”Post mortem examinations by the Edmonton Medical Examiner have determined that all four deceased died as a result of gunshot injuries. It has been determined that three of the deceased sustained multiple firearm related injuries while the fourth succumbed from what appears to be a single, fatal, self-inflicted injury. Investigators remain confident that the person responsible for all four deaths is among the four deceased. In consultation with the Medical Examiner this is now being classified as a triple murder-suicide.” (RCMP “K” Division Media and Communications Services news release, July 29th, 2009)
On July 26th, Slave Lake police received a call suggesting that a homicide had taken place on a property located in rural Alberta. Upon responding to the call, the RCMP Emergency Response Team entered the property and found four deceased persons.
The RCMP, through their investigation and with help from the Serious Crimes Unit, concluded that Ian Jeffrey Paget, 58, shot dead his estranged wife, his daughter, and his nine year old granddaughter. After shooting his family members to death, he turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.
This tragic story highlights one of the arguments I have made repeatedly during my time as a Peace Fellow with the Advocacy Project: guns are more lethal than any other type of weapon.
Firearms are designed to kill, and are able to eliminate many people instantly. According to Statistic Canada’s most recent data, between 1961 and 2003, firearms were the weapon of choice in the majority of homicide-suicides in Canada.
A firearm in the home increases the risk of death at the hands of a violent perpetrator; Ian Jeffrey Paget was able to eliminate his entire family, including himself, in a matter of seconds.
Statistics Canada found that three-quarters of all homicide-suicides in Canada between 1961 and 2003 involved family members, and over half of these cases were committed by male spouses or ex-spouses; ninety-seven percent of the victims were female.
According to a report released by the Alberta “K” RCMP Division in January (the same division to investigate the Paget homicide-suicide), fifty-three homicides were investigated by their Serious Crimes Unit in 2008. Of these fifty-three homicides, fourteen (or twenty-six percent) were the result of domestic violence and six involved intimate partner relationships. Additionally, fifteen of the fifty-three homicides were committed with a firearm, accounting for over a quarter of the total.
In 2006 (a report was not submitted for 2007), twelve of thirty-six homicides (thirty-three percent) resulted from domestic violence, and firearms contributed to twelve (thirty-three percent) of the total number of homicides. In 2005, thirty-one of the forty-nine homicides (sixty-three percent) investigated were attributed to domestic violence, and eleven of the forty-nine homicides were a result of firearms (twenty-two percent).
These statistics illustrate the need for gun control not only to reduce and prevent domestic violence, but violence in general. Many weapons are used to domestically abuse and assault people, but none are more lethal than firearms.
Posted By Elizabeth Mandelman (Canada)
Posted May 12th, 2014