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Sunday, November 15, 2015

News + social media coverage of Paris attacks

PERSONAL snapshot of some news and social media snippets during and in the aftermath of the terrorism attacks in Paris this weekend.

Somehow, an unerring focus on peace must continue; there is a need to be proactive, snap out of apathy to understand the causes of violence. Once a problem is defined, solutions can be developed.

Not forgetting knife crime at this time either... always trying to sow the seeds of non-violent solutions for people who think it's acceptable to carry and use knives to injure and kill others.

This week an 18-year-old became the 13th victim of a fatal stabbing in London since the beginning of 2015. In the last year, 1,651 young people have been stabbed in the capital; a 26% rise on figures two years ago.

  1. CHURCHES across the world at the 'foot of the Cross' today praying for Paris + end to murder
    Embedded image permalink
  2. WORLD is not prepared to put up with this violence... pianist's Imagine - Lennon's original
  3. WISE COMMENT for today + these times of terror: Dropping bombs on people isn’t the solution -
  4. Paris attacks: Dozens dead and hostages held at Bataclan - up to 100??
    1. Live updates as at least 35 people dead in a shooting and explosion in Paris

Friday, October 02, 2015

Killing is easy in America... murder with guns + knives, as you like

AFTER the 45th college shooting this year - with nine dead and seven injured - it appears USA politicians continue to be like ostriches, even cowardly, by not speaking up for gun restrictions in their country.

Imagine being a politician supporting gun laws - to have blood on your hands... apparently because their livelihoods are supported by the financial backing of the gun lobby.

One wonders how the conversation with many of these Christian people's God might go. Not unlike President Obama's speech below, possibly with 'go to hell' at the end of it...

"Somehow this has become routine" said Obama. "The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this. We talked about this after Columbine, and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston.

"It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun. And what's become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common sense gun legislation."

With the US being an oft Christian-led country, a little research quickly reveals what Christ is reported to have said - and done. For a start, Christ did not bear arms... And US Christians supporting using guns can't expect support from other Christians - typical 'Word of God' guidance is written everywhere:

Jesus taught us to correct one another because he understood the danger of unrepentant sin. In Matthew 18:15-18 he carefully lays out a process of correcting a brother whose sinned against another brother. Jesus doesn’t reveal the nature of the sin. However, he makes it quite clear that if the sinner doesn’t repent of that sin, he shouldn’t be treated as a brother or sister in Christ. But how will this sinner come to realize his fault? He needs a word of correction. Jesus tells us to confront the sinner individually (v. 15). If the sinner’s heart remains hard, a few others should offer the corrective word (v. 16). And if that doesn’t work, Jesus indicates that the entire church must get involved (v. 18).
Full transcript of President Barack Obama's speech:

President Barack Obama called on the American people to make "common sense gun safety laws" a priority and urged lawmakers on every level to take action following the latest mass shooting -- this one at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg on Thursday October 1.
There's been another mass shooting in America. This time in a community college in Oregon.
That means there are more American families, moms, dads, children, whose lives have been changed forever. That means there's another community stunned with grief, and communities across the country forced to relieve their own anguish and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their families, or their children.
I've been to Roseburg, Oregon. There are really good people there.
I want to thank all the first responders whose bravery likely saved some lives today.
Federal law enforcement has been on the scene in a supporting role, and we've offered to stay and help as much as Roseburg needs for as long as they need.
In the coming days we'll learn about the victims. Young men and women who were studying and learning and working hard with their eyes set on the future, their dreams on what they could make of their lives. And America will wrap everyone who is grieving with our prayers and our love.
But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough.
It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America. Next week, or a couple of months from now.
We don't yet know why this individual did what he did. And it's fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds. Regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on earth that has people with mental illnesses who want to do harm to other people.
We are the only advanced country on earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.
You know earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying, "The United States of America is the only advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws even in the face of repeated mass killings." And later that day, there was a mass shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana.
That day.
Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this. We talked about this after Columbine, and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston.
It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.
And what's become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common sense gun legislation.
Right now, I can imagine the press release is being cranked out. "We need more guns," they'll argue. "Fewer gun safety laws."
Does anybody really believe that? There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country, they know that's not true.
We know because of the polling that says the majority of Americans understand we should be changing these laws, including the majority of responsible, law abiding gun owners.
There is a gun for roughly every man woman and child in America. So how can you with a straight face make the argument that more guns will make us safer?
We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.
So the notion that gun laws don't work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns, is not borne out by the evidence.
We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours. Great Britain. Australia. Countries like ours.
So we know there are ways to prevent it. And of course what's also routine is that somebody somewhere will comment and say, "Obama politicized this issue." Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together. To the body politic.
I would ask news organizations, because I won't put these facts forward — have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who've been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade, and the number of Americans who've been killed by gun violence, and post those side by side on your news reports.
This won't be information coming from me, it will be coming from you.
We spent over a $1 trillion and passed countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?
This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We, collectively, are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.
When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we worked to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them, to reduce auto fatalities. We have seat belt laws because we know it saves lives
So the notion that gun violence is somehow difference, that our freedom and our constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and everything do everything that they do under such regulations, doesn't make sense.
So tonight as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren't so fortunate, I'd ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up. And that will require a change of politics on this issue.
And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat, or a Republican, and an Independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision.
If you think this is a problem then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views. And I would particularly ask America's gun owners who are using those guns -- properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, for protecting their families — to think about whether your views are being properly represented by the organization that suggests its speaking for you.
And each time this happens I'm going to bring this up. Each time this happens I'm going to say we can actually do something about it, but we're going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself. I've got to have a Congress, and I've got to have state legislatures, and governors, who are willing to work with me on this.
I hope and pray that I don't have to come out, again, during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can't guarantee that, and that is terrible to say.
And it can change.
May God bless the memories of those who were killed today. May he bring comfort to their families, and courage to the injured as they fight their way back, and may he give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change. Thank you.

Friday, August 21, 2015

England + Wales trend: Less violence than rest of the world

TO BE AWARE crime in England and Wales shows a trend of non-violence should be considered encouraging for anti-knife crime work.

With all crime at the lowest levels for about 30 years, the non-violence trend brings real hope that campaigners can make much progress to further reduce crimes carried out with sharp instruments - where knife crime figures are circa 26,000+ per year at present.

The trend I highlight is connected to robberies. Robberies account for about 1% of recorded crime while burglaries register 24%. In the USA, while burglaries still outnumber robberies, the proportion of robberies in the crime total is 4x higher.

And how does the tally look for murders on this island of ours, the most serious of crimes? In fact, there is less chance of being murdered in England than most other industrialised societies, according to official figures. (I've flagged this in previous posts, some of you may recall.)

The English murder rate is below that for Japan, less than half that for Germany or France, an eighth of the rate for Scotland or Italy and 26x lower than the United States.

It seems this island of ours has more respect for one another than the citizens of many other countries spread across this fragile planet of ours.

I came across this analysis in Jeremy Paxman's book, The English.  His figure for numbers of robberies is perhaps misleading where the 'Violence against the person' figure (from the Office for National Statistics - ONS - website) is far higher - but the fact there is an obvious trend against violence in this country versus other nations is, as I said, hopeful.

Also notable is the type of Englishman (it's almost always a male!) Paxman highlights as prone to violence... someone like a football hooligan.

Paxman describes one incident where the Swiss had held England to a 1-1 draw in a European Championship match. The Swiss fans were good natured and relatively quiet and unthreatening.

However, at one point outside Wembley, a young shaven headed Englishman eyeballed the Swiss on the other side of the street, ran across the road, shoved his face six inches from one of the young Swiss men in the crowd and screamed 'Wanker' at him.

The Swiss look baffled. The Englishman gesticulated, moving his hand up and down. 'You wanker!' he screamed again, drew back his fist, punched the man in the face and walked through the crowd. 

His walk was casual, cocky, slow enough to invite someone to retaliate for their friend's injury - he was now doubled up, with blood pouring from his nose. But none came, and the thug swaggered off down the pavement, doubtless eager to tell his friends he'd 'done' one of the visiting fans.

Apparently, this is how part of the English population has always been. Fighting (and drunkenness) is considered to be a birthright, maybe. I certainly remember a few from my school days - and those older thugs from the odd Pompey match I had seen (of 657 Crew infamy) and plenty of documentaries on football hooliganism (e.g. Millwall and Chelsea types immediately come to mind).

I can't help thinking that this football fighter caricature applies to those idiots who use weapons. It is a way for these louts / yobs to proclaim their identity; these are the targets to reach. 

As time goes by, I can see that this anti-violence campaign work is not unlike an analogy with the Egyptians of old... an influential nationwide campaign and movement is being built, stone by stone, that deserves to see a remarkable monument (Pyramid) completed to mark a more peaceful nation and world... one day. I would like to predict this is achieved sooner rather than later.
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