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.
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.
News.com.au, 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.
“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