Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Blair Anderson, on the hustings 'canvassing for opinion'

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Guns or dogs - its all drug policy, stupid.

"Brian Rudman: Guns or dogs - controls are essential for the same reason" 25 Apr 2007 -

"The killer dogs were needed because the neighbourhood was unsafe."
At the root of Mr Rudman's concerns is drug prohibition. Arms, Drugs. Protection. Burglary. Violence.

However, in describing or comparing dogs to 'weapons of death' Rudman looses all reason.
NZ Herald: Opinion,

Just as 99.99999% of all NZ guns killed no one this day, 99.99999% of dogs killed no one either suggesting it is neither the gun nor the dog that is the problem 'in law'. It is the policy framework.

Dog biting is actually 'relatively' rare and leading to death truely exceptional. And exceptions usually make bad laws.

Even if draconian dog-laws such as Rudman suggests were able to be enforced it would make little impression on risk of or severity of incidence. It would assuredly lead to more dogs behind fences and on shorter leads resulting in increased 'risk to any and all' from unsocialised dogs.

Similarily, the unresolved tensions in drug prohibition policy are born out bad policy resulting all to often as murder and mayhem in the community. The intersect is there. [Try and take my dog off me 'unjustly'. You'll need the 5th Army.]

Just as guns often feature in drug related violence, it is not from the pharmacology of the drug rather 'the rules, stupid!' The rules' perverse consequence is alienation from rule of law, deviancy amplification and (apparently) the licence for prejudice.

The same can be said for dogs yet 99.9% of all dogs probably contributed both intrinsic and bankable benefit to the community today. So whats going on here? Like the drug debate, it seems always to be 'those' people, those dogs, that area of town....

Dominant groups use money, power, media, design and politics to subjugate subordinate ones. Dominant groups pass and enforce rules that define other's behavior as deviant.

A bit of othering sets the scene 'and the opinions of those people no longer count'. I don't expect an easy resolution of these tensions, especially when I hear on talkback and in media commentary the woeful thoughtless labeling. In this regard Mr Rudman is no exception. However, if its safer communities Rudman wants it is in the drug policy debate where the real social capital will be found.

Guns, Dogs, Drugs. We can't live with them but we can't live without them either. So we better start talking common sense.

Time to Talk?

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