My 88 year old mother phoned me and asked me not to attend the reason rally.  She said not to go because they have guns down there. Of course we have guns up here in Canada, but she is correct about there being a lot more south of our border and a more pro gun culture.

I told her not to worry. Getting shot at is not something I consciously seek out.  People are getting shot up here in Canada as well.  I still remember the story in a Toronto paper about a New York grandmother getting mugged in our city during the time when New York was the mugging capitol of North America.

But, I have to admit an unconscious bias about guns in the U.S. A few days before, I was making an online tee shirt with a slogan for the Rally and picked out a heart shaped Canadian Flag and a heart shaped U.S. flag.  I could select the placement for these graphics and when positioning them over my chest - it gave me an uneasy feeling.  My gut was saying that would be a nice target to shoot at and poetic for the shooter because they aligned with my actual heart.  So then I dropped them down to belly level - but it just looked silly there.  My final choice was to put them at the back of the tee shirt.  The shooter would have to make an extra cowardly shot. 

Of course this will be a peaceful event and no shots will be fired.  It seems when my mom and I read things like 52% of Alabama voter believe Obama is a Muslim we get a little scared about the thinking down there.  I will attend the Reason Rally and support our U.S. brothers and sisters.  It must take a lot of courage to actually live in Alabama and confront the prejudices there.

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Comment by Russell Pangborn on March 20, 2012 at 1:13pm

Don't the Aussies have an atheist leader?  All hail the land down under.

I never knew my mom and dad were atheists when growing up.  They took me to church occasionally and gave me heck when I would tell them about questioning religious dogma in public school. As a teenager I read Bertrand Russell's "Why I am not a Christian" and was totally sold and told them I was an atheist.  At that time they didn't let me know they were atheists as well.  When my dad retired he started writing letters to the editor in the local paper in defense of atheism and then I knew.

I've been to the States several times and felt safe as an anonymous visitor. My mom thinks it is dangerous to come out as an atheist in a public place - especially in the U.S. where guns are plentiful. I told her there could be religious people in attendance that want separation of church and state - but she thinks this event will be viewed only as an atheist gathering.

Comment by Sandi on March 20, 2012 at 11:42am

Lol, I want to give your mum a hug, she cares for you and wants you safe.

But that really says something for mainstream media reports and as an Aussie that has lived in Texas for five years, understand what outsiders read about America in the news but I also get to actually 'see it'. It isn't as though people walk around armed and ready, but it is surprising how many people are 'gun carriers'. Only this last weekend I saw a guy riding around on his horse, drinking a beer and proudly showing of his leather rifle holster that he made. Yes the rifle was in the holster - the beer in his hand. Now I can't speculate as to whether or not the gun was loaded or not, but it 'amusedly scared' me all the same. The point being that he was ok with it as was the people who saw him, just riding around drinkin' with a rifle, it is not something I would see so up close in Australia. I was very nice to him and told him his leather work was awesome!. Wouldn't you?

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 19, 2012 at 11:52am

These are consistent with all the surveys and studies I'm aware of. What I'm curious about is a source that claims:

"There are more guns per capita in Canada"

Comment by Pat on March 19, 2012 at 11:40am

As to a cite regarding Canada v. U.S. gun ownership, here's a couple:

Reuters - which is based on a 2007 survey by the Graduate Institute of International Studies states the US has the highest worldwide ownership of guns per capita, with Canada coming in third.

Wikipedia uses the same source as Reuters, but there is a disclaimer at the beginning of its article stating that it is factually disputed. And, if you feel like wading through it, here's the Small Arms Survey of 2011 published by the aforementioned Institute.

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 19, 2012 at 11:16am

"There are more guns per capita in Canada"

Do you have a credible cite for this?

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 18, 2012 at 9:19pm

Oh, …this doesn't mean that I think a side trip to Alabama in any way, shape or form; is a good idea, …just so we're clear.

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 18, 2012 at 8:38pm

Just to add, security wise and likelihood of being shot on the Mall in DC, it's way easier to bring a gun to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, …just sayin'

Comment by Richard ∑wald on March 18, 2012 at 8:32pm

Dude, as a Canadian atheist living in the deep southern bible belt (North Carolina) for two years now, the whole gun thing is overblown, seriously. 

Comment by Russell Pangborn on March 18, 2012 at 8:22pm

That is funny! You really think 40,000?  Where am i going to find room to sit? But - that is really encouraging. 

Just letting everyone know I have some hidden biases like the Alabama people.  Hopefully unlike most of the 52%, this post is at least questioning those biases.

Comment by Lorien on March 18, 2012 at 8:14pm

What about the head shot?  There is not much to worry about, you will be one in 40,000. Just watch out for someone who is seeking 72 virgins.....

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