  They gave in to the monster inside.  Will that be the same with this person?  Or will we learn something else.  Again, only time will tell.

If it was a mental health issue, I can tell you that in my line of work we now deal with a great deal of sick people.  Anything from depression to schizophrenia.  It can be scary because I and most of my brothers and sisters are not equipped to deal with such issues.  And I also know that our health care system in Canada, despite being a great if not mildly flawed one, is lacking in this department.  And from the sounds of some of the recent posts coming out of the U.S., it is not an uncommon thing.  We need broader solutions to mental health issues.  I personally think it is the new cancer and we need research and resources to help those families dealing with the problem. 

In conclusion, and I hope I haven’t confused anyone as I ramble, I don’t think we can prevent every horrible act that a human is capable of dreaming up.  We can make it harder but we will never be able to completely prevent it.   That is a fact; and it sucks.  But we still need to look deep inside as a species and wonder why?  I don’t know any serial killer lions out there, do you?

 What are we doing to our own that seems to be expanding this problem?  I am not talking just locally (North America), I am talking globally.  We DO need to look at it and see if we could have prevented it.  But let’s be careful.  Always remember, the person who did it actually pulled the trigger.  Not his mother, or brother, or sister or cousin or neighbor or teacher or doctor or congressman or president.

Thanks for reading.

Left Brain.