I think the catastrophic bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was an accident, but it resulted from spiritual bankruptcy. People have forgotten their priorities and their relationship to the sacred Mother Earth. I hope the NATO missiles will cause the Chinese community to rethink the invasion of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people, and I hope the actions of sick students at Columbine and Tabor can motivate us to recognize our moral crisis in America. As the Reverend Dale Lang, the grieving father of a slain high school student, said, "May God have mercy on this broken society."
Everywhere people are suffering the effects of generations of aggression, hostility, and war. Our true strength will come from our own voice for peace and harmony. The elders say that when the world was new, we were like flowers in the garden. There are roses, morning glories, tulips, daisies - short ones, tall ones, blue, red, and yellow ones, but when you arrange them together they make a beautiful bouquet. Our task is to arrange ourselves as a bouquet, and to do what we have to, to eliminate weapons. The world has to become sacred again, not just to Mohawks but to every people.
The elders say that a monster is eating us all and that we must turn to our sacred medicines and ceremonies. We must be healthy to keep our minds on the purification that must come. We should try to make each other happy in beauty because the Great Spirit and Sacred Mother Earth can feel our love and pain.
On September 5, 1997 a ten-year old boy shot and killed his eight-year-old cousin with a shotgun. On March 12, 1998 a 13-year-old killed an 11-year-old. Both of these crimes took place in Canada, one of the most peaceful of countries.
When watching the Columbine students running out of their school while two boys were killing their classmates inside, many Canadians considered this American event as just that - an American event.
Only weeks later, one student shot and killed another in Taber, Alberta. Canadians then realized that indeed it does happen here. In fact, guns are the third leading cause of death of Canadians aged 15-24. Guns kill more youth between 15 and 24 than cancer, drowning, and falls combined. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control shows the rate of children under age 14 being killed with guns in the industrialized world is more than anywhere else. Canada ranks fifth, following the United States, Finland, Northern Ireland, and Israel.
One would expect all Canadians to welcome a new law regulating firearms, but this is not the case. On the contrary, Canada's new gun control legislation, dubbed Bill C-68, has created controversy. This law would require all firearm owners to obtain a license by 2001 and register all firearms by 2003. But Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories, along with the Canadian Shooters Federation and the Alberta Fish and Game Association, has challenged this new law, deeming it a violation of citizens' right to protect themselves. But on September 29, 1998, after the law was appealed by Alberta, the Alberta Court of Appeal voted 3-2 to uphold the gun control law. That, however, has not kept Alberta from taking the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Arlene Chapmen, Spokesperson for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters, stated, "Alberta and the other western provinces like to pretend that guns are only a big city issue, but recent events in our own backyard have shown otherwise. ... Ironically, while opposition to gun control is very vocal in Alberta, it has the highest percentage of homes with firearms among the provinces, and twice the rate of children killed with guns compared to the national average."
Meanwhile, gun lobbies in Canada have taken to promoting firearm training for children instead of promoting the locking away of firearms. They feel that education on how to use a gun will reduce deaths and injuries by guns. There is no evidence that this has helped at all, and some experts say that this may actually cause more deaths and suicides, for children will learn how to use these weapons.
It is time to keep children from killing children. Only after we Canadians acknowledge that it happens here can we hope to find solutions to the problem.