Sunday 16 December 2012

The right to change

Occasionally there is a news story that shocks you so deeply and stays in your brain, searing it with the details. Hearing the news about the Newton shootings yesterday was one of those.

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. 


  1. Sadly even the pointless deaths of their most innocent will mean nothing to Americans.

    And they wonder why

  2. This, yes, exactly! I do not understand the mentality, have had conversations with an American friend on FB, in the same breath she says "I detest guns, but you can't take them away, it's our right to have them!"...flabbergasted....


  3. totally rin! I agree 100%... Yesterday I happened to watch Gangs of New York for the first time. and when I flicked the channel to watch the news... I couldnt believe the symmetry between that movie and what had happened in reality. Has anything changed in 200 years? Is it all stem from a culture of fear and survival that was born 200 years ago? xx

  4. I am absolutely dumbfounded by what has happened and they still insist on their right to have guns! WTF?? I'm speechless.

  5. Exactly Rin, very well said. xx

  6. Awesome words Corinne. It is a tragedy and I agree with everything you've written. Very hard to make sense of it all and I am continually revolted by the comments of NRA members about their right to bear arms and how the principal could have had a gun and killed him before he got the kids!!! WTF!!


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