Monday, 19 February 2018

Guns don't kill people, people do

In America in 2017 there were 437 people killed in mass shootings and 1802 injured, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker.

In this year in America 60 people have already lost their lives in mass shootings and 143 people have been injured. It's not even the end of February.

American's are ten times more likely to be killed by guns than people from other developed countries.

A report by the World Health Organisation showed that, they are also six times more likely to die from an accident with a gun.

As a result, gun related murders are much higher than the other high income countries they looked at.

For the full story relating to this go here.

For 15 - 24  year olds in America, murder is the second highest cause of death.

Similarly, there are more suicides in America because of guns, psychologists believe that if the person didn't have a gun, they would have more time to consider their options, rather than having a knee-jerk reaction to a bad situation and shooting themselves.

As a British person, I am horrified by the gun laws in America. Here is a brief list of things that I cannot understand.

  1. Gun laws can vary from state to state
  2. Gun laws are independent of federal fire arm laws (These laws regulate the manufacture, trade, possession, transfer, record keeping, transport, and destruction of firearms, ammunition, and firearms accessories).
  3. 44 states have a link to the second amendment where they talk about the right to 'bear arms'
  4. Some states acknowledge other states laws, for example around the right to carry a concealed weapon, but other states don't.
  5. Only some states require you to apply for a gun permit
  6. Some states require you to register your gun with local enforcement
  7. Only some states set restrictions on carrying semi-automatic or assault weapons
  8. Some states have allowed for a Castle doctrine or stand your ground laws, which gives people the right to use deadly force in self defence

All of the above is terrifying. But it also clearly shows there is no simple way to fix this. President Trump refers to the Second Amendment constantly when referring to gun laws.

This is the Second Amendment

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

This was agreed on in 1791, when there were no semi-automatic weapons, just muskets.

This is just a get out clause for the pro-guns lobbyists, Trump included, and needs to change.

There needs to be a country wide review of the gun laws, and clearly they need to check people's mental state before issuing them with a gun.

America need to tale a leaf out of Australia's book (as Barack Obama stated) who after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996 where 35 people were killed, they decided as a country that things needed to change - within 2 weeks a law was passed.

There would be no more semi-automatic or assault rifles sold to members of the public, there is a 28 day waiting period and they have thorough background checks. They also have to provide a justifiable reason for owning a gun. Needing it for your own protection is not considered to be a good enough reason.

Personally, I think we (Britain) have the right idea, we don't have guns because our laws are so restrictive, after Dunblane owning a handgun was effectively banned. Dunblane was our only school shooting and there has only been one other mass shooting which was in Hungerford in 1987.

Britain has one of the lowest incidents of fire arm related crime in the world with only 0.05 per 100,000 people being killed by guns between 2006 - 2011.

Yes, Britain does have a problem with illegally held firearms, but we still have less issues with firearms than most other countries and I love that our police force don't carry firearms - unless they are part of the armed response unit.

Sadly, I don't think America can ever go back to where we are in Britain, as they say, the genie is out of the bottle.

Instead, consider amending their second amendment to make it more current and relevant to the world we live in today.

And remember that the American National Rifle Association donated 30 million dollars to Trumps campaign so he has a vested interest in allowing guns to be readily available.

The only way we will see change in America is if the country stands up, united, to stop these gun crimes, and does something to avoid all this awful death particularly in the schools. They are, after all The United States.

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A Work Life Balance?

Here I am staring out of my window, at another cold rainy day. Thinking about all the things I should be doing except this. I have already, filled the car with petrol, cleaned up the chaos in the kitchen, that was pancake day and cleaned and dusted our bathroom and bedroom.

I am still to clean down the stairs, in the other bathroom, one of my daughters rooms (the older one does her own cleaning - Thank goodness) and clean down the other flight of stairs.

I also need to make a cottage pie for tea and then go to the hospital for one of my CML appointments, meanwhile I have arranged for a friend to pick up Lola from school.

Later we are going to see Lola play flute with some other schools who have children who play flute.

This is pretty much an average day, and yet I still have so many other things on my list of things to do.

I need to paint our bathroom and get a new bath front for the girls bathroom. I also need to remove all the sealant around the girls bath and reseal it.

Then we need a new boiler.

I also need to paint the walls in the toilet (we are old school and have a separate bathroom and toilet).

And whilst I consider all this, I wonder how managed to do any of these things whilst working in a full time job.

Admittedly I had more help then, a childminder and a cleaner, and I would probably have paid someone to paint things. So that explains some of it, and obviously, I didn't write as much. But how did I find time to see the kids.

I was exhausted when I got home, usually they had already had their tea, sometimes I missed their bedtimes. It was far from ideal. But I was so desperate to give my girls a positive female role model that I forgot to actually be there for them.

My eldest, says I was there, but I am not sure I was always as present as I could have been, and she didn't do as many extra curricular activities as my youngest does now as we couldn't arrange drop off's and pick ups.

Gratuitous photo of my family whilst on holiday in Ireland seeing the lovely in-laws

This is, of course Mummy guilt. A well know phenomena that only Mummy's seem to have, I had guilt about working, I have guilt about doing the type of work I do now, I have guilt, full stop.

My husband has no guilt for working, he has never felt bad about going out to see his friends or going to his man cave to play guitar

At least now, I have less guilt. My children are older now, I don't feel that heart wrench when I am apart from them that I used to get. They are independent people. Which I am exceptionally proud of, both of them and of my husband and I for helping them to become the people they are.

So what is all of this about?


I still don't have time to do everything I want to do, but now I am better at prioritising my time. I know that when the children come home. I am available to them. Everything else I do, is in my own time when they are not here.

That is the work, life balance we aim for and I realise today that I think I may have achieved it. Its a shame I can't earn more money because then this scenario would be perfect. But, I would rather be poor and have that balance, than rich with out it.

I would still like a cleaner though. Hate cleaning.

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Pancake Day - Facts and Fun

Today my daughters are making dinner. Its pancakes.

I am not allowed in the kitchen.

There will be chaos and arguments (between the two of them) and there will be pancakes (as they are both quite good cooks).

I have to admit, I am quite happy to let them take over the kitchen for this, when I make pancakes I get hot, sweaty and grumpy as I end up eating the cold pancakes at the end. So this year I plan to sit at the dinner table knife and fork at the ready.

Can't wait.

I will worry about the devastation of my kitchen after - they do 'clean up' but it is not exactly to any health and safety standard.
Pancake day 2017
This morning my daughter, who is Catholic asked if, as it was Shrove Tuesday - a religious celebration, other religions celebrated it as well. I said, no but for some people it is just pancake day and not religious to them at all.

In the Christian religion it should be Shriven Tuesday, as you are shriven of your sins on Shrove Tuesday in preparation for Lent. With each element of a pancake meaning something.

Eggs ~ Creation
Flour ~ The staff of life
Salt ~ Wholesomeness
Milk ~ Purity

Personally, I'm not religious, I just like pancakes. But I am also interested in how most religious festivals came from Paganism.

In the case of Shrove Tuesday, Pagans believed that we needed to encourage the Spring and bringing the sun. Most of the Pagan religion is about light and dark*.

So around the same time as Shrove Tuesday, the Pagans held a festival where they made pancakes to eat. As the pancakes were the shape of the sun they encouraged the Gods of Vegetation and Springtime. They also would leave them on window sills for the spirits and the ancestors. This celebration would last about a week with a massive bonfire at the end where pancakes were thrown onto the bonfire.

So, I don't know about you but I am going to take a couple of pancakes and leave them on a window sill in the hope of the weather getting better.

Then I will consider what to give up for Lent.

These are the advantages of being non-religious, I can take what I want from each one.

Have a very happy pancake day and enjoy your relinquishment of Coffee/Wine/Alcohol/Chocolate/Sweets/Fat/Fun/GoingOut/Reality TV - Delete as appropriate, for the following 46 days.

*This is a huge generalisation

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