On hearing that Paul McCartney has come out for the Bitter Together campaign in the Scottish Independence referendum, I wondered what his late wife, Linda, might have thought about it. Given that there’s a statue of her holding a wee lamb in the garden of Campbeltown Museum, I decided to put words in her mouth.
Despite living in the US for 20 years before moving to Scotland, there are many things I don’t understand about American culture. The most mystifying aspect of this strange country is its deification of guns. Some things I get, like the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, which states:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Putting aside the dire need for a copy editor to clarify whether that means bearing arms as part of an official militia, or just anyone can have them, it’s an established right in one sense or the other.
But why has it assumed such importance in American culture? The NRA fights tooth and nail to defeat all legislation attempting to regulate the absolute right to own guns, even when there is clearly a need for background checks prior to purchase, a database of guns and their owners, and a limit to the amount of firepower individuals can amass.
The NRA has won hands down in most cases, despite America having the highest death rate by gun violence in the world at 4.5 deaths per 100,000. It is legal to carry concealed guns in all 50 states, and you would think that was enough to satisfy the most ardent 2nd Amendment fan.
The newest thug on the block is the open carry movement, made up of gun owners who delight in walking around with their weapons on display. They even have demonstrations in favour of the right they already have, and which no-one is likely to take away from them.
The Guardian reported on one woman’s response to such a demonstration in Austin, Texas. She and few companions exercised their right to go topless at the event. Apparently this didn’t go down well with the demonstrators, who were more outraged at the womens’ breasts than with their own need to let their penis extensions hang out.
Come join 13-year-old Brenna Strong along with her mom, Bea, and her dad, Richard, as they spend a typical Saturday running errands and having fun together. What’s not so typical is that Brenna’s parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defense. The Strongs join a growing number of families that are standing up for their 2nd Amendment rights by open carrying and bringing gun ownership out of the closet and into the mainstream.
Ah, the Strongs. Of course. The Strongs shall inherit the earth. It’s instructive that
“for a limited time only, White Feather Press is giving away a free copy of the fun book Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate! by Doug Giles, with every purchase of My Parents Open Carry in book form. That’s a $15.99 value!”
What? Don’t gun nuts like equality – who’d have though it? The author says of this “fun book“,
Parent, if you have a young son and you want him to grow up to be a man, then you need to keep him away from pop culture, public school and a lot of Nancy Boy churches. If metrosexual pop culture, feminized public schools and the effeminate branches of evanjellycalism lay their sissy hands on him, you can kiss his masculinity good-bye because they will morph him into a dandy. Yeah, mom and dad, if – if – you dare to raise your boy as a classic boy in this castrated epoch, then you’ve got a task that’s more difficult than getting a drunk to hit the urinal at Chili’s. Read this bold and hard-hitting guide by Doug Giles, the politically incorrect master, on how to raise your son in a world which more and more seems to hate masculinity.
And there you have it. Sometimes I despair. Let’s close with a poem by Roger McGough.
Why patriots are bit nuts in the head
Patriots are a bit nuts in the head
because they wear
red white and blue tinted spectacles
(red for blood,
white for glory
and blue … for a boy)
and are in effervescent danger
of losing their lives.
Lives are good for you.
When you are alive
you can eat and drink a lot
and go out with girls
if you are lucky
you can even go to bed with them)
But you can’t do this
if you have your belly shot away
and your seeds spread out over some corner
of a foreign field
in later years
the growing of oats
by some peasant yobbo
when you are posthumous
it is cold and dark
and that is why patriots
are a bit nuts in the head
This terrible affliction, endemic to politicians, has claimed another victim in the form of Owen Paterson, environment secretary, after a badger cull failed to meet its target. Rather than accepting that it was the fault of his department, he said, “badgers are moving the goalposts.”
You couldn’t make it up? Well, apparently you can. Paterson may be the first person in the world to put those words in that order, and he deserves our undying gratitude for contributing the phrase to the political lexicon.
It is a tad unfortunate that it means a toe-curlingly pathetic excuse for failure. One that blames the victims of a policy for not waiting around to be killed. But the Tories are dab hands at blaming the victims, so nothing new there. Nevertheless, Paterson now owns the phrase, which will haunt him for the rest of his career.
Cheers, Owen, and thanks for the inspiration. Oh, and here’s a song to help you get to sleep at nights.
In 2009, Gemma Atkinson filmed the police searching her boyfriend on a mobile phone. The police officers claimed that filming them was illegal under counter-terrorism law and demanded she hand over the phone. She refused, was detained for 25 minutes and handcuffed, while they tried to get the phone out of her pocket. In the end, both she and her boyfriend were released.
Atkinson made an immediate complaint, taking her story and the footage above to the Guardian. She took her case to the High Court to get a judicial review of the Metropolitan Police guidelines, which should clearly state that the Terrorism Act only applies where “the images are considered ‘likely to be useful’ to a terrorist.” The Met changed the language to avoid a judicial review.
Atkinson then made a complaint against the specific officers involved. But the IPCC exonerated them, despite their conflicting accounts, saying they weren’t aware of the law! The IPCC awarded Atkinson compensation, which she used to make an animated film highlighting the right to photograph the police while carrying out their duties.
In fact, they (and us) are being filmed all the time – by CCTV cameras – but the police “own” this footage in the sense that it’s rarely available to the public. Citizen photographers are essential to monitor police activities, to make sure they’re serving the public and not abusing their own positions of trust.
After all, if you’ve done nothing wrong, then there’s nothing to fear.
Below is the link to Gemma Atkinson’s film, with a Guardian comments section, and here’s the press pack. If this bothers you as much as it does me, please consider reblogging or publicising the film. There’s a copy inside the press pack. Thank you.
On Monday, in an unintentional April Fool joke, Iain Duncan Smith claimed to be able to live on £53 a week, the amount of job-seekers allowance (after rent and bills) that some people under 25 have to survive on. This is on the day the Coalition introduced swingeing benefit cuts, which they call “reform.” Lest we forget, IDS earns a not too shabby salary as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (£1,581 a week), and “lives in the 17th-century Buckinghamshire manor his wife’s family has owned for six generations.”
A petition for IDS to live on £53 a week was launched almost immediately. Predictably, IDS called this a stunt, after the petition went viral. There were 370,806 signatures at the time of writing. In fact, the stunt was his own claim to be able to live on this risible amount. It’s an insult. I know because I did attempt to live on £53 a week for several months, as a glitch in my pension credit got ever so slowly sorted out. Despite extreme penny-pinching, I was overdrawn every week, with all the attendant bank fees. By the time it was resolved, I was over £300 overdrawn. The DWP had parked my file somewhere and forgotten about it, so at the end I got a backdated lump sum that covered the overdraft. I hate to think what would have happened if I did not own my flat.
Please consider adding your own signature to the petition. Let’s shame the bastard, if that’s possible, by getting it into six figures.
Thank you. There’s a widget on the sidebar so you can see how the count is going.