Monday, 13 June 2016

Breaking my rule

I am yet again going to break my rule about not making what could be regarded as being political comment on my blog. I did this after the Charlie Hebdo attack, the attack on Brussels airport, and the Paris attacks, and I will make an exception to my own self-imposed rule should the need ever arise again.

Over the weekend the Western world has experienced yet another attack on innocent people going about their daily lives... and narrowly avoided another. I make the point of mentioning that this attack took place in the Western world because in some places in the Middle East such attacks have become so commonplace that they no longer rate much of a mention in the Western news media. In this case a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was the target, and it would appear that the attacker was that most difficult of terrorists to deal with, the lone gunman.

There was a very animated discussion about the attack on Sky News last night during their nightly review of the newspapers, which ended when one of the newspaper reviewers walked out. Owen Jones seemed to take offence when the Sky News anchor, Mark Longhurst, said something along the lines that there was a question as to whether the attack on the nightclub was a hate crime or a religiously-motivated attack. It is my recollection that Mr Jones relied that it was both, and that trying to delineate between the two was offensive. At the time I must admit that I thought that his reaction was a little extreme, but on reflection I don't think that it was. I believe that this attack was targeted on members of the LGBT community, and that the motivation was religious.

Needless to say my condolences and sympathy go out to the families of the people who were killed.

22 comments:

  1. Well said. My thoughts are with the partners and families of the victims and survivors of this terrible crime.

    Sometimes rules do have to be broken. I generally try to keep politics off my blog as well, although I have made passing references to it from time to time.

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    1. Tamsin P,

      Sometimes world events are so shocking that they cannot go unmentioned, hence my decision to break my own self-imposed rule.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Well said indeed. Not really a political statement but a humanist one that speaks for tolerance but also realism.

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    3. Legatus Hedlius,

      Thanks very much for your supportive comment.

      Having seen the news this morning, I see that certain politicians are already trying to make capital out of this tragedy ... and they wonder why normal people have come to despise them.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. I never write full-on political or topical posts on my blog but, seriously, if you can't tell where I stand on a number of issues and roughly what my political views are, then you're not reading it properly.

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    5. Kaptain Kobold,

      I try to follow a similar policy on my blog, but sometimes I feel the need to make my feelings on certain topics or events known. I may lose a few readers as a result, but that is their choice.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob, I think you are correct to speak your mind wherever and whenever you wish. The events of the weekend obviously have made an impact upon you as they will have on many others.

    I have just come from Orlando where I spoke to many ordinary Americans about world affairs. I despair about the society that they live in on a daily basis, their seemingly ridiculous political system but more so their attitude to firearms. In that respect I am glad to be home.

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    1. Jim Duncan,

      Thanks for your support.

      I knew that you were visiting that part of the US, and I wasn't sure when you were getting back. It was good to read that you are now home, safe and sound.

      I was interested to read your comments about what ordinary Americans think about recent events, and like you, I find their attitude to firearms very odd. It is almost as if they regard their Second Ammendment rights as being more important than the right to life.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob, and Jim,
      Thanks for your support. I spent some time yesterday contacting my elected officials, asking when they were going to do something about the use of assault weapons by civilians. i have no problem with owning a shotgun, or a pistol for home defence, but why I would need a military grade weapon is beyond all logic. Most of these elected pawms of the National Rifle Association have no understanding of the original intent of the Second Amendment, thinking it is to allow citizens to overthrow a tyrranny. Actually it was intended to PREVENT an American Cromwell otherthrowing the legitimate government. that is why we had such a fear of standing Armies.
      Again, thanks for your prayers, good wishes, and concern. hopefully we can one day end this obsession with guns.
      -Steve

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    3. Steven Page,

      I must admit that I do not understand how the following in any way gives a citizen the right to carry a firearm unless they are a member of a properly constituted and lawful militia:
      'A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'

      I understand that it was a ruling by the Supreme Court that interpreted it to mean that any citizen has the right to bear arms regardless of any other consideration.

      The UK has also had an historical fear of standing armies, which was why the army is the British Army, not the Royal Army, and why an annual Army Act had to be passed by parliament to enable it to be kept in being.

      The preamble to the Act went something like this:
      'Whereas the raising or keeping of a standing army within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in time of peace, unless it be with the consent of Parliament, is against law ...'

      Good luck with getting the law changed; I think that you have a long and difficult fight ahead of you.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. No surprise really. The message as taught in the Koran and Hadiths is consistent with such actions. Throw homosexuals off buildings and crush infidels and apostates. The prophet was an opportunistic warrior who taught that humor was bad and Muslims superior to all others.

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    1. James James,

      I've never read the Hadiths but I have read the Koran in translation. It was my understanding that much of its teachings were not that dissimilar from those in the texts used by the other Abrahamic religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Sabian Mandaeanism), which is why devote followers of those religions are referred to as 'People of the Book', and why they should be granted tolerance and autonomy under Sharia Law.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Ever country has it's share of nutters - the problem is in the USA they can get their hands on guns to easily , Tony

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    1. A.W. Kitchen (Tony),

      Very true on both counts!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I think there are some events which need a comment, and maybe more so from people who tend not to share their opinions on everything.

    I agree that it was clearly a hate crime...in this case possibly Islam motivated but it could just as easily have come from the Right. The end result is horribly the same...

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    1. Alastair,

      Thanks for your very supportive comment.

      I hope that the motivation behind this attack becomes clear over the next few weeks. The media seems to be giving out conflicting reasons for this hate crime, and there may well be more to it that we presently understand.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. I agree with several other commenters above, especially AW Kitchens and Alastair, et al.

    It is horrendous that this can happen. I am saddened and sickened by such heinous acts. I don't care what someone's politics or religion are.

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    1. Fitz-Badger,

      I only wish that those who are in a position to do something about preventing such massacres would act.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Replies
    1. Jon Yuengling,

      Thank you for supporting what I and others have written.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. This is probably too long and too political, so feel free to delete it if you think it best, Bob....

    From another forum, posted by a young man, who happens to be gay and has been out since his mid teens:

    "I don't know what it says about me that I can't even feel sad about this because it has happened so much in my lifetime."

    To which I responded:
    "It is more what it says about our [US] society that we have become collectively less and less shocked by this kind of senseless [mass] killing, regardless of who the victims are. What it says about our chronic neglect of mental health care, our feeling that this is a price we're willing to pay for our "freedom to bear arms", and our societal glorification of violence and guns is even worse. Not a pretty picture. If the Newtown elementary school shootings, which occurred less than 15 miles from my home, were insufficient to cause us to act to address these issues meaningfully on a national level, it is hard to imagine what it would take to do so.

    Far less prompted decisive action in Australia years ago, action which has proved highly effective despite the absurd gun lobby's "guns don't kill people, people do" rhetoric, and their attempts to misrepresent the Australian experience."

    And yes, the scary thing is that most of the gun rights wingnuts believe the reason they *really* need the right to bear arms, is so that they can overthrow the Government when it tramples on the rest of the Constitution! That explains why the ban on assault weapons, a meager step but so patently obvious [there IS no other legitimate reason for a private civilian to have these kind of weapons, PERIOD) was NOT renewed when it expired. Heck,even having an automatic expiration of such an obvious, common sense law, which was necessary to get it passed in the first place, speaks to the power of the gun lobby. Oh, and after the original assault weapons ban was passed, the NRA aggressively campaigned to unseat as many of the lawmakers who had voted for it as they could - and with such success that many of our legislators have lacked the backbone to stand up to them ever after and just do the right thing.

    Back when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written, the US was still largely a frontier society. There was no question that the vast majority of the populace absolutely needed firearms for hunting, to protect themselves from wildlife, and in much of the countryside, Indian raids. That was almost 250 years ago, and those conditions have not pertained for over 100 years. Of course, Trump blabbers that the solution is still MORE guns in civilian hands, sop we can all have a modern day shoot out at the OK Corral or something, and the rest of the Republicans, by and large, offer their prayers and do everything they can to block even the most limited of restrictions on gun ownership... and reasonable access to good mental health care. Indeed, in the state of Florida, it is actually ILLEGAL for your physician to ask you if you own a gun... even if you have young children at home, are suicidal, or potentially homicidal. The people most likely to be killed by a gun are... the people living with the same gun in their home. Now just who is it that is crazy?!

    Finally, returning to the heinous Orlando shootings, yes, they probably were motivated by a deadly combination of mental illness, religious zeal-ism, and hatred. Sadly, all that hardly even matters.

    I wasn't *entirely* joking about asking the Queen to take us back! :-)

    Peter Anderson (MD)

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    1. Gonsalvo (Peter),

      Too long and too political? Certainly not. I found what you wrote very informative and cogently argued.

      Eddie Izzard made a pertinent comment in reply to the 'guns don't kill people; it's people who kill people' argument when he replied something along the lines that 'they help; standing there without a gun saying BANG doesn't usually do much damage'.

      On the face of it this appears to be a facetious comment, but it is nonetheless true. If you haven't got a gun, you cannot shoot someone.

      All the best,

      Bob

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