About The “Arm Everyone” Mentality

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Connecticut and the senseless loss of 27 lives, I’m sure I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands, of people who will be blogging about shootings, guns, gun control, Americans, mental health and/or tragedy today, but I’m going to do it anyway. I have a lot to say on the issue. Who doesn’t?

I lived in the US for 11 years, and admit that at no time in that 11 years, did I fear for my safety, or think I was going to be shot dead. But I did work with 1200 children and their families, and I occasionally would think, “If one of these parents got angry enough, could they walk in here and kill us all?” Because in America, you never know who has a gun. I’m not sure American authorities know who has guns.

In Australia, we walk around in fair confidence that no one will stand up in a movie theater, school, shopping centre, restaurant and open fire on everyone. We have that fair confidence because the last time something like that happened, in Port Arthur in 1996, our government took action and established the 1996 National Agreement on Firearms. You can read about it more at the wikipedia article here. It clearly worked, as that is the last time an assault like that happened in our country.

These kinds of laws could very well save thousands of lives in the US. However the US has a little thing called a Constitution, in which the 2nd amendment (1791ish) states that all citizens have “the right to bear arms.” Keeping in mind the Constitution was written in the 1700s by men who thought it was OK to keep slaves and that women were second class citizens. It was also written in the civil war era. Many Americans take their right to bear arms very seriously and in fact think that everyone should own a firearm. That way people will be deterred from attacking others – for fear of retaliation. I’m not kidding, this is the mentality of (too) many Americans. I’ve read arguments this morning from “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” to “teachers should be armed, then this won’t happen.” Again, the theory being if a crazed gunman knows the teachers all have guns, he won’t go in and try to shoot anyone.

And that’s the first problem right there – assuming these crazy nut-jobs who do these things have any kind of rational or common sense thought. They don’t. No rational person walks into a school and shoots 20 innocent children.

The second problem is assuming that because a teacher is armed, casualties in these situations will be much fewer. Because the ultimate goal shouldn’t be less casualties, it should be less none of these situations in the first place! And also because they are teachers, not snipers. Do you think an armed man can walk into a classroom and out of the corner of his eye, the teacher spots him, draws his gun and shoots him dead before he can do anything? Are you living in La-La Land? Watched too many movies? Maybe we should just put Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalikes in all classrooms as protection?

The third, and biggest problem is thinking the mentality of “if we are all armed, no one will try anything for fear of retaliation” is ok. It is not ok. I should be free to go wherever I want without worrying about having to carry a gun so no one attacks me. If I wanted to live like that I’d move to Afghanistan/Serbia/Syria/{insert preferred war-torn-country-here}. This is not the culture I want to live in and it’s not the culture I want my child to live in.

In China, 22 children were stabbed by a mentally-ill intruder. None of them have died, though 1 plus the teacher are in critical condition. China has strict gun laws. And as a friend of mine said, “Thank God, or we’d have woken up in Australia to the news of 2 mass shootings.”

I think there is a place for guns. Hunting, target shooting, farming, law enforcement, military. I’m not even opposed to legal, responsible ownership of guns (but I don’t encourage it or like it). I AM opposed to how easy it is for people to get guns (in the US) and I AM opposed to the mentality that if more people were armed there’d be less violence. That is 1+1=3 maths. The shooter in the Aurora movie theater back in July had so much gun paraphernalia it is scary. Much of which he ordered ONLINE. Make it harder to get weapons, and less of these shootings would happen. Make it harder to get weapons, and maybe 20 children would be in school right now, getting excited about the upcoming Christmas holidays.

My thoughts and prayers are for peace, healing and comfort for all the families who have lost loved ones today.


Everyday Heroes

This morning I was on my way to the shopping centre with my son, and there was a cop on a motorcycle beside us at a set of lights. Nicklas started waving at the policeman, though the policeman wouldn’t have been able to see him as we have window screens on the back windows of our car. But it did get me thinking…so many teens, and even so many adults, have absolutely no respect for policeman, or, while we’re on the subject, for any of our “everyday heroes”. I’m talking policemen, firemen, lifeguards, teachers…people who do jobs that are totally thankless, that we take for granted someone will always do, yet we don’t exactly jump up to be the first to volunteer to take these positions.

I want Nicklas to respect policemen, and firemen, and lifeguards, and his teachers, and elders in general. Remember when we were taught that? When did that stop being a fundamental message kids learned? When did parents start to think it was not only acceptable, but NORMAL behaviour to be so disrespectful? How can we expect kids to be responsible, upstanding citizens when their parents can’t lead by example and teach them appropriate behaviour?

I fear for my son’s future. I worry about sending him to school, and what kind of … CRAP … for lack of better term, he will have to put up with. Will he witness one of his classmates stabbed to death, as happened in a PRIVATE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL this week? This stuff can happen and WILL happen anywhere. You can’t assume because you pay a lot of money for your kid to go to a private school that they are safe.

In response to my stating that “the world has gone mad”, someone responded, “People will attack others, its happened for thousands of years, that’s just how it is.” WHY do we accept that and do nothing about it? WHY is it ok for violence to occur because “it always has”? The government has to accept some responsibility in being the governing body and the only body able to make the laws protect the VICTIMS. This 13 year old boy who stabbed a schoolmate will most likely get off and be back in school next week. Its disgusting.

Everything That’s Wrong With The World

Do you know what REALLY pisses me off? Well, there are a lot of things, but this week, it is the uprising of a generation with a general lack of respect for their elders, for the law, or simply for other human beings.

The news headlines the other night mentioned a policeman being investigated for using a taser gun to get a driver to pull over. Do you know what they failed to mention, until the actual story was aired? The driver was a 17 YEAR OLD IN A STOLEN CAR WHO WOULDN’T PULL OVER!!!!

You know what? If you have stolen a car and refuse to pull over for police, I don’t care HOW they stop you. I don’t care if the run you off the road, taser you, or just flat out SHOOT you! And while I’m at it, if you are being abusive and threatening, and do not back down when ordered to by police, and you get tasered? YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM!

Australia may not have many incidents related to guns, but there seems to be a lot of incidents related to knives and/or beatings. You can take away guns, but you can’t take away peoples’ inability to control themselves when they get drunk or angry. And they need to be held accountable and punished to the full extent of the law.

Sunday Night aired a story about a Perth police officer who was attacked from behind while trying to break up a brawl between a father and his two sons (who were outside a pub, drunk). It is all on video. This police officer is lucky to be alive, and is most likely never going to walk properly again. And do you know a jury let the “man” who did it to him, walk free? As the presenter said, this man has been let down by the very law he swore to uphold and enforce. In court, the father involved in the brawl was portrayed to be a disabled pensioner with a heart problem. Really? He didn’t look too disabled when he was drunk and fighting with his two sons outside the pub.

I know that every once in a wihle we hear a story of a police officer who has used excessive force, or abused his/her power. But how often is that? What percentage of police officers are like that? I am willing to bet it is less than 1% of them.

I also know that again, I am generalising. I know not every member of the new generation is a menace to society. I know I am making myself sound old by complaining about “today’s kids”. I know there are people in every generation who have an inate disdain for authority.

I just feel like the world is in a downward spiral, and my faith in humanity is slipping. There’s just so many things that happen and I wonder, “What the fuck is wrong with that person?” Seriously, I think our DNA is mutating and people are getting more stupid by the generation. It really worries me.