Dear America, please make it stop

Back in 1996, I was traveling around the world with a friend.

As a result of this, I was in the Great Britain, when the Dunblane school massacre happened in Scotland, and in Australia when the Port Arthur massacre happened in Tasmania.

Both of these massacres shook the world, and especially the nations they happened in, leading to a huge public demand for a change of the gun laws. In Great Britain, this pretty much led to the private ownership of handguns becoming illegal. In Australia, it led to a complete overhaul of the gun laws.

The changes to Australian gun laws are well known, and it is also well known that there has been no mass shootings in Australia since then. What is less well know, is that in the years up to the massacre, there has been several mass shooting, but none with the number of victims as the Port Arthur massacre. So it took some time before the Australian public had had enough, and demanded something changed.

Last night, in the US, a gun man attacked a LGBTQ night club in Orlando, Florida, resulting in at least 50 dead.

This is the worst fatality from a mass shooting in the US, eclipsing the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the Virginia Tech shooting in deadliness.

America, please let this be your Port Arthur massacre moment.

Ignore for now the possible motive of the killer, and focus instead on the tools used to kill.

Massacres in the US are generally done using legally bought weapons, and it seems likely that this is also the case in the Orlando shooting. The ready availability of legal guns, and the high number of massacres in the US are connected. If you remove the availability of guns, the number of massacres will drop. So, work on reducing the availability of guns.

In Australia, they both changed the laws and bought guns from their owners. Making it harder to get hold of guns both legally and illegally.

The US should do the same.

The 2nd Amendment, and the screwed up way that it has been interpreted by the US courts puts a barrier to sane gun laws, but amendments can be changed – even discarded. I think it is time for Americans to take a long, hard look at the 2nd Amendment, and either change it, so it applies to people in properly state-run militias, or even get rid of it all-together.

America, please wake up. Please don’t continue down the path where you are now, where mass shootings has become a near daily occurrence and only makes the news if there are several fatalities. Please don’t let us wake up to more tragic news like the ones from Orlando.


  1. StevoR says

    Horrific news out of America. Again. Yet again. Will it change anything? Other than the lives of so many families, so many friends, so many survivors, fathers and mothers, sisters, brothers, children, nieces and nephews, who will never see the individual people killed again for all their wishing and all their hopes and prayers. Individual lives and people who could’ve done, well, we’ll now never know, people who have had their stories and possibilities and potential ended forever by some hate-filled killer also now dead. Nothing I say could be other than understatement or make things change. That Second Amendment, that NRA are sacrosanct and blood can and will be spilled in rivers and oceans forever without end because freedumb and guns and US political reality which is shit. So just, condolences to those who have lost their family and friends. Anger and horror and numbness as usual. Wish, so wish it were otherwise and sanity could one day prevail. That’s all folks.

    Almost except to say :

    Hatred.. loses in the end but does horrific, needless, avoidable and horrible damage as it goes down.

    Love OTOH. Love wins. They’ll still be gays kissing and holding hands and you may kill us but you won’t stop our freedoms, our loves or your eventual extinction scream fade into history for all the agony you needlessly cause and all the lives you needlessly take.

  2. Menyambal says

    The Second Amendment has nothing to do with individuals owning guns. It had to do with a well-trained militia for national defense. As you say, the interpretation has gone wrong.

    The NRA is in the business of selling guns, and of keeping itself in business. It does not have the Constitution or the welfare of the people anywhere in its interests.

    As long as so many people trust the NRA and its twisting of the Second Amendment, many people will die. Repealing the Second Amendment shouldn’t be necessary, but there is no denying that its original purpose is long obsolete.

  3. blbt5 says

    The NRA is a powerful physical addictive force, no more under the control of political will than the will of any addict over an abusive drug. Unfortunately change only happens after hitting rock bottom.

  4. naturalcynic says

    Sadly, sometimes the laws and the Constitution are what the courts say they are, not the original intent-which was sometimes deliberately less than clear. If the courts say that it’s OK for private citizens to own semi-automatic or even automatic versions of military weapons [or artillery for that matter] that’s the way it is until some other higher court changes that interpretation. It’s the courts that have the final say in this matter. Only by changing overwhelming public opinion will lessen to influence of the NRA, Firearms Manufacturers [actually the same thing as the NRA], Gun Owners of America and wanna-be militias and finally decrease the ubiquitousness in our society. Then the courts may act. That, and a generation of gun fetishists in caskets being buried holding onto their most precious pieces in their cold dead hands.
    I really don’t see the possibility of an Australian-style radical and rapid change in gun laws and gun possession – there are far too many guns in the hands of far too many fanatics. And, with the political proclivities of the gun fetishists against any kind of federal authority, the worst of the firearms will be stashed away rather than turned in for cash. And then a real black market will arise. That will only keep a few poorer individuals from accessing firearms.
    I’m afraid it’s going to take a long time.
    Or, maybe hopefully, some bright-eyed scientists will discover something like the novel The Trigger, one of the last books by Arthur C Clarke [1999] where a discovery was made of a technology that can remotely detonate nearby explosives, rendering firearms useless. One can dream.

  5. MMark says

    Here we go again – let’s blame gun laws!!

    To all of you supposedly rational, fact-based people, I ask the following question. What gun law would have prevented this massacre?

    Officials said Mateen had two firearms licenses — a security officer license and a statewide firearms license -– both set to expire in September 2017. Mateen worked for the security firm G4S since 2007, the company said, adding that it is cooperating fully with law enforcement.

    Even if the US were to pass the kind of gun control laws Obama wants, Mateen STILL would have been able to get the types of weapons he used in this hate crime.

    I also find it amazing that a so-called atheist can say this with a straight face:

    Ignore for now the possible motive of the killer,

    Mateen pledged his support to ISIS. He pledged his support to a radical religious ideology notorious, in part, for throwing homosexuals from the highest building in whatever city they are in. This is a religious precept that has the backing of something like 11 Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by the death penalty.

    I got it. You don’t like guns and you don’t want to appear Islamophobic. But you can’t make a square peg fit a round hole. Islam is the problem. Full stop. It’s not even radical Islam – this is mainstream Islamic thinking.

    Or at the very least let’s try some balance. You want to advocate for new gun laws in the US? Fine. While you’re doing that, also ask Imams to disavow Mohammed’s teaching on homosexuality.

    How about asking the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to do the same. What do they believe Islam teaches about homosexuality?

  6. says

    To all of you supposedly rational, fact-based people, I ask the following question. What gun law would have prevented this massacre?

    Gun laws that prevent people from carrying guns, or even owning guns for other purposes than hunting. Gun laws that prohibits the kind of guns that can be used for mass shootings. Gun laws that remove guns from the reach of ordinary citizens.

    Yes, Mateen had two firearm licenses, but in a country with a sane gun culture, he would have had none. As far as I know, the US and South Africa are the only Western countries where security people carry guns. In the rest of the West, this is not the case – only the police do (and in some countries, not even all police).

    I got it. You don’t like guns and you don’t want to appear Islamophobic. But you can’t make a square peg fit a round hole. Islam is the problem. Full stop. It’s not even radical Islam – this is mainstream Islamic thinking.

    Bullshit. The US gun laws allow people like Mateen to get the tools to carry out the shooting. Not his religion.

    And yes, mainstream Islamic thinking is homophobic, as is mainstream Christian thinking. This doesn’t mean that normal Islamic or Christian people carry out such atrocities. It is the fanatics who does this. But they require access to the tools necessary, and if the US introduced reasonable gun laws, it would be much harder for fanatics like Mateen to commit horrible crimes like this.

    Or at the very least let’s try some balance. You want to advocate for new gun laws in the US? Fine. While you’re doing that, also ask Imams to disavow Mohammed’s teaching on homosexuality.

    You don’t appear to understand the concept of a personal blog, so let me explain it to you: it is my blog, and I get to decided what I want to write about. I choose to address the irresponsible US gun laws, that make mass shootings a near-daily occurrence. If you feel something else should be addressed, go write your own blog.

  7. waltermcc says

    It does say Comments.

    There will be problems when a culture 1000 years behind the West, and unwilling to assimilate, moves to the West.

    Forced confiscation of all guns or purchasing all guns using taxpayer funds are two alternatives. It would have to be the latter. The problem is that the United States is not the United Kingdom. What will the consequences be when a citizen refuses to sell his or her guns to the State?

    Law abiding citizens will be the only ones who sell their guns. The black market, just like that market during Prohibition, is not going to voluntarily turn their guns over to the State. Like confiscation of 1920s alcohol, I would expect things to get pretty rough.

    And consider the tens of thousands of loved ones killed over the years by ethanol, one of the simplest of organic compounds.

  8. dianne says

    The US decided a short while ago that killing primary school children was acceptable, not a big deal, and no reason to amend gun laws. Do you really think they’ll give a crap about the death of people the right has been encouraging them to hate for decades?

  9. NL says


    Fair enough that the criminals and others won’t hand back their guns, they didn’t in Australia either. But as the police remove these guns over the course of the next decade it will become harder and harder for the crims to replace them. For example, an AR15 in Australia on the black market now sells for somewhere around $A30K ($US23Kish) and they are highly prized by bikers and other drug dealer/gangster types. Therefore they tend to want to keep them. The odds of someone like the guy in Orlando getting hold of an AR15 or similar in Australia is close to nil.

  10. NL says

    Added to this, the kid who shot the police worker in Parramatta used a gun from the 50’s. I assume because his handlers didn’t want to waste one of their “good” ones. Even getting a handgun in Australia is tough… as it should be.