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Ramsay Jones: In what warped world is the right to legally own the means of mass destruction a right worth defending?

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Three events last week left me reeling. And angry. And astounded at the sheer stupidity of some of our supposed good and great.

By far the biggest outrage was the tragedy in Las Vegas where a deranged gunman opened fire from his 32nd floor hotel bedroom and sprayed a torrent of bullets on a crowd watching a music festival. Over 50 people killed and hundreds injured in an unbelievable act of evil.

The murderer acted with a callous brutality. He fired the guns. He is responsible for pulling the triggers.

But US gun laws are stupidity off the scale. These very laws aided and abetted the killer. He is dead, but the US Constitution should be put on trial.

When it was written, and the right to bear arms was incorporated, the States were a relatively lawless place. Guns were common, but only fired one bullet at a time. They were the days of the musket, not the machine gun. That America continues to sanction and defend the right of people to have the means of mass murder is beyond belief.

Here in the Scotland we know the horror of guns. I remember vividly the events in Dunblane. But I remember too that we decided the right to life was greater than the right to the means of ending life.

President Barack Obama has said that his major regret after leaving the Oval Office was that he had failed to introduce proper gun control. He tried, but was blocked by Congress.

I hope that those who claim to speak for liberty and freedom in the USA are now hanging their heads in shame. In what warped world is the right to legally own the means of mass destruction a right worth defending? They care not, it would seem, for the liberty and freedom of the thousands killed each and every year by this perverse “right” to bear arms.

But in Trump’s America, will anything change?

The President would rather rail against the perceived threat from foreign citizens and impose travel bans than deal with the enemy within. He happily ignores the fact that 11,572 Americans have been killed by guns this year alone and refused, in the wake of the Vegas massacre, to even talk about gun control. They might have banned the Kinder Surprise Egg, but Trump would rather take the dollars of the gun lobby even if it costs the lives of his fellow Americans.

The scale of the problem is unbelievable – more than 1.5 million US citizens have died as a result of guns in the past 50 years. That’s more than all Americans who have perished in all wars in US history. But still the president and the buffoons of America defend the right to own the means to kill.

When it comes to guns, the US is not the home of the brave. it is the home of the graves.

Chose to shoot from the lip

At the weekend, a driver fell unconscious at the wheel of a car and ploughed into pedestrians in London. One can only imagine the horror of those involved and the anguish of the driver’s friends and family. The police and emergency services responded quickly and effectively.

At first, the reason for the catastrophe was unclear. The worst of motives was feared – understandably given recent terrorist attacks.

But most news outlets exercised caution, and were careful to report facts rather than idle speculation. But not some of our usual suspects for whom no human tragedy is out of bounds to further their narrow, divisive and caustic agendas.

Cue Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins who immediately jumped on their self-propelled bandwagons and pointed the finger at immigrants and terrorism. As ever, they chose to shoot from the lip.

By doing so, they did the job of the terrorists. They turned a tragic accident into something it wasn’t. They fanned the flames and fires of fear.

They are shameless and should shut up.

In Catalonia, the reign of Spain is probably over

And so to event three which has left me shaking my head in disbelief.

As a teenager I spent several holidays in Spain doing the things which teenagers do in their formative years. Sun, sangria, and stuff…

These were the fledgling days of democracy after the death of Franco in 1975 and I remember well the warnings I was given not to get on the wrong side of the Spanish police who, I was warned, tended to act first and think second. I heeded the advice.

And so to 2017 and Catalonia and the referendum. And more specifically, the actions of the Spanish Government and the Spanish police.

Yes, the constitution of Spain is a matter for Spain. I accept that the referendum was unconstitutional. But that is a very different from making the act of voting illegal.

The result could just have been seen as non-binding, unrecognised, or ignored. But to say, in a democracy, that you cannot pick up a pencil and make a cross on a piece of paper is madness.

And that if you try we will literally drag you kicking and screaming from the polling station is an echo of days which Spain should have left behind.

It didn’t have to be that way. I had the privilege of working with David Cameron to bring about the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014. We worked tirelessly with the Scottish Government to create a framework, the Edinburgh Agreement, which had at its heart the shared aims of a vote which was legal, fair and decisive. And which committed all sides to respecting the result.

The consequence of embracing democracy and working in cooperation is there for all to see. Scotland voted. Scotland said no. Scotland can now move on.

By contrast, the mishandling and heavy handed approach of Madrid has probably hastened, not halted the break up of the country.

In Catalonia, the reign of Spain is probably over.

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