Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Texas Solution to Mass Shootings – More Guns

Forgive me for going political, but occasionally I have to let off steam.

 

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I was raised with guns. My husband fought in Vietnam; we have great respect for weapons of all kinds, and when they are needed, and the damage they can inflict. We believe in protecting ourselves.

We don’t need an assault rifle.

When the governor of Texas pulled a sad face and talked about the need to protect Texans, without getting specific, the hair on the back of my neck started going up. Another politician hiding what he is really saying, I thought. When pushed, he referred to the eight new laws going into effect that very day, the same day another angry white American-born male had shot and killed seven people and wounded many more.

He carried an assault rifle. First killed was a policeman making a traffic stop.

The gun laws that the governor referred to as going into effect, each and every law, protect gun ownership and allow guns legally to be carried in more places.

Churches, synagogues and mosques.

Schools.

God forbid.

More guns, in my experience, do NOT make us more safe.

While we were with the military, guns which were not being used for training purposes (or war) were locked up. Every base, every unit has it’s own weapons storage center, kept under lock and key, and those are the rules for professionals with a huge familiarity with guns, and their proper handling, and their capabilities.

Any person can become temporarily insane. I myself have had moments when I knew I was capable of killing, especially to protect my child, or another innocent. None of us know what we are capable of under extreme stress or circumstances.

I can imagine NO circumstance under which it would be appropriate for me to carry an assault weapon.

Here, courtesy of CNN, are the eight new gun laws the governor cited in his lily-livered bow to the NRA:

(CNN)

A series of new firearm laws go into effect in Texas on Sunday, just hours after a shooting left seven people dead in the western part of the state.

The laws will further loosen gun restrictions in a state that’s had four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history, including the El Paso shooting last month, when a gunman stormed a Walmart and killed 22 people.
The new measures were all passed during the 2019 legislative session, which ended in June.
Here are the sweeping firearm laws going into effect:

Weapons on school grounds

House Bill 1143 says a school district cannot prohibit licensed gun owners, including school employees, from storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked vehicle on a school parking lot — provided they are not in plain view.
Kris Brown, president of gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady, criticized the bill going into effect September 1.
“Many states took the opportunity in the last two years to learn lessons from the tragedies in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and the every day gun violence that plagues our citizens, and enacted new laws to protect public safety through expanded background checks and extreme risk laws,” Brown said.
“Texas lawmakers, instead … doubled down on an NRA led agenda to encourage guns everywhere, no matter the risks and costs to safety.”

Marshals at schools

House Bill 1387 loosens restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district can appoint.

Guns in foster homes

House Bill 2363 allows some foster homes to store firearms and ammunition in a safe and secure place for personal protection. Proper storage must be followed, the bill says, including putting firearms and ammunition together in the same locked locations.

Weapons in apartments

House Bill 302 bans homeowners or landlords of rental property from prohibiting residents from lawfully possessing, carrying, transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in the property.

Handguns during a disaster

House Bill1177 prohibits residents from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun while evacuating from a state or local disaster area.

Firearms in places of worship

Senate Bill 535 clarifies the possession of firearms at churches, synagogues or other places of worship. It allows licensed handgun owners to legally carry their weapons in places of worship — and comes nearly two years after a gunman killed 26 people at Sutherland Springs church.
“We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what,” state Sen. Donna Campbell, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “It makes no sense to disarm the good guys and leave law-abiding citizens defenseless where violent offenders break the law to do great harm.”
The bill will make things clearer, she said.
“The existing statute is confusing and clunky when it comes to clearly stating the rights of licensed Texans to carry on the premises of a church. This bill provides clarity of the Legislature’s intent to treat churches in the same manner as other privately owned establishments in Texas.”
A landlord cannot forbid tenants to carry or store guns on the rental premises. People can carry guns, by law, into houses of worship, even those where mass shootings have occurred. And guns are allowed in foster homes?? Good grief.
On a brighter note, Walmart announced to day restrictions on selling certain kinds of ammunition; restricting gun sales may be around the corner.
This is NOT a mental health issue. This is an issue where normal but angry people have access to weapons which kill many people, quickly.  The first step is to re-instate the assault weapon ban. Now.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Cultural, Health Issues, Interconnected, Law and Order, Lies, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Quality of Life Issues, Rants, Safety, Social Issues, Stranger in a Strange Land, Survival, Values | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Bribe Blinds the Eyes of the Wise”

i will confess Deuteronomy, with all it’s rules and admonitions, is not my favorite book in the bible, and yet I love the words about bribery found in today’s Old Testament reading from the Lectionary:

Deuteronomy 16:18-20,17:14-20

18 You shall appoint judges and officials throughout your tribes, in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall render just decisions for the people. 19 You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. 20 Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

14 When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me’, 15 you may indeed set over you a king whom the Lord your God will choose. One of your own community you may set as king over you; you are not permitted to put a foreigner over you, who is not of your own community. 16 Even so, he must not acquire many horses for himself, or return the people to Egypt in order to acquire more horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You must never return that way again.’ 17 And he must not acquire many wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; also silver and gold he must not acquire in great quantity for himself.

18 When he has taken the throne of his kingdom, he shall have a copy of this law written for him in the presence of the levitical priests. 19 It shall remain with him and he shall read in it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, diligently observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 neither exalting himself above other members of the community nor turning aside from the commandment, either to the right or to the left, so that he and his descendants may reign long over his kingdom in Israel.

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Faith, Lectionary Readings | , | Leave a comment

Qatar Bribed Officials to get 2022 FIFA World Cup ?

Ripped from the headlines at AOL News as reported on Al Jazeera:

Organizers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are certain that hosting rights to the tournament will not be taken away, despite a FIFA investigation into alleged bribery and corruption, according a report from Al Jazeera.

Qatari officials have denied misconduct, but allegations that the Gulf State bought the World Cup have persisted. Qatar 2022 communications director Nasser Al Khater told Al Jazeera that organizers are not concerned that the World Cup be stripped from the country:

“We are not worried, we are confident that the World Cup will take place in Qatar.”

Al Khater also said that Qatar has held itself to “the highest ethical standards” throughout the entire process.

Qatar was selected to host the 2022 World Cup in December 2010 over bids from the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea. Since FIFA made its selection, rumors have persisted that Qatar bribed its way to victory, allegations that gained steam in March when The Telegraph reported that Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam had paid millions of dollars to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.

Since the report was released, pressure has mounted on FIFA to take action, or at least mount a serious investigation. A number of World Cup sponsors called on FIFA to look into the allegations, and politicians from both the United States and Britain have urged FIFA to take action.

FIFA’s ethics committee has been looking into the bribery allegations.

The 2022 World Cup has faced criticism for more than alleged corruption. Roughly 4,000 migrant workers in Qatar will die by time the 2022 World Cup starts if the current pace of worker fatalities remains stable. A number of media outlets, including ESPN and The Guardian, have published in-depth investigations into the country’s poor treatment of migrant workers, many of whom are building infrastructure and stadiums for the World Cup.

FIFA has also admitted that the 2022 World Cup may have to be played in the winter rather than the summer, as Qatar’s summer heat would be potentially dangerous for players.

Though FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said that awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup was “a mistake,” he also labeled allegations of Qatar 2022 corruption as “racism.”

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Qatar | , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Plans, No Action

Hmmm, let’s see . . . plans drawn up, billions allocated for renovation and restoration and blah blah blah and nothing happens. Good ol’ Kuwait? Nope! The tragic quagmire of post-Katrina New Orleans. You can read the entire article at The New York Times.

By ADAM NOSSITER
Published: April 1, 2008

NEW ORLEANS — In March 2007, city officials finally unveiled their plan to redevelop New Orleans and begin to move out of the post-Hurricane Katrina morass. It was billed as the plan to end all plans, with Paris-like streetscape renderings and promises of parks, playgrounds and “cranes on the skyline” within months.

But a year after a celebratory City Hall kickoff, there have been no cranes and no Parisian boulevards. A modest paved walking path behind a derelict old market building is held up as a marquee accomplishment of the yet-to-be-realized plan.

There has been nothing to signal a transformation in the sea of blight and abandonment that still defines much of the city. Weary and bewildered residents, forced to bring back the hard-hit city on their own, have searched the plan’s 17 “target recovery zones” for any sign that the city’s promises should not be consigned to the municipal filing cabinet, along with their predecessors. On their one-year anniversary, the designated “zones” have hardly budged.

“To my knowledge, I don’t think they’ve done anything to any of them,” said Cynthia Nolan, standing near a still-padlocked, derelict library in the once-flooded Broadmoor section, which is in the plan.

“I haven’t seen anything they’ve done to even initiate anything,” said Ms. Nolan, a manager in a state motor vehicles office who has painstakingly raised her house here nearly four feet. “It’s too long. A year later, and they still haven’t initiated anything they decided to do?”

The library still bears the cross-hatch markings made by emergency teams in the days immediately after Hurricane Katrina, to indicate whether any bodies were inside (there were none).

The city official in charge of the recovery effort, Edward J. Blakely, said the public’s frustration was understandable, but he suggested that bureaucratic hurdles had made moving faster impossible. Mr. Blakely said crucial federal money had only recently become available, the process of designing reconstruction projects within the 17 zones was time-consuming, and ethics constraints on free spending were acute, given a local history of corruption.

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Building, Bureaucracy, Crime, Cultural, Financial Issues, Fund Raising, Leadership, Lies, Living Conditions, News, Rants | , | 2 Comments

Corruption at the Morgue

Where is the Kuwaiti detective novel? I follow Guido Brunetti in Donna Leon’s series on Venice, Dave Robicheaux, the James Lee Burke detective in a small town just outside New Orleans, and now, Investigator Chen, who is a chief investigator in China, but where, oh where is the Kuwait detective / mystery? It is just waiting to be written.

In yesterday’s Kuwait Times is an article I would love to link you to, but it isn’t there, not even when I search “female coroner” from the headline on page 3. Did you know Kuwait had a female coroner, a la Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brennan and Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpatta? As you read the article, it makes sense, as the bodies are kept semi-segregated in the morgue, and women work on women (some of the time) and men on men.

I’m impressed. Any time a woman takes on a traditionally men’s job, it takes a whole lot of courage. I imagine the requirements to be a coroner here are similar to other countries – you have to have a medical degree (be a doctor) and then have advanced training in forensics. So when Nawal Boshehri speaks out, I listen. She’s got my attention.

Nawal Boshehri says conditions in the morgue are awful. From a personal point of view, she has been sexually molested by her superior and frozen in her position over false accusations that she has not been going to work or signing in or out. She has asked the minister of interior to look into her complaints.

As an institution, she reports serious issues – labs that lack necessary equipment, to do tests, such as those that measure drugs and alcohol in the bloodstream, outdated machinery, rusty machinery, lack of ventilation (in a morgue! horrors!) and she states they are constantly in fear of getting infections.

She claims that reports have sometimes been manipulated and twisted to give prosecutors the wrong technical information that would sometimes end up setting a guilty person free, and that one time they certified a murder had been insane without him ever having been examined by any mental health professionals. She was once asked to provide a report that made one citizen swap places with the assaulted expatriate, so that the assaulted expatriate would appear to be the guilty party.

She adds that she fears for her life. She says “a senior coroner at the department falsified reports, namely those related to detainees, who underwent police brutality during interrogations. He usually did this as favors to his colleagues to help them get promoted instead of being punished for their brutality.” She added that because she has reported these things, she fears for her own life.

Every nation has corruption. Corruption is chaotic, and when you get serious about rule of law, you still have corruption, but you do your best to root it out. You report it when it happens. I think that Nawal Boshehri has enough confidence in Kuwait’s institutions to go public with her allegations. While it may appear dirty laundry, that she CAN go public is a very positive sign. I can imagine she fears for her life, and yet, she seems to be fighting to retain her job. That’s very brave.

That the Kuwait Times will publish the article on page three, in three columns, that is also very brave, and speaks well of the increasing confidence in a free press.

Wouldn’t this make a great detective novel?

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Biography, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Crime, Customer Service, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , , | 8 Comments