Tuesday Blurbs - News You Should Know
Note From The Writer:
Hey, everyone! Sorry about the late Columns! I was busy this weekend training with my Army Reserves unit and was unable to submit everything in time. I can't say it was a bad weekend, though! We went over our Airborne Refresher training as guys prepare for the annual commemorative jumps in Normandy, France. This year is the 74th Anniversary and I have my fingers crossed I'll be participating in the 75th next year!
Also, I would be remiss to not mention and honor the lives lost and affected by the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crash in rural Canada. On April 6, the Humboldt Broncos were on their way to a game against the Nipawin Hawks. Unfortunately, the team bus collided with a tractor trailer and 15 of the 29 on board were killed. Of the dead, 11 were players (all under 21) and 5 staff members, including team head coach Darcy Haugan. 12 of the injured are still in the hospital recovering. This tragedy has absolutely rocked the hockey world and Canada and I hope that we can all keep those affected in our thoughts.
London Murder Rate Surpasses New York City
As the United States continues to carry on its most recent gun-violence conversation, it is interesting to look how our neighbors deal with their own problems.
We find England is in the midst of its own conversation, but this one is about knives.
So far in 2018, 55 people have been murdered in London; 31 of these murders were conducted with a knife. For the first time in modern history London has a higher murder rate than New York City.
After the most recent murder, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted (see, we're not the only country in the world where official correspondence comes via tweet) "No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law."
In order to put his money where his mouth is, he has dedicated US $63 Million of the city's budget to stopping knife-crime and has approved a US $155 Million increase to the Metropolitan Police's budget. The city has released a list of legal reasons to carry a knife in London; no, Self-defense was not on the list. Also announced was an increase the the ability of the police force to randomly stop and frisk people in higher-crime areas as well as going on patrols targeting those believed to be a high risk. Being found with a knife can land you in up to four years of prison and an uncapped fine.
It will be interesting to see if these actions can slow down London's murder rate. Last year, London's murder rate was 75% of New York City's. For London to surpass New York City just one year later is certainly a red flag and something to keep an eye on.
Keeping Tabs on the Upcoming US-NK Summit
Trump administration officials have officially announced for the first time that they have heard from North Korea that denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula is the goal of the upcoming summit between President Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Finland.
I still do not expect anything substantial to come from these talks, but I am hopeful. While specific details of any significance have yet to be announced, I fully expect that part of the deal to denuclearize North Korea would include the United States leaving the peninsula.
I would be okay with this.
If the United States leaving the Korean Peninsula is what it takes to bring a peaceful solution to this crisis, that I can fully support. North Korea has stated that it has created its nuclear stockpile in the name of self-defense. If the United States is no longer on their doorstep, then they have no excuse for nuclear arms.
And the United States would not have to completely give up its tactical advantage here, either. There are troops stationed throughout the region, especially in Japan, and very few ports in the world would reject the "4.5 areas of US sovereign territory" that is an aircraft carrier. The United States can still keep a close eye on the region without actually having to have its flag planted. An agreement that sees North Korea dismantle its nuclear program with the United States pulling out its troops is what I believe to be the best-case scenario here.
Doubling Down on Chinese Tariffs?
This past week, President Trump threatened to hit China with an additional US $100 Billion in tariffs. By the end of the weekend, however, officials from the administration said that these new penalties are nowhere near fruition and there is plenty of time for the US and China to work things out. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, says that the conversation with China will continue and that he does not expect and actual trade war to develop.
While I understand the root-cause of these tariffs (China stealing US technologies, including military technologies), I really wish that the leadership of these two countries would put forth a bigger effort in working with each other than against. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, The United States and China account for over 40% of the world's GDP. Imagine what the two nations could accomplish if they worked together.
I know it's not realistic in reality, but I would love nothing more than a team from the Trump Administration to sit down with a team of Xi Jinping's administration to discuss this trade fiasco and come to a diplomatic solution that sees the economies of both countries benefitting rather than our current situation.