Whether it’s a Kony 2012 campaign or Bieber Fever, it can be very difficult to avoid getting swept up in a flurry of excitement to look for the truth amongst a pile of PR and half truths.
Business student Kraig Jacobson has stepped in a heaping pile of Canadian cow pies by neglecting to declare a gun he had packed away in his motorcycle at the Niagara Falls border. Canadians may be polite, but apparently they have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to gun-related incidents.
On the surface, it appears that Jacobson has been the victim of poor communication and a lack of consciousness on his part. While riding cross-country to raise awareness for cancer research with Relay For Life, Jacobson and his brother Kevin attempted to cross the border into Canada on July 15. When Jacobson was asked by customs to declare any weapons he had, he said he forgot about the gun he brought for protection while camping and told the policemen that he did not have one.
When stopped by customs a second time, he remembered and declared the gun. He was told he would be released the next day, but after 18 days of captivity, he was charged with smuggling a gun with malicious intent and lying to Canadian officials. He now faces six months in prison but he will not have his day in court until Jan. 24, 2013.
Jacobson had just enrolled in class, signed a new lease on an apartment in Orem and was in line for a promotion at work. He has subsequently withdrawn from classes and cannot leave Ontario until that January court date.
While this very well may be exactly how things happened, there is a lack of comment from the Canadians and in this world of political spin, trusting one source is a perilously risky proposition. This story has all the makings of an international incident and includes several hot button issues such as gun control, border security and immigration, but there is an eerie silence from local leaders.
One thing is certain, Jacobson is guilty of poor judgment at the very least. It’s unclear whether he had a permit and even if he did, the question remains as to whether it was valid in every state he traveled through. Is it possible to forget about a firearm that is literally three feet away from you at all times?
The easy road would be to make comparisons between our countries, opine about our constitutional right to bear arms versus Canadian socialist anti-gun laws, get all worked up and make a call to action, demanding that Canada release him. But dig deeper: What if the roles were reversed and a Mexican came across our border with a gun and “forgot” to mention it? Would it be racist to be more cynical because they came from south of the border?
Canada has a right to protect their border no matter how silly it may look to those on the other side, and it appears that our government officials will be content to let Canada handle their own business.
So in an odd declaration, this call to action would have to be to pause and collect more facts. Do I want Jacobson released? Of course, but maybe, just maybe, there might be more to the story. So before we invade Canada and send in SEAL Team 6 to extract him, let’s let them present their case.