I read about the terrible details of the poor students who were shot multiple times as they were in their classroom. Just six and seven years old. I then read a twitter stream of many, many people saying gun control won't change anything in the US, that people have a right to have guns, that they need guns, guns had nothing to do with this tragedy, 'don't you dare try to take my guns away'. I felt revolted, sick, putrid.
I saw the front page of the New York Times:
I saw that list of names, mainly girls aged six. I have a six-year-old daughter. I'm sure if Lil ever had the chance to meet them they would have played and giggled together. I'm certain those kids would have been counting the sleeps until Christmas, dreaming about what Santa would leave them under the Christmas tree. Just like my six-year-old. Watching Scooby-Doo and dancing to Katy Perry around the lounge room. Just like my six-year-old.
Unfortunately, because someone in need of mental health care (that's another blog post) had easy access to a semiautomatic weapon, those kids lost their right to life. Lost their right to be educated without fear. Lost their right to be with their family.
I read a lot on the internet yesterday about 'the right to bear arms'. That the US was the free-est and safest country in the world because of this right. I'm certain those six and seven-year-olds didn't feel free. Or those cinema goers in Aurora. Or the more the 10,000 people in the US who die due to firearms each year. 10,000 people. That's more than three times the amount of people that died on 9/11. I personally believe that the US needs to look at guns as terrorist, because they are doing far more damage to their population and way of life than any terrorist does.
As Australian citizen, I feel extraordinarily free. I don't fear being shot. I don't live in fear. I don't believe I need a gun to protect myself. In my 36 years, I've never fired a gun. I've never even touched a gun. The only guns I've ever seen are on police officers or military personnel. I believe guns are a privilege not a right.
I'm not proud of some of the things that have and do happen in Australia, it's not a perfect place, and I rarely agree with John Howard, but the gun reform in 1996 was one of the best things to happen in our country. It certainly made it a much safer place. I think it's a fantastic example of what gun control can achieve.
I'm not an American. I don't have live to in America. I don't presume to tell them how to live their lives. I just know that if six- and seven-year-olds in my community were being slain, I'd want something to change. If mass shootings were occurring regularly in my community, I'd want something to change.
I just want to tell them, it can change. Use that much more powerful right of free speech. Speak out. Get rid of the guns. It can change.