Thursday, February 15, 2018


We have always had mentally ill and maniacal people in the world who act out in violent, murderous ways. In times past we had Jack the Ripper, Son of Sam and John Wayne Gacy, all mass murderers.

We have always had mentally ill students. Usually they take their own life not others.

But there is a sea change in our culture that enables the maniacal   to go out in a blaze of glory and encourages them to imitate behavior they find in the media both old and new. In other words, the medias now weaponize/radicalize the mentally ill, give them ideas, brainwash them,  fulfill their hope of a glorious notoriety and the worse kind of narcissism.

The media, all of it, new, old, on-line, video games and the like, are very, very violent. Even the warning of "violent content not suited for some" is an enticement to watch or purchase. We, and I include myself, are cooked today in the crockpot of real and make-believe violence, death and chaos.

The 24 hour news channels make these tragedies into a reality show for rating not just for information and the promotion of their particular political ideologies.  It began on CNN even before the gunman was captured.

The Walking Dead, a horribly violent show has very high ratings and it is tame to some of the things our young can access.

And yes, automatic, military-like weapons in the hands of these kinds of people exacerbates the situation when they become radicalized or spiral out of mental control.  There must be laws outlawing military weapons in the hands of civilians who in a fit of temporary rage or severe mental illness kill so many.

As with so much in our society, from the Playboy lifestyle that denigrates the Church's sure and certain Faith about human sexuality in all aspects that then snowballed into the degradation of woman and men exploited and abused by others in and out of power to the violence portrayed on all medias, the blame must be fixed directly on "Hollywood" which I use in the generic/ pejorative sense. And the root of all this immorality and amorality is the almighty buck that can be traced to the wallet of these capitalists and their industries industries.

In addition to this, we are no longer watching the medias together, each has his own "channel." Compare this to the golden years of TV and movies. There were only three or four networks, no tape machines and we basically watched the same thing and talked about what we watched and critiqued it too with others.  We also had breakfast, lunch and supper with our family, we didn't eat alone or at different times as many families do today.

Individualism without others to supervise, talk about or critique is bad for everyone especially the young who are so easily influenced and indoctrinated by what they hear and watch.


rcg said...

The situation with firearms in the USA is remarkably like the Catholic Church Liturgy and Canon Law: there are already rules that deal with these situations but few enforce them. The reasons are also remarkably the same: misunderstanding of rights and compassion. Everyone is a Constitutional Lawyer and Bishop.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Whenever a high profile shooting happens, someone prominent comes out and says -- in effect -- we have no choice but to compromise our Second Amendment rights for the sake of safety. One question I have: why only the Second? What about the First? A very pro-gun-control publication, Mother Jones, did some digging and found something very disturbing: "A Mother Jones investigation shows that the nation’s deadliest high school shooting has inspired at least 74 plots or attacks across 30 states" (
So, maybe it's the First Amendment that is in the way?

What about the Fifth Amendment, protecting due process? As it is, that's exactly the issue with the proposal to say that anyone on a government-produced "watch list" will be barred from exercising his or her Second Amendment rights. That's a violation of due process, and that's why people oppose this idea.

No decent person is anything but appalled by these events. By all means, if there is legislation or a policy that can help, let's hear it. But let's not whitewash it, when we're treading on the Constitution.

Henry said...

All the media blather--about firearms, law enforcement precautions, and the like--is irrelevant to the problem. Which is the lack of shared and common societal values and moral standards. Unless and until government, political parties, churches, and schools combine to uniformly inculcate shared values and morals, nothing will change for the better. It should go without saying that this will not happen while mass killing by abortion is condoned. In the meantime, our diversity is our Achilles heel.

Mark Thomas said...

World Wars were fought prior to the widespread availability of television. Violence has plagued humanity from the days of Cain and Abel to date. Impure, violent entertainment is not the cause of every problem associated with violence and impurity.

But as we need to avoid unholy things, we must not permit impure entertainment to enter our enter our hearts and minds.

Therefore, Pope Francis' attitude toward television is one approach that families could adopt to avoid the filth that TV offers.

Pope Francis has not watched television during the past 28 years.

Toss TV sets from our homes...or view only wholesome TV shows.

Catholics need to revive in powerful fashion the Legion of Decency. We need Pope Francis, as well as our bishops and priests, to call attention in powerful fashion to Vatican II's INTER MIRIFICA — DECREE ON THE MEDIA OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS.

2. "The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men's entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God. T

"The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss. Indeed, the Church experiences maternal grief at the harm all too often done to society by their evil use.

"It is the duty of Pastors to instruct and guide the faithful so that they, with the help of these same media, may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family."

Father McDonald, we need holy priests such as you to present talks on Inter Mirifica. We need Church leaders to call attention to the beautiful, holy teachings contained within Inter Mirifica.

We need to revive interest in Inter Mirifica.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous 2 said...

Father Fox:

Thank you for the reminder about the Constitution. I agree that is very important to safeguard our constitutional rights under the rule of law. That is what our courts are for, and I thank God for them. However flawed they may be in practice, they are ultimately what stands between us and naked power, even violence (subject of course to Henry’s very valid point about conversion of hearts and minds, but while we should do all we can to foster the better angels of our nature, the genius of our constitutional system is that the Founders also designed it to protect us from the worse angels of our nature).

While we should acknowledge the importance of protecting our constitutional rights, therefore, some people “absolutize” the First and Second Amendments in the sense of not wanting any limits on speech or guns. This is wrong-headed, and indeed not legally tenable as the courts have recognized reasonable limits on each. Also wrong-headed, and also very disingenuous, is to suggest that gun control advocates want to “abolish” the Second Amendment. Even were that true (which it isn’t, except perhaps for some extremists), the courts would not let them. The same holds for due process under the Fifth Amendment.

TJM said...

The Nazis disarmed the German populace. That worked out well.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Anonymous 2:

I have yet to see a proposal regarding guns that actually does anything, without being one or both of the following: wildly impractical; gravely contrary to the Constitution -- i.e., not just trimming around the edges.


- Some folks say, well, just ban all semi-automatic weapons. They either don't realize, or hope you won't realize, this includes quite a lot of common hunting guns and pistols. It's not just those big guns with scary, bulgy things here and there with letters and numbers like AR-15 and AK-47. So that is both wildly impractical, and a pretty severe encroachment on the Second Amendment.

- Some say, just get rid of "Assault Rifles." This is a silly term, used by politicians and empty-headed media fluffs who read talking points from activists. (This is literally true: I used to work in media relations, and I distributed talking points to journalists, and I watched them regurgitate them on the air or in print.) That's like saying ice cream is a threat, and then banning pistachio and butter pecan flavor only. Meaningless, just for show.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Every Constitutional Right is (or can be) circumscribed by some law or regulation.

Some might call this "treading on the Constitution" or "compromising" our rights. I think these restrictions are properly understood as means to promote, maintain, and protect the Common Good.

We have the right to freedom of religion, but a practitioner of a religion that includes the sacrificing of virgins on an altar is restricted from doing so. A religion that believes it is God's will to kill all non-believers cannot practice that part of their religion.

We have the right to freedom of the press, but it is illegal to libel someone in print, writing, signs, effigies, or other forms of communication.

We have the right to free speech, but it is illegal to yell, "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.

We have the right to assemble peaceably, but without a parade permit a group cannot march down Broadway in New York. And no one is allowed to assemble on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington DC.

Due process can be suspended under martial law as can the right to be free from unreasonable searches, the right to associate freely, and the right to travel freely.

The limitations placed on rights are necessary and good for the society because they protect people from harm.

It is unreasonable to think that limitations on the right to bear arms are unreasonable or that they cannot function for the same purpose.

Unreasonable people have prevented common sense, widely favored restrictions on the right to bear arms. These failures by our elected leaders to ignore the demands of a few mean that the Common Good suffers and that people will continue to die.

Rood Screen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 2 said...

Father Fox:

“I have yet to see a proposal regarding guns that actually does anything, without being one or both of the following: wildly impractical; gravely contrary to the Constitution -- i.e., not just trimming around the edges.”

As to your first group: yes, of course the proposals should be practical and wise. That is why we need leaders with practical wisdom. As to your second group: as I said before, the courts will strike them down, as they should.

TJM said...

Fr. Fox,

Great response! It is refreshing to see a well rounded, practical man in the priesthood in contrast to the lefty priests aka glorified social workers many of us encounter. You are a pleasure to read.

TJM said...

I live in Chicago, a Democrat cesspool that has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. In Chicago, they will kill you with guns, knives (remember Richard Speck who killed 7 nurses that way), cars, homemade bombs, dropping refrigerators on you, etc. On the other hand we have loon organizations like the ACLU who will NEVER allow a mentally ill person who is dangerous to society be locked up on a prior restraint theory. What happened in Florida was likely the result of mental illness or drugs. So unless you lock people like this up, you will get what you had in Florida. I repeat: the Nazis stripped the German populace of guns and we all saw how well that turned out.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father Fox and TJM:

No need to worry. Nothing will happen as long as the lunatics are in control of the asylum, which they have been, bought and paid for by the NRA, for many years now. So, those who worry about gun control can rest easy while the (rest of?) the civilized world continues to look on in utter disbelief at our national paralysis on the issue of gun violence.

Not to state the obvious, but just how many women perpetrate these mass atrocities, or indeed gun violence in general? I think we know the answer, don’t we? So, just what_is_the problem with us men, or more specifically, American men? The following article is thought-provoking for its suggestion that culturally determined “toxic masculinity” rather than mental illness is the main problem:

John Nolan said...


The Nazis did not 'disarm the German populace'. The 'weapon law' of 1938 was much less restrictive than the one it replaced, passed ten years earlier by the Weimar Republic.

The Nazis in fact did the opposite; they militarized the German people, firstly through paramilitary organizations such as the SA, and after 1933 through mass conscription.

The right of a free citizen to keep and bear arms was enshrined in Common Law, and the Second Amendment guaranteed this right. Its framers were mindful of the situation in England, where Common Law rights were overridden by restrictive Game Laws which had the effect of disarming the non-propertied classes.

When, in the 1870s, firearms licences were introduced in England (issued by the post office on payment of a fee) they were seen as a means not of 'gun control' but of raising revenue.

Marc said...

I’m been helping to try a murder case this week (closing arguments are later this morning). I handle a lot of gun cases in my work because there are lots of gun laws that are being enforced. But none of those laws prevented this murder — or the murder a couple weeks back of one of my clients, or the countless other murders taking place in this country.

It’s a perplexing situation because the presence of gun laws, even when enforced, doesn’t seem to actually accomplish much. I’m not sure the answer. Having met many people charged with and convicted of exactly the crimes everyone is concerned about, I doubt any laws or enforcement are likely to make a tremendous difference. There is a sizeable portion of the population who simply don’t care what the law is. And there are many reasons for their attitude, some justifiable and some not. It’s a systemic problem that is not amenable to simplistic, mostly symbolic solutions.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, there is always going to be gun violence and death of some kind as people always break the law. There are laws against murder, but look at Chicago which has both laws against murder and against guns.

We've had mass murderers who take their victims out one by one over the course of years but usually not more than one. We have domestic violence and gang related crimes, gangs in the new and old sense of the word.

But the "new" issue that has developed with the information age is the amount of attention paid to the atrocities of mass shootings and now by so many young people as the perpetrators. I think this is new, meaning within the last 50 years or so. The first one that i recall happening on a college campus was in the 1960's in Texas where a gunman at random took out several people from a tall tower there. The evening news covering it as did newspapers but not ad nauseam.

Plus so many young and older people live in a virtual world and are radicalized by whatever they are compulsively watching. A mentally ill person certainly could be radicalized and do what this young man did in Florida.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Plus the amount of violence on network shows, pay per view and regular cable channels is absolutely stunning. A person even form the 1960's waking us today and watching what so many now watch would be appalled by the violence.

Network news at one time would not show blood and gore let alone body parts from the war in Viet Nam, but today evening the network evening news shows horrible bloodshed and not always with a warning to more sensitive viewers.

In the past, movies left it to your imagination what horrible things happened to characters that experienced horrible deaths. They didn't show it as they do now and this began in the 1960's with the cut and slash movies usually geared towards teenagers, think Halloween, Jason and the like.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2,

This is for you. It bursts your neo-communist (liberal) view that Europe is OH so much more peaceful than the US when it comes to mass shootings, etc:

TJM said...

John Nolan,

My recollection was faulty. Silly me, the Nazis only went after the Jews, you know, the people rounded up and sent to the concentration camps:

On Nov. 11, 1938, the German minister of the interior issued "Regulations Against Jews Possession of Weapons." Not only were Jews forbidden to own guns and ammunition, they couldn’t own "truncheons or stabbing weapons."

In addition to the restrictions, Ellerbrock said the Nazis had already been raiding Jewish homes and seizing weapons.

I guess they don't count

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr.McD said, There are laws against murder, but look at Chicago which has both laws against murder and against guns."

Maybe you've heard, but the other day a police commander was shot and killed in downtown Chicago, at the Thompson Center, which is the State of Illinois building in downtown.

Police were chasing a man on foot who was suspected of shooting at a passing car, when the commander heard the call come over the radio. He was at the Thomson Center for a meeting, and heard the suspect was coming his way. He spotted the man, and attempted to apprehend him. He and the man tumbled down a staircase that apparently goes to a lower underground level from the plaza. At the bottom of the staircase, the man shot his gun 7 times, 6 of the shots hitting the commander: in head, torso and even wrist. The commander's gun was found holstered and secured.

The suspect had a 9 mm gun on him with an extended clip, not to mention cocaine and heroin. He was also wearing a bullet proof vest. He is a felon with an extended criminal record, and spent time in prison. I would guess he felt he was not going back to prison.

The laws against gun ownership are very rigorous here in Chicago, yet this felon, who is not allowed to even be in possession of a gun, had one.

I believe more laws, or banning guns is not going to protect anyone from those who have evil intentions. It only makes those of us not having a gun more vulnerable.

Commander Paul Bauer's funeral is Saturday out of The Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in Chicago. He will be laid to rest at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, IL.
Please pray for the repose of his soul.

God bless.

John Nolan said...


'I guess they don't count.' You guess right. The Reich Citizenship Law of September 1935 excluded Jews from German citizenship.

In the US, blacks (both slave and free) did not have the right to keep and bear arms.

Disarming a disenfranchised minority is not the same as 'disarming the populace.'

Anonymous said...

I thinks strict gun laws can make a difference.
Here in Australia in the late 80s and early 90s we started to get US style mass shootings until in the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre 35 people were killed by a lone nut with a powerful firearm.
John Howard, probably the most conservative PM in Australia since 1945, introduced and had enforced strong and strict gun laws.
For the approx. 22 years since, Australia has had no mass shootings of innocent citizens.
We simply do not have any US style school mass shooting events.
In Australia obviously police have weapons.
Farmers, hunters and sporting shooters still have weapons suitable for their work and sporting interests.
But large numbers of firearms are not widespread through out the general community and not even in the worst, high crime areas of Sydney and Melbourne, each with a 3 million plus population.
Even when police respond to calls for help in the worst, high crime areas of the largest cities there is really 99% chance if they have to face and arrest a violent offender he will have only his fists, a bat or knife to resist arrest and or threaten police. There is really no more than 1% chance an offender will be armed with a pistol or shot-gun for example.

Of course we have some gun crime, and powerful, unlicensed weapons can be quite easily and illegally purchased by any serious criminal with a few thousand dollars and the right connections. But the vast majority of shootings are the targeted killing of individual criminals by other criminals as they fight for control of the different illegal drug markets. And the overall numbers killed by firearms in Australia is TINY compared to the USA.

Culturally Australia and the USA are very similar in a lot of ways. We would have the same percentage of our population who are capable of mindless violence as the USA. But tens of thousands of times each year a violent domestic dispute, a dispute among petty criminals, people under the influence of alcohol or drugs and or mental illness and momentarily wanting to hurt others and a dozen other situations does not turn out to be fatal for either those involved or innocent bystander citizens because there are so few guns in circulation. Having so few guns in circulation has to at least be a significant factor in why Australia has a miniscule number of people die by being shot compared to the USA.

When something like the Curtis Cheng shooting happens (A police accountant shot in the head at random by a radicalised 15 year old Muslim boy) it gets so much publicity because it is so rare.

There are very many here in Australia who love their guns as much as any US gun lover; John Howard in 1996 and 1997 when our gun laws went VERY tough, received a large number of serious death threats and was wearing a bullet proof vest in public.

I believe the USA is a great nation with mostly great people and I also believe it is a shame for historical, cultural and constitutional etc reasons that a nation of approx. 320 million people has almost the same number, 302 million approx., of guns in your various communities across all those states. Those stats are from my local newspaper. If not close to 100% right you can correct me.

I have been informed also that some who want gun reform in your nation have been looking at the various aspects of John Howard's gun law reform in 1996 and wondering what there might work in the US.

Tom B.

TJM said...


That was a horrible tragedy. But you forgot to mention that our virtue-signalling mayor, Rahm "Thug" Emmanuel, has promised the illegal aliens who come to Chicago that Chicago is a "Sanctuary City" and they will be safe here. Hardy har har.

I find the term Sanctuary particularly offensive in this context. These are lawbreakers not innocents being wrongfully pursued.

Anonymous said...

George W Bush had a lot of respect for John Howard who he said though he had the opposite look of a former rugby player he was really a "man of steel".

John Howard said that while in the USA and talking to other conservatives he found himself almost in total agreement with them over a whole range of issues and they agreed with his deeply conservative views, EXCEPT for his views on guns and gun law.

Anonymous said...

I find the above discussion very interesting.
Fr Fox, I think, makes some good points.
John Nolan is always wise and knowledgeable, especially regarding the historical context.

But TJM. I have to disagree with you over the factor of mentally ill people not being given an extended holiday in a locked psych ward when necessary.
I recently worked in one of the poorest, high crime suburbs of Sydney.
Higher level criminals have guns but not the average petty crim street thugs; and that makes a big difference in the lives of ordinary citizens or the safety of police doing their work. Recently an African migrant with schizophrenia was judged not mentally ill enough for even a 2 to 3 week psych ward admission and within 24 hours had a large knife and managed to non fatally stab 2 people in the main street in broad daylight and was then was shot dead by two young policemen on their beat.
If that schizophrenic African migrant had had a semi-automatic rifle or pistol how many could have died? 5, 10 or more people killed while shopping or having a coffee? Or one or both of the young policemen shot?

Tom B.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

But you ending up making my point. WHen the Nazis took away the Jews guns they were defenseless. If modern day liberals (really liberal fascists) in the US could do it, they would take away the guns of conservatives so they could implement a totalitarian state which is their ultimate goal. They worship the state, a really sick thing.

Anonymous (Tom B),

What was the weapon of choice in Nice in 2016 which killed 86 people? Answer, a truck. Do we need more "truck control?" When you have a crazy they can be quite flexible in terms of finding an instrument to commit carnage with

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for sharing the link to the study comparing the United States and Europe in regard to “mass shootings, etc.” Now, I will confess to not being an expert statistician. However, even with my numerically feeble mind I know that one can do clever things with statistics to produce desired results. So, three points:

First, readers should read the many comments following the report to get a good sense of its possible weaknesses. For example, the author multiplies the casualties from one incident in a country by a factor giving the “equivalent” if the population were the size of the United States. Thus over the selected period measured (2009-2015):

“Small countries such as Norway, Israel and Australia may have only one major attack each, one-fourth of what the U.S. has suffered, but the US population is vastly greater. If they suffered attacks at a rate adjusted for their population, Norway, Israel and Australia would have had attacks that were respectively 16, 11, and 3 times greater than the US.”

How statistically legitimate is this? I defer to those who have more expertise in statistics than I do. But to my inexpert mind, it doesn’t seem quite right.

Second, I would like to see breakdowns for:

 Mass shootings by Islamic terrorists versus mass shootings by others
 Of the latter, what are the comparative rates for school shootings?

Third, readers should look at the very simple chart on homicide rates in OECD nations (through 2011). The U.S. is tied fourth (with Chile) behind Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, which have much higher rates. Oh goodie! We are so much better than Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. And now look at the rest of the chart and see how much higher the homicide rate is in the U.S. compared with the remaining OECD countries, including of course all those countries the author uses to try to produce favorable comparisons for the U.S. in regard to mass shootings. I wonder what weapon is mainly used to perpetrate all those homicides.

John Nolan said...

The whole Hitler-analogy is a red herring. Even if the Jews of Germany had the same access to weapons as did German citizens (and private ownership of firearms was not widespread in any case), what good would it have done them? They numbered barely one per cent of the population and could hardly have taken up arms against an efficient modern state which was supported, or at least tolerated, by the bulk of the German people.

Only the German high command could have stopped Hitler, and would have done so if it was clear that his policies were leading to military disaster, but the events of 1938-1940 seemed to vindicate the F├╝hrer's optimism.

The idea of a liberal conspiracy to disarm conservatives and impose a totalitarian state is bizarrely dystopian, particularly when one considers that the most conservative element in democratic countries is the professional military.

Anonymous said...

In Nice in 2016, Lahouaiej - Bouhlel was a terrorist (more than a "crazy"), who had a history of violence and petty theft, but not mental illness.

I wanted to make the point that the problem in the USA of mentally ill people with violent tendencies often not being scheduled or sectioned to a locked psych ward for even just 4 to 13 weeks is a problem in the UK, Canada, NZ and Australia etc too. But it can often make a world of difference to innocent citizens and young police if such people are at worst armed with a knife rather than a semi - automatic rifle.

Fr Longenecker at Patheos has written a good article that states gun control would not totally solve the problem but at least would surely help. As Fr Longenecker says too: Why does anyone really need a semi automatic weapon? And why are some conservatives against even stronger background checks and longer waiting periods?

In Melbourne, Australia, in 2014, 18 year old Abdul Haider was radicalized and violent enough to stab 2 police (who survived) before being shot dead. How many police and ordinary citizens could Haider or someone like him kill had he got his hands on a semi automatic firearm?

Tom B.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

I do not concede the point about the Jews in Germany. Even if 1% of the population, if they had access to arms they could have formed a resistance as did happen in other European countries under Hitler's boot. It would have wreaked some havoc within the Reich. FYI, the Jews did fight back in Warsaw to the Germans surprise, and although the Nazis eventually crushed them, nonetheless, the Jews fought back and to this day take pride in that event.

We just had the most lawless regime in the history of the US depart office last year as it is becoming very clear even though "liberal" "news" sources refuse to report it. If Felonia von Pantsuit had won instead of Trump it might have not been too much longer before an attempt would have been made to deal with conservatives. FYI, the military in the US had been seriously politicized by Obama and is not quite the conservative bastion it might have once been. After all, it was Obama's military that attempted to make women foot soldiers and welcome transgenders into all branches of the service. A mere 10 years ago, the military would have revolted over such nonsense but the leadership who would have resisted had been put out to pasture by Obama.

Anonymous said...

Obama occasionally pointed to Australia as an example for the USA to follow. He and others claimed the facts were that after John Howard's comprehensive firearms laws in 1996 were introduced, AND enforced, that mass shootings stopped and there was a significant drop in murders and suicides.
But what was done and achieved in Australia could never be done in the USA. Namely, semi-automatic rifles and all weapons that can kill many people quickly totally banned in all states; 28 day waiting periods, VERY thorough background checks across the nation; a requirement to officially present in writing a "justifiable reason" to own a gun, and then finally introduce a big tax so about one third of the nations firearms could be bought back and then destroyed; and to overall, in a nation with a long and strong history of hunting and sporting shooting etc rapidly almost half the number of gun owning households in every state. Now, about 13 guns per 100 people compared to USA: about 102 guns per 100 people. Something like that could never happen in the USA.

By the way, conservative Australian political leaders like Howard and Tony Abbott have been admired by many on the right in the UK and western Europe with how they dealt with people arriving illegally in Australia. They can be kept for years in detention camps in the desert or off shore islands and or sent back to their own country or flown to and dumped into the poorest nations in the region like PNG or Cambodia. These policies were tough but they worked. The flood of illegal arrivals stopped.

Anonymous said...

By the way too, Australia's ASIO and Federal Police are among the best in the world at what they do. Very many plots for major terror attacks as bad or worse than any in the UK or Europe were stopped at the planning stages in part because of very effective (and old fashioned style) use of informants and also the different police task forces and intelligence agencies etc fully co-operating and working well together; similar to how the MOSSAD etc operate in Israel.

John Nolan said...

The Warsaw uprising was an act of desperation - the Jews in the Ghetto were aware that deportation meant extermination. It was also futile; the result was 13,000 killed and 56,885 deported. German losses were officially 17 killed and 93 wounded, although the figure may have been been higher, maybe up to 300 casualties. So much for armed resistance.

In occupied countries organized resistance groups or partisans can have some effect, but they cause more civilian casualties in reprisals than they inflict on the enemy. It can also be assumed that the bulk of the population supports them, if only tacitly.

Neither of these is remotely analogous to the situation of the Jews in Nazi Germany. After Kristallnacht they must have realized that they had no future in the Reich, but they were dispersed among the general population, had no organization, and little support from the people. Those who could had already left. The idea that they could have 'wreaked havoc' had they been allowed to keep sporting weapons is ludicrous.

'Counterfactual history' is an amusing exercise, but it must be credible. What's intriguing to historians is the extent to which disparate groups invoke Hitler to defend their points of view. There's even a jocular term for it - 'reductio ad Hitlerum'.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like being surrounded by nations and peoples who will crush or swallow you at the first opportunity to create efficiency and good team work.

Anonymous 2 said...

John Nolan,

Thank you for introducing a much needed dose of common sense into the discussion and for trying to dispel the illusion that fuels the “gun control” debate on the part of a segment of the Second Amendment absolutists (an illusion likely propagated, it now seems clear, not only by the venal NRA but also by Russian operatives who continue to try to sow the seeds of division and fan the flames of discord in our Republic). Of course, although good escapist fun, all those ridiculous movies about how the American resistance will always defeat the lizard people (or whoever or whatever other “alien” is the subconscious stand in for “the those tyrants in Washington D.C.”) do not help the effort to avoid losing touch with reality.

Instead of being taken in by such nonsense, people would do much better to (re)acquaint themselves with George Orwell, in particular his Animal Farm and 1984. They were mandatory reading as part of my school education, as I suspect they were of yours. I believe this used to be the case over here, too. I wonder what happened and why. Hmmmm. Anyway, Orwell will serve as a lifetime inoculation against psychological “manipulation” by our “political saviors” and their seductive technologies and techniques (including when they themselves try to appropriate this very message: yes, it gets that subtle, and nefarious), although one might need a booster shot every so often. I must put them on my current reading list. Good Lenten reading, too, perhaps?

John Nolan said...

Anonymous 2

What baffles us Europeans is why citizens of a mature democracy feel the need to arm themselves against their own government. It suggests a degree of paranoia.

I suspect Orwell is now regarded as somewhat dated. The crude Stalinist totalitarianism he satirized has been replaced by something more subtle - one wonders what he would have made of a philosophy which tolerates everything except dissent.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Anonymous2 said:

"What baffles us Europeans is why citizens of a mature democracy feel the need to arm themselves against their own government. It suggests a degree of paranoia."

I am baffled that you -- a European! -- are baffled. We Americans may not know much, but we have noticed a thing or two about European history.

Anonymous 2 said...

John Nolan:

One possible answer to your first point is to question your premise that we are dealing with a “mature” democracy. I do not intend this as a facetious question but a serious one that would, I suspect, be readily understood by any serious European observer of the United States. In many respects it seems that the United States has still not fully grown up as a polity. I will not elaborate here except to suggest that it may have something to do with the absence of any widespread national suffering for more than 150 years, such as was experienced by the countries in Europe during World War II. Such suffering provides a perspective that is hard to replicate in other ways. And this suffering and this perspective were, of course, the main impetus behind the creation of the European Community. I only hope that the European democracies retain this memory and foundational perspective.

I agree with you that in one sense--a more superficial one--Orwell seems outdated because the types of totalitarian fascist and communist regimes he was satirizing have receded to the margins (although North Korea serves as a very visible reminder). But at a deeper, more profound, level, what he wrote, and what he warned us about, in Animal Farm and 1984 transcends these specifics and is timeless. I believe that it would be a grave mistake, therefore, to dismiss Orwell as no longer relevant. We should never become complacent about the potentially dire consequences of our libido dominandi and the many vehicles that exist for exercising it. And so I am confident that anyone who is familiar with these two works would find both of them highly serviceable for illuminating the historical moment we are currently experiencing, at least in the United States.

As to what Orwell would have made of the philosophy you mention, wouldn’t he have seen in its intolerance of dissent the same kind of totalitarian tendencies he tried to warn us about?

And regarding the central point under discussion, our best protection against tyranny is not rule of the gun but the rule of law—at least it is as long as we continue to believe it is, which is why all this conspiracy theory paranoia fueled Second Amendment nonsense is so irresponsible and dangerous.

John Nolan said...

Fr Fox,

What have you noticed about European history which has a bearing on the current argument, namely why citizens need to arm themselves to the teeth against their legitimate government?

Let's take Germany as an example. Despite the Thirty Years War, which wreaked untold damage, we see the survival of civic institutions which respected the rule of law and rarely had to resort to capital punishment. This social cohesion survived Napoleon, the wars of unification, defeat in two world wars, the Nazi dictatorship and the Cold War. Whether it can survive the wave of foreign immigration encouraged by Angela Merkel remains to be seen.

In 1861 a considerable number of Americans judged that the Federal Government amounted to a tyranny and took up arms against it. The result was the bloodiest war the United States has ever fought (and, as English wags like to point out, the only war they arrived on time for).

Given that the Pax Americana is vital to the survival of civilization (and as a student of the Cold War and a Cold War warrior myself I am pro-American to a fault) is it perhaps in order to wonder why some Americans seem to revel in the fact that their republic is lacking in social cohesion?

Anonymous 2 said...

Regarding the continuing relevance of Orwell, the following quote from a Washington Post interview with one of the former employees of the Russian “troll” factory that was identified in Robert Mueller’s indictment handed down last week is very telling (although this particular employee worked the Russian side of the operation rather than the American side because his English was not good enough to pass himself off as an American in his comments on social media):

“How did it feel inside?

I arrived there, and I immediately felt like a character in the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell — a place where you have to write that white is black and black is white. Your first feeling, when you ended up there, was that you were in some kind of factory that turned lying, telling untruths, into an industrial assembly line. The volumes were colossal — there were huge numbers of people, 300 to 400, and they were all writing absolute untruths. It was like being in Orwell’s world.”

Here is a link to the full article:

So, we have been very clearly and duly warned about this Russian Orwellian effort to spread falsehoods and propaganda on our social media. It is now our own fault if we do not pay heed to what is now undeniable. Personally, I really do hope that I am not going to have to continue pushing back against clearly false claims on this blog, as I and some others have had to do so many times over the past two years (often ending in my own case with the question “How many figures am I holding up, Winston”?). Now at least we know where much this evil nonsense originates. Also, I won’t name any names but we all should be able to recall, and now wonder about, some former posters here who so often insisted that “white is black” and “black is white.”

Hopefully, too, the revelations last week will also mean an end to calls by ignorant dupes like Sean Hannity to shut down the Mueller investigation that has helped bring the extent of the Russian effort to light and that has generated the resulting indictment. If we believe in the rule of law, we need to let Mueller finish his job no matter where it leads.

Indeed, I think Pope Francis has made our responsibility to the truth very clear:

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. My late mother, who was an astute observer of politics (not surprising perhaps, given her hard education growing up in Hitler’s Germany), often used to say: “The Russians play chess and we play tiddlywinks.” In Putin’s case, I believe it is judo versus tiddlywinks.

Anonymous said...

So the Mueller investigation discovered a Russian troll farm. Big deal. Confirming what many people already suspected. I do have a problem with him trolling for indictments and convictions,the "creation of crimes", which is how some of these things end up.
As in Scooter Libby.

Anonymous 2 said...


Yes, it is a big deal. It is the “confirming what many people already suspected” that is the point, no? We will see what other suspicions Mueller's investigation will “confirm.”

Anonymous said...

So the Mueller Investigation was needed to find out what the CIA and FBI should have ?

Besides, the Russians are amateurs compared to American capability in this area. As far as interfering in other countries elections, hasn't our country via the CIA done the same?

You also should read the below from the Washington Post:

Then again maybe Mueller was needed, given recent revelations about the FBI,-and not just about the shooter in Florida where they had two opportunities to possibly prevent what happened.
For instance, the FBI did not inform the Army what they knew about Major Hassan. They knew one of the Tsarnev brothers(the Boston bombing) was traveling to Dagestan but did not interview him prior to the trip as was protocol, even though they were given warnings about him by the Russians. They botched the Dylan Roof investigation. Ditto the Orlando nightclub shooter. I could go on about other similar revelations, but the bottom line is that there was a good chance some and perhaps many of these mass killings could have been prevented and lives saved.

What has happened to what at one time was one of the preeminent law enforcement agencies in the world?

Anonymous 2 said...


Regarding your comment about the CIA. I don’t quite get the point. Surely it cannot be that because the CIA may have interfered in other countries, we should be okay with the Russians interfering in ours, especially as one may expect those other countries to try to resist any such CIA influence.

Thank you for the link to the Post article. Yes, I had read that article yesterday. And the point is what exactly? Does it in the slightest discredit the Mueller investigation? And we can ask the same question regarding the relevance of admitted and alleged FBI lapses. Indeed, you yourself seem to acknowledge that such lapses may make the Mueller investigation even more necessary.

Whether intended or not, this impugning of the CIA and FBI comes across as yet another attempt to distract. One thing is for sure: Mueller will not be distracted, which may help to explain why President Trump seems increasingly desperate. Is the noose tightening, we wonder?

Fr Martin Fox said...

John Nolan asked:

"What have you noticed about European history which has a bearing on the current argument, namely why citizens need to arm themselves to the teeth against their legitimate government?"

I have noticed tyranny in the 20th century. The United States has cultivated a culture of citizen activism that makes what happened in the 20th century a whole lot harder here. At least a frontal attack.

Yes, we have other problems. And who knows what life would be like in the U.S. if, say, the American Revolution hadn't happened? Maybe better, but we will never know. We can't get there from here.

Anonymous said...


Here is another Wash Post article you should read and really, Hillary Clinton should not get a pass when it comes to being investigated.

Anonymous said...

Australia has been mentioned several times above.
A major survey showed last year that Republican voters regard Australia as the USA's closest ally; it is fair enough for Democrat voters to regard the UK and Canada as the USA's closest allies but for Democrat voters to regard France as a closer ally to the USA than Australia is laughable.
Also Republican voters rank Israel 5th as a good ally, while Democrats rank Israel at 28th !!

John Nolan said...

'Who knows what life would be like in the US if the American Revolution hadn't happened?'

This makes for a credible counterfactual argument, since it was by no means inevitable. There was considerable support for the Americans among the British political establishment, and not everyone in the colonies favoured secession.

America would have become the first self-governing Dominion of the British Empire. London would not have needed to impose taxation; the Americans would (one hopes) have raised taxation to pay for their own defence, and westward expansion would not have been impeded.

The pointless little conflict of 1812-14 would have been avoided, and the Dominion would probably have expanded peacefully to include all British North America.

Slavery would have ended in 1833 (as in the rest of the Empire) and the Civil War would not have happened.

America would have been in at the start of two World Wars; the first would have been shortened, and the second possibly averted altogether.

With the Dominion now a superpower, it would have made sense for the small islands off the coast of Europe to have merged with what had become the greater entity. Now there's a thought.

Anonymous 2 said...

John Nolan:

It is a very interesting thought experiment.

As for the small islands off the coast of Europe: to revert to an earlier topic, for Orwell they were indeed part of Oceania as “Airstrip One.” =)