Posts Tagged ‘Gun control’

Orlando was primarily about radical Islam not about gun availability

June 13, 2016

Common sense is the victim when political correctness reigns. Gun controls are much stricter in Europe than in the US, but that didn’t stop Paris or Brussels or London.

Those in the US who don’t wish to confront radical Islam are spinning the Orlando event into a gun control issue. I perceive a tendency among the (mainly liberal) media to ignore both the shooter’s declared allegiance to ISIS and ISIS’ claim of responsibility. There is a reluctance to address the shooter’s path to radicalisation and, at 28, he was no spring chicken. The influence of his father and his support for the Taliban is given very little space. His being interviewed three times by the FBI gets some attention but not much. It is seen as more important not to blame the vast bulk of moderate Muslims than to confront the radical elements within Islam. Political correctness is clearly in the camp of cowardice.

Instead of blaming radical Islam there is a clear effort to blame the availability of guns. But this spin rings hollow. The politically correct sections of European media (BBC, The Guardian ….) are also closing their eyes to the influence of radical Islam and focusing on gun availability. After Paris and Brussels they should know better. Obama has made his standard speech after a mass shooting for the 14th time during his time in office. His words stand out because of his reluctance to pin the blame on radical Islam and not for his empty – and now largely discounted – boilerplate words about love and hate.

Orlando now joins San Bernadino and London and Paris and Brussels and Bagdad as victims of terrorism inspired by radical Shia Islam – and probably ordered (loosely) by ISIS. The US will have to get used to the fact that radicalised Muslim maniacs are now among them and many of them were born in the US. For someone with an agenda, stricter gun control laws are unlikely to be any kind of a deterrent.

For both Europe and the US, it is of little value to ignore the fact that among the millions of refugees on the move from the Middle East and North Africa there are going to be significant numbers of proponents of radical Islam and “terrorists”. Political correctness and molly-coddling radical Islam for fear of being labeled Islamophobic will not change that.


If Executive Action is the President’s prerogative, why has it taken 7 years?

January 6, 2016

If the theatrically announced Executive Actions yesterday by Barack Obama have always been available to him, and if he feels so strongly about background checks on those buying guns, why, then, has it taken him 7 years to implement?

If gun control is the objective then it is very little and much too late. Personally I think that the issue of gun control is just an excuse used to avoid having to deal with the much greater malaise. The availability of guns may be of some consequence, but is not the root cause of the existence of the mass killers. I see that as the inexorable rise of permissiveness – the doctrine that encourages bad behaviour to be excused (not just explained) for “extenuating circumstances”. And upbringing, culture, laziness, lack of intelligence and poverty are all considered extenuating factors. Just being a member of a “minority” is taken to be extenuating. The incompetence of parenting is considered extenuating but the genes of the parents are not. The mass killings in the US are not going to stop with cosmetic gun control measures. My point is that the blind, almost religious, deference to political correctness has contributed – and may be the primary cause – of a permissive society generating mass killers. It is the same religion which has led to the failed doctrine of multiculturalism in Europe.

“Deference to political correctness” occurs when a theoretical dogma overrules evidence and reality. It starts with the belief that “I know best what is good for you”. It includes increased government regulation to protect groups and individuals considered to be “disadvantaged” from being held responsible for their actions. It is 50 years (3 generations) of “affirmative action” where one unfairness is imposed to try and correct some other perceived unfairness. It is the illogical belief that the poor are poor because the rich are rich which makes a god of “wealth redistribution”. It focuses on levelling down rather than levelling up. It tries to impose a lack of values. Individuals are no longer allowed to – or even considered able to – decide what is “good” or what is “bad”. It is a denial of the fundamental ability of a human to be able exercise judgement on the basis of his values.

I am more than a little suspicious of Obama’s “tears on demand” especially when it was at a carefully stage-managed performance which took weeks in preparation.

Mail&Guardian:Obama’s executive order is an attempt to bypass this legislative deadlock.

The executive order has been carefully crafted to survive a court challenge. It does not erase the distinction between business and private firearms sales. Rather, it broadens the definition of a business and provides for stricter enforcement of restrictions on business sales by hiring additional personnel to conduct background checks.

Yet, even the president has admitted that the executive order is “not going to prevent every mass shooting”.

There is evidence that unregulated private sales – over the internet and at gun shows – are a source of guns for individuals who are ineligible to purchase or possess a firearm. However, the weapons used in recent mass shootings in San Bernardino and Umpqua Community College in Oregon were acquired legally at federally licensed gun stores or through private transactions that likely wouldn’t be affected by Obama’s new rules. In other words, the president’s executive order would not have stopped these shooters.

The president’s executive order and its focus on the “gun-show loophole” is largely political theatre. Act II will be his upcoming town hall meeting on CNN.

Assuming Obama’s actions are of some value, why have they taken 7 years?

If the threat of ISIS death-squads is real, then it is the wrong time for gun controls in the US

December 5, 2015

There is a renewed rhetoric in favour of gun controls after the California rampage, just as there is after every mass killing, but which never leads to any action. I am always amazed that Barack Obama, who is so fond of executive actions in other areas where he is opposed by Congress, has been so ineffective in implementing any actions to reduce the access to what are essentially military weapons. But this rhetoric may be misplaced if the killings were by what now looks to have been a husband-wife death squad, operating fairly autonomously(?),  but for ISIS, and possibly led by the wife, who was indoctrinated mainly in Saudi Arabia and Multan. A lot of ifs and buts in that sentence, of course.

It has been the contention of the gun lobby that the citizenry having guns is a deterrent to such massacres and they have pointed to statistics showing that more of these mass killings take place in gun-free zones. The argument seems disingenuous in that not having availability to guns would probably avoid many of these incidents from taking place. There is some truth, I think, in the argument that once an incident has started, the magnitude of the incident can be limited by some of the intended victims being armed and capable of resisting.

Gun controls then ought to reduce the number of incidents but once an incident is underway, then the scope of the incident can be limited by the intended victims having the possibility to resist.

But if this incident turns out to be a terrorist action by a kill-squad, then it would not have been avoided by having gun controls in place. And if some of the victims had been armed maybe the death toll would not have been as high as it was. If this death-squad was just one of many such and the next incident could come at any time, 2 things follow:

  1. The death squads will most likely attack in gun-free zones, and
  2. An armed person is safer in the event of a random attack than an unarmed one.

I think the US now faces this dilemma. Introducing gun controls should reduce the number of the conventional, single perpetrator, mass-killing events which have become almost a “usual” and – on average – daily occurrence. However, gun controls cannot prevent terrorist squads from arming themselves and gun-free zones will be more attractive for a terrorist attack. And if an incident cannot be prevented, then it is safer for people to be armed.

Without any terrorist threat I think the value of restrictions on access to, at least, automatic weapons seems obvious and there would be no serious argument against gun controls. However, if a threat of terrorist death-squads suddenly popping up for a rampage is real, then it would be quite the wrong time to prevent potential victims from being armed.

It is a Bermuda triangle for policy; between a rock, a hard place and the devil.

“Leaders” who can’t lead

April 18, 2013

Many, many years ago when I was first appointed a “manager”, my boss told me (and I don’t know if he was quoting someone):

Those who can lead , lead;
those who can’t lead, follow;
and those who think they can lead but can’t, blame others”


President Obama has a Democratic majority in the Senate to help him and a Republican majority in the House to carry along with him.  History will judge how much he accomplished during his terms but it is pretty clear – so far – that he takes few risks and has not been very successful in carrying his opponents towards any vision that he can communicate. For a US President I think “leadership” is manifested in being able to carry the country towards his vision even with the Senate and the House under the control of his opponents. That he has his own supporters with him is hardly any evidence of his leadership abilities. But there are 53 Democrats in the Senate . Yet he couldn’t even get all his own Democrats to stick their necks out, let alone the 7 Republicans he needed to get to the 60 required to make the cut.

Yesterday every single one of his proposals on gun control (nine in all) “failed to make the cut” in the Senate. Even the fairly innocuous measure of background checks on those wishing to purchase firearms was defeated. Inevitably the blame game began with an angry Obama blaming the Senate and the NRA and proclaiming that it was a shameful day for Washington.

Personally I think the US needs additional gun controls but that is not my point here. President Obama may prove to be an adequate administrator, but a leader he is not. He may well be one who thinks he can lead but can’t and so just ends up blaming others. A “follower” who ends up travelling in the wrong direction has few grounds for complaint.

Washington Post: 

President Obama’s ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws in response to December’s school massacre in Connecticut suffered a resounding defeat Wednesday, when every major proposal he championed fell apart on the Senate floor.

It was a stunning collapse for gun-control advocates just four months after the deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown led the president and many others to believe that the political climate on guns had been altered in their favor. …… 

…..  One by one, the Senate blocked or defeated proposals that would ban certain military-style assault rifles and limit the size of ammunition magazines.

But the biggest setback for the White House was the defeat of a measure to expand background checks to most gun sales. The Senate defied polls showing that nine in 10 Americans support the idea, which was designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” a visibly angry Obama said as he delivered his response to the nation.

The president was flanked by Newtown families, a scowling Vice President Biden and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in 2011 in Tucson and limped from the Oval Office to join Obama in the Rose Garden. ….. 

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