For all our faults, foibles and controversial love of Vegemite, turns out, we down-underers have got something right, and I’m not just talking about Tim-Tams.
When one deranged Tasmanian man shot and killed 35 people on the historic site of Port Arthur, our Prime Minster at the time, John Howard, sprung into action like a hot pop-tart, freshly shot from the parliamentary toaster. He was newly elected, and ready for action. He forced the states of Australia to ban semi-automatic rifles and shot-guns, and pump-action shotguns, and placed stringent conditions on gun licensing and ownership. You can read about them here.
Later that year, he introduced the gun buy-back plan, in which guns were taken in, and owners compensated. This was funded by an increase of 1% in the Medicare Levy, which, lets face it, nobody even really noticed.
That was 17 years ago, and I’m sure you guys have been pummelled with the stats, but in just in case you need reminding, gun related deaths have halved since 1996, and our mass shootings now number zero. There was a case in 2002 where an international student shot and killed two fellow students, but after that, laws across all states were made even stricter.
In spite of these tough new laws, turns out, we’re okay.
Gamers and hunters can still have their guns; they just have to prove their genuine need to own them.
Armed forces still roam the streets, and if a baddie comes, they can get ‘im.
Now that we have fewer guns, we have – get this! – fewer psychopaths with guns.
Plainly speaking, we are dying less from fatal bullet wounds.
I know that I’m preaching to the choir, but we’re scratching our heads down here in Australia! What’s not to get? It’s fairly basic math: Society – guns + tighter control = fewer gun-related deaths.
Of course, we have our fair share of put-out gun-lovers, too. And with congress about to consider the new proposed legislation put forward by Obama, some Australians are taking it upon themselves to stand up for their American cousins, like in this letter below:
Dear terrified American gun-owner,
My name is Red, and I live in that pussy-whipped country down-under called Australia.
One day, a big, bad man called John took away our guns, and made it impossible for us to buy more. This happened just after…oh, I can’t remember, it was way back in 1996. Something to do with Tasmania.
The reason I write to you today, is because I hear that your President has presented some pretty fucked-up ideas to your congress; similar to ours, but thank Christ, not as strict.
Did anyone think to to remind him of your 2nd Amendment, written in 1791, just after…oh, I can’t remember, I must have been too busy drawing hairy cocks in history class. LOL.
The thing to bear in mind is this: in spite of the fact that gun deaths here in Oz have halved since those laws were introduced – WE DON’T HAVE OUR GUNS.
Fair enough, we’ve had no mass shootings since 1996, but that decline in mass shootings has come at a cost.
WE MISS OUR GUNS.
We’re sad because we can’t shoot at shit and talk about our new mutherfuckin’ semi’s anymore. Our basic civil rights have been taken away.
The only people still allowed guns are pretty much the cops, hunters and sports shooters, but even they are subjected to all sorts of rules and conditions. We’ve become a bunch of soft-cocks, and you have the danger of turning that way, too, if your President has anything to do with it (still can’t believe you’ve got a black guy running things over there). Hopefully, those lobby groups will be able to work their magic with congress. They seem to know what they’re doing.
So keep on fighting the good fight, and remember, if you don’t stop shouting, they can’t stop listening.
I wrote that cheeky little bit of satire, not because I think that all gun owners think this way, but because I think people are forgetting that the ‘price’ of stricter gun laws is as low as fewer guns in the hands of people. I can’t fathom how that price is any way comparable to the price of children’s lives – or anyone’s life for that matter. People like to shroud the gun debate in a heavy blanket of the protection of civil rights, but it actually has nothing to do with rights. It’s about the power a person feels when they hold a gun, and their inability to express the truth of that.
Guns make people feel powerful, and in a lot of cases, they help compensate for a hidden sense of fear and insecurity. Threatening to restrict them travels far more deeply than just the threat of a mechanical weapon being removed. It’s the removal of power, and here’s something I have in common with those gun-toting zealots: nobody I know – not me, not my young children, not my silly little dachshund, Cross – enjoys the feeling of power being taken away from them, especially by somebody with more authority than them. It is a HORRIBLE feeling. It’s demeaning, debasing, and makes you feel like you have to defend yourself.
But what they lack that I don’t is a self-assuredness that doesn’t need a gun to feel powerful. I have love in my life, and food on my table. I was taught to show kindness to other people, and to read books that expand my mind. When it comes to safety, I can lock my doors, and if I’m scared I can sleep with a baseball bat under my bed (and hope to god I never have to use it). I was taught the value of common sense.
Fact is, here in Australia, we’re better off with tighter gun laws. We’re safer in our homes. I know the scale of the operation will require more time and effort for you, but maybe now is a good time to recall the words of Action-Man Obama when he said this in his victory speech:
“Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.”
‘Hey, I’m all for patriotism, but if that involves restrictions on my guns and makes them harder to buy, I can’t live with that!’
Yes, you can.
I just hope congress can, too.