I started to write a post here today but I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going to be about. After all, the past week or so has been pretty hectic at best, and tragic at its worst. Would I write about the run-up to Christmas, how Kim and I spent so long making sure we had great gifts for each other that we basically left ourselves two weeks to get everything else done, about how those two weeks had left us both exhausted, a little ill and with feet that were mere shadows of the majestic Hobbit-shamers we once had? That’s the personal stuff and could easily have filled an entire post on its own, but it seems a little shallow in the wake of other things that have happened around the world.
Other topics came to mind. The fact that the end of the world came and went without anyone noticing or caring much was one such topic I could have raised. I could have laughed and joked with everyone about how many people believed the end of the world was coming and that aliens were coming to a certain mountain to rescue those wise enough to go there at the right time. I could have joked about the Mayans actually foreseeing the death of Dick Clarke this past year and that his involvement in New Year shows is what they predicted ending. I could even have gotten mildly logical and pointed out that the Mayan calendar as it was known in the 1960s only went to 2012 but that we’d found more since then that go further.
But the fact of the matter is that people did care. A pair of twins beat up their mother when she caught them sacrificing a cat in an attempt to gain its nine lives and survive the impending apocalypse. I’m not much a fan of cats, but even I was sickened by that. There are some people out there that you can’t help but wonder how they got so far without their insanity being caught somehow. There simply has to be a better system in place to identify the people most at risk of doing things like that.
And I suppose that brings us to the tragic attacks in America. As much as the media loves to focus on dead children, this was in the wake of another shooting over there, one which took place in a mini-mall I believe. It’s pretty hard to find details on that as the school shooting has been concentrated on. At the end of the day dead children sell more papers than dead adults and the media is a business.
As predicted, there are those who tried to turn these shootings into something they can hang their own banner on. My friend Dennis directed me to a page on WordPress that I won’t link to as I believe the page owner is simply trying to cash in on the shootings. On this page the author had declared that there was a link between the Batman shootings in Aurora and the latest round of shootings in Conneticut. A second gunman was seen, she claimed, then covered up by the police. The fathers of both shooters were supposed to testify against the banks in the LIBOR hearings, she claimed. While the former statement was indeed mentioned in early reports, these reports were the same ones that mistakenly identified the wrong person as the shooter and then went on to post images of that person online. The latter however is pure fabrication and has been repeatedly debunked since she and the conspiracy websites she subscribes to started publicising it. Neither of the shootings is related to these hearings at all.
It makes me more than a little angry to see people taking advantage of these things like this, but this woman and her conspiracy-mad buddies aren’t the only ones taking advantage of dead children this Christmas. While the parents of these children sit at home and look at the gifts under the tree that will never be opened, the NRA chose to speak out with a big old “Nope, not our fault!”. They’re right , of course, it wasn’t them that rolled up and started gunning down kids. No-one ever said it was. They just said that there was some responsibility with the people (the NRA included) who push for easier gun laws and less restrictions. All people have been saying is that it should take a little longer to go from asking for a gun to getting it than it does for your Amazon orders to arrive over the Christmas period. It should be harder to get a handgun than it is to buy a DVD.
Of course, when an organisation like that is in full turtle mode everything bounces off their shells. While gamers were having a twenty-four hour ceasefire in videogames as a sign of respect for the deceased (one of many such tributes around the world) the NRA was blaming violent video games for all of the gun related crime in America, calling out games by name that it obviously hoped would be villified for their names rather than their content. At the same time they put forth the argument that this would never have happened if the school in question had armed guards posted.
The backlash was incredible. Even those who vehemently decried violent videogames as bad influences were disgusted at the NRA and their little speech. Some pointed out that the games in question either had no guns, weren’t overly violent, or simply hadn’t been widely available for ten years or so. Others took issue with the chosen games, even compiling their own lists of games that would have been much better suited to the NRAs argument as the games chosen weren’t as damning as they could have been. And then there were those who ignored the videogame connection the NRA tried to create and took a more direct approach, pointing out that a school called Columbine had armed guards when it was involved in its own famous shooting.
In his address, Wayne LaPierre took no questions whatsoever, merely throwing accusations left, right and centre. Mr. LaPierre, and I find myself struggling to keep a respectful tone here, offered no support for any of the proposals made in the past week such as limiting high-capacity ammunition, banning assault rifles or anything else that would limit the amount of deadly weapons that could easily be obtained.
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
That was the statement LaPierre made when trying to lobby for armed guards in schools. As usual he ignored the point being made, that limiting the guns available would make these sorts of events happen less often. It’s simple maths. Less guns equals less gun crime. Yes, there may always be gun-wielding criminals, but those crimes of opportunity when someone just snaps would be much less severe if those people couldn’t get hold of guns. When asked by journalists if the NRA would work with Congress and President Obama in the formation of new gun control laws, Mr LaPierre and David Keene (the president of the NRA) walked off stage without further comment. Which is what I’m about to do with this subject.
From the current state of this post, it looks like the shootings in Conneticut would have been my primary subject in the post I tried to make. At the time I was hoping to write something a little more Christmassy to maybe take peoples minds off these sorts of events. I knew I’d be linking to some of my older posts and, having noticed I hadn’t moved all of the Christmas ones over, started another mass migration of posts from my old page. Unfortunately I forgot to turn social publication off and these were announced on places like Twitter and my RSS feed as new. Sorry about that.
Having moved the posts over I was about to start writing when the power went off here. It died last night for about an hour, but was off all morning today. I’m currently a bit ill and was just about to have some food to warm up in the sub-zero temperatures we’re suffering at the moment. Unfortunately our oven and heating are all electric. I couldn’t even get a warm drink and Kim and I spent the morning hungry and wrapped in blankets.
Still, we have power again and this was, in the wake of other events this fortnight, a rather limited inconvenience. First thing I did when the power came back on? Jumped up, put the kettle on then proceeded to cheer and cry out in annoyance over and over as it went up then back down again for half an hour on the trot. The second thing? Burgers! Christmassy they were not, care I did not.