If you have any comments or thoughts you would like to share, e-mail me at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A New Gun Safety Device Which Can Save Lives

Haunting memories of many accidental gun deaths energised a retired police sergeant to invent a device which he believes could prevent 505 avoidable gun deaths each year.
Retire sergeant Mike Burns demonstrates his
Trigger Shepherd
Retired Tinicum Township police sergeant Mike Burns developed a device which would avoid accidental semi-automatic handgun discharge and as soon as he secures funding he will get it into production.
Burns said he spent five years perfecting his ‘Trigger Shepherd’, a plastic moulding that fits to the shape of a pistol.
The device covers a firearm’s magazine and trigger area, but it leaves the pistol’s slide and magazine release exposed. When the device is in place, it is impossible to pull the trigger when unloading or reloading any semi-automatic weapon, Burns said.
“One core teaching in handgun safety is ‘if you don’t touch the trigger the gun won’t go off’. If you use my invention correctly, you won’t touch the trigger.”
Burns said he would like to see the Trigger Shepherd included with new gun sales, especially new gun owners, as a safety precaution when loading, unloading, cleaning and storing.
A cable gun lock can also be added to ensure the weapon is safely stored at home, Burns said.
“After coming up with the idea I would cut plastic Windex bottles to fit my personal handguns until I got the correct configuration.”
When the device is in place, it is impossible to pull the trigger when unloading or reloading any semi-automatic weapon, Burns said.
Over the last five years, he has spent more than $35,000 developing and engineering the device, including legal fees and patent. He is now seeking funding to get it into production.
“They are not on the market because to get them there it would take the production of more moulds costing about $15,000 each - separate moulds to cover different sizes of semiautomatic handguns.
“I simply do not have the capital for that.”
He said he has been looking for a company to license his device, but he has not had any luck so far.
No one will look at it seriously until a large police organization or similar group will recommend it.”
While there is agreeance this device could be useful, gun users are split on its future potential.
Former US Army Special Forces officer Don Bendell said if the device is inexpensive enough it would be an excellent product to help prevent gun accidents.
“I can also see how a similar product could be developed for revolvers,” he said.
“I would approach gun manufactures … and I do not see why they would not jump on this idea.”
Outdoor writer Anne Vinnola said she sees potential for the Trigger Shepherd in classrooms, to ensure each gun is unloaded, but she doubts it would help when teaching new gun owners firearm safety.
“I see this as a problematic device as far as teaching proper gun safety to new gun owners. [It] gives the new shooter a false sense of safety and one more thing to have to think about in the use of a firearm,” she said.
Stanford Children’s Health revealed 40 children died from unintentional firearm injuries in 2004. And more than three million children in the U.S. live in households where firearms, at times, are kept loaded and unlocked.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 505 people died from gun accidents in 2013, and 16,864 people were unintentionally injured from firearms.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Is New Zealand wasting it's time on the UN Security Council?

Half-way through its term on the United Nations Security Council, New Zealand has had the first of two slots it gets to lead the international agenda. Some observers say its time could have been better used. Lyall Russell reports.
A seat at the UN’s top table is highly prized – a chance to influence the international agenda, build relations with the big players and show the world we can make a difference. 
New Zealand got its chance in January, when it started its two-year term on the UN Security Council.
As a sign of its intent, the Government splashed out $11 million on a luxury New York City apartment near UN headquarters, saying it was needed for “private discussions”.
When it took up its seat, it did not shy away from talking up the big issues.
Statements and speeches by both former UN Ambassador Jim McLay and Foreign Minister Murray McCully made it clear that reengaging peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was high on their agenda.
Israel has always been opposed to UN intervention, so it was a challenging agenda to take on. But New Zealand had debts to pay.
Arab states played a vital role in New Zealand being elected onto the Council – gratitude for New Zealand voting for Palestinians to be an observer at the UN at the end of 2012.
In April McLay told media New Zealand had started drafting a resolution to reengage negotiations working towards a peace agreement.
“We have been working on a text that might serve the purpose of getting negotiations started.”
But less than two months later, those high hopes had been quietly buried.
When New Zealand became President of the Security Council in July it did not attempt to pursue a Middle East peace agreement; the resolution was quietly dropped.
Instead, it devoted its time to leading discussions on items that were already on the agenda; an international enquiry into the downing of Malaysian Airline Flight MH17 over east Ukraine; condemning the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war as a “crime of genocide”; and presiding over the historic Iran nuclear deal.
The only new issue it brought to the table was starting a conversation about the security of small island states.
New Zealand also got to bear the brunt of Russia’s displeasure, when it vetoed two resolutions in July: the first time two vetoes have occurred in the same month since 1972.
For some observers, McCully has missed a golden opportunity – the chance to use the Presidency to push issues where New Zealand could actually make a difference.
One would be the security of small island states, because their vote was a crucial element in New Zealand being elected to the Council.
One person who has closely viewed New Zealand’s time on the Security Council is BBC UN correspondent Nick Bryant.
“New Zealand has ended up playing only a nominal role on the Israeli/ Palestinian question. Their big play when they came onto the Security Council was to start drafting a resolution setting out parameters for a final settlement,” Bryant says.
“France and Jordan have been doing the same. But America, after indicating that it might be amenable to such a resolution – which would have made relations with Israel even more poisonous than they are now – went cold on the idea.”
He says France killed off the idea by telling New Zealand their solo effort toward peace in the Middle East was not constructive.
Bryant says it is hard for temporary members of the Security Council to be constructive during their term. If temporary members want to achieve something, they need to take on smaller issues.
“Australia did a good job, by picking a few issues, like humanitarian aid in Syria, and getting those done.
“But the work of most temporary members goes unnoticed.”
McCully, perhaps embarrassed about the lack of results, has kept a low profile. I requested an interview and was told to send written questions. After sending my questions I received a list of links to press releases and speeches which did not respond to the issues raised above.
McCully’s reticence on his Palestine gambit is not matched by the countries involved.
Israel’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Yosef Livne, clearly feels the whole exercise has been a waste of time.
He won’t comment directly on New Zealand’s efforts at the Security Council, repeating the standard line that any peace deal between Israel and Palestinians must result from direct negotiations.
“We make no secret of our commitment to direct negotiations, and we certainly hope our Palestinian neighbours will eventually understand that the only way to achieve any solution, any change in the situation, has to go through direct negotiations between them and us.”
On the other hand, the Palestinian Ambassador to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, says it is pleased with New Zealand’s efforts at the Security Council.
“The New Zealand initiative in the Security Council adheres to the current Palestinian approach to solve the Israel Palestine conflict, focusing on multilateral diplomacy after more than two decades of the failure of bilateral negotiations with zero outcomes.”
One long-time observer, New Zealand’s former UN Ambassador and Security Council President, Terence O’Brien, also does not believe the peace gambit was time wasted.
“The New Zealand interest in the Israeli Palestine question goes back quite a long way under successive governments, but the idea of New Zealand actually getting involved in the process of trying to reach peace there is something we haven’t really ever done before.
“My own opinion is that once New Zealand got around the Security Council table they began to sense that perhaps they shouldn’t push this issue too far, it’s already the sort of thing the [United States and France] have got in hand.”
O’Brien says McCully deserves credit for investing time in the security for small island states, but points out New Zealand and Australia could have done more.
The Security Council made no commitment to the security of small island developing states. All New Zealand did was give them a voice, by putting the issue on the agenda, which highlighted the issues faced by island states.
“New Zealand and Australia have both been very prudent [not to give] assurances of safe haven for climate change refugees, in other words, sea level rise refugees from Pacific island states. [But] they have been very clear at this stage not to commit themselves to any assurance about coming to assist these refugees if the issue came to place,” O’Brien says.
New Zealand gets one more shot at being President of the Security Council next year. So far McCully is keeping quiet about what is on New Zealand’s agenda for that term.
If New Zealand is to make any gains, it is more likely to come through focusing on small issues that can be achieved over the remainder of its Security Council term.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It Seems The Terrorist Are Winning

This last week in France has been an absolute atrocity. No journalist or cartoon drawer from any political leaning should have work scrutinized to the degree where the scrutineer takes the journalist life as compensation.

And then to play the anti-Jewish card by purposely targeting a kosher grocery store just rocked the boat even harder for France, the Jewish community and the free world.

The images of the 40 leaders who marched in Paris were empowering. Although they haven't always seen eye to eye they can come together and unit against terrorism and for freedom of speech and expression.

But a day after millions of people united across Paris it seems as though the terrorist are winning.

On the news this evening I saw images of French soldiers posted around France. They were around iconic sights, outside Jewish schools and even in shopping centres.

The Principal at the Jewish School said it was a must for their security, and I completely understand the reasoning.

But still, these images screamed to me 'the terrorist are winning'.

Terrorist are cunning little pricks. They want to upset our normal way of life; they want us to suffer for no apparent reason at all; and they want us to be indoctrinated with their flaw message.

As I said, they're cunning, Terrorist know what their end goals are. The actions in Paris this last week cornered the French government and they had no choice but to deploy their troops within their own country.

The terrorist won with the French government deploying troops because now all French people will err on the side of caution. Even though they're not the reason the military are on the streets, they are still being monitored by the servicemen.

The French people have lost.

Terrorist have bought war to France.

The way terrorist deploy their plans of attack is so they they get the reaction they desire. They deployed their cunning plan and the French government had no choice, they had to deploy troop on French land.

As far as I can see, if they didn't deploy their troops the terrorist would have won by having clearer target paths, and by deploying their troops they've made all French people targets under their surveillance. It was a lose lose choice for the French government and the French people.

This is how the terrorist keep winning, they give governments only one line of retaliation and it's an option the terrorist want the government to take. The French government had no choice, and now their people are continuously reminded they're living in dangerous times.

The terrorist force the French government to bring the war to France.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

90 Year Old Gets Jail Threat for Feeding Homeless

Arnold Abbott was charged and arrested by police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for handing out meals to homeless people in a park.

Abbott, a 90 year old war veteran, and two other church ministers could receive a maximum of 60-days custodial sentence and a US$500 fine under a new law that bans people from meal sharing in public.

What is meal sharing? Well I had to ask myself the same question.

My understanding is that meal sharing is a new way to be given a home cooked meal where ever you are. There is even a social media site set up so you can get your home cooked meal. And for some reason the local government doesn’t want people eating home cooked meals in public.

Abbott shared his story with Russia Today where he told them that he was stopped by police as he was handing out food to homeless. The police told him to drop the plate he was carrying, “as if I were carrying a weapon.”

The arrest hasn’t shaken Abbott; he has been back at church preparing more meals to hand out.

Abbott has said that he isn’t afraid of being sent to jail and he will keep feeding those most in need in his area.

“I am not afraid at all. I was a combat infantryman for 2 ½ years.

“I’ve spend 50 years fighting for civil rights for the minorities in this country. I don’t have the slightest fear of being arrested.

“The only thing I am concerned about is that there would be nobody to feed the homeless outdoors, which is what I do – and what I intend to do as long as there is breath in my body,” Abbott said.

"We have 10,000 homeless in Broward county, which is the county of which Fort Lauderdale is the principal city.

"Most of them are in Fort Lauderdale, and we want to take care of all of our people. We are all God's children," he said.

What the local government has implied is that they’re more concerned about the quality of food homeless people are getting rather than the fact that they’re getting food at all.

Abbott is a hero, a golden touch who is doing what he wants to to help others. He should be given a medal instead of getting threats from the police.

What the police are implying is that they have solved every case, every crime, every hit and run, every robbery and every last 911 call complaint that they have nothing better to do than stop homeless people receiving home cooked meals.

Get a grip on yourselves. Can’t you see that what Abbott is doing is trying to help these people? Abbott is doing a role that the state think they can do but fail every time. He is ensuring helpless people are getting a meal.

Abbott is the true hero.

The US Might Not Have Swung As Far Right As One Might Think

Tuesday’s election saw a victory for the Republican Party, they won states where competition was close and they gave Democrats a run for their money in otherwise safe blue seats. But does a Republican win in many states show a reincarnation of a stronger right wing way of life across the US?

When you look at the results more closely you start to see that the result of this election was a rebellion against the Democrats and not so much a victory for the Republicans. This could make winning the White House in 2016 a challenge after two years of Republican legislature control.

While not all states elected new senators at this election, many states elected new Governors and had a number of proposition questions to answer on their ballot. By contrasting the results of how the proposition questions were answered and who they elected we can see the US has not turned as red as initially thought.

Going through the states, ten states consistently voted right wing and five states consistently voted left wing. But, six states who elected right wing candidates answered their proposition questions from a left wing ideology. Only one state answered the proposition question from the right wing standpoint and elected a left wing candidate.

The remainder of the states were a little more centrist at this election, or didn’t have a wide enough range of questions to determine whether the voters wanted more left wing ideology or right wing.

Six states supported the Republican candidates but want a left wing ideology output from their government. This should be nerving for Republicans because it shows that while they may have won, the people who voted for them may not actually support their political platform, and that way they can’t guarantee their support in two years’ time.

Tuesday’s election wasn’t so much a win for the Republican Party, but it was a show in the lack of confidence of the governance of the Democrats. Contrast like this, between who you vote for and the views you support, can give party’s and strategist an inside of the electorate and maybe even what they’ll need to do win next time.

All I can advise; tread lightly, you don’t know what cracks will be made from any actions.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What Will 2016 Bring The USA

The results of the 2014 Mid Term elections in the US saw the Republican Party retain control in the House of Representative and gain control of the Senate. This will either bring the government to a halt for the next two years or will show compromise and middle ground being formed.

This election was pre-written in the election cycle, after six years of a presidency that hasn't impressed the population the process for chance commences.

Many have labelled this as an election about nothing, in some aspects that is true but on the other hand that is far from the truth.

This election was a referendum on the last six years of President Obama's legacy.

Looking at numbers alone, President Obama hasn't done so badly. Unemployment is down, the deficit is down, more people have health care, Medicare has had a life expectancy expansion and more US troops are home.

Those statements all sound good, but when you boil it down the real life impact hasn't been received the same way. The unemployment figures are grossly manipulated; the deficit is coming down but the debt is at record highs and are probably impossible to pay back; seven million more people might have health insurance, but it has cost the tax payer nearly a trillion dollars to ensure those seven million people could get health care; and while more troops may be home, since they left the Middle East it has fallen apart more rapidly - peace in the Middle East may only be a dream.

People don't feel the numbers, they only relate to what they feel and see every day. And that is why President Obama's legacy is crumbling.

The play from the GOP this election has been the same story they've played over the past few years, less government, stronger security and critiquing the Democrats rein. It’s now worked for them and they've got control of the legislature. Over the next two years they need to form some real policy to put before the voting population to prove that there will be direction after 2016.

If the next two years are full of gridlock in Washington then the people are going to be looking for a new lollipop man to straighten up the mess and bring flow back to the capital.

Time to relinquish the gridlock in Washington
My recommendation for the Republican Party is start looking positive. Everyone is getting bogged down and bored on everyone pointing out the mistakes of the past. Show us your positive vision for the future, back it up with evidence and over the next two years, with your power in the legislature, prove to the people that you're striving to do the right thing.

The 2016 Presidential election should be a shoe in for the Republican candidate, but the population is moving more to the centre. A Presidential election will bring more uninformed voters who don't understand the importance of all elections. People who only think that only the President holds all the power will show and will undoubtedly vote for a progressive agenda.

Unless the GOP is able to bring forward the likeable candidate across the field in the race, the 2016 election could still be a nail biter.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Shimon Peres On The Job Hunt

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres recently completed his seven year term as President. But because he is still in his prime years he is out on the job hunt to find out what he can do next.

Even though Peres may be 91, there is not sign of him slowing down yet.

Here is a neat video out of the Peres Centre for Peace that ask the questions "What is next?" for Peres: