By CAROL MATROO Sunday, April 26 2009
Women can play a greater role in reducing the presence of guns which, in many cases, can be turned against them in cases of domestic violence.
President of the Coalition of Gun Control in Canada, Professor Wendy Cukier, who is also Associate Dean of Academics at Ryerson University, has suggested that mothers can be more attentive to their young sons.
“When you have a teenager coming home with expensive clothes and limitless amounts of money, you need to be asking some questions,” she told Sunday Newsday in a recent interview. Cukier was invited by the Women’s Institute For Alternative Development (WINAD) to speak at their regional conference of Women Talking With Women: Crime and Violence in the Caribbean, which took place during the week of the Fifth Summit of the Americas.
“I don’t know how influential mothers are here in Trinidad and Tobago, but in certain communities mothers do have a lot of influence over their kids. Women can also become more attentive to the problem and every one of those young men have a mother and father somewhere. I think there are opportunities to become more vigilant and ask questions earlier,” Cukier said. She also suggested that young women who are in the roles of friends or girlfriends have a choice – they could either reinforce gun carrying behaviour in young men by encouraging the thinking that it is “cool” or macho, or they can resist it.
Cukier said the focus of the conference was to raise awareness of risks associated with guns.
“I think it’s important to make sure that people have an understanding of the broad context of gun violence, she said. “Domestic violence is one important piece of it and we have to be concerned about it, but women can also play a role in making sure that appropriate strategies are put in place to deal with other kinds of gun violence and to say enough is enough.”
She said from past experiences, the results have been encouraging, not just in terms of the approach in dealing with issues related to gun violence, but also the impact that women could have when they organised and decided to effect political change.
Cukier said she was also aware that the police preferred not to get involved in domestic violence issues.
“The police would get calls on domestic violence situations and they’d know the guy. He’d be their buddy from the beer hall and in many cases, especially in small communities, domestic violence was treated as a private matter. That’s changed in Canada. There were similar problems 20 years ago, but it’s changed and if it changed in Canada, there’s no reason why it can’t change here,” she said.
Cukier said in Canada, women’s groups worked in partnership with the police and victims and played an important role in moving the agenda forward on gun control generally, but particularly in the context of domestic violence.
She added that many countries were now building the infrastructure for women to have a place of refuge and the supports that were required were just as important as making sure that the police started to take action against violence. Cukier said it was time to start looking at the root of where guns were coming from into TT.
“Looking at the flow of guns themselves does have an impact because guns don’t cause violence, but they increase the lethality of violence. We have to focus attention on the guns, where are the guns coming from, who needs to be held accountable.
“It shouldn’t be the responsibility of Trinidad or Canada to keep the guns from coming in on their own. Most of the guns are coming from the United States and the United States should be taking more responsibility for controlling the guns within its borders. That’s a huge problem for your country as well as mine,” she said.
Cukier said while a World Bank study had focused on Jamaica, Honduras, Haiti and Colombia as sources for guns, she said that research they had done suggested that those may be trans-shipment points while, in fact, many of them originated in the US. “The reality is that in the US there are almost as many guns as people and there are few effective controls. So, it’s probably true that guns are coming from Latin America, but the US has almost a third of all the guns in the world and it would be astonishing if a good portion of your guns weren’t coming from there.
“But again, if you’re not focusing on tracing the guns, if you’re not focusing on trying to find the guns, if you’re overlooking certain kinds of crime because there are certain inconsistencies, then you wouldn’t be able to answer the question,” she said.
She said there was no doubt that gun violence in this country had increased dramatically in the last 13 years. In 1995 there were 123 murders in TT, 45 of which were committed with guns; in 2005, there were 325 murders with 233 carried out with guns; in 2008, there were 545 murders with 90 percent of them carried out with guns, or about 490.
“If that’s true, and it looks to be that way, your gun murders have increased ten times since 1995 and that’s astonishing. That’s ten times the rate of gun murders in the US and 50 times the gun murder rate in Canada.
“My conclusion would be that while the country’s gotten wealthier, probably the disparity between rich and poor has increased and probably the drug problem has increased as well,” Cukier said.
Cukier said since she has been working on gun control in Canada, murders of women with guns have declined by 66 percent while murders with fists and knives have declined by ten percent. This, she said, suggested that the focus on guns has had a real impact because while it did not stop violence, women were more likely to be killed if there were guns around.
“Nobody is naive enough to think if you banned guns tomorrow violence would disappear. You need a justice system that responds appropriately, support from the police – enforcement and justice that’s fair and equitable.
“There is a saying that what gets measured gets done and if you’re not tracking what’s happening with the guns, not tracking where the guns are coming from, not tracking how many women are being threatened by guns, how many people are being killed by guns, there’s not much that can be done,” she said.
Cukier also noted that the fixation on guns by boys said something about the culture and processes of socialisation, adding that it was more in the culture than the psyche.
“Take Great Britain, they had 20 handgun murders last year. Great Britain has 60 million people. They beat the crap out of each other, but guns don’t play the same role in their culture. I think we are shaped by the export of American culture which does have guns as its centre. How many action movies can you think of where there aren’t guns? Those things are very subtle but, I think they play a big role.
“Young men’s notions of masculinity and what it means to be a man tend to be associated with dominance and aggression and guns,” Cukier said.
As your own individual person, it is up to you to not blindly accept what you are being told. It is in your best interests to check up on these things.
As a gesture of goodwill from a male who helps teach women self-defense that includes firearms as part of that strategy?
I provide you the following links:
Why am I doing this for you? I, as a male, understand and treasure the valuable role women play in life. You create life. You nuture that life you have created. Without you, human beings wouldn’t exist.
Yes. It’s a biological function and a necessary one. That special role you play must be protected. By responsible, decent and moral legislators as well as by the moral and responsible citizens of your country.
You are also your own person with individual inalienable rights. Rights such as life, liberty and security of the person.
Those inalienable rights are ones that cannot and must not be handed over to any individual, entity or government. The Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States have ruled that government agencies (police) are not the guarantors of your safety and well-being.
That is an individual responsibility and only you as that individual can make the intimate personal decision as to how and by what means you guarantee your safety, and by virtue of your role as mother and caregiver to your children, the safety, lives and liberty of your children.
Wendy Cukier is working to influence your government to take away that inalienable right and the tools.
You, as women and human beings, do have a say. You do have a powerful voice.
Take a moment and reflect that a woman is advocating that you be prevented from the responsible use and ownership of a tool.
That woman is advocating that the further predation and victimization is perpetuated against you. She is telling your legislators that you are lesser than others.
You have to ask yourself …”What kind of a woman wants other women to continue to be harmed by others.” “Others” applies equally to both men and women. In North America, same-sex relationships are also subject to acts of violence against the other partner.
It IS NOT a man vs. woman issue. Ms. Cukier wants you to think that and appeal to your emotions. She wants to foment dissent and division between men and women. It IS NOT a gender issue. It IS a people problem. Focusing laws and resources to deal with that problem is much harder. Ms. Cukier is advocating the “easy way out” and the misdirection of your island resources towards a proven non-solution such as that of the UK, Australia and Canada.
You have to take a moment and ask this question. “Who from outside our country will be getting paid from our money to bring this upon us?” Well. A lot of people get paid money for doing work. Gun Control is a billion dollar industry. It is nice that Ms. Cukier can fly to your country and then just as quickly fly away. Flying is rather expensive. I would fly more to visit nice places, but my wages don’t allow me that luxury and no one is footing that tab for me.
The gun control and victim “industries” go hand in hand. They allow for more victims and cause good money to disappear into wasteful tax “blackholes”.
I am sure you are familiar with the saying “follow the money”.
I have a picture that I won’t put up. It is of the disturbingly grievous wounds a woman received because she was unable to defend herself from an attack by multiple attackers. An attack that was empowered by laws of a thuggish tyrant who’s actions have, in recent history, been along racial lines. Policies that are racially motivated. Yet, a number of the victims have been of his own race. A once prosperous and thriving country where all races benefitted. A nation where the tyrant was empowered and allowed to gain power because of the outside interference of others with a “well-meaning” but selfish and greedy ideological agenda.
Frankly? A firearm in her possession would probably have dissuaded her attackers and protected her from becoming a victim and living with both her wounds and the painful memories associated with that attack. When a cowardly attacker knows that there is a signifigant likelyhood that a potential victim can in turn present deadly force to repel an attack? They will bypass that person and look for a “safer” target. Criminals in North America have admitted as much.
Criminal acts DO NOT know borders. They are a global problem. We have it North America as you have it in Trinidad and Tobago.
When criminals are deterred? Their “empowerment” is removed. Gun control empowers criminals. Criminality has been alluded to being a mental disease. Empowering by emplacing gun control is equally a mental-illness. By empowering criminals by enacting gun control legislation against the decent and moral could equally be inferred as being complicit in each and every act of violence or assault perpetrated on an innocent person thereafter.
Ask your legislators if they want to accept the liability from that complicity if they enact more gun control and remove your right to your life, safety and personal well-being. Ask them if they can conciously accept the responsibility for each and every death or injury thereafter that could have been prevented by the individual that is a victim? A person of good conscience will recognize the individual rights and put a trust in the decency of character that most people possess. They will recognize that a law on paper will not influence the indecent and criminal.
Faulty emotion, the perpetrating of lies and greed brought about faulty gun control laws in Canada. Ms. Cukier won’t tell you her role in that. Her role has been shown to be disingenuous and deceitful to many in Canada, including the current government, who are trying to bring about a fix to the bad law and are being hampered by Ms. Cukier.
Please go to the above links and read for yourselves. It’s all I can ask you to do.
Then go talk to your legislator’s mothers and get their help for all women of your islands.
Wendy Cukier is a foreigner to your country. Why should a foreign woman influence what happens to your lives? She doesn’t reside there. What happens to you in your country is moot to her as long as she helps to play “God” with your lives. Your legislators must listen to what you want. Not a foreigner.
Yes. I am a foreigner as well. The difference is I care what happens to you, your basic right to life and the means to protect it, your domestic self-determination/independance and collective well-being. I leave the final choice to you as to what you will do. Informed and thoughtful decisions are better than hasty and emotional decisions when you have access to other information.
Responsible firearms ownership and use is a good thing in the hands of decent and moral characters.
BTW…this little gem?
“…Cukier said she was also aware that the police preferred not to get involved in domestic violence issues.
“The police would get calls on domestic violence situations and they’d know the guy. He’d be their buddy from the beer hall and in many cases, especially in small communities, domestic violence was treated as a private matter. That’s changed in Canada. There were similar problems 20 years ago, but it’s changed and if it changed in Canada, there’s no reason why it can’t change here,” she said. …”
That “gem” is a lie if you try to equate gun control with domestic violence reduction. The policies changed so that someone was removed from the home to diffuse the situation. Ms. Cukier’s comments there are mixed in to imply and influence you that gun control played any part.
I spent some time as a policeman in Canada. I went to domestics before the policies changed. Ignoring the problem because it was a buddy wasn’t the issue. It was a lack of policy and antiquated ideas that prevented any meaningful intervention. Ms. Cukier is lying to you. It goes to her “anti-male” mantra and wants you to think that “gun control” is “male control”.
Acts of violence can use whatever item is at hand as a weapon against another person.
It is a people problem. Controlling an inanimate object doesn’t work. Controlling one gender in society doesn’t work either. Solutions have to found together as a society instead of by the divisive means of Ms. Cukier and her associates.
If you find yourself unsure of my words? Trust your instincts. Instincts have kept my family safe in the past and has kept me safe and alive while doing a job.
Something for you to read here as well. Written by a doctor.
I am flabberghasted that you have been duped by Wendy Cukier into printing an article full of deceitful lies, and false facts such as “britain had only 20 handgun homicides last year”. I would like to point you to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne…every-day.html which would show a rather large contradiction. I would shy away from printing anything that Ms.Cukier prints or says as it is full of biased lies and misrepresented facts begotten from thin air. None of her publications would stand up to peer reviewed critiques or be published in any respectable scientific journal. As a man of science, medicine and fact, I am horrified that our Canadian image may be tarnished by her commentaries.
Dr.Oswaldo C. Ramirez B.Sc.M.D.CCFP
Chief of Emergency – Stevenson Memorial Hospital
Alliston, Ontario. Canada
I’d like to write more to you right now. However, I am due on the range to help teach women who have made an independant and responsible decision towards their personal safety by choosing to own and lawfully carry a firearm for their personal protection. Women who have decided to learn how to safely use a handgun as part of their personal safety decision.
Women who are independant and responsible towards themselves and fellow citizens without the intrusive interference of mislead legislators.