Several mornings ago I awoke, once again, to the news that there had been yet another gun massacre in the US. I’m Australian. As I’ve previously written in this blog, we have some strong gun control laws here, enacted after we suffered the worst massacre in history in 1996.
In April, I listened to our Prime Minister at the time of the Port Arthur Massacre talk to Richard Fidler of the ABC about the decision to enact those laws. You can listen to that Conversation, here. It’s fascinating listening.
At the time, I thought it was a no brainer that we had to do something, and I had no idea how difficult it must have been for the government of the time to decide to do as they did. And in this case, it was a bipartisan act of parliament. For some politicians, supporting those gun laws cost them their seat, and in one case, it probably cost the state government an electoral loss at the next state election.
I have nothing but admiration for those laws, and I have nothing but admiration for the stand that our politicians took. No matter what I think about some of their other policies, this was a legacy that every one of those politicians can be proud of.
Since 1996, we’ve had no massacres.
Contrary to what some people believe about our gun laws, Australian gun control laws do not prevent Australians owning guns. Unless of course, you fail the background check, or have no reason to have a gun.
What they actually do, is to prevent the purchase of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.They also prevent those who have no reason to own a gun, owning one.
If you want to know all about our laws, you can go here, and follow the links.
Of course, all over the internet are people writing and speaking about gun control in the US – both for and against it.
I have friends from the US. Both personal friends, and also friends online, who I’ve met in various author groups and chatted to on the internet.
One such friend posted a comment about his hope for gun control laws in the US. Immediately one of his friends responded with a diatribe about how he, ‘a responsible gun owner,’ should not be penalised for the actions of someone else. Various people responded, and a ‘discussion,’ ensued.
What struck me most, was the utter inability of the diatribe poster to even consider that better gun laws might be a good thing, despite him stating things such as ‘maybe make it harder to get the gun’ or suggesting that assault rifles probably shouldn’t be available. Most of his responses were along the line of ‘I shouldn’t have to give up my gun because someone else was stupid with one,’ or ‘I like my gun, and I want to have one.’
There was an awful lot of ‘I want/I like/It’s mine and you can’t have it.’ Sadly, I was reminded very much of a two year old stomping its foot and having a tantrum.
When the poster talked about ‘needing to protect myself’ and ‘What do you plan on defending yourself with when the time comes?’ I couldn’t help shaking my head. Maybe it’s just being Australian, but I don’t think like that. Of course we have criminals here, and we have rapes, murders and burglaries, just like everywhere, but nowadays, what we don’t have, is gun massacres, and I don’t fear going out of my front door.
A friend recently posted this on Facebook. It’s a true representation of how we think.
As is Jim Jefferies’ (a comedian) take on things. (Language warning – his language is very fruity!)
I truly hope the US decides to enact gun laws, but they didn’t after Sandy Hook, and if small children being massacred didn’t provoke those in power to do something about this enormous problem, then I can’t imagine this latest travesty will.
I feel so sad for the families and loved ones of those who died. But sadly, I suspect that I’ll be writing about this issue again. 😦