26 April 1999
weekly opinion


The Colorado massacre has stimulated calls for restrictions on gun ownership.

If thy eye offends thee, pluck it out!
Pregnancy among unmarried females causes enormous harm to society, costs huge amounts of public funds for social security, and deprives the victim children of a parent.  So let us apply that selfsame straightforward logic to prevention of pregnancy among unmarried females.
We could reduce pregnancy by fitting chastity belts to all unmarried females.

We could also require unmarried females be accompanied by a chaperone outside the home.

Do not laugh.  Those options were attempted.  The very existence of the concepts "chaperone" and "chastity belt" are the proof.

Is there a lesson here for those politically correct social engineers who desire to restrict gun ownership.   I am fairly sure that they would not think so.  Prejudiced people are blind to any faults that others see in their own straightforward solutions.  Consider the lessons of history...

Violence in society?  solution => Confiscate weapons. (guns then knives then karate????)

The problem with direct solutions lies in the detail.  Apart from the misery invariably caused to both the victims and the supposed beneficiaries, the application is never simple.  The patches required to make the solution workable increase proportionally to the harshness of application & the length of time that the solution is applied.

Taken to extremes we must (block/steal/prohibit/banish/confiscate) everyone's hands and feet and brains.

The Colorado massacre is a symptom of a deep seated social illness.

When there is sickness there is no point treating the symptoms.

The cause of the disease must be treated.

The social illness that caused Columbine is disempowerment.

People become angry and strike out when they are disempowered.

When guns are restricted, those who have most power in our society gain more power.  Those who have least power lose from what little they have.  Any restrictions on guns disempowers the poor & the young.

Restricting guns exacerbates the social illness.


The independent Senator Harradine from Tasmania is behaving in a way that is an example to all parliamentarians.  While the Democrats seek to have uncooked food excluded from the GST, while the Coalition attempts to steamroller their legislation through, while Labour stonewalls, Senator Harradine presses onwards, requiring that the Coalition prove it's assurances that "no Australian will be worse off".

It does seem that he has uncovered at least two groups that will be worse off.  The most glaring example is self funded retirees.   Of what use is an offsetting taxation reduction to a person who has prepaid income tax?    Pensioners are also treated inequitably, the compensation offered should be tied to the original (unfiddled) Consumer Price Index.  Otherwise their income will be eroded by inflation.

Then again, censorship is negative.

The author contributes to an undeducted superannuation scheme.

President Habibe has promised peace in the conquered colony of Timor (population ~ 800,000).   Our government should take his assurances at face value, and show more concern for the structure of the upcoming Indonesian elections which will determine the stability and happiness of the Indonesian people for decades to come.

Last year the Indonesian people ran amok and deposed the nepotistic President Suharto in favor of Vice President Habibe.  President Habibe has promised to hold more democratic elections in June 1999.

For too long has this nation of 210 million people suffered unrepresentative & paternalistic government.   It is up to Australians to help the people of Indonesia obtain a fair and democratic election.

A fair and democratic government in Jakarta is more likely to offer the Timorese people a fair plebiscite.


NATO celebrated it's fiftieth birthday last week with heavy bombing raids on Serbia.

Sixty years earlier on 20 April 1939 Adolf Hitler celebrated his fiftieth birthday with "the most impressive military parade ever seen in Germany".

On 28 April 1939 Hitler denounced the negotiations for a resolution of Danzig's status, and demanded that Poland allow the ethnically German city to hold a plebiscite to join with Germany.  World War II started about four months later on 31 August 1939 when Poland (encouraged by the UK) refused the Germans in Danzig permission to have a plebiscite to join with Germany, and refused German access by road and rail to East Prussia and Danzig.

There are calls for NATO to use troops to invade Serbia.  Last week NATO continued to bomb Serbia for peace, to enforce the right of ethnic Albanian Kosovans to set up an independent state.

To date NATO claims a score of about six bridges, a train and a column of tractors.  Last week NATO tried to get Slobbodan by bombing the Serbian equivalent of the "White House" but apparently he wasn't home.  Then NATO bombed the TV network studios while Slobbodan was giving a live interview, but unfortunately they missed him again, all they got was a score of technicians.  Apparently they didn't kill enough technicians because a few hours later Serbian national TV was back on line.

NATO describes all fatalities among Kosovans caused by the Serb army are "refugees".  If this is so, what has happened to the 80,000 strong KLA?  Is there any truth to the story that NATO is bombing the Serbian army in Kosovo at the behest of KLA spotters?   Is a captured KLA spotter the reason that NATO came to bomb two widely separated refugee columns within the hour of one day of last week?

NATO insists that Serbia is getting desperate because the bombing is hurting.  Serbia has admitted that the bombing is hurting.  Serbia reported that NATO has destroyed about 20 schools, the philosophy department at Belgrade university, a few monasteries and about 500 people.  NATO's press agent says words to the effect that:  These things happen.  They are better off than the Kosovans in refugee camps.

To me it looks as if NATO is getting desperate.   By now NATO must have deleted everything that could remotely be described as political or military infrastructure in Serbia.  Soon NATO will have to start bombing things like the municipal water pumping & purification plants and the municipal town halls.  Then what?  City blocks with people inside?  And then I suppose NATO's spin doctors will say: They are better off than the Kosovans in cemeteries.

NATO has got a problem.  The longer that the war goes on, the more time that everyone will have to find out just how it all started.  Wasn't it Winston Churchill who said of Goebbels "ministry of information":

You can fool some of the people some of the time;
You can't fool all of the people all of the time;
That might be a misquote, but I think it captures the essence.

And Willie's got form.