Monday, June 6, 2011

I do not have a gun... I am not a murderer

My usual Monday post Parlay View Parsnip... about what is going on around my home is being interrupted for what I have been thinking about since last week.
No fun post today with photos of Scotties or Javelinas.

Instead this post is about a blog I follow had posted some photos about artworks she had admired at an Open House show that seems to be held all over England and Scotland this time of year.

I am not writing about her blog...
a blog I really look forward to reading
or her right to post anything she wants to her blog
but about several pieces of artwork posted on her blog and how they affected me.

As I looked at the photos I was surprised to see several pieces that only attacked Americans. The potter Andrew Adair had used photos of repeating guns and words about the gun violence and death in America with what I thought were coying poems about guns and the fact your will never come of age, American Roulette.

When I commented about why was only America mentioned in his work, the answer was I didn't even see the American name I saw it as anti gun and like the design.

The only problem with that comment was America was the only country named .
So that means to me that the news in the UK is so slandered that the word
America now = guns or violence,
much like the parring of
salt and pepper
tea and crumpets
cake and ice cream
You can't think of one with out the other.

Another blogger from the UK also mentioned before about how all they all think of America is guns, anger and violence.
I agree there is way to much anger and violence in America right now but it seem to be everywhere in the world not just in America. And if this is the way sensational news is portraying us that is wrong.
I read the news and don't think...
The French are cowards.
Italians are mafia
Ireland everyone has a bomb
and all people in the UK are beer guzzling , steel toed boot wearing soccer brutish hooligans who can and will beat the hell out of anyone.

The artist listed places in America they had violence but forgot to look around at his life.
(plus his design can be seen in any American Frontier Newspaper from the 1800 but that could be another post and I have no desire to spend anymore time on him )

The LA Times had an article about the The European disdain for America violence but shouldn't spend too much time congratulating themselves. In 2000 the rate at which people where assaulted was higher in England, Scotland, Finland, Denmark and Sweden than in The United States. In the decade since England banned all private possessions of gun the number of gun crimes has gone up.
Some of the worst examples of mass gun violence has occurred in Europe from students and teachers killed in Germany, 14 legislators shot in Switzerland to 8 city council members being shot outside of Paris.
Just recently a taxi driver in Cumbria, England killed 12 people and wounded 11.

Unfortunately violence, whether it is beating the hell out of someone after a soccer game, using a knife or gun killing still means death. We all need to identify a dangerously unstable personalities not just point fingers. Or take a cheap shot.

Does the fact that violence is every where make it ok ? not by a long-shot but I think it means look around where your standing before you point a finger.
I unfortunately expect to be called the Great Staten by many countries, after all I am an educated, white woman, with health care who speaks her mind and doesn't wear a burka. But to see his kind of blatant rabble rousing, hypocritical thought and feeling coming from a country that I have always loved and thought of as family I am sadden.
I wonder how many people who passed this booth took his statements for the only truth.

Going back to the artist at the open house, I wonder if he knew I was from the US would he have sold me a piece of his pottery accepting my gun fueled, blood soaked tourist dollars ?
The nature of this work really upset me then it turned to disbelief and now to just sadness.
Just as he has the right and ability to say what he wants no matter how one-sided I also have the right to disagree.

My trip to Ireland and England to celebrate when my son graduates University is now rescheduled to Poland with a stop in Paris. At lest we Americans know where we stand in France. I will not be showing off the places in England and Scotland that I love to my son and a chance to met some blogging friends but that will be replaced by tracking down some family history in Poland. I now look forward to that.

When I think of how many times we Americans have come to the aid of many countries in need of help and are usually some of the first responders, we may be somewhat overbearing sometimes but it all comes with a good heart and a want to help.

Just saying.... my Monday thought and because some of us live in Countries that have free speech... go right ahead and disagree.


  1. Dear Parsnip/Gayle,

    I come at this from both sides of the Atlantic! I have lived here for 30 years and only seen a gun unholstered once. (LA 1977).
    English people (the ones who have not been here) imagine (wrongly!) that they will be shot the moment they set foot outside in the US......

    Prejudice is awful wherever it comes from left wing/rightwing etc.
    It comes of thinking ALL Danes/Croats etc.........

    For example, I'm horrified by the demonization of Islam in the US.

    On the whole, it's all due to the failure of people to see things in a sensible proportion.

    For example TERRORISM: Hm.........we are much more likely to die of being FAT from drinking soda.

    So, both the US and England -- though shot through with thoughtless people--- have some WONDERFUL ones too.

    ps. England is charming
    but Poland (Wroclaw) where my mother came from is pretty cool too.
    Keep me posted!

  2. I think it starts with people being far too insular and not finding out for themselves what's really out there. It's easy to jump to ridiculous conclusions from there.

  3. I'm truly sorry to have caused these reflections, parsnip.

  4. Elizabeth...
    I love going to the UK and I will again just not this trip.
    And I understand that not every one in the UK is thoughtless but at my age when I see such blatant hypocrisy or stupidity it just calls out for a what was he thinking moment.

    so true...

    You did nothing to be sorry about but don't you sometimes want to right a misconception ? To look at someone and say WTF ? I have and it felt great.
    The part that got to me was no one seems to question that only in America is there gun violence.

  5. You know what? I let them think what they want because they're so afraid to press beyond the boundaries of what they think they know, that they will never really come over here. And if they did, it wouldn't be with an attitude of acceptance, or observation or even the allowance to have their perceptions shaken. They could be met by the nicest people, they could see daily examples of kindness and consideration, and we would still be whatever image they saw on the nightly news that was only 1 of a million stories that day.
    Because their baggage is so heavy, I let carry it until it weighs them down --like an albatross around their neck, sinking themselves to the depths of their unchallenged lives.
    Excuse me, while I go clean my gun, demonize a few Muslims, and drink a six-pack of Coke.

  6. Kanani...
    Oh My Goodness I almost spit coke out my nose all over the computer... You so crack me up !
    you are so right and usually I would let something like this slide... and as I am not really talking to the artist, he doesn't know me from a hole in the ground... but I was so amazed by his lack of understanding.
    You know everyone once in awhile you just have to say... what the hell are you thinking... oh your not thinking, got it ! ! !

  7. He is not worth spending any time on. Like I said, he will probably not go very far because the remote control for the TV doesn't work out of range.

    Okay, I will go start in on some Kentucky Fried Chicken, maybe do some graffiti on the side of a mosque on the way to the firing range.

  8. Kanani...
    considering what your husband is now doing and has done to help the people of a destroyed nation of supposed leaders who have no compassion... and your work on behalf of truth and dignity, you can eat and do what ever you want.
    by the way as soon as I get more strength and mobility in my arm I am taking lesson at the firing range.

  9. Hello:
    We are so sorry to read this and do hope that the whole experience will not colour your impressions of Britain and the British for all time.

    As we, and we are certain others, wrote on many Memorial Day posts, the British people, as well as others throughout the world, owe the people of the United States an enormous debt, particularly for the aid, and of course Lease Lend, extended throughout the last war.

  10. From Our Own Correspondent, the BBC World Service show, had one of the best well rounded looks into gun culture in the USA ever. I wish I could find the archive to play for you here but it's lost to history. It basically talked about how in countries around the world there are things looked down upon internationally that you'll only really understand why they persist under that international scrutiny if you have lived there. Even if you immigrate and live in the country you still might not understand why they continue to do it--and this is not even talking about if you agree with it or not! Gun ownership in the USA and the whole whale meat thing in Japan are two examples of this.

    All in all it sounds like this artist is rather lazy.

  11. I'm presuming Adair is very young and hasn't learnt to think for himself yet. Or, as David says, he's lazy; in which case he's not really an artist. Some of our media is horribly biased and selective, but not all of it and most of the people I know take it with a huge pinch of salt, if they take it at all. No one I know would regurgitate the worst of it and call it art, or even conversation.

    I hope you have a fab trip to Poland and Paris. I've never been to Poland, it's on my list, so I look forward to a virtual tour with you as guide.

    PS. I tried to leave a comment yesterday but blogger was having none if it.

  12. to everyone...
    It is not like I am mad or furious, will never visit the UK again or I don't like the English/Scottish people because that is not true.
    Far from it. I am so the crazy tourist when I visit.

    I wouldn't let one individual keep me from doing what I wanted to do... I could care less about this person...
    what I wanted to get across before you throw stone look at yourself... Sometimes I just want to yell. ..

    Oh grow up"

    and David I understand the what your are saying... while Europe has lived through the Kings, fiefdom, swords and chopping off head history, we in America lived through the Wild West, cowboys and instead of swords they used guns. So I understand the gun culture.

    side note I know a photographer who when photographing wildlife from the Mexican border to Tucson never travels without his sidearm because of the drug and people cartels/smugglers. He chooses not to be a target.

  13. Very good post. I like it when people share what they think.

    I am surprised that America is looked on as such a violent country. And I am surprised that we are considered anti-muslim.

    But I must say that if this is truly how we are viewed, it is because of our own media, not theirs. We "shoot" ourselves in the foot by reporting our biases rather than the news. I find very little real truth on the news. It is more the "truth as the correspondent sees it" as opposed to truth.

  14. Carole...
    I love to travel but I am careful.
    One summer when David was traveling around Europe, about 11 years ago... lots of Canadians made sure they had their flag plastered all over their jackets and back packs so they wouldn't be taken for Americans. Can't remember why everyone hated us that year.
    Our news does seem pick the lowest story to promote. But it seems that sensational outrageous news always sells or in the case of countries who don't like us it proves their point about how violent we are.
    And people like Katie Couric along with Bryan Gummble are prime example of a "newsperson" who slants the stories... or you can tell how much they like/dilike the person who they are interviewing.
    They both are the reason why I don't watch the evening news or much of the morning news anymore.

  15. Parsnip--thank you for a thought-provoking blog.

    Fortunately, neither Couric nor Gumble are doing the news anymore. I haven't seen Gumble on the air in a long time, and Couric just made her exit from the CBS Evening News.

  16. Norma...
    I wish I could write like you so I could have explained how the photo plus the off handed comment was a perfect storm of several bad days culminated in a what the hell was he thinking moment !

    As for good old Gumble... when he was on the Today Show that started me off with his attitude and Couric is a close second. I hear she will have a talk show on ABC OMG ! I am so not watching what were they thinking ... more talk show with the same talking heads you see on every other talk show then Couric yacking up a storm... how awful... what a train wreck !