Friday, 2 October 2015

No, guns do not make us "safer"

Do I need to repeat that? Guns do not make us "safer".
There was a paragraph in the state newspaper yesterday reporting that the deputy leader of the Opposition wants the security staff in the public gallery of Parliament to no longer be armed. This morning there are reports of yet another mass shooting in the United States.
Downunderites do not have the same obsession with firearms as the United States apparently has but we still have far too many firearms.
Then Prime Minister Howard responded well and responsibly to the appalling Port Arthur shooting. Anything that makes it harder for people to access guns has to be a good thing.
When I was a child we went on a camping trip to a neighbouring state. We were waiting to buy milk at a delicatessan in a small country town when a policeman came in to get something as well. I can remember we, as children, were frightened by the fact that he was wearing a gun in a holster. Our police were not armed. The Senior Cat, quite sensibly, got the policeman to explain that "it wasn't for shooting people" but we didn't like it.  
Years later another policeman who is also a fellow magician called in to pick up something the Senior Cat had made for him. He was armed. He couldn't leave his gun in the car. My two nephews, very young at the time, were here. The Senior Cat asked his visitor to go back and put his jacket on so that the boys would not see the gun. I think his visitor thought this was a little odd but he complied. 
Middle Cat and Brother Cat never gave their children guns to play with. They asked other people not to do it. Brother Cat's children have taken the same approach with their children. I don't think it has stopped any sort of imaginative play.
There is always the argument that farmers who keep livestock need a gun in order to shoot an injured animal. Yes, perhaps they do - but a good farmer isn't going to be happy about having to do something like that. I remember a farmer coming in to see the Senior Cat at school. There had been a bush fire and the school sheep had all had to be moved into our back garden. The farmer had come to check they were all safe. They were. None of them needed to be put down. Apparently the farmer slumped into a chair and said, "Best bloody bit of news I've had all night. I hate my job sometimes."
I can't imagine "killing for pleasure". The very thought makes me squirm. I want to hide from the very thought. 
Guns don't make us safer. How can they possibly do that? People don't need them. Shooting is not a "sport". It kills people.

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