It was May 24, 2022 — one year ago, just after LWD was launched. I was watching an American news channel reporting on yet another “worst” school shooting, this time in Texas. 19 little primary school children dead, two teachers and the shooter. And before the actual body count was known, a well-known senator was on TV accusing people of “politicizing” a tragedy by calling for some kind of sensible gun control. I thought to myself, “That’s language manipulation.”
As I watched, I started to notice some parallels, and it occurred to me to ask myself: Is Canada’s MAID lobby like the NRA? I jotted down a few notes. Both rely on strategies of linguistic manipulation. Both appear indifferent to carnage or collateral damage. Both are mobilized by highly influential national charities, both of which represent perverse ideologies of “freedom”, faithfully embraced by true believers in the general population. Both offer their own catechism of what is myth and what is fact.
Both need to be held accountable.
One year later, and not much has changed, except for the worse. Since the Uvalde murders, the U.S. has experienced 650 mass shootings and well over 40,000 deaths from gun violence. Guns are now the top killers of children in the U.S., surpassing vehicle accidents and all other causes. In America, one political party is still not listening to the majority of people, who want safety and security for their kids at school, for themselves and their loved ones on the streets, in their shopping malls and in their homes.
In Canada, one political party is on our side, but for all the wrong reasons. Their religious reasoning makes them want to protect vulnerable life, but their economic conservatism puts them at odds with actually investing in the care and community infrastructure that would support life. It’s like living in a creepy funhouse, without the fun!
For the NRA a constitutional “right to bear arms in a well-regulated militia“ has morphed into an absolute right to have, display and openly carry guns, despite mind-boggling statistics and evidence. Community health and values don’t enter into the conversation. It’s all about individual rights.
Same pattern with Canada’s MAID lobby. The “right to die” becomes paramount. The right to live is optional, IF you can do it independently, without a robust social safety net. Death is a “benefit” that we can “qualify for” if our MAID-friendly doctor or nurse practitioner can tick off all the right boxes, even if they have to stretch the truth in order to supply this “beneficial medical service” that ends all rights. (The quotation marks here signify places where linguistic manipulation is at play.)
Unregulated gun rights have created a uniquely American way of death. MAID, especially with the loosening of regulations and restrictions, creates a uniquely Canadian way of death. Innocent lives are being lost on both sides of the border.
In America, there are voices trying to counter the pro-gun lobby. ”What are we doing?“ An impassioned US senator implores his colleagues across the aisle to wake up and start taking protective action. “How can we let this horror continue?”
And we at Living With Dignity Canada are asking our Parliamentarians, Senators, Courts and members of the public the same question: What are we doing?
A huge number of Americans think and believe that it’s really important to have sensible gun laws and restrictions, just as most Canadians believe there should be sensible restrictions on euthanasia and assisted suicide. And yet the NRA, like Canada’s MAiD lobby, fights and wins every effort to oppose such laws. How does the NRA do it? According to David Hogg, survivor of another horrific school shooting, “They show up at every opportunity to promote their point of view. We can show up too.” Good advice.
As disabled Canadians have found, showing up to testify at government hearings and committees has NOT resulted in being heard, but showing up in the press and in online communities has opened the conversational door in a way that official channels have not. Getting the facts out there really matters. Let’s keep doing that.