International Conflicts Rage On As Russia Sparks Gun Buying in the U.S. and More Planes Meet Disaster

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No one can deny the fact that this year have been the worst in the history of aviation especially the past week with a cluster of disaster spanning three continents including 300 passengers killed on a plane shot out of the sky, suspension of flights to Israel’s largest airport due to rocket attacks, and airliner crashing in a storm and another disappears. According to the AOL article, Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster, industry analysts and safety experts have concluded their is no common theme with these disasters as they all seem random tragedies and do not think the events indicate that flying is suddenly becoming less safe. The International Air Transportation Association reported that less than one in 2 million flights last year ended in an accident where the plane was damaged. John Beatty, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia, a non-profit promoting global aviation safety, said: “One of the things that makes me feel better when we look at these events is that if they all were the same type event or same root cause then you would say there’s a systemic problem here, but each event is unique in its own way.” Beatty added that because of the growth in the industry especially in the developing world that more accidents could potentially happen. Malaysia Flight 17 shot down on July 18 in Eastern Ukraine killed 298 people and Malaysia Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people in March adding up to more than twice the total global airline fatalities in all of last year which was the safest year on record with 163 fatalities in 2013. ON Wednesday, seven days after Flight 17 met disaster, a TransAsia plane crashed in Taiwan due to stormy weather killing 48 people injuring 10 others and crew and injuring five more people on the ground. The next day an Air Algerie flight with 116 people disappeared in a rainstorm which the wreckage was later found in Mali, a Burkina Faso official said late Thursday. Together, the disasters may push the fatalities over 700 for this year, the most since 2010, and 2014 is still only half over. According to Robert W. Mann Jr., an aviation industry analyst: “They’re all tragic, but the global air travel consumer has a very short memory and it’s highly localized to their home markets where they fly. The places where these things are happening, 99 percent of passengers never go to or fly to. … This isn’t a headline issue for most people, and that’s why people continue to fly despite the headlines.”

While aviation industry faces a tough year, Russia and Pro-Russian separatists face new accusations regarding Ukraine. According to Catherine Taibi, CNN Freelancer Abducted By Pro-Russian Separatists In Ukraine, a CNN freelance journalist has been detained in eastern Ukraine since Tuesday after being abducted by pro-Russian separatists as reported by the network Thursday. Anton Skiba was taken from his hotel in Donetsk after covering days of the MH17 crash site and the network chose not to report the incident for safety concerns. CNN reports that several press freedom groups and organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have called for Skiba’s immediate release. Skiba was accused of “terrorism” and “of posting cash rewards for the killing of separatist fighters on his Facebook page.” The Unites States on Thursday accused Russia of firing artillery across the border in to Ukraine to target Ukrainian military positions, Reuters reports Russia Fired On Ukraine, U.S. Says. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf explained: “We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions.” Ukraine’s Security Council said on Wednesday that preliminary information indicated that missiles were fired from Russia that took down two government fighter jets over Eastern Ukraine. Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday dismissed this saying it is an attempt to mislead the public, according to Interfax news agency reports citing a defense ministry official. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., after new sanction imposed by the Obama administration last week against Russia included several companies such as Kalashnikov Concern, who makes the most popular weapon in the world, the Ak-47. As Hunter Stuart reports, Russian Sanctions Spark AK-47 Buying Frenzy In U.S., the move has sent Americans in to a buying frenzy seeking to buy AK-47s that are already for sale in the U.S. Gun sellers around the country say they are seeing big business in AK-47s and other Russian firearms. The Treasury Department says people and businesses who own Kalashnikov guns can still sell them in the U.S. as the Kalashnikov company does not benefit.

While Russia and the pro-Russian rebels deal with the fallout of the alleged allegations, Israel elected a new president amid the violence and destruction. Newly elected president Reuven Rivlin, a legislator from the hawkish Likud Party, took over the reigns from Nobel Prize Laureate Shimon Peres whose presidency ended on Thursday, according to the Associated Press report Israel swears in new president amid Gaza war. During his handover ceremony, Peres, 90, said: “I did not imagine that in the last days of my presidency I would be called upon, once more, to comfort bereaved families” and blaming the Islamic militant group Hamas for starting the war by firing at Israel, but emphasized that “Israel is not the enemy of the people of Gaza.” Rivlin’s speech was similar saying: “We are not fighting against the Palestinian people, and we are not at war with Islam. We are fighting against terrorism.” However, unlike Peres, Rivlin has long been an opponent of efforts to establish a Palestinian state, the Associated Press reports. Peres spent his last days of his seven year term dealing with grieving families of soldiers killed din the two weeks of fighting. So far, 30 have died and three civilians on the Israeli side, while more than 700 Palestinians with most being civilians have died. Israel’s president is meant to be a unifying figure and moral compass, while executive power rest with the prime minister who is currently the conservative Benjamin Netanyahu. This week, Peres met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to try and broker a ceasefire. Rivlin, 74, a stalwart in Netanyahu’s Likud Party, said he will turn his priorities inward focusing on domestic issue such as rising living costs and affordable housing, while Peres said ,once out of office, he will facilitate investments in education, health care, agriculture and technology throughout the Middle East.

As the Death Toll Rises, The Great Gun Debate Rages On

From the Debates at home to the debate abroad, the U.S. needs to address and take a firm stance on gun control as the death toll rises. Everyday more people are dying from gun related deaths and nobody has address the real issue which is not the second amendment but finding better ways to regulate the gun trade in America. Here is a compilation of events that will make any American whether for or against gun control to think twice about what is really important.

Hitler Gun Control

When Ohio’s school board president posted her opposition to gun control she used Adolf Hitler’s image to get her point across, while a well known conservative commentator argued about the efforts to restrict guns he commented that if the Jews in Poland had more arms there would of been more survivors of the Holocaust. In the months since the Newtown shooting in Connecticut, some gun rights supports have compared the U.S. gun control efforts to Nazi restrictions on firearms arguing the government is leaving the people defenseless against tyrants reports the Associated Press. Isn’t that what the military is for? However some experts argue that the argument distorts history since Hitler loosened tight gun laws governing World War I Germany evening barring Jews from owning weapons and moved to take them away. Oh those fact checkers strike again. Gun advocates who cite Hitler in the U.S. gun debate fail to realize that Jews in the 1930s Germany were a small population with few guns before Nazis take over, even though it fits the current debate the truth is that Hitler’s firearms laws made no difference in the Jews’ survival. As historian Steve Paulsson, an expert whose family survived the city’s destruction, said, “Objectively, it might have made things worse” if the Jews who fought the Nazis in the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising in Poland had more and better guns. Nonetheless the comparison remains strong online as former Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker wrote in January, “Absolute certainties are a rare thing in this life, but one I think can be collectively agreed upon is the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would have never taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defended themselves with those arms.” National Rifle Association President David Keene thinks the analogy is appropriate – Gov Andrew Cuomo depicted as Hitler at a New York rally in February- during an radio interview on March 1 saying, “Folks that are cognizant of the history, not just in Germany but elsewhere, look back to that history and say we can’t let that sort of thing happen here.”

However according to the Associated Press, the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, has asked that Hitler and the Nazis be kept out of the debate saying the rhetoric “is such an absurdity and so offensive and just undermines any real understanding of what the Holocaust was about. If they do believe it, they’re making no serious examination of what the Nazi regime was about.” As Harcourt explains, “To suggest that the targeting of Jews in any of the gun regulations or any of the other regulations is somehow tied to Nazis’ view of guns is entirely misleading because the Nazis believed in a greater deregulation of firearms. Firearms were viewed, for the good German, were something to which they had rights.” U.S. gun rights advocates disagree pointing to the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising where 700 armed Jews fought off  a large German force for days until they fled to tunnels and the ghetto was burn to the ground house by house. The problem with this argument as Paulsson points o9ui is that if the Polish Jews would of limited their resistance the Nazi troops might not have destroyed the ghettos allowing more to survive and escape, but when they chose to fight other times in 1930s and 1940s Poland it incited vicious counter attacks. However, Heller a gun activist said the uprising and ore guns might not have stopped the Holocaust but gave the Jews a fighting chance and saved many from the concentration camp according to the Associated Press. But Paulsson, whose mother was freed from Auschwitz at the end of the war, dismisses this twisting of facts: “Ideologues always try to shoehorn history into their own categories and read into the past things that serve their own particular purposes.”

Thousands of gun deaths since Newtown

The Huffington Post has tracked gun-related deaths in the United States since Newtown. Click here for an interactive map of those who have died. In the 98 days since the Sandy Hook Massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, guns have killed at least 2,243 more people. Click here to read about the thousands of gun deaths since by Huff Post “One Nation Under Guns.”

Arms Trade Treaty Nra

The United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty, an international convention on small arms sales now being negotiated at the United Nations this week and next in New York, has drawn more than a 100 demonstrators at Lafayette Square on Friday urging the U.S. to back the treaty according to Huff Post. The supporters are optimistic even though the treaty would face political and policy hurdles. Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty Internation, told the Huff Post before addressing the protestors across from the White House that, “We are still very hopeful that we’ll end up with a treaty. The important thing is [that the Arms Trade Treaty must] protect human lives and protect human rights. We will get a treaty, the question is ‘how good is it, how strong is it?’ That’s a bit up in the air right now.” The intended purpose for the treaty would be to prevent the transfer of arms across boarders to governments using  them in war crimes, genocide and other human rights violations. There are a few sticking points though. Among the most contentious was ammunition sales as opposed to weapons sales would be covered in the treaty as the United States delegation opposes including ammunition in the ATT which has angered a number of protestors. As Shetty explains to the Huff Post: “The argument the U.S. is making is a very practical one, saying that it’s very difficult to track [things like ammunition]. But there are many governments that produce ammunition, and they’re not blocking [it from being included in the treaty].” As Paul O’Brien, the vice president of policy and campaigns for the human rights group Oxfam explains, “We’re confident we’re going to get something. But something isn’t good enough. If we don’t get a strong treaty, it’s not going to mean anything for the people on the wrong end of violence.”

What would it be without the National Rifle Association voicing its concern? Well of course the NRA chimed in along with strong resistance stateside from gun rights advocates portraying the treaty as in international poly to deprive Americans of their Second Amendment rights states the Huff Post as NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre demanded last summer during a U.N. speech: “We have watched [the treaty] with increasing concern and, one year ago, I delivered … our objections to including civilian arms in the ATT. I said then, and I will repeat now, that the only way to address NRA’s objections is to simply and completely remove civilian firearms from the scope of the treaty.” During the predawn hours of Saturday, two amendments were put forth in the Senate: one to prohibit the U.S. from signing the ATT which was approved in the Senate 53-46 and the other to affirm that the international treaty would not trump the U.S. Constitution which passed by a voice vote. According to Huff Post, both amendments will be worked on in committee then proceed to the House as the Senate departed for Easter recess after passing the budget bill.

 

 

Richard Nixon Gun Control: Former President Wanted Total Ban On Handguns, Records Show

 Richard Nixon Gun Control: Former President Wanted Total Ban On Handguns, Records Show.

Who knew I am a little surprised. Out of all the presidents in recent time interested in gun control, Richard Nixon is not the first that comes to mind for me but according to Oval Office Recordings he proposed getting rid of Saturday night specials, contemplated a handgun ban, and refused to to pander to gun owners the Associated Press reports. The several unreported recording and White House memos from the Nixon years paint a much different picture of the conservative president who was willing at one time to take on the National Rifle Association even though he was warned against it. According to one recording, Nixon explains, “I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house…The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth…can’t we go after handguns, period?” Nixon continues: “I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it.” But “people should not have handguns.” The remarks came just a day after a would be assassin shot and paralyzed segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace on May 16, 1972 reports the Associated Press. Even though Nixon called to Congress for more modest legislation banning Saturday night specials, not all of his aides shared his passion according to the recordings and memos seeing gun control as a political loser. However, Nixon a Republican said he would sign a ban on Saturday night specials if Congress would pass it, but that never happened which is a potent sign of the NRA even 40 years ago. As the president tries to ban assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines because no one needs these to kill intruders or hunt, in Nixon’s times he tried to get rid of Saturday night specials because the guns were too poorly made to be relied on. As the Associated Press reports, one conversation Nixon had with Attorney General John Mitchell in June 1971 talks about this subject specifically with Mitchell simply replying that it would be difficult because of the gun lobby to get ride of the Saturday night special. The term Saturday night special comes from Detroit where cops observed the frequency of guns used to commit crimes on the weekend and was cemented by Lynard Skynard’s 1975 song, “Saturday Night Special.”

While many of the conversations were supportive of gun control, Nixon did not support measures that went beyond handguns. In another cosernvation just a few days after saying people shouldn’t have handguns, the president asked, “What do they want to do, just disarm the populace? Disarm the good folks and leave the arms in the hands of criminals?” However, most of his comments were in favor of stronger gun laws in his taped conversations available at the National Archives website and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. After the shooting of Wallace, on June 29,1972 at a news conference Nixon vowed to sign a law banning Saturday night specials which a year later was passed in the Senate but the House never acted on it. Of course, the power of the NRA was too strong to overcome as the bills sponsor Indiana Democrat Birch Bayh explained. Another politician a year later put gun control on the radar on Jan. 30, 1973 when two robbers shot Sen, John Stennis, D-Miss, and survived to live until 1995. A day after the shooting, Nixon told his staff “We better damn well be for it now, huh?” At a news conference the next day, Nixon repeated his call for a Saturday night special ban and in a move few policiticals would make explained, “Let me say, personally, I have never hunted in my life. I have no interest in guns and so forth.” His staff continued to warn him that gun control was a loser issue for his administration because of the powerful lobby supporting guns. The effort to ban Saturday night special has blurred into the background as gun control supporters have refocused their attention on more powerful weapons. Nixon as well shifted his focus and by June 1972 a moth after hos banning handgun comments Nixon recorded a conversation trying to get the FBI to stop invewstigati9on the break in at the Watergate office building where the Democratic offices are located that was tied to his re-election committee. Although many have forgotten about the handgun tapes, history has never forgotten the Watergate tapes that would bring down a president.

Mandatory Gun Ownership Provisions Under Consideration In Communities Across The Country

Mandatory Gun Ownership Provisions Under Consideration In Communities Across The Country.

And this is a good idea because….

Communities nationwide, the latest in western Maine in a town of 140 people, are considering passing measures that would require gun ownership even though these ordinances are widely considered unenforceable. However, the town of Byron already has the support of all three members of the Board of Selectmen and the Head Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds believes that the residents will approve it at Monday’s town meeting. From Idaho to Georgia, communities have been considering the idea to require or recommend their residents to arm themselves ever since the Sandy Hook Shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14 as well as caused fear among gun owners about possible restrictions on their Second Amendment rights. The ordinance up for a vote in Maine, according to Huff Post, asks “Shall the town of Byron vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunition to protect the citizens?” As Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills explains that the ordinance even if accept by the town will be null and void as it is pre-empted by a 2011 law that bars municipalities from adopting firearms regulations. Unfortunately, the same situation has already happened in southwestern Maine in Sabattus where a similar ordinance was not taken to a vote on the advice of the police chief. The idea though has caught on in Nelson, a city southwest of Atlanta and home to 1,300 people, where supporters of a gun ownership proposal say that because of light police patrols the city is unprotected for most the day. According to Huff Post, the proposal does have several exemptions for people who object to owning a weapon including convicted felons as Mayor Pro Tem Jonathon Bishop has stated. The rule has actually passed unanimously on its first read and awaits a final vote April 1. Some communities do not go as far as requiring gun ownership, but instead recommend the idea of owning a firearms as has been done in Spring City, Utah, Virgin, Utah, and Cherry Tree, Pa. In Greenleaf, Idaho, a town of 900 people the ordinance adopted ion 2006 encourages residents to keep a gun at home and seek training on how to use firearms. In Maine, Simmons-Edmunds in Byron has said that 90 percent of the households in the town already own a gun and that if passed the ordinance would not result in door to door checks the ordinance is more a statement that the town will not give up its guns.

Kansas Lawmakers Tack Guns-For-Teachers On To Existing Bill

Kansas Lawmakers Tack Guns-For-Teachers On To Existing Bill.

Even though the nation is now up to its eyeballs in the sequester and gun control on a national level has been put on hold, the debate has now been taken up by the states. Safety will always be a concern no matter where you go because according to the Second Amendment supporters Americans have the right to carry weapons either conceal or not depending on the state. The only places we do not have guns are actually almost everywhere so the solution some people think will work is more guns more safety especially after the Sandy Hook shooting. The problem is not enough guns, the problem is not enough regulation and enforcement. Putting, not more guns, but guns in the school will only add to the problem not the solution and unfortunately gun violence cannot be completely prevented in this country unless their is a complete ban on weapons totally, but have no fear gun toting Americans and NRA you will always have the second amendment to cling to (even though you don’t fully understand what it means).

A Kansas legislative committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow concealed guns in public building and allow teachers to carry guns at school. State Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee) who presented the guns for teacher amendment said the measure gives school board the discretion to implement it as well as decide who specifically are allowed to carry a gun. According to Huff Post who spoke with state Rep. Travis Couture Lovelady (R-Palco), he commented that, “It is an excellent bill and a great step forward. With these gun-free zones and what we have seen around the country, they are a target for mentally ill people to do mass harm to folks…They are having the opposite effect. It is putting the public at risk. The only people following the law are the law abiding citizens who are potential victims. If we empower them to defend themselves they can.” Hildabrand also commented that,”If someone goes into a school with the intent of a mass murder and knows that there is no law abiding person who can fight back, they would be more willing. If they don’t know if someone would shoot back it creates hesitation.”

However, not everyone agreed with the bill. State Rep. Emily Perry (D-Mission) voted against explaining there are other ways to safe guard the schools and noted that the teachers she had spoken to did not like the idea and spoke of the costs involved to install required equipment. The bill allows public colleges, nursing homes, and hospitals to have a four year waiver on guns which Perry fought to have extended every four years but was unsuccessful as the Legislature though it was unnecessary and could be reviewed again in 2017. Perry also wanted to included mental health centers in the list of places with a ban on concealed weapons which also failed. According to Huff Post, Perry explained her dismay by saying, “We need to help those struggling with mental health… The idea of mixing concealed carry with mental health is not a good idea.” However Couture Lovelady argues that those opposing concealed carry in public building do not realize the danger of having a gun free environment. As he explains, “There is a lot of fear out there that doesn’t match up with reality and logic…Gun-free zones actually hurt people and don’t help.”

Orange County Shooting Spree: Several People Dead After 25-Minute Ordeal, Police In California Say

Orange County Shooting Spree: Several People Dead After 25-Minute Ordeal, Police In California Say.

As the debate over gun control heats up between second amendment protectors and gun control supporters, another shooting has happened in California just days after a young girl was shot after attending Obama’s speech about gun violence in Chicago. Is there really a debate when it comes to protecting the people who live in any country? Compromises will have to be made in order to fix the growing gun violence problem which is only one of several problems the government needs to fix. Whether in favor of gun control or not, these shootings should be few to non existent with the appropriate gun measure put into place.

A woman in Tustin, California just 35 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, was shot to death in her home Tuesday by a young man who then went on a carjacking shooting spree across Orange Country killing two more people and wounding three others before killing himself. According to Tustin Lt. Paul Garaven, many were shot out but no one was hurt. The motives of the shooter were unknown and could only be described as in his 20s. The connection between the victims and shooter are unclear at this time said Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino. The shooting happened at 4:45 a.m. when a call came in about a woman shot multiple times in a house in Ladera Ranch about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Several shootings occurred over the next hour at other locations including a carjacking on interstate 5 which left the carjacking victim uninjured and left an innocent bystander shot and taken to the hospital. The gunman also fired at several other vehicles on the freeway. The gunman soon ran out of gas in the pick up truck he carjacked, so he then stopped on Route 55 and McFadden Avenue in Santa Ana and executed another victim before taking the man’s BMW. The shooter then drove to a Tustin business and carjacked a utility type pickup after wounding one person and killing another. When officers tried to stop him in the city of Orange he got out of the vehicle and killed himself. The southbound 55 McFadden Avenue off ramp was closed til further notice.

Pedro Reyes Turns Guns Into Musical Instruments

Pedro Reyes Turns Guns Into Musical Instruments.

I thought this was truly a unique idea and send a clear message to people about how something that causes so much hurt can bring so much joy… take a page out of his book NRA. The guns of northern Mexico have found a new purpose instead of causing so many more deaths they are now making music. Mechanical hammers ping against once used ammunition magazines from assault rifles, while gun barrels cut to different lengths ring like marimbas and pistol parts strike metal plates like cymbals. Sculptor Pedro Reyes told the Associated Press that “it’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons, as if a sort of exorcism was taking place.”He continued to say,”the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost.”

The title of the project is called “Disarm” and he had the opportunity to choose from 6,700 guns that were seized or turned in by the army and police in Ciudad Juarez, a city that sees 10 killing a day in a population of 1.3 million people. The city had a murder rate of 230 per 100,000 inhabitants, while the nationwide rate for the U.S. was 4.8 for the year. Reyes said in an interviews while demonstrating his instruments that,”the dramatic thing is that this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the weapons that are seized every day and that the army has to destroy.” Reyes was well known already for his 2008 project called “Palas por Pistolas,” or “Pistols to Shovels,” where he used melted down weapons to make 1,527 shovels same as the number of weapons and planted the same number of trees. The new project began last year as Reyes explains,”normally, they bury or destroy them, but someone who works in the government said, `Would you be interested in making a sculpture with this metal?'” Reyes hopes to take his message global,”this project has a pacifist intent, to create a global consciousness about arms trafficking.”

Violence has become a theme in Mexican art as another artist, Teresa Margolles, uses artifacts collected from crime scenes from the violence plagued state of Sinaloa. The reason behind Reyes musical sculptures are explained,”It occurred to me to make musical instruments, because music is the opposite of weapons. This exercise of transformation we see with the guns, is what we would like to see in society.”