blogging

Can Attitudes Towards Guns be Changed?

She told me I was, “as high as a Georgia Pine, “and a barrage of foaming at the mouth and swearing ensued.

As an Australian, I’ve encountered vehement opposition and online tongue-lashings from American citizens, so gun control isn’t a subject, I’ll often discuss. This latest event crossed a line:

A six-year-old child was arrested in Newport News, Virginia…now in police custody.  What did he do?  He shot his teacher.  The child, a first grade student, barely out of diapers, brought a gun to school … and shot his teacher in the chest.  The superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, Dr. George Parker, said at a news conference that “we need to keep guns out of the hands of our young people.”  Jill Dennison – Filosofa

This shocking news should concern any sentient being, but achieving gun control in America appears as illusive as ever? Why?

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

Those who champion easy access to guns so quickly become defensive, hyper-aggressive and completely panic-stricken with even the slightest suggestion that access to assault weapons or handguns be further controlled.

Fifteen years ago, I expressed sadness to a Georgian citizen online during a simple eBay transaction who told me she needed a gun for protection. In the unlikely event of a home invasion, I told her I thought having a gun in the house did not equate with a feeling of protection. Rather, I would worry there was an increased risk that the gun might be used for harm against me, or another member of my family.

Her limbic flight or fight system went into overdrive. She told me I was condoning that she be raped!

Indeed, I was not.

I told her I was simply sad to hear that she lived in an area with so much violence that she believed that keeping a gun was necessary. I was surprised at her response.

She told me I was, “as high as a Georgia Pine, “and a barrage of foaming at the mouth and swearing ensued.

I ended the conversation.

Why do (certain) Americans feel that having a gun makes them safe?

The Man of the House has a relative who married an American. She kept her Australian citizenship, worked in hospitals for many years and one day she discovered her American husband had a gun in the glove box of the car. With horror, she told him that if the police pulled her over and discovered she was driving around with a gun, she could be deported as an alien with a gun! A little old lady who had never had any record of any kind.

Justine Diamond was an Australian girl shot by a Minneapolis police officer while approaching them for help.

Is the society so dangerous, minute by minute that having a gun is absolutely necessary? Is it dependent on locale, or unnecessary at all? What if all guns were removed from the community?

Perhaps in tackling the causes of the fear and addressing any that can be addressed, we might gain some understanding about how to deal with it?

How the World Perceives America

Jill commented that the world must be laughing at America and what has happened in recent times, in regard to the ex-president, who I have read famously bragged that he, “could shoot someone and not lose votes.”

[Open-mouthed gob-smacking resounded around the globe following that report, but laughing, no. It isn’t funny, it’s worrisome.]

Speaking as an Australian, I wouldn’t use the term laughingstock, when referring to the US, as it is an important political friend and economic partner for us and the world. People are free to vote for whatever person they see as fulfilling their hopes and dreams, at that time. That is democracy and yes, voters get it wrong, sometimes. Dangerous nutters or fools can rise to power – just look at Germany in the early 20th century.

However, if I can speak generally, Australians don’t see America as the same country that saved the free world in WWII. USA has changed.

Aussies do shake our heads in disbelief at the “Trumpist,” supporters and trends. At the last election, that kind of rhetoric was more or less rejected by our country. The only contribution Trump made that could be remotely positive was to inspire a derogatory English language idiom. But then, perhaps he has some other redeeming quality? Please enlighten me, as I can’t see it.

Anything extreme arouses suspicion. Trump’s rhetoric is extreme. Children with access to guns is extreme, in any country.

What Americans Fear

The fears Americans have of personal harm and home invasion; that desire to feel powerful and safe; the mentality of the American right to bear arms – appears difficult to shift. It seems inbuilt in the psyche of some individuals. They appear to mistakenly associate patriotism and strength with access to weapons. Powerful weapons.

Does that fear come from an underlying insecurity at being at the top of the pecking order, politically speaking? Witnessing the prevalence of gun violence and death on devices and TV screens? Or is it the repeated exposure over and over to seeing violence and championing those who kill the ‘bad guy,’ in the story with a gun?

On Boxing day, there was a home invasion in my region. A terrible tragedy and thankfully a rare event.

Tragically the female fought the assailant, a young teenager, who was armed with a knife. Unfortunately, she died from her injuries. Two young girls are now living their lives without their Mother and Christmas will never be the same. This has sent the community into overdrive, but NOT to buy guns.

Instead, Australians look to install security screens, security cameras, organise neighbourhood watches, ensure doors are not left unlocked, get petitions going to get harsher penalties for juvenile crime, make charities administering half-way houses for youth offenders more accountable, and campaign to support the victims. Emma’s law means this lady will never be forgotten.

I doubt that that community’s first thought would have been to obtain a gun. I, myself, have used a gun in sporting and target shooting, at the sporting shooters open days. I have held a lethal pistol in my hand.

Even so, there is no way I could shoot a living thing, not even a rabbit. It is not in my being.

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population in Australia

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) per 100 people in Australia

2020: 14.831149
2019: 14.95
2018: 15.12
2017: 15.02
2016: 14.80
2015: 14.51
2014: 13.99
2012: 13.67
2011: 13.60
2010: 13.6815
2007: 13.25
2006: 14.24
2005: 15.010
1997: 13.5815
1996: 17.59
1988: 21.34
1975: 14.92

The level of privately held guns is still lower than the 1996 level after which a national firearm agreement and buyback was introduced and the percentage of households with firearms has remained at less than half the 1996 level. In Australia, annual deaths resulting from firearms are less than half to one-third the 1996 level. www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/australia

Mass Shootings in Australia

In the decade before the country’s change of direction, 100 people died in eleven mass shootings (Chapman, Alpers et al, 2006).

Following the 1996 announcement of legislation specifically designed to reduce gun massacres, Australia has seen no more mass shootings.

Firearm-related deaths that attract smaller headlines still occur, yet the national rate of gun homicide – which before Port Arthur was already one-fifteenth the U.S. rate – has now plunged to 0.13 per 100,000, or 27 times lower than that of the United States (Alpers, Wilson and Rossetti, 2013c).

I wish for those folk who oppose gun control to think about the abovementioned stats and what controlling guns MIGHT potentially do for society.

In Australia, there has never been a shooting with a high-powered automatic weapon since Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. The only positive to come out of that tragedy. I visited the location 12 months after the massacre and the blood stains of the victims were still evident on the floor tiles in the Broad Arrow Cafe.

Seeing that affects any sane person.

Tighter regulation was imposed immediately after the Aramoana massacre in 1990, the Scottish Dunblane and Australian Port Arthur massacres in 1996. After the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019, legislation to restrict semi-automatic firearms and magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, and provide an amnesty and buyback of such weapons was introduced and passed by the New Zealand parliament. {Wiki}

What is it prevents a change of attitude towards guns in America?

Is the NRA’s hold via monetary support and pressure to politicians so great that it cannot reverse America’s thinking?

stpa logo
Advertisement

56 thoughts on “Can Attitudes Towards Guns be Changed?”

  1. Methinks here the Pond between us and the States has never been as deep or wide. From experience with most of the people I know in the States, both ‘native’ born and immigrant, belief systems seem to lie so deep in the psyche from childhood onwards that logical conversation oft seems impossible . . . I virtually ‘lost’ an Estonian primary schoolmate of mine, ‘refound’ in Florida half a lifetime later when there was no way in the world, he could explain his absolutely abject need for a handgun at each of the three doors at his home. It was a case of emotion and ‘rights’ versus my attempted logic by me . . . sad smile Methinks the moment he found out Australian children do not swear allegiance to the flag in school each morning that I became virtually an ignorant pariah . . . methinks laws will change ‘over there’ but matters will take a generation to normalize . . .

    Like

    1. Your Estonian ex-pat friend living in America is an interesting case in point, Eha. Suddenly, he detects fear and feels the only way to protect himself is with a gun. Would he have felt this way if he could not get hold of a gun so easily? If he had not been able to get ahold of a gun, he might not automatically think that someone else can do that and try to enter his home. It is a vicious circle, feeling upon each incident and violent TV show, video game, app. It is reinforcing that fear all the time. Sell out politicians beholden to the wealthy lobby which happens to be the gun lobby, perpetuate the fear. It is deeply troubling. Janis in a comment below, says many support gun control and if elections were publicly funded or if donations were transparent, perhaps voters who feel this way could be heard enough to get some change, in time?

      Like

      1. Since I have food-blogged worldwide for over a decade many free-and-easy private friendships have formed in the States. Almost all the people I have come to know closely want a change . . . quite a few are actually contemplating new homes as ex-pats. Yes, methinks the silent majority will ULTIMATELY have their way but methinks we are talking of years and years and many will be hurt in the interim. In the case of my schoolfriend two matters contributed I believe – he absolutely did not believe in the American police, its willingness and abilities to look after ‘the common man’ . . . also, having been born in a northern European country mainly white and Protestant there was definite racism sadly in play . . . too many of the break-ins and shootings in Florida involving the blacks and Latinos . . . sad end to him – he was an aeronautical engineer at Cape Canaveral who was poisoned by the gaseous atmosphere there and died of a fastmoving cancer . . . life !!!

        Like

        1. Oh my goodness. I had no idea cape carnveral was so toxic. I guess it should not have surprised me. Rocket fuels are not healthy. You raise a good point, Eha – there is an element of racism in the debate about guns.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As a brit, I too am in utter disbelief at the seemingly unstoppable downward spiral the US seem to be in regards to gun crime, I feel horror at that poor 6 year old that will have to live with the trauma of what they have done before they were even developed enough to understand the consequences, thankfully the teacher survives.

    I have tried to talk to Americans about gun control, most agree that it is awful and something should be done but they don’t want to give up their guns for it.

    I also agree how awful it must be living in an area where you feel you have to arm yourself in your own home! To not feel safe, even at home in bed…

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment and I agree that the six year old will have major issues in future.
      Many Americans are at a loss at what to do about the situation but powerful forces are at play. I hope for the best, bit it is hard to know how it can be rectified. I am so thankful to be living in a country where you never see a gun unless it is on a policeman. The recent home invasion was an aberration.
      Do Bobbies in the UK still not carry guns?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not routinely no, we have armed response units that can be deployed rapidly in an emergency but they’re not out walking the streets or responding to usual 999 calls. You’ll see an armed policeman around central London/ Downing street ect or an area deemed high risk of attack but it’s quite rare.

        I don’t even really get the concept of ‘home invasion’ is it just an armed robbery?

        Like

        1. I am so heartened to hear that other countries maintain a normalcy towards guns. “Home invasion” – I believe simply means someone has come into your home uninvited and theft and burglary is common. It doesn’t mean that they are armed, necessarily, although they could be. Therefore, someone entering your home could potentially be there to steal. In the home invasion that I cited in the post, the female (who happened to be a British ex-pat) discovered the intruders in her home via an app that alerts if your front door is opened. Her and her husband went to investigate and she was stabbed, perhaps in panic but also because she continued to fight the intruder back. The teen attacker had prior history of attacking people with a knife and was probably abusing substances at the same time. There is no reasoning with someone like that.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. What a horrific ordeal to go through, I can’t imagine, thankfully these things are so rare. It’s quite funny, literally 2 nights ago my husband and I were camping in our living room because our new bed was being delivered, I woke up yesterday morning and discovered our back door was unlocked, I told my husband off for forgetting but he just shrugged and said “when I laid down, I thought I might have forgotten to lock it but I thought, who’s going to jump over our back gate, randomly try the door, find it unlocked, see us two sleeping here and come in anyway?” I do sort of see his point but I’ve been double checking the back door since.

            Like

            1. It is terribly tragic for the family involved and something they can never forget. I have gotten a wake up call several times too when we have discovered our door unlocked. There is such a random chance that someone would come in on those occasions, but sometimes that randomness happens. Around here people forget to lock cars and the expensive ones are always stolen on those occasions. It is best to be cautious just in case, don’t you think?

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Not even the most powerful politician in the world could succeed in placing restrictions on guns. It is sad.
      Legislation can work to buy back, destroy, and limit
      the guns, as Australia did but the majority of Americans have to be behind it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree with all you say. The obsession of many Americans with the ‘right to bear arms’ astounds and disturbs me. I know it’s embedded in their constitution, but that constitution was written centuries ago and I’m pretty sure those doing so wouldn’t have envisaged it applying to modern weapons, for example. When your right to do something can have such a devastating impact, surely it’s time to rethink that right? when I discuss this with my US friends (those who are happy to have that discussion) they agree with me, but say that the gun lobby wields too much power for anything to change. So sad …

    Like

    1. I am glad that you can have a sensible discussion about this, Sarah. But quitting isn’t helpful nor is acceptance of the curent situation as is. Reform could happen and I want to believe something will change.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s too bad that the impression of Americans is that we all want to own guns, and protect our right to keep them. You said it in your sub-head “Why do Americans feel that having a gun makes them safe?” American don’t feel this way. SOME Americans feel this way. And while there are many vocal crazies out there, the majority of Americans want tougher gun laws, stronger background checks, and bans on such things as assault weapons. Even those who own guns.
    The problem of getting tougher controls has been in almost impossibly slow legislation, and courts that strike down sensible laws. Much of this can be placed firmly on the gun lobby which is rich and powerful, and fear mongering.
    Additionally, many of the statistics you read about % of population that own guns are not talking about just handguns, but hunting rifles as well. Here in New England, the more urban states like Massachusetts and Connecticut have lower rates of ownership, 14% and 23% respectively, while the rural areas where many people still hunt have higher rates, Maine and Vermont at about 50%. I grew up with hunting rifles in the house, and most of the people I know did too. Deer hunting is a way of life here. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who own the assault weapons, there certainly are, and they belong to groups that can be more than a little frightening.
    I, personally, don’t know a single person, even among the (multiple) gun owners, who opposes tougher legislation to try to keep guns out of the hands of the crazies.
    Just sayin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Dorothy! I am so happy to read your comment and know that that are still many Americans who approve of tougher gun laws. I want to believe things can change. And I am aware of the inclusion of hunting rifles in the stats. Just like I know of people here in Australia, that have guns in their house, locked up and carefully stored according to regulations. There will always be individuals with mental ill health and frightened individuals, but choosing to kill innocent people and children with them is quite another level – as if they want to be noticed. They want notoreity. How can this be altered? Besides legislation, is there anything that can reverse the thought that a gun is a solution to weakness?

      Like

      1. Sadly, there is no easy answer. I put so much of this violence squarely in the hands of violent video games and websites in the hands of (sorry mostly) immature young males who have had no direction or parenting in their lives. The lines between fantasy and reality blur, and the extreme violence is their everyday experience on the screens, hours and hours of it. It’s all a tragedy waiting to happen.

        Like

        1. This cohort of males that are addicted to violent video games is not exclusively American. They seem to be prevalent in all cultures and countries. Yet the video game makers take no responsibility for the consequences of the material (read: rubbish), they produce. Desensitizing young forming brains to repeated acts of violence, shootings and killings on screen with more and more realistic images, where the most ruthless and violent wins, and this is entertainment? I’d like to see them banned. If there was some way of measuring the adverse effects, it would have a start in the right direction. But access to guns is the other factor presenting opportunity to these disturbed minds. I think of all the soldiers affected by PTSD from fighting in conflicts and they are recreating that terror over and over in from of their eyes on a daily basis. Often these guys have no other purpose or life direction or fall vulnerable to extremist groups or conspiracy theories. The internet is in some ways, the vector that allowed the genie to escape the bottle.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Dorothy, for your comment. You said everything I wanted to say. This misconception that “all Americans” love guns perpetuates a myth about our country. The gun lobby and their ownership of politicians is a huge problem and, like a lot of problems we have in our country that politicians avoid working on, I firmly believe that public funding of elections would benefit us all.

      Just to add, I don’t own a gun and I’ve never felt the need for one. We don’t “all” own them and we don’t “all” live in a violent world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love reading that you don’t live in a violent world, Janis and part of the reason for this post was to gauge how much fear was out there, (at least in my blogger community). Whilst I was writing about America’s challenge with guns and America’s politician’s limp response to gun control, it does not seem a purely American phenomenon. Other countries too face this challenge. I like that you put forward the suggestion of publicly funded elections. If most politicians have something of this nature to hide, how would it ever get through the parliament? A charismatic morally strong leader might sway a few and we can hope for more, in time. Meanwhile, I believe most of my American friends are eminently sensible and many would not carry a gun.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t understand the gun culture at all. In Canada as I understand most personal guns are hunting rifles, and I don’t know a single person that owns one. This six year old as a shooter has really bothered me too. In previous school shootings the news has said that school staff should be armed to protect everyone. Gun supporters cannot see how incredible ridiculous this is. As you have suggested more guns don’t make you safer. Good post. Maggie

    Like

    1. Hi Maggie and thanks ever so much for your comment. Good to hear the Canadian perspective. Like Norway, many people hunt and even children hunt. I was bit taken aback that Norwegian children as young as 8 or 10 learn how to shoot a hunting rifle in Norway. Albeit with some kind of training, I was told.
      The stats on guns in Australia that I posted also included hunting rifles. My husband’s distant farming relatives used guns to shoot birds on crops! Regional Australians shoot kangaroos or wild boars when their numbers cause issues for them. Of course, there still are accidents and domestic violence occurrences with these guns in Australia, however, the restrictions that are in place seemed to curtail an explosive increase (no pun intended) in the use of guns for violence and it definitely stopped the incidence of mass shootings. It is sad that it takes a mass shooting to change attitudes – people have to die for leaders to realize the consequences. In this regard, American politicians seem oblivious. It is troubling that they don’t understand that more guns don’t equal more safety – as you alluded. Attitudes need to change and how to do that is the big question.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yep, this is THE question. I grew up around guns, live in an area that is all about gun rights, am friends with a women whose husband works in the gun industry… and I have no answer. I cannot explain Americans love affair with firearms, but I realize it exists. I don’t like it, but there you go many things my fellow Americans embrace baffle me.

    Like

    1. You sound like you are close to the gun culture in your area, yet you are strong enough to remain philosophically opposed to it. I would like to better understand the pro-gun lobby thinking. It appears as a deep-rooted fear and cultural response that sees defending oneself is possible with a weapon. The vehement defence of something that, in itself, is violent and deadly is troubling. From the comments, it seems there are many Americans that favour gun control, yet so many Americans, conflictingly, feel the need to carry a gun? I also have the impression that many Americans think the US constitution is a sacred document unable to be altered, much like how religious folk think of the Bible. Could that be another part of the medusa-like obstacle in changing attitudes?

      Like

      1. I’d like to see guns registered, insured, and the owner with a license that needs to be renewed every few years. It won’t happen because the gun lobby rules and spreads fear in all its messages. If murdering children in schools isn’t enough to get them to change their tune, nothing will.

        Like

        1. Spreading fear in their messages: yes, I noticed that. The gun lobby’s message is persuasive, emotive and forceful and it promotes panic. Playing to the negative gains attention. You are right – child murderers cross a boundary, yet they still see a one size fits all solution – more guns.
          Licensing – that requires renewing is a good start to reverse that thought pattern and creates some level of accountability.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I feel all legal firearms should be registered and their owners licensed and insured. In my home state of Texas, however, our esteemed Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican-dominated state legislature bowed to right-wing extremists (their base) and ensured no official licensing would be required; a practice that went into effect 2 years ago. That essentially means any idiot can tote around a firearm without many legal consequences. It’s outrageously ironic that people have to register to vote and provide a limited number of acceptable documentation to prove their citizenship.

            https://guides.sll.texas.gov/gun-laws/license-to-carry

            Like

            1. We are so used to firearms being restricted to license holders that it seems like the wild west to NOT have some documentation to regulate and monitor who walks around with a lethal weapon. I just can’t get my head around that.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Therein lies the contradiction, Gerard. America is the land of the free and home of the brave. But for some Americans, bravery seems to come along with a loaded holster and a rigidity of attitudes towards free choice. Solving problems with a bullet, by paying a politician or imposing outdated morals. I value my American friends who do not feel this way but it sounds awfully like deeply ingrained fears to me and the desire for power.

      Like

  7. An interesting article and equally interesting comments above too. By coincidence, we shared dinner with two Americans and two South Africans this week, here in Panama. The conversation turned to gun ownership and gun laws – you can imagine the different opinions and experience between us English and the other four. Apart from farmers, I’ve never met anyone who owns a gun. The other four didn’t know anyone who doesn’t. The American keeps three in his house and one in his car which he has in his lap as he drives. And the response of the Americans to a suggestion of gun control was a very firm, unequivocal, “nonsense, gun control would ruin society. If America bans guns, then every gun will be owned by a criminal and the rest of us will live in fear for our lives”. It’s never going to be easy to shake such deep rooted opinions.

    Like

    1. Amazing that your life and the lives of the other four could be so different in terms of gun ownership. Like you, I don’t know any civilian (bar two sporting shooters), who owns a gun. It just isn’t on the radar here. If people want to commit a violent act, they could use a knife or other implement, which is an argument that gun lobby uses for their purpose, but having a gun in the house that isn’t locked up appropriately increases the incidences of tragic accidents with children and innocents. It normalizes deadly weapons as a necessary tool. Yet we cannot solve our problems with a gun. Nor with a knife for that matter. It is strange that your American friend thought gun control meant he would have to be living with fear the rest of his life – It sounds like he has already been living in fear for much of his life. 25 million Australians must be doing just that as are New Zealanders and Britons and many others…

      Did he say he has ever needed to use his guns?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A six year old brings a gun to school and shoots his teacher. It’s terrible, inexplicable. Sad thing is tomorrow, next week there will be another shooting that makes headline news.
    Might it only be the rejection of gun lobbyists supporting political parties that brings it to an end?

    Like

    1. I agree Kevin. This incident of a 6 year old shooting a teacher or another innocent person will not be the last shocking event using a gun. From the comments, it seems there are loads of Americans that support gun control but the Politicians are not listening. A different breed of politicians with astute leaders could help to slowly change attitudes but that seems like a pipedream under the current system. Information on funding of electoral candidates and transparency is vital, if there are alternative candidates to vote for, who cannot be corrupted.

      Like

  9. This right here: “Is the NRA’s hold via monetary support and pressure to politicians so great that it cannot reverse America’s thinking?” Yes, indeed. I’ve heard that the majority of Americans support greater gun regulation and yet “our” politicians work to loosen regulation. Case-in-point: In my state of Florida, the governor is pushing legislation to allow permitless carry. We already have way too many deaths due to guns; this will only make it worse.

    The NRA used to be about gun education and safety until they discovered the power of money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It must be frustrating to see that politicians have subverted the people’s wish for more gun control and play instead to the fear that more guns will make things better and safer. If everyone has a gun – how on earth will society be safer? What madness? Interesting that the NRA was about gun education and safety. Disgusting that it has now become twisted to about protection through lethal weaponry and the relaxing of rules. I hope this rising gun culture is not a foreboding sign of the America of the future. Where every problem is solved by the use of a gun. That is simply anarchy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We need only to look to Australia to see how a more civilized country would respond to gun violence. The evidence is there that more guns=more violence and fewer guns=less violence but (some) Americans have been brainwashed. Then there’s the cynical realization that too many people in power are simply motivated by money and the acquisition of more power. I don’t have high hopes for my country, at least not within my lifetime and as long as I live in the South. I do think Millennials (you know, I really hate categorizing people by their age group but for the sake of clarity) will have a positive impact politically. They already showed their might in the 2022 midterms and kept the “Red wave” from happening. There’ll be more of them voting in 2024 🤞

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am sad to hear that you confirm my suspicions of the gun culture in America. Australia is by no means perfect but I do like that we restricted guns to the extent that it is possible to do so. There was some moves to slacken assault weapons – but there was such a public backlash I don’t think it passed into law.
          I am so glad to hear that the young people are keen to change the Government for the better. You are not done yet!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Amanda, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that most Americans love Australians. And it’s not just because of your accents (to us) and imports such as Outback Steakhouse (a popular restaurant chain in the U.S.) and Nicole Kidman. It’s more of your country’s renegade spirit and its desire to grab life by the throat and squeeze every ounce of energy from it.

            Yet, despite that unrequited vigor and enthusiasm, Australia maintains a sense of dignity and respect for life that’s indicative of any truly democratic society. Please understand most Americans share that philosophy. It’s just that the gun rights lobby (a relatively small assemblage) has managed to carve a position for itself in the American political arena and impose its twisted will upon the minds of some elected officials. The latter has allowed itself to become intimidated by right-wing ideology.

            Like

            1. Nice to know that Australians are thought of in such fond terms, but you must understand that there are a fair few bogans here too. (Who can be racist right-wingers). That being said, I would hope my country exudes a spirit of egalitarian optimism as it is what we were founded on. The concept of “a fair go,” and “she’ll be right, mate,” is still strong and indicative of the general population, whereas somewhere like Europe is known more for its traditional values. But there’s no need for a firearm, here, thank goodness.
              I didn’t know we exported outback steakhouse! The closest Outback Steakhouse near me used to be called the Lone Star Tavern which ironically, sounds more American!

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Lord! Don’t get me started on America’s obsession with guns! As a social and political moderate who values the right to vote over the right to own a firearm, I often find myself at odds with others. Poll after poll proves that most Americans view gun-related crimes as epidemic and favor more restrictions on firearms than so-called leaders would admit. The gun lobby in the U.S. has metamorphosed into an oligarchy that holds powerful sway over many politicians. Here in my home state of Texas, the legislature has made it more difficult to vote and easier to obtain and carry a gun. I just can’t comprehend such twisted priorities.

    As for the 6-year-old who shot his teacher, a new development states that someone at that school informed a colleague the boy might have a firearm in his possession. Someone supposedly searched the child’s backpack earlier that same day, but found nothing. I don’t know how one can miss a gun in a child’s backpack. The gun belonged to the boy’s mother who has a license to carry a firearm and had purchased it legally. I believe she’s cooperating with authorities, but she’s facing some serious criminal charges. The boy is in the care of the state. Another item of interest is that the boy allegedly pointed the gun deliberately at his teacher before pulling the trigger. In other words, it wasn’t an accidental shooting.

    I think a key problem in the U.S. is that we view violence as acceptable, but nudity and sexuality as obscene. “We” doesn’t include myself. I’m more in line with Asian and European thinking in that violence is the true obscenity. I think Americans invented slapstick comedy.

    Regardless, until some elected officials develop a strong enough fortitude to take on the gun lobby in the U.S., we’ll continue to experience this kind of madness.

    Like

    1. It is a touchy subject, Alejandro and I wasn’t sure I should discuss it given that a lot of my readers come from America. But perhaps my voice might still be useful in some minute way. I like that you value the right to vote over the right to own a firearm and it is sad to read that you often find myself at odds with others. Texas has a reputation but reading other comments, it is not a state that is alone in this. I find it absolutely madness and can’t understand why there isn’t a revolution when the legislators are not representing the people’s wishes: i.e. making it more difficult to vote and easier to obtain and carry a gun seems both totally mindless and heartless. It sure is a twisted priority. For what purpose? Their lives may be even at higher risk due to their position, so it is an amazing level of stupidity. Clearly you can push any boundary with enough money. I was telling my husband about the latest info you provided above on the boy murderer and he said that it would have been a deliberate act of pre-meditated murder, even if the child didn’t understand the consequences. He had to get the gun, take it to school, remove it from his bag, hold it correctly and aim it – then pulling the trigger.The latter part can be imitation of what he had seen, either in his family or on a screen, but the conscious act of taking it to school and then thinking of using it on the teacher beggars belief. And what of the other children in the classroom that witnessed that?
      Perhaps you are right in that violence has become acceptable in your country. Violence has become a way to solve problems easily by being a more powerful person where the person lacks any other skill with dealing with confrontation and conflict. Slapstick comedy – perhaps that was a seed that grew? I always hated that genre and found it incredibly hard to watch. I see kids young enough to sit in the seat in a supermarket trolley looking at screen of high-stimulus, noisy, voilent video games and I can’t understand any parent feeling okay with that. It is a strange approach to raising a child. When my son was born, I felt I wanted to protect him from knowing about all the evil in the world for as long as possible. Why expose them? How can that be providing them with security and a sense of safety, something that is a fundamental human need?
      Australia is quite an egalitarian place to live but I sometimes joke that I was born in the wrong hemisphere. Europe and Scandinavia appeals to me more at the very least in terms of weather but also environmentally and culturally. Given that you said you were more aligned with Asian and European thinking, I wonder how you juggle the challenges of living in the gun-toting culture in the USA?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m actually not alone in my thinking. Even a large number of gun owners understand the need to balance the right to gun ownership with basic legislation concerning it. I know a number of them. The problem simply is that the most extreme individuals have the loudest voices.

        Another factor that is rarely discussed is that the violence racking our southern neighbor is an adverse by-product of firearm proliferation in the U.S. México doesn’t have the equivalent of a 2nd Amendment to its constitution; it’s illegal there for average citizens to own guns. But that hasn’t prevented the development of something called the “Iron Pipeline” – an unofficial pathway from the U.S. into México for illegal firearms. Of course criminal gangs (drug cartels) make good usage of this. While so many conservative Americans are obsessed with illegal immigration from Latin America along the U.S.-México border, the real problem is that firearm pipeline. Much of Latin America has been plagued in recent decades with the violence inflicted by those cartels. The latter groups don’t have to go far in search of weaponry and therefore operate with seeming impunity. Latin American governments apparently can’t control them. But curiously, México seems reticent to declare drug cartels as terrorist organizations, which they clearly are.

        https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2600/text?r=67&s=1

        Another key problem is the appetite for illegal narcotics in the U.S. The introduction of opioids in 1996 accelerated what was already a drug epidemic here. I’ve often pointed out that I have little sympathy for drug addicts, since their cravings are inadvertently responsible for the incessant violence both along the U.S.-México border and deeper into many parts of Latin America. That is one thing fueling the rise in illegal immigration into the U.S. The Mexican government also likes to point out that for every one of their citizens who uses illegal drugs, there are up to 10 Americans who do the same.

        Regardless, the gun culture in the U.S. is entrenched in the American psyche. Like most nations in the Western Hemisphere, our history is written in blood. And that blood came from people struggling to make a living, while battling indigenous populations for what some thought was unsecured and free land; meaning the European colonizers felt the need to destroy native populations and then import African slaves to work that land.

        Again, I have to emphasize that the majority of Americans – even gun owners – want sensible restrictions on the firearm industry.

        Like

        1. Thanks for telling me about the iron pipeline, Alejandro. I had not heard of that. The black market for guns can only exacerbate violence. Totally agree with you on the drug front. I hate drugs and what they do a person. I hate drug cartels even more and governments unwilling to tackle the issue head on. America is not alone in having a bloody history. Early Americans considered the mid-west unsecured as did the British in Australia. Only now are the indigenous getting recognition and apologies and hopefully very soon a “voice to parliament.” The first move to incorporating recognition into the constitution. Thanks to our fast-moving pro-active government.
          It has been comforting to read that the gun culture is not across the board in USA. And unlike my previous encounters – I haven’t been abused in publishing this post! There is hope yet that people can change the culture!

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh what a loaded conversation this could be. I’ve heard both sides of this conversation and hope I express myself clearly and without any malice to either side. My son carries concealed from state to state with permits. He was an LA county Sheriff trained officer. He does not have assault weapons but feels the need to keep himself armed in many situations. There seems to be a spray of stupid that has come over much of our country. I don’t know where it started and I would like to see it stop but it seems to be growing. The first funeral I ever went to was for and 8 year-old shot by a 6 yr old. The father left the gun loaded in the closet. My father sold his hunting rifle right after that funeral. There were 3 small children in our house with no safe place to lock up a rifle. He was military and the rifle provided meat. He decided it might be better if we had no meat. I know how to shoot a gun and blind as a bat, I can hit my target dead center. My son wanted me to keep a handgun and know how to use one because I lived alone. My thinking did not please him and he thinks I’m a bit crackers for this but I believe I have Angels watching over me so I don’t need a gun. If I’m wrong, oh well. So far I have been protected from several life threatening occasions without a gun. I watch as a good friend repeatedly called the police to disarm her husband who was bi-polar and threatening to kill her. The police took his guns and a week later he went to the store and bought another. This was repeated several times even after I convinced her to leave him. He ended up using the last gun on himself. The guilt killed her. I think things need to change and mostly it’s attitude. Fear is running us and we have lost common sense here. My daughter and I were looking for another country to move to but getting entry is not so easy. I’m hoping she will go without me soon. I’m almost done here anyway and live in stupid country. My state is off the charts in that regard but trying to change. We have the first Democrat Governor is gosh knows how many years. It’s a very conservative state and believe Trump is god. I’m just trusting my Angels to keep me safe from crazy. I sound a little crazy too but I’m not armed. 🙂

    Like

    1. “Loaded” conversation in more ways than one, Marlene. As usual, I value your astute input. It sounds like you have to tread a fine line there in your state with all the people who support or believe in Trump. That must be difficult. I am encouraged to see that you have a new Governor who hopefully can balance the influence of the nutter right wing of politics.
      I understand sometimes having a gun may be necessary. However, I am glad and admire you even more for not falling victim to the “protect yourself with a gun,” mentality. It would be so easy to slip into that, given the ease at which you can obtain a weapon.
      As an outsider looking in, the term, ‘spray of stupid’ is an apt term, but I do realize that there are also many sensible people trying to live out their lives amongst certain radical thinkers. You don’t sound crazy at all to me for trusting in something that is meaninful to you, besides a gun, to keep you safe. You are familiar with guns but don’t go around toting a pistol every time someone pisses you off, or acts suspiciously. It is shocking to think that the first funeral you went to was of a child shooting another child. So utterly tragic. One of the reasons I wrote the post is to highlight the trigger that fear can be. Fear is not a new phenomenon to the human existence and I think there are other ways to solve it besides violence and a gun or a war. Humans that feel insecure and have easy access to guns do seem to have a knee-jerk reaction as a self-preserving mechanism. In small numbers this isn’t too much of a problem, but with America’s population it could be. I do hope your country finds a way to address it before your daughter is forced to leave. That is pretty sad.
      Changing attitudes could be a start to more calculated measures such as better background and mental health checks. Domestic violence is increasing and there must be so many women at risk i the U.S. as there are loads at risk here – even with gun restrictions, other implements are used. Access to guns merely exacerbates a fragile situation as they are more deadly.
      And you are armed! Not with a gun but with a tremendous amount of wisdom and common sense. I wish there was more of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Well said, as always. And I couldn’t agree with this statement more – “Australians don’t see America as the same country that saved the free world in WWII. USA has changed.” And my country has changed, sadly, in too many wrong-headed ways. Children (and adults) continue to be slaughtered in our schools and the gun advocates only offer anemic “thoughts & prayers.” I don’t want them; I want gun control, instead. And the Republican politicians who are beholden to the gun lobby (i.e., the vast majority) at all levels are becoming more crazed by the day. In fact, I’m working on a post myself related to the nonsense all these open carry laws are creating, pointed out in this piece from The New York Times – https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/02/us/atlanta-gun-laws.html. The USA is in deep trouble, not just because of the guns but because of voter suppression, ever more visible racism and discrimination and on and on. The U.S. society – or at least the part that votes Republican is a self-centered holier-than-thou rabble. And I take no pleasure in having to say it.

    Like

Everyone is important. What do you have to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.