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Letter: Beware the lobbyists

Smith & Wesson handguns hang on display at a Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show in Las Vegas, 2011. — AP file photo
Smith & Wesson handguns hang on display at a Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show in Las Vegas, 2011. — AP file photo - Associated Press

To all of us who reacted to the latest mass killing at the Parkland high school in Florida with smugness that — thank God we live in Canada.

To us Canadians who believe that we have better sense than to allow weapons whose design was for the theatre of war to be legally owned by ordinary citizens. To us Canadians who shake our heads in disbelief that some of our American friends are unwilling to put the lives of school children ahead of their right to bear arms. To all of us who feel this way, we have missed the main lesson to be learned from this tragedy.

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The latest massacre is perhaps the ultimate example of the consequence of a lobby group hijacking what we refer to as democracy. The National Rifle Association, the NRA, by contributing huge sums of money to the election campaigns of mostly members of the Republican Party as well as some Democrats has co-opted these politicians to be beholden and to do the bidding of this lobby group.

This did not happen overnight.

There is no logical connect between the Second Amendment to their constitution which granted them this right in 1791 to the proliferation of all types of weapons in 2018. The NRA has had to work very diligently to develop this paranoid mindset. Slogans that bear only a molecule of truth had to be developed and sold to all who would listen. Guns do not kill people, people kill people; the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun; More people are killed by cars than by guns so does that mean we should ban cars?

I love the latest — most of the mass murderers have been democrats.

Make no mistake our so-called democracy has also suffered the consequence of the lobbyists. The Board of Trade, the Employers’ Council and the Federation of Independent Businesses have influenced both the Liberal and Conservative parties. The premier and cabinet ministers have shamelessly offered private access in exchange for political contributions from members of these groups. For these groups the rewards have been many. The development of Muskrat Falls for their benefits, the use of public-private partnerships for provincial infrastructure, the mitigation of electricity rates so that the public service will continue to bear the brunt of the costs and now most recently legislation to ensure that minimum wages kept at the starvation level.

While we, for now, have not been subject to the intense lobbying of the NRA, we have nonetheless allowed the sale of our democracy.

Ed Downey

Marystown

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