On the 3rd and 4th of August 2019, 32 people were killed and 51 injured in two separate mass shootings in America. Hundreds of family members and friends left grieving, and bystanders forever replaying the traumatic circumstance again and again inside their heads. Communities destroyed by the loss of life, thousands fearful of the future and millions left shocked and overwhelmed by the situation.

I am Australian. I feel helpless. I can’t even begin to gain a comprehensive understanding of the American system and the obsession with guns. In April 1996, the Port Arthur massacre left 35 people killed and 23 injured, one of Australia’s largest mass shootings, and one of the last mass shootings. After the massacre, Prime Minister, John Howard, restricted the legal ownership and use of self-loading rifles, shotguns and tightened recreational shooters guidelines. A “buy-back” scheme was introduced, costing millions of dollars, but protecting the lives of Australians. It is no coincidence that the rate of mass shootings in Australia has declined since the new legislative reforms. A study by scholars at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University found that the 22-year absence of mass shootings in Australia are due to chance is 1 in 200,000. The argument that ‘gun control does not stop mass shootings’ is illogical.

Yes, I understand that American and Australia are different countries, with different customs and cultures. What I don’t understand is the constant denial of guns being linked to shootings and the deaths of innocent civilians.

Currently, I see no change occurring in America for several years. Donald Trump is reliant on the support of the NRA and Trump will still be president of the next year…at least. Responding to the recent mass shootings, Trump made a statement regarding the introduction of the death penalty for individuals who commit hate crimes. There are some significant issues with this new legislation:

  1. If we are honest, most individuals who commit hate crimes are either a) killed by law enforcement or b) commit suicide during the act of terrorism. This new legislation which is going to ‘stop the systemic shootings in America’ will have no impact. Murdering multiple people is not a thought which enters the mind of a mentally stable person, the people who commit these crimes have already acknowledged the fact that they may die, they are willing to take that risk to achieve their aims, this new legislation will not act as a deterrent at all.
  2. Try and think of a time in our world when violence helps in ceasing violence. I would love someone to tell me somewhere that violence stopped violence. This is archaic thinking, but it is popular thinking. You hit me, so I will hit you back. This thinking fuels retaliation, it fuels the systemic violence, which is currently plaguing American society. What we have seen in our world over the past few years, is the back and forth retaliation of race-inspired terrorist attacks, from Christchurch to Sri Lanka and now to El Paso in Texas.

I want to go to America and speak to the NRA. I need to understand their obsession with guns and why they think that the answers to mass shootings are more guns. Why are weapons of destruction more important than innocent lives? These guns are not for protection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rR9IaXH1M0), the second amendment was created because there was no military within America, so what are we left with? We have guns because we want guns. Now is the time for Americans to rise up against the powerful NRA and Trump in the upcoming election. Change must occur now because as stated earlier, these retaliation attacks will continue, and more innocent lives will be lost.

Guns or people. For me, the answer is obvious. Maybe I will never know why for others the decision is so difficult to make.

36 thoughts on “America and Guns

  1. You mention that you see nothing changing in America ‘for several years’. I am afraid my own opinion if far gloomier. I can never see it changing. Ever. If anything, the recent (2019) relaxation of gun laws in some states has made it even easier to own a firearm.
    It is in the psyche of Americans to want guns. Drilled into them from birth, fuelled by a history of the ‘pioneer spirit’, the wild west, war films, survivalist mentality, and a fear of crime, and foreigners.

    Protecting the ‘homestead’ has been in their DNA since the 1700s, and in what is perhaps the most patriotic country on earth, defending that country (even though it is unlikely EVER to be invaded) by owning firearms is seen as a basic human right.

    I hope you do get to talk to the NRA one day. Sadly, I suspect that their attitude will make you even more depressed about the issue.

    Very best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Pete, I appreciate your insight from someone with a greater understanding on the underlying nature of guns in America.

      Do you think that the recent mass shootings have made people consider the possibility of increasing gun control?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am sure that a large percentage of the population is keen to see ‘gun control’. However, this is mostly centred around the issue of large capacity magazines, and assault rifles. Even many outright Liberals there are not opposed to personal gun ownership of hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns.
        So even if assault rifles were banned, someone could buy four pistols, each with a 13-round capacity, and a shotgun that takes six shells. That collection could be carried in a sports bag, and would still be capable of potentially killing 58 people.
        Many of the parents of children killed in mass shootings have said in interviews that they continue to support gun ownership.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Okay yes that is true.
        Wow that last comment you made about the parents of children in mass shootings really shocked me. Is it because gun ownership is so deeply imbedded within the minds of American people that it can never be the cause of death?

        Liked by 2 people

  2. When human lives are valued more than money, that is when change will happen. We live in a sad America right now.
    People here love their guns and when you mention gun control the first thing they shout is you can’t take our guns away. It’s insane. Kids are murdered in schools, malls, grocery stores, walmart, and still little to nothing has been done. We need to adopt laws from other countries when it comes to gun control. Thank you for speaking out about this. I hope you will get to talk to the NRA, I want a front seat

    Liked by 2 people

      1. An amazing article which shows that you ‘get it’ about our gun problem in America. I read the comments here and those folks completely understand it also. Almost nothing I could add (Almost nothing? Ha! I could write a book!)

        I first want to answer your question on our blog (On The Fence Voters) and then I may make a further comment here for the benefit of your other readers.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very insightful. The Second Amendment, which is the basis of the proliferation and arming of America, was written at a different time and was not intended to have more guns on the streets of America than there are men, women, and children. As long as the government and the courts continue to interpret the Second Amendment as a license for everyone to carry firearms, even military-style assault weapons, nothing will change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It frustrates me when people use the excuse ‘it’s in my second amendment’ as a reason why they should be able to use guns to hurt others, it seems as if original intentions of the amendment have been lost in translate, or people would rather not think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is an excellent post, a clear view of what is happening in this nation today. I often find that those who are on the other side of the pond, so to speak, have a better perception of things in this nation … you know that expression, “can’t see the forest for the trees” … we are sometimes too close, too wrapped up in the day-to-day detritus. May I have your permission to re-blog this post on Filosofa’s Word?

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    1. Thank you very much, I appreciate that very much, I think sharing our ideas is a great way we are able to share perspectives, which allow us to gain a greater understanding of the world around us. Definitely, that is fine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you!!! Yes, civil discourse, sharing ideas, help us to better understand others, their cultures, values, etc. Sadly, in this day and age, civil discourse seems to be largely replaced by ranting. Thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    This afternoon’s post comes from Simeon Levine, a young man of 17 years living in Australia. Though he lives 9,500 miles away, in another hemisphere, and has only spent 17 years on this planet, Mr. Levine sees as clearly as any, more than most in this country, the culture of guns in the U.S. Thank you, Simeon Levine, for this post and for your generous permission to re-blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Young man, you have eloquently stated what should be glaringly obvious to any mature thinking person. Sadly, America appears to have less mature and thinking people these days. The prevailing attitude by the NRA that ‘guns do not kill people, people kill people’ is illogical at best. One might well ask them how many people have died as the result of a loaded finger? That the Second Amendment is clearly being used to protect and justify an overabundance of gun ownership is also glaringly obvious. Until the NRA no longer fills the pockets of politicians, there is little hope of passing any sane legislation such as that which Australia and New Zealand have enacted. I would very much like to be present should you ever get to speak to the NRA and I would definitely give you a standing ovation! My gratitude to Jill for sharing this post, I shall be following you. Thank-YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words of my writing. I totally agree with you and I feel for people in America, with what seems to be a difficult environment to create change when power is so deeply controlled by the NRA and Government. Unfortuantely, these shootings are going to continue. We must act now, otherwise more innocent lives will be lost.

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    2. Ellen, good add. The truism is “Guns don’t kill people; people with access to guns kill people.” The corollary is people with access to guns that shoot many bullets with one pull of the trigger kill many people.” Keith

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Americans, and Canadians too, gained their lands by killing. They (well, at least some of “they”) are scared they are going to lose their lands by being killed. They are scared with a passion that what goes around comes around. They firmly believe they have to protect themselves, and they need guns to do it!
    It does not seem to matter that their crimes are over two hundred years old, those who feel this way, and though those crimes will never be forgotten by those whose lives they destroyed, and they now outnumber the red man by millions to one, they still hold that fear. It is instilled in them from birth.
    Also, you mentioned their patriotism, which is maniacal for many–they really do believe that they are the most superior nation on earth, and that everyone is gunning for them. This fear too is irrational, but they do not care. They hide behind their walls holding guns, and pass laws that enable them to legally shoot trespassers on their land.
    I hesitate to call them all psychotic, I know a lot of very fine and wonderful Americans, but those are not the ones who rule right now. The ones who do rule are making life horrible for everyone the world over. They have the guns to kill millions at the drop of one bomb! And they are crazy enough to use them…
    Rant finished, for now.
    I could add the facts about the mass murderers, but everyone already knows them…

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    1. Thank you for this comment, it definitely helped me gain a wider perspective. The issue is that we live in a society where if one person or a couple of people make choices that take the life of others, it effects everyone. Although there are some good gun owners, who are careful and responsible, there are others who are not, and we must carry the bottom of society, not leave them to their own accord to run around.

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  8. This is well done. I am an American who has been writing updated versions of the same blog post asking for better gun governance, ar a minimun. At a maximum, I would love to see the reinstatement of the assault ban. I applaud Australia and, recently, New Zealand for acting to make change.

    In short, it is all about money here. The NRA’s actions represents gun sellers, not owners. They want to perpetuate sales under the guise of protecting rights. With their money and political gerrymandering, they control scared politicians.

    It is sad that they care more about owning an assault weapon than saving lives. Thanks again, Keith

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    1. Thank you Keith for your message. It is sad to hear but often that is the reality of modern life. Money can have such control over people and their decision making, leaving them lost because at the end of the day money runs out and goes away. I wish you all the best in your pursuit for better gun governance within America and I hope that other people join with you in leading change within America.

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      1. Thanks. Money influences. Over 90% of Americans want background checks on every purchase and 70% (including 54% of Republicans) want the ban on assault weapons reinstated. Yet, politcians are too scared to do the right thing. Scared of the NRA, scared of Trump and scared of Trump’s base. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for that great information. I think this next election for your country will be fascinating but also scary. I hope that an inspiring leader can rise up through the mess, because I fear what another term of Trump will lead to.

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      3. If you know people in the states, please share your concerns. Unfortunately, many supporters of Trump have little idea how poor his reputation is abroad. Fox News masks the global criticism and Trump controls far too many with his tweets – he is the biggest purveyor of fake news in America.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you, Simeon, for your willingness to share your thoughts and ideas regarding gun control. If only more people thought as clearly as you do, perhaps we could start to solve the gun problem we have in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I Posted this on my FB page two days ago: Background checks are all very well – nearly everyone is for them. But they would not have flushed out and stopped the shooters in El Paso or Las Vegas. A ban on assault weapons is required (again). Who needs them unless they are going to be a mass shooter? Similar weapons were used in Dayton, Gilroy, Orlando and El Paso.

    Liked by 1 person

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