Blog of Mass Distraction

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dumping Ground

Haiti is in turmoil in the wake of the recent Presidential election. The election marked a hoped return to democracy but has now been blemished by scandal and corruption. The most popular candidate has been former President, and ally of the deposed Jean Bertrand Aristide, Rene Preval. Large groups of people, predominantly the country's poor, have been saying they don't care about the official results, they know Preval won. Regardless of his popularity however, a majority is required to win the presidency. Preval has apparently close to 50% of the vote, but not the 51% needed to win outright. Or so says the government. This caused protest and anger among the many Preval supporters. Moreover, recent discoveries have revealed corruption and fraud in what were thought to be free and fair elections. There have been thousands of ballots cast without any candidate selected. This is highly unusual when you consider the effort required and the many hours Haitians must spend queueing for a chance to vote. There were also thousands of ballots, most of which were marked for Preval, found smouldering in a dump. The dump was used to bodies during the military junta rule and simply for rubbish later on. With these new revelations protests have broken out in the streets. The UN group overseeing the election claimed to have preserved over 90% of the ballots, though that's easily enough to give Preval a clear victory. Though the next candidate after him only has about 12%, if the scandal is not resolved in Preval's favour it will force a runoff vote. That would not be taken well by Preval's popular support base. Thus in an attempt to prevent mass riots the Brazilian delegation in has proposed having the other candidates concede the election to Preval. This is being discussed, but the situation is tense and could easily erupt.

US Vice President Dick Cheney went quayle hunting over the weekend and accidentally shot his friend, a well known Texas lawyer, in the face with his shotgun. The Vice President and the Whitehouse made no statement or even news releases about the incident until some 24 hours after it happened. The incident was finally reported, not by the Whitehouse, but by a local Texan paper which heard from the owner of the ranch where the shooting took place. The victim is doing well after getting hit with buckshot and subsequently suffering a mild heart attack. Cheney was interviewed a few days later on a local Fox News station and admitted blame for the incident and said it was the worst day of his life. Cheney, who is a major supporter of the gun lobby, said the shooting was his fault and that it was definitely an accident. The Vice President also was given a warning since he did not possess a required hunting permit and he had also been drinking that day.
Aside from the roasting from many comedians on the subject, this is an examplary incident for the anti-gun lobby. How can the Vice President talk about responsible gun use when he shot a man in the face and summarily caused him to have a heart attack. How can anyone talk about 'responsible' gun use when guns are used solely for killing? How do you responsibly kill people? Considering how much money is thrown away on killing people or devising new ways of killing people, I'd be all in favour of banning gun ownership or use outside of the police and military. The $900 billion dollars spent on arms and military each year could be put to much better use. Or at the very least, used for something other than killing people.


  • You should seriously start writing on a professional basis i.e. aim to get paid for it. :)

    By Blogger Saira, at 3:05 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home