Does Canada Have a Firearms Problem?

According to the latest StatsCan survey, no, we don’t. Less than 3% of all violent crimes committed in 2012 involved a firearm. Firearms homicides have dropped every year since 2009 (a decline of 27%) and 46% of those are gang or organized crime related. Robberies involving firearms have declined by 55% since 1998.

While Canada does have a higher rate of firearm homicide rate (0.5 per 100 000) than countries such as Japan (0.1 per 100 000) and England (0.2 per 100 000), we are on par with other countries where strong firearms ownership (and regulation) is present (Switzerland: 0.5/100 000; Ireland, Italy, Finland: 0.4/100 000). We are, however, nowhere near the United States (3.5 per 100 000).

There’s lots of other interesting statistics in the report linked below, and all of them indicate that firearms are not a major factor in violent crime in Canada.

So why all the hysteria about firearms? I don’t know, but I would hazard a guess that the news media’s “if it bleeds it leads” mentality has something to do with it.

Firearms and violent crime in Canada, 2012


A Great Loss to A Great Writer

Neal Asher reports the loss of his wife: http://t.co/4gaVLmvc6h


Short Review of Jack McDevitt’s Starhawk

Starhawk (The Academy, #7)Starhawk by Jack McDevitt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am a big fan of McDevitt’s Academy Series (often called the Priscilla Hutchens series). I like the character of Priscilla Hutchins, I like the universe he’s created for her, I like the adventure-in-space feel of the novels. Starkhawk is the latest Hutchins book, this time a prequel. McDevitt had once declared that he was finished with the character and that his fans should not be expecting another novel. I am glad to see he lied, but after finishing Starhawk I kind of wish he had stuck with his statement.

It’s not that Starhawk is a bad novel. It’s not, but it is unfocused, too busy and some what dull. The big climax didn’t stand up to the ones in say Deepsix or Chindi. It was by the numbers and not very exciting. I was expecting the roller-coaster feel I generally get when reading and re-reading Academy Series novel, and this time McDevitt didn’t deliver.

What Starhawk does succeed at is to introduce the back story of Priscilla Hutchins, providing the past experiences that drive her motivations in the already published novels. As such, Starhawk succeeds admirably, but it does so at the detriment of the novel itself. McDevitt packs it all in, three separate rescues, two first contacts, a politically motivated series of terrorist attacks and a not-too-surprising twist. Perhaps is McDevitt had had a little more focus and a staged Hutchins’ backstory around a single adventure, he might have produced a more satisfying novel.

Fans of the Academy Series will want to read Starhawk but I can’t really recommend it to anyone not familiar with the franchise.

View all my reviews


Short Review of The Year’s Best Science Fiction Thirtieth Annual Collection

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual CollectionThe Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection by Gardner R. Dozois

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After last year’s somewhat disappointing Year’s Best…, I am happy to see Dozios return to form and collect some very good stories. Nary a miss here, with almost every tale being above par. In fact there are so many superb choices it would be difficult to pick the best of the bunch. We’re I forced to pick, these two would be my choices: “The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward” by Monette and Bear; and “Eater of Bone” by Reed. The first is an addition to their excellent collect of space-lovecraftia started with “Boojum”. This time it’s a more horrific outing with some genuine shivers. Reed’s is another of his Great Ship stories, but interestingly set not on the Great Ship itself, but a failed colony founded by Great Ship passengers.

All around excellent and a delightful return to form.

View all my reviews


Short Review of Bart D. Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and WhyMisquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An excellent introduction to the aims and methods of biblical textual criticism by one of the leaders in the field. By way of examples, the author shows how, when and why the texts of the New Testament were changed and the difficulties in reconstructing the originals. Aimed at the non-specialist, Ehrman presents the field and the major points of its history and the techniques used by textual critics to uncover what the New Testament really says and how the varying texts impact both the message of the Bible and the faith of Christianity.

At the same time, it is not specifically a book for Christians but intended for anyone interested in the history of the New Testament texts and their transmission to the modern day.

Misquoting Jesus will be of interest to anyone in the field of biblical studies, history and religion.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


End Ender’s Game

Orson Scott Card responds to that Ender’s Game movie boycott

Translation: “My intolerant views didn’t win so now I demand that you tolerate them.”

My reply: “Fuck you, Orson Scott Card.”

mouldy squid proudly reads: BROODHOLLOW

Read Moar of My Stuff!!!1!

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What part of ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn, didn't you understand?


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