Watching “Armed and Reasonable: How to Buy a Gun in Canada” by Vice is a breath of fresh air that is forcing me to ditch some assumptions.
I always braced myself for the worst when reading so-called “news” or watching so-called “documentaries” about guns and gun owners in Canada. Most of what I see in the popular media is a pile of lies, half-truths, illogic, ignorance, misrepresentation, exaggeration and spin to support the view that guns and gun owners are evil. (It’s perfectly OK to have that view, but please support it with facts and logic.)
“Armed and Reasonable” is different.
The reporter, Manisha Krishnan, starts with biases and assumptions, like any of us would. Unlike many journalists, she shares them up front and honestly, then shows the result of several months collecting facts and gaining personal experience in her subject. She delivers her findings in 22 minutes and 9 seconds.
“As a reporter and an unapologetic city girl, I only really hear about guns in a negative context, like when homicides and mass shootings take place,” Krishnan said in an article today on Vice.com. “While I didn’t know much about Canadian gun culture, I’ll admit that I had an idea of what our gun nuts might be like. I pictured mostly older white guys, living in rural areas, and hunting deer in their spare time — the fruits of which would be on display somewhere in their homes. I assumed that they would mostly lean right, politically.”
“But I decided to keep an open mind,” she said.
Krishnan addresses guns and crime, homicide, violence and mental health. Many reporters start there and end there. Krishnan interviews sport shooters, a gun retailer, Ontario’s Chief Firearms Officer and the head of the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights. She goes to the U.S. National Rifle Association’s annual meeting and interviews more people. She takes the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, gets her gun licence and buys a gun.
The video is the most-discussed topic today in the CanadaGuns discussion forum on Reddit.
The report isn’t flawless and it doesn’t tell the whole story about Canadian gun culture. Some users on Reddit and CanadianGunNutz object to the relevance of mentioning race and religion, as when Krishnan talks about “white men,” or the “mostly older Jewish men” in her gun-safety class. The video hardly mentions hunters, or show much footage of old, white guys plinking at the range or in the woods on Saturday afternoon. It doesn’t show the silliness, waste and cost of Canada’s gun laws and regulations.
Is the video comprehensive and perfect, the full and final word on the Canadian gun community? No, of course not. Does it intelligently, factually and fairly represent a newbie’s experience setting foot into Canada’s gun culture? Yes, absolutely.
Well done, Vice!
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