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Victors and victims but no winners

Tomorrow is another Remembrance Day. The 92nd  since the first one was observed in 1919, on the first anniversary of the end of World War 1.
The carnage between 1914 and 1918 had been horrendous. The idea, as bells tolled on Nov. 11, 1918, was that if we remember what Europe went through in those years, we’d stop doing it. We never did.
Now, almost a hundred years later, regional wars are still ripping the planet apart. Trillions of dollars have been spent over the last 10 years on wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
Unbridled military spending has played a large part in keeping the “one per cent” wealthy while bankrupting national economies. Other than making some big money for some big corporations, I can’t think of much else of value to have come out of the exercise.
The longer the culture of war endures, the more the human spirit is impoverished. Whenever it looks like it has hit rock bottom, we see a new tunnel opening on a path further down.
We have now reached a point where our government celebrates what is otherwise classed as cold- blooded murder. There was a time when a war was fought by more or less gentlemanly rules. They were set out in the Geneva Convention. This was an international agreement that said, among other things, in a war you may kill an enemy combatant who’s trying to kill someone on your team. If that person has given up the fight, or is not in condition to carry it on, you disarm him and take him prisoner.
Not anymore. Nowadays there are drones that fly without pilots or navigators, driven by computer guidance systems to specific city blocks where an enemy is thought to be staying.
When the appropriate villain is caught in the cross hairs and killed, government leaders and national news outlets toast the achievement while mumbling sorrowful platitudes about all the “collateral damage.” They do themselves, and us, no favours. When they celebrate death, they cheapen life.
Tomorrow, you will put on your poppy. You will stand for a moment of silence when the clock strikes eleven. When you do, don’t just think about those who fought on our side in all the wars into which our grandparents, our parents, our friends and our children have been sent.
Remember those who died and those who survived with life-altering injuries. Remember also there are as many families who suffered similar tragedies on the other side.
A war has victors and victims, but not winners.
• • •
There’s another undeclared war going on. One in which husbands kill wives, boyfriends kill girlfriends, and sometimes strangers kill strangers. Quite often, guns do the damage.
Our wonderful Conservative government is killing the long gun registry that helped the police identify where such weapons might be kept. If they were called to a domestic dispute, they could know the level of danger they were walking into. Not anymore.
The registry is being abolished, and all the data stored in it destroyed. The type of sniper rifle used in the 1989 Montreal Massacre is being taken off the list of restricted weapons. So is the one used last July in Norway. If you have the cash, you can go out and buy a rifle that will kill a person two kilometres away.
We are a day away from Remembrance Day, and a month away from the 22nd anniversary of the day 14 women were gunned down in a Montreal university.
Why does our government still want to make it so easy for us to kill each other?

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