Tuesday, June 14, 2016

August 14: computer crash

It happened on Sunday. So I'm just back to work late on Tuesday. So this may be a short blog. Luckily, there's nothing in the Irving press today or yesterday -
but this caught my eye on page A1 of today's paper.

"Vigil hounours Orlanda shooting victims". Apparently, hundreds of people turned out in Moncton for a candlelight vigil for those victims. I've also been following TV news which has  been hypnotized by the killings.

And there's something terribly wrong with all of this.

First, the killer had just bought a semi-automatic combat rifle. That's what made it possible for him to kill so many. It's a gun of no value for hunting or target shooting - just for killing people, and lots of them, (and also for those who desperately need macho). That gun was sold to him from a gun store owned by a retired policeman - and, surely, who understood types of guns and what they were for.

The buyer was a young man who had been under close surveillance by the world's largest domestic spy agencies as a terrorist threat. Yet he was still able to buy the gun.  So much for the effectiveness of the world's largest and most expensive spy agencies. And so much for gun laws in the U.S.

In Moncton, another macho-sufferer was able to buy a similar gun in a gunstore, and kill three police. We put up statues.

Big deal.

Where were our news media in asking  where the Moncton killer got the gun, and how it is possible for such a gun to be sold in Canada.?

And now we have an outpouring of demonstrations of sorrow all over North America for sixty dead.

Nothing wrong with that. But -

Where was the sorrow when hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans were slaughtered, men, women, children, babies...? It was condoned, equipped and organized by the U.S. government. It was done to crush criticism of mining companies which were destroying the lands and waters of Guatemala.

It never made our news media at all. Not a word.

One of the dead was a lay missionary from New Brunswick. He lies buried a short drive from Moncton. But I have heard of no processions goiug there for a candlelight vigil for him and the hundreds of thousands murdered with him.

To return to Orlando -

The sheriff immediately announced that this was a terrorist attack. And, oh, the press picked up his cry. Yes - terrorist. And we all knew that terrorist was spelled  I-s-l-a-m. And from that moment the millions of Donald Trumps were calling for tough measures against all them there Ay-rabs.

Too bad  so many of our journalists and politicians don't know the meanings of words. Terrorism is a method warfare that is used a)to drive a society to despair or b) as a political device to get people to overreact or act foolishly.
For examples of b) look at 9/11 or the attacks in France and Belgium.
For an example of a)  try the bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the deliberate bombing of civilians by all sides in World War 2, U.S. carpet bombing in Cambodia and Vietnam, and napalm bombing in Vietnam. Also think about the extraordinary rate of killing of civilians in Iraq long after Saddam had been captured.

I must have  missed all the candlelight vigils for the millions of dead in all that.

There is no evidence and no likeliehood that the Orland killer was motivated by terrorism. Far more likely, he was motivated by hatred - hatred of gays (which was quite fashionable all over the U.S. and Canada until very lately), and hatred of Americans who had invaded his homeland.

Of course, we should mourn those who died in Orlando. We should mourn them just as we should mourn the millions mass-murdered, raped, tortured, crippled, orphaned in illegal and unjustified wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq - and now in Syria and Yemen, wars carried out largely by the U.S. and Britain.

And we might spare a moment or two for those ten thousand and more who fled our wars only to drown in the waters off southern Europe..

We might even have a thought for the thousands killed by U.S. drones that illegally wage wars, killing far more civilians than enemies. And we might at least flick a Bic for men, women and children of Yemen that are being killed by cluster bombs made in the USA, by the deliberate bombing of  hospitals and schools, by armoured cars made in Canada, by starvation enforced by our good friends in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Britain....

But, no, we won't think about that. If you're in church on Sunday, you'll probably hear a prayer for the gays, lesbians and transgendered who died (even in the many churches which attacked them for centuries.)

But neither our churches nor our news media will talk about why we are fighting these wars - even though it's a short word with just three letters.

So, what got me started on this?

I has nothing to do with any lack of sympathy for those who died, and for their relatives and friends. But, oh my, we are selective in our sympathy, aren't we?
Think about it. Where were the TV reports of the millions killed by 'our side', killed out of pure greed? Where are the candlelight processions?

As I wrote this, the answer occurred to me.

We have made mourning into just another word for thoughtless conformity.



  1. CBC aired and interview with a woman who survived. The shooter said he attacked because of the US bombing his country. I can only find a CBS article on it.


    1. Thanks. I'll check it out. There are quite a few stories making the round. One is that the shooter, himself, was gay, and frequented that club. Another is that he's quite insane. But at least he handled it the American way - with a gun.

    2. Thanks. I'll check it out. There are quite a few stories making the round. One is that the shooter, himself, was gay, and frequented that club. Another is that he's quite insane. But at least he handled it the American way - with a gun.