I'm an Australian citizen and we have shooting murders in my country. Not a lot, but we have them. We also have had a few shooting massacres – Port Arthur in Tasmania is probably the most infamous. And yet, we don't come anywhere near the US shooting death statistics, including massacres, even allowing for population size diffrences. I want to say a few things, because it is hard to keep the sense of tragedy, outrage, and anger inside of me.
I have friends and acquaintances who are US citiens and who are against gun control. I respect them, and I hope that they respect me for my opinions. I am writing this as a human being outraged at innocent children being slaughtered.
In Australia there is gun control but this doesn't mean that there are no guns in our country. People can have gun licenses if there are good reasons, and people can go to gun clubs. But you have to have licenses and demonstrate the need and precautions taken – control, in other words. There are illegal guns circulating in our country but they do not represent a major problem and, as I stated above, we don't have a lot of shooting murders. The laws work and the majority of our citizens recognize their value. The sacrifice of people not exercising their perceived right to protect themselves in order to avoid scenes like today seems rather diminutive compared to the sacrifice America is apparently willing to make of innocent children and adults to protect those 'rights'.
In the US it is definitely different. I get some of the reasons why. The historical reasons for the current gun culture is a strong, powerful force. But it is also heavily biased toward a backwards look at their society, which is a different world from the modern era, and that I don't get.
Facts are facts. Americans are killng and shooting each other each year in the tens of thousands and no one is doing anything substantial or meaningfully about it. Seeing innocent people gunned down – especially young children – chills me to the bone, makes me weep.
The US has got to do something about it, and I know it is an amazingly challenging task. Even a gradual program of change is better than nothing. I believe the two compelling reasons why action must be taken are:
- Yes, cars kill people, knives, sticks and stones, but nothing is as efficient as a semi-auto or machine gun in wiping out people quickly and 'cleanly'. Nothing allows a coward to kill more easily than a weapon that destroys life over a distance, even if it is a few yards. Nothing can allow a gutless wonder to do themselves away as quickly and efficiently after carrying out evil crimes, than with the pulling of a trigger. Nothing. Have a look at what happened in China about the same time: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/14/world/asia/china-knife-attack/index.html
- There are too many domestic shootings. Too many times when someone (usually male) loses it, and snatches up a convenient gun. See 1 above.
Start a deregistration process. Allow those who need guns to be re-registered. Create a compensatory amnesty period to hand them in. Compensate gun shops. Stiffen punishment for gun crimes, including carrying unlicensed weapons. Have a good long rethink on the second amendment, and while debating, remember the innocent deaths, terribly epitomized by the recent school shooting.
How long do you want this to go on?