Should we tolerate the intolerant, the racist, or the violent?

Ottawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters Blaney’s office cites ‘comprehensive’ hate laws for new zero tolerance plans By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 11, … Continue reading

Ottawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters

Blaney’s office cites ‘comprehensive’ hate laws for new zero tolerance plans

By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 11, 2015 10:58 PM ET


Tweets About Israel Land New Jersey Student in Principal’s Office


Tolerance is an intractable term.  Should we tolerate the intolerant, the racist, or the violent? Who decides who’s who, who’s what? Words used in complex social situations have always a degree of double-speak; there is a disconnection between what we think we mean and our actual thinking.

Tolerance (http://www.tolerance.org/ ) is supposed to be about letting those different from us be themselves, but in practice is about pretending that we are different from ourselves. To always have a favorite football team as an essential part of our identity? Even in this limited sense, one has to be careful; it might not be healthful to display the wrong loyalty in the wrong bar.

Tolerance stems from a sated world. In times of plenty, we can afford to be kind to those who are different. We are less threatened when we are comfortable. If our 21st Century standard of living peaks—coincident with a peak in surplus energy (i.e., fossil fuels)—then we may not have the luxury of viewing our social progress as an irreversible ratchet. Hard times revive old tribal instincts: different is not welcome.

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. For instance, many Serbian communities believed that the western media portrayed a negative image of the Serbian people during the NATO bombing in Kosovo and Serbia (http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/tolerance ).

it is easy to protest

when the bombs fall miles from the fridge

yet, we are still afraid

a trip to Disney World on the line

so what hundred children massacred a day

better to have less terrorists, right?

In this day and age of information overload modern society is in a state of data deluge, and our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age (https://www.thersa.org/events/2015/01/thinking-straight-in-the-age-of-information-overload/ ). Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_bite ) and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .

The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and the others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/cultural-marxism/ ); we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.

While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/fascism/ ).

Robert Paxton says that fascism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism )  is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victimhood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/the-oregon-militia/ ).

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:

Thomas Jefferson.

For Tea Partiers, the root of knowledge is a bedrock certainty about the Bible. This provides them with clear, absolute answers and that much of what we see on earth is a struggle between good and evil (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/a-conversation-about-gun-control/ ).

The ability of Government to keep the upper hand in the application of force is an important factor in social stability. The primary function of Government is to guarantee the Social Contract. The freedom to engage in seditious activities and Social peace do not mix.

Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

President Obama is aware of the Oregon situation, but the White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. It sounds like fools playing with fire. A fire that will get us all burned.

In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”

Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”

 

More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/10/us/gun-sales-terrorism-obama-restrictions.html ).

The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.

Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.

During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 

Few political terrorists in recent history took as much care to articulate their ideological influences and political views as Anders Behring Breivik did. The right-wing Norwegian Islamophobe.  One of the most remarkable aspects of the manifesto is the extent to which its European author quoted from the writings of figures from the American conservative movement (http://maxblumenthal.com/2011/08/americas-breivik-complex-how-state-terror-electrifies-the-islamophobic-right ). Many of the American writers who influenced Breivik spent years churning out calls for the mass murder of Muslims, Palestinians and their left-wing Western supporters. American Islamophobes simply sit back from the comfort of their homes and cheer as American and Israeli troops — and their remote-controlled aerial drones — leave a trail of charred bodies from Waziristan to Gaza City.

While Israel has sought to insulate itself from the legal ramifications of its attacks on civilian life by deploying elaborate propaganda and intellectual sophistry (witness the country’s frantic campaign to discredit the Goldstone Report), and the United States has casually dismissed allegations of war crimes as any swaggering superpower would (after a US airstrike killed scores of Afghan civilians, former US CENTCOM chief David Petraeus baselessly claimed that Afghan parents had deliberately burned their children alive to increase the death toll), the online Islamophobes who inspired Breivik tacitly accept the reality of Israeli and American state terror.

In American and Israeli society, Professional Terrorism is acceptable, whereas Amateur Terrorism is absolutely the world’s greatest evil (http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/gallup-poll-jews-and-christians-way-more-likely-than-muslims-to-justify-killing-civilians/ ).  Amateur Terrorism provides the justification for Professional Terrorism (this even though it is usually almost always the case that Professional Terrorism started the cycle of violence).  Those who have the capability to carry out Professional Terrorism have absolutely no need to resort to Amateur Terrorism since the former is so much more effective in killing civilians than the latter.

Public Policy Polling asked Republicans if they would want to bomb the fictional town of Agrabah in Disney’s Aladdin movie (http://www.loonwatch.com/2015/12/30-percent-of-republicans-want-to-bomb-aladdins-hometown-agrabah/ ).

These are the results:

Support bombing Agrabah  …………………………30%

Oppose bombing Agrabah  …………………………13%

Not sure ……………………………………………………57%

In sharp contrast with Americans who identify themselves with other faith groups (http://www.gallup.com/poll/148763/muslim-americans-no-justification-violence.aspx ), Muslim Americans are more likely to say military attacks on civilians are never justified (78%) than sometimes justified (21%). Respondents from other faith groups, particularly Mormon Americans, are more likely to say military attacks are sometimes justified than never justified. The opinions of Americans who don’t identify themselves with any religion are more in line with those of Muslim Americans, but they are also more divided.

Gallup analysts (http://www.gallup.com/poll/157067/views-violence.aspx ) tested correlations between the level at which populations say these attacks are “sometimes justified” and a number of independent indicators, and they found human development and societal stability measures are most strongly related.

Residents of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states are slightly less likely than residents of non-member states to view military attacks on civilians as sometimes justified, and about as likely as those of non-member states to say the same about individual attacks.

 “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade .

In the article “Why are there no condemnations from Muslim sources against terrorists?” Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance summarizes:

A common complaint among non-Muslims is that Muslim religious authorities do not condemn terrorist attacks. The complaints often surface in letters to the editors of newspapers, on phone-in radio shows, in Internet mailing lists, forums, etc. A leader of an evangelical Christian para-church group, broadcasting over Sirius Family Net radio, stated that he had done a thorough search on the Internet for a Muslim statement condemning terrorism, without finding a single item.
Actually, there are lots of fatwas and other statements issued which condemn attacks on innocent civilians. Unfortunately, they are largely ignored by newspapers, television news, radio news and other media outlets. Possibly because Islamic terrorists keep killing innocent civilians.

Contrary to common image, many Muslims have spoken out against 9/11,[2][3][4]

A 2007 Pew Research Center study of several nations throughout the Muslim world showed that opposition to suicide bombing in the Muslim world is increasing, with a majority of Muslims surveyed in 10 out of the 16 of the countries responding that suicide bombings and other violence against civilians is “never” justified, though an average of 38% believe it is justified at least rarely. Opposition to Hamas was the majority opinion in only 4 out of the 16 countries surveyed, as was opposition to Hezbollah.[5] The Pew Research Study did not include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria in the survey, although densely populated Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and Bangladesh were included.

Per the 2013 State Department’s report on terrorism, there were 399 acts of terror committed by Israeli settlers in what are known as “price tag” attacks. These Jewish terrorists attacked Palestinian civilians causing physical injuries to 93 of them and also vandalized scores of mosques and Christian churches.

An FBI study looking at terrorism committed on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 found that 94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims. In actuality, 42 percent of terror attacks were carried out by Latino-related groups, followed by 24 percent perpetrated by extreme left-wing actors.

And as a 2014 study by University of North Carolina found, since the 9/11 attacks, Muslim-linked terrorism has claimed the lives of 37 Americans. In that same time period, more than 190,000 Americans were murdered (PDF).

Muslim man was attacked by Piro Kolvani who decided he had to drive from Florida to New York to beat on a Muslim (Kolvani was inspired by the NY Post front covers). Kolvani viciously attacked Sarker Haque, who stated, “I never saw a situation like that. Not even after 9/11.”

Yet, the conflict is not about religion nor race, but power (in the sociopathic sense) and resources. Human activity is not driven by justice but by power. In a way, justice is the right of the strong. One thing is rationalizations used to justify actions, and another, real social and psychological motives behind. These ulterior motives are not necessary explicit or even conscious.

All three religions   – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – in conflict share the same core barbaric Bronze Age believes sated in the Hebrew Bible, and all pick and choose what’s convenient to their respective social order. Whether one is consider a Christian or a Muslim is more an accident of geography or ethnicity, than a reflection of actual belief.   That is, religion is mainly a marker of cultural identity.

Israel, for all the talk about being a Jewish state is in practice rather secular. Although the idea of a vibrant queer community in Israel, reputed birthplace of the biblical condemnation of same-sex relations, may seem far-fetched, Israel today is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of equality for sexual minorities. Politically, legally, and culturally, the community has moved from life at the margins of Israeli society to visibility and growing acceptance (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/homosexuality-in-israel/ ).

Many Israelis are not Semitic (http://www.livescience.com/40247-ashkenazi-jews-have-european-genes.html ). While Ashkenazi Jews have a long tradition in Judaism, they cannot claim a bloodline from David, which is a mythological figure anyway (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/davidjer.html ).

The scourge of Islamic fundamentalism is a monster created by the same people crying wolf (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/the-islamic-state/ ).

The modern Islamic fundamentalist movements have their origins in the late 19th century. The Wahhabi movement, an Arabian fundamentalist movement that began in the 18th century, gained traction and spread during the 19th and 20th centuries. During the Cold War following World War II, some NATO governments, particularly those of the United States and the United Kingdom, launched covert and overt campaigns to encourage and strengthen fundamentalist groups in the Middle East and southern Asia. These groups were seen as a hedge against potential expansion by the Soviet Union, and as a means to prevent the growth of nationalistic movements that were not necessarily favorable toward the interests of the Western nations. By the 1970s the Islamists had become important allies in supporting governments, such as Egypt, which were friendly to U.S. interests. In many cases the military wings of these groups were supplied with money and arms by the U.S. (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/religion-and-terrorism/ ).

Regardless of the machinations behind the current crisis in the Middle East, its effects will unsettle the whole World, including the US and Europe (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-roots-of-the-migration-crisis-1441995372 ). The Syrian refugee disaster presents a dilemma to the West. A massive influx of refugees into any country compromises its social and economic stability but the crisis cannot be ignored in humanitarian and practical grounds. Furthermore, the rise of religious fundamentalism (of all flavors: Christian, Muslim, or Jewish) is a treat to the long term viability of modern society.

Humans are social animals and it’s our natural instinct to be emphatic with others. It’s natural for us to bond by kinship. Unfortunately the same tribal instinct hampers our ability to recognize the essential and vital global brotherhood of man. We cling to nationality, religion, and many artificial walls we build around us that compromise our chances for long term survival (https://arnulfo.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/merry-xmas/ ).

We must overcome our fears and reach out for peace. To live or die together is the choice.

The Oregon militia

Published on Jan 11, 2016 Members of an anti-government militia have occupied the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a remote region of eastern Oregon for over a week, protesting what they claim is an overreaching federal government. The … Continue reading

Published on Jan 11, 2016

Members of an anti-government militia have occupied the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a remote region of eastern Oregon for over a week, protesting what they claim is an overreaching federal government. The occupation is being led by Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan, two sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher best known for an armed standoff with the federal government in 2014 over a cattle grazing dispute.

The protest was sparked by the re-sentencing of two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven, to five years in a federal prison for deliberately starting fires on their property that spread to the bordering Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

While the media has referred to the situation as an armed standoff, more specifically, the “Oregon Standoff,” the federal authorities have kept their distance, and the local authorities, led by Harney County Sheriff David Ward, are also treading lightly.

VICE News traveled to Harney County, Oregon to meet with militia leaders, attend town hall meetings, and speak with local ranchers whom the protesters claim to be representing.

In Photos: The Faces and Frozen Landscapes of the ‘Oregon Standoff’ – http://bit.ly/1ncia1i

Read “Militia Leader Ammon Bundy Met With a Local Sheriff to Discuss Ending the Oregon Standoff” – http://bit.ly/1kYVwrB

From  Washington Post and Los Angeles Times

January 4, 2016 

BURNS, Ore. — The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

President Obama is aware of the Oregon situation, but the White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

[The Oregon standoff is far bigger than a group of armed men in a forest]

As news of the encampment spread, along with photos of armed men on a snowy refuge, it drew national attention even as it was affecting people in the region. Officials in the area shuttered local schools for at least a week, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that the refuge “is closed until further notice” because of the situation.
Their illegal occupation of federal land has lasted for four days and militia leader Ammon Bundy refuses to leave until the land is turned over to local control.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who was briefed Sunday morning by the FBI, said the occupation was being monitored closely by state, federal and local authorities.

“The FBI is on this every minute,” Wyden said in an interview. “But based on comments from what we’ve heard in the community and what’s been reported, we may be in just the early stages of this.”

Wyden compared the frustrations of the activists to those of all rural Oregonians, who face a troubled economy yet to fully recover from the decline of the timber industry and dwindling federal dollars to replace lost timber income.

“There’s enormous frustration about the economy and a very powerful sense in rural communities that nobody listens to them, that they don’t have any power, that their voices don’t matter,” Wyden said. “But the next step isn’t to be led by some outsiders into doing something that doesn’t help anybody.”

Ammon Bundy, who has been described as the leader of the protest group, said they have had no contact thus far with federal law enforcement authorities. “Nor is there any police presence here,” he said in a Twitter message to the Los Angeles Times.

“We plan on staying as long as we have to,” he said. “It’s a very peaceful protest.”

He said the occupying group has made “no direct demands,” but the participants have stated that they will leave if the federal government gives up control of the nearby Malheur National Forest.

They are also demanding freedom or a reduced sentence for two Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment sparked the current standoff, Bundy said.

Bundy’s father, Cliven, is a Nevada rancher who has sparred with the government for years and who in 2014 had an armed standoff with federal agents trying to prevent him from illegally grazing his cattle on federal land. After the federal authorities backed down, experts said that the showdown “invigorated” anti-government groups in the United States.

The elder Bundy told a reporter in Oregon that “150 militia men” had occupied the federal land over the weekend, at least one person who saw them leave for the refuge said there were “maybe a dozen” people. On Monday, Ammon Bundy did not answer a reporter’s shouted question about the number of people there.

SIGN YOUR NAME: LOCK UP the Oregon Militiamen for their acts of domestic terrorism >>

After occupying federal property, Bundy claimed that he planned to use the refuse as a militia base for years to come and would not rule out violence if law enforcement attempts to remove them.

The Oregon militia is a radicalized group committing acts of terror and anarchy. They must be held responsible for their unlawful actions.

State and federal authorities were preparing to establish a law enforcement command post to coordinate a response. So far the occupation had gone unchallenged.

Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward pleaded with the activists to leave the area. “It’s time to go home, return to your families,” he said at a news conference Monday.

In Burns, a city about 30 miles north of the refuge, hundreds had rallied to support the Hammonds over the weekend. Some residents were angry that the peaceful demonstrations were overshadowed by the armed takeover of federal property.

“That was very peaceful. That was very appropriate,” Patty Hodge, a bartender, said of Saturday’s protest. “What happened [with the occupation] angered everyone in Harney County, and from what I understand, it angered the militia.”

Law enforcement officials also dismissed the occupiers as being separate from the protest over the Hammonds, saying they came to the region with a specific and different goal.

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

Republican presidential candidates were largely quiet about the takeover Sunday, including those who had supported the elder Bundy and made their own calls for limiting federal control over Western land.

On Monday, some began to speak more about the issue. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called on the occupiers to “stand down peaceably” and avoid a violent confrontation, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told KBUR radio that while the government has too much control over land in the West, “you can’t be lawless.”

“I’m sympathetic to the idea that the large collection of federal lands ought to be turned back to the states and the people, but I think the best way to bring about change is through politics,” said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. “That’s why I entered the electoral arena. I don’t support any violence or suggestion of violence toward changing policy.”


BUNDY MILITIA MUSTERS AGAIN OVER PAIUTE LAND

JANUARY 5, 2016 DEEP GREEN RESISTANCE NEWS SERVICE
By Steve Russell / Indian Country Today Media Network

Some of the same armed “militia” involved in the Cliven Bundy affair in Nevada have occupied federal land in Oregon formerly reserved for the Northern Paiute. Ironically, the “legal” basis for starting a fight with the federal government is that sovereignty “really” belongs to Oregon rather than the Paiutes, who have seen their federal trust land shrink from over one and a half million acres to a tiny remnant of 760 acres in Burns, Oregon, where this current armed standoff began.

Glad he had a gun

Glad he had a gun or the would-be robber (who also had a gun) would have been able to have his way with anything and anyone in the store. Instead, the robber ran away as soon as the other man … Continue reading

Glad he had a gun or the would-be robber (who also had a gun) would have been able to have his way with anything and anyone in the store. Instead, the robber ran away as soon as the other man presented his gun. How differently this would have gone if we didn’t have the Second Amendment!

The clerk is a competent fighter that used proportional limited force to fend off an armed assault. But it would have been simpler if no guns were available. The use of guns requires a lot if infrastructure, at the very least a supply of munition. Yes, guns can be restricted but it is not done because supplying guns and munition to the general public is good business, one of the few left in the States. Guns are not restricted because there is a lot of money supporting the availability of guns. Guns are very big business and the gun lobby is very influential.

The USA is a singularity. There are different degrees of gun control already in place all over the world. Nothing to invent. But in the United States gun advocacy is a religious issue, the Second Amendment a gift from God. Religious believes cannot be argued away. For people that believe in gun ownership any incident reinforces their belief. If there is a massacre, that means that everybody must have a gun. If someone gets killed in an armed assault, that means that everybody must have a gun. If an armed vigilante kills a couple of burglars because they got into the neighbors house, that means that everybody must have a gun.

Let me just said that the problem is not one of control, but the availability itself of guns. It’s not an issue of background checks or the like. The United States has a very violent history. The USA has been built on violence and one of the principles of the American ethos is the worship of the individual. The obvious lesson is that might makes right and the everyone by himself sohould be able, and has the duty, to fight off to protect possessions, family, and life. However, everything is connected and at the end the path of violence will leads us all to self destruction.

I hope, wish, that it is possible to live in peace. How? Getting away from the abstraction of money and giving value to human beings, as the brothers and sisters that we are. How? I Do not really know. Is it our best answer to violence to claim our right to be violent ? Woudn’t be better to eliminate the need, conditions, or the incentive to be violent?

We humans are violent beasts. It is our nature. If you press me on the mechanics of peace I do not know what specific things need to be done to eradicate violence in our society. Maybe there is no way out other than be exterminated by ourselves. We definitely going in that direction. One thing I know is that the problems of our time cannot be solved by individual action. It has to be a communal effort. Also, if we believe in peace, we must walk the way of peace. Not only avoid the use of weapons, but be active in resisting the use of violence by our government.

I am not strong or brave. If my family is in danger, or my house compromised I will feel anger. I know myself quite capable to be violent with the weak and meek with the powerful, but I can make the reference of Gandhi: He said that the way of peace is a manly way, and one must be willing to be cut down by machine fire, but that if one does not have the will to go the peaceful way we must still fight for our convictions.

Today there is enough wealth in the world to eradicate war and hunger. NO need for countries to fight for resources, NO need to have a gun in the house to fend off people. Yet we live in a system that no only tolerates hunger and poverty but that actually generates and needs poverty to function, that treats humans as materiel and constantly is pressing for more work for less pay. In a system that not only gets caught in wars but that fabricates wars for profit of the few.

Is not a problem of better gun control. Th system must be changed in a fundamental way. And it is not a question of socialism in the pejorative sense that most American understand it to be. No, it is a question to put human life and dignity above monetary profit.

The answer is in serving God and others, not ourselves. A stronger sense of community is necessary. The harder part is to transcend our sense of us and them. There is no them, we are all us. To have everybody really understand this is the challenge.

gun violence vs. gun ownership

From Facebook Joshua Tewksbury I have been responding to posts by others about the link between policy (jn this case gun policy) and gun violence, and I decided to do a bit of my own checking on this, to make … Continue reading

From Facebook

12248_10151351186253855_275840393_nJoshua Tewksbury

I have been responding to posts by others about the link between policy (jn this case gun policy) and gun violence, and I decided to do a bit of my own checking on this, to make sure I was right about this link. The graphic below relates gun violence (deaths per 100,000) vs. gun ownership (guns per 100). Now if you look closely, you will see that I have restricted the data to the 47 countries with an Human Development Index of  > .73, or “very high” according to UNDP

(more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index).

All the data comes from public sources, see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country.

The link is very clear between these – and look where the US sits here. The use of HDI to group countries into similar groups, where guns have a similar impact on violence, is worth considering, but it is clearly a better metric than GDP (for all sorts of reasons).

Happy to share the data if anyone wants to play with it further

Only in America

Jill Filipovic guardian.co.uk, Friday 21 December 2012 15.00 GMT “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” That line of defense from gun proponents comes up again and again in the wake of mass shootings, like last week’s at Sandy Hook elementary … Continue reading

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

That line of defense from gun proponents comes up again and again in the wake of mass shootings, like last week’s at Sandy Hook elementary school that left 20 children and seven adults dead. It’s true, in a sense: when holding objects that are specifically designed to be the most effective killing machines possible, people do, in fact, kill people.
And yes, people have gone on murderous rampages for all of human history, and have used whatever tools were at their disposal – rocks, knives, swords, their own hands – to inflict violence. The problem comes in when the tools at their disposal are really good at killing others without much work on the part of the killer, which is why lots of folks would like to see the United States institute some reasonable laws regulating gun ownership.
Time and again, though, the pro-gun right’s answer is the same: people will find a way to kill, and violence is inevitable, so taking away guns won’t work. Their solution seems to be a society where every citizen has a gun in one hand and crossed fingers on the other.

Only in America do we collectively shrug our shoulders when yet another young white man goes on a shooting spree.
Only in America do we remain convinced that people will kill no matter what, so we may as well give people virtually unlimited access to some of the deadliest hand-held weapons ever invented.
Only here, in America, do we think that the best we can do is a Facebook page and a plea to God.

An outlier

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/opinion/the-yawning-loophole-in-the-gun-laws.html The Brady gun control law, named for the White House official who was shot during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, requires licensed gun dealers to screen all prospective gun buyers through a federal database of convicted felons, … Continue reading

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/opinion/the-yawning-loophole-in-the-gun-laws.html

The Brady gun control law, named for the White House official who was shot during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, requires licensed gun dealers to screen all prospective gun buyers through a federal database of convicted felons, drug abusers, people with a serious mental illness and others. In addition, the law requires licensed dealers to collect information about buyers that can be used later to trace guns that were used in crimes. From 1994 to 2009, those checks have prevented nearly two million gun sales, according to the Justice Department.

But the law does not cover private sales of guns, including transactions by “occasional sellers” at gun shows and flea markets, in what has become a gaping loophole that has allowed teenagers, ordinary criminals, terrorists, Mexican drug cartels and arms traffickers to have easy access to weapons. For instance, firearms bought at gun showswere used in the Columbine school shooting; they have been found in a shipment of arms supplies to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah; and they have made their way across the border to Mexico.

But none of those examples have stopped the National Rifle Association and its supporters in Congress from blocking legislation that would require private sellers to run buyers through background checks, which take just a few minutes to process on the telephone. The N.R.A., emboldened by a Supreme Court ruling asserting an individual constitutional right to bear arms, has turned its attention to further broadening the market, lobbying state legislatures to allow concealed weapons in churches, schools and other public places and to restrict the discretion of local police in granting gun permits.

In the case of background checks on private sales, the N.R.A. has argued that checks are not needed because surveys of criminals suggest that just 2 percent of them buy their weapons from gun shows. This is a highly disingenuous argument because criminals most often purchase firearms from relatives, friends and associates. Many of those people, in turn, get their supplies from gun shows and elsewhere, including on the Internet where anybody with a credit card can order semiautomatic weapons for overnight delivery.

Requiring background checks for private sales will obviously not, on its own, keep people like Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who perpetrated the massacre in Newtown, Conn., away from deadly weapons. For starters, only buyers of guns, not members of the families who own them (as was true in his case), are screened against the database known as theNational Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Moreover, many state governments and federal agencies have provided incomplete or no records to the system for various logistical, legal and financial reasons. But those flaws and limitations should not be a reason for lawmakers to exempt sales at gun shows, flea markets and at other venues from background checks, which are a simple and effective way to prevent many violent individuals from getting access to guns.

Since the Newtown shootings, the influence and power of the N.R.A. may have diminished as some of its usual allies have distanced themselves from its hard-line position. Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, said on Tuesday that it would sell its stake in Freedom Group, the maker of the Bushmaster rifle. And a Democratic state lawmaker in California, Kevin de León, introduced a bill that would require people buying ammunition to go through background checks. These are small but promising shoots. It is up to Congress and President Obama to nurture them.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/opinion/the-gun-challenge-strict-laws-work.html

Experts from the Harvard School of Public Health, using data from 26 developed countries, have shown that wherever there are more firearms, there are more homicides. In the case of the United States, exponentially more: the American murder rate is roughly 15 times that of other wealthy countries, which have much tougher laws controlling private ownership of guns.

There’s another important difference between this country and the rest of the world. Other nations have suffered similar rampages, but they have reacted quickly to impose new and stricter gun laws.

Australia is an excellent example. In 1996, a “pathetic social misfit,” as a judge described the lone gunman, killed 35 people with a spray of bullets from semiautomatic weapons. Within weeks, the Australian government was working on gun reform laws that banned assault weapons and shotguns, tightened licensing and financed gun amnesty and buyback programs.

At the time, the prime minister, John Howard, said, “We do not want the American disease imported into Australia.” The laws have worked. The American Journal of Law and Economics reported in 2010 that firearm homicides in Australia dropped 59 percent between 1995 and 2006. In the 18 years before the 1996 laws, there were 13 gun massacres resulting in 102 deaths, according to Harvard researchers, with none in that category since.

Similarly, after 16 children and their teacher were killed by a gunman in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, the British government banned all private ownership of automatic weapons and virtually all handguns. Those changes gave Britain some of the toughest gun control laws in the developed world on top of already strict rules. Hours of exhaustive paperwork are required if anyone wants to own even a shotgun or rifle for hunting. The result has been a decline in murders involving firearms.

In Japan, which has very strict laws, only 11 people were killed with guns in 2008, compared with 12,000 deaths by firearms that year in the United States — a huge disparity even accounting for the difference in population. As Mayor Michael Bloomberg stressed on Monday while ratcheting up his national antigun campaign, “We are the only industrialized country that has this problem. In the whole world, the only one.”