24 February 2018

Gun control in Australia and the USA

Two proposals have convinced the world that the USA is going mad vis a vis gun massacres.

The BBC reported that President Trump endorses hidden guns for teachers to stop shootings inside schools. Arming teachers could prevent school shootings like that which left 17 people dead last week in Florida, he said. Trump explained that if you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly. His exact words were "Where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them, they would go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. A gun-free zone, to a maniac, because they are all cowards, a gun-free zone is, let's go in and let's attack."

In the second story, I cannot tell if the following newspaper article is positive ad­vertising by right wingers or biting satire by left wingers. Neil Murphy wrote in the International Business Times that a Pennsylvania church will bless gun-toting couples in a ceremony taking place just half a mile from a local elementary school. Followers of the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church will be blessed by spiritual leaders at their campus in Newfoundland Pennsylvania at the end of this month.

Attendees are requested to bring their own semi-automatic rifles, including AR-15s and AK47s, as part of the Cosmic True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humanity Cheon Il Guk Book of Life Registration Blessing. Those who cannot legally acquire a weapon have been asked to purchase a $700 gift voucher from a gun store.

Parents whose children attend neighbouring Wallenpaupack South Elementary School have voiced concern over the event, which comes just days after the massacre near Miami (where 14 students and three adults were killed with a legally-purchased AR-15 rifle).

Tim Elder, Unification Sanctuary's director of world missions, says that the event was planned months before the Miami school shooting and says all weapons will be securely checked by staff. According to Elder, Church teachings say assault weapons symbolise the New Testament's rod of iron passage and illustrates followers' ability to defend family, community and nation of Cheon Il Guk."

The Sanctuary is run by 38-year-old pastor Hyung Jin Moon, the son of Unification Church founder and self-professed messiah Sun Myung Moon. The Unification Church was founded by Moon in 1957 in Seoul, Korea using teachings from the Bible and his own family beliefs. The Unification Church off-shoot is a staunch supporter of Americans' rights bear arms and will host President Trump Thank You Dinner on Saturday — a fundraiser for Gun Owners of America.

American guns displaying national pride.
Yet in the 2013-15 period, there were 32,000 firearm deaths in the US. 
Photo credit: news.com.au

**

So we have established a Caulfield Anti Gun and Coffee Club for solving the gun catastrophe in the USA. Although Australia has never had much of a visible gun culture, we have had terrible mass gun murders in the past. The Milperra Bikie Massacre killed 6 bikies and one by-stander in 1984; Hoddle Street Massacre killed 7 city commuters in 1987; Queen Street Massacre killed 8 city shop­pers and workers in 1987; and worst of all, the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre that killed 35 customers in an outdoor café.

The new Australian prime minister in 1996, John Howard, headed the cons­er­vative party. In his first speech to Parliament after the Port Arthur Massacre, he called for Australian legislators to take up the vexed issue of gun control, and vowed to devote his prime ministership to the issue. In May 1996, his government unveiled the National Firearms Agreement that radically strengthened Australia’s gun laws. The NFA established a registry of all guns owned in the country and required a permit for all new firearm purchases. It totally banned all automatic and semi-automatic guns.

Illegal guns in a scrap metal yard in Sydney, 
soon after Australia's buy-back laws were passed in 1996.
Photo credit: ABC

Since many of these guns were already in circulation, the bill included a mandatory buy-back programme, which included large-scale gun confiscation and the destruction of 700,000 guns. Gun owners were compensated for the proper dollar value of the weapons seized by the state. Polls showed the new legislation was supported by 82% of the population.

Studies since 1996 reported that the new laws greatly reduced Australia’s homicide and suicide rates. And since the law’s pass­age, there has not been a single mass shooting in Australia. John Howard has described this programme as his greatest accomplishment as prime minister. 

It was not a perfect solution, however. At the Lindt Cafe Siege in 2014, 2 hostages and the gunman were shot. We saw very clearly that Australia is not immune from terrible violence, presumably caused by imported illegal guns.

**

The Caulfield Anti-Gun and Coffee Club recognises that the American Cons­tit­ution and its gun amendments cannot be changed without a mammoth effort at the Federal level. So instead we propose that A] 49 USA states ban guns WITHIN the borders of their states and B] all devoted gun owners be moved to Alaska, along with the weapons of their choice. C] Any current Alaskan citizens who do not approve of gun murders will be guaranteed a home and job in another state of Continental USA. Alaska is big enough to take in hundreds of thousands of gun fanatics and has the advantage of not bordering any other USA state. Sorry Canada :(

There will inevitably be issues with the underage children of those gun-loving parents who move to Alaska. Would the children be kept with aunts and grandparents in states other than Alaska, to be reunited to their parents when they reach their majority (aged 18 or 21)?

For those professionals who are legally entitled to use guns, such as the police, armed forces and Olympian athletes, locked training facilities must be provided across the USA.





20 comments:

Ex Pat said...

Japan also has moral anti-gun laws which could provide a model to the USA.

Andrew said...

Can I join the Caulfield Gun-Coffee Club? I don't have a gun, but I do like coffee and I believe the club's proposed solution to the US gun problem is excellent.

I would have taken the blessing of the straight gun toting couples as a mildly amusing piece of humorous writing if it was in any country other than the US.

It mystifies me that as the citizens of the US gaze around the world at other Western countries, and perhaps they don't do a lot of that, that they cannot see that other countries don't have such a problem and ask themselves why is this so. Please, they don't have to look far, just across their northern border.

Trumpet's armed teacher solution fell rather flat once we learnt that there was a professional armed guard stationed at the school.

Parnassus said...

Hello Hels, Beware gun-problem solutions that feature more guns. I have said it before, but in Taiwan there are no guns and there is very little violent crime--you can walk in the most isolated and dilapidated areas or alleys late at night without fear of assault, stray gunfire, or other problems.
--Jim

bazza said...

I’m going to form a pro-guns, anti-LGBT coffee-club. It will have no Muslims, Jews, disabled, left-handed or otherwise awkward types. No lefties, liberals, softies or pinkos will be admitted. Everyone will meet in a huge stadium but pyromaniacs will not be allowed in. There will be a special task for them.....
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s debonair Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hels said...

Ex-Pat

I don't think Japan ever had much of a gun culture, but even less so after World War Two ended. Pacifism was important and their gun control laws were comprehensive and well policed. They have had mass murders since the war, but not with guns.

Hels said...

Andrew

I think I will change the name of our group to The Caulfield Anti Gun Coffee Club. That way the Americans will thank us for solving their mass murder problem by _eliminating_ guns.

Your point about having an armed guard at the Florida high school is a good one - it both added _more_ guns to the community and it didn't save any student lives in any case.

Hels said...

Parnassus

Taiwan's laws are an excellent example of rigorous gun restrictions and regular inspections of anyone who has a licence. Like Japan, there have been murders in Taiwan, but not with guns.

Hels said...

bazza

The NRA did propose that since the so-called victims of gun murders were largely bikies, criminals, blacks, anti-Fascists and anti-Nazis anyway, there was no significant loss to the community. And that the white teenagers who are now making such a fuss in Florida and in the White House are secretly being supported and paid for by soft headed pinkos.

bazza said...

If that were fiction it would be ridiculed as too far-fetched.....

Hels said...

bazza

Unbelievable yes. Look at what some American media commentators are actually saying.

Fox News contributor Dinesh D'Souza has been mocking the school shooting victims in a series of tweets. He accused children mourning their classmates of engaging in politically orchestrated grief for the benefit of the cameras, and tweeted that the legislative defeat was the worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs.

Brutal claims have spread across Facebook and Twitter in the week since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, while media commentators have cracked jokes and claimed students were being “used” by anti-Trump media. The students were crisis actors only pretending to have been caught up in the violence.

Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/florida-shooting-survivors-dinesh-dsouza-mock-cpac-conspiracy-theory-crisis-actors-social-media-a8220716.html

diane b said...

I feel sorry for the Americans who want to change the gun laws. They have no hope.

Hels said...

diane b

everyone's immediate reaction to the four last school massacres in the USA is the same as yours - San Bernardino California, April 2017; Rancho Tehama Reserve California, Nov 2017; Aztec New Mexico, Dec 2017; Parkland Florida, Feb 2018. Since the Florida massacre, Trump has discussed minutely small gun limitations like raising the age for buying certain weapons, banning bump stocks and tougher background checks. But the notion of banning guns in private hands has not even been raised.

Only one piece of modern American history gives me hope. Despite protests, sit ins, court cases, political interventions and tv coverage of the Vietnam War, nothing stopped the deaths: 2 million Vietnamese civilians, 1.1 million North Vietnamese fighters, 225,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, 60,000 American soldiers, 600 Australian soldiers etc etc. We all believed that the Vietnam War was so barbaric and destructive that it would never, EVER end.

Yet it did. The war that started in the middle 1950s did indeed end in 1975. Finally!

Sandi said...

The world has gone mad. I can not imagine sending my kids to a school where the teachers have to be armed. I can not imagine arming myself to be a teacher in a school. I also can not imagine what's happening in our schools here, but it is happening. I don't think the answer is more guns in more hands. We have a deep, deep heart issue in America today. I think we need God. Maybe some wouldn't agree with that, but we are right now discussing whether or not to turn schools in the O.K. Corral. Something is wrong...something huge.

Hels said...

Sandi

Mass murders are more than tolerated by the government... they are actively encouraged. Think of gun shops with windows that invite in young men, gun trade shows, television programmes, NRA events etc etc.

Until there is a total commitment to protecting every child and teenager from death using moral, godly and caring legislation, more and more parents will be burying their children.

River said...

Re the Alaska suggestion: How is it fair that peace loving Alaskans who don't own or want guns, will have to move out of their homeland to make way for trigger happy US citizens?
To me that's no solution at all. The gun laws in the US need to be changed and quickly and that's all there is to it. It will be hard, but it needs to be done.

Hels said...

River

Thanks for reading the post. We women meet every Sunday brunch for coffee and company, and tackle a world problem for a couple of hours. In the past, we have analysed universal health care systems, what to do about Marine Le Pen, smoking in outdoor restaurants, mining on the Great Barrier Reef etc etc.

The gun control issue in another country is probably not our concern, but we thought we would tackle it anyhow. Recognising that the American Constitution will probably not be changed any time soon, we limited our suggestions to possible changes at the state level.

By the way I have a vested personal interest in getting guns as far away as possible - I have three first cousins who live in New York. Thus Alaska!

River said...

Go further, there's a lot of empty space at the North Pole.

Train Man said...

I am with Sandi and would not allow my children to go to school in a country where teachers or students have guns.

Hels said...

Train Man

The question is mind boggling, actually. If guns are allowed in a country in the hands of private citizens, no person is safe and no place is safe. The idea of a teacher gunning down his/her own students within a school is unthinkable, but so is the idea of gunning down teenagers in the street or in shops or banks.

I personally know of only one gun killing - two friends of my children who were shot to death (in their sleep) in 1980 by their own parent. The school community, children now in their mid 40s and their late 60s parents, never recovered.

Hels said...

River

:) I don't think so. Prisoners, smokers and gun lovers can only be sent to another part of a nation's recognised territories or protectorates.

Yet... yet... the USA's Guantanamo Bay detention camp is in Cuba! And Australia's asylum seekers and refugees have been locked away in the Republic of Nauru! So perhaps the North Pole may be an option after all.