2 posts • joined Tuesday 17th April 2007 13:54 GMT
It all sounds lovely :"Of course those at The Register enjoy free speech, which should be the right of anyone..." - oh no, off the rails and into the ditch - "... But it seems to me that those at The Register are taking unfair advantage of their captive audience ..."
Things are clearly different in the Land of the Free, because here in the UK I choose to read The Register when and as often as I wish, and don't feel any coercion when I do so. Also, just how is expressing an opinion or having a bias (real or perceived) in any way taking advantage? If The Register was tasked with the responsibility of educating gullible and formative young minds, I would agree there was a duty of care. But I'm a grizzled adult, with all my prejudices, bigotries and idiosyncrasies fully-formed and running smoothly. Plus, being an adult, I find I am capable of hearing and reading opinions which differ from my own without feeling the need to curtail someone else's right to express them.
It's a common error to assume that the right of free speech contains a right to be listened to. In fact it does not. If I don't like The Register or its tone, I would quickly look elsewhere. I suggest you apply the same principle. It's sort of like a free market, which is another thing the US doesn't fully understand. Don't get me wrong. I've lived in the US, and I like many Americans individually. But your government really sucks, and you claim, as a so-called democracy, that you voted for it. So you have to take some of the blame for that.
Guns don't kill people ...
I heard an American academic 'talking head' on this morning's BBC News banging on about gun control and pointing out that, in the US, gun control means an entirely different thing to what we in the UK understand. However, tellingly, when confronted with the idea that no amount of gun control would prevent the 'lone nutter' scenario (I paraphrase, obviously) she fell back on her argument and admitted that these sorts of massacres should be "viewed like societal bad weather" i.e. they were unpreventable and Americans should just learn to live with them. So, she's quite willing to advocate gun control, even though it would have no discernable impact (she feels) on the problem under discussion, and as far as school shooting massacres are concerned - well, sh*t happens!
If the hunt is now on to find the police guilty of not anticipating that a 'routine' double homicide on a US campus would turn into a killing spree that would kill a further 30 innocent people, are those involved not then tacitly agreeing with her assertion? That is, any shooting in the US has the potential to turn into this sort of massacre and by failing to automatically make that assumption, they are somehow derelict in their duties. Cripes!
In 'Bowling for Columbine', Michael Moore asserts that in Canada there is a similar access to guns amongst the population, but they don't spend a fraction of the effort or time killing each other as people do in the US. If this is true (and believe me, I take a lot of what Mr. Moore claims with a hefty pinch of salt), then there must be something else at play here besides the availability of the weaponry.
So, until all the various camps (both pro-gun and anti-gun) get off the megaphones and start thinking rather than shouting, I can't see the problem going away soon - even if you remove all the Marilyn Manson/Judas Priest/<insert Rock Satanist du jour here> music from all the shelves in America.
In evolutionary terms, something in the US environment has changed (this is the 19th such episode in the last 10 years, according to one news report I heard) and Americans need to understand what it is before they start kicking off those knee jerk responses.
Alternatively, if you are the sort of American who denies science and believes in 'intelligent' design, it's a message from God. In which case, what is he trying to tell you?
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