It’s Spring racing carnival in Melbourne and the Melbourne Cup will be run next Tuesday. In celebration, this week I was going to write a little article about the wonderful mares who have graced Australia’s racetracks – Makybe Diva, the only horse to win three Melbourne Cups, Black Caviar who won twenty-five races on the trot (or maybe gallop) only to be surpassed by the incomparable Winx, who is the only horse to win four Cox Plates among her twenty-nine straight wins. And I couldn’t leave out the wonderful little mare Light Fingers, who won the first Melbourne Cup for the legendary Bart Cummings – and came a gallant second in the following year. Her jockey, the late Roy (professor) Higgins, loved his little girl. As Cummings’s chief stable jockey he could have ridden the favourite, Galilee, to victory, but he stuck with his little mare and brought her in a gallant, wonderful second.
But then a middle-aged white guy toting an AR-15 automatic rifle and three glocks stormed into a synagogue in Pittsburg during the Saturday service and gunned down eleven elderly worshippers. The youngest was 54, the oldest 97.
It is hard to conceive of a more cowardly, gutless, despicable act. He was targeting Jews, shouting ‘All Jews must die’ as he sprayed bullets. Anti-semitism is alive and well in America. And never really went away anywhere else. I despair. Go and visit Auschwitz, as we did last year. Here’s my article on that. Or think about young Germans leaping around on the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as though it was a theme park. Or actually look at the little plaques set into the pavement in German (and Dutch) towns, recognising the lives of people who did nothing more than be a little bit different.
And there are people who try to say the Holocaust never happened. Chief among them is the president of Iran, who of course opposes anything to do with Israel. But David Irving is British and he’s well-known for his views.
I’ve just read that Robert Bowers, the man who pulled the trigger at the synagogue, has been charged with eleven murders and a host of other offences. He has pleaded not guilty. Here’s the story. If that man gets off on some technicality I will have lost all hope for the US legal system.
Needless to say, US politicians will tell the world that the victims are in ‘their thoughts and prayers’. And nothing will change. Disaffected white men will still be able to purchase AR-15’s as substitute dicks and kill people who are no threat to anybody. It makes me sick.
And to answer my own rhetorical question – you can’t learn from history if you don’t bother to learn any.
And here are a few photos taken with my new Nikon P1000.