Drunk driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada according to the Department of Justice. [i]
We deal with this societal issue in three primary ways:
- Government passes laws rationally connected to solving the problem. i.e. laws that target those who endanger others by drinking and driving.
- Police use a number of interventionist strategies to seek out drunk drivers, get them off the road and to discourage others from committing the same crimes.
- When found, drunk drivers are charged with a criminal offence. Police seize their vehicles and judges impose driving prohibitions and/or jail time for repeat offenders.
All this makes sense. We strip offenders, those guilty of impaired driving, of their privileges and impound their vehicles.
We ignore sober drivers because they are not the problem.
Organizations dedicated to ending drunk driving are fully on board with this simple, three-step solution. They fully support laws and police intervention focused on the people who are the problem.
Nobody, not even MADD moms, believe a vehicle causes someone to drive drunk. Everyone dealing with this issue comprehends it is the person who drives impaired who must be held accountable for their actions.
Yet when it comes to gang violence and drug dealers shooting up our cities, few dare blame the violent gang member or the drug dealer. Everyone blames the gun.
This is the equivalent of making the vehicle responsible for the actions of the drunk driver.
Yet many organizations allegedly focused on increasing public safety by stopping gang violence consistently blame the gun, not the criminal using it to kill.
Politicians at every level of government, be they big-city mayors, city counsellors, members of provincial parliament or our current federal government, all blame the gun and, by extension, licensed firearm owners.
These people seem to believe the gun itself causes drug dealers and gangs to commit murder, instead of holding these lawless murderers accountable for their actions.
By blaming the gun, not the irresponsible and dangerous person wielding it, we ignore the problem – drug dealers and violent criminal gangs – and focus on the objects they use to commit their heinous crimes.
They insist the only way to stop gang violence and drug dealer turf wars is to take away guns from everyone who is not a gang member or a drug dealer.
That’s like seizing the vehicles of sober drivers to stop drunk drivers.