Tag Archives: guns

FOLLOW-UP

Hillary and donald

After my post “Hate will never win,” at least one website stated that I support guns in church.   This is not the case.   Jesus Christ said: “They that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”  (Matthew 26:52).  I do not feel it is appropriate for people to carry a weapon in church.  I will, however, add that I do feel this is a matter of personal conviction.

Forty years ago my wife and I lived in Rhodesia where I worked as a District Officer in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  This meant that I worked in the administration of tribal areas under a District Commissioner.   Although the area we lived in was relatively peaceful, there was a civil war going on and we were allowed to carry guns to defend ourselves.   District Officers had the most dangerous job in the country – many were killed including my predecessor Ian Fyffe and a colleague Jimmy Souter.

I chose not to carry a gun, based on the scripture quoted above.

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On the same website, it was suggested that I support Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton.   For the record, I do not support either.

Mr. Trump sees Islam as the problem in the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.  Mrs. Clinton blames guns.   Note the following comment from Tuesday’s Wall St Journal:

The Choice 
“As the presidential campaign unfolds, Americans will get the chance to decide, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, what kind of approach they favor to combat jihadist terror.   This election’s two candidates, more than any other presidential contenders in the era of terrorism, present starkly different profiles on the subject, notes our Washington bureau chief Gerald F. Seib.   Donald Trump appeared to hint Monday that President Barack Obama may be sympathetic to radical Islamists he said inspired the gunman in the nightclub attack.  Mr. Trump also criticized both the president and Hillary Clinton for what he claims are lax immigration laws that contributed to the rampage.  Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, pushed for stricter gun laws, including the reinstatement of a ban on the sort of assault weapons used by the Florida gunman.  (WSJ “The 10-Point” by Gerard Baker, 6/14/16)

Why does it have to be one or the other?

I remember some years ago a Canadian MP (Member of Parliament) explaining to an American audience the difference between a republic and a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system.   In the United States, on every issue, he explained, the country quickly divides, with both sides running rapidly towards the barricades.   In the Canadian system, on the other hand, both sides start opposed, but gradually work toward the center to achieve a compromise.

America is the only country in the western world where parents and grandparents have to worry on a daily basis about their children and grandchildren going to school.   I called the school of one of my grandchildren recently, concerned about security. I was partially reassured, but only partially.   I do think more can be done, within the parameters of the Second Amendment, which reads:   “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.”  At the time this was written, the threats were both foreign and domestic.   That remains the case today and would include ISIS and those inspired by ISIS, like Omar Mateen.

The right to bear arms goes back a thousand years – it is not peculiarly American.

It was a medieval English king who first ordered that every male over the age of 14 carry a lethal weapon to defend himself against the French.   For centuries the law required that all males do four hours of archery practice after church on a Sunday.   Again, this was because of the threat from France.   English colonists had the right to bear arms before the American Revolution, which would not have happened if the people could not carry guns.   In the French and Indian Wars they had to protect themselves against the Indians – and the French!   Today, the threat is more from radical Islamists and domestic terrorists.   People need to be able to defend themselves, but a balance has to be struck.   Adam Lanza and Omar Mateen – and others — have shown the need for this.

Mrs. Clinton is right on this issue – and may win the election because of her stance.   People are scared and may think that banning assault weapons will stop terror attacks.

But, having said that, I believe that the greater problem lies in our immigration policies.   On this Trump is right.   Something needs to be done.   As if to emphasize this point, an ISIS terrorist went to the home of a French couple barely 24 hours after the attack in Florida, shot dead the man and stabbed his partner to death, all in the presence of their three-year-old son.   On the same day, a 54-year-old Muslim immigrant seized hostages at a Wal-Mart in Amarillo, Texas, holding them for two hours, before he was shot.  Together with the massacre in Florida, the only factor common to all three incidents was the Muslim factor; yet the public is being told the first was due to homophobia and the latter was a “work-related incident.” At least the French admitted the involvement of ISIS.   When are we in the US going to wake up?

When Mrs. Clinton and President Obama ridicule Trump for his stance on Muslim immigration, they are showing an appalling ignorance of history.   Islam tried to conquer the West a number of times in previous centuries.   We are now living through the latest Islamic expansion into the West, made possible by the naivety of political correctness.   The two liberal leaders are also hiding the fact that their best friend and closest advisor, respectively, are both Muslims and that the Clinton Foundation receives a lot of donations from the Middle East, surely a conflict of interest.

 

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While we are on the subject of Muslim immigration, I mentioned in a recent blog, “Confusion Reigns,” that Japan has not got a problem with Islamic terrorism because they don’t allow Muslim immigration.

Within 24 hours of my posting the article, the BBC had a segment on Muslim immigrants to Japan.   The BBC was critical of the fact that Japan was not doing enough to help refugees by taking in Syrian and other immigrants.   It was mentioned that, in 2015, Japan only took in 24 Muslims.   I checked with another source that said it was 27.

It should be noted that Germany took in one million in the same year (not all Muslims), and is expected to take in a further half a million this year.   Additionally, Chancellor Merkel is ready to give 80 million Muslim Turks visa free travel within the EU.

So Japan has taken in some Muslims, but hardly enough to threaten the security of the country.  In fact, it’s hardly enough for a single mosque!

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Since my last posting, it has been revealed that Omar Mateen was a “closet gay,” who regularly frequented the nightclub he attacked.   I am reminded of an article in “Science” magazine written in the late 90’s.   The article showed that scientific research done on heterosexual males showed that the more anti-gay men were, the more likely they were to have the problem themselves.   I have often thought of that article in the 17 years since I read it, as I’ve listened to religious leaders and others rant about homosexuals.   “Methinks they protest too much.”   My apologies to Shakespeare and Queen Gertrude (Hamlet, Act III, Scene II)!

 

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US GOVERNMENT CRISIS HAS GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES

white house shut down

Only in America could this conversation have taken place!

A male immigrant was upset that his ex-wife and her new husband were allowing his kindergarten children to handle guns.  At the same time, he was frustrated that she would not allow him to take the children out of the country on vacation.

So he consulted a lawyer.

The lawyer couldn’t understand the problem.  To him, letting young children learn about guns was perfectly normal but taking children out of the country was very risky.

Most Americans have not traveled.  Some won’t even go to Canada.  Two thirds of congressmen don’t even have a passport.

So it’s not surprising that they do not take the rest of the world into account when making decisions.

Some years ago, Congress voted to change the dates when the clocks are put back and forward.  There was no realization that this might impact other countries (airline schedules, stock markets opening and closing to coincide with Wall Street, international phone calls, etc.).  It caused chaos around the world until other countries could make the necessary adjustments.

We see the same problem again but in a different way.

The government shutdown in Washington DC and the failure to agree on a new debt ceiling threaten the global economy.  It’s not just an inconvenience for those wanting to visit national parks and monuments.  The global economy is at risk.

Does anybody in Congress care?  Rather, the question is, does anybody in Congress understand?  I’m not sure they do.  Like the lawyer who was aghast that anybody would take a child to another country, they are ignorant of the rest of the world.  They haven’t a clue that their indecision threatens the world’s financial system.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, October 14th, Jim Puzzanghera wrote from Washington:  “Five years after the U.S. financial crisis helped cause a deep global recession, foreign leaders are worried that history is going to repeat itself.

“The fiscal impasse that has partially shut the federal government now threatens to trigger a U.S. default that would roil financial markets worldwide, leading an agitated China to suggest replacing the dollar as the international reserve currency.

“As U.S. politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” China’s official state-run news agency, Xinhua, said in an English-language commentary Sunday.”    (“China calls for dollar to be replaced as global reserve currency”.)

The London Daily Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner, wrote on October 14th that:  “The US is recklessly throwing away its future.”  (Article:  “The Sun is setting on dollar supremacy, and, with it, American power.”)  A default would trigger off a financial cataclysm.  That America’s financial pre-eminence  “…could so casually be put at risk by politicians on Capitol Hill is an extraordinary spectacle that may be indicative of a great power already seriously on the wane.”

Explaining America’s global role in the world economy, Warner continues:  “US Treasuries are the very backbone of the global financial system.  They are the supposed “risk-free asset” against which everything else is benchmarked and as such are the collateral of choice in a huge array of financial market transactions.  The dollar is also the currency used to price most commodities, from oil to gold.”

In similar vein, the BBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent Mark Mardell posted the following to the BBC’s website this morning, October 15th.  His chosen title was:  “US shut-down:  A dangerous cliffhanger.”

He compares watching the crisis in Washington to being addicted to a dreadful soap opera.

“You know it has few redeeming merits beyond the entertainment value of witnessing humanity at its worst.  The characters fling themselves from one gratuitous hysterical crisis to the next, barely pausing to reflect on the folly of their ways.  No remorse is one of the rules.”

Note his final comments:  “The world scratches its head in bewilderment.  But it has consequences that go beyond the United States.  Lurching from crisis imperils the world’s economy on an annual basis.

“That’s bad enough.  But it gives democracy itself a bad name, making it look like a system that is not fit for purpose in a modern world.  That is truly dangerous.”

A week or so ago, his colleague at BBC World News America, Lyse Doucet, asked an American expert on the constitution to explain the gridlock in Washington.  He began by saying that the framers of the constitution had intended the US to have an “inefficient” system of government.  Ms. Doucet immediately interjected:  “Well, they’ve succeeded, haven’t they?”

This crisis does not make America look good.  Unresolved, it could cause a collapse of the international financial system and end up costing America its leadership role in the world.

Sadly, a resolution will only be a delay – there is talk of putting something together to last three months, until January 15th.   Then, we will have to sit through yet another long, drawn out episode of the world’s most awful soap opera!

RUBELLA, THE EMPEROR, AND GUNS

Rubella         Emperor          guns

I haven’t had the opportunity to write over the last couple of weeks.

We’ve had sickness in the family.

Our daughter’s two boys have both had German measles (rubella).  Although not very serious, it’s miserable.  A red rash accompanies a very high fever.  Try explaining to an eight-month-old and an eighteen-month-old that it won’t last very long – all they know is that they are miserable and can’t sleep.  In turn, that means parents and grandparents are also miserable and can’t sleep!  Because they live with us, we were able to help.   When our daughter is at work, we watch the boys for up to twelve hours – really exhausting for a couple of seniors.

Our son’s two girls were here for a few of those days.  They also got sick, with a high fever but no rash appeared.  They were immunized for rubella some years ago.  Maybe the fever was rubella trying to break through.  Who knows?

We felt somewhat isolated.  We didn’t get to church for fear of spreading disease.  Rubella can cause congenital defects in babies, so it’s especially important to stay away from pregnant women.

One of our daughter’s friends came over to see the boys.   As she is pregnant, we had to ask her to leave.  We still felt bad telling a friend to get out of our house immediately!

The sickness seems to be over.  Last night, Mom took the boys out for a walk to get some fresh air.  So Diane and I had some time to ourselves.

After dinner we rented the movie “Emperor.”  I knew it had not made it into theaters, implying that it would not be popular.  But I saw it at Redbox and it was only $1.20 plus tax.  So I checked it out as the subject matter interested me.

The movie tells the story of the ten days after World War II when Douglas MacArthur, the US general overseeing the occupation of defeated Imperial Japan, had to make a decision on whether to prosecute and hang Emperor Hirohito for “war crimes.”

In spite of numerous flash-backs that made the movie somewhat incoherent (similar to “Alexander,” another historically accurate box office flop a few years ago), the movie was fascinating, especially the last twenty minutes when MacArthur met the Emperor.

There was no nudity, bad language, special effects or excessive violence in the movie, which may explain why it went straight to DVD.  But I’m glad it’s available.  It saddens me that most Americans have so little interest in their own history.  MacArthur’s decision to save the Emperor, arguably, saved Japan, which remains a loyal American ally to this day.  It could all have gone so differently if MacArthur had chosen to hang the Emperor – which is what Washington wanted.  Revolution and civil war would have likely followed, with Japan going communist like its neighbors China, North Korea, and Vietnam.

It’s hard to imagine so much depended on one man, the Emperor.  Well, two men when you factor in that MacArthur had to make the final decision.

At that time, America’s reputation was at an all-time high.  Today, it’s quite different.

Putting aside the fact that the Obama Administration is rapidly losing the Middle East and that the US government may be in default in a few weeks, small, sometimes seemingly insignificant events can often have a major impact.

Such is the case with the senseless murder of a 22-year-old Australian student in a suburb of Oklahoma.  He was shot by three teenagers who were, quite simply, bored.

Sadly, there was a racial element.  It will be interesting to see whether the press makes as big a deal over this one as with the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmermann case.   Here the victim was white and the perpetrators non-white, the reverse of the famous case in Florida.

The US press may be inclined to leave it alone but the Australian press won’t.   At the very least it will deter Australians from visiting America.  At worst, there is talk of an international tourist boycott of the United States, at a time when our hotel industry and some resorts are already struggling.  The demand is that the US do something about guns.

Most western countries, including Australia, have strict gun controls.  Proportionate to population, the US has more guns than anywhere else on earth.  Yemen is in second place, a country with never-ending tribal violence.  Could this happen in the United States?  Already, our big cities are plagued with gang warfare, a euphemism for ethnic strife.

It’s a tragedy but there’s also an element of farce.  One question the world has is why we can’t keep guns out of the hands of teenagers when they can’t buy a beer until they’re 21.  That’s a very good question.

WHEN WILL THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS END?

Mom cryng

America is rapidly becoming an unsafe country for young children!

Just short of a hundred days after the Newtown school tragedy, in which 20 young children were killed by a lone gunman, another incident has shocked the nation.

On Thursday, March 21st, a mother out walking with her 13-month old son was approached by two teenagers who demanded money.  She said she had none.  So they threatened to harm her son.  One of them then shot him in the face, killing him instantly!

As the two boys who committed this act were only 14 and 17 it’s likely that they will be out on the streets again shortly.  Meanwhile, a young mother’s life has changed forever and her young son is dead.

With so many murders on the news each day, it’s unlikely this will impact the current debate on gun control.

The United States, with a population of over 320 million, has more than 180 million guns in circulation.  That’s more than any other country in the world.  Yemen is second and Switzerland third.  Switzerland is an interesting country – every male there must have a gun in the house in order to be ready to defend the country.  In spite of all the weapons, violence is rare compared to the US.

Other western countries have fairly strict gun control laws.

What’s the answer for the United States?

Ask anybody outside of America and they will answer with “gun control”. About half  of Americans now favor some controls.  Gun controls work quite well in Canada, Australia and the UK.  The UK, with a population of 62 million, had only 30 gun-related deaths last year, compared to roughly 30,000 in the US.  Interestingly, in a reversal of the US experience, it is the conservative political parties in these countries that are most in favor of strict controls.

(Americans who are pro-gun should note – when you go outside the country don’t tell anybody how you feel – they will think you’re dangerous or crazy or both!  You might also remember this when posting on international social networks.)

I asked a Canadian friend, a former schoolteacher, if people in Canada are afraid to send their children to school.  He said “no”.  There are no fears for their safety.

Would Canadian gun controls work in the US?

Frankly, I don’t think they would.  Try to take those 180 million guns out of peoples’ hands and you would have a revolution or civil war.  Even if all the good people gave up their weapons, there would still be plenty circulating for the criminal element.

The pro-gun lobby says that the only solution to a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun.  They even advocate teachers being armed, as they are in Israel, where the country is faced with a constant threat from terrorists.

Our local school, attended by two of our grandchildren, has grandfathers patrolling the hallways.  The grandfathers are not allowed to carry weapons so they could hardly defend themselves or the school against an armed intruder, but they could hopefully call the police before any students got shot.

One solution is to make schools like airports, where security is tight, once you’ve checked in.

One historical fact that should be remembered is that Americans have always had the right to bear arms.  Always.  It was the English parliament in 1642 that gave all Englishmen the right to bear arms to defend themselves against the king, on the eve of the English Civil War.  As the American colonies were English that right was also given to the early settlers.  Without the right to bear arms, the American Revolution would never have got off the ground.

That right was later enshrined in the US Constitution.

Other former British colonies took away that right over the years for one reason or another.  99% of the people in those countries support tough gun control laws.  England will not even arm the police, sentiment is so great against guns.  However, it should be noted that, in spite of strict laws against handguns and assault weapons, people can hunt and can keep a weapon in their own home for that purpose.

The pro-gun lobby constantly repeats the mantra that gun controls don’t work anywhere in the world.  On this they are absolutely wrong.  They do work and the public would not change anything.

But this does not mean they would work in the US.

The rest of the world thinks the United States is a violent country, partly because of incidents like Newtown. This is one reason why foreign tourists are lacking, an economic repercussion of all the violence.  I often get asked when I’m visiting other countries why the US president doesn’t simply ban guns.   The answer to that is quite simple – he can’t!  He hasn’t got that power and most Americans wouldn’t want him to have it.

When we realize that Americans have had the right to bear arms for four centuries, literally from the very beginning as Jamestown residents brought weapons with them,

It should be noted that incidents like Newtown are relatively new.  So easy access to guns is not the only problem here.

In every case I’ve followed over the last few years, the perpetrator of these awful crimes has come from a broken home.  A fatherless home, that is.  2500 years ago the prophet Malachi wrote:  “God hates divorce, for it covers one’s garments with violence”  (Malachi 2:16).  This problem needs to be looked at.  Our local newspaper has been advocating stricter divorce laws for parents with young children, pointing out that 90% of the people in our prison system come from broken homes.  A broken home is usually a fatherless home, as mothers usually get full custody of their children.    Boys need a strong father in their lives.

Divorce is far more prevalent today than it was even fifty years ago.

Another change in the last 50 years is that schools no longer teach the Ten Commandments.  It’s ironic that public schools were first started with the specific intent of teaching the commandments, and now can’t teach them at all.  If children are not learning them at home, how are they supposed to know “Thou shalt not kill”?  If television is a bigger influence in their lives than any religious instruction, they can only conclude that murder is perfectly acceptable as it’s the staple of evening “entertainment.”    If you prefer not to teach your children any religious values, it’s still extremely important to teach them right from wrong and ensure that you are countering all the negative influences around them.

Add to this violent video games, which many young men are addicted to.  The producers will claim they have no effect on people who play them – if that’s true, why do companies spend millions advertizing on television if what people see on TV doesn’t influence them?

Also, drugs.  Again, when these acts are committed, it eventually turns out that the perpetrator was on prozac, or a similar mind-altering drug.

Do something about all of these and incidents like Newtown will be greatly reduced.

After changes are made in these areas, America may still be a violent place, but then the prevalence of guns would be the only factor.  At that time, the gun issue could be addressed.

Clearly, a lot needs to change.  This is why an in-depth national debate is needed, with television presenters questioning the so-called “facts” that are thrown around.  (If Americans knew that parents in other countries don’t have to worry about their children when they go to school, what would be the reaction?)