Posted by Patrick (18.104.22.168) on September 12, 2008 at 23:58:17:
In Reply to: Response to Government Handgun Ban Rhetoric posted by Patrick Haynes on September 11, 2008 at 03:21:30:
First off, I have a lot of respect for some of the people I'm disagreeing with here. I think at the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We're just coming at it from different angles.
That being said, here's my perspective.
Over the last year alone, I have seen three shooting clubs that I have shot at closed, either by the City of Toronto, or university administrators who feel that shooting is incompatible with the moral stand of academia.
In each case, we went to the newspapers or television and presented our case. Reporters (all but one from CityTV) and general members of the community all agreed that closing clubs was a hollow gesture which did nothing but inconvenience regular people. They lamented that this was unfair. They sympathised.
But they did nothing to help us.
I reached out to Steve Keogh, who is the communications director to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). He said that he drafted a letter of support to be signed by Chris Rudge, CEO of the COC. It was never spoken of again. Yep, no help from the COC as one of its Olympic sports was being attacked.
While in Beijing, I spoke with Chris Rudge. He was quick to say that the closures were unwarranted and would do nothing to stop crime. Well, that didn't motivate him to help the shooting community out.
When I told him that there was a movement afoot to withdraw shooting's support from the Pan Ams Game bid, he almost freaked out. I had his full attention. While he had lots to say, he didn't offer any support. I doubt that without a strong response from the shooting community, we never will.
Canada doesn't need a supposed world class shooting range, especially if we aren't allowed to shoot. Think it through. We can host parties for foreigners, but we can't train... Where is the advantage?
As I said, three ranges in the core of Toronto, which were either used by national team members, or developed people who later became national level, have been closed. In Toronto, you can't legally open new ones, and they hope to ban ownership in these areas as well.
Folks, this isn't going our way and hosting an international shooting event won't get one person to change their mind about shooting.
BUT, sending a clear message that gun bans and forced range closures will have a direct and immediate effect on the viability of any Games bid.
While a gun ban will gain them a few votes (maybe a 100 from the undecided pool), it will cost them billions in lost infrastructure grants AND the supposed prestige of hosting one of the Games.
Really, what do we get? Where is the range from the 1976 Olympics? From the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games? From the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games? In most cases, the ranges disappear shortly after the Games, as has been the case in the USA (Atlanta).
We get nothing tangible over time. Meanwhile, the ranges we need to recruit and train new and developing shooters get closed down. Also, we get demonized in the media, so people dare not come out and join the sport.
Our sport is dying. If we continue to play the game the way the government wants, we will die a slow death.
If we hit the prestige and vote hungry politicians where it hurts (money), then we might change their tune. Certainly, it won't hurt us any more.
Most Canadian athletes complain that we get any support already. So, why squabble over crumbs? We have nothing to lose. They have politicised shooting, so we need to become political right back.
Let's send a strong message. Let's hit them where it hurts. Let's withdraw the shooting sports support from the Pan American Games' bid and let them know that we will not be political victims anymore.
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