Dear Canada,

This week the United States Senate failed to pass legislation which would have required background checks for various and sundry dubious characters to acquire weapons which fire more that 20 bullets per second including the kind who shot 49 innocent people in Orlando in a nightclub in early June because he had been investigated as a possible terrorist.

Needless to say, this type of rifle is not for the purpose of shooting a rabbit for dinner. The Observer’s Editor noticed my normal rage online, and asked if I might like to vent in the form of an open letter to our more enlightened neighbors in the North. So-here goes. I am an American and I do understand what the Second Amendment is in our Constitution. For Canadians, the short version is, our forefathers wanted the people to be able to defend themselves against a government that might get out of hand, or another invasion of Brits with their own muskets.

Their intention however, couldn’t have been, sadly, to arm people with assault weapons. That’s the very short version. Nor do I think our forefathers intended people to have arsenals in their homes. They would be horrified to know more women are killed by their abusive boyfriends shooting them in the home with handguns, than not, and an incredible number of children shoot either their parent or a sibling or a friend in this country on a weekly basis.

People who own guns here are incredibly careless as far as I can see. The statistic, 12,942 deaths in 2015 from suicide, accidents and murder. That’s a lot of dead people. Approximately 6,700 soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2002 until now (which is terrible)—as compared to one 1 year from guns in America! So really who really are the terrorists in America?

In 2004 there was a ban on assault weapons in place, and our very wise (ass) President Bush and his sidekick Dickie Cheney let that lapse-because they were busy perpetuating lies about being in Iraq and propping up the economy with the “war” after 9/11 against the people who didn’t do it.

They also negotiated the withdrawal of troops from Iraq by 2011, so, whoever was President then could take the blame, especially if he was black.

Thus ISIS as a group was born in the chaos which ensued, as it is my understanding the Iraqi Parliament refused to allow any extension of American troops in the country—even though the military felt it would have been wiser to stay— but I digress. As much as the Republicans wants to blame the black guy it’s just not his fault.

So, here in this country, we are experiencing a fungus of stupidity.

And the central spore is an organization called the National Rifle Association and they use the Second Amendment and Fox News to spread and pump fear into American hearts, telling them Muslims are around the corner, ready to invade their homes.

The NRA has deep pockets-because manufacturing guns for hunting and killing is big business. But they do more than that. They PAY to make sure statistics cannot be obtained- doing their best to obstruct research and and to make sure there are no media sound bites against them. Then of course, they contribute money to our lawmakers and pay them to literally to vote down any legislation which would control background checks on who purchases assault rifles which is what happened last night.

When these lawmakers are up for reelection, their coffers will be much more full than their opponents. Our Congress is apparently owned by the NRA. More than once it has been said- “Congress is in the ‘grip’ of the NRA.”

It is the shame of America.

It is a blight in what we use to call democracy.

A rifle association-controls what our legislators do. They are our terrorists. And they are allowing our enemies to be armed now. More people are dying from guns in America than 9/11, and the Iraq war and Afghanistan combined often in one year. I would called that Congressional/NRA terrorism.

I am of the generation when Richard Nixon had college students shot by our military on a college campus in Ohio. We truly believed it was possible to change the government and with the help of the media, we did. Not so now.

The American people have polled against assault weapons and and are more than willing to submit to some kind of checks for the mentally ill, and people at least on terrorist lists. Recent votes at state and local levels on checks for such measures where verbal “ayes” and “nays” were filmed where audio sound bites overwhelmingly proved the majority ruled in favor of passage—the chair stated in favor of the nays anyway, as if he had a gun held at his temple and in fact he kinda did. The mind boggles. This is the stuff plays on late night comedy as satire?

My question is: who in America will and can step to the plate to stop it?

Changing one word in the American Constitution is almost impossible. I have looked into it. It is a state by state process. Every state must have a referendum. An office with people working for the cause. It takes money. It takes more money than the NRA. Anyone who headed it up would likely end up with a terrible gunshot wound.

The real insanity comes when long time Senators and Congressmen clearly state “there is no proof” gun control works. Like the country of Australia and their example is a total myth. And their people are complete asses, as are the English and the Canadians. Who live is peace. And they are alive. With no mass shootings. Imagine that.

I’ve been reading tweets- my favorite: “Why as taxpayers should we continue to pay for metal detectors in the Senate Sessions?” I really agree with that one now. Because I really don’t think there’s any proof they work. Let them live in fear. “Will it take them losing a few of their own to change this?” Maybe that’s what it will take.

To quote a radio show host addressing Congressional Leaders at an event after Orlando: “you people make $200,000 a year to make rules and govern—, I would like to have a moment of silence for you.”

Their faces hung like shameful dogs as he spoke to them. Yet they still laugh all the way to the blood bank as they uphold their promises with their votes to put an assault rifle into the hands of a home grown insane person who can go anywhere he or she wants in this country and pick off men, women and children like they are ants.

The vote this week was 7 Senators short of passing with 53 for and 47 against needing a 60-40 majority—but when the next massacre happens, 47 Senators ( mostly Republican voting party politics) will have the blood on their hands-and so will the NRA. And unfortunately the question is, not if, but when? And where? Be grateful to be in Canada. We have terrorists here and they are not ISIS. Help us, if you can.

-Enraged in NYC

Ann Price

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As a Canadian, I am of the opinion that gun control works. In Canada, single shot rifles and shotguns are legal for hunting. But there is a rigorous process to get through before owning one (background checks, acquisition license, hunter's safety course, hunting licence, etc.). Handguns are considered to be restricted weapons and in almost all cases are not available to the general public. But even with these safeguards in place, there is no guarantee that there won't be a few crazies out there that will get their hands on guns and cause mayhem.

The ownership and use of guns in everyday life is very much a cultural thing, rooted in the violent history of America. I'm afraid that will be impossible to change. But good luck to you.

20 bullets per second?? Maybe my Canadian mind is behind the times, but that seems extreme. Couldn't they set the background check level somewhere less than that ... like just above musket where reloading is a couple minute process?

If a few children on a playground were hitting other children with sticks, as per NRA's philosophy, this could be resolved by providing sticks to all the children.