It was with great sadness that I watched yet another mass slaughter of innocents in America. Although I was born, raised and live in Australia I spent several years in North America and am well acquainted with the American desire for individuals to own their own firearms. I once listened to a well educated man proudly list off his arsenal of firearms using names I’d never heard of - I guess I’m not a gun guy. For him it was a source of pride. For me it was just terrifying.
The level of difficulty in how one obtains a firearm is the single biggest problem. Easy access to a firearm is ultimately the means for such large scale murder. Take away the weapon and it’s very difficult for the average person to kill another. It’s true that a stick or even ones own legs or arms can be trained in a martial art and that training can make a person into a “weapon” of sorts. Using martial arts to kill takes much longer to kill so many people and it is far more personal and difficult emotionally than simply pulling a trigger. Very little training is required to use a gun to kill people.
It comes back to we humans being flawed. We are emotional. Some of us have trouble differentiating between reality and fantasy. Some of us are insane. Hand a thousand guns to a thousand people and wait a few years and several people will be killed. Don’t hand them guns and there will be several punch-ups, maybe a broken limb or two but few if any will be killed. If we can’t easily change human nature then take away the means to easily kill and the problem is significantly reduced or possibly eliminated.
If America is ever going to prevent future massacres within its own borders then it must begin disarming its population and start making it very difficult to obtain firearms. However with such a deeply entrenched belief that holding firearms is their god-given right, it may be that they are too far gone to return. A large scale move by the government to strip firearms from their people could well trigger another civil war and more bloodshed. It’s a problem that Australia doesn’t face, thankfully, in no small part due to the fallout from the Port Arthur massacre and subsequent gun laws introduced by the Howard government.
I hope that Americans can begin to take their gun problem more seriously and do the right thing to bring an end to this self-inflicted chaos. They are a great country and they are better than this.