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Daily Archives: June 8th, 2017


You would think that President of The United States had higher priorities than tweeting about other world leaders.MA

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The Washington Post
Jenna Johnson
6 hrs ago

Neighbor: Attacker asked about rented moving van

© Reuters/Reuters President Trump has been critical of London Mayor Sadiq Khan following the terrorist attacks on Saturday.
President Trump has reignited a year-long public battle with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, one of the most prominent Muslim politicians in Western Europe, drawing criticism for reviving the feud in the wake of a terrorist attack.
In the two days since a group of terrorists killed seven people and injured many others on London Bridge on Saturday night, Trump has tweeted several times about the attack and used it to promote his travel ban, which is being blocked by the courts.
Among the president’s barrage of tweets have been two pointed messages directed at Khan.
“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terrorist attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’ ” Trump tweeted Sunday morning, misrepresenting a comment the mayor made over the weekend when he told the city’s residents to not be alarmed by an increased police presence in the coming days. Trump was criticized for the tweet, but Monday morning he dived right back into the controversy: “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!”
Although Khan has responded to past attacks from the president, he has refrained from doing so this week, with his office saying on Sunday that the mayor “has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet.”
Khan, a human rights lawyer and practicing Muslim whose parents are from Pakistan, has repeatedly challenged Trump’s calls to ban Muslims or people from majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, saying the president has an “ignorant view of Islam.” Trump, meanwhile, has said that “it is ignorant for him to say that” and has raised questions about London’s approach to confronting terrorism.
During the White House briefing Monday, a reporter asked deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if the president went after Khan because he’s Muslim.
“Not at all,” Sanders said, “and I think to suggest something like that is utterly ridiculous.”
The president’s tweets come as London grapples with the aftermath of the attack and Khan tries to explain that the religious beliefs of the terrorists involved are not the same beliefs embraced by him and most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.
“The action of these three men on Saturday night was cowardly, was evil,” Khan said at a news conference Monday. “And I’m angry and furious that these three men are seeking to justify their actions by using the faith that I belong to. . . . The ideology they follow is perverse, it is poisonous, and it has no place in Islam. And I condemn this terrorist act but also the poisonous ideology these men and others follow.”
The president’s decision to lash out at the London mayor was widely questioned, with several critics asking why Trump was picking a fight with Khan as his city attempts to recover from Saturday’s attacks. Some noted that after a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June 2016, Khan tweeted: “I stand with the City of Orlando against hate and bigotry. My thoughts are with all the victims of this horrific attack #lovewins.”
Trump’s tweets were widely mocked in Britain, where the overwhelming mood is one of unity against terrorism and praise for security services. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, accused the president of lacking “grace” and “sense.” British Prime Minister Theresa May, who has tried to foster a productive relationship with Trump, came to Khan’s defense Monday, telling journalists that the mayor was “doing a good job, and it’s wrong to say anything else.”
Lewis Lukens, the acting ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in London, tweeted Sunday: “I commend the strong leadership of the @MayorofLondon as he leads the city forward after this heinous attack.”
Suhaib Webb — an imam who leads Center DC, which has a large online youth following — said he is angry that the president and those close to him are “quick to pull the trigger on anything that has to do with Islam or involves a person of color.”
“I think it’s also extremely embarrassing as Americans that our president is engaged in a Twitter war with the mayor of a city in a sovereign country,” Webb said. “It’s shameful that we’ve reinforced a bully personality. . . . We have someone who is unhinged.”
Khan, a member of the Labour Party, took office in May 2016. Much of last year’s mayoral race focused on Khan’s religion and family background, and his then-rival Zac Goldsmith accused him of having “repeatedly legitimized those with extremist views.”
“What I think the election showed was that actually there is no clash of civilization between Islam and the West,” Khan said in an interview with Time magazine. When asked about Islamist extremists, he said: “What better antidote to the hatred they spew than someone like me being in this position?”
Soon after Khan became mayor, then-candidate Trump told the New York Times that he would make an exception to his proposed ban on foreign Muslims for Khan — an offer he turned down.
“I think Donald Trump has ignorant views about Islam. It’s not just about me. I don’t want to be the exception to be allowed to go to America,” Khan said in an interview on a British morning show in May 2016. “You can be a Muslim and you can be European.”
Trump wasted little time firing back. “He doesn’t know me, never met me, doesn’t know what I am all about,” he said. “I think they are very rude statements. Frankly, tell him I will remember those statements.”
Abigail Hauslohner and Samantha Schmidt in Washington and Griff Witte in London contributed to this report.

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Worth reading. MA.

Fred Decker
Guest Columnist

A year ago, Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives staged a sit-in demanding a vote on federal gun-safety bills following the shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The National Rifle Association’s lobbying was largely blamed for no vote happening. But looking deeper, the Second Amendment with the unique American individualism wrapped around it underlies all. It is America’s fundamental gun problem.
As Michael Waldman at the Brennan Center for Justice suggests in Politico Magazine (2014), the NRA’s construing of the Second Amendment as an unconditional “right” to own and carry guns (a “right” beyond actual constitutional law in Supreme Court rulings) is why it thrives and has clout.
Without clout derived from Second Amendment hyperbole, we might not have, for instance, “stand your ground” laws in more than 20 states starting with Florida in 2005, laws that professors Cheng Cheng and Mark Hoekstra report in the Journal of Human Resources (2013) do not deter crime and are associated with more killing.

Fred Decker is a sociologist in Bowie, Md., with a background in health and social policy research. He earned his doctorate from Florida State University.
Pockets of America were waiting for the NRA’s Second Amendment fertilizer.

For many gun advocates, the gun is an important aspect of one’s identity and self-worth, a symbol of power and prowess in their cultural groups. Dan Kahan at Yale University with co-investigators studied gun-safety perceptions and wrote in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2007) how those most likely “to see guns as safest of all” were “the persons who need guns the most in order to occupy social roles and display individual virtues within their cultural communities.”
Or, as the essayist Alec Wilkinson writes more starkly on The New Yorker’s website (2012), although “the [gun] issue is treated as a right and a matter of democracy” underlying all is “that a gun is the most powerful device there is to accessorize the ego.”
A gun owner carrying his semiautomatic long rifle into a family department store, like Target, in a state permitting such if asked why will likely say because it is his “right.” He is unlikely to reveal the self-gratification gained from demonstrating the prowess and power of his identity, gained from using the gun “to accessorize the ego.” The Second Amendment here is convenient clothing to cover deeper unspoken needs, needs that go beyond the understandable pleasures and functions of typical hunting, for instance.
Australia is often mentioned as an example of nationwide gun-safety legislation reducing gun violence. Following the 1996 massacre of 35 people in Port Arthur, Australia, the government swiftly passed substantial gun-safety legislation. And as Professors Simon Chapman, Philip Alpers and Michael Jones wrote in JAMA’s June 2016 issue, “[F]rom 1979-1996 (before gun law reforms), 13 fatal mass shootings occurred in Australia, whereas from 1997 through May 2016 (after gun-law reforms), no fatal mass shootings occurred.”

But Australia also has nothing akin to the Second Amendment.
Anthropologist Abigail Kohn studied gun owners in the U.S. and Australia who were engaged in sport shooting. She describes in the Journal of Firearms and Public Policy (2004) how “it is immediately apparent when speaking to American shooters that they find it impossible to separate their gun ownership, even their interest in sport shooting, from a particular moral discourse around self, home, family, and national identity.”
And thus, “American shooters are hostile to gun control because just as guns represent freedom, independence — the best of American core values — gun control represents trampling on those core values.”
In contrast, the Australians “view guns as inseparable from shooting sports.” And “perhaps most importantly, Australian shooters believe that attending to gun laws, respecting the concept of gun laws, is a crucial part of being a good shooter; this is the essence of civic duty that Australian shooters conflate with being a good Australian.” While the Australian shooters thought some gun-safety policies were “useless and stupid,” they thought that overall gun-safety measures were “a legitimate means by which the government can control the potential violence that guns can do.”
Unlike Australia (itself an individualist-oriented country), America has the Second Amendment. And that amendment has fostered a unique individualism around the gun, an individualism perpetrating more harm than safety.
Maybe someday the Second Amendment will no longer reign as a prop serving other purposes and, thus, substantive federal gun-safety legislation happens. But as Professor Charles Collier wrote in Dissent Magazine: “Unlimited gun violence is, for the foreseeable future, our [America’s] fate and our doom (and, in a sense, our punishment for [Second Amendment] rights-based hubris).”
The Second Amendment, today, is a song of many distorted verses. A song of a uniquely American tragedy.
Fred Decker is a sociologist in Bowie, Md., with a background in health and social policy research. He earned his doctorate from Florida State University.
Copyright © 2017, Orlando Sentinel
National Rifle Association of America Yale University Florida State University

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