The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It is time to uninvent the gun.

It is time to uninvent the gun. No other invention has led to the death of more people than this simple device. If I had the power to remove one thought from the mind of Humanity, it would be the concept of the gun.

Today, a 17 year old teenage gunman opened fire on kids at his former high school, in Winnenden, 20 km north-east of Stuttgart. He managed to kill 15 people, including three teachers, before he was slain by police. This is the worst such shooting in Germany since 2002 when a 19 year old, Robert Steinhaeuser, did something very similar by shooting 12 teachers, two students, a secretary and a police officer before turning the gun on himself. This happened at Gutenberg high school in Erfurt. (Apparently, the young gun club member had been expelled from school for forging a doctor's note: his response was to kill as many people as he could.)

Now, neither of these events would have been possible if the gun had never been invented. Quite simply, a teenage boy with a knife, for instance, no matter how determined he is, is far less deadly than the same boy with a firearm. People can run from a knife, they can't run from a bullet.

The US, of course, is famous for its shootings. In fact, the school shooting is as American as the hamburger: what, in fact, would America be without its school shootings? There is seriousness, in my comedy, sadly - for such events are far too common in America. The reason, of course, is quite obvious: Americans have easy access to guns, so an American with a grudge becomes a school shooter/restaurant rampager/car jacker, all too quickly. What would be a minor altercation in a non gun-owning society, becomes mass murder in a gun owning one.

Singapore recently had its taste of sudden, unexpected violence when David Hartanto Widjaja, allegedly attacked his supervising professor with a knife, then, again allegedly, killed himself. Had David Hartanto Widjaja had access to an automatic weapon the headline might have gone a little bit like this: "Indonesian Chinese boy kills 25 at NTU." Thankfully, access to guns is strictly controlled in Singapore, making such a headline, in Singapore, extremely unlikely. However, I should point out that the David Hartanto Widjaja situation indicates that the ONLY reason Singapore does not have headlines like that, is because the students are not armed. Were Singapore's students as likely to be armed as Americans (or Germans), then, I am sure, that Singapore would have its own long list of school shootings.

The recipe for school shootings is a simple one and Singapore has all the ingredients except one: the guns. All you have to do is put students under tremendous pressure to succeed; make school quite hellish and cold; be just a little inhuman to the student body and keep this up for a decade and a half. Many students, under such conditions, will crack. Those that crack while holding a gun in their hands will take down half their college faculty with them. The only thing saving Singapore from a great shortage of professors is the absence of guns.

The solution, of course, is very simple: take the guns away. Societies that don't have guns, don't have mass shootings. It is terribly obvious. Any society that allows ownership of guns is one that has to accept that the presence of guns will lead to sudden, unexpected large scale violence that can kill many people. Often those people will be schoolchildren.

We can't uninvent the gun, pity though it is. However, we can remove guns from society. It would, I think, be a much better world if every nation on Earth took away the guns. Once the guns are gone, murder rates will fall and every nation will be spared terrible tragedies like the one that unfolded in Germany today.

Many people tend to leap to defend guns, once someone suggests their removal. We have to look, however, at the motives of such people: usually they haven't thought broadly about the situation. All they are thinking is: "I want a gun, to protect myself from the other guy who has a gun." Well, they never seem to consider that nobody having a gun, is better than everybody having a gun. People can't shoot you with their bare hands.

A completely disarmed world, is a much safer world, than a completely armed world. America has shown us what an (almost) completely armed society is like: a stupendous murder rate and mass murders with unrelenting frequency. Societies that traditionally do not have guns, tend also to have relative freedom from murder.

It is time for people to work together to achieve safer societies. All that has to be done is that everyone should agree that there will be no guns. Then take them away. Those that retain them need only be punished with the utmost severity to eliminate guns, entirely, over time.

The alternative, of course, is to invite headlines of the kind we have been speaking of. So choose: no news to report, or sensational headlines - which is it to be?

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:59 PM 


Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. the unposted comment re. Palestine etc.

I am not posting your comment because it contains anti-white racist sentiments: these might upset some people.

I will say this, however: you belittle the deaths of the children referred to above, saying they are "small scale death" and then bring up the situation in the Middle East and accuse me of ignoring it. Well, I haven't. You haven't been reading my blog closely enough. I have referred to the unfortunate wars in the Middle East and made it clear that I disapprove of all war.

I haven't got into depth on the Middle East because I have a policy of not becoming involved in controversial political matters. To take one side or the other is to ensure that offense will be caused to half my readers - and I am not going to do that.

I find your views somewhat surprising since they devalue the loss of white lives and elevate the loss of Middle Eastern lives. All lives are valuable; all lives lost are tragic.

I think you shouldn't jump to assumptions so easily about what you read and what you think you understand. I haven't learnt Malay, for instance, not because I don't want to - but because no-one around me speaks Malay to me. They all speak English: so where is the chance to learn Malay? Also where I work, all speak English. You haven't thought my life through.

Thanks for your comment, however.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Rockafella & co said...

We need a world government to control over every nation in order to have world peace. That is inevitable. With a world government comes a world leader, and thus control over each of us to stop having guns. He must have weighty power and personality in order to control the populace. Only then will world peace be achieved, not by diplomacy, or sactions, or laws, but only by a world leader who can machine the law at his whim. No doubt history shows the some mistakes such tyrants who wanted that power, but this new world leader must be extremely sly and sneaky, like a snake who wiggles stealthly into the political arena then jumps on the animal instincts of us all, using "diplomacy" and personality to show that history is wrong, and that he alone is right in being the most capable leader this world has ever seen.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I don't think a world leader is necessary or desirable. I would like to see a variety of countries and ways of living not one uniform state.

What is needed, is universal will to remove guns. That can be achieved, I suppose, at the level of the UN or EU. If they make a collective decision to remove guns from their societies world murder rates will drop to a fraction of what they are now.

However, even this is not necessary: all that is needed is for individual countries to make the decision to be free of guns.

Thanks for your comment.

12:06 PM  

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