As mass shootings occur in the USA on a regular basis, the rest of the developed world regularly discuss/condemn the American way of life. While horrific, I wonder why people in other countries to go the extent that they do when commenting on the issue. There’s clearly no debate on if that there are less guns around, one is less likely to be killed by a gun. In Australia, free from the constitutional restraints of the Second Amendment, we live free from fear of gun violence. When you walk the streets in Australia, you don’t expect to get shot. It does not cross your mind. In America, you might go for a jog and get shot in the back because a teen was bored. I have an American friend who is a conservative gun owner. He’s not a violent person. He’s a sports shooter but also owns guns for the purposes of else defence. We’re never going to see eye to eye on gun regulation. But why should we? Australians don’t live in the same climate of fear. The latest uproar about the “normal American family” Christmas card largely misses the point. Americans live in The Kingdom of Fear. They’re so afraid that they feel that arming themselves and their children is an important part of keeping themselves safe. They think that someone is going to attack them, therefore they must have weapons at the ready. The fear is almost palpable in some quarters.
But this is how they are prepared to live. They like guns. They like militaristic mentalities. It makes them feel safe. It makes them feel big. That’s never going to change. If they’re prepared to live feeling as though they and their families are under siege, that guns are one of the only things that are going to keep themselves safe in their country, then so be it. It’s not really our problem, especially here in Australia.
I often cite John Howard’s gun buyback policy as one of the few Coalition social policies that I give the thumbs up to. We don’t need to play ping-pong with stats – Australians are less likely to be shot, and we feel safer for it. The American’s constitution gives them the unalienable right to bear arms and to fear those who bear arms. That’s what they prefer, so why question it? It’s their right.