Sunday Blurbs

French Gun Attack Forces Us to Look in the Mirror

A day before gun control marches filled US cities, France was struck with a brutal gun attack by those loyal to the Islamic State.  Among the four murdered was an immediate hero in Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, 44, who sacrificed his own life by swapping places with a young woman, saving hers. 

But that’s not what I want to focus on today.  5,850 people have been killed by firearms in France since 2015, and many of these incidents have been plastered over international news broadcasts.  In the same timeframe 47,779 people have been killed by firearms in the United States.   Since the attack occurred in France on Friday, 38 Americans have been killed by firearms, 17 of which occurred during the timeframe of the gun control marches.  Two of these incidents match the death toll of the attack in France.  None of these incidents have hit national headlines.

As we look inward on our national gun debate, I have one question for people to consider:  Why is it international news when this happens in France but not even a local story here at home?   

US and China Square off in an Economic Fisticuffs

A trade-war is developing between the world’s top-two economic powers.  The two nations, which account for 41% of the world’s GDP, are beginning a feud that could have ramifications on all of our wallets.

The Trump Administration, which identified China as an “economic enemy”, recently smacked tariffs on what could account to US$60 billion worth of Chinese goods for allegedly stealing American technology.  China responded by threatening significant tariffs, but displayed leniency by “only” raising current tariffs on US$3 billion worth of US goods.  Chinese Vice Premier Liu He says that China is “ready and capable” of defending itself, but hopes that, “both sides will remain rational.”  

Unfortunately, rationality is a sight unseen as the NYSE, NASDAQ, and The Dow have all continued to slide in the days since the tariffs were announced, leaving markets a tumultuous mess.

Wouldn’t it be nice if two countries with so much economic muscle could work in accordance with each other rather than against?  I am hopeful that this situation will ease itself out, but I’m not making any bets. 

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

As we all get excited over the threat of North Korea and the rising tensions with China, I want to remind everyone that there are still wars happening a little farther west that are nearing the age of antiquity. 

The War in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, celebrated its Sweet 16 this past fall while its younger sister, the War in Iraq, which has gone through a few name changes and now goes by Operation Inherent Resolve, turned 15 just a few weeks ago. 

While it is known that the Islamic State has largely been defeated in the Middle East, and Afghanistan is still, though struggling, maintaining independence through democracy, I don’t think anyone was expecting either of these wars to be old enough to vote at some point.  The wars have cost countless lives from dozens of nations over the years, and have cost the US Taxpayers over US$2.6 Trillion since 9/11. 

Yet, there is no end in sight. I’m not saying there needs to be immediate action, but the complete lack of a public debate on the topic is astounding to me.  Has the American public completely forgotten that these wars exist at all? 

Jake GavinComment