Thursday, April 19, 2007

COURAGE AND TERROR

Blacksburg Virginia joins Columbine, Pennsylvania etc. etc. not only in America of course but it seems, in a strange inexplicable way, less dramatic when it happens there.

Americans must be used to it you might think but you can't in my opinion get used to this, it's not possible, even in the USA where murders are so commonplace and guns are so easy to get, over 3,000 children alone die by gunfire each year. The stories about how easy it is to buy guns are scary, Bush publicly prayed but didn't mention gun ownership, the Republican Party receives millions and millions of dollars from the rifle association, yes really, they commented that 'if the students had all been armed, this would not have happened' ( ponder that )

In a Guardian report we learn that at the time of this incident in a broadcast interview John Bolton former USA ambassador to the UN was asked 'by what right does the USA impose it's values by force on foreign states' he replied simply "Try and stop us" he's a senior American politician ( ponder that ).

Can anything good be said about this ? well actually, yes it can, consider the students who acted on impulse to rescue their wounded friends, at great danger to themselves. Consider the elderly teacher, an Auswitch survivor who blocked the gunman's path by holding a door closed, he payed with his life, we would all like to think that we would show this kind of courage in such a desperate situation.

Will anything be done about guns in America ? While the firearms industry continues to make billions of dollars and give millions to the Republican Party the answer is no.

Picture the scene a guy walks into a gun store and walks out again with a military style heavy machine gun, capable of killing hundreds in seconds. The guy lives quietly with his family goes to church and works in a local factory and no one asks 'what's that all about' ?

In America, money doesn't talk, it shouts and bawls.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your best offering yet!
Congratulations!

fido said...

The worst thing about this whole situation is that people try to score points off the dead, be that the pro gun lobby or the anti gun lobby(both very stong in the US)

Seems that a dignified silence from them is somewhat lacking at this time.

Ali said...

Watch for the rifle association holding some big rally in Virginia. They do it every time there is a tragedy of this kind.

The usual crap- more guns would have stopped this?!?

Monboddo said...

Good post Terry!

Tom Paine said...

Interestingly, Scotland has a higher violent death rate than America.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

tom paine - well that's OK then isn't it.

Brevity, well done.

the_peoples_philosopher said...

well you have even supprised me , that for a muppet you can post some thing as clever as this, makes you wonder though with the ammount of gun crime in london,how long it will be untill we have another terrible incident like the one in virginia or god forbid , dunblane , the restrictions on selling guns in this country must remain as they are to stop this sort of thing ever happening again.

Anonymous said...


Interestingly, Scotland has a higher violent death rate than America.


I wondered about this. Could it be really true? so did a quick search on the internet and found a Guardian story from 2005, in which Irvin Welsh put across his views on the reasons why it could be the case, however the Guradian had to add this note...

"The feature below mistakenly quoted a forthcoming University of California report as claiming that the country's murder rate now exceeds that of America. However, the report combines figures for murder, manslaughter and other "deliberate and non-deliberate deaths" and concludes that Scotland has a higher violent death rate than America. A recent World Health Organisation report, mentioned in the article, gives Scotland's murder rate as 2.33 deaths per 100,000 people. FBI figures released last week put the US rate at 5.5 per 100,000."

http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1596079,00.html

Whatever the case, though, it doesn't take anything away from the blog point that the gun lobby in the USA exists, money is the reason why it exists and is the reason why they suffer these terrible tragedies.

Jim Lewis said...

I think the point that Tom was trying to make is that we tend to be slightly smug when talking about America. We do have a high per capita murder rate, so it's slightly skewed thinking to believe that we are not in the same danger they are.

That being said, I broadly share the view that using the Constitution (or more precisely the Bill of Rights, a wonderful documnet in its conception) is disingenuous at best. The Second Amendment was never intended to allow every Tom, Dick and Mabel to run around armed to the teeth. It was intended to allow for the formation of militias in time of invasion. The NRA simply misuses it. Don't fool yourself into thinking this is Republican/NRa problem though, Terry. The Democrats are no more likely to introduce gun control than the GOP. The gun lobby is just too big.

Broadly, your article seems well intentioned and certainly gives the impression of being from the heart. I agree with most of it.

Shotgun said...

People kill people, and guns are merely a tool.

How many murders in the UK has there been with legally held firearms this year? How many of the 21/7 suicide bombers murdered with legally held explosives?

It's too easy to blame guns for this kind of tragedy and if we should and do then we should look at other tools that kill in the hands of people and blame them, and ban them too. How many knives killed people this year? Ban the lot altogether? How many deaths were there on our roads through cars? Ban them?

Too easy to appportion blame to an inanimate object, and of coure like any industry they will defend themselves.

Just for you Terry...more British people have been murdered by Bliars lies in Iraq than have been murdered by legally held firearms in the UK in the past 50 years.

Tom Paine said...

Guns aren't legally available in Scotland and it's populated almost entirely by Socialists deaf to money's talking.

So WHY is it more violent than the US?

Will said...

Can't argue with that...

Do you find it as baffling as I do that he seemed able to get hold of guns after his referral to the mental hospital and his run-in with the Police over the sexual harassment allegations?

RightForScotland said...

Terry,

Changing the subject slightly.

The European Union's Racism and Xenophobia Directive. DK was quoted in the Telegraph yesterday against it as am I. I was wondering, whould you be against this directive as well? Given your anti-American and anti-Israeli stance a case could be made for you to spend 3 years in the same cell as DK and I.

Tony said...

I am sure the guns issue is not just money related, but a constitutional matter dating back a long way - coupled with an instinctive distrust of Government.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Tony - Charlton Heston could play you in a film.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

RFS - You and DK don't surprise me - for my part I am neither anti American or anti Israeli, I leave that kind of thing to you and your odious crew.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Will - Baffling and frightening.

As I understand it there are states in the USA where you can buy firearms over the counter with no checks of any kind.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Tom Paine - OK if you want to be as simplistic as that my answer is 'Capitalism'

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Shotgun - Was it really necessary for you to write this, the USA and indeed here and other places are becoming more and more dangerous. This situation is not helped by dangerous fools like you.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Anon - Thank you for those comments and for clearing up the stats.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

philosopher - remove the muppet ref. and you sound quite normal, who'd have thunk it ?

Tom Paine said...

Anonymous, if you re-read the Guardian's correction, Welsh's mistake was to refer to the murder rate, rather than the "violent death" rate (which includes manslaughter, justifiable homicide, suicide etc.). I was therefore careful to refer to violent death.

In comparing homicide rates, you need to be careful that America honestly reports figures which include all unlawful killings. We only report cases where the killer was tried and found guilty.

So, if the crime is not solved or the killer is not brought to trial, it does not appear in our statistics. If the killer was mentally disturbed to the extent of not being legally-responsible, the deaths don't appear in our statistics.

So if the V-Tech killings had happened on this side of the pond, the murder rate would not have been affected, either because the guy was mentally disturbed or because he committed suicide and so never faced trial.

Please understand that I am not having a go at Scotland here. Some of my best friends and all that. I was just trying to see if I could get Terry to think as I thought he might like it if he once tried it.

It worked and he concluded that Scotland is violent because of "Capitalism". I don't agree with his conclusion, but I am delighted he thought about it. Well done, Councillor.

Shotgun said...

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Shotgun - Was it really necessary for you to write this, the USA and indeed here and other places are becoming more and more dangerous. This situation is not helped by dangerous fools like you.


Dangerous in what way you moron? Dangerous in the way your leader made it more dangerous by invading Iraq after the security services told him it would result in increased terrorism?

Guns don't kill, people kill, and until you face up to that we will continue to have many killings in the UK, all of which were carried out using illegal guns.

Jim Lewis said...

"Tony said...
I am sure the guns issue is not just money related, but a constitutional matter dating back a long way - coupled with an instinctive distrust of Government."

Yes and no. For the reasons I stated previously, it's a misuse of the 2nd Amendment that causes the confusion.

"Shotgun said...

Just for you Terry...more British people have been murdered by Bliars lies in Iraq than have been murdered by legally held firearms in the UK in the past 50 years."

That may be so, Shotgun. However, the only two Columbine/VATech type killing sprees I can remember, Dunblane and Hungerford, were committed using legally held weapons. This applies also to Columbine and to VATech, and many other US/Canadian killings. I am sickened by the constant defence of the righ to carry weapons deisgned for no other reason than to kill people. In a civilised society, there is no reason to carry a gun. If you hold a conversation with the NRA types, you will invariably find you are talking to someone who believes it to be his God-given right to shoot anyone who comes on his prperty uninvited. We are talking about people with no cocnept of humanity. People who will execute to protect a VCR.

Anonymous said...

Terry time and time again you have stated on your blog that Israel is the problem in the middle east, that it occupies Palestine and so on.

Having stated that how can you now state that you are not anti Israel?

The same also go's re you many anti US comments on your blog.

RightForScotland said...

"anti American or anti Israeli, I leave that kind of thing to you and your odious crew. "

I love you Terry. I am demonstrably pro-American and pro-Israeli. As is DK.

For your part you have called the US a cesspit and used anti-Semitic language in the past. Brilliant. And that is why your blog will also be shut down. Don't worry, you already know your way around BarrL don't you?

Long live the EU.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

anon - Let me try to clear it up for you I am anti Israel, not anti Israeli. Anti America not anti American.

These statements relate to certain policies that they pursue.

It's quite worrying to have to explain that.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

shotgun - you're a real tough guy - and a dangerous fool.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

RFS - I think we have been here before have we not ?

I'll say it again as I have before - I am anti America, not anti American. Anti Israel, not anti Israeli, this is because of their Govt. Policies / actions. I still have to explain this ?

You right wing libertarians are a joke, the going gets tough and you run for help to the authorities that you claim to despise.

Pathetic !

Jackart said...

Terry. Terry. Terry.

"Will anything be done about guns in America ? While the firearms industry continues to make billions of dollars and give millions to the Republican Party the answer is no."

Why do you think that political positions are always influenced by money? (but only on the right - It's quite ok for you and your ilk to vote yourself some more of the state's largesse at my expense)

The American people have demonstrated their support for the right to bear arms democrtatically over two centuries. This is in order to protect themselves from arbitary government (hence militas and the right to bear arms). That is why they remain free and we are mere slaves to our government's will.

It also allows easy access to guns for nut-jobs and Vigilantes. Freedom isn't free.

This means that whilst the murder rate will be high, the individual feels empowered as he can influence crime directly by being able (in thoeory) to defend himself. It fundamentally changes the power of the state and its agents to enter the home for example.

There's a point of principle here. You may disagree with the right to bear arms and its effects, but to sugest that the only reason the Bush administration do so is because of NRA money is foolish - or as you would say "Squalid".

You're attacking the man again Terry, not the Idea. Ad Hominem. Try for once to debate an idea, without calling into question someone's motives, personality or intelligence. (That includes retorts along the lines of "You're a fine one to talk, with your gutter language...")

RightForScotland said...

Terry,

I still love you.

You denigrate a whole group of people based on where they are from? That is racist. You sneered the name "Zionist" at me and anyone who cares to look it up will see that it is common for anti-Semitics to use it, even as you qualified it with "(no anti-semitism intended)" you failed to grasp that the very use of the word itself is anti-Semitic.

We have been here before Terry and I am happy to come back to it time and time again. Why? Because everyone I know who has read your blog has a word in mind for you and it begins with R.

Although I don't remember you posting my comment asking about your position on the black prison population in the States?

Jackart said...

Oh and an Addendum. In what state is a heavy machine-gun legal? .50 Cal machine guns are not available to purchase, neither, I think are any belt-fed weapons.

Anything capable of fully automatic fire is tightly prohibited, and illegal in most states.

I think you mean an assault rifle. With a standard 30 round clip, "Killing hundreds in seconds" would be some good shooting.

I think you exagerate the ease with which people get heavy weapons in the USA, just as you exaggerate all social ills of the great republic. Let's og back to Scotland's record in the violent crime department shall we?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

jackart - American politicians are afraid of the gun lobby ? Where could I have gotten an idea like
that ? It's a novel idea isn't it ?
If you accuse me of 'voting myself more of the state's largesse at your expense' is that
Ad Hominem ?
I'm happy to let people read your defence of the American gun culture.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

RFS - I denigrate no one based on where they are from, because you have decided that using the word Zionist makes someone racist doesn't make it true.
'Everyone you know who has read my blog' that'll be a representative cross section then eh ? I checked and the stat. counter on this blog shows approx. 25,000 you must have been busy.

I've never ducked any question on the American black numbers in prison, ever. There's an inordinate number of black prisoners in American jails, completely out of proportion to the population. Why do you think that is ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

jackart - 'in what state' I don't know, I saw a TV report where these guys had big rapid fire guns which they shot at targets.

They were American and they seemed to have some kind of club where they went to shoot things up.

I'm no expert so, maybe I'm wrong, maybe it's really difficult to buy guns in America, you could be right, but mmm.

Jackart said...

You're right, Terry. You are no expert.

But as for my defense of the Gun Culture of the USA, if that's how you want to read it, that's up to you. I was merely pointing out that Americans have decided that one gun policy works for them. We on this side of the pond see it another way.

It's not about big business or anything like that, and the NRA is a big grassroots organisation. That's why it is politically powerful.

In what way is the NRA different in its political actions to a Union, lobbying for its members interests?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

jackart - 'The Americans have decided' I think the Americans have been persuaded that guns are OK, and even patriotic, ( the American marketing industry's favourite word )

'It's not about big business' call it what you will it's about billions of dollars and that means power, both political parties, the Democrats and the G.O.P. are afraid of the gun lobby.

Comparing the NRA to Unions is disingenuous and fatuous, unions struggle to improve the lives of there members while the NRA fights to allow people to buy guns which are designed to kill people. It's a technicality but it's a beauty.

Jackart said...

so political lobbying is only acceptable when the ends are acceptable to yourself?

The NRA is a lobbying orgainisation with powerful enemies. (Bowling for Columbine cannot be seen as other than a deeply partisan hatchet-job by an extreme left-winger). Of course they lobby for the right to bear arms.

It is no different to Unions lobbying for 35 hour weeks or whatever economically illiterate luddite lunacy they're demanding I pay for this time.

Your differentiation between the two is specious. Both political, both populated bu loons.

Jim Lewis said...

"...and used anti-Semitic language in the past."

Sorry, big man but the one thing I have yet to see is Tel using anti-semitic language. To denigrate Israel, a secular state, is not anti-semitism. If it is, then Israel is unique in enjoying this particular excuse for not addressing its expansionist policies. Similarly, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism. In fact, I suggest a visit to http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/ . Since this is a site run by True Torah Jews, it can hardly be accused of anti-semitism.

The arguments surrounding Israel and its treatment of its neighbours have for too long been simply swept aside. Israel, like all of us, ought to be brought to account for its actions. It has ignored, with the complicity of the USA, and now with the UK too, dozens of UN resolutions and continues to do so. UN resolutions were the excuse for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Why do we support double standards?

Terry is an intellectual midget. That much we know. However, please don't use his tactics of disingenuity to make an argument. You're better than that.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Jackart - I haven't said that anyone should be prevented from political lobbying, I happen to disagree with the NRA and find their very existence repugnant, I can say that can't I ?

I don't agree with your description of Michael Moore as an extreme left winger, he never made a political move until the steel mills in the town of Flint closed down and destroyed his community.

I think Luddite better describes the NRA than any union.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Jim Lewis - This proves that if you put enough words together often enough you will, sooner or later say something sensible.

Take this as a compliment from an intellectual midget to an intellectual giant, modest too, what a guy.

Tony said...

Well Terry, I guess I would rather have Charlton Heston playing me in a film than Jimmy Krankie. If you know what I mean.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Tony - OK fair enough, if that's debating Tory style, here goes.

Perhaps Chuck Heston could play you intellectual side and Matt Lucas your physical side.
( people who live in glass houses Tony eh ? )

Isn't this fun ?

Tony said...

No I disagree Terry. My intellect stands up perfectly well without imitation thanks. As for my physical side I suppose an obvious choice would be Shrek.

For you I would suggest a joint intellectual portrayal by Jade Goody and Stephen Byers. Your physical side could only have been played by the late Eric Cullen. Although you do strike me as the political equivalent of David Brent.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Tony - You can be spotted as a tory a mile away - that's the ultimate insult.