Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston





Monday, October 5, 2015

Australia Talks About Our Gun Culture

After a string of gun massacres over the last 3 years that have left hundreds dead and thousands injured, the United States has had a much different response. America has done nothing.
In the wake of Oregon mass murder, Australians are disgusted and perplexed by the American response.
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Michael Pascoe blasted American society as immature and unable to take basic actions to save lives:
In his very fine speech this morning, full of sorrow and frustration, President Obama made a mistake: Australia is not like the United States. We decided not to be.
We decided to grow up instead and become a more reasonable, rational society that explicitly values human life and prefers to think the best of people, rather than the worst.
The US is too immature a society to be allowed to play with guns. It has never shed its Wild West mythology. Americans still use their courts to kill people, which sends a message in its own way… It’s a country that values property more than life.
An editorial in Brisbane Times castigates America’s inaction on guns:
At Oregon last week, four guns were recovered – three pistols and a semi-automatic rifle. Did Mercer have the right to bear those arms? Yes, he did. From that question and answer flows the grim crimson tide. And from that flows, as always, the arrant nonsense from the NRA, and those of like mind, that guns are good, that guns are not the problem, that the president is politicising the issue. He should be, indeed he has been, with limited success. However, such is the web of lobbying, money, political support and sway, interconnected with the myriad legal jurisdictions, that we despair of seeing radical progress.
Yet we must condemn. America prides itself on being a light in the world for democracy and liberty. Yet within its borders it is armed to the teeth. This is a tyranny, borne on a historical anomaly, that must end. Surely, if the phrase “land of the free” stands for anything, it is the embracing of the freedom not to have to live in fear of the gun., which bills itself as “Australia’s most popular news site,” suggested it was time for America to rethink the 2nd Amendment saying “the legacy of America itself” was at stake:
You sense that President Obama’s legacy as President is on the line here. But so, too, is the legacy of America itself.
America’s gun laws date back to the period in the late 1700s and the time of the War of Independence against Britain. It’s in this long gone era that the second amendment to the constitution was passed — an amendment which permitted and today still permits gun ownership to all.
This archaic law is viewed as sacrosanct by some, but Mr Obama clearly believes it must be challenged.
The same site interviewed David Herber, an Australian who lives near UCC in Oregon. Herber said he supported more gun control in America, but the political system in the United States is dysfunctional:
“As you are likely aware we have had a great many similar tragedies in the United States,” he said.
“Several that you would have thought would shift the needle of political debate, like Sandy Hook, have really done nothing other than become talking points in the national debate”…
“The majority of Americans worship the Second Amendment more than the Bible”…
The disgust is not limited to Australian shores. The New York Times struck a similar note. “Mass shootings have become an unsurprising part of American life, with lame public rituals in which politicians express grief and then retreat quickly into denial about this scourge,” t


Shaw Kenawe said...

E.J. Dionne, WaPo:

"President Obama spoke some of the most important words of his tenure last week in response to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. “This is something we should politicize,” the president said. “It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.” [...]

Politicians who go on about American greatness should be ashamed of saying that the United States is the one and only nation that can’t act effectively to solve a problem every other free and democratic country has contained."

Jerry Critter said...

The gun lobby and gun nuts try to make the argument about the second amendment, but it is not. We already have regulations on gun ownership. Regulations have already been declared constitutional. End of argument! The question is, What is more important, money or people?

Shaw Kenawe said...

From Saletan @Slate:

"Obama’s hypothesis—that the problem is the gun supply—relies on logic and comparative statistics. According to figures detailed by the Council on Foreign Relations and summarized by

The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world—by far. And it has the highest rate of homicides with guns among advanced countries. … The firearms homicide rate, and homicide rate overall, is also higher in the U.S. than other advanced countries, such as Canada, Australia and those in Europe, according to data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

PolitiFact presents a more complex table, using data from researchers who looked at mass shootings in 11 countries from 2000 to 2014.

During this period, four high-fatality incidents in low-population countries—Norway, Finland, and Switzerland—inflated their per capita death tolls from mass shootings, making them appear more dangerous than the United States. Statistically, this is an artifact of extremely low sample size. We easily surpassed every other country in per capita mass shooting victims—including all the countries with three or more mass shooting incidents—and our homicide rate was at least three times higher than the rate in every country but Mexico."

Shaw Kenawe said...

More from the article:

"...politicians aren’t just tossing around idle rhetoric about depravity and mental illness. They’re betting people’s lives on the hunch that these factors—not the supply of weapons—account for gun fatalities. After Newtown, Rubio and his Senate colleagues killed legislation that would have tightened background checks for gun buyers. This year, Rubio introduced a bill to facilitate interstate gun purchases and remove local control of firearms laws in the District of Columbia. Christie vetoed a ban on .50 caliber rifles, as well as the 10-round limit on magazine capacity. Kasich signed laws that made it easier to carry a concealed weapon and to bring it into a bar or stadium. Both governors have waived or relaxed safety training requirements.

At no point has any of these men—or, for that matter, any other Republican presidential candidate—offered a plausible reason to believe that something unique in American psychology, rather than our high volume of firearms, explains our homicide rate. They have yet to answer the challenge Obama put to them not just on Thursday, but a year ago during a conversation with tech executive David Karp:

The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis. And yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than anyplace else. Well, what’s the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses, and that’s sort of par for the course.

It’s not enough for Republicans to poke holes in Obama’s theory. They have to present a credible alternative explanation. And they have to square it with their perpetual insistence that they, unlike Obama, believe there’s something wonderfully exceptional in our nation’s character."

This article refutes the specious argument that Norway and the Netherlands have a higher rate of gun deaths per capita than the US. That's an argument that uses skewed stats to prove a false point.

The Surfer Dude said...

Man o Man! The far right wingnuts lie through their teeth and think no one will do research to find out they're lying liars?

Rusty Old Ford said...

At some point in time the U.S.A. may mature enough to be as smart as Australia.

Call Me Hank said...


"The Truthiness About Mass Shootings"

Truthiness: noun
the quality of seeming to be true according to one's intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, or the like:
the growing trend of truthiness as opposed to truth.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts."

"Members of conservative media are trumpeting a government report indicating that gun homicides have fallen as proof that the need for stronger gun laws is unwarranted, while ignoring multiple factors that could account for the decrease. At the same time, firearm violence continues to be a problem as firearm homicides have fallen less than serious violent crime in general and the rate of gun violence in the United States still far outpaces other high-income nations.

In a May report, the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) indicated that the number of gun homicides fell 39 percent from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011. The Pew Research Center adjusted the figures to represent per capita rates in its report on the BJS data, finding that the incidence of firearm homicide has fallen 49 percent during that time period.

Right-wing media have quickly seized upon this data to dismiss the need for stronger gun laws. According to the National Review Online's Charles C. W. Cooke, the BJS and Pew reports make "embarrassing reading for those who spend their time trying to make it appear as if America is in the middle of a gun-crime wave." John Nolte of wrote, "This report not only proves the media wrong, it proves the NRA right." Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin wrote that the reports represent "rotten data for anti-gun advocates trying to revive the Newtown, Conn., anti-gun legislative package." Townhall's Katie Pavlich, who is also a contributor at Fox News, added, "Once again more guns do in fact equal less crime."

But there is no logic to their arguments that data from the reports constitutes evidence against proposals to strengthen gun laws. Gun availability has been repeatedly linked to higher incidence of firearm homicides, and firearms remain the driving factor of homicides, with 70 percent of murders involving guns. According to an October 2012 report from BJS, the rate of serious violent crime declined 75 percent between 1993 and 2011, meaning that gun homicides are declining at a slower pace than overall crime."

Rational Nation USA said...

Behind it lies the desire by many to eventually ban ownership of firearms, even for hunting and sporting. That is my opinion.

My position is the USA needs uniform firearm laws across all fifty states. Structured on the most effective laws in states like MA, NY, and others.

We have a problem which is being largely
ignored by firearm advocates, manufactures, and the NRA in particular. This is irrational and as the Aussie said immature.

So, be active in advancing the cause for reducing firearm violence and uniform effective laws but understand the concerns of law abiding responsible firearm owners and let them know you support their right to own snd handle firearms responsibly.

Shaw Kenawe said...

First of all, I personally have no desire to ban ownership of guns for responsible gun owners.

Second, I agree with you that we need uniform gun laws.

There's something desperately wrong in a country that allows a special interest group (the NRA) to have the power to make our legislators pass a law that makes it illegal for doctors to EVEN ASK PARENTS IF THEIR GUNS ARE SECURED so that their children can't access them and kill their parents or their siblings by accident!!! But yet the NRA is so powerful that they've managed to pass that law and even bribe our Congressional cowards (Dems and Repubs) into not allowing research on firearm accidents and deaths!

This is insane.

BTW, responsible firearms owners agree. Even the NRA MEMBERSHIP supports background checks for mentally disturbed individuals! But our irresponsible, cowards in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, defeated what 90% of the American people, including NRA membership wanted.

This is insane and criminal. The NRA leadership are criminals.

Jerry Critter said...

Where is your evidence that there is a "desire by many to eventually ban ownership of firearms, even for hunting and sporting."?

I admit that there may be a FEW far left individuals advocating the ban on gun ownership, but it is by no means MANY. There is no mainstream progressive movement to ban gun ownership.

You are just fanning the flames of fear.

Rational Nation USA said...

I agree with you Shaw. My posistion and yours have but a sliver difference. Reason, sustained, and thoughtfully presented arguments, backed up by factual data (which you do well) WILL
ultimately win.

Perseverance and tenacity supported with factual data, absent emotionalism and judgemental pontifications is by far the more effective way to win the day

Just food for thought.

Rational Nation USA said...

I said clearly it is my opinion.

What you're saying in essence is you are ad convinced there are s few rather than many. Please define the term many and few as you see it.

In the meantime an opinion is just an opinion. The posistion, clearly stated is all that really is important.

Dave Miller said...

If course you're right Jerry... Registration yes, confiscation? Not at all...

Les, who have you ever heard from the left argue for elimination of guns used for "sporting and hunting"?

Your said it us your opinion, but is it based on any real evidence?

Rational Nation USA said...

Selective analysis and cherry picking Jerry to fit the narrative.

Two can play at that game.

Rational Nation USA said...

It is based on conversations held over several years with vocal and passionate anti firearm zealots Dave.

Zealots, wherever found, are dangerous. Even when numbers are few.

BB-Idaho said...

Regarding RN and his conversations, as a retired ammunition scientist most of my
conversations have been with pro-gun zealots. Presumably they are at least as dangerous as anti-firearm zealots (plus they are armed to the teeth). Not only has the NRA enabled gun ownership by any and all (in my state a group is lobbying for
no-permit concealed carry, taking the 2nd Amendment to its ultimate; no training required, felons and schizophrenics encouraged and as the group notes, "its a God
given right". Which brings me to the theology of firearms. I recently had a conversation with a part-time preacher of the far right bent. He asked that since
I was in the industry, did I have a gun? No, having qualified on everything the US
Army had and worked with the current range of firearms routinely, I had no desire
or need. He replied that he had never had one either. BUT, at age 70, he had become convinced by his peers that he needed one for defense. From what or where,
I have no idea, but another rank amateur has joined the ranks-, mostly, I gather
out of fear that "the socialists will take our guns". He ended with "have your heard
that Obama ordered social security payments to be stopped for all gun owners?"
Given that there are 9 guns for every 10 US citizens, it is logically impossible to
do what Australia did. So RN needn't worry about the zealots. As long as the NRA
can buy politicians, even the NIH cannot study gun death statistics, oversized magazines are best sellers, crooks and nuts are free to buy their choice of weapon at any gunshow and we are supposed to keep quiet about the collateral damage. I ponder the concept of 'well regulated militia' and sigh.

Shaw Kenawe said...

BB-Idaho, you comment is spot on in its accurate depiction of gun zealots. (I copied it and posted it in the comment section of The NRA post today.)

I'm not surprised to read the lie about President Obama taking away social security payments for all gun owners, since on any given day you can read insanity like that on numerous far right blogs and news sites. They deal in fear and lies and believe in false facts.

That the NRA has the power to stop RESEARCH into gun death stats and even stop family physicians from asking if family firearms are secured to prevent accidental shootings shows the gun sickness that grips this country. If they believe it's a "God given right," they are as crazy as every sane person says they are.

There is no God given right to own an instrument of death.

Jerry Critter said...

"God given right[s]" are only a matter of belief, not fact.

Anonymous said...

The founders certainly thought the rights they enumerated in the Constitution were God given and said so (inalienable) but I doubt Jefferson intended that 12,000 innocent people a year (including about 700 children a year) would die by gun shot, needlessly, or would support the dangerous gun society we have become. Like other laws (even Constitutional amendments) time, technology, cultural changes, and other progressive reasons make them void, or not applicable. I would not support a ban on guns, but as I said the other day; the 2nd A is a federal right and laws and regulations concerning guns should be federal and the same throughout the States. The Congressional fight would be a big one to compromise those regulations and pass federal gun laws. Certainly the current Supreme Court would not vote favorably on such federal gun legislation.

Jerry Critter said...

Inalienable does not mean God given. It means not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated.

Anonymous said...

Read the Constitution, the federalist papers and personal writings by the founding fathers, they believed these rights were beyond mere mortals to interfere with. They were deists and religious men.

Jerry Critter said...

All the more reason that it is significant that they wrote inalienable and not God given.

Rational Nation USA said...

Here we have Anonymous apparently making the case for theocratic law as opposed to secular law? As opposed to the doctrine of the seperation of church and state. Something the founders obviosly favored.

Anonymous said...

"Making the case for theocratic law" simply because I point out the founders were religious men. WOW, to bad you don't understand the idea of discussing issues even though you don't believe in them. I can see I'm wasting my time here. This is obviously an echo chamber blog. Enjoy yourselves. It's so brave of you to have a resident conservative (Skud) you can all attack. Try allowing a real conservative in your discussions, my guess is you are afraid to, since he's the only one you consistently allow to comment. Now back to your censorship abilities.

BB-Idaho said...

The gun-lover Christian construct can be found in a Thomas Aquinas type tome by a
member of a gun group to the right of the NRA. He even presents 'proof' that God
is against gun locks. Talk about preaching to a well-armed choir!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Anonymous @10:16

Inalienable does not mean "God given." Here's the definition:

inalienable: adjective
not alienable; not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated:
inalienable rights.

You also did not just "point out the founders were religious men," you wrote this:

ers certainly thought the rights they enumerated in the Constitution were God given and said so..."

The Founding Fathers may have thought that, but they did not write it into the Constitution, which preamble begins with: "We the people..." and nowhere in the Constitution is God or "God given" rights mentioned. We do not base our laws on the Federalist Papers; our laws come from the Constitution.

You were corrected and didn't like it.

No one here was rude or nasty to you. Have you ever visited the far right blogs that deal in invective, insults, slurs, and gutter talk when someone who has a different pov leaves a comment?

Apparently not, if you believe this is an unfriendly place.

Skud deserved what I wrote in answer to his comment about Dr. Carson. He came here and inserted Dr. Carson's race into a discussion that did not mention it. The far right wing blogs are rife with hideous racist slurs on President and Mrs. Obama --even their daughters. They've even slander a man who does missionary work with the poorest of poor, and write things about him not fit to be written in the filthiest porno sites online. If the people who agree with conservative ideology say nothing about that behavior, we have to assume they support racist slurs on African-Americans and filthy character assassinations on people who do missionary work.

These are the same people who claim Mr. Obama is a racist and divides the country. The woman who runs that blog is oblivious to her gallopingly rank hypocrisy. She routinely allows and giggles at her boyfriends' racist links, insults, and slanders, on African Americans and women, then calls liberals bigots.

Skudrunner is a regular commenter there who says nothing about the daily slime-slinging, but came here and accused me of writing racist about Dr. Carson.

Rational Nation USA said...

I suggest you try out Who's Your Daddy weblog. It is a right of right reactionary site and it's choir is made up many you likely would agree with on many issues. Although you are more intelligent and write much better than most of its regulars.

BTW, I simply made an observation. Certainly you are free to disagree and offer counter points. No need to get taken aback Anonymous @ 10:16 AM.