The government here is celebrating. Only 41 deaths from coronavirus notified in a 24-hour period. That confirms their intention to reopen the hospitality sector, and reduce the supposedly ‘safe distance’ from 2 metres to 1 very soon.
Only 41! Hurrah!
Think about that 41. Those people had husbands, wives, children. Relatives including aunts, uncles, and cousins. They had work colleagues, as well as lifelong friends. For every one of those 41, you can add at least 100 people who will be affected by their death, for the rest of their lives.
So to my mind, that should read 4,100, not 41.
And if you see it the same way as I do, you will surely agree.
41 is still too many.
The recent mass murder in Nevada has once again brought the subject of gun control into the media spotlight. Debates about the Second Amendment, the availability of converted weapons to fire on fully automatic, and the laws that mean some people, in some states, can own as many guns as they can afford to buy. In many American towns and cities, carrying guns at all times is completely legal. These can be openly displayed, or concealed about a person, depending on where you live. Background checks are random, and gun shops are often laid out like superstores of lethal weaponry.
I have many blogging friends who live in the USA. At least three of them own guns, and defend their right to do so, for various reasons. The most prominent of these being the fear of home invasion, robbery, burglary, a random attack in the street, or whilst driving. Given the proliferation of firearms of all kinds in that country, I can understand why these are real fears. As I have said before, I don’t have to live there. Another side to gun ownership is the action by the police, when apprehending suspects or attending 911 calls. They tend to presume that any culprit will be armed, and this generates a fear that manifests itself on occasion by the ‘shoot first’ policy that has caused so much outrage in that country. But if you were an American policeman, approaching a scene you were unsure of, then what would you do? We cannot really answer that, unless we have been in that situation.
Despite the recent uproar, the archaic Second Amendment is unlikely to be repealed. We have all heard the old arguments about that ‘Right to Bear Arms’.
“If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.
And many more…
But the fact is that banning personal ownership of guns will eventually make it harder for criminals to get them, whatever the arguments by the NRA. It is also indisputable that criminals and robbers will tend to carry guns more often if they believe that their intended target or victim is armed. And it is worth noting that the worst shooting atrocities in the USA are not carried out by criminals, or those from ethnic minorities. Most of them, including the recent Nevada shooting, are the work of white men, with apparently ‘normal’ lives, allowed to buy and accumulate weapons and ammunition in large numbers.
Carrying your pistol to fight off a street robber wouldn’t have done you much good against that determined sniper in a Las Vegas hotel, after all.
In the UK, in 1996, gun club member, and self-confessed ‘gun nut’, Thomas Hamilton entered a school in the small town of Dunblane, Scotland. He was carrying four legally-owned handguns. Two Browning Hi-Power 9 mm pistols, and two .357 magnum revolvers. He also had almost 750 rounds of extra ammunition. In the school gymnasium, he shot and killed sixteen children under the age of eleven, and one adult teacher, before shooting himself dead. The reason why he did this remains unknown. Following this shooting, the gun laws in Britain were radically revised, making it almost impossible to legally own a handgun.
These statistics from the Internet give some indication of the differences in gun deaths in the UK and the USA. They include Police shootings of suspects.
“In the United Kingdom, in the most recent year for which I have data (2011), the gun death rate from all causes was 0.23 per 100,000. That works out to about 145 in 2011.
In the United States, for the year 2014, the gun death rate from all causes was 10.54 per 100,000. That works out to 33,612 in 2014.
The UK gun death rate is one of the lowest in the world for the very simple reason that few people have guns.”
In one year alone, 2014, 33, 612 people died in America, as a result of someone using a gun. Just one year, and that was three years ago. It doesn’t include so many shooting incidents that have happened since. What will it take, for you to give up your guns, America?
Today, the news programmes here have shown reports of significant falls in unemployment. Government figures ‘just released’ purport to show an improvement of up to eleven percent, depending which channel you watch. What consciousless liars these people are. Both the Government, for spreading these falsehoods, and the news media, for reporting them. What really makes me angry, is that they expect us to be so brainless, or thoughtless enough to just soak up these figures, and believe that the recession here is over, and things are beginning to look bright. The present administration shows so little regard for what they obviously see as a bovine underclass, they don’t even bother to present accurate proof, to back up their claims.
Anyone who has the remotest interest in what is actually happening in this country can see what is really going on. People are being removed from the registers of the unemployed, in a cynical ploy to make it appear that unemployment numbers are going down, and job seekers actually have some hope of a future. So, who are they not showing in their figures?
Anyone on a compulsory re-training programme. Not unemployed. Anyone struck off of benefits for any reason. Not unemployed. Youngsters on mock ‘apprenticeships’. Not unemployed. People with no jobs, forced to work in supermarkets and retail shops to receive benefit. Not unemployed. Those unable to work due to disability or medical problems, and lucky enough to have got through the new tough tests for same. Not unemployed. If someone tries to start a business, rather than claim benefits, but they do not actually earn any money from it. Not unemployed. And the worst of all, those on ‘No Hours’ contracts. They have no set work pattern, and can be offered some hours, or no hours. Technically, they are employees of a company that can use and abuse them at will. No holiday pay, no sick pay, and no redundancy. No pay for meal breaks, and insufficient hours to get past the employment laws, but sufficient hours to reduce any benefits claimed. Not unemployed.
What happened to shame in this land? Where is the shame of the Government, for colluding with big business to engineer this situation? Where is the shame of the so-called opposition parties, for not fighting the Government, and speaking out against these practices? Where is the shame of the news media, for reporting the lies, and not exposing the truth? And where is the shame of the greedy employers, taking advantage of young and old, at the lowest time in their lives?
Well, I still feel shame. I am ashamed to live in a country that tolerates this, and under an administration that seeks to continue to do more of the same. I am ashamed and sickened by our ever tamer press and TV, that plays the game, to avoid pressure; and most of all, I am ashamed of the coalition in power, that is trying to return this country to the darkest days of Victorian values.