I thought seriously about attending SXSW this year. The owner of one of the sites I write for knows the organisers and a number of PR companies wanted to partner with the site for coverage at SXSW.
The festival falls a great time, it is still cold in the UK and festival season is still dormant here. I have never visited Austin or Texas so SXSW would have been a great opportunity to put that right and with an always eclectic range of new and established musical talent on offer to photograph and interview I would certainly have found plenty to keep me interested and occupied.
Despite the temptation I decided not to attend SXSW and today I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. This is possibly the first time ever that I have been really happy not to be at a music festival. Why I hear you shout.
The answer is a very simple one. Guns!
Those of you who live in the U.S. may not be aware but today is the 20th anniversary of the Dunblane school massacre. Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 children and a teacher before killing himself. This still ranks as the U.K.’s worst ever gun related crime.
If any good came out of Dunblane it was the fact that increased gun control since then has resulted in a significant reduction in already extremely low levels of gun crime in the U.K.
I what is the most bizarre irony Time reports today that gun supporters in Texas will “crash” president Obama’s keynote speech whilst openly carrying guns. Seriously, this is the worst kind of lunacy. I fully accept that the attitude to guns in the U.S. is very different to that in the U.K. and every day I give thanks for that. Put simply in my view anyone who wants to walk around carrying a gun should be locked up for a very very long time. Anyone who believes that allowing more people to carry guns will reduce gun crime belongs in the Donald Trump school of race relations.
According to the Washington Post C.J. Grisham of ‘Open Carry Texas’ made the following statement which to me epitomises why I am glad not to be in Texas this week.
“The president is an American, just like every one of us is an American,” Grisham said. “He’s nothing special. Granted, he is the president, but him being there for us doesn’t change anything. We’re no threat to the president, and the president better not be a threat to us.”
Just read that last sentence again “the president better not be a threat to us!” I don’t know about you but it seems that this idiot just made a threat to the president of the United States. These are the people who are walking round in Texas openly carrying guns. The mind boggles!
Just look at the banners these idiots are carrying. “Obama if you want my gun come and take it.” Again an implied threat. These are the kind of people who would never get anywhere near a gun in the U.K. and for that small mercy I give thanks.