Tag Archives: Poland

Dumb ways to die – be safe around guns!

Recent situation on the West and aggressive politics of Russia is certainly worrying most of the world. Those who are touched by the problem the most are Ukrainians, but their neighbours don’t feel completely safe either. Some Poles are also afraid of the possible danger. Thus, a draft of the bill concerning legalisation of gunfire in order to protect your home prepared by an organization called Citizen Movement of Gun Lovers (Ruch Obywatelski Miłośników Broni) has been brought to the debate. The vice chairman of this organisation wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, to state that he and his organisation along with their supporters think that everybody should have legal access to guns, in order to protect ‘domestic peace’. But I really doubt that this is good idea.

Firstly, we should keep in mind that actually you can have legal gun in Poland.  The thing is that you have to go through numerous trainings and you are examined. This way, it is very unlikely a weapon will be obtained by somebody who may potentially be dangerous to others. And you are able to handle gun properly. Not ensuring that the person to be given permission is responsible enough not to go around and kill people and animals on his or her way is a huge mistake, especially in a politically and economically unstable country which Poland certainly is. Even if this country has one of the most strict policies towards gunfire, arming people who are angry at the  government and dissatisfied with their lives may not be the best idea.

The gun culture is something we associate the United States with. Its history starts with Samuel Colt and lasts till today, as it is important part of American culture. The famous Second  Amendment is probably what some Poles would like to see in their law. But the statistics are clear – the more strict policy towards gunfire, the less hold ups there are in the country. In the USA each year more than 11 000 people die by the firearm, while in Poland in 2012 there were only about 500 crimes involving gunfire, with only 30 murders. Of course, there is also Switzerland where guns are easily accessible and the gun crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. But the society is completely different and the social gap almost doesn’t exist unlike in United States and Poland. pistol-106630_640   The main argument for facilitating the access to guns is to protect our lives and property. But people don’t seem to want guns around. Recently, I saw a debate about the safety of Poland during which one of the representatives of nationalistic party, that is very fond of the idea, asked if what others think about legalizing gunfire. Everybody laughed. It probably shows the general attitude towards weapons among Poles – let’s invest on professional army who is able to protect our property as the idea of teaching teenagers how to shoot seem  potentially dangerous. But on the other hand, reading comments along the web, there is also plenty of people wanting everybody to have possibility to have legal weapon. So as always, there are those who are in favour and those who are not.

When I was browsing the website of the ROMB is that there is a lot of quotes from such great personalities as Bonaparte or Thomas Jefferson. But uploading only half of a quote I deem inappropriate. I was struck when I saw only the first part of famous words by John Fitzgerald Kennedy – ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. These words are all about  patriotism and willingness to stand for your country. Using it in the gun context seem out of line to me. Let alone the fact that some of these sentences seem absolutely out of touch with the subject.

All in all, nobody said that current world order and peace assured by organisations such as UN or do EU will last forever. In today’s world, we have to think how strong in the military way we have to be in order to maintain peace. Even if it’s a paradox, the logic says that if we have power to fight back, we will be left alone. But let’s not risk galloping rate of gun crime. It’s not worth it.

 

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When American president visits Polish capital city

This week, the President of the United States visited Poland for the first time since 2011. He came on the 4th of  July not without a reason – this date is particularly important for the Polish history, as it is the anniversary of abolishing the communist system there. Twenty five years ago the first free elections took place. It is not surprising that such a huge amount of people came to see Mr President making a speech, then.

generally speaking, Poles view Americans positively. Although we cannot say that about all the population, the 2013 BBC World Service Poll showed that 55% of Poles view U.S. influence positively, the highest rating for any surveyed European country. A lot of Polish people have their families in United States and vice versa. Poland is perceived as one of the most pro-American nations, with deep political, economical and military bond between these two. But why do Poles and Americans seem to like each other so much?

Every post-1989 Polish government has been a strong supporter of America’s presence in the country. It is obvious  that no political body does favours and gives support for free. But this relationship is mutual – a lot of Polish soldiers sacrificed their lives in American Army and died for the ideology of the U.S. Besides, these two countries were allies during Second World War. We should also keep in mind that just when Poland lost its independence America became a free country.

The importance of immigration is also not to be underestimated. Today, in many countries America is the synonym for the better life and opportunities, a place where everything is perfect and it is easy to get rich. The myth of ‘rags to riches’ has always been very alluring. Although “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”, a lot of ordinary people have stayed there, having found the job that their mother country couldn’t offer and founded the family with an American spouse. And the connections are created.

The values of both countries are also very similar. Both American and Polish people deem freedom very precious and are very religious and rather conservative nation. It seems as though they are basically the same kind of people, additionally entangled in mutual historical alliances. That’s the reason why it is always such a big event when American president comes to Polish soil – no matter if we are in 1972, fighting with deep communism and greeting Richard Nixon or in 2014, still tackling many issues, but as an independent country, gathering to greet Barack Obama.