#sandyhook

Our Sandy Hook moment?

You have to hand it to the editors of The Guardian. In what world can anyone draw an equivalence between action on climate change and a crazed gunman who murdered 27 people, mostly kindergarten kids? Who wouldn’t think the two are interchangeable?

The Guardian columnist Brigid Delaney wants us to believe the connection. At the very least this article proves once again why the paper still asks for charity at the bottom of each article because the content doesn’t warrant a high enough value that ordinary people are willing to shell out for it. Sometimes, content IS the problem.

Her column takes similar cues from the recent NY Times article on ‘Australia committing climate suicide.‘ The Man Booker prize-winning author of the opinion piece, Richard Flanagan, is a novelist, not a climate expert. 

As Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, once observed, the collapse of the Soviet Union began with the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986. In the wake of that catastrophe, “the system as we knew it became untenable,” he wrote in 2006. Could it be that the immense, still-unfolding tragedy of the Australian fires may yet prove to be the Chernobyl of the climate crisis?

Such dramatic language may well have inspired Delaney,

Sandy Hook was the rock bottom moment – where things are so bad you know they can no longer continue as is. After rock bottom, there is a choice: stasis and misery or growth and transformation…This apocalyptic-seeming Australian summer is our Sandy Hook moment. We have to seize it and change our thinking, our priorities and our politics. In doing so we can change our country, our future, and transform ourselves into global leaders on climate change.

Delaney might reflect on the facts surrounding gun violence in the US. 95% of firearm-related murders in the US are committed with handguns, not automatic weapons. So despite the constant fixation on automatic rifles, statistically American lawmakers would be better off banning sales of pistols. Deaths from mass-shootings are less than 0.6% of the total. Horrible yes, but a handgun ownership culture moment would have been more apt given that almost 40,000 that perish at the wrong end of a trigger every year. 

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, murders in the US appear to be very concentrated: 54% of US counties (representing 11% of the population) in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties made up 51% of the murders, ironically in states with the strictest gun controls – Illinois, NY and California. 

Who needs facts when it is much easier to put the blame at the feet of 5 million law-abiding citizens who happen to be NRA members. Perhaps Americans don’t view gun massacres as ‘rock bottom’ moments when it comes to defending their amendment rights. Mark Robinson gave a perfect example of why Americans are fed up with being punished for the actions of others. Obama had control of both houses in his first term. Spoke about 2A. Didn’t do anything about it. Plenty of gun massacres in his first term including Fort Hood.

Moving on from Sandy Hook and guns, allow us to indulge her commentary on The Guardian’s pet topic of climate change. Let us not forget that the newspaper implores its journalists to crank up the alarmist rhetoric. If only as much effort went into investigating the numbers behind the claims.

Transformation is recognising the facts: Australia is a climate vandal, led by wreckers. We are ranked the worst of 57 countries on climate policy.

Delaney has probably never read the entire CCPI report which ranked us 57th. If she had (like we did), she might have found the following,

The CCPI measures the emissions, renewable energy share and climate policies of 57 countries and the European Union. It released the document at the COP25 summit to bathe in the spotlight with alarmists pals. Where was the journalistic rigour? Of course, it was non-existent.

Who were the Aussie based “experts” (activists) the CCPI relied on to provide really in-depth qualitative opinions on our climate policy evaluation?

Doctors for the Environment Australia
Australian Conservation Foundation 
Oxfam
The Australian Institute

All climate activists. Precious little objectivity there. It is isn’t hard to work out why Australia scored a 0.0 on climate policy. Even worse, any think tank with the remotest thirst for integrity in reporting and sensible data collection should have questioned a zero score. CCPI didn’t.

Yet Delaney went in all guns blazing to bash Australia’s lack of climate-friendly credentials, citing this farce of a study as gospel. It is so bad it actually makes the IPCC climate bibles look good and that takes some doing given many scientists slammed the processes which were documented in the internal feedback study. We summarised the outcomes of that 678-page document here.

Is Delaney aware that according to Bloomberg NEF, an organisation owned by an individual with heavy green credentials, Australia has the 3rd highest clean energy spend per capita! We spent twice as much in real dollar terms as France yet these climate alarmists marked us down to zero “because our democracy supported Adani.”

Sorry Ms. Delaney, we are finding it hard to reconcile how Australia spending  11x the global average on renewables makes us climate vandals? What level would you suggest we lead? We await your data-rich analysis. 

Is this the takeaway from your rich climate expertise?

What might our transformation look like? It might look like a simple acknowledgement of causation between climate change and this summer’s fires.

OK, so we just get ScoMo to declare a climate emergency? Job done!

Presumably, if we follow alarmist logic, had we legislated to accelerate renewables by not having a democratically elected carbon-loving prime minister, supported by the Murdoch media and fossil fuel industry“, these dreadful bushfires, many lit by arsonists taking advantage of poorly managed fuel loads, wouldn’t have happened, right?

It couldn’t have been the lax fire service management of the forests and the closed shop mentality of our emergency services?  Did Delaney know that Greg Mullins, the leader of the 29 former fire chiefs, barely mentioned climate change in the last five years of FR NSW annual reports under his leadership? If it is such a huge issue in retirement, why didn’t he mention it when in a position to prosecute the case? Mullins would have sounded far more credible were his alarmist fears documented in black and white. They weren’t. Go figure. 

If we indulged Delaney’s the painful lessons of this summer could be transformative, if we allow them to be. Australia – having experienced the pointy end of the climate catastrophe – could become a leader in the global fight to reduce emissions.” for a moment, does she honestly believe that spending billions more on renewables in Australia and terminating coal exports would put a dent in our already minuscule 0.0000134% contribution to human-caused global CO2, much less the world’s? Can she make a case in data?

Will she stand in Tiananmen Square and shake her fist at China, which is building between 300 and 500 new coal-fired power plants out to 2030? Or rant to President Xi that China will spew one full year of Australian emissions every week by that date vs every two weeks as it stands today? Just easier to hitch to the media wagon and heap scorn on ScoMo. 

Why?

What often surprises CM is the need to openly show one’s abhorrence to the now 50 people senselessly murdered in Christchurch. On the contrary, if one didn’t find the events appalling that would say something in itself. There is nothing ‘woke’ about publicly showing one is against what happened. Of course the overwhelming majority of us are. Yet moral preening does nothing to help stem the flow of such terror. Neither does capitalizing on tragedies such as this to pit division via unhinged political activism.

Social media has been whipped into a frenzy since the cold blooded crime. Ad hominem attacks against the usual culprits for being complicit does little to help the grieving process. There must be no words to understand their pain. So why resort to cheap shots and big noting on Twitter? Survivors and families of the dead will hardly find solace by reading the bile of ignorant apparatchiks making a bad situation palpably worse.

CM has often questioned the purpose of lighting up monuments and splashing avatars with national flags of where those atrocities occurred. Does anyone in their right mind think that would-be-perpetrators pay the slightest mind to such appeals? Might as well keep the lights on. Because unless proper action is taken, nothing will change. Instead of stifling debate, we need to engage in it. Tackle the issues burning the fabric of our society.  Social and mainstream media continue to push false narratives, making people even more afraid to speak their minds. Some countries like Canada have laws that jail those that dare to.

If we accept the vast majority of people in the world are decent no matter what their background, why is it activists expect certain groups to self-flagellate when such events occur? The background of the victims or the villains should be irrelevant. It is despicable beyond belief to murder innocent unarmed people whatever their race, skin colour, religious beliefs or sexual proclivity. No one should question this. Yet tougher and tougher legislation restricting freedoms ends up being the by-product. Unfortunately newly introduced laws end up causing the opposite of intended effect. It only emboldens these extremists to go deeper underground. It exacerbates resentment.

We have to ask ourselves why? It seems most of the political class is asleep at the wheel given the trend of rising nationalism, especially throughout Europe. Instead of having deep transparent discussion addressing the problems and issues driving these movements, our leaders think it prudent to bury their heads in the sand. Hiding behind the spineless guise of political correctness, they legislate against certain groups with ever harsher penalties in ways which seem only to underpin the popularity of those that seek to defend them. If the political elite think believe they understand the will of the people they are woefully out of their depth at selling messages of unity. For if they understood the layman, populist parties would remain on the outer.

Think about it. Alternative for Deutschland, Sweden Democrats, The Dutch Freedom Party, Lega in Italy, the Freedom Party in Austria, Vlaams-Belang in Belgium, Order & Justice in Lithuania, Law & Justice Party in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary, True Finns, Front National in France…the list goes on. From fringe parties (or not even in existence) a decade ago to Top 3 in many cases. Have more Europeans become racist bigots in the last decade by chance or do they feel their lot changing for the worse?

Take a look at the poverty statistics across Europe. There were 78mn living below the poverty line in 2007. At last count, Eurostat noted that number was 118mn  (23.5% of the European population). In the Europe 2020 strategy, the plan is to reduce that by 20 million. Fat chance.  37.5mn (7.5%) are living in severe material deprivation (SMD) , up from 32mn in 2007. 40 million extra Europeans are suffering in poverty in a little over a decade. No wonder these nationalist parties have gained traction. It is easy to whip up a disaffected mob by claiming their futures are being undercut by mass migration. Whether the arguments are sound or not is frankly irrelevant. People want their lives back. Seeing the inaction among incumbent parties, many are willing to chance those that supposedly feel their pain. Macron still faces yellow vest protests for four consecutive months. Is it any wonder nationalist Marine Le Pen polls higher than the young President?

Perhaps we should question the authorities in playing their part in firing up the discontented. After reading 200+ pages of the Rotherham Inquiry into grooming gangs, it was revealed that the police and local council turned a blind eye to the systematic rape of 1,000 minors over two decades because they feared being thought of as racist were they to target the perpetrators based on their ethnicity. It was political correctness gone mad. Now the scandal has broken out across the country, the courts are finally throwing the book at these criminals. Read the above link at your peril. It is utterly distressing. 1,000s of lives senselessly ruined because leaders were too gutless to stand up for principle. One does not have to be an extremist to be outraged at such cruelty going unpunished for so long.

Politically correct law makers or activist judges do not justify murdering 50 innocent men, women and children. Let us be perfectly clear on this point. However it is not hard to see how those on the fringes use such incidents to fuel their resentment.  Social media allows for such obscene behaviour to be normalised because of the echo chamber dynamic.

What do the statistics of extremism say?

According to the Australian Crime Institute, “understanding the precise nature and scale of the far-right in Australia is made difficult by a lack of empirical information and research. Gaining reliable data on the far-right is firstly complicated by debate over exactly what constitutes violence motivated by far-right ideology…Moreover, Australia does not have any formal monitoring systems for this form of violence, such as that of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘Hate Crime Statistics’ (something CM did earlier this month)

In America, Anti-Semitic hate crimes are around 5x the level of Anti-Islamic hate crimes which are around 1.5x Anti-Christian hate crimes. Overall hate crime is lower than two decades ago.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Interior (BfV) updated its fact book on the size of left and right wing groups and the rise of Salafists at home. To summarize:

In 2017, the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office) registered 39,505 offences in the category of politically motivated crime, an increase of 20.4% over the 2014 figure, but 4.9% down on the 2016 number.

Right wing extremist party membership has risen from 22,600 in 2015 to 24,000 in 2017.

There were 1,054 (2016: 1,600) registered cases of violent criminal offences with a right-wing extremist background, a fall of 34.1%. The number of violent crimes directed at foreigners came in at 774 (2016: 1,190, the highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001) down 34.9%. The number of violent crimes against actual or supposed left-wing extremists dropped by half 98 (2016: 250) remained about the same. Attempted homicides fell from 18 in 2016 to only four in 2017.

Left wing extremist party membership has risen from 26,700 in 2015 to 29,500 in 2017, +10.5%.

In 2017,  6,393 criminal offences were classified as left-wing politically motivated crimes with an extremist background (2016: 5,230), +22.2%, of which 1,648 were violent crimes (2016: 1,201), +37%. The number of violent criminal offences with a left-wing extremist background that were directed against the police and security authorities significantly increased 65.2% to 1,135 (2016: 687) exceeding even the level of 2015. The number of violent criminal offences against actual or supposed right-wing extremists halved to 264 (2016: 542).

Islamic Extremists

Salafist movements in Germany have risen from 8,350 in 2015 to 10,800 in 2017 with the BfV noting on the whole, that all Islamist following in 2017 amounted to approximately 25,810 individuals, up 1,400 on 2016. BfV did note

The threat situation has not at all eased. On the contrary: the shift towards a violence-oriented/terrorist spectrum has revealed a new dimension of the Islamist scene, which was also illustrated by the attacks carried out in Germany in 2016However, Salafism in Germany enjoys undiminished popularity. Its continuous attractiveness shows the importance of Salafism being subject to a debate in society as a whole and of intelligence collection carried out by the community of the German domestic intelligence services. This is even more significant as adherents of the jihadist tendency of Salafism not only reject the West – symbolised by the free democratic basic order – but also actively fight against it: either by travelling to so-called jihad areas or by mounting attacks in the West.”

In the area of politically motivated crime by foreigners, 1,617 offences with an extremist background were registered in 2017 (2015: 1,524), including 233 violent offences (2015: 235).  In 2016, there were two homicides and 13 attempted homicides by foreigners with an extremist background (2015: three).

A fall of 4.9% in total politically motivated crime is hardly something to celebrate when the number is 40,000 on an annualised. There are 6x as many politically motivated crimes in Germany than America with only 1/5th the population.

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If we take a step back, were suspect Tarrant’s atrocities any more reprehensible than Anders Breivik in Norway gunning down 69 unarmed teenagers on Uttoya island? Stephen Paddock murdering 58 concert goers in Las Vegas? Adam Lanza slaying dozens of small kids at Sandy Hook elementary? The gunmen inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo or the barbaric eviscerations inside the Bataclan? The truck drivers in Berlin, Nice, Stockholm or Barcelona mowing down 100s of innocent pedestrians? Where was the outrage in 2018 when a church was bombed by extremists in Indonesia killing 13 people? What about the Jonestown massacre in 1978 which claimed 908 souls? All of them are deeply sickening not only in total loss of life but the grotesque manner in which these heinous acts were carried out. 

No-one with a pulse can look at recent events without utter disbelief. When the suspect tells us the motivations behind the attack, we will see social media get uglier still. If we truly want to put an end to this type of disaster, we must open ourselves up to debate. Going on recent trends, we will continue to light up statues and point fingers instead of actively seeking to find solutions through reasoned discussion. When will we wake up from this nightmare of our own making and communicate?

In the meantime spare a thought for the victims and their families and allow them to grieve their losses in peace.