This blog entry bears no resemblance to my usual fare, and I apologise for anyone expecting levity – today…not so much.
I grew up regarding you as kind of the cooler older brother – the guy that did things first and did them bigger and better. I always felt as though we were running along behind you, watching and eventually copying all the cool stuff you did.
Today, I’ve got to tell you, the news of yet another tragedy to befall your people – your children – makes me sick to my stomach. You don’t feel so much like the cool older sibling now, more the family failure.
Apparently less than 40% of you favours gun regulation. I really don’t want to believe that statistic. How is it possible that the god-fearing, middle American, moral majority can tacitly endorse a licence to kill?
What on earth has to happen for the clear majority of second amendment quoting, gun toting folk to join the dots?
Seriously, the entire civilized world is sitting back and shaking its head at yet another shooting. The same circular debate begins and we have to ask how have the lunatics ended up running the asylum?
There was a time where we were heading along the same path. Of course we were; we emulated everything you did. Then, after a disturbed young man with an IQ of 66 cold bloodedly dispatched of 35 innocent people and injured 21 more with a Colt AK-15 semi automatic in 1996, the Australian collective consciousness was fairly unanimous – guns do, in fact, kill people and people with assault weapons massacre.
This specific incident – the Port Arthur Massacre – followed by a mentally impaired student opening fire at Monash University in 2002, resulted in Australia having arguably some of the most restrictive gun legislation in the world. Granting a licence for a firearm here requires assiduous justification and self-defence is not amongst the potentially valid reasons for owning one.
Your vociferous gun lobby uses the second Amendment shamelessly.
Article the second:
‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’
Now I could be completely wrong here, but my understanding of the word militia was that it referred to a trained body of citizen soldiers defending your country from the English and any other subsequent threat to your independence or, according to the constitution, to enforce the law, suppress insurrection, and repel invaders.
Your gun culture seemed to gain real traction during the time of the Wild West where, just like our pioneering forebears, firearms were being used to hunt, protect livestock, commit crime and then fight it, contend with ‘hostile’ natives and generally prove your worth as a bloke.
The days of the Wild West are well and truly over. You are predominantly an urban people now who hunt and gather at Safeway. Your need for guns surely extends only to farmers and the military. Recreational shooters, of course, will make a claim for rifles used in the ‘sport’ of hunting unarmed quadrupeds and Clay pigeon shooters legitimately use a shotgun.
I’m pretty sure your founding fathers were talking about muskets and flintlock pistols not semi automatic shotguns when they were working on your Constitution.
I get that you are unlikely to relinquish your protective Ruger’s, Beretta’s and Sig handguns but wouldn’t an amnesty on AK47’s make sense? What does any law abiding, civic minded American need with an assault weapon? Just bite the bullet (pun intended) and get a penis enlargement, because surely that’s what it comes down to unless you’re the Unibomber– a goddam pissing competition!
I am so sad for your bereaved and wish someone could be brave enough to instigate the beginnings of change, but I fear they would just end up with a bullet in the head.
Yours, with empathy and impatience