Volume 93, Issue 82

Tuesday, March 7, 2000


Contrioversial or just inappropriate?

Give up beer, we dare you

Too little, too late from Western

Who wants to learn?

Libs trip up Alliance

What's the difference?

What's the difference?

Re: "You've made your bed" March 2

To the Editor:

Despite being a darn good zoologist, I don't pretend to be a good psychologist or sociologist, but I know something isn't right with American society.

I'm appalled at the shootings in the United States this week. First the shooting of a young girl by her schoolmate, followed the next day by a killing-spree spanning two restaurants, by a man possibly motivated by racial hatred.

We sometimes like to subject ourselves to the trivial question, "What distinguishes our culture from that of our American neighbours?" We come up with buzzwords, such as maple syrup and mounties, then admit the cultural line may be blurred. But I don't think it is.

Despite watching the same television programs, reading the same magazines and surfing the same internet as Americans, we're not killing each other in the same record numbers. I quote 1998 statistics, as reported in the Sept. 8, 1999 issue of The Toronto Star, which stated Canada's per 100,000 murder rate was 1.83, while the U.S. rate was 6.3.

Is something fundamentally different about the way Americans are raised? Perhaps a "do unto others before they do unto you" philosophy is taught to them in their homes and schools as children.

Do they learn to hate each other that intensely? Or maybe it's the obvious answer – that there's an over-abundance of guns on American streets and in American homes. I shudder to think that this may be true. Because a firearm kills so easily, is it that simple to forget your own common sense and decency and fire at a little girl or a couple of elderly men?

It's pathetic to think that anyone lacks the will to resist the urge to commit a violent, murderous act. Blame it on the crazy way my parents raised me, but I can't recall an instant since I've been self-aware that I didn't respect the right to life of a fellow human being. I'm not naive enough to think every American is a homicidal maniac, or even that Canadians haven't caused their share of death and suffering, but I can't overlook the obvious difference in societal attitudes.

I suppose my letter is being read by the wrong audience. The only Americans who will read this are the Western professors and students who have obviously devoted their lives to teaching and learning and presumably are not killing their country folk. Even so, I know a few Londoners have been murdered in the last several years and maybe that's something we can all reflect on.

Evan Joanette
Zoology IV

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