Saturday, April 07, 2007

The case of the disappearing blog

On of our blogs is missing ! I counted them all out, but one failed to come back. Facetiousness aside, what happened to Simon Coulter's blog post on the visit he made to the Holy Land in 1998, in which he comments somewhat unfavourably on the state of upkeep of many of the Christian sites ?

It was there at the start of the Boat race, but missing at the end.

Post-publishing tweaking, which we all do from time to time (at least to correct technical glitches) should not require taking it down. Legal problems ? I'm trying to recall if Simon ventured into minefield territory. Nothing springs to mind immediately.

Updated Sunday 8th April: Simon's blog reappeared today, substantially re-written ( at least the introduction) under the title "Not the Easter Message". We are left to speculate on what the problem was with his Mark I version.

Simon Coulter is one of the Telegraph's Trusty Trio of guest bloggers. He's still posting comments to "Your View" ("Are we doing enough to tackle gun crime ?"). I usually agree with most of his opinions, but not today's on gun crime, in which he joins the ranks of those who consider the recent gun control legislation has failed. Although not challenging him directly, I have pointed out that the new laws were a response to the Hungerford and Dunblane massacres, and not to the use of guns for your ordinary everyday criminal nastiness.

An aside re Telegraph moderation: anyone reading my first comment may think it ends suddenly without making its point. Indeed it does. The moderators took exception to something in the second half. Here's the complete submission, with the blue-pencilled part shown in, you guessed, blue.

"Past experience of shootings suggests there are three distict groups. There are those who carry guns, sometimes for self-defence against rival gangs, or as fashion accessories. These are people who are often, but not always, associated with the so-called "black-on-black" shootings. Then there are the criminals who carry guns for hold-ups - they can be any colour. And then, finally, there's that almost extinct species (thanks to post-Hungerford/Dunblane gun control legislation) who have a lifelong fascination with guns, who attend target practice every week, and who once in a while flip, and proceed to summarily "execute" their fellow human beings.

Before one can reasonably discuss the most recent outrage, one needs ideally to know to which of the three groups the assailant belonged. Was it a gangmember or criminal who kept a weapon at home, and then allowed a petty dispute to get out of hand, grabbed the weapon, and did something they will regret for the rest of their lives ? If so, then this kind of impulse killing can only be reduced by a further strengthening of gun control laws, eg by increasing the length of sentences for illegal possession of a firearm. Or is it a mini-Hungerford situation, in which someone has managed to retain a weapon that should have been handed in years ago, and fulfilled a lifelong fantasy to turn it on someone who has crossed them in the past?

Right now, I have an open mind. But how long before we see one of those mindless comments to the effect that our gun control legislation has misfired (no pun intended), that possession of weapons is an inalienable right of man, that it is the person that kills, not the weapon, bla, bla, bla."

Speaking of commentaries, did you listen to ITV's Boat race commentary ? The guy sounded like he was competing for the Booker prize, with his pre-prepared script, with similes, metaphors and purple passages all tumbling out at a rate of knots (if you'll pardon my own confused simile).

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