David Parkin on America’s biggest danger, language differences and fame at last

WITH his sombre tone and measured words, Donald Trump struck a strangely presidential figure as he reacted to the Las Vegas massacre, the kind of scene we have rarely seen since the President took office in January.

Similar words on his Twitter feed looked oddly out of place, juxtaposed as they were coming closely after his insults about North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un who he has taken to calling “Little Rocket Man” in Twitter taunts.

I wonder if Trump would have remained so measured if the biggest mass murder in America in modern history been committed by a Muslim?

The sense is that Trump’s immediate reaction would almost certainly not have been to try to unite the nation or articulate its grief, it would have been to propose further measures to restrict Muslims travelling to or in the USA.

The reality is that this carnage was caused by an American, somebody born in America, who had lived there all his life and had a professional job and who, as far as we are aware up to this point, was a law abiding citizen.

But under those laws to which Stephen Paddock abided, he was able to legally amass an arsenal of dozens of automatic and semi-automatic weapons which ultimately enabled him to kill 58 people and wound almost 500 more in America’s entertainment capital in a way that Isis can probably only dream about.

America’s problem is that this evil was not caused by a shadowy radical Islamic terrorist group thousands of miles from its shores, it stemmed from the right that the Second Amendment of its Constitution gives to its citizens to bear arms.

Since the Las Vegas shooting 87 more Americans have been killed by guns.

The reality is given the stranglehold that the National Rifle Association has over the Congress and the Senate, things aren’t going to change.

If the slaughter of 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012 by a 20-year-old gunman didn’t prompt change, then nothing will.

And by continuing to give its people the right to bear arms with limited restrictions, America must accept that the biggest danger to its citizens is not from Islamic extremism or North Korean war mongering, but from Americans who carry guns.


I’M forever impressed by the way people find new ways of saying things.

Much of it has emerged from the US, such as the hideous “reaching out” which is now used instead of “getting in touch” or “contacting”.

And why the hell does anyone over 12 choose to say “my bad” rather than “my fault” or “my mistake”?

This week it was reported that USA women’s striker Alex Morgan and two players from MLS team Orlando City were escorted out of Disney’s Epcot Centre by police because they were described as “highly impaired” in a pub at the Florida tourist park.

I think I know what that means.

Let’s not kid ourselves, these language crimes are not just confined to the other side of the Atlantic.

When a Premier League striker recently scored with a 25-yard shot into the top corner Match of the Day host Gary Lineker described it as “an absolute worldie” which I assume is short for world class, but why couldn’t he have just used the English language rather than something that should be left to kids on Snapchat?


ONLINE retailer The Hut Group yesterday announced it had bought cosmetics brand Illamasqua.

Illamasqua was founded in 2008 by Julian Kynaston, the chairman of Leeds-based creative agency Propaganda.

I remember when he told me he was launching a cosmetics business I thought it might do ok given the amount of make-up former goth and punk Julian wears on a night out.

Cheshire-based The Hut Group is a fast-growing online player with Old Mutual Global Investors recently taking a stake which valued the business at a reported £2.5bn.

With Illamasqua it is acquiring a brand which celebrates diversity, won’t allow animal testing on any of its products and has taken a strong stand against fascism.

When I read that I wondered how a make-up business can be anti-fascist.

In a blog post on its website, Julian declared that Illamasqua believes in the freedom of expression, equality and diversity.

“That’s why we are horrified by President Trump’s actions to date. We refuse to remain silent while extreme right-wing populism gains momentum…wherever it is happening.

“As such, we will never knowingly sell our products to people who support President Trump’s values.”

I suppose it helps that the business doesn’t have any shops in America.

And I bet it doesn’t stock Trump’s shade of orange.


RETURNING from a short break to Palma, I walked through the sliding doors of the arrivals hall at Leeds Bradford Airport on Monday to be confronted by a bank of photographers and TV crews.

At last. The fame I feel I have always deserved has finally arrived, was my first thought.

Don’t ask what for. Give me a bit of time and I’ll think of something.

My heart leapt as a shout of “Oi, Parky,” went up from the bank of media.

I was just about to put my best pout on when I spotted that the shout had come from my former colleague Simon Hulme, a very talented Yorkshire Post photographer.

It turns out they weren’t there to greet a “Yorkshire media personality” but to report on the first chartered flight organised by the Civil Aviation Authority back to Leeds Bradford Airport for passengers stranded by the collapse of the airline Monarch.

The airline’s demise had left travellers feeling uncertain, uncared for and concerned they they wouldn’t get what they paid for.

A bit like flying Ryanair really.

Have a great weekend.

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