The Voice of the People

Why do Americans have a love affair with guns?

When Donald Trump, the President of “the most powerful country in the world” announced after another school mass murder that all teachers should have guns, every teacher’s jaw around the world dropped. Followed by a “what the…??? Really?” I mean, where’s the logic in that? We know that America is run by a gun club, but giving out more guns? Seriously! The respect here in Australia for Americans dropped faster than a drop bear in heat.

Initially, we thought he was being sarcastic. Just his usual throw away sentences like he usually does on Twitter. I certainly never thought he was serious!!

However, as the rhetoric continues, it has also led to an outpour of love for the teachers thrown into this predicament. My heart went out to all these teachers saying no. I saw some great solidarity, right up until I saw on the news that there are already teachers going to work with guns on their ankles. Not a lot, but it still happens. I can’t even take my phone to work!

I guess it is easy for me here in Australia to pass judgement. We have never really had a large love affair with guns. We are more a “use your fists” than “grab a gun”. I remember growing up and hearing of people using knives in a fight, and Australians called them cowards saying that you don’t do that. If your going to hurt someone - learn how to fight. Australians are not adverse to brawling, but you do not bring a weapon!

Australia has had a few mass murders in it’s past, however, only one stopped the nation when Martin Bryant killed 35 and injured 24 people using an assault type rifle. What did we do? We destroyed as many guns as we could find. Even farmers were all for it (in general) Neighbours turned on neighbours to ensure not one gun was left behind. Sure the gun clubs and a few whack jobs complained, but everyone went…”nah. Guns suck mate! Get rid of ‘em”. Why? Because we all knew it was for the greater good. We knew it wouldn’t solve the issue, but it took the guns away from those that could easily access it. Who needs an assault rifle? A semi-automatic gun? Even the Australian farmers said they didn’t need a gun like that. A rifle? Yes. A shot gun? Yes. Why? For feral animals and to put down injured and sick animals. Yes, Australia has a relatively high suicide rate, and many of those are with guns. We are not adverse to gun crime, but not to the extent of the US - the land of the free.

Perspective

How can we gain perspective on gun laws?

Let’s put it into perspective. Your son or daughter gets hit by another student with a stick. Here in Australia, we take the stick away, interview the students involved, call their parents, explain the situation, mentor the bully, and have some type of punishment.

In America, you guys give every student a stick, discover that more kids are being hit by sticks, so then you want to give the sticks to the teachers. Even show people how to sharpen them. Despite the fact that corporal punishment is illegal. Teachers haven’t been allowed to use the cane in decades! You will then come to the realisation that there is no one there there when that one teacher, underpaid, overworked, forced to administer useless examinations, file incessant paperwork, and using outdated technology in often decrepit buildings, finally snaps. Who is stopping them? So give guns to the maintenance crew, lunch ladies and grounds keepers. Make sure all the parents have a gun to protect their child. At my school we have rabbits and lizards all over the place. Can we get some lasers on their heads too?

The US needs to change its gun laws. I am not saying prohibition. That hasn’t worked for you guys in the past, and no one will agree on it. Tougher penalties, restrictions, background checks, and increased pricing is definitely the right direction. Straight out stopping won’t work. That will go down the same road as the war on drugs - which hasn’t stopped anything!

Roadblocks

For the greater good the US must fight the roadblocks to reforms

The biggest roadblock to any change is the NRA. A gun club run by gun manufacturers that has managed to build immense wealth and political power. Their stance has always been that guns don’t kill people. People kill people. It isn’t the poor gun’s fault that it was used to kill a lot of people. They are partially correct, the same as tobacco companies spruik that technically cigarettes don’t actually kill you. “Out of my cold dead hands”, a great line from Charles Heston has become their motto and by line. So how do you compete with that? That doesn’t sound like a President who is the most powerful in the world, being pushed around by a gun club. Stop giving the NRA kudos.

The second roadblock is the constitution. The right to have guns! My answer to that is….make an amendment! Haven’t you made Amendments before? Maybe even called them Amendments? Yes the right to have a gun was important during a civil war. Today, that “need” has led to a distorted view on the world.

Golden bullets

Why are bullets so easy to get?

A quick and easy way to let the NRA win and the Constitution not have to be Amended, is based on the comedian Chris Rock who said once to make bullets cost $5000 each! If you shoot someone with a $5000 bullet - you know they deserved it! It’s not just a whim. Or just make bullets illegal. Keep your guns, you just can’t have any bullets! While you are at it just tax the living daylights out of it! Mass murder tax, mental health tax, murder tax, gang shooting tax, medical tax, metal tax - I’m sure you can make up a few more yourselves! The price of guns will go up and so will bullets. Plus, don’t make them available everywhere! So yep...you can have your guns, you just can’t afford to shoot them! A mass murder would cost a million dollars. Teenagers would not be able to do it. Not from making Pizza deliveries anyway!

We haven’t banned cigarettes in Australia, however, they are hidden behind the counter and not allowed to be seen, they have become very expensive, and the packaging has disturbing images. We looked into plain packaging but that did not get through - yet! To purchase a gun - I wouldn’t even know where to start. There are no gun stores anymore, or sports stores that sell guns. I wouldn’t even know where to get a bullet!

Born to teach NOT shoot

Remove guns and bullets from all schools

As a teacher, I do not want the responsibility of carrying a gun to work. I want to find a better way to learn my students and help them BEFORE they get to this point. I am a Year Adviser and it is my responsibility to know my year group and talk to them all as much as possible. Their well being and welfare is my one and only goal. Hopefully, they know that at least one person cares about them. Open your hearts, not close your fists!

To all teachers around the world, stand up for education. Schools are not prisons.