As I was driving home today, the song “I Don’t Like Mondays” by The Boomtown Rats came on shuffle on my iPod. This song is a poignant reminder at even the best of times that everything can change in an instant. This song in particular was written about Brenda Ann Spencer, a 16 year old in the USA who took a gun to school and shot teachers and classmates. When asked why she did it, she apparently replied “I don’t like Mondays”.
However, the events depicted in this song seem to become the norm for citizens of the United States. Every other week, it seems that American news overruns my Australian nightly newscast frantically stating that yet another mass shooting has occurred at a school/cinema/workplace and this time has 5/10/20/40 casualties. 14 people lost their lives
When will it end?
For years, the debate about gun control has been circling, with some of the most STUPID arguments for it being raised again and again, particularly by American politicians, who you’d think would want to act in the best interests to protect those who elected them into power in the first place.
I just tried to embed an awesome video by American talk show/comedy host John Oliver which was a three part trilogy about gun control in Australia versus the USA, however the video was blocked in my region. Guess what guys – we may not have access to the majority of Youtube videos…but we do have gun control!
Pretty much, the video (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I’m talking about) is a slightly comedic yet fully serious discussion about gun control, and how Australia managed to implement it after the infamous Port Arthur massacre. And we did. Since then, there have still been shootings as part of bank robberies and home invasions – those who have ill-intent will unfortunately usually find a way to get hold of a weapon – whether it be a gun or a knife or a baseball bat.
However our nightly news is not made up of the news of another mass shooting in Australia. No, our nightly news is made up of another mass shooting in the United States of America – supposedly the land of the free. Home of the brave, all that jazz.
If you’re so free, why do you feel like you need guns?
The most ridiculous argument which is raised when the issue of gun control is raised is this – “I need a gun to protect myself, my home and my family”.
No, you don’t.
Home invasions are not something that you need a gun for. Same with working in a store.
If someone comes in and asks for the money from your cash register, you don’t refuse because that’s stupid. No one will criticise you for acting to protect your own life.
But if someone comes in with a gun, could you actually shoot them? Could you look down the barrel (because apparently those guns are just sold in Walmart too, along with semi-automatic rifles because apparently everyone needs one of them!). I often ask myself how many of the gun enthusiasts and gun owners have ever considered this situation. Does having a gun beside your bed or in a locked gun safe (which takes time to unlock) make you feel safer at night?
How about when you have a child and they find the gun in your handbag and it goes off in Walmart and kills you or your child or their sibling? What then?
Enough is enough. Don’t you see?
I have visited the USA on three separate occasions and visited eight states and a anumber of cities. It concerns me that I have no idea who might be carrying a gun in the shop or cinema I’m in, or even just walking down the street.
The 2nd Amendment is another equally invalid point often raised by pro-gun advocates. Yes, I understand that this amendment gives you the right to bear arms. I understand that this right should apparently not be infringed. What I don’t understand though is why an amendment can’t be amended so that the USA can join the rest of the first world in having a gun control policy which prevents more gun-related deaths and injuries from occuring. An amendment is defined by Google as “a minor change or addition designed to improve a text, piece of legislation, etc”.
The USA prohibited alcohol and then made it legal again…they AMENDED it. Why can’t the gun laws also be amended?
There are certain groups of people who should be permitted to own guns, however, like in Australia, this should be with a licence. Groups like farmers and hunters, who need a gun for their livelihood or to protect cattle or crops from pests. However the majority of working-class Americans have absolutely no need to own a gun.
Is it a stigma thing? If you don’t own a gun you’re not part of the “cool” club? To me it makes no sense to me, someone who was born just before gun control laws were implemented in Australia and has grown up feeling safe and secure, particularly when I went to school and now when I go to university.
You might have seen the above image circulating on the internet in the couple of days since the most recent mass shooting in San Bernadino. Many are in outrage claiming that the New York Daily News is vilifying God, however the take-away message is that those who do have the power to fix these situations by introducing stricter gun legislation – the politicians – are sitting back and sending a tweet that says that their prayers are with the families affected, instead of ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
I know it’s all well and good for me to sit here, in Australia and claim that something should be done. Some of you might not agree with me, and say that it’s the mental healthcare system that needs to be fixed before guns. However gun control in the USA is a huge step which needs to be taken and, judging from the evidence in Australia…gun control would fix a lot of problems.
It just saddens me to see another mass shooting every few days or every other week and I don’t want to keep asking myself when it will stop. I just hope that there is an end to gun violence in the foreseeable future and that politicians in the USA actually take a stand which leads to change. Because so far they haven’t and it keeps happening.
One of my Facebook friends posted this status this morning which really stood out to me in light of recent terrorism events around the world:
“Maybe we should just permanently have an American flag filter on our profile pictures considering no one in the States is doing much about the current gun situation and we’ll be seeing more shootings for the coming years. It’s supposed to be a ‘developed, 1st world’ country and we have people arguing that guns don’t kill people…?”
Sooner, rather that later. The whole world is invested, we just wish you could see.