Reblog with update: Orlando – A View From Britain

I hadn’t planned on re-blogging any more previous posts at present, but I have just had a reminder about this one, from a year ago today. Whilst this was written as a response to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, it carries a wider message.

Sadly, that message is no less relevant today. Yesterday in the US saw the widely publicised shooting of Republican politician Steve Scalise and several others while they were playing baseball. It also saw the less widely publicised killing of three UPS workers in San Francisco by a colleague, who then committed suicide. This morning, I saw this on the Vox Facebook page:

‘In December 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. Since then, there have been at least 1,399 mass shootings, with at least 1,564 people killed and 5,515 wounded.’

These statistics are horrific, especially as a change in the law could help to reduce them. Here in the UK we have recently had the suicide bombing in Manchester, and two terrorist attacks by fanatical murderers armed with vehicles and knives. The loss of life and injuries caused by these outrages is awful, but I can’t help but think that, had the perpetrators had the easy access to guns that they would have enjoyed in the States, the death tolls would have been much higher. Yet the US President took to Twitter to criticise the Mayor of London for his response to the events, using his usual technique of a very selective grasping of the wrong end of the stick. He then went on to mock us for our gun laws. You really still don’t get it, America, do you? Evil will, I fear, always exist in our world. But making it harder for those people to access weapons of mass murder seems to me to be a no brainer. But, somehow, I think this message falls on deaf ears amongst those in a position to do something about it. That, to a non-American, is shameful.

Take It Easy

What happened in Pulse bar in Orlando on Saturday night was shocking, horrific, and utterly terrifying for anyone caught up in it. I can only write about it on the basis of the information I have been given by the British media, which may or may not be correct, but this information has got me thinking.

My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I cannot begin to comprehend the horror of being involved in such an atrocity. From a European perspective the obvious initial reaction was that as the murderer was called Omar Mateen this was likely to be another one-man terrorism act. Stereotypes, huh? We learned that shortly before he went out to kill people he had made some phone calls claiming allegiance to Islamic State. That just added to the image. But in the past few days it has emerged that he had also claimed…

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Walk Awhile

Whilst I’m working on some new stuff, which isn’t yet ready to post – yes, I do have standards! – I thought I’d share again this post from a year ago today. Newer readers won’t have seen it before, and if I can bring the music of Dave Swarbrick and Fairport Convention to a wider audience it’s worth it! And as I said at the end of the piece, the featured song offers good advice on how we could improve our lives and the world as whole. This has been brought very much into my focus by the recent terrorist murders in the UK. We really do need to walk together.

Take It Easy

Times obituary 7.6.16 Times obituary 7.6.16

By any standards, 2016 has so far been a terrible year for celebrity deaths. Some have been global superstars and have been widely mourned, and shamelessly used as an excuse for those Z-listers who hang onto the coat tails of the rich and famous – I wrote about this in Starman. Others have been more localised, but none the less tragic for that. I suspect that most of you reading this will never have heard of the person I am writing about, particularly as he died on the same day as Muhammad Ali, although The Times did a rather nice (almost) full page obituary of him yesterday. He wouldn’t have been expecting a 16 page tribute though, so no harm done!

Does the name Dave Swarbrick mean anything to you? No? I thought not. Swarb, as he was universally known, was a fiddle player, singer and…

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