Samuel’s Musician Of The Week: Sophie Ellis-Bextor Useless information for Monday January 10, 2011

Reaction to the Arizona shooting

January 10th, 2011 at 05:20pm

Yesterday’s shooting in Arizona is undoubtedly a tragedy, the fact that people died is horrible, and that the primary target was an elected representative of the people is horrendous.

I can’t describe how sickened I am by the actions of the shooter. I’m incredibly saddened for the loss of six innocent lives, especially the loss of a 9-year-old girl who attended the event, having recently been elected to her school’s student council, so that she could meet Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Of particular note is that this girl was born on the day of 9/11, and whilst any loss of innocent life is tragic, the fact that we have lost one of the children who represents the hope of life going on despite the best efforts of terrorists, is even more tragic under the circumstances.

I am incredibly shocked and saddened by all of this, and my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by this terrible and tragic event.

I’m am very pleased to hear that Mrs. Giffords survived. The initial reports of her demise were horrifying to say the least, and I was incredibly relieved when the hospital announced that she was still alive. The good news is that, although Mrs. Giffords is still in a critical condition, doctors have confirmed that the bullet did not enter both hemispheres of her brain, something which apparently makes her recovery much more likely.

President Obama has called for a moment of slience tomorrow at 11am US Eastern Time (3am Canberra time). I fully intend on honouring this request and I would ask you to join me…if not at 3am, then at some time tomorrow.

With the immediate repercussions of the shooting out of the way, I must express my extreme disappointment with those who have sought to politicise the dreadful event. There have been people trying to blame the right-wing for this, people trying to blame the left-wing for this, people claiming that the US needs tighter (and unconstitutional) gun laws, and even people (Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, I’m looking at you) claiming that freedom of speech is somehow to blame and that people need to take in to account the possible ways that insane people might misinterpret things, before people open their mouth. I mean really, what utter nonsense.

The pure fact of the matter here is that the alleged shooter is nuts. His rambling blogs and videos are enough proof of that.

Loughner was kicked out of Pima Community College following a series of run-ins with school officials and police at the colleges where he frequently caused disruptions in classrooms and elsewhere on campus, according to The Arizona Republic.

The tensions with school officials led to Loughner’s production of a YouTube video in which he declared the college illegal, the newspaper reports.

The college said Loughner could only return if he received mental-health clearance, according to The Arizona Republic.

Loughner is suspected of posting a series of YouTube videos that show a focus on literacy and currency — as well as his distrust in the government.
[..]
“The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America’s Constitution. You don’t have to accept the federalist laws,” the video’s titles say. “In conclusion, reading the second United States Constitution, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver! No! I won’t trust in god!”

(h/t Fox News)

The second United States Constitution? The government controlling minds with grammar? You look at this tripe and “delusional” is about the most favourable description that you can reach.

Then there are the claims about this guy’s affiliations with various groups (which are being described as right-wing but certainly aren’t representative of what the majority of people would view as “right-wing”) which are denying any involvement with him, and books which he claims to like (such as “The Communist Manifesto”, although you’d have to draw a very very long bow to believe that he adheres to that text).

There are a lot more people claiming that he is a right-wing extremist than there are people claiming that he is a left-wing extremist…but they’re both wrong. He is an extremist for sure, but a very sporadic extremist whose views seem to be based on fantasy and delusion.

It’s easy to discount the notion of him being a right-wing extremist based on the fact that he targeted Gabrielle Giffords, a moderate Democrat who voted against Nancy Pelosi (the person who most on the right despise more than any others in the House) for Speaker recently and is a supporter of gun rights.

It’s equally easy to dismiss the idea of the suspect being a left-wing extremist as Mrs. Giffords also supported some of the favoured items of the left including the economic bailouts and Obamacare, and is a pro-choice advocate on abortions.

Neither side of the divide is responsible for this atrocity. The only person responsible is the shooter. A suspect is in custody and, if he is guilty, it’s plainly obvious that his own problems were to blame for this incident, not the actions of others.

On that note, we move on to the argument which has reared its ugly head again: the idea that the US needs to limit gun ownership. Patently absurd. The only thing which gun control does is give the bad guys an unfair advantage as they will continue to trade illegally in guns long after the innocent have been disarmed by the state…and then when the gun supply becomes even more limited (as is the case here in Australia) the bad guys switch to knives and blood-filled syringes. I know that I’d rather face a gun with a gun any day, rather than face a knife or a blood-filled syringe unarmed. It is also worth noting that another person in the crowd shot at the gunman, an action which may have saved lives and quite possibly distracted the gunman from his targets…also of note is the actions of the brave people who tackled and restrained the gunman, and definitely saved lives.

It should also be noted that banning guns is not a solution, nor is gun ownership a problem. If guns were responsible for killing people, Switzerland (with its estimated three million guns in circulation, in a population of just under 8 million) would have the highest gun-related death rate in the world (instead they had 64 deaths or near-deaths as a result of gun-related violence in 2006…if you can find a more up-to-date figure, do let me know…and no, I’m not interested in the imaginary “300” figure dreamt up by anti-gun politicians in that country). Instead they prove my point that an effective standoff is the best defence as people who wish to harm others with guns know that any attempt to do so is likely to end badly for them…unlike a country like Australia where if, hypothetically speaking, a person were to go on a rampage in the Sydney CBD, many dozens of people would be injured before police could react.

Of course I hope and pray that such a thing will never occur, but it only takes one nut with a gun, and the innocent people nearby will be wishing that they had a gun to put an end to the nut’s reign of terror.

I continue to hope and pray for the swift and thorough recovery of all who were injured in the shooting, and I join in the mourning for those whose lives were tragically lost.

If there is one thing which can be learnt from this event, it is that security needs to be more well thought out for politicians’ public events. The fact that civilians were solely responsible for stopping the shooter speaks volumes to the lack of security at this event. This is where the focus should be…not on political point scoring over the alleged actions of one deranged individual.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: General News,Samuel's Editorials

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10 Comments

  • 1. davky  |  January 11th, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Just in relation to gun control; I seem to recall reading somewhere that the ‘crime’ that gun control (and hence gun availability) has the biggest impact on is suicide.

    Where the guns are available easily, the self harm increases dramatically

    food for thought.

  • 2. Pen 15  |  January 11th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    “I must express my extreme disappointment with those who have sought to politicise the dreadful event.”

    So, no doubt you were disappointed with Andrew Bolt when he politicised the recent boat people incident?

  • 3. Samuel  |  January 12th, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Davky, that is true. I’ve run across the same statistic a number of times. I am however of the view that if people truly want to take their own life, that is their decision to make, and as long as they don’t involve anybody else in the process, they should not be stopped.

    What I mean by “involving other people” is that things such as getting a doctor involved in the process, suicide-by-cop or making a public spectacle, as examples, are not acceptable. If somebody wishes to take their life in private though, then I don’t believe that society has a right to stop them.

  • 4. Samuel  |  January 12th, 2011 at 2:45 am

    I don’t know how you even draw that comparison Pen 15; the two have almost nothing in common.

    The Arizona shooting was the act of (if the suspect is indeed responsible) a deranged individual. Certain people have tried to politicise it by blaming various groups and political persuasions. They are wrong, and what they are doing is wrong.

    The recent “boat people incident” as you put it, was sadly inevitable after the federal government scrapped the policies of the previous Howard government, effectively rolling out the red carpet to illegal immigration. Andrew Bolt did not politicise it, he stated a fact…the event’s facts had their basis in a political decision.

  • 5. Pen 15  |  January 13th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Utterly predictable response, Sam.

    Short version:
    When we do it, we are stating “facts”
    When everyone else does it, they are politicising a tragedy and are terrible people.

    If you even did the slightest bit of research, you would know there is a lot more to the increasing boat people numbers than a change in Australian Government policy. Have you even looked at global refugee trends, or are you just getting your information from the likes of Andrew Bolt?

    I hope the commercial television network you work for is more interested in facts than your “truthiness”!

  • 6. Samuel  |  January 13th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    And if you did some research then you would know that the majority of people arriving on boats paid an exorbitant amount of money to people smugglers so that they could get on the boats. This makes them “economic migrants”…eg. they can afford to pay that large amount of money, and could have come here legally if they really wanted to, but instead decided to thwart our immigration processes.

    Genuine refugees I welcome with open arms, and if we could take more of them from the refugee camps, that would be wonderful, but we have quotas for good reasons, and these “economic migrants” are taking the places which could be filled by genuine refugees, not to mention using (or perhaps I should say wasting) the valuable time and resources of our immigration officials.

    As for your throwaway line at the end, I’m not authorised to make public comments on behalf of my employer.

  • 7. Pen 15  |  January 14th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Are you seriously suggesting that these “economic” migrants lose all legitmacy because they manage to scrape together enough money to try to find sanctuary by boat instead of rotting for years in a refugee camp? If they are so cashed up and not geniunely needing assistance, why wouldn’t they simply buy an plane ticket instead of risking life and limb on a rickety boat?

    Either way, you’re deflecting. The fact is, Andrew Bolt took pleasure in politicising the deaths of these unfortunate people. You refuse to hold him to the same standard you expect of others. To deny this makes you either extemely blinkered or extremely ignorant.

  • 8. Samuel  |  January 14th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    That has to be the stupidest comparison you have drawn to date.

    To get on an international flight, you need a passport and a valid visa. This requires a little bit of extra waiting and requires people to adhere to a bunch of rules and submit to background checks etc. If they were willing to do this, then great, let them in pending their background checks etc.

    The fact is, the economic migrants could afford to go through these legitimate processes if they chose to do so, but instead they have decided to break the rules and try to sneak in to the country illegally. As such, they are not worthy of our compassion.

    Your comment about “rotting for years in a refugee camp” misses the point of what a refugee is. A refugee is a person who has left their country because it is not safe for them to be in their country and, if they stayed in the country, they would be almost certain of serious injury or death. Refugee camps are not only better than staying in the refugee’s country of origin, but they are also safer than jumping on a dodgy boat.

    And if less people tried to enter this country (and other countries) illegally, then perhaps we would have the resources to take in more people from the refugee camps, which would result in faster processing for all genuine refugees who are in those camps.

    As for Andrew Bolt’s views on the matter, no I am not deflecting. You claimed that Andrew politicised deaths, and I pointed out that you are wrong because the circumstances of the deaths was mired in politics. You have now stopped making valid (albeit wrong) points and just jumped back to your original argument with no consideration to the facts that I have pointed out to you, or the lack of logic in some of your other statements.

    Clearly this means that you’re not interested in the truth, and instead interested in some perceived problem with something which Andrew Bolt wrote. If Andrew offends you so much, then stop complaining to me about it, and either stop reading Andrew’s publications or go and complain to him.

  • 9. Pen 15  |  January 15th, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Simple question then, Sam: If they have the means to undertake these legitimate checks and reach Australia in safety, why don’t they?

    And, for the record, you’ve certainly exposed yourself as quite the piece of work. Asylum seekers who arrive by boat are “are not worthy of our compassion”. An absolutely shameful position to hold.

    I guess that would explain the reasons why you fail to hold Andrew Bolt to the standard which you demand of others. Maybe you would feel differently if those unfortunate souls were worthy of your compassion. For the record, I asked you about politicising tragedies not because I have a problem with what Andrew says, but because Andrews words were roundly condemned by many people in the media and I have never seen you disagree with him. Good to see you still have the blinkers on!

  • 10. Samuel  |  January 15th, 2011 at 3:53 am

    I already explained that. They choose to bypass our laws and regulations. They want the benefits of living in our society without the responsibilities that go with it.

    It’s nice to know that disagreeing with you makes me “quite the piece of work”…that’s wonderful, but I don’t appreciate you twisting my words.

    I’ve already explained the difference between “asylum seekers” and “economic refugees”, to an extent in this post and in more detail previously…but I’ll do it again just for you. “Asylum seekers” is a term roughly synonymous with “refugees”, a term which I explained clearly a short time ago as “a person who has left their country because it is not safe for them to be in their country and, if they stayed in the country, they would be almost certain of serious injury or death”.

    An “economic migrant”, which I explained earlier is someone who has paid for their spot on the boat in an effort to bypass our laws and regulations, is not the same as a “refugee” or “asylum seeker”. The overwhelming majority of boat arrivals are these illegal “economic migrants”.

    Asserting that I have no compassion for asylum seekers or refugees arriving by boat is patently false, and quite offensive. I said that I have no compassion for people trying to reach here illegally and failing to make the voyage…which I might point out is often due to their own efforts to sabotage their vessel in order to use our humanity against us.

    Big difference. Very bug difference.

    Andrews words were roundly condemned by many people in the media and I have never seen you disagree with him

    On the topic at hand, I agree with Andrew. The “many people in the media” to whom you refer can go jump for all I care…I have no obligation to agree with them.

    On the subject of whether I’ve ever disagreed with Andrew (nice try to trip me up by combining the two things in one statement), it happens occasionally, but very rarely, and usually when I do disagree with him, it’s only a small point of disagreement. I can’t recall if I’ve written about any of those disagreements and I’m not inclined to search for them right now.


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