St George and the Dragons

I write history because it’s truer than most of what we read elsewhere.

That’s not to say news is not important, but we can be drowned in a Niagara of words about everyday events, rushed on from bite to bite (or byte to byte) without time to reflect on what it means or relate it to what has gone before.

History is somewhere between great novels and poetry on the one hand, and philosophy and theology on the other.

St George and the Dragons

St George in English History

How did a Palestinian replace native English saints as England’s patron saint? Why did an Italian archbishop link St George with the Dragon? Whose body lies in St George’s tomb in Israel?

Discover the answers to these and other secrets of St George revealed to the public by an Oxford-trained historian.

Why is the flag of St George at the heart of the Union Jack? Where can you see wall paintings of St George that have lain hidden for centuries? What king really put St George on the map?

St George in English History

American Panorama

I write history because it’s truer than most of what we read elsewhere.

That’s not to say news is not important, but we can be drowned in a Niagara of words about everyday events, rushed on from bite to bite (or byte to byte) without time to reflect on what it means or relate it to what has gone before.

History is somewhere between great novels and poetry on the one hand, and philosophy and theology on the other.

American Panorama

Expert Wedding Gift Guide

Everyone enjoys giving gifts. But choosing a wedding gift can make you feel worried, frustrated and embarrassed. There are so many different wedding situations these days, and so many choices of gifts. Social rules are changing too, and you may feel unsure about the etiquette and ethics of gift-giving, such as whether and what to give for a second or older marriage. You may not know the couple well, or even if they expect a gift. And what about gifts of money? Then, how much should you spend? Money may be tight or you may be rushed for time to purchase the gift and mail it if you’re not going to present it in person. If only gift-giving were easy!

Expert Wedding Gift Guide

About Michael H. Collins

First off, I haven’t put a middle initial to be pretentious but to help people know who they’re dealing with. Unlike the more famous Michael Collinses, I don’t play the clarinet, haven’t been in space and certainly don’t aspire to any role in Irish politics.

MICHAEL H. COLLINS

A historian by training Michael H. Collins wrote his postgraduate thesis at Merton College, Oxford, researched from original 18th-century documents in the Bodleian Library. He has taught Western Humanities to students from all over the world, including at Beijing International Studies University and King Saud University, Riyadh. The American Panorama is based on courses he gave at Beijing.Michael has been invited to deliver papers back at Oxford, and also to act as a cruise lecturer for the Noble Caledonian tour company. He is a member of the Royal Geographical Society.Always busy with plans and projects, Michael takes his motto from Daniel Burnham, the planner of Chicago: ”Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood.” In his leisure time he enjoys travel, reading, classic films and choral tenor singing.

Be in touch with author

I write about cultures because I have taught internationally, travelled widely and enjoy meeting people who have different customs and ways of life. Besides, mutual understanding between cultures is more and more important. I hope my books help readers to understand better the countries I write about. I’d be interested to learn what countries my readers would like me to write about next.

By Michael Collins

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Books

St George and the Dragons

St George and the Dragons

I write history because it’s truer than most of what we read elsewhere.

That’s not to say news is not important, but we can be drowned in a Niagara of words about everyday events, rushed on from bite to bite (or byte to byte) without time to reflect on what it means or relate it to what has gone before.

History is somewhere between great novels and poetry on the one hand, and philosophy and theology on the other.

St George in English History

St George in English History

How did a Palestinian replace native English saints as England’s patron saint? Why did an Italian archbishop link St George with the Dragon? Whose body lies in St George’s tomb in Israel?

Discover the answers to these and other secrets of St George revealed to the public by an Oxford-trained historian.

Why is the flag of St George at the heart of the Union Jack? Where can you see wall paintings of St George that have lain hidden for centuries? What king really put St George on the map?

American Panorama

American Panorama

I write history because it’s truer than most of what we read elsewhere.

That’s not to say news is not important, but we can be drowned in a Niagara of words about everyday events, rushed on from bite to bite (or byte to byte) without time to reflect on what it means or relate it to what has gone before.

History is somewhere between great novels and poetry on the one hand, and philosophy and theology on the other.

Expert Wedding Gift Guide

Expert Wedding Gift Guide

Everyone enjoys giving gifts. But choosing a wedding gift can make you feel worried, frustrated and embarrassed. There are so many different wedding situations these days, and so many choices of gifts. Social rules are changing too, and you may feel unsure about the etiquette and ethics of gift-giving, such as whether and what to give for a second or older marriage. You may not know the couple well, or even if they expect a gift. And what about gifts of money? Then, how much should you spend? Money may be tight or you may be rushed for time to purchase the gift and mail it if you’re not going to present it in person. If only gift-giving were easy!

Blog

Gun Control: How to End Gun Violence

22 Mar 2013

Gun control is among the top news items and blog posts. Searches for the keyword ‘’gun control” have spiked. So have those for ‘’Obama gun control’’ and ‘’Batman Tragedy’’.

There are few criminal events as stunning and frightening as a mass shooting. Sudden, random and unpredictable episodes like the killing of six men by a gunman in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; the early morning massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre; and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. These horrific events have spawned a federal task force on gun control and kick-started a national conversation about gun violence and gun law. President Obama is even considering a “universal background check” for anyone wanting to own a gun

Lawmakers began a new session of Congress with the mass shooting at Newtown inspiring a new push to pass gun control laws that could prevent another tragedy. On Day One, lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced nearly a dozen bills related to gun violence. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, a long-time gun control advocate, led on the Democratic side. She is sponsoring legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales — including at gun shows — and ban online sales of ammunition.

Hadiya Pendleton. Will her death make Americans think again about gun control?

Hadiya Pendleton. Will her death make Americans think again about gun control?

The President made an impassioned argument in his State of the Union message 2013 that gun control measures deserved a vote. He drew on the public horror at the death of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager who was shot dead just a week after performing at his inaugural. Her father, Nathaniel Pendleton, supports using her death to help shape the debate over gun control. Only a handful of parents who testified at the emotionally charged state hearing in Hartford, Connecticut, did not call for stricter gun control. But bereaved father Mark Mattioli said there are more than enough gun laws on the books.

Mark and Cindy Mattioli,bereaved Newtown parents. Mark says there are enough gun control laws on the books.

Mark and Cindy Mattioli,bereaved Newtown parents. Mark says there are enough gun control laws on the books.

A Senate committee has approved legislation that would expand background checks covering all U.S. firearms sales. This cleared the way for the measure to be debated and put to a vote in the full Senate. Less clear is the fate of a proposed ban on military assault rifles proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat.

Meanwhile nearly three-fourths of the nation’s teachers say they would not bring a firearm to school if allowed, but most educators believe armed guards would improve campus safety, a new Pew survey shows. Many schools have in fact hastened to add safety measures in an effort to prevent similar violence. The most common step has been ensuring that all doors are locked.

Apart from stricter background checks, there will likely be no completely new Federal gun laws, after the recent mass shootings because most Americans do not want them, either on constitutional principle, or because they do not believe that new laws would work. Over the past 20 years, support for gun control has collapsed. In 1959, 60% of Americans wanted handguns banned outright for all but police officers. Now three-quarters of Americans want to keep the right to own handguns, weapons whose only function is to kill at close range. Responding to public opinion, states have loosened gun laws to allow citizens to carry weapons with them almost anywhere they go. In Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee and Virginia, it is legal to carry a gun into a bar.

The road to less gun violence is the long trek through cultural change. Voluntary self-restraint in the use of guns, like emancipation, women’s rights and the sustainable economy, will only become the norm after a long process.

Hymn writer Percy Dearmer speaks of the

‘’Power that rules by patient leading,
Not by force, the easier way;
So that man, in freedom heeding,
May the law of love obey.’’

If we want to see real gun control and less gun violence we have to do more work on the underlying causes like poor education, inadequate childcare, marital breakdown, drugs and dependency.

This blog will host a number of posts on gun control by Oxford-trained historian Michael H. Collins, author of The American Panorama (see amazon.com). Other subjects will include St George and the Dragon, Your Perfect Wedding Gift Guide and other e-books on Kindle and Smashwords.