Sunday, March 18, 2012

Privacy is not Secrecy

Over the last few months, I've been paying attention to the scrapping of the long gun registry. The one common argument that keeps coming up to keep the long gun registry is violence against women and it's really beginning to annoy me. I have never been victimized by a family member and my husband is good to me, but listening to these victims advocates groups, I'm either lying or it's only a matter of time. Why, when debating the long gun registry, is it only female victims that seem to matter?

My husband and I both have possession and acquisition licenses but I only got mine last year. That means for the years prior, he had some mystical power over me because only he had a firearms license. The guns were still in our house and personally I never feared them - but until I listened to the senate hearing debates, I should have. Someone should have told me.

Victims advocates groups seem to work from the idea that everyone (men) are going to break the law. They are going to hurt women, they will control and abuse us and we need to be afraid. I have never feared my dad or my husband.

These victims advocates groups also work from the idea that the more personal data they have on people before a crime is committed the better. Why is that? If someone is law abiding, why do police need access to any of their personal data? It's bad enough that to get a firearm's license, I have to provide some really private information to the police, but after that, what else do the police need? They get my vital stats, medical information, two personal referrals, it's a little crazy. I understand it's for safety but they also do a background check of their own on me. I have an easier time getting into and out of countries.

I have every respect for anyone who has been victimized. They need help, they need due process, they need protection, however, that shouldn't mean victims rights overrules the rights and privacy of law abiding Canadians. As far as I know, Canada is still called a democracy.

I do believe that criminals need to pay the price for what they have done. Criminal laws need to be directed at them. General laws should not be written to punish the law abiding, but that is what's happening. I can understand that once a crime is committed, that person has forfeited their right to privacy. But if a person has not committed a crime, I believe privacy is very important. Having to forcibly supply personal data to the police is tantamount to warrantless searches. I question again, why is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms even there?

Help victims, punish criminals, protect the law abiding and as long as the government can keep that in mind we'll all be happier. Victims rights are important, the rights of the law abiding are just as important and privacy does not mean secrecy.

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