Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gun terminology and why it matters...

I have been following the great debate in the US regarding ‘gun control’. In my mind, gun control means hitting your target. What is lacking in the US is not so much ‘gun control’, but ‘people control’. There are already plenty of gun laws currently on the books in the US, to be able to keep Americans safe.

To quote an old truth: “If you outlaw all guns, then only outlaws will have guns”. I can fully understand the stance of the NRA, mind you. They actually get and understand the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment, as written into the American Constitution. Hell, I’m a Canadian and I can understand what the American founding fathers had in mind when they drafted that. It had absolutely nothing to do with hunting or target practice. It has everything to do with the American people themselves having a way of defending their country, their homes, their ideals, their liberty… from governments and enemies both foreign AND domestic. And that is up to and including their OWN government. Remember where the first Americans hailed from. They were all too familiar with livng under oppressive governments, which is why they fled to the Americas. So resolute were they that they would never again bear the weight and injustice of such an oppression, that they drafted the Second Amendment into the Constitution.

Yes, I know… many folks will say: “Come on… That was way back then. We're not back in the days of the Wild West. This is now!!” The ‘logic’ behind such a statement truly baffles me. In truth, there was actually 'law and order' in the Old West and the will to enforce such laws.

Have you taken a look around at the World such as it is recently? Read the news from any outlet in the world and you will soon realize that we live in times far more perilous than any that our long-lost ancestors experienced. There are dictatorships and autocratic (to say nothing of theocratic) regimes in many parts of the world. For as much as we might like to believe that democracy is spreading and we are stemming the tide of barbarism, nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, many of the people who share these same anti-democratic, anti-freedom belief systems, are now housed in our very own North-American countries. Yes, we used to be able to say: “That’s okay… it’s only happening over in that country. Let them kill themselves, so long as it doesn’t affect us here at home”. A somewhat cold viewpoint perhaps, but a practical one. Gone however are those days. They are now here amongst us in their tens of thousands, if not millions. Western civilization is under attack along a broad front and our enemies do not wear uniforms to distinguish them from those who actually wish to adopt our more tranquil mode of life. This is what brought us to racial profiling. Some call it prejudice, but no. It is simply factual and practical.

In the wake of several high-profile mass shootings in the States, it is only right that Americans pause and ask themselves critical and well-informed questions as to the ‘why’ of all this. It is only right, but it is also not happening. Americans have fixated on the ‘how’ of all this instead. Rather than blame it on a social condition (which it is), they try to blame the implements used by the perpetrators. A favorite word bandied around of late has been the generic term “assault weapon”. In most instances, it has been applied to a wide range of weapons which are NOT in fact an assault weapon. This is a sticking point with the NRA and should be with any gun owner in any country. So what actually IS an assault weapon?

By definition, an assault weapon is a compact, select-fire military weapon (single fire, semi-automatic AND full auto), with a shortened barrel, of medium caliber, with a collapsible stock and with a large magazine capacity. If a weapon fulfills all these criteria, it can be considered to be a bona fide assault weapon.

It has nothing to do with pistol grips, threaded barrels or even barrel shrouds. ‘Look-alike’ weapons are NOT “military-grade weapons in the hands of civilians”. They are simply semi-automatic weapons. Semi-automatic weapons are NOT fucking assault weapons. Clear…??? To follow the misguided description offered by the non-informed, a Beretta 92 would qualify as an ‘assault weapon’, when in fact it is simply a semi-automatic pistol.

Now with that set aside, I can of course understand the angst, the hysteria and the national breast-beating which occurs when such a dreadful, senseless act takes place. It is after all, only a natural human response. Yet as in many situations where we attempt to close the barn door after the horses get loose, the solution is not building a better barn door, or getting rid of the barn. It is singling out and holding responsible the farm hand that neglected to lock the barn door in the first place. For anyone out there who might think I am referring to the gun manufacturers, shake your head. They have absolutely no part in any of this. Just as tobacco companies have nothing to do with a person’s choice to smoke or the ensuing health risks. Or a bar owner is not responsible for one of his patrons getting drunk and then killing someone with his car on the way home.

Many people have commented that Canada’s gun control laws seem to work for us. You are missing the point completely. There are a great many gun owners here in Canada. One reason why our great National Firearms Registry idea simply imploded. So why does Canada have so little gun crime in comparison? Canada’s population is about 34,482,779. The USA has 313,914,040 residents. And no, I don’t think this includes all the undocumented illegal residents. So right off the mark, Canada has one tenth the population of the United States. That’s in itself is going to guarantee a much lower incidence. Yet even on a per capita basis, Canada’s gun crime stats are far removed from our Southern neighbors. Again, why is that???

Some firearm related statistics:

In the USA in 2010, there were 30,470 deaths caused by firearms.Of these, 19,392 (63.6%) were suicides. 11,078 (36.4%) were homicides. Of these homicides, 358 involved rifles, 6,009 involved pistols and 1,939 cases of homicide did not have the type of weapon reported. No mention by the way, of assault rifles... And as we should all know by now, pistols are not assault weapons, right?

In the same year in Canada, there were a staggering 554 homicides. Of these, 170 involved the use of a firearm. I'm not even going to get into the break down of these stats, as you can plainly see that they are absolutely inconsequential in comparison. Gun violence in Canada had at that point been in decline for the last 44 years. When queried why this might be, it was stated that in modern Western societies, people had found a preference for settling differences in a civilized manner. Well clearly some of us have...

In that same year (2010), the US experienced 5,419,000 motor vehicle collisions (a record low at that time, mind you), which resulted in 32,885 deaths and 2,239,000 injuries.

If the US really wanted to protect their citizens, perhaps they might also consider banning automobiles from their roadways. It would make as much sense in the long run and definitely save more lives. Although by their own estimates, Americans figure their gun deaths will manage to surpass their automobile death figures by 2015. At present, the US averages around 87 gun deaths per day.

It has often been said by the jaded and the uneducated, that Canada has no culture. I beg to differ. Even in this one very basic social comparison, the chasm which exists between our cultures is all too evident. For another, we don’t seem to be quite as besotted as our American counterparts when it comes to fame and celebrities. It has also been said, rather snidely if truth were known, that Canada has no real celebrities. Again, this is pure unadulterated horseshit, as the list of Canadian celebrities is a long and illustrious one. This line of thought by the way, also comes from the very same group of jaded and uneducated individuals. The difference is that we do not fawn all over them. We do not live to compare our lives with them or aspire to be like them. We have not embraced the idea of worshipping our celebrities or indeed of chasing after fame. We are by and large a fairly happy lot. We are generally well pleased about who we are as individuals. The thought of writing off our life (to say nothing of the lives of others) for a few mere seconds or days of fame and notoriety on the FOX Network or CNN, is fortunately not a sickness which has taken hold here. Yes, some Canadians may follow the social train wrecks of many American celebrities, out of some sense of morbid curiosity. But it is done from afar. We do not hang on their every word and action. It is generally done while feeling embarassed for those involved.

I will also state that there is not a prevalence for feeding young people a steady diet of 'thug' and 'street nigga' music, where the 'downtrodden and uneducated social misfits' can latch onto this ridiculous notion that by wrapping a do-rag around your head of a certain colour, you are entitled to claim ownership of a particular neighborhood or city. No, that shit is all yours. Yes, we do have some misguided, wannabes up here and they are at the root of most gun violence. Them and actual organized crime outfits. Not lonely, self-absorbed losers who decide one day that they are going to finally get their 15 minutes of fame by killing any number of innocent children.

The problem in the United States stems not from the guns themselves. It stems from the mindset of those who get their hands on them or more to the point, why they want to. There seems to be this cultural entitlement to kill others who disagree with you, who you feel threatened by, who were not nice to you, who maybe bullied you at some point in your life. The media glorifies their deeds by the constant exposure they provide and enshrines them in that great media church of the notorious and the nefarious. Here in Canada, there are stringent laws which govern how weapons must be stored when in a person’s home. Should that not be so in the US as well...??? It's called personal responsibility, people. You should read up on it. If nobody is acting like a semi-responsible adult down there, how the fuck do you have the audacity to stand back and ask: "Why...???" when this type of shit comes down the pike???

Gun owners here tend to be a fairly responsible lot, whether their guns are registered or not. Everyone requires a license and a training course before you can think of buying one. In the case of the Sandy Hook shooter, the weapons were not even his. They were purportedly registered to his mother, who by all accounts left them lying about unattended. And you’re going to blame who here? The vast majotiry of any gun crimes here in Canada are perpetrated not by the weapon’s legal owner, nor are they committed with weapons that were legally obtained. It is like Wayne LaPierre stated: Criminals don’t care about gun laws. They don’t care about background checks, or waiting periods, or licenses. They don’t care because none of this applies to them. They DO NOT ABIDE BY THESE LAWS.

The only people impacted by gun laws, are law abiding citizens. Not those who you have every reason to fear. Do I believe in background checks? Yes. For the prospective gun owner AND for those sharing that residence. Do I believe in a mandatory ‘cooling off period’? Again, yes. Do I believe in keeping actual assault weapons from the hands of civilians with no prior military training? Hell, yes. Do I believe in actively enforcing the laws which are already on the books? Hell yes.

Do I believe in disarming the free citizens of a country which has had the foresight of equipping these same citizens with the rights and the wherewithall to defend themselves and their liberty? Absolutely not. And certainly not in these times, where the threats to their very existence have never been more real.

Once more in closing, it's not the guns that you need to fear. It is yourselves. It is not a magazine's capacity that is killing you, it your lack of capacity to treat one another as fellow human beings.

But then again this is, as usual, only one man's opinion.


* As a footnote, I don't see what all the rage is about the AR-15 variant models. This is probably similar to those folks who believe that a Harley-Davidson is the ONLY type of motorcycle to own, if you want to be seen as a 'biker'.

The AK-103 is a far superior weapon in just about every aspect and it fires a 'real round' of 7.62x39mm / .308", whereas the AR-15 and all other variants such as the M-16A1 and M4A2 fire a simpering 5.56x45mm / .223" one.

An standard M43 AK-47/103 round is basically a .308, 123 grain boat-tail bullet. It will stop not only a human target, but it will also stop a car. Typical muzzle velocity for this round is around 2,396 fps.

A standard AR, M16 or M4 round (depending on the type of load-out, either M193 or M855), will vary from 55 grains to 64 grains. Muzzle velocity may vary anywhere from 2,500 - 3,100 fps. The terminal velocity of this round however, is dictated by the length of the weapon's barrel. Shorter barrels allow for a less complete burn of the charge and therefore considerably lower muzzle velocities. For a round that depends almost entirely on the muzzle velocity for inflicting maximum damage on a target, this is not particularly desirable.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On so-called 'Blasphemy Laws'...

So I’m reading a recent article posted in the Saudi Gazette. It’s regarding verdicts handed down by the Egyptian courts, following that ridiculous short-budget movie which supposedly made fun of the prophet Muhammed.

Cairo court affirms death for 7 Copts over anti-Islam film

Last Updated : Tuesday, January 29, 2013 4:29 PM

CAIRO — A Cairo tribunal on Tuesday upheld death sentences passed on seven Egyptian Coptic Christians in absentia for their involvement in a movie that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a judicial source said.

The accused, including the director of the movie that triggered outrage across the Muslim world when it surfaced last September, are currently living in the United States.

Terry Jones, an American pastor based in Florida who is said to have promoted the film and who had also been sentenced to death in absentia, had his sentence reduced to five years in jail by the tribunal.

Egyptian courts usually hand out the maximum punishment — execution in this case for a blasphemy verdict — and send the decision to the state's top Islamic scholar to get his approval.

Tuesday's confirmation of the sentences occured (sic) after his opinions were taken. If the defendants do return to Egypt, they could get a new trial, according to legal experts. — AFP


Now… you have to realize that any ‘society’ that would seriously endorse (let alone embrace) the thought of killing a person based on something as trite, foolish and infantile as a ‘blasphemy law’, cannot and should not be taken seriously. Certainly not if you are viewing them with the eye of a modern and somewhat evolved person. And when I say ‘modern’, I mean as in any time after the Dark Ages. This particular brand of stupidity is of course not restricted to Egypt. It infests every society where Islam holds sway.

How insecure, how threatened do you have to feel to come up with something so absurd as a blasphemy law? Talk about not wanting someone else to point out how obviously faulted and nonsensical your particular religion happens to be. An educated person would acknowledge that religions per se, for as important as some people might see them, are based in the realm of make-believe. I always think back to the popular de-motivational poster which I once saw online: “JESUS… because believing in the Easter Bunny is just silly…”. How true… how very true.

It is the curse of human nature. To paraphrase George Carlin: “Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.” I guess some people are simply more gullible than others.

So hold on to your delusions if you must, but be prepared to collide with the real world. Be prepared for the ridicule of those who live in the world of reality and whose lives are not governed or controlled by the whims and egos of so-called ‘religious leaders and imams’. Killing someone who does not share your particular ‘belief’…? That is howling insanity. You are not even on the same existential plane as the rest of the actually civilized people. There is not a religion out there which can withstand scrutiny, which can endure the acid test of plausibility, logic or reality. But the length to which these Islamic states will go in their hysteria to protect such a lie…??? Truly only when these sand-based countries are turned to glass, will the world finally be able to aspire to peace.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On illegal parking...

A great source of entertainment and amusement for me has always been simple human behavior.

Have you ever noticed the antics of those who park their cars illegally…? There is a compulsion to turn on their four-way flashers before they dash off to do whatever it is they need to. Let’s face it, nobody parked legally has their four-ways on. Now I suppose they do so to impart to the parking control Nazis that they will only be there for a brief moment. They are acknowledging that they have parked illegally, but will only be there for a short while. It’s kind of like an apologetic move on their part. But as we all know, there exists this chasm between perception and reality.

So… this is how this type of scenario normally plays out:

Perception: Their message: “Please don’t ticket me… I will only be here for a second!”


Poor you… had you not engaged your four-ways, the parking enforcement officer would have carried on his/her usual route, arriving upon your car in due time. Maybe even buying you a few extra minutes, enough to get back to your car and make your getaway. But, no… You had to alert him/her to the fact that you are indeed parked illegally and he/she will make a beeline for your car in particular, like you were a bleeding tuna amidst a pack of sharks. You are the limping Thompson’s Gazelle at the Serengeti watering hole…

People are just funny…

Monday, January 21, 2013

On the siege in Algeria...

If the recent siege in Algeria has taught us anything, it should be that as long as there are ‘islamic militants’ held behind bars, someone will attempt to free them by holding others hostage. The solution to this is of course a simple one. There should be no jail anywhere that houses ‘islamic militants’. For one, there is no such thing. They are not ‘militants’, they are terrorists. And the only good terrorist, is a dead one. They cannot be educated, they cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be converted to our way of thinking, they cannot even be taught tolerance towards others. They are ‘defective’ in every possible way there is. They should not be captured, or detained, or ‘held over for trial’. They should be shot out of hand, wherever they are found.

It is a profound insult that these mad dogs should be housed and fed at the expense of the very societies which they seek to destroy. Western societies seem blinded by this misguided ethos of wanting to assume ‘the moral high ground’. Or at least to be seen as treading such. “If we behave as they do, then we are no better”, some might quip. Horeseshit…!!! If you let your mortal enemies live, they will NOT suddenly develop a conscience or a moral compass. Or understanding, or humanity. They will simply regroup to attack you again… and again… and again… It boggles the mind that our fearless leaders of the West have not caught on to this salient fact yet. Maybe it’s high time that we wrap our heads around the fact that if we are not at least as ruthless as these psychos are, we will forever be at the losing end. This is no place for applying the ‘Marquess of Queensbury’ rules. This is no civilized session of fisticuffs we’re talking about here. This is all and out war.

As with the situation in Mali, it is no victory if an assault on a town results in the terrorists simply running away. If allowed to survive, they will be back. You can count on it. Sufficient resources must be made available by all the world’s developed countries, so that these lunatics can be pursued and hunted down like the infected vermin they are. These fuckers should and must be terminated with extreme prejudice. Every single last one of them…

The conduct of these individuals runs contrary to not only the Hague and Geneva Conventions, but also the Articles of War, where such prisoners upon being captured should be treated as spies, and falls under the section dealing with Treachery and Perfidy:


Treachery and Perfidy

“Misuse of the Red Cross

Misuse of a Flag of Truce

Misuse of enemy uniforms, flags, nation emblems or insignia

Misuse of cultural property

Pretending to be a civilian

Pretending to surrender

Pretending to be wounded

Pretending to be a United Nations Peacekeeper.

Misuse of Red Cross, Red Crescent and Cultural Property Symbols

Use of these symbols is restricted to facilities or transport exclusively engaged in medical duties or recognized cultural property.

Law of War provides that wounded and sick, hospitals, medical vehicles, and in some cases, medical aircraft be respected and protected.

Feigning Surrender

Feigning surrender or intent to negotiate under a flag of truce.

A white flag is an indication of a desire to negotiate only and its holder has the burden to come forward.

(Remember the Falklands War scenario.)

Use of Enemy Property

Combatants may wear enemy uniforms (for example, to infiltrate) but cannot fight in them.

Military personnel not wearing their uniform lose their PW status if captured and risk being treated as spies.”


There is a school of thought which pooh-poohs the idea of treating these so-called militants as ‘unlawful conbatants’. In their minds, they should be treated as ‘civilians’, so as to be afforded the protection offered by the Fourth Section of the Geneva Convention.

Truth is, if you are not wearing a uniform which distinguishes you from civilians, you are not a combatant. So why should they be granted the protection of the Third Convention reserved for enemy combatants? The very nature of their acts precludes them from being considered civilians.

The same people who reject these terrorists being designated as ‘unlawful combatants’ (a term coined by then U.S. President George W. Bush), are fearful of the notion that our ‘civilized society’ would cast these individuals into a ‘legal vacuum’. Let’s face it, when you operate outside of the laws of every established country in the World, you are flaunting your disdain and contempt for these selfsame ‘laws’. You are de facto rejecting them. Therefore they should not apply to the perpetrators. I love how people who install themselves as ‘legal watchdogs’ find the gall to preach to those who must confront the end results of their shortsighted decisions. Like most watchdogs, these people seem to be blissfully unaware of the world outside the range of their chain. The story would likely be a far different one should any of their precious loved ones be dispatched by these savages.

I somehow think I am not the only person in the West who believes this…

Friday, January 18, 2013

When asked for your SIN number...

Okay... this really shouldn't need to be said, but considering the folks that we deal with, I reckon it is. There seems to be a need when speaking with a government department, to try and impress them in some way. When someone asks you for your social insurance number, or any other pertinent piece of personal information, please refrain from reacting as though they have just screamed: "ONE... TWO... THREE... GO...!!!!!" We are not holding a stopwatch on you, nor are we holding auditions for budding fucking auctioneers. Why do most people try to rattle off their social insurance numbers as fast as they possibly can...??? Are you so totally clueless to the fact that the person on the other end of the line has asked you that, so they can copy it down and use it to verify that you are who you claim to be?

Jesus... Give your head a shake. Why would someone feel compelled to do this...??? Do you think we might find this impressive...? Commendable...??? Noteworthy, perhaps...??? Really...????

Take a breath and speak normally. It will make everyone a whole lot happier...

On things I have learned...

I was going to preface this entry with: “In the last 2 ½ years + since my riding accident…”, but that would be a glaring inaccuracy. So let me rephrase that, if I may.

In the last 2 ½ years since some asshole in a pickup truck, through his own stupidity and ineptitude tried unsuccessfully to kill me, I have stumbled upon certain realizations. These are neither good, bad or indifferent, but simply things that have become more apparent to me. Observations or realizations that may or may not have happened otherwise. I was given the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a disabled person, as for a period of time I was amongst their ranks. Notably during the months when I was confined to a motorized wheelchair. These are some of the observations that came to mind during that period:

1. Not all places of business are accessible to the infirm/disabled.

2. Planning a simple outing becomes more of a strategy session.

3. Not all restaurant tables are the same height, allowing access for a wheelchair.

4. When sitting in a wheelchair in the back of an accessible taxi hurtling along a freeway, you develop a new understanding of the term ‘vulnerable’.

5. Most wheelchair accessible taxi drivers are in fact ex-Le Mans drivers.

6. When convalescing, spending a couple of hours in a mall can feel like a trip to Paris.

7. Texting pedestrians in malls can be used as pylons for honing your manoeuvring skills with your wheelchair.

8. A 400 lb. motorized wheelchair will move any pedestrian with ease.

9. Wheelchairs and conventional doorframes are often a bad mix.

10. If you are in a wheelchair, many people will avoid eye contact.

11. Those who do see you in a wheelchair, will often go out of their way to help.

12. Not all sidewalks are created (or maintained) equal.

13. Crossing an intersection in a wheelchair can be downright exciting.

14. You can’t plan events for the following morning if you don’t plug your chair in at night.

15. Most people cannot walk as fast as you can roll. Gear it down some…

16. Trying to do wheelies in a wheelchair is never a good idea.

17. A wall will give before a wheelchair does.

18. Most coffee shop employees are a Godsend to disabled folks.

19. Dogs are curious about wheelchairs and seem to understand that you’ve had a rough go.

20. Motorized wheelchairs are some of the best items ever produced by our technology, for those who really need them.

21. Priority seating on busses IS a good idea.

22. Ontario does possess the absolute worst drivers in Canada.

23. When you find yourself having to walk with a cane, you realize that you are in a different societal class.

24. Physical limitations can be treated as challenges, but they remain limitations nonetheless.

25. The realization that your quality of life has forever changed, engenders a feeling of loss which is constant.

26. It is at times hard to discern if one is feeling bitterness or wistfulness, when thinking of one's previous life. And is there in fact a difference between the two?

27. Regardless of what physical activities you might have engaged in before an accident, it is at times distressing to realize that so many are now closed to you as a result of same.

28. The new 'normal' is anything but...

Like any other unexpected journey we take in our life, this one has been filled with surprises, challenges and learning points. This does not negate the bad effects of this incident, nor does it make it any more palatable... but it does go to show that even if you're forced to eat a shit sandwich, you might just discover that you like rye bread. Or something like that... 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Free the Orcas...

Okay... so here's the thing. I'm sure most people have heard about the recent event in Northern Quebec, where a pod of errant Orcas were trapped by the ice. They were extremely fortunate this time around and Mother Nature decided to intervene by shifting the prevailing winds which in turn shifted and broke up the ice pack, freeing them temporarily from a certain doom.

This incident hit the social media sites and went viral, prompting hordes of ignorant (albeit well-meaning) people, to go out of their minds and assail Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other federal entities with calls and emails. Apparently the morons who set up these various web pages were exhorting readers to deluge the federal government with calls, in the pompous and misguided belief that: "If we bring enough pressure to bear on the Canadian government, they will surely have to act and save these poor creatures from a horrible fate".

Seriously...??? There are so many things wrong with that statement, it's hard to know where to begin to tear it apart. It is based not only on a profound ignorance and a fundamental lack of understanding of Canada's physical geography, notably in the Far North, but it also showcases their lack of understanding of the mandate and purpose of Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Canadian Coast Guard.

There is also of course, this vapid mindset of those who believe that every animal on this planet should be saved from the clutches of Nature's law of natural selection. Those who believe that we humans, since we are doing such a bang-up job of nurturing and protecting the planet and one another, should be entrusted now to dictate how animals deal with their natural surroundings. Are you kidding me...?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is dismayed with our current societal ethos of: "If it makes it out of the womb, it should be kept alive...". But that is another story altogether. It has become crystal clear that our only involvement with the wild animals which inhabit our planet, should be as spectators. Animals are far better equipped to survive and thrive in this world than we are. We cannot and should not treat animals like 'people'. That only reinforces our own ignorance and cannot bode well for their survival.

Instances like these where animals are entrapped by ice in the Far North, for as distressing as they are, are literally yearly events. They should serve as a primer in the law of Natural Selection at work. I have no doubt that many humans believe themselves above such laws. We consider ourselves able to outsmart Nature and that we are doing everyone a favor by extending our 'intelligent choices' to animals. Nothing of course, could be further from the truth. DFO and the Coast Guard have fielded suggestions ranging from dropping wrecking balls on the ice, to using dynamite in proximity of these trapped animals, to heli-carrying them out in slings. Again, desperation and thinking with one's emotions rather than one's intellect, can lead people to say some pretty dumb things.

DFO was very much aware of the situation from the onset. The problem lay with whether anything could logically and reasonably be done about it. And to be fair, DFO was and is not responsible for 'fixing' these types of situations. Regardless of how much "pressure was brought to bear on them" by people largely from outside this country, the federal government of Canada is not an animal rescue organization. Ranting, insulting, and demeaning federal departments and those who work in their service by the way, does not constitute or create 'pressure'. Disdain, yes. Annoyance, yes. Inconvenience, yes. Tying up phone lines that are there to serve the public across Canada, yes. Frustration at the consistent level of stupidity and arrogance which exists out there amongst self-appointed messiahs and the great unwashed, yes. But definitely not pressure. A misinterpretation of reality on your part, does not constitute the need to change the operational mandate of a federal government department. You might as well be clamoring for us to paint all Tanzanian elephants blue, because your dog is dyslexic. It makes exactly the same amount of sense...

The Quebec Region does have a Marine Mammal Response Program in place, whose responsibility it is to respond to incidents which involve marine mammals. You should read up on it via Fisheries and Oceans Canada's website. Like ALL marine mammal rescue organizations, they are private organizations, which also benefit from the input of DFO marine biologists. So no, they are NOT "the government". Their jurisdiction or area of responsibility however, is limited to the waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway and it's estuary. That's it... This does not and logically cannot extend to the frozen waters of the Hudson Bay.

One of the more popular pipe-dreams that surfaces in cases like this, is the suggestion of "driving up there with an icebreaker". This seems to be the favored solution for a panoply of situations. It is after all, the very reason why we have such vessels, is it not? No, it isn't... Let me explain something here...

Icebreakers exist to ensure the safety of navigation in Canada's waterways. Canada is a Maritime nation of the first order. Our shoreline extends 243,000 kilometers. It is literally, the longest in the World. At the time this incident was taking place, it is actually winter in ALL parts of Canada. Including one of our most vital marine shipping routes, the St. Lawrence River and Seaway. This area regularly becomes icebound in the winter and requires an almost never-ending amount of icebreaking and ice clearing services. That is where the CCG icebreaker(s) assigned to DFO's Quebec Region were busily carrying out their duties. For them to suspend their duties and jeopardize the safety of Canadian shipping, in order to undertake a 14 day sea voyage (there and back...) to Hudson Bay (not to mention the cost of keeping a vessel like this at sea on a per diem basis), in order to intervene in a natural event... well that would require a political decision and not one which could be made solely by either Fisheries and Oceans Canada or the Canadian Coast Guard.

True, there is certainly at least one icebreaker servicing the Newfoundland and Labrador Region, but again, it's responsibility lies with the protection of navigational safety in that specific region of Canada. And believe me, they are kept busy in those northern waters. In total (Canada wide) the Canadian Coast Guard has a fleet of 18 icebreaking vessels. I cannot speak with any authority on their deployment, availability or state of operational readiness, to say nothing about crew availability. The Hudson Bay, where this particular entrapment took place, covers some 1,230,000 square kilometers, or 740,000 square miles. The Arctic and Hudson Bay are accessible for only six months of the year, leaving a very short navigation season for the resupply of Northern settlements and military sites. Still, if dispatching an icebreaker had been a realistic and reasonable response to this event, I have no doubt that DFO and the Coast Guard would have weigned this option as well.

The widespread and simplistic views shared by scores of people loitering on these social media sites, is that it's a simple matter of grabbing the keys and driving a ship up to Hudson Bay to free these orcas... Again, demonstrating an apalling lack of knowledge regarding the immensity of this country and the environmental conditions of it's northern climes. When they refer to this area of Canada as 'The Far North', it's not simply some quaint little nickname that someone decided to coin.

Some of the other suggestions offered up by those who "wanted to show that they knew a thing or two", made reference of commandeering a Hercules aircraft from CFB Trenton to fly heaters or other such gear up there. CFB Trenton is home to among other RCAF entities, the main JRCC (Joint Rescue Coordination Center) for Central and Arctic Canada. They belong to the Canadian Armed Forces. The Royal Canadian Air Force, to be specific... Again, neither within the domain nor the purview of  DFO or the Canadian Coast Guard. They can address their questions to the RCAF's 436 Squadron, who will be able to inform them in short order who they actualy receive their marching (or in this case, flying) orders from.

As for Trenton's 424 Rescue and Transport Squadron, I don't think they would consider freeing up SAR (Search and Rescue) assets for a situation like this, owing to the fact that they are responsible for a staggering  10,000,000 square kilometer area. Yes... that's Ten Million Square Kilometers...

So yes... to our American, European and even our Canadian callers who vociferously bent our collective ears over this incident, Canada is a really, really, really big country. No, it is not realistic to think or believe that every animal can be saved from death by misadventure on their part. This is actually how the world turns, whether you decide to accept and embrace this truth or not. So the next time you get the urge to jump on a bandwagon initiated by some self-appointed saviour of the Earth, do yourself a favor and research the topic and the location of the purported event a little. This will hopefully prevent you from feeling foolish when the facts are made plain for you to see.

As a side note, for you polar bear lovers out there, all the commotion around the ice hole where the orcas were trapped attracted a large polar bear to the scene. Polar bears are also a species of concern in the Far North. Their survival is also being put in jeopardy by the changes in the Earth's climate, very much as the orcas were. This bear was unceremoniously shot on the spot. Had we humans not been there, he would still be alive, going about his business. So... spare me this type of 'selective empathy' for the animals with which we share this planet.

I am not the most intelligent person I know. I can list quite a few people to whom I would defer on a number of topics. I consider myself only somewhat educated, as education for any individual, ought to be a life-long process. But I do like to pride myself on being intelligent. The two, in passing, are not always mutually inclusive. There are no end to the people out there who are 'over-educated and under-smart'. Yet for all of my so-called lack of sophistication or degrees after my family name on a letterhead, I feel so-ooooo much more clued-in than people I have been speaking to of late.

I can understand, even empathize with people who give voice to their concerns regarding the preservation of animal life on this planet. I myself am a great proponent of this. It is hard, if not impossible not to be moved by the videos which have been circulating online over the last few days. I get it. But you have to termper this concern with a healthy dose of reality as to how things actually are. If the videos upset you to that degree, then here's an idea... don't watch them. I know we all possess a certain amount of morbid voyeurism, which draws our eye to some terrible spectacle when we are confronted by it. It's like the feeling of happening on a bad car accident. You know you shouldn't look, but somehow you can't help yourself. But you have to know how to cut it off. The world rarely operates following our whims and wishes, specifically when we are talking about the elements of Nature itself.