What in the World?

There are many things in this world that I don’t understand. On my mind very recently has been the issue of gun control.

I live in Australia. We have very strong gun laws. Since the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, our gun laws have become even more strict. During that massacre, 35 people were killed and 23 injured. Afterwards, our government enacted ‘The National Firearms Programme Implementation Act 1996, restricting the private ownership of semi-automatic riflessemi-automatic shotguns and pump-action shotguns as well as introducing uniform firearms licensing.’ The legislation had bipartisan support, and was implemented across all states and territories in Australia.

The government then had a firearms buyback scheme, which resulted in over 600,000 firearms taken out of circulation. Automatic and semiautomatic guns were banned. If you own a gun in Australia, you’re subject to strict licensing checks, and guns must be locked away in an approved gun safe, with the ammunition stored separately.

I don’t own a gun. I have never wanted or needed to own a gun. I have friends who do, but they’re either farmers or target shooters. No-one I know carries a gun routinely. No-one I know feels the need to carry one.

Australia isn’t crime free. It’s also not gun crime free, however since the introduction of our gun laws, we’ve not had one gun massacre.

From afar, I’ve watched the repeated gun massacres that occur in the US. Along with many of my fellow Australians, I’ve watched people try and call for stricter gun laws there only to be howled down by others. Politicians have attempted to enact stricter gun laws, but their electorates have resisted them.

I really don’t understand why. (And yes, I have heard of the second amendment.)

Of course, I’ve seen the online memes – those pictures that state things like ‘If you are for gun control, then you are not against guns, because the guns will be needed to disarm people. So it’s not that you are anti-gun. You’ll need the police’s guns to take away other people’s guns. So you’re very Pro-Gun, you just believe that only the Government (which is, of course, so reliable, honest, moral and virtuous…) should be allowed to have guns. There is no such thing as gun control. There is only centralizing gun ownership in the hands of a small, political elite and their minions.’


‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.’

The first one sounds like paranoia, while the second one just makes me shake my head. Of course people kill people, but having an automatic or semiautomatic gun makes it much easier to kill a lot of people in one go.

I have no issues with farmers owning guns to enable them to euthanise livestock. I also have no issue about those who want to target shoot – as long as they’re licensed and store their weapons safely.

What I don’t get is why anyone ‘needs’ to own an automatic or semiautomatic gun, or why anyone would need or want to carry one in their handbag, or during everyday activities.

I’ve also heard people say that they need a gun to protect themselves, or to overthrow the government at some point, should they disagree with it. (I’ve always thought that’s why we have the vote.) Bizarrely, I’ve even seen posts on Facebook that suggest that if more people carried guns they could prevent a massacre. I fail to see how many people all pulling out their guns in a public place to take down a gunman attempting to massacre lots of people, wouldn’t simply result in more deaths.

Here, I live free from the fear that someone will accidentally shoot me. Free from the fear of massacre, and free from the fear that a child might accidentally find a gun in my house and shoot itself or somebody else.

I’m not naive – I am aware that if someone desperately wanted to, they might be able to plan and execute a massacre, even with our gun laws. However, a spur of the moment thing is going to be much more difficult.

When the Sandy Hook Massacre occurred, I, like many Australians, thought – ‘Surely this will mean that the US will consider gun control laws. Surely they will, because someone’s just killed a whole pile of little, tiny children.’ Then we watched astounded while nothing changed.

Today we awoke to news of yet another massacre – this time San Bernadino. It seems as if massacres will continue to be a way of life for Americans. No matter how many times it happens, it seems that nothing will change. If the deaths of many small children don’t stir the US to enact stronger laws around gun control, I can’t imagine why the deaths of 20 plus adults would.

At the moment, I’m bracing myself for the influx of memes, comments, and articles from social media friends who are from the US and are pro-gun. My Facebook feed will have a flurry of statements like the ones above. There will be articles explaining that gun control won’t stop massacres because they just won’t, and a whole other stream suggesting that it’s important to have more guns so that massacres will be prevented.

All I can say is that I just don’t get it, and I am forever grateful that our government has taken such a tough stance on gun laws.

In the meantime, I’ll just continue to pray that our overseas fellows might begin to see reason. This is not the first time I’ve queried this subject, and I quite understand that this opinion of mine will be very unpopular in many circles, but I do hope it makes people think.




10 thoughts on “What in the World?

  1. As an Englishman with many American Facebook friends, (one of whom I fell in love with, brought to England and married last year) I’m always getting into “debates” about their insane gun fixation.
    You’ll never get them to understand;
    a) just how mad it is to have an entire population armed to the teeth, or
    b) how bloody obvious it is to us over here and how alien an idea it is, to live in a country where anyone can carry an assault rifle to the shops.

    My wife is now in the unique position that enables her to see how we view their laws (laws she didn’t approve of when she lived there) and is starting to appreciate our gun-free society (one reason she came here instead of me going there was her wish that her daughter didn’t grow up in a country with regular school massacres).

    You’ll be alarmed (but probably not surprised) to hear that a meme is currently circulating that claims gun crime in Australia has actually RISEN since you brought in gun restrictions, one with which I have already taken issue, with predictably argumentative results from the right wing gun nuts.

  2. Leonie I just read your comment about a post on Dr. Talmage’s blog site a few minutes ago. I got to reading about you being a physiotherapist and it sounds like you had a great relationship with many of your patients. I just had to send you this note and ask, “Have you ever worked with anyone that survived over 50 years after a severe spinal cord injury?”

    I had my back broken in 1964 and I have continued on through all of these years. I’m still able to walk but now I have to use a walker. I have much love for you people working in physical therapy that is the only reason I am still alive today, I am very sure of that. I have a fairly good history of my spinal cord problems on my blog site, if you get a chance to read my SCI story. I would like to hear your response to my surviving this many years. As I say again, “It is all due to you faithful, hardworking physiotherapists.” I almost gave up in 1964, two special people wouldn’t let me.
    Thank you very much for your service.
    God bless you, and good luck with your writing.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by.

      I have to say that I haven’t worked with anyone who’s survived 50 years plus with such a severe injury! You must be a truly amazing person.

      I’ll pop over to your blog this afternoon and read your story. It’s wonderful to hear about people like yourself who have done so well. It’s one of the joys of being a physio, as we truly understand how many hurdles you have to overcome, and when someone manages to do so, it’s usually a team effort, backed up by truly awesome determination by the injured individual.

      Look for my comment this evening – Australian time that is!

      • Leonie thank you for such a quick reply,
        I mentioned two young people working with me in 1964. I guess what I was going to say, this is a very small world. My wife and I were on a vacation in Hawaii in 1981 with her brother. One evening sitting by the pool relaxing, I looked across the pool at a couple sitting there and I thought that guy sure looks familiar. I walked over and asked, ‘Didn’t you work in physical therapy at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.” He said, “I sure did and he remembered me right away.” He said, “I got you to drive yourself to PT on a gurney, face down, with a cane in each hand.” We had quite a reunion. There has been many of you folks through the years in different therapy departments giving me the determination to keep on plugging away. Life is so good.
        Thank you again,

  3. What in the World?
    I do not understand this gun crazy world either. In the United States it has become a very big money making proposition as it controls politicians and their votes. If the NRA threatens a politician he might just as well give up his seat, as they will make sure he doesn’t stay in office. That is democracy? I think not. In the last few years the NRA has put the fear into people that President Obama is going to come and take all their guns and all their ammunition away. The majority of the people ate it up like it was some kind of a sweet pudding. It caused a stampede of people spending trillions of dollars buying all the guns and ammo they could get their hands on. This has been going on to the point it has created shortages in some firearms and ammunition.

    As crazy as this world is getting all of these guns in the wrong hands is going to paint a picture of complete Chaos in the future. We have some new people coming into control in Washington and they are bringing some very, very extreme measures of budget-cutting. They will make some of the austerity programs in Europe look like Sunday school picnics. Mix terrorist bombings in with that. I do imagine the HEADLINES, both print and online will be bloodier and bloodier in the years to come. That is a terrible negative way to look at the future but I’m afraid that is what’s out there. It’s going to take a whole lot a prayer to turn this world around.

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