Posted on 28th May 2022

Since my days at Harvard in the 1970’s, I have been deeply conscious of gun violence in America. The owner of the bar I frequented at the time was shot dead. He was downstairs and I was upstairs. He cried out that he had been shot. People thought he was joking. He wasn’t and he died. I can only imagine the profound shock and anguish suffered by the parents of the kids massacred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It makes one’s stomach churn. When in God’s name is the Federal Government going to do something to try to curb gun violence.

Slane Castle

Like many we have relatives in America who are of school-going age. The very idea that, as in this case, an 18 year old can just walk into a gun shop and buy an assault weapon without even a background check beggars belief. However that’s the law and now to add to the lunacy, Texas is an Open-Carry State which means that anybody owning a legally held firearm can carry it openly in public without a permit or training. As Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said, it made it harder for officers to differentiate between “a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun”. To me the weirdest thing is that at 18 years old you are too young to have a beer but old enough to own an assault rifle. So President Biden in his address to the nation poses the question “ When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?”. Well perhaps he should start with the White House. Politically the problem lies with the Senate where the influence of the National Rifle Association ( NRA) is strong. The President is in the Senate for decades and knows a lot of the players. He must know that there is general public support for some action to be taken. Maybe he could make a move via executive order ? At least it would be a start. You will see the NRA flexing its muscles this week at its annual meeting which is being held in Houston, Texas. Donald Trump is expected to attend. It is a huge problem but politicians must no longer allow this violence to continue.

From carnage in America to Vlad the Bad. His latest attempt to link access to Ukrainian ports for the purposes of exporting grain to the lifting of western sanctions against Russia is his latest despicable strategic move. Putin has no regard whatsoever for human life. In this case the danger of mass starvation in parts of Africa where the population is highly dependent on Russian and Ukrainian grain to survive. From the mass displacement of people in Europe to the threat of mass starvation in Africa his villainy is on a truly global scale. Hence its all the more important that he is stopped. At the moment he is throwing all his military resources against the Ukrainians in Donbas where Russia have been reported to have made significant gains in their assault on the eastern city of Severodonetsk. The Ukrainians are under severe pressure and are complaining that they have yet to receive all the weaponry they have been promised. It is essential that the NATO allies understand that a critical stage of the war is unfolding. Vlad the Bad is throwing everything he can marshal because he desperately needs a victory to shore up his regime. We may be a neutral country but we should pray for his defeat.

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