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When it’s OK to shoot people

Imagine if, after the Port Arthur massacre our Prime Minister (or any person wanting to be Prime Minister) said he (or she) could shoot people and not lose voters.

Imagine the universal uproar. The media would have called for his or her head, people would have taken to the streets in anger, and his or her own political career would have ended abruptly at the next election if not before. Such a comment would have certainly ended a political career.

But of course, in reality John Howard – or any political leader or aspirant in this country – would never say such a thing.

Not so in America.

With the country still reeling and in shock from a string of recent mass murders Donald Trump told a press conference that he could stand in New York’s Fifth Avenue “and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters”.

It would be an understatement to say that I am disturbed by this. And in many ways.

The first, of course, is that it is a frightening thought that a political leader would dare to deliver such appalling words. The second is that he is probably right. He could indeed shoot people and not lose votes (though I’m sure he wouldn’t receive many, either). Our society is that sick and filled with so much hate that Trump would actually be seen by sick, right-wing extremists as a savior for shooting people. Yes, it is sick. Thirdly, I am disturbed that we live in a time when a political leader is not afraid to make such appalling claims. And I feel for all those thousands of people in America who have suffered a loss at the hands of a shooter. The insensitivity of Trump’s remark is simply beyond comprehension. And finally, I find it disturbing that the imagined uproar that would have followed John Howard making such a claim appears nowhere following Trump’s.


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  1. Pudden'head

    What more could you expect from this block-headed, compassion deprived, power seeking ogre?

  2. Carol Taylor

    Pudden’head, to me it’s the seeming acceptance of being able to shoot people on a whim..and this man could end up President…

  3. mark delmege

    And who said only americans don’t understand irony? Perhaps you would prefer the lipstick on a pig version Obama represents? A man who promised hope and change but instead proved himself to be a bigger mass murdering war criminal than Bush. And who through his actions flushed millions of people from their homes as refugees and who will help usher in right wing governments all over europe – and quite likely much of north africa. And through a coup in Ukraine brought that country to its knees. Shall I go on?

  4. Rossleigh

    One presumes that he must be intending to shoot a non-supporter, because one would think that the person he shot would be unlikely to vote for him…
    Then again, when you listen to Trump supporters, anything is possible.
    “Trump stood up to that Obama fella and showed him ain’t nobody gonna talk our guns away, gee I hope I pull through so I can show my support at the ballot box.”

  5. Michael Taylor

    Yes, I would prefer Obama to Trump. If you want Trump, he’s all yours. Let’s hear what you have to say after four years of Trump’s presidency.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Let’s not forget Trump’s pal Sarah Palin who listed Gabrielle Giffords’ seat as one of the top targets in the midterm elections by depicting it with the crosshairs of a gun sight over the district. Gabrielle Giffords was subsequently shot in the head when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing six people and wounding 13 others.

    The sheriff blamed the vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country, much of it centered in Arizona.

    “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” he said. “And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

    During his campaign effort to unseat Giffords, Republican challenger Jesse Kelly held fundraisers where he urged supporters to help remove Giffords from office by joining him to shoot a fully loaded M-16 rifle. Kelly is a former Marine who served in Iraq and was pictured on his website in military gear holding his automatic weapon and promoting the event.

  7. Carol Taylor

    My understanding is that all Obama wants to do is to restrict sales of high powered rifles from people of unsound mind and those with previous firearms offences..which probably takes in a majority of Trump supporters anyway..

  8. Michael Taylor

    Imagine the Murdoch media going into meltdown if Obama, Clinton or Sanders had have said those words.

  9. mark delmege

    If I remember back to my philosophy 101 days correctly you committed a modal fallacy with ‘could’. It’s a pity your tribal warriorism blinds you to the criminal racist actions of ‘your’ fraternal american cousins. Polemics aside, why would anyone with a sense of humanity feel the need to defend either?

  10. Michael Taylor

    Mark, your comment above is a perfect example of attack the messenger, and not the message. I really don’t know why I bother sometimes.

  11. mars08

    Trump relentlessly pushes the limits. The supporters he currently has are not going to abandon him. They are unwavering. They are there for the long haul. Bringing Palin into the campaign should have woken at least some of his fan club to what a disaster he would be as president. It should have been a slap in the face for any supporter with a fraction of a brain. Yet they continue to stand by him. The mentality of Trump’s “base” is truly frightening.

    I am certain that he could stand in New York’s Fifth Avenue “and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose votes. I also have no doubt that most Republican presidential candidates would be rushing to copy him.

  12. David Evans

    I just hope he does start shooting in 5th. Avenue, and many, many reasonable people start shooting back! Then it would be OK to shoot someone.

  13. stephen Bowler

    I would like to add something profound – but I just sat here gobsmacked at the unbelievable hide of Trump to say such a thing.

    What, what is happening to Americans?

    There are quite few here too!

  14. Matthew Oborne

    It is safer to live in iraq than America. A sane person would allow them water pistols only with severe restrictions.


    And that’s why the US was founded as a revolutionary republic with its constitution after a revolutionary war which threw off the oligarchy of its day.

    Sure over time and most successfully through the use of debt the constitution has largely been superseded but the original fact remains.
    Australia is still part of the dominion, sorry commonwealth, because the small early attempts to form a republic were swiftly crushed by the British crown. The latest attempt to form Australia as a weak republic was skillfully derailed by said same J.Howard, avowed monarchist.

    The author prefers the state, the crown, to have an unopposed claim of the use of lethal force,he doesn’t think that individuals should have the right to self defense against individuals and certainly not against the state.

  16. Kaye Lee

    In the US in 2012, there were 259 justifiable gun-related homicides, or incidents in which authorities ruled that killings occurred in self-defense.

    That’s in a nation in which there are some 300 million firearms. In 2012, there were 1.2 million violent crimes, defined as murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Or, put another way, 1.2 million scenarios in which there was potential for someone to kill in self-defense. Match those 259 justifiable homicides with the theft of about 232,000 guns each year, about 172,000 of them during burglaries. That’s a ratio of one justifiable homicide for every 896 guns put in the hands of criminals.

    Those 259 justifiable homicides also pale compared with, in the same year, 8,342 criminal homicides using guns, 20,666 suicides with guns, and 548 fatal unintentional shootings, according to the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Report. The ratio for 2012, per the Violence Policy Center, was one justifiable killing for every 32 murders, suicides or accidental deaths (the ratio increases to 38-1 over the five-year period ending in 2012). That’s a heavy price to pay.

    About half of all suicides are committed with guns, and seven in 10 by men, who also account for 74% of gun owners in the country.

    “The notion that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun is a romanticized vision of the nature of violent crime. And that the sea of guns in which we live causes exponentially more danger and harm than good.”


  17. brickbob

    I think Trump has taken the First Amendment to a whole new level,and i remember when Obama was first elected Rush Limbaugh suggested on radio that the best thing would be if Obama was assassinated. ”” Aint free speech grand.””””’

    Andrew Bolt would love a US style 1st Amendment in our constitution.

  18. diannaart

    … Obama represents… A man who promised hope and change but instead proved himself to be a bigger mass murdering war criminal than Bush…

    Only in Bizarro World.

    Pictures of fat, over-privileged white male clasping a rifle…. nightmare stuff.

    …oh, right…I thought I lived somewhere sane but I keep on waking up here.

  19. John Lord

    Only in America.

  20. mark delmege

    Gee …you seem to get it but you don’t. He didn’t say he’d shoot people or even that he wanted too – just that he was so popular he could get away with it by not losing votes. Whats the big deal? Americans seem to be stupid? Or they hate the status quo parties so much? I’m sure they do which is I think the whole point of his comment and hey I get that. I think its probably true too and they have good reason –
    as I explained and obviously its not that I support him. Interestingly the other day I watched an RT Cross Talk hosted by Peter Lavelle with three speakers one of whom represented Ron Paul Institute. Many here will view Ron Paul as just another right wing crazy man but this bloke was quite good and said what no (or few) political commentator is Australia is prepared to say. Nothing earth shattering of course to anyone following events but at least he had a more or less reasonable perspective. And the point is that I don’t care who makes sense left right or centre – give them credit where it is due. Back to American politics – the economy and the country is a pig and it is in terminal decline and if dorks like Trump get up (which I doubt) it should be further proof that it is so. So have a discussion about that if you want but this sort of an ad hominem argument is irrelevant in the scheme of things.
    (diannaart are you also totally blind to the chaos created by the Obama regime in North Africa and the ME these past few years?)

  21. John Lord

    I suppose Mark the ultimate test of an individual’s opinion is the “what would you have done” question. And to flippantly dismiss Trumps words as irrelevant is to say the least deplorable. A persons character is not necessarily judged by a singular action but generally a series of them.

  22. mark delmege

  23. John Lord

    Into the realm of silliness we enter.

  24. Michael Taylor

    Oh for goodness sake, I know Trump isn’t going to shoot anybody. Like John said, it’s the mere fact that he uttered that comment is what is of concern.

  25. cornlegend

    When it all boils down the scary fact is Trump even got to the position he’s at now and we are even talking about him.
    Other than this comment I just can’t handle talking about the scumbag

  26. diannaart

    Mark Delmege

    Of course I am not blind to failings of Obama – how he has achieved as much as he has with such a hostile senate is nothing short of a minor miracle.

    When you start placing Obama into the same category of “you’re either with us or agin us” Bush and his trigger happy good ole boys – you have displayed your preference for Bizarro World – such ignorance and blindness on your part is extremely disturbing. That you cannot discern between the power and deliberate sabotage by a minority of the self-entitled and their exploitation of the rest of us… both saddening and not a little alarming.

  27. flohri1754

    diannarart: Yes, I was puzzling over that comment as well …. yadda, yadda ….

  28. mark delmege

    Oh dear. Thats a staggering apologia for all that has gone down in Libya and North Africa, Syria and beyond including the millions of refugees; and Ukraine and thats just the most obvious- as Commander in Chief . But he has done some domestic stuff that makes him acceptable, really? Hell even Nixon had some good domestic policies.

  29. John Lord

    Mark it’s more than a little sad that you seem to be having a conversation with yourself-convincing yourself of your self righteousness. Why don’t you try explaining just what it is you are saying. I’m sure you are confusing people. Better still try confining yourself to the topic the writer is addressing which was one of Trumps outrageous statements. I don’t know why you think you can just change course to suit your own agenda.

  30. mark delmege

    john i was obviously answering diannaart and you are right I have said more than enough.

  31. John Lord

    On the subject of American foreign policy why don’t you, if you are so critical of Obamas decisions, write a piece outlining what you might have done. Submit it, then we could discuss it as a separate subject. The Middle East has been very perplexing for peacemakers for the entirety of my lifetime. I for one would be interested in how you would have resolved the issues that great and noble minds have been unable too.

  32. diannaart

    @mark delmage

    ” i was obviously answering diannaart..”

    No, I beg to differ; your offered your opinion, this time claiming Nixon had better policies than Obama.

    Obama had fewer successes than he should’ve due to the sabotage by the Republicans – their behaviour was mirrored here in Australia by their good buddies the LNP not so long ago when Julia Gillard was governing. This is not mere opinion or speculation these are facts.

    Now its your turn to provide some evidence for your claims regarding Obama.

  33. mark delmege

    ‘your offered your opinion, this time claiming Nixon had better policies than Obama.’ no i didn’t.

  34. Annie B

    Yes, Mark D …. I too would like to see from you, a few facts to support your arguments ( which are off base / off topic ) about Obamas’ administration, which has been under extremely difficult circumstances. Those being, running into the brick walls put up by the Republican dominated Senate at every chance, and to every advanced idea / decision by the Democrats generally, and Obama in particular. … Sure, he has made mistakes – which President of the U.S. hasn’t – eh ?? Perhaps G.W. Bush was better ??? 🙁

    You seem to have not had a good day Mark ??, and are showing your true thoughts & beliefs about many things here today – in fact you sound very ‘rightish’ at this time. Are you in fact, right wing ? If so, that’s fine – just be honest about it.

    Do you not see the pugnacious & fierce aggression in the remark(s) made by Trump – this latest being only one of a string of them. His blatent misogyny, his disrespect for all peoples ( and he does disrespect all peoples by uttering the crud that he does ) …. expecting people to bow and scrape before him, because of his attitude ‘Ah has spoken’, and his self-aggrandisement that knows no bounds. A lot of Americans love that kind of garbage ….. it apparently fills their otherwise dull lives.

    They are also the types who hold the 2nd amendment to be sacred – when they don’t even understand it properly, or bother to think about WHEN it was written, and WHY it was written. All they see is an excuse to own a gun ( or guns ), which apparently serves to make them somehow more accomplished and powerful ??. A lot of deluded people, over there – most whom would follow the likes of Trump.

    I do hope you feel a lot better tomorrow Mark – I think you would need to. !!

  35. mark delmege

    I had a great day, thanks very much. I got to learn a lot about some people in here.

  36. Michael Taylor

    And we got to learn a lot about you.

  37. John Lord

    Debate is not of necessity about winning or taking down ones opponent. It is an exchange of facts ideas and principles. Or in its purest form it it simply the art of persuasion.

  38. Sen Nearly Ile

    Debate is the art of argument presenting facts in a disingenuous manner, ridiculing the arguments and, on occasions the physical appearance, mental capacity and vocal delivery, of opponents, in rebuttal, to score enough points to win.
    Spot on Annie, except for Obama’s extremely modest attempt to reduce the ‘guns don’t kill people do’ by basic registration before purchase, truth, honesty and reason have very little part to play in the 2nd amendment
    Trump, like the rabbott, has a mouth that shoots first and asks questions later.
    Remembering it took nearly 5 years to topple the rabbott, Australians can only hope the septics are better than that. Good to see that the rabbott having given europe the answer to refugees is now of to help america.

  39. Kyran

    Good segue back to the article, Sen Nearly Ile. From what I have read so far, rabid is off to tell the septics about abortion and marriage equality. His expertise on the first subject is infamous. A ‘devout Catholic’, in his portfolio of health miniature, denied repeatedly that his religious ideology’s had anything to do with his opposition to the introduction of RU486. A ‘devout Catholic’, in his capacity of Primed miniature was unable to elicit any reason for his opposition to marriage equality, other than ‘he wasn’t homophobic, they just made him feel uncomfortable’.
    “Trump, like the rabbott, has a mouth that shoots first and asks questions later.”
    As Mr Taylor observed;
    “I am disturbed that we live in a time when a political leader is not afraid to make such appalling claims. And I feel for all those thousands of people in America who have suffered a loss at the hands of a shooter. The insensitivity of Trump’s remark is simply beyond comprehension.”
    Some insensitive bloggers have suggested that, if trumpet shot rabid, his prophecy would indeed come true. I suspect both of these gits are protected by religious extremists of all sorts. Their ‘appalling claims’ serve no other purpose than to fuel extremism, which serves no other purpose than to support them. Thank you Mr Taylor, and Sen Nearly Ile. Take care

  40. mark delmege

    Lets see… I started with ‘irony’. Moved on to ‘modal fallacy’ – points lost on (some) of the posters here. Pity tribal warriorism over took logical and philosophical discussion. But you get that. Easier apparently to promote moral outrage of the sort often seen in the MSM. Oh well…

  41. Kaye Lee


    You showed a fair bit of moral outrage about Obama to kick the conversation off.

    I gather you feel Assad is a good leader who has been defamed by most of the world’s press, leaders, and humanitarian organisations. You also rightly point to the many times the US has interfered in foreign affairs by training and arming locals to stir up trouble and even direct involvement to cause regime change.

    I can agree with some things you say but your absolute certainty that you know the whole story about every dispute worldwide and it’s all Obama’s fault is unconvincing.

  42. Michael Taylor

    Some guy on Facebook got stuck into me for using the Port Arthure massacre as my case. He said I should have used a massacre that wasn’t a government set-up. Oh dear.

  43. diannaart

    @Michael Taylor

    Frequently a reasonable discussion is the last thing some people really want.

  44. mark delmege

    Kaye – Na he’s just the head of a flailing empire and if he was republican most people here would be in with the boots too and would see that arming jihadists in Syria is illegal, immoral is bad policy – anyway you cut it. That I point out front groups that are used to cover over this should be a plus and I make no apology. But that still misses the point of the strawman argument of the article.

  45. Kaye Lee


    I think the comment from Trump was outrageous and I think violent rhetoric has consequences. That is a very valid conversation in my opinion.

  46. Michael Taylor

    What strawman argument of the article? I wrote the article, and I don’t recall writing about a strawman.

    Nah, don’t worry. You might answer it. 🙁

  47. Annie B

    @ Mark D. —

    The latest of Trumps improprieties shows blatent disregard for many many people – there, here and everywhere, where someone has been shot ( to death or wounded ) by an armed nutter, ‘because he / she could just do it “. …. Pffft —- aim and fire – who the f*ck cares.

    Underscored by : “I am disturbed that we live in a time when a political leader is not afraid to make such appalling claims. And I feel for all those thousands of people in America who have suffered a loss at the hands of a shooter. ….. The insensitivity of Trump’s remark is simply beyond comprehension.”

    That IS the bottom line.

    And if Mark D or anyone else here, doesn’t ‘get’ that – – ‘understand’ that … then they are to be pitied.

    We await Trumps next foray into Abbott style gaffe – and there will probably be plenty. … He is a law unto himself, and damn the rest of the world …. what a great stand that is, for political endeavour. !! And how bloody dangerous it is.

    Someone suggested on Facebook that he was being a stooge – was in fact anti-Republican, and was doing his darnedest to show how Republicans can never ever be trusted. If that be the case, then he’s doing a damned good job.

    Food for thought there ? … don’t think so – he’s just a very nasty narcissistic blow-hard.

  48. Pingback: When it’s OK to shoot people – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  49. kerri

    Yes! Trump’s comment is staggeringly offensive in both it’s arrogance and it’s complacency, but as my 21year old daughter pointed out the only vote he would lose was if he pointed the gun at himself!

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