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When I went through my secondary education at a state-funded C of E Grammar school in the UK, we had a very good general education, which included Art, Biology, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Latin, Mathematics, Music, Physics and Scripture.

We also, being an all-girls school, spent a year on needlework and a year on Cookery, while my brother, with a similar range of subjects at an all-boys school, did metalwork and woodwork.

Not all of these common subjects were offered from the first of our seven-years study, and by the time we reached the fourth year, we were essentially required to choose between arts and science.

So I dropped history, art and Latin in favour of geography, music, biology and chemistry, while later picking up Physics, Pure and Applied Mathematics as specialist subjects in my last 2 years of study.

If you are familiar with Hogwarts, you will have a fairly good idea of the seven year progress through the UK school system! My school was not a boarding school but its disciplinary system was quite closely based on that applying to the British ‘Public’ schools, as was Hogwarts!

I have always been an avid reader and loved historical novels, so relied on reading for knowledge of the Biblical history of the Jews, novels for the conquests of Alexander, the Julius Caesar and Roman Empire period, the era of the Black Prince, Tudor times, Henry VIII (and

“Divorced, beheaded, died,

Divorced, beheaded, survived.”

to distinguish between Catherine of Aragon, Anne Bullen (Boleyn), Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr), the rise and fall of Napoleon Buonaparte, novelists like Alexandre Dumas for his romantic and historical novels, Georgette Heyer for the Regency period, Charles Dickens, with his quest for justice for the downtrodden, and multiple sources for the background to the European Royals – plus more modern events, through living through WWII and experiencing the Battle of Britain, while my historical knowledge in many parts of the world relies otherwise on myths and legends.

Elizabeth I’s period, of course, was the time leading to the initial colonisation of America, while the Mayflower introduced the Puritans to the eastern states, all  fairly contemporaneously with the Spanish and Portuguese invading more southern regions.

So my knowledge of history is sketchy and very personalised, so I am open to being shot down in flames in the conclusions I might draw.

As a dual British/Australian citizen, I confess to being proud of neither country for the legacy of the colonisation and settlement which is attached to their gunship methods.

In the case of the colonising of both America and Australia, but perhaps more so in the case of America, the invading forces relied on their military to keep the peace. A consequence of this has been a much more militaristic approach being adopted by the later law and order forces established in those countries.

People are often amazed to hear that in the UK, the police do not normally carry guns.

I remember an occasion when my youngest child was a baby, and I took him, in a car pram, plus his older brother, aged 4, and sister, then 3, to shop in our local town of Gravesend in Kent.

The weekly market was held in an area used as a car park on all other days, so I parked there, assembled the car pram and wheeled it out into the High Street with the other two children either side.

Or so I thought!

I had travelled a short distance when I realised my daughter was missing!

A frantic look around showed no sign of her so i hastily back-tracked to the entrance to the market place.

To my intense relief, I saw a very tall policeman speaking into a walkie-talkie, while my very small daughter stared up at him!

I had always told the children if they ever got lost or needed help, ask a policeman (they were almost all men in those days!) and there is even an old Music Hall song from before my time “If you want to know the time, ask a policeman!

Those were the days when a policeman, catching a young lad up to mischief, would take him by the ear, march him home, and leave his parents to discipline him.

My main point being that the duty of the police was seen as protecting the public and they had, in that capacity, the power to caution or arrest, anyone breaking the the law in ways that endangered the public.

It is rare for a police officer in England, Scotland or Wales to carry a firearm. Northern Ireland is an exception, as a consequence of ‘the troubles’.

Clearly, long after the first settlements in the USA, it remained a frontier country, with episodes involving Native Americans encouraging the founders to enshrine the right to carry a gun in the USA Constitution.

So, the whole cultural attitude towards guns mitigates against having the type of police force which is enjoyed in most of the UK.

In fact, here, in the Northern Territory of Australia, the first time I saw a police officer carrying a gun was after Cyclone Tracy, when we had members of State police forces assisting the NT police during a spate of chaos and some lawlessness.

I am well aware of the levels of corruption in the police forces in many states, with Queensland and NSW being the standouts, and Victoria not far behind.

Corruption is not exclusive to the police and it is disturbingly evident in governing bodies, both nationally and locally.

Distinctions between poachers and gamekeepers are notoriously blurred, but the most serious problems arise in the law and order context.

Black Lives Matter is no new issue.

Terra Nullius is no longer accepted, but the contempt with which our First Nations were regarded, lives on in too many white supremacists.

Those original inhabitants lived by very different cultural rules than do the invaders, and their rejection of ownership of land but instead acceptance of having a duty to be a guardian of the tribal lands, as well as their ways of ensuring the land is properly used and protected, should be lessons for us.

In similar ways, the African Americans, mainly descended from slaves brought to the Americas to work in the plantations under frequently inhumane conditions, are still regarded as less than human because of their origins, clearly carried down through generations by the colour of their skins.

The most important quality in many members of the human race is an ability to live in peace with others.

The message of “Do as you would be done by” is not exclusively linked to any religious dogmas.

It is an ethical requirement directed at all of us, whatever our colour, beliefs or clan group.

We live in very troubled times, and they are unnecessarily troubled by mankind’s inhumanity to other members of the human race.

The right to bear arms is a dangerous demand, and the extent to which the ‘if it moves –  you shoot’ attitude might have its humorous side, we are yet to have the ability to revive someone who has died.

It is worth noting that there are many outside the police force whose lives are on the line in their course of duty.

Most notably, these include, most recently, the health service staff, whose lives have been at risk as they care for COVID-19 patients, often with inadequate Personal Protection Equipment, with a shortage of rest between shifts and, often, a need to be isolated from their loved ones.

On a regular basis, Ambulance officers and paramedical staff have to deal with people affected by alcohol and other drugs, who often violently attack the staff who are trying to assist them.

Then there are the carers, who deal with people living in their own homes with mental disorders, which do not justify institutionalisation but nevertheless can lead to violent outbursts.

None of these groups would dream of carrying a gun to protect themselves.

If the movement, which is getting into its stride around the world,in opposition to white supremacist attitudes, is to bear fruit – which we earnestly hope it does – the USA needs to take a long hard look at its history of the damage continually done by gun ownership laws.

#Black Lives Matter

I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:

“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

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32 comments

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  1. Ro Bailey

    In the past, our police in Australia never carried guns either and were proud that they could manage people without them. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

  2. Michael Taylor

    It’ll be like Rome or Paris soon, Ro. Police walking around with what look like machine guns. ☹️

  3. Phil

    It’ll be like Rome or Paris soon, Ro. Police walking around with what look like machine guns.

    I was in England two years ago, they are carry machine guns there. Overkill much.

    I have told my adult children and grand children, the police are not your friends, don’t break the law and be polite should you have to speak to one. Interaction with them could cost you your sight or even worse, your life..

    There was a time a mans home was his castle this unfortunately, is no longer the case. They can knock your down at three in the morning whisking you away to the waiting star chamber. Dramatic? Anyone thinking that should remove their head from their arse.

    But it is all our own fault, so aptly explained by the great George Carlin RIP.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-14SllPPLxY

  4. Jack Cade

    Phil

    George Carlin was great!
    That routine of his, about the standard of US education, reminds me of the joke about an American signing a customs declaration form with two XXs. On being challenged by the customs officer (wotderfeck?) he admitted that he was unable to read and write.
    – So what are the two XXs?
    ‘The first X is my signature and the second X is my Ph.D.‘

  5. Phil

    🙂 Yanks out side of their Ivy League Uni’s not very bright. X my Ph.D. An expert = A drip under pressure. There are two people in the world I have never seen lose a debate and George Carlin was one of them. The other was Christopher Hitchens His brother Peter would be hard pressed to win a debate with my Pet Galah. I have more intelligent life in my garden pond. Yes Carlin was whip smart a beacon of hope in a world full of dullards. i am glad I am in my dotage, this is all going to end in tears and for mine, not that far away.

  6. Jack Cade

    Phil

    The educational standards are low because they can get a university degree for avoiding being caught as sporting drug cheats.
    Christopher Hitchens had a formidable intellect, and a whip smart wit. A great loss. His brother shared only his surname…

  7. Phil

    A great loss. His brother shared only his surname… 🙂 🙂

    What was it Ooompa Loompa Trump said? Last week I couldn’t spell President now I ARE one.

    If there is a God. Help us.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Intellect and the orange orifice in one article or comments?? Never. Trump is a product of excess consumerism, superficiality, crookedness, bribery, corruption, coercing, mafia madness, double crossing, swindling, extorting and military agressiveness, so it’s a shit world, maybe always was, but the shit is electronic, all invasive, secretive, demeaning, injurious and a friend of fascism.

  9. paul walter

    Jack Cade.

  10. Kerri

    OMG! Rosemary! My very first trip overseas was to the UK and my very first night was spent in Gravesend at the home of relatives of my travelling companion!
    I had similar thoughts about the US and their guns.
    When you see how quickly a cop can fire through a vehicle window at a trapped person like Philando Castile you realise that the victim may have had a fighting chance if the cop were not armed.
    This video is funny and sad at the same time
    https://youtu.be/eEMIUy_ySA4

  11. RosemaryJ36

    Kerri – I lived in Gravesend for just over 10 years. My children were all home birthed there (similarly to Call the Midwife!) and we spent years fitting out an old Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter which we sailed up the East coast for our holidays, and, once, over to France. Thanks for the brilliant link!

  12. Jack Cade

    Paul Walter.

    What?

  13. Jack Cade

    Actually, I don’t applaud this sort of vandalism. A statue of an evil man should not be destroyed. It is a reminder of our history, not necessarily an adornment or celebration of his or her existence. If the person’s activities were shameful, they could still be of historical significance to the city or state. It should be enough to affix a plaque denouncing the individual.

  14. Jack Cade

    My home city of Liverpool, like Bristol, was heavily involved in the slave trade. In fact two of the names associated with the Beatles have slave trade connections. As I have pointed out, the original Cavern in Matthew Street was a slave-holding cellar, and Penny Lane was named after the owner of some of the slave ships. I doubt that ANYTHING would induce the Liverpool authorities to change the name of THAT Liverpool icon, appalling historic connections notwithstanding.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Jack, there was a move to change the name of Penny Lane as it was thought to glorify the slave trader, James Penny.

    But how could it be changed now that the Beatles had made it so famous?

    The Council came up with a good idea. The name was kept, and a museum depicting the horrors and cruelty of slavery was established on the Albert Dock.

    Removing Penny Lane from history meant turning a blind eye to past cruelties.

  16. Michael Taylor

    There’s an old homestead in the Flinders Ranges, on a station whose owner in the 19th Century inflicted misery on the local Adnyamathanha people. About twenty years ago these same people sought funding to preserve this homestead.

    I asked one of the elders why they wanted to preserve the horrors of the past. His answer impressed me:

    “Our story didn’t end when the white man came. It’s in our history now.”

  17. Jack Cade

    Michael Taylor

    That’s my point exactly about Penny Lane and history. Deleting all reference to historical events – which Japan does – doesn’t delete the history. Statues of men – mostly – who did awful things should be retained but pointed reference made to the evil they did.
    Cecil Rhodes was a premier league arsehole and his memory lingers on by attachment to the names of other premier league arseholes (of course, I exclude Kris Kristofferson from that sweeping characterisation.)

  18. Michael Taylor

    Jack, the Scottish have the same attitude. If you delete the past, then there is nothing to learn from it.

  19. johno

    I don’t think many are advocating deleting wikipedia or similar informative sites where the past is there for all to see.

  20. Jack Cade

    Johno

    What about Wikileaks? Our government is silent on the torture of an Australian citizen simply for relaying the truth about war crimes carried out by the US of A. If Wikileaks could be expunged they would do it.

  21. Phil

    Using the logic here about the statues of murdering shit bags from our past, why not have a full bronzed statue of Hitler in the town square? At Xmas we could adorn it with coloured baubells and coloured flashing lights, have some Richard Wagner played over a P.A. system it would be glorious. May be add some community kneeling cushions, so the Nazi’s that still infest England, can say a prayer for him. Why stop there, we could have one of Doctor Goebbels or Edward Louis Bernays After all the British establishment love using the propaganda methods these two bastards taught them, on how to screw their own people over. They would be regarded as genius’s at the British Conservative Clubs.

    Yep a bit over the top. But if we are going to have these statues of shit bags from the past why not put a plaque on them telling the truth. i.e.

    This is a statue of Edward Colston. A slave trader who captured men, women, and children from the continent of Africa and sold them off as slaves to your ancestors in the America’s, where they were murdered, raped, starved, and died of diseases not before known to them. Those same slaves were then forced by the Americans their owners, to help commit the worst genocide the world has ever witnessed ,the murder rape pillaging and land theft of the American Red Indians. The fact is your empire was built off the backs of these poor souls and your government is still exporting black people from the UK . See, Windrush. in the article below.

    Give me strength.

    Want to know about your history, go to a bloody library.

    I went to the Liverpool slave museum where they to their credit, have admitted (The Liverpudlians) to their part in this history of slavery. But then the people of Liverpool are not English, they’re Scousers. They reminded me of that on many occasions.

  22. Jack Cade

    Phil

    I look forward to a John Howard memorial public urinal. I would gladly piss on it.
    You are correct about Scousers. When one of them (us!) was challenged about not singing along with God Save The Queen before a soccer match, he said
    ‘She’s norrar Queen; she’s dere Queen.’

  23. Phil

    ‘ I look forward to a John Howard memorial public urinal. I would gladly piss on it ‘;

    Yep me too. The plaque could read. Responsible in company, for the deaths of thousands of Iraq’i men women and children. He was also known to fantasize about people drowning at sea.

  24. leefe

    ‘ I look forward to a John Howard memorial public urinal. I would gladly piss on it ‘

    I would never sully my bodily fluids in that manner.

  25. DrakeN

    Indeed, leefe.
    As fertilizer, most human shit and piss have more value than the “…lying little rodent…’ ever had in his political career.
    Even his decomposing cadaver is likely to sterilise the ground into which it gets interred because he is so toxic.

  26. Jack Cade

    DrakeN

    So the turd can’t be interred?
    Just have him stuffed. That’s what he did to us. The he can be put on display and pulled down every November to commemorate his participation in treason against this country.

  27. Jack Cade

    Phil

    I assume he was sitting on Davey’s knee at the time.
    Pigshit thick at 16. Shithouse rat at 60.
    His school would have cringed at being outed as the tutors of such a teenaged numbskull.

  28. Michael Taylor

    Sounds like he was a smart-arsed bullshit artist as a kid.

    He’s a smart-arsed bullshit artist as an adult.

    Funny that.

  29. Phil

    Pigshit thick at 16. Shithouse rat at 60.

    Indeed with all the sincerity I can muster with my limited vocabulary and with out using a load of esoteric mumbo jumbo I leave to others more educated, as they claim more than me, the only thing I was interested in at 16, was chasing the bearded clam and drinking copious amounts of Green Ginger Wine. Vulgar? No Olga, from the Volga. Let your minds run rampant imagine the Rodent’s first sexual encounter. With him chortling in his girl friends ear, what is this thing called……….. love? Snigger snigger. This doofus sent men to kill innocent men, women and children in Iraq. My wife wants to know why I drink.

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