Gamil Gharbi’s Crimes Okay To Gaslight Gun Owners, Men — But Don’t Use His Name

Apparently, using the birth name of a mass murder is wrong. But using his crimes to push agendas against men, and legal gun owners gets downplayed.

1. Gun Rights Are Essential, Need Protecting

The freedoms of a society can be gauged by the laws and attitudes they have towards firearms. Governments, and other groups can push around an unarmed population much easier than those who can defend themselves. It’s not conspiratorial to wonder about those pushing for gun control. In fact, healthy skepticism is needed for a society to function.

2. Quotes From The Article

This also now occurs when the Montréal Massacre is discussed. Mainstream media frequently avoid naming Marc Lépine, the legal gun owner who used his Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle to kill 14 women in 1989.

Some opponents of gun control, however, still name the shooter. But they often employ Lépine’s birth name: Gamil Gharbi. In doing so, these members of the firearms community seek to “other” the gunman — to distinguish him from other gun owners, and to intimate that he was not a “real” Canadian firearms owner.

Invoking his birth name raises the spectre of stereotypes associated with “foreigners,” especially Muslims — themselves the victims of a mass shooting in Québec four years ago this month.

For anyone who has followed this at all, the massacre by Lépine/Gharbi “has” been used for political agendas. Specifically, it has been used to push gun control measures, mandatory minimum jail sentences for gun crimes, and to narrative of women being the victims of male violence.

The author makes no mention whatsoever of the gun control legislation being advanced as a result of Gharbi’s crimes. There is also just passing mention of the anti-male narrative that has resulted.

Instead, the outrage seems limited to one point: that Marc Lépine’s birth name, Ghamil Gharbi is frequently used. That name is (supposedly) used to point out his Muslim heritage.

Lépine was born in Montréal. His mother was a French-Canadian nurse; his father was an Algerian businessman. Lépine’s parents split up when he was a child, and his mother returned to work to support the family. At 14, his name was legally changed and he took on his mother’s pre-marital surname.

Groups representing firearm owners frequently seek to define gun violence as mostly a problem of criminal gangs. They argue that the licensed firearms community is responsible for few of the illicit drug-related shootings that grab headlines in Canadian newspapers.

That’s true, though those same groups are reluctant to discuss other kinds of gun violence, including domestic homicide and suicides, which often involve legal firearm owners.

The fact that the Montréal Massacre shooter had acquired a licence to purchase his rifle (then called a Firearms Acquisition Certificate) is problematic for the gun community.

The author admits that one of the main defenses is true: that legal gun owners are not responsible for bulk of the gang and drug related deaths which are rampant in cities like Toronto.

No mention of the bulk of the guns used being illegally obtained, and many smuggled in from the United States.

Law-abiding gun owners are rightfully upset when the horrific crimes of a few people are used as justification to crack down on their rights.

How is it a problem? Yes, he did have a license at a time. And to get it, a person would have to undergo a police background check. And a license can be suspended or revoked for many reasons. By contrast, people who want to commit serious crimes with a gun won’t be deterred by an illegal firearm possession.

The solution therefore for some Canadian firearms owners is to distinguish Lépine from other gun users by referring to him as Gamil Gharbi.

Politicians and gun control advocates try to lump them in with people like Gharbi, and get new laws passed. So, distinguishing themselves is important. They differentiate from Gharbi by pointing out that the vast majority of them are not committing crimes.

As a side note: why would using his name be bad? After all, aren’t all cultures and religions equally valid when it comes to respecting the rights of women?

As historian Karen Dubinsky correctly noted in 2009:
“Right-wing Canadian males seem eager to name Lépine as Gharbi, because to them this means he was a product of North African, not North American, culture … this proves the foreignness of Lépine/Gharbi’s misogyny and tells us everything we need to know about Algerians, Muslims and the rightness of the War on Terror.”

Gun control advocates love to tie Gharbi to the community that owns and uses guns — LEGALLY — but feign outrage when the community pushes back. No decent person wants anything to do with him, or his violent ways.

It’s interesting to bring up the War on Terror. In reality, this is a series of wars America will fight in order to obtain regional hegemony for another country. PNAC, (the Project for a New American Century), is something Neocons support, but actual right wing Canadians and Americans don’t.

Some gun owners have been particularly keen to refer to Lépine as Gharbi.
For example, an organization called Justice for Gun Owners wrote in 2017 that “radical feminists like to portray Gamil Gharbi as a typical Canadian male, but this is very far from the truth.” He was, rather, “the son of an Algerian wife beater.

In 2018, the National Firearms Association published a letter in its official journal that connected several mass shootings to immigrants or people of colour.

The writer admitted that he might be “stepping onto a slippery slope,” but said he could not understand why the media still used the name Lépine when “in point of fact, his actual name is Gamil Gharbi and he was born the son of a reportedly abusive Muslim immigrant from Algeria.” He asked how the home life of Lépine differed “from the average law-abiding Canadian gun owner?”

Since the Canadian Government is hesitant to release statistics on race and crime, let’s use F.B.I. Crime Statistics. In 2019, there was one group, which makes up about 13% of the population, but consisted 51.2% of all murders, 52.7% of all robberies, and 41.8% of weapons related arrests. These numbers are pretty consistent year after year.

Does it mean all people from a certain group are bad? Of course not, but just disparities cannot be ignored.

Gharbi is used as an example to shame and humiliate men, or legal gun owners, and it’s no problem. But mention his Algerian ancestry, and suddenly it’s a big deal.

Blaming immigrants or people of colour for gun violence is not new in Canada. Historically, Canadians have often ascribed a tendency towards violence to people of some races or ethnic origin.

Today, however, invoking the birth name of the Montréal Massacre shooter is an attempt by some gun owners to avoid taking any responsibility for violence in Canada, and to instead distract by pointing fingers at immigrants and people of colour.

It’s part of an effort to say that law-abiding gun owners (or LAGOs, as some call themselves) are never the problem.

There’s just one problem with this argument. Lépine was a licensed gun owner. That troubling historical fact should not be forgotten.

Nice strawman. It’s disingenuous to claim that licensed gun owners say they are never the problem. Some have committed serious crimes. However, people who who do follow the law do not want to be involved with those who do.

No one is blaming all immigrants or all people of colour for all violence. Individual people should be held responsible for the actions they are engage in.

That being said, certain groups do commit very disproportionate levels of violent crime. Taking a look at Toronto’s most wanted, does that look like it’s old-stock Canadians committing them?

It’s entirely possible that the author has little knowledge about the politics that Gharbi helped advance (intentionally or not). However, the tone and content comes across as condescending, and as gaslighting.

3. Selective Outrage Over Gharbi Shooting

The content of this article reflects almost perfectly how partial and selective people can be over this. Either he is completely unaware, or just makes an argument in bad faith. There’s no discussion that this mass murder helped advance the gun control agenda. Not a word about the harsher prison sentences that were made law because of this. It’s briefly mentioned — but not condemned — that feminist groups use this event to criticize men in general.

But don’t use his birth name: Gamil Gharbi.
Don’t mention his Algerian heritage.
Don’t refer to him as a Muslim.

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