Over in Australia, we woke this morning to news there has been yet another school shooting in the United States, this time in Oregon. Once again, I was horrified, saddened and dismayed that despite another shooting, nothing appears to be done. This is now the 74th school shooting since Adam Lanza broke through a glass door in Sandy Hook and gunned down 20 children at close range in December 2012. THE SEVENTY FOURTH SCHOOL SHOOTING IN 18 MONTHS.
I love America, I have visited the USA often and I love the people, the homes, the shopping, the sights, the entertainment, the showbiz buzz and the natural beauty of the landscape. What is not to love? As a country, America has given us so much and Australia does tend to follow your cultural lead more we follow other countries. Heck, we even have TV shows that are promoted as “Express from the U.S” we simply can’t wait to get our next hit of The Kardashians, Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory. We follow your celebrity culture more than our own, we really do have an obsession with all things American and I’ve often looked into moving my family there for the experience, the opportunity and the adventure but your lack of action on gun control is the one thing that stops me every single time.
In Australia, we don’t worry about sending our children to school and hoping, praying that a mentally disturbed student doesn’t break into our child’s school and shoots the kids with a machine gun he found lying around at home or bought ammunition at the nearest Wall Mart. Why? Because a horrible man who does not deserve his name written in this post brutally murdered 35 people in Port Arthur Tasmania, Australia in 1996 and that was 35 people too many for our country to accept. Our Prime Minister introduced very strict gun laws which limited who could own guns, he put heavy limitations on low-capacity repeating shotguns and rim-fire semi-automatic rifles. Laws were introduced as to how people could legally own guns, how they were stored, how ammunition and guns were to be stored separately, strict time limits were placed between time a gun licence was issued and the time a person could legally purchase a gun and strict controls were placed on background checks and who could own guns (famers and hunters basically). Politics is a tough game but decision making is not. It worked, the tighter controls on gun laws have meant we have not had a mass murder with the use of guns since that horrific day in 1996. I will forever be grateful to Prime Minister John Howard for that brave decision and even braver move to face those opposing the strict gun laws, albeit in a bullet proof vest. Brave beyond words.
We’re a well educated lot down here in Australia and we’re aware of your Constitution, The Bill of Rights and the all important second amendment which states:
“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.”
This second amendment was penned circa 1791. A lot has changed since then. Laws change, the world has changed and whilst the NRA insist that the right to bear arms is well within your second amendment rights, I would argue that America is no longer regarded as a “well regulated Militia”. It’s now an out of control self regulated gun toting, mentally disturbed militia who are shooting their own with no regard for human life.
It will take one leader with enough backbone to do what our Prime Minister did and stand up to the NRA. Put tighter controls on gun ownership and use. Put some common sense in place and stop the madness.
America enters countries in the Middle East stating that you’re fighting for the freedom of the people, the women and children who are oppressed but what about your own? What about the freedom of your own children, your own citizens? Why can your own children not play freely in the playground without knowing what a ‘lock down’ is? What about the Mum’s who feel sick on a daily basis that the kid who has been threatening to take a gun to school and shoot their child may actually do it one day?
As a country and as Politicians, you are starting to look like the middle east, you’re not protecting your own and I’m sad to say but we all look at this last incident and think “it will happen again”.
It’s time to act like the Leaders of the Free World that you so desperately want to be known as. Will you be brave enough to do it? It’s time to say enough is enough.