View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Saturday 15 December

Today, I saw the last new moon of the year 2012 just after sunset.

It has been quite a reasonable day, following a night with wind reaching all of force 5, although Sumburgh in Shetland had to put up with a steady 45 mph, force 8-9 through the night. The day dawned fairly bright with variable amounts of mid-level cloud, leaving us with a panoply of cloudscapes.

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I am still very upset following the shooting at Newtown CT yesterday. What has really made me upset is the cavalier attitude of some, who claim to support the right to bear arms. I think it says enough that your average European country sees about 10 to 40 deaths through firearms each year. The USA has more than 10,000. States that have stricter gun control laws have lower death rates than states that do. Lobbing arguments about like "it's not the alcohol that makes you drive" is infuriating and disrespectful to the dead through firearms. Limiting their availability will reduce the likelihood that a firearm will get into the hands of the likes of the shooter at Newtown CT, who appears to have suffered from a psychological disorder (according to some). Which is a feature in common with many of the culprits behind the US's many gun atrocities. So, what happens with those unfortunate citizens who do suffer from mental health and psychological problems? Well, not that much, apparently. I hope that, apart from doing some serious and substantive reviews of federal and state law regarding gun control, the USA will also take a long and hard look at its mental health care - because something is seriously wrong here.

From Dunblane to Newtown

In 1995, a gunman burst into a primary school in Dunblane, near Stirling in Scotland, and opened fire. Sixteen children and one adult were killed. As a result of this atrocity, private gun ownership in the UK was practically outlawed.

In 2012, a gunman burst into a primary school in Newton, Connecticut in the USA, and opened fire. Eighteen children and several adults were killed. As a result of this atrocity - no changes are likely to be made to federal or state legislation on gun ownership.

RIP little ones, we won't forget you.