WEEKEND LIGHTER: A RISING ADITYA ON THE WESTERN HORIZON

WEEKEND LIGHTER: A rising aditya in the western horizon
(October 28/29, 2017)
Feel free to mail your views on this edition of WL to mgwarrier@gmail.com

Section III
Leisure: Guest Column: Gun Culture  


I

Cover Story

Law and Justice
This refers to the report “Why make a show of patriotism: SC judge” (The Hindu, October 24). As generally people are averse to commenting on court observations, Justice Chandrachud’s terse observations in the open court may not attract much public attention till another petition is filed in the Apex Court on the subject or Centre decides to consider another legislation to uphold the dignity of National Anthem. Allowing ‘law to take its course’, one is tempted to divert into a general issue which deserves public debate. This relates to legislation of laws and the role of courts in administration of justice.
Viewed from a different angle, one feels that, of late, legislatures, from Parliament down to Gram Panchayats are not devoting enough time for deliberating on the various aspects of the laws they make or judicial or quasi-judicial decisions they take. This results in a situation where legislative decisions get questioned in courts of law much faster than this happened in the past. The side effect is, courts get confused about matters which they should handle and matters which should be left to be handled by other authorities which have been traditionally handling and settling local or sectoral issues amicably, applying commonsense, without hairsplitting letters of the statute book.
Perhaps, political leadership and judiciary should have a dialogue at the highest level on legislation of law and administration of justice without compromising the basic features of Indian Constitution and safeguarding public interest without hurting patriotic or religious sentiments.
M G Warrier, Thiruvananthapuram
II
A recent response
Incentive or disincentive?

Apropos “First-time marriage only” (Business Standard, Chinese whispers, October 24), it is not clear from the report whether all unmarried employees will get the allowance and leave or whether there is any 'minimum service' or 'age' restrictions for this benefit. It is also not clear whether it is a one time benefit or the allowance will be monthly and one week’s leave, an annual affair! Of course, if the benefit will not continue post-marriage, it can get interpreted as a disincentive for getting married. If the benefits will continue post-marriage, it will be discriminatory against employees already married. As there is a condition that the benefit is for first marriage, they don’t have the option to divorce and marry the same ex-spouse to become ‘eligible’. Transparency is lacking, perhaps in the ‘whisper’.
Banks are unpredictable when it comes to imposing/concealing terms and conditions in small print. Having passed the test at entry level, SBI employees will protect their self-interest. But those handling RTI in SBI should keep answers ready for these questions. 
M G Warrier, Thiruvananthapuram

III
Some interesting links
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/why-make-a-show-of-patriotism-sc-judge/article19908924.ece




IV

A rising Aditya on the Western Horizon

Americans shoot with their tongues too*

Essay By Aditya

While the good roads, comfortable life without power cuts and 'nil' water problems make life an easy and enjoyable one, there is one thing about which everyone is very much worried, that is gun culture. If there is no life security what use is there of all the comforts?

No doubt, we are aware how this culture came into existence.
When the country was in formation stage, newly liberated from the British rule, the immigrants were worried about the Red Indians and about the rule of law as they were planning to change the laws enforced by the British rule. The country had people from all walks of life with different culture living simultaneously not knowing much  about each other. In the process, while the laws were under development, in the absence of enough police force, the people were protecting themselves with the guns.
Later when these people asked for this right as part of the constitution, this was granted by amending the constitution.I really don't understand why any Government in successive years could not do anything about this.

Now, the country is facing a different problem. With the National Rifle Association solidly promoting the business
of firearms in the civil society, more and more Americans are accumulating firearms at their residences.
Sometimes, it is accessed by the innocent children accidentally, people with mental illness use this liberal law
to buy firearms and shoot the innocent civilians in public places and so on.

Sandy Hook Elementary School incident shook the conscience of the entire nation so much when many parents
lost the children in the age group of 6-10. There were several school and university incidents reported from time to time.
Then it spread to Malls, Theaters, Pubs, Concerts, other public events, etc. This is now becoming a regular menace
in the United States.,

Knowing that eliminating the right to bear arms is difficult, many legislators are aiming to bring some commonsense gun laws for several years but without any success. The Americans continue to buy more and more firearms not for hunting animals but to protect themselves and their families.

In the meantime, there are reports that police forces use excessive fire in discharging their duties either on a moving violation, stolen car chase, domestic violence reports, against minorities, etc. In some cities, even children and adults get shot on the street regularly not by the police force but by the civilians or when the battle happens between groups. There are too many deaths due to firearms in this country.

They not merely shoot with their hands but also with their tongues.
Americans use the firearm language in life more frequently than most countries in the world. I can quote  several examples.
“Bite the bullet” is a term that is used often to refer to power through something unpleasant.
When someone is very famous, the Americans use the term “hot shot”.
“Keep your powder dry” is used to indicate to keep the resources in tact until it is needed.
“Loaded for bear” is a term used to indicate preparation for a serious confrontation.
“Offhand remark” is used to indicate handling something without preparation like not keeping the hand to be able to shoot.
“Pot shot” is referred to unfair criticism or being opportunistic when originally it meant a gun shot fired at an easy target.
“Silver bullet” is a term used for finding something very innovative when originally it refers to killing a werewolf or devil with a special bullet made up of silver.
“Small-bore” is referred to a narrow gun barrel whereas in real life it is used to indicate politicians with a narrow outlook.
“Snapshot” is referred to in real life to refer to a quick photograph or quick poll conducted to obtain public opinion whereas it originally referred to hurried shot without taking aim at a moving animal.
Even when we watch a football game, we hear the terms like, “the ball was thrown like a bullet”,
“he has many weapons in his arsenal” referring to quarterback having many receivers/running backs who can receive or run the football. When someone is asked “What are you up to?” and if he or she is not doing anything at that moment, he or she replies, “I am simply shooting the breeze”.
Even a train that travels fast is named, “bullet train”. I am not sure how many more I missed here.

It is time to change the language as the habits die hard.
Do the Americans need excessive firearms to protect themselves from each other? Fortunately, most are very law-abiding
not using them unnecessarily which is a blessing.

. We never know what we say or do would trigger (oops, even I am using the gun language) the anger of our neighbors.

I hung my head with shame when many arrows of questions  are shot at us regarding 'gun culture'.
*********************
*Prize winning essay by Vathsala Jayaraman’s (Ex-RBI) 12 year old  grandson Aditya who is studying in US. The essay was written soon after the firing incident in an Elementary school in US.



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