Wednesday, August 21, 2013
AUSTRALIAN STUDENT SHOT DEAD IN AMERICA, BOYCOTT CALL MISGUIDED?
Icheoku says the recent call by Australian former Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fisher, for his country men and women to avoid visiting America because of the shooting death of an Australian student, Chris Lane, is rather too impetuous and made in heat of passion without much thought going into it. Boycotting America or its tourism industry is not a commensurate reaction as America did not pull the trigger that snuffed the life out of the Aussie. Three troubled kids did, who "killed the victim for fun simply because they were bored and looking for something to do." Icheoku asks, why then should Australia take out their madness on the whole country instead of making sure that the individuals who committed the crime are fully punished for the heinous crime? Boycott is usually a weapon reserved for much serious country to country matter such as a disagreement between Canberra and Washington DC and should not be deployed simply because one 22 year old Aussie student named Chris Lane was randomly shot dead on an America street.
Americans love their guns. Americans pull their guns' triggers at will and death sometimes results as a consequence. So it is given that more often than not, a victim results from being on the wrong or other end of the barrel. But does that warrant the current outcry in Australia demanding that America be boycotted, Icheoku says we don't think so.
Being killed by gun at anytime in America is just a price we pay for living in a gun-ho, gun-infested, gun-saturated, gun-toting and gun-loving society/culture that is America. It is the risk we run living in the freest country in the world which also allows anyone who wants, to have a gun? In America, this year alone, thousands have been shot dead before Chris Lane's killing and unfortunately, many more will be shot dead before this year 2013 ends and thousands more long after Lane's murder case assumes cold temperature and the case files starts collecting dust somewhere at the prosecuting District Attorney's case-files storage room.This is the fact of life in America and the choice is for any individual to live with this known risk of possible loss of life to a shooter at any time or simply catch the next flight out of town, but to where?
There is violence everywhere on this planet earth including the boycott-calling country, Australia. But the good news is that in America, many of these criminal shootings and violence are solved by law enforcement, at least for closure. Regrettably however, there is no immediate or apparent plan to change this constitutionally guaranteed right of Americans to bear arms - a very touchy issue which is also very dear to millions of Americans. Moreso any attempt at managing the gun crisis through meaningful legislation and regulation is always interpreted as a ploy by the government to take away peoples' guns and no American wants his or her gun to be taken away. So gun violence has somewhat become a cancer eating up the body fabric of American society but until the National Rifle Association decides to set free state legislators, federal congressmen and women as well as senators in their bondage, to enable them do right by these victims and future victims of gun violence, gun violence will remain a vicious cycle of pain and anguish to millions of victims' families.
Icheoku says that the death of 22 year old Aussie student, Chris Lane, is even attracting the much publicity and coverage it is getting is a big surprise as people are shot every day, every hour, every minute in America and the skies has not fallen down; and to the extent that majority of them no longer make the news. Unless the shooting to death of Aussie Chris Lane is "a death once too many," there is no cause for alarm to rile Australian people up against visiting or coming to America. Nothing in his killing warrants the excessive measure as he was not targeted because he was from Australia or because he spoke with a different foreign accent. No, his killing was random and by teenagers who claimed they were bored and looking for an outlet. So simply put, Aussie Chris Lane was at a wrong place at a wrong time which begs the question, how could his usual jogging route be a wrong place? In answer, Icheoku says living in America by itself alone is technically a wrong place for gun violence as it could erupt anywhere and at anytime - including the sanctuary of a church and other places of worship like temples, synagogues and mosques. It could also erupt in a park, in schools and colleges, in movie theatres, in army forts, in gas stations, in law offices, in medical offices, on the roads, at homes and even in sleeping bedrooms, in grocery stores and post offices etc. Put in another way, gun violence in America have erupted in virtually every imaginable and unimaginable places that no place is safe any longer in America. So we all who call America home and our visitors run the risk of such senseless gun violence 24/7 by reason of being in America.
America is a country that have seen its share of gun violence and continues to wallow in it till this day and without any immediate hope of future abatement. President John Kennedy was a victim of gun violence, killed in Dallas Texas. President Ronald Reagan was a victim of gun violence, survived attack. Italian fashion designer Versace was a victim of gun violence, killed in Miami Florida. Beatles John Lennon was a victim of gun violence, killed in New York. Columbine students in Colorado were victims of gun violence. Virginia Tech students were victims of gun violence. Aurora Colorado movie-goers were victims of gun violence. The White House itself have seen its fair share of guns being fired at it. Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk of San Francisco were victims of gun violence, killed in their offices at the City Hall. Martin Luther King was a victim of gun violence, killed in Memphis Tennessee. Malcolm X was a victim of gun violence, killed in New York. Tupac Shakur was a victim of gun violence, killed in Las Vegas. Biggie Small was a victim of gun violence, killed in Los Angeles. Newtown Connecticut kindergartners were victims of gun violence. Congresswoman Gabriella Gifford survived gun violence. Oikos University Oakland California students including a Nigerian mother of three were victims of gun violence. Six year old Kayla Renee Rolland of Michigan was a victim of gun violence. Oak Creek Wisconsin Indian Sikhs were victims of gun violence, shot and killed inside their temple. Then add the unabating gun violence in Chicago Illinois where over 100 have been killed this year alone; add Oakland California's plus minus 89 victims, then Gary Indiana double digits murders, then Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore and New Orleans Louisiana as well as literally every part of the country and you have a near crisis gun violence situation starring you on the face. (Just check the blog - http://killingstoriesinamerica.blogspot.com/ on some recent killings this year ALONE in America and be the judge of the scourge that is gun violence ravaging America).
Icheoku says therefore, and in as much as the death by gun of Australian's Chris Lane is lamentable and regrettable, it does not rise to such a situation as warrants a call for boycott of America. In America, at least these crimes are solved and the criminals punished for their crime or what else could be done or expected to be done where someone has already assumed room temperature other than apprehend and punish the perpetrator/s? Crimes are inevitable in any society and asking a government to prevent all crimes including random killing of a person is a near impossible task to perform. Chris Lane is just one of thousands of other gun violence victims in America this year alone and his death should not be a source of friction or unneeded tension between two friendly countries. The American government did not "drone" him nor was he targeted and killed for hate crime because he was Australian; so the call by former deputy prime minister is outrageous, presumptuous and unwarranted. Icheoku therefore call on former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fisher to retract his unfortunate call and apologise for throwing such a sledgehammer on a fly and by necessary implication, poured gasoline on a flame. May Chris Lane's soul rest in peace and Australians should be assured that his killers will have the books thrown at them and punished severely for their crime. They should therefore ignore the boycott call and continue visiting the land of the free and home of the brave. America is as safe as any other big country with so much freedom can be, so there is no cause for unnecessary alarm.