A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Hooptedoodle #278 - None of My Business

It's nothing to do with me, of course, but it does seem that that nice Mr Trump hasn't had a lot of luck since he became the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Not a lot of good breaks, really.

I was interested to see how he would get through his official reaction to the terrible devastation caused by recent hurricanes without any reference to climate change. He seems to have managed OK, which is a decent effort, I would say. [Does he have an official reaction, by the way, or does his incontinence on Twitter serve in its place?]   

Trump as Charlton Heston
($30m of his campaign funds provided by NRA)
Mr T's comments following the terrorist shootings in Paris included his opinion that more liberal gun laws in France might have helped to reduce the loss of life. The implication, I gather, was that citizens on a night out would have drawn their weapons and had a shoot-out with the terrorists in the street.

Now he has to react to this latest abhorrence in Las Vegas. It would appear that the suspect (who had 23 weapons checked into his hotel room) was not a terrorist, nor any kind of oppressed minority representative, merely a nut job. You cannot legislate for nut jobs, but we should recall that Mr T has already shelved Obama's initiative to restrict sales of weapons to people with mental health issues. No - that's right - there's no point being wise after the event, and, as I mentioned, it is nothing to do with me.

So, beyond my shock and revulsion, and my sympathy for the Vegas victims, I now wait to see how he will manage to circumlocute the delicate matter of gun control.

It is worth bearing in mind that it takes a very significant terrorist event indeed to exceed the death toll of the average weekend in Los Angeles' ganglands. Of course, as we are told all the time, those guns are already out there, so we have to ensure a steady flow of weapons to the supposedly innocent citizens, so they can keep their end up. One of those citizens seems to have accumulated an arsenal of astonishing size, and to have taken half of it on holiday with him to Las Vegas. Just a bad break. No one yet has suggested that it might have helped if the concert audience the suspect used for target practice could have fired back with their pocket pistols.

None of my business, of course. I did not vote for the chap, I don't have to live in his country. On the other hand, if his crazy exchange of football hooligan diplomacy with Mr Kim is going to get us all fried, I feel I might just be entitled to an opinion.


Quite how the US can have a president who would be banned from most UK pubs and golf clubs for the way he conducts himself is a puzzle for me. If I get just one brainless reference to the Second Amendment in response to this post then I'll simply pull it - it's nothing to do with me anyway.

12 comments:

  1. I've just re-read the second amendment after reading your post and see I've been wrong all these years. I thought it meant Americans had the right to "bare arms" so they could show off tattoos etc. Blimey, didn't know it meant they could all carry guns...

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    1. Blimey indeed, sir. I think it meant that only the militia could show off their tattoos, too.

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  2. It seems that the second amendment was written in 1791, when a musket might have been useful for warding off the odd bear or wolf. Maybe time for a 3rd amendment?

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  3. You could be opening Pandora's Box with this one, Tony.

    If gun assaults and homicides perpetrated in the USA are reported internationally with the frequency Americans see in the newspapers and nightly news, I am surprised anyone would vacation here.

    As for the 2nd Amendment, that was one is open to a lot of DIFFERENT interpretations. I do like the baring of arms and tattoos, though. Even the US Supreme Court waffles on this one. The 2nd certainly should have been worded with more clarity...

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  4. The real problem with the 2nd Amendment is that it says the "right to keep and bear arms" shall not be "infringed". I rather doubt the Founding Fathers ever meant "infringed" should be interpreted as no restriction anytime, to anyone, for any reason, not could they of course have imagined "arms" would someday include semi-automatic assault rifles firing armor-piercing ammunition. And so long as the arms industry has vast amounts of money to ensure our wonderful Congress continues to interpret "infringement" in the stupidest way possible, I'm afraid things will never change, regardless of the number of horrors we must endure.

    As for our Presidunce, he was elected for much the same reason as the Brexit vote and the recent upsurge of far-right nationalism in Germany's last election--fear of the modern world among people who feel they are the victims of it....abetted and amplified, of course, by Russian meddling. To think that back in the early 90's we all hoped their world-wide nastiness would forever be a thing of the past!

    Sadly yours,

    Chris Johnson
    Virginia

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  5. Of course pocket pistols wouldn't have saved the concert goers.
    Maybe automatic rifles with scopes, rpgs or a 20mm aa gun on the back of a pickup or an armed drone might have helped suppress the sniper's fire while upping the damage.

    I'd don't even have an ocean as buffer and I don't get it but the border is a porous imaginary line and enough ideas float north on various media, and take root, that its damn scary even when I'm not executing my annual expedition across the border to play non-violent wargames.

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  6. Meanwhile, I'd really like to move the The Lake District in the U.K., or some other quiet northern spot outside the United States, and turn my back on the whole damn mess. We've done it to ourselves.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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  7. How will the Donald navigate his way around this one...

    Maybe he'll tweet that the whole thing is just fake news.

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  8. The founding fathers wanted me to shoot at rabbits with my AR-15 and 600 rounds damnit !

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  9. Thank you to everyone who contributed comments - and I also received a good number of thoughtful email offerings. I suppressed just a few comments - mostly on the grounds of questionable taste, given the timing and the circumstances, but also one absolute lulu of a piece of rehearsed cant which I was tempted to publish, without reaction, as a shining example of what humanity is up against.

    Since, as I have maintained all along, this is none of my business, I rely here on the contributions of others, and then I intend to close the discussion before it gets too edgy.

    Firstly, the tale of the Second Amendment is very strange. It is obvious, to the most simple intelligence, that the original document of 1791 was designed to enable the militia (or National Guard, as they became) to carry muskets in the interests of civil defence and protection of the community. That's all. Since 1876 or so there has been an extended debate about the exact wording, to allow the inclusion of weapons for personal protection, or hunting, or whatever, and this has gradually been taken over by enthusiasts and dealers. Anything can be changed if it needs to be - even the Amendment itself was a change to something else.

    The point was also made that refusing to use this opportunity to further a constructive debate is bizarre. If the suspect had been a Muslim there would have been a general clamour to improve border controls, with immediate effect; if there had been a disastrous air crash, there would quickly have been a full enquiry, and if necessary regulations would be changed to improve safety - the enquiry would not have been quashed because of concerns about the interests of the airlines or of Boeing.

    The "genie is already out of the bottle" argument should be viewed in the light of what they have achieved since 1996 in Australia, another young country, but one which is maybe less beholden to vested interests, and where paranoia has not been cultivated to such extreme levels. If you are unfamiliar with that story, have a look at

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Australia

    I was sent a link to an interesting item on CNN, which suggests that most of the people who buy guns in the USA already have them - in fact they collect them - and that the cessation of panic-buying, especially of ammunition, now that a Democrat-driven increase in controls is not imminent, is causing real concern for the well-being of the arms industry. Check out

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/03/news/companies/ruger-cabelas-gun-sales-trump/index.html

    More tangentially, it was suggested that if Mr Kim really wants his nuclear weapons, his best approach might be to claim that he is a resident of Texas, and that he needs them for hunting.

    At this point, we are drifting off-topic. I'd like to end by reiterating my sincere grief for the unfortunate city of Las Vegas, especially the victims and those who were personally impacted by this atrocity, and by repeating a comment - and it was not necessarily directed at the US - that was submitted here in response to a previous post on a related topic, by an intellectual and philosopher whom I am proud to know is one of the people who read this humble blog:

    "And that's the nub of it. The gun culture feeds off and feeds paranoia, in particular fear of people of colour, fear of one's own government, fear of difference. It is also an element of a cultural trend of "opting out", refusing to cooperate with others dressed up as rugged individualism. In my book real men go into the world armed only with a strong will, and with their hands empty so they can offer them to others. These wingnuts are, to a man (and woman), weak in every sense."


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  10. Coming late to this party, but ...
    As an Australian I find it interesting how foreign observers cite our experience as a specific contrast to the US situation. Perhaps it's because we had a rash of mass shootings that then stopped? But in other respects I wouldn't have thought our laws were much different to other countries' (like the UK or Canada for instance). I guess the fact that we bought and destroyed so many guns is notable. The difference here in contrast to the US isn't really about guns but about culture, especially political culture. Many Australian gun owners didn't want to surrender their weapons. They did it anyway because they believed the government is legitimate, respected the democratic majority and believe in the rule of law. The real issue in the US is perhaps then not the number of guns but the deep mistrust and lack of legitimacy in the political culture.

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