A better use for December 6

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]did something “Politically Incorrect” on December 6th, and I’m glad. Early that afternoon, I sent my son in Finland, his Finnish-speaking brother in Canada, two professors in Finland with whom I worked when Editor of Ecoforestry, and three others, an Independence Day message.

It never occurred to me that it was Marc Lepine Day in the approximate sense that October 5 is Guy Fawkes day in the UK… until the 5PM CBC Radio News came on, with a lead-story “commemorating the Montreal Massacre … demanding that the Long Gun Registry be kept.” In perspective,“Marc Lepine day” was not worth lead story status, 22 years after the event; and the Long Gun Registry should fairly be described as over-reaction and if not scrapped, at least reformed to restore a presumption of innocence. It may have been “Politically Incorrect” to forget Lepine’s rampage and remember Finnish Independence Day—but methinks it was the right thing to do.

That 1989 “Montreal Massacre” is the least deadly event this writer has seen called ‘massacre’: The second smallest number of deaths was at the Wounded Knee Massacre. Fourteen died at the Ecole Polytechnique: Larger numbers of people have been killed in several car bomb, suicide bomb, and public transit bombings during the 22 years since. These events have not been called massacres. 146 died at Wounded Knee.

Memorable massacres usually involve thousands to hundreds of thousands dying: The Katyn Forest, Srebernize [Srebrenica], Rwanda, and Assyria in the time of Timurlane and again in the early 20th Century. (Ironically, the ancient Assyrians, when they conquered, are reported to have massacred their enemies and piled up hundreds of severed heads to intimidate the survivors, though no statistical specifics got through to our time.)

The Nazi Holocaust stands out among those for which we have some approximate count of the victims: Some six million Jews and no small number of Christians and “untermenschen,” died in a drawn-out, deliberate mass murder. My Finnish Independence Day message named one of the Christians, Dietrich Bonhöffer, who went back to Germany from a safe professorship in the US to stand, and eventually die, in solidarity with the Confessing [Lutheran] Church.

The distinctives of the Marc-Lepine “massacre” were that he killed women and ranted against Feminism. If his act is labelled more drastically than others, equally deliberate[1] and involving more deaths, that label represents an implicit condemnation of his act as horrible for reasons other than just the number who died. There are two obvious candidates for “reasons”: The notion that women’s lives deserve more protection than men’s[2]; and the notion that Feminism, not the works of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Moses, Muhammad, or the Buddha, is sacred.

The special protection of women began in a context where men expected to be the adventurers and risk-takers and women expected to stay home and nurture babies, children, the sick,and the very old. When women had precedence in the loading of lifeboats and the custody of children, as part of a deliberately sheltered and restricted life scope; and men had precedence in higher education and the professions, it resembled a balance. When women have precedence in all four, it more resembles a caste system, with men beneath women. The “long gun registry” came into existence more or less along with the caste system.

The “registry” is more than the word implies. The idea that the police should know whether one has hunting arms, and how many, is something one might have reservations about to the extent that the police represent other values; but to which most Canadian men would consent. The practice, however, is to require all gun owners to apply every five years for continued permission to keep their guns. What’s more, every cohabiting male applicant must get the approval of the woman living with him, in order to receive continued permission[3]. It’s a real incentive to avoid manipulative and vindictive women, and to some extent, to avoid doing anything “Politically Incorrect”: It’s a chill-law.

If the rules changed to allow the noncriminal, non-crazy majority, lifetime permission to keep guns (or perhaps, allow non-criminal rural citizens that lifetime permission and be slightly more restrictive of urban residents); that would be a good step toward the presumption of innocence. A criminal conviction could still over-rule the “usual procedures”; the problem currently is that the usual procedures treat well-behaved non-criminals as one would expect criminals and the unstable to be treated. (Whether that “good step” is better or worse than the complete elimination of registration, is a separate question and too extensive to address here.)

As to how many people’s lives the “Registry” saves per year, let’s remember that statistics are never any better than the data collection and coding practices that underlie them. One wonders how a life comes to be deemed to be saved by the Gun Registry; and two concerns arise:

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  • that many times, the database informing police of a 0.1%-10% risk of demise, is translated into 100% of a life “saved” by some tendentious supporter of the five year renewal rule;
  • that police and-or bureaucrats may well have a vested interest in the jobs and funding involved.

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Guns are for biathlon, hunting, and sadly, sometimes for policing and war. Vanishingly few men approve shooting strangers because of their demographic category—and lately, there is a heavier visible threat to men than to women. Vis-a-vis Marc Lepine, we might compare the recent Swedish SCUM video depicting the murder of a man, licking blood from his bullet wounds, and exhorting viewers to do likewise [4]. Valerie Solanas, whose Society for Cutting Up Men Manifesto is the ostensible the inspiration for the videos, did attempt the murder of artist Andy Warhol and one other man; her followers urge viewers to go kill men and revel in their blood[5]. As of today, it is more than merely likely that men are more at risk from the Solanas legacy than women are from Lepine’s.

The excessive attention given by Feminists and their allies in the CBC, to a multiple murder over 22 years ago—a multiple murder that has been “topped” by several more horrendous acts of homicide since then, and hasn’t been copied—seems to be given because the normal treatment of a despicable deed by a probable madman (letting its memory fade with time), wouldn’t serve some political purposes. The simple inference is that those political purposes do not deserve support; to over-ride the simple inference, powerful contrary evidence should be presented.

I haven’t seen such evidence: What we should learn from Marc Lepine and Clifford Olson and Karla Homolka is how to better detect such monstrous exceptions before they kill, not to treat the average [wo]man as suspicious.

December 6th should not be “Marc Lepine day”, (and even less “Montreal massacre day”); it has a truly historic event to be known-for, the independence of the Finnish Republic from Russia. Finland has managed to keep free for over 90 years, with one of the world’s highest literacy rates and “scholarly output rates” relative to its small population, and in its wisdom did not import great numbers of culturally incompatible immigrants. Finnish men have less than equal power under divorce law, but in my experience and my son’s recent report, more than Canadian or US men.[6]

Two four-letter words symbolize for me, the distinctive Finnish social and cultural virtues: Sisu and Teho. Teho translates pretty well as “efficiency”; and our social inefficiency has contributed to the denigration and abuse of men at law. Sisu is not so easy to translate, but combining courage, persistence, and a certain disdain for soft living, might come close. These are far better themes to honour on December 6th, than blaming all men for the acts of one crazy one, or requiring hunters whose violence is limited to their proper quarry, to beg the bureaucracy every five years, for permission to keep their hunting equipment.

December 6th is Finnish Independence Day, and the customary way to honour nearly a century of self-government of that formerly colonized people, is by putting two lighted candles in a window toward the road, from dark until bedtime.

Amen to that.

 

Notes:

[1] Like most car- and suicide-bombers, Lepine seems to have had a general target, but not to have intended to kill the specific individuals that he killed. Sometimes, an attack targets one or two specific people (e.g. Hamid Karzai’s brother) and seeks to kill many of their co-workers without specifically choosing which of them.

[2] http://www.everyman.ca/2011/04/28/has-time-changed-the-meaning-of-self-sacrifice/

[3] I’m not sure if the mirror requirement applies to female applicants.

[4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XJjKJ-_d4YQ —link provided by the AVfM website, November 23 [to Editor—does it need replacement?]

[5]http://register-her.com/index.php?title=Josefin_Von_Zeipel_Segerberg_–_Bigot

[6]One of my sons is studying at a Finnish university, and he had some qualifying comments on the Laasanen post (http://www.the-spearhead.com/2011/12/02/equality-feminism-and-the-mrm-in-finland/): In his view “there are other men’s-studies people who have more acceptance”, and Laasanen is best known for advocating “the market value theory of dating”. My son also wrote the main gender-law change being advocated, and slowly accomplished, is “that men not be denied equal child custody based on gender —[that is, be] allowed to participate more in the raising of their own children”. This is consistent with a common Finnish warning to foreigners sojourning there: “Finland is not another Sweden.”

 

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