There were two more firearm massacres in America this past weekend and already the ‘celebrities’ are railing against the President, the gun lobby and firearms in general.
To me though, the problem lies far deeper than the ready availability of firearms in the U.S.A. When my three oldest Grandsons were teenagers, I would find myself horrified when I watched them playing their video ‘games.’ Each of these so called games was an orgy of violence and killing that left me worrying about the effect it was having on young minds.
I rarely watch television or go to the cinema, but every so often I see an advert or a trailer for a forthcoming production and again, it is rarely anything other than violence. It seems that the more killing and explosive scenes that can be squeezed into a production, the more successful it is like to be. What does this do to young minds?
My boys all developed into fine young men but what about boys or even girls with any hint of mental instability. These ‘games’ and films are readily available to all teenagers in the supposedly developed world and must do a great deal of harm to developing minds. This harm occasionally explodes into the sort of mass violence we witnessed in Texas and Ohio over the past couple of days.
A great deal of what Donald Trump says – particularly in his tweets – is crass bullying and nonsense, but in this case, he is correct. Gun massacres in America are due more to mental illness than the gun culture.
Like most boys growing up in colonial Africa, I lived with guns and as a young man, I was involved in a nasty war which necessitated firearms for everybody. I don’t like these weapons and I fear them, but it is not the firearm at fault when anything goes wrong, it is the person wielding it. His or her state of mind is the ingredient that leads to trouble.
Yes the Americans need to tighten up controls on purchasing of lethal weaponry but that alone will not stop the massacres.
‘So what has this to do with hypocrisy,’ you will be asking.
Well, one of the best selling firearms in the world is the Glock handgun. Millions have been sold to governments, official agencies and individuals, making the inventor, one Gaston Glock a billionaire many times over.
Last week, the worthy Mr Glock celebrated his ninetieth birthday with a glossy party organised by his thirty-eight year old wife, Kathrin. The guest list included many worthies who have publicly spoken out against firearms in the not-too-far-distant past.
These included the supermodel Naomi Campbell and a singer Leona Lewis, both of whom attended a protest rally in Los Angeles last year.
That arch hypocrite Hugh Grant was also there, as was Dame Joan Collins. In fact, after the party, Grant flew out of Austria in a Glock private jet. It seems he is a bit of a regular at Glock’s parties, having attended at least of three of them previously. He seems to have forgotten his moral outrage after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in which thirteen people were murdered. Then he begged America ‘to look into its soul.’
Look into yours Mr Grant or for Pete’s sake shut up.
Dame Joan Collins has been similarly forgetful, though perhaps more forgivably as she is eighty- six. After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 in which twenty children and seven adults were shot dead, she tweeted: ‘I hate guns.’ The killer in that incident, Adam Lanza shot himself with a Glock pistol he had been carrying throughout his rampage.
It’s all very perplexing to me. Why did these people go to the party? Are they so fond of Glock, and his wife that they overlook the dubious source of his wealth? It’s possible, I suppose. Some people do have strange friends. But the worthy Gaston doesn’t sound much of a charmer by any standards.
Probably they hoped their presence wouldn’t be noted by nosy journalists, and that their double standards, which surely merit the charge of hypocrisy might pass unnoticed.
In case anyone should imagine all that free champagne and fine food is making me envious, let me just say that discussing climate change with the likes of Katy Perry and that posturing nit, DiCaprio would be my idea of hell.
To me it is all somewhat bewildering but reminiscent of the three-day climate change ‘conference’ in Sicily that I ranted about a few days ago.
Is it possible that the super-rich and very famous do not believe that they are bound by the same rules that they urge the rest of humanity to observe? No, I fear they just live in a self-obsessed bubble that takes no notice of the rest of us.
Whatever the case, these people only succeed in undermining the cause they affect to support, because living by the values you proclaim is the best way of getting other people to follow them.
If you want to persuade people to reduce their carbon footprint, don’t wander around the world on private planes or helicopters. If you want others to take your strong views on gun control seriously, don’t attend a party thrown by a billionaire firearms manufacturer.
There are a few who speak out and also practise what they preach. After that idiotic actress, Emma Thompson jetted into London from Los Angeles to support the Extinction Rebellion protest, she was chided by climate change scientist Kevin Anderson, who pointed out she could easily have paid for a billboard poster in Piccadilly to get her message across. Anderson bless him hasn’t flown since 2004.
This is possibly a bit extreme, but his example is more likely to persuade us towards his cause than Ms Thompson’s behaviour. She is in the business of advertising her virtue — like those gilded luminaries in Sicily — without making any sacrifice at all.
Personally I am not too keen on the sixteen year old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg. She lectures too much, but at least she tries to follow her own recommendations. She hasn’t flown since 2015 and travels outside her native Sweden by train or boat.
All of us are guilty of hypocrisy in little things. But at least most us do not blithely ignore what we advocate. So far as saving the planet is concerned, we do our little bit without too much fuss, buying fewer plastic bags, and just about coping with the complexities of recycling
Even our self-important politicians are virtual innocents by comparison with Google’s carbon-emitting climate change busybodies and the gun control enthusiasts glad-handing Gaston Glock.
God protect the rest of us from the cant that is spouted by so-called celebrities. In fact, God help us from celebrities altogether.