I cannot watch the news at the moment.
I have no wish to see intrusive reporters sticking their microphones in the faces of hysterical children and grieving parents all in the name of ‘current affairs’. This is nothing to do with the news, and everything to do with our insatiable need to rubberneck.
It is like watching crows swooping on road kill.
Nevertheless, I am following events on news sites as they unfold, and finding myself increasingly frustrated by what I read.
I am now going to rant. What I am saying is not pointing the finger at Americans as a whole nation. That would be rude and stupid. What I am saying is in direct response to things I have read on news sites today, and to the people who support these things.
People are saying that Obama’s statement was a case of crocodile tears, and that he is merely underlining how useless he is.
They are saying that he has no right to say that when he heard the news of what had happened, that he responded to it as a ‘parent’ first and not a politician.
They are saying that it is time for him to step up and do something.
I do not think that having a perfectly valid emotional response to such carnage makes someone weak and ineffectual. Would you rather see a cold automaton who has no fellow feeling running your country?
I guess the answer to that is: ‘Yes. You would.’
In which case I feel utterly sorry for you.
I would ask you this. If the same words came out of George Bush’s mouth, would you be the first standing in line to pat him on the back and say what a marvellous fellow he was?
I guess the answer to that is: ‘Yes. You would.’
Which makes me think that you are total hypocrites, and the fact that you are willing to use this moment to attack a president because you don’t like him, rather than do something positive for your fellow country men is fairly appalling to me.
I would ask you to ask yourself that if Obama did handle his statement in a business like and ‘unfeeling’ manner wouldn’t you be the first to jump up and down screaming about what a cold and heartless bastard he is?
I think the answer to that is: ‘Yes. Yes you would.’
It seems that everything you say can be discarded because you are only interested in making him a villain. You wonder why he cannot do anything? It is because people like you do not let him, because you cannot afford to let him be the good guy, because then where would you be?
How terrible would it be for you to be wrong?
More terrible than doing anything positive or useful to help your own country, clearly.
It has been less than a day since the shooting. What would you like Obama to ‘do’ exactly? The way the political system is set up in America is as a series of checks and balances, which stop one person or one party having complete control and making policy based on their individual or party desires or needs.
In order for anything to be done there has to be consensus. As a president alone he is powerless. He may be able to motivate his own party to take a stand. He may be able to try and sway those who oppose him. His speech indicates that he might actually already be trying to do that (and I am aware that he did say something of the sort in his last speech when something like this happened, and nothing changed). He might actually be able to ‘do’ something this time, but he certainly won’t be able to wave a magic wand and make it happen overnight. What you are actually saying is:
‘Why isn’t Obama a wizard with magical powers?’
‘Why can’t Obama overturn the entire political set up of the USA just so that I won’t be able to say he is a pussy?’
What I say is:
‘Are you a fucking idiot?’
I think the answer is: ‘Yes. You are.’
If Obama did do what you accuse him of not doing, wouldn’t you be the first in line screaming about the fact that he has a) created a dictatorship and stolen your rights, or b) turned America into a communist country?
I think the answer is: ‘Yes. You would.’
And you have no idea what living under a dictatorship or living under communism is, or you wouldn’t trot out such pathetic bullshit every time someone tries to take your dummy away.
Now is not the time to talk about gun control – you are being disrespectful to those who have lost their children by even trying to do so
And you are not being disrespectful by trying to stop people whose children have just been murdered by a guy carrying two legally bought hand guns, and who blew the window out of a primary school with his gun, and then shot an entire kindergarten class dead, even thinking that if gun control had been in place, this might not have happened and they could be tucking their babies into bed tonight?
Or if it had happened, it might have been much less serious, because it would have been so much harder for this man to find, buy and use these weapons, despite his disturbed mental state.
Do you not think that for those parents, those thoughts are at least percolating through their heads? I do. I know if I were in that position, God forbid, I would be asking lots of questions about what could have been done differently to protect my children, and people saying that this is not a time to debate that are wrong.
I think of the woman I listened to on the radio here in the UK a few weeks ago. Her husband had his throat cut in a bar this time last year, by a man who broke a bottle on the edge of the bar and used it to slash his throat with. Her husband died.
This lady is campaigning to make sure that things like this cannot happen again, by trying to replace all glass bottles and glasses in city centre night clubs and pubs with plastic ones (Bottle Stop Campaign). She is using the power of what happened to her husband to try and save other people from what she is going through herself. She is not burying her head in the sand and saying ‘now is not the time to talk about this.’ Now is the time.
People have already spoken to me about the knife attack on school children in China which also happened yesterday, as if somehow that makes the fact that 26 people got mown down in Connecticut somehow fairer or more ‘normal.’
I agree that the knife attack in China was horrific. But I would say that 22 people were injured. Of those, only two of them are in serious condition, and the last time I read about it, all of them were alive.
Gun control needs talking about. It needs talking about now. Actually it needed talking about yesterday, last month, last year. Now is too late. Tomorrow is definitely too late.
Your argument that it is disrespectful to talk now is simply twisting the facts and using them for your own ends. You have no real care for the victims, you have fear that if we talked about it now, something other than what you want to happen might get done.
What are you so afraid of?
Why do you think a gun will protect you or make you safer?
I do not understand why Americans feel the need to own guns. I know all about the second amendment by the way. It does not say that you can own guns so that you can walk into shopping centres, cinemas and schools and blow innocent people’s lives to bits, and I think that if the people who wrote the second amendment could see how it is being used to destroy their country today they would be horrified.
The second amendment talks about the right to defend yourself. It talks about the right to defend yourself should your government or those with power over you abuse that power. It refers to the ability of the public to form a militia to protect their civil rights from abuse.
What about the civil rights of the twenty parents who have to see an empty bed where a child should be?
The second amendment does not talk about the right to equip yourself with a personal arsenal because you are a fucking fruit loop acting as if you have a god given right to dictate what every one else does because your gun is bigger.
Guns don’t kill people – people do
Agreed, but they are much more effective at killing when they are armed with guns, and if it’s harder for them to get and use those guns, it’s harder for them to kill people.
And before you trot out the arguments about Dunblane and Hungerford in the UK, save your breath.
Since Dunblane the UK has tightened its gun control laws considerably, and we have had way fewer gun related deaths since then. Dunblane and Hungerford, although tragic and devastating, were years ago. In comparison to gun tragedies in the USA, where there have been at least six incidents involving multiple deaths through fire arms abuse this year alone.
Ditto Australia, where one massacre too many led to stringent gun control, and amazingly, a huge dip in gun related tragedies thereafter.
I also know about the fact that Canada, Israel and Switzerland also have laws which allow people to own guns, and that very few people in comparison die there of gun related crimes and activities. These instances are quoted at me as if it somehow makes it alright that American citizens can have guns, even though they have consistently proved that they are unable to be trusted owning guns.
What fascinates me is that what you are saying effectively is that it is nasty people owning guns that is the problem, not guns themselves.
OK. But taking guns away from nasty people is an effective form of damage limitation right? Because knifing people is much slower and harder to do for a start. Making bombs is trickier and more time consuming. So restricting access to guns, if not taking them away entirely, could be the first step in stopping nasty people doing really nasty things.
And if really nasty people found it a lot harder to do really nasty things to people, wouldn’t there be less need to buy and equip yourselves with guns to protect yourselves?
And what does it say about your country, that there seems to be a higher percentage of nasty people there than anywhere else?
So what are you doing about that? Where is the support for your damaged, your mentally ill people, your lost, your lonely, those on the fringes of society who need treatment and help?
Oh, that’s right, there is nothing, because I bet you don’t approve of Obamacare or any form of free health care or welfare either? Because after all, that is just one step nearer to living under communist rules.
So if you’re not going to help your sick, your needy and your mental people, maybe the only answer is to take away their toys before they lose the plot altogether and wipe their fellow men off the face of the earth?
Just a thought.
This terrible tragedy could have been averted if the school had had guns and the teachers had been armed.
I have actually read this statement several times today in various newspapers.
I am appalled.
So the answer to stopping crazed shooters in schools is to arm the school is it?
Because there are never any fatal accidents involving children and guns are there?
And what about the classroom yesterday?
Those people were killed in under three minutes. That school teacher was going to have to be a pretty sharp shooter, with a gun very close to hand in order to take down the killer before he laid into those children, assuming that he didn’t walk right in and pick the teacher off first.
And what about children in corridors or sports halls or playing fields?
I suspect the answer there would be to make sure all the children in every school was packing a weapon. Just in case. Lunch money, school bag, pistol. Check.
This wouldn’t have happened if the school had had metal detectors at the doors
Firstly the shooter got in through a window.
Are we going to fit metal detectors on all the windows too, just in case?
Perhaps we should dig tank traps outside in the playground as well, while we’re at it.
Secondly, I find it absolutely appalling that schools are fitted with metal detectors. It is insane.
The fact that schools have them chills me to the bone. Seriously. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that this is being touted as an answer to a problem.
It saddens my soul that people are so passionate about having the right to take someone else’s life, because that is what we are talking about here at the end of the day.
We have guns in this country. In order to own one you have to prove that you are responsible, that you store your weapons properly, that you have registered them, and that you have a legitimate use for them. They are hard to get, and that is how I think it should be.
I am not a fan of hunting, but I grew up around farms and one of my best friends is a farmer, and as much as it pains me to say it, there are times, when you work with animals, that a gun is needed. Sometimes animals need culling or putting out of their misery. I am alright with hunting as long as you are hunting something you will eat. I understand people like to shoot as sport, and by that I mean target shooting. I do not imagine that these are the kinds of people who routinely open fire on people in cinemas and schools. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.
These are the times I think a gun could be said to be needed in our current society.
I do not think we need guns for anything else, and anyone who says they do really, really needs to be stringently assessed regarding how they are going to use the weapons they purport to need as their right.
And if you are worried about protecting your property, take the money you spend on guns and use it to support your local police force. In the USA the police and emergency services are voted in by and funded by the public. Give them more money and let them deal with protecting you.
And stop telling me how your rights are being infringed because nobody is letting you play with your UZI or your Glock. It doesn’t wash.
Someone said to me when we were talking about this yesterday that the UK is going to hell in a hand basket as well. It was a kind of ‘he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone,’ thing.
I am not disagreeing. My country is not perfect. There are many things that happen here that make me want to hang my head in shame, and I am just as vocal about them. But I don’t think that we need to compare and contrast here.
America is a world power. How it behaves, what it does and doesn’t do, whether we like it or not (and frankly I am not keen), is played out on a world stage. Just because a lot of Americans are ignorant of what goes on outside of their own state or country, doesn’t mean the rest of the world gets to bury its head in the sand with regard to what America does.
This is a tragedy which has affected everyone who has read about it so deeply, because it touches something at the core of all of us. It speaks to our fear and our worry for our future and for our children. I don’t think it is wrong that we talk about it, just because we don’t live there.
Some of us want to feed that fear and ‘protect’ our future by arming ourselves to the teeth. Others of us think that this is the last thing we should do. Being able to talk about it is surely a good thing?
Sometimes pressure from the outside affects positive change. You only have to look at the plight of Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi to see that. If something one or many of us write, or say, or feel can help stop something like this happening again, then we should stand up and say so. The fact that we can stand up is part of what makes democracy work, and it helps combat this fear that seems to drive so many people to hurt each other.
At least that’s what I think. And it’s my blog.