October 03, 2017

Horse 2329 - Thortsonpreaz In Las Vegas.

It didn't take long for the President to make a public statement about the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which very quickly became the worst such event in American history. By my reckoning it took 12 minute from the initial report by CNN to the statement by Mr Trump. A statement like this was to be absolutely expected and equally to be expected was the phrase "thoughts and prayers"; which has now become so hackneyed and trite as to fall into the realm of cliche. Maybe if only the White House, and indeed the rest of the American people, had thought harder and prayed harder, then this wouldn't keep on happening again and again with alarming regularity.
The truth is that "thoughts and prayers" for the several hundredth time in a year, are pointless.

This is what we know:
- The gunman has been identified by the Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, as a 64-year-old white male named Stephen Paddock. Seeing as he is a white male, he will not be declared to be a terrorist because white males can not be declared as terrorists under the unwritten convention of assumed privilege and racism.
- At least 50 people were killed and at least 200 more were injured, when Mr Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, into a crowd of at least 30,000 people who were attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
- Mr Paddock was found in his room and killed on site by an off duty police officer. At least two policemen were also killed during the incident.
- Mr Paddock's girlfriend Marilou Danley who is an Australian citizen, has been declared as a person of interest.

What I find extremely disappointing is that sort of thing happens so often now that if you were in the news room of a media outlet,  you could save time and effort by simply writing up a proforma document, safe in the knowledge that you will need it within a few days; because apart from changing a few names, most of these details are by now mostly interchangeable.

In March 1996, when a chap shot 18 people in Dunblane, the British Government set about passing legislation which banned semi automatic weapons and made the process of obtaining a gun harder. In April 1996, when a chap shot 35 people at Port Arthur in Tasmania, the Australian Government set about passing uniform gun legislation in the states which banned semi automatic weapons; there was also a gun buyback scheme which also cleared many weapons from the hands of the public.
In contrast, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December of 2012, in which 28 people were killed (most of whom were children aged six and under), the United States Government's​ response was to issue yet another statement offering up "thoughts and prayers" and the American people bought more than three billion bullets within a week. Instead of doing anything beyond trotting out "thoughts and prayers", the uniquely American solution was to release 9 bullets for every single woman, man and child, into general circulation. We shall see how many more bullets are purchased over the next few days, won't we?

Presumably Mr Paddock will never be classified as a terrorist because doing so would gain the ire of the National Rifleman's Association whose membership is second only to the American Association of Retired Persons. I think that it speaks volumes that the events of 11th of September, 2001, which triggered off two wars which still have ramifications, are eclipsed roughly twice a year in terms of the number of people killed every single year and yet instead of taking any action at all, the best that the American Government can do is offer up yet more "thoughts and prayers".

Also presumably, someone will bring up the subject of mental health issues as the reason why Mr Paddock decided to destroy at least 58 people's lives. As it is the Congress has spent the last nine months yelling about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act; so if that actually was successful, the plan would be to make access to proper treatment for mental health issues even more difficult, expensive and tenuous.
All of this conveniently dodges the question of why someone who has mental health issues should even be able to obtain weapons which can destroy so many people so quickly. It should be stated that the state of Nevada has open carry laws, no background checks are required at all, and there is always the underlying principle that Mr Paddock was entirely within his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Thanks to the efforts of organisations like the NRA, that whole guff about a "well regulated" militia being necessary to the security of a free state, is completely irrelevant and the words "shall not be infringed" are yelled loudly from the rooftops.

Keep those "thoughts and prayers" coming, America. Maybe if you yell the words "thoughts and prayers" loudly enough you might be able to drown out the words "shall not be infringed". Maybe get the President to roll out the words "thoughts and prayers" for the several hundredth time this year and see if that makes any difference at all.
It seems that you hold some truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, you don't particularly find it self evident that the continued operation of the Second Amendment destroys all three.

As the body without the spirit, is dead, so faith without works, is dead... as is at least 58 people... as is at least 11,000 people each and every year.

Thortsonpreaz, Thortsonpreaz, Thortsonpreaz, Thortsonpreaz...

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