My Two Cents: Gun Laws

So, this is one of the most hotly talked about topics in the blogosphere at the moment, mostly from people in America.  Normally I steer clear of political topics because I generally don’t have a well-formed (or I suppose well-educated) opinion.  This is potentially true in this case too, however I do have a unique insight and overview of the whole thing as I’m not from the US, and I’ve grown up in a very different world when it comes to guns and the laws that surround them.

In my humble opinion, Australia has a fantastic system when it comes to guns.  You firstly need a licence which I believe also requires background checks.  I can hear the American pro-gun uproar at the thought of it: “What do you mean, a background check?  It’s my right to have a gun!”.  Tying in with that, to obtain a licence you absolutely have to be over 18.  Sorry, underagers, but you have next to no chance of picking up a weapon unaccompanied down under.  Secondly, anyone who owns gun/s must have their serial number registered to them.  No, you can’t just go to a gun show and pick one up.  (Side note: who the fuck even thinks gun shows are legitimate entertainment anyway?!).  Thirdly, anyone who owns gun/s must have a secure storage place for them.  The authorities can check.  Cue pro-gunners: “How is that going to help if someone is breaking in?  Where’s the security in that?  What’s the point?”

See, the thing about all these laws is, it means less people have access to guns.  A lot less.  By having less guns, it means they’re less likely to fall into the wrong hands.  We almost certainly will never have a re-enactment of America’s Sandy Hook shooting.  Firstly, because most families simply don’t own a gun.  For the ones that do, they are stored under lock and key, far away from curious little hands and minds.

With our stricter laws, we don’t have gun shows or easy-to-find gun shops.  We don’t stock ammo in everyday stores.  Kids with mental issues – such as the case with Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris – can’t just got out and pick up a couple of rifles.  Even if they were of age, chances are they’d have gotten knocked back before even being able to obtain a gun licence.

“I’m sure if they were desperate enough, they’d have found a way to get their hands on some guns.”

That may be true, I can’t completely deny that.  Mentally ill people can do some pretty desperate things.  That being said, Australia hasn’t had any mass shootings at all since before tougher gun laws were introduced in 1996 – and even that shooting was done by someone of age.  We certainly have our fair share of people with mental issues and disabilities.  The gun laws – no doubt coupled with a great health system – have stopped school shootings from happening.  Put simply, it’s just too hard.  Even if they could find someone with a gun (in the populated cities and suburbs I’d say that would be difficult), the person they’re taking the gun from is registered to it.  It would take the police no time at all to trace it back to them.  Who wants to risk that?  Nobody.

“But the right to bear arms is in the constitution!”

Yeah.  So what?  While I appreciate that Americans see the constitution as the be-all-and-end-all, I just don’t get it.  Maybe because Australia doesn’t really have anything similar, I just don’t really follow the logic.  It was written hundreds of years ago.  A lot has changed since then.  We have access to better technology, better heath systems, better education than when that was written.  Why can’t it be changed?  Or I guess, more to the point, even if it says it, why does it mean everyone should have a gun?  Just because you have the right to do it, doesn’t mean you need to.  I have the right to eat fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner…it doesn’t mean I do it.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

I seriously can’t stress how idiotic that line is.  It seems to crop up every time a pro-gunner opens their mouth.  You’re being stupid.  If the guns weren’t there, less people would be dead.  I don’t care how you want to look at it, you can’t kill half as many people in a physical attack (such as a stabbing) than you can with a weapon.  Nobody is suggesting that simply by having a gun, you’re going to kill someone.  However by having a gun, it means you have the ability to do it easily and efficiently without getting into any form of combat whatsoever.  No, the gun doesn’t pull it’s own trigger, but the person behind it likely wouldn’t commit the murder at all without it.

“I only have a gun for protection because everyone else has a gun!”

This I understand.  Completely.  It’s just a reflection of how out of hand gun control is in the States.  If you feel you need a dangerous weapon just because you’re worried other people might use their dangerous weapons on you, it’s time to take a good hard look at why you both have them at all.  Australians don’t feel the need to own guns because we know that our neighbours likely don’t have any to turn on us with, and if they do, they’ve had proper screenings before they’ve been allowed one.  The gun problem isn’t going to get any better if you keep letting people buy them for protection.

Just because we are on the other side of the world, doesn’t mean we don’t feel the impacts of the school shootings Americans go through.  We see it on the news, we read it in the newspapers, we see it on social media.  All those broken families, crying faces, people asking why.  Our whole nation asks that same question too.  Why?  Why do you keep letting this happen to your children?  You watch on in horror, you hang your flags at half mast, you mourn for them…and yet you do nothing to fix the problem.  Do you honestly think this problem is just going to go away?  That it will fix itself?  That disturbed people will just decide to seek help instead of acting out their fantasies?

Wake up to yourself, America.

Collumbine happened back in 1999.  This has been an ongoing issue for SIXTEEN YEARS.  It isn’t going away.  It won’t fix itself.  Mentally ill people aren’t seeking help.  Stop putting guns in their hands.  Stop letting innocent lives be ended prematurely for a constitutional right.  Isn’t it a basic human right to live?  To feel safe in your own country?  To go and get a education without fear?  Until something changes, we will continue to watch in horror as more mass shootings occur, I guarantee it.

*Full disclaimer that I’m not meaning to offend people with this post.  I understand that Americans have been conditioned to believe guns are a part of life.  Also, if any of my facts are incorrect, I apologise.  I’m not an expert.  This is just one person’s view on the whole issue.

Sweater Weather

So, this blog is a little different (for me).  I was nominated by ScaleSimple to do this, and it looks interesting.  Full disclaimer though, I can’t answer some of the questions purely because Australia doesn’t work the same way as America does in terms of traditions etc.  Also, it’s Spring in Australia so talking about Autumn is a little weird, but I’ll do by best!

Favorite Candle Scent: I don’t really like scented candles.  We used to have them at my old work and I was always the one sneakily trying to hide it so it couldn’t be relit.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily mind the smell, but I find them too potent and usually lead to headaches.  If I had to chose a scent though, I’d say vanilla.  Not too original but it does smell nice (in very small doses).

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate: Hot Chocolate by default.  I don’t do tea or coffee (I know, what is this?!).  I don’t usually drink hot drinks at all.  I’d prefer iced chocolates, milkshakes, smoothies, fizzy drinks or energy drinks generally.

What is the best fall memory you have? I have a bit of a cheat answer here and say my birthdays, because I was born in Autumn.  This year’s birthday was awesome (well, at least, the during-the-day part).  Had my first (non-work-related) Lux experience, went to Escape Hunt (my first go at an Escape Room), got my nails done for the first time and then went to dinner with my closest friends.  We won’t talk about the car accident on the way to dinner.

Best Fragrance for Fall: Do people really change their perfumes for different seasons?  I don’t know.  My current perfume is Taylor Swift’s “Incredible Things”.  I guess it would be suitable for Autumn?

Favorite Thanksgiving Food: This is the first question I actually can’t answer.  Australia doesn’t do Thanksgiving.

Most Worn Sweater: Hmmm.  I don’t know.  I used to wear hoodies a lot a few years ago, but since I put the extra weight on, I’m more of a cardigan wearer now as they seem to fit better.  I miss being able to fit into my purple Superman hoodie though, that was always one of my favourites.  Hopefully I’ll be able to fit into it again soon!

Football games or jumping in leaf piles? Not that I do it, but I’d say jumping in leaf piles because I hate watching sport.

Favorite Type of Pie: Apple.  I make a wicked apple pie!  If I didn’t live by myself, I’d probably make them quite often.  Probably a good thing I don’t though, they aren’t the healthiest of foods.

What is autumn weather like where you live?  It starts off very hot and dry while summer conveniently forgets that it’s time to go away, and then within a couple of weeks, the weather does a complete 180 and is rainy, cold and grey.  Those couple of weeks are probably some of my least favourite of the year because it’s so hard to get used to.  Annoyingly enough, it usually happens during (or just before) my birthday.

Which makeup trend do you prefer, dark lips or winged liner?  
Honestly, neither, though if I had to pick one I’d say dark lips.  I’ve never been a fan of winged liner – I won’t even let my sims characters have it!

What song really gets you into the fall spirit?  Hmmm.  That’s a tough question.  Probably “Ketchum” by Ben Lee, one of my all-time favourite songs ever.  It’s sad and beautiful and seems appropriate for the onset of the cooler weather.

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?  I wouldn’t know…I don’t think that exists in Australia.  If it does, it’s news to me.

Favorite Fall TV Show: I don’t know what shows are Autumn-specific, so I’m gonna play it safe here and say The Simpsons, which is my favourite show ever and is always on.

Skinny jeans or leggings? Nobody wants to see me in either of them, but I do miss wearing skinny jeans.  Leggings are good under dresses, and that’s about it.

Combat boots or Uggs? Uggs all the way.

Halloween – Yay or Nay? 
In Australia, nay.  There’s always people in the neighbourhood who try to make it work but honestly, it’s such an American holiday that it doesn’t.  If I was in America on Halloween though, then yeah, I’d be down for it.

Fall mornings or evenings? Depends how miserable the weather is, and whether daylight savings had finished.  If it was a nice day and daylight savings was still going, then definitely evenings.

What do you think about Black Friday? I have no opinion on this because it’s another thing Australia doesn’t really do.  It’s only just started to sneak into our vocabulary because of online shopping.  Prior to that, most of us would have had no idea what that was.

One Fall 2015 Trend You Love: Being able to start snuggling under blankets again.  As much as I’m hanging for summer right now, nothing makes me sadder than packing away my blankets.

I know a lot of those answers weren’t great, but I attempted them!  Now for my nominations.  Give it a go!

The Bohemian Within

Banded Carolina Girl

a2enternity

Potato Pizza Burger

Operation Fat Removal

My Troubled & Happy Life

Everything Girly and Healthy After Police

Have fun!

-JD