I hate guns. They terrify me. I have never owned one and never will. I have little sympathy for the gun culture or the gun lobby. Both seem crass and crude. If I had my way, guns would not exist. But -- and this but is the size of a Liberal grant -- we do not live in a perfect world and I am prepared to admit that reality sometimes stings.

More than this, the relative lack of gun control legislation in the United States had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with a 6-year-old in Michigan shooting another child to death. Nor had it anything to do with other child killings, with murders by street gangs, with any of the shootings in Canada.

Indeed, gun control is one of the great misnomers of modern times. We cannot control guns and we don't have to either. What we have to control is the decaying social fabric of North America and our headlong rush into an ethical vacuum.

Good God, this one isn't rocket science. A few fundamentals:

    Guns are extraordinarily common in Canadian and American rural communities, where the crime rates are lower than anywhere else in either country. Farm kids shoot from an early age and are in the company of firearms before they can walk. Yet there are hardly any violent rampages and so-called accidental discharges of weapons.

    Guns have existed in very large numbers for more than two centuries. They were common among ordinary families from the 1740s. Children did not kill with them. After 1945 Canada was flooded with handguns brought home from Europe and Asia by soldiers. Teachers of the time report of half of the class bringing dad's shooter to school. These were military weapons, deadly and efficient.

Were there mass slaughters? Of course not. But according to some zealots, it's all about registration. So just who are these people so anxious to tell us what to do and how to do it?

Curiously enough, the activists campaigning for draconian gun control seem to be the same activists who are calling for a lower age of sexual consent, for more children's rights, for increased funding of daycare rather than support for families, for a wholesale dismantling of the society that has served us so well for so long.

If you doubt me, just take a look. It is an almost infallible rule that the more permissive a person is on social and moral issues the more in favour they are of strict gun control. Coincidence? Please. It is not that such people are sinister, simply that they are wrong. Dangerously wrong. Ignore the disease, misinterpret the diagnoses and then prescribe the wrong medicine.

It's too late for that nonsense now. The patient is dying and we have to operate fast. As for the ailments, they should be obvious.

Single-parent families and the absence of male authority figures. Parents never seeing their kids because both are working and junior is parented by the television. Teachers emasculated and unable to chastise children who instead revel in their thuggery. An obsession with the self-esteem of kids who in fact scream for boundaries and borders. Endless discussions about children's feelings, encouraging them to act out the slightest whim.

Constant attacks on the virtues of family, chastity, faith, respect, order and tradition. TV that deadens the mind and the sensibilities with graphic violence, grotesque pornography and vacuous pop videos, and then hosts long discussions wondering why kids are going wrong.

I want, I need, I must have, I know, I am, I rule, I'm cool, I'm everything. You're nothing, you're not me, you don't understand, you suck, you don't matter. And I'm the centre of the universe. I know it because I feel it and nobody dares tell me otherwise.

Laugh when Jimmy uses obscene language, believe that Susan can do no wrong even when the cop and the teacher tell you otherwise, decide that your "self-fulfillment" in some job is more important than Jake seeing his mother when he comes home from school, and say you can't control what Brittany watches on television when you haven't even tried.

It ain't about guns, it's about you. And you, and you. Don't blame mechanics for your own madness.

Michael Coren is a Toronto-based writer and broadcaster

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