Australian Martin Bryant still holds the record for the world’s worst gun rampage, when he killed 35 people at Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996. A dubious honour, to be sure. Prior to this, Australia had a fairly strong going-postal tradition: Milperra in 1984, Hoddle Street and Queen Street in 1987, Strathfield in 1991 and the Central Coast in 1992*. After Port Arthur, in a display of political bravery and farsightedness that proved to be as rare as it was uncharacteristic, the Howard Government passed tough gun laws and collected and destroyed more than half a million weapons.
Since 1996, here are some sobering statistics*:
|Country||Massacres||People killed in massacres
The US has had Jonesboro in 1998, Columbine in 1999, Wichita in 2000, Red Lake in 2005, Goleta, Capitol Hill and the Pennsylvania Amish school in 2006, Trolley Square earlier this year and now Blacksburg*. Australia has had none*.
That’s just gun massacres folks. Guns, sorry PEOPLE with guns, kill at least 30,000 people in the US each year. In Australia, it’s more like 300, most of which are suicide. Yet opinion polls consistently show that Americans believe poor parenting and violent movies and video games are greater causes of gun violence than gun ownership.
More guns = more dead people. It ain’t rocket science.
But President Bush took time out from consoling his country to assert that he continues to believe in the “right to bear arms”. From memory, every time a gun massacre has occurred in the US (that’s six* so far during Dubya’s presidency) he has immediately come out to reassure the NRA nutjobs that even though a whole bunch of people were just killed by guns, sorry, people with guns, he won’t make stricter gun laws.
What would make a politician do something so abjectly undiplomatic, insensitive and idiotic as to stand up in front of a bunch of people whose loved ones were just killed with guns (people with guns) and say “We support people’s rights to own guns”?!
The only possible answer is that Dubya and all US politicians live in absolute fear for their political lives instilled by a power-mad lobby group that represents the views of its insane, stupid and myopically self-centred members all too well, to the obvious and ongoing detriment of American society.
*(Lists and statistics collected from Wikipedia. May not be complete, accurate or true.)