I can’t understand why America loves guns so much.
At this point in history it would appear that those in power love their guns more than they love their kids because they’d rather protect their right to bear arms than create safe spaces for children.
Children have a right to safety. A child should not expect to be shot dead at school. But it seems that expectation is unrealistic.
American children can realistically fear being murdered by someone with a gun during a regular school day. If that doesn’t give you anxiety I don’t know what will.
In the US there are almost as many guns as people, which means that when you consider that America also consists of reasonable peace-loving people who don’t own a gun then the average gun-toting household has an astonishing eight guns!
America represents 4.5 per cent of the world’s population, yet owns nearly half of the world’s privately owned guns. Why? Why does a privileged first-world country so proud of its shiny democracy need guns?
For Freedom. America won’t let go of this thing they call ‘freedom’: to own a gun and of course shoot a gun.
When I think about freedom I don’t think of guns. I don’t think about protecting my freedom with a gun. I don’t feel limitation to my freedom because I don’t have a gun. In fact, living without a gun makes me feel pretty bloody free. If my country were so incapable of keeping me safe that I needed to arm myself then I wouldn’t have much faith in my country, no matter how shiny the democracy.
America’s definition of freedom is not one I’d want to emulate here in Australia. I can send my kids to school without ever worrying they are going to get shot. I have never once kissed the soft foreheads of my children as I usher them through the school gate harbouring a nagging worry that they could be killed. That this could be the last time I hold them. That my sweet baby, gone off to learn to read and write, could be shot by a gun in the hands of some deranged schoolmate or rampaging adult with a score to settle.
I don’t know how American mums and dads send their kids to school – how they manage that nagging anxiety that their kid might not come home.
I have spoken to Scarlett Lewis. Her six-year-old son died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Her son was one of 20 little children aged six and seven who were murdered by a gunman who later shot himself in the head. It was one of the most harrowing conversations I have had with a person.
As Scarlett unpacked what happened on that day, I couldn’t believe the enormity of the tragedy. I couldn’t get my head around how so many little kids could be killed like that, on any ordinary day, in an ordinary town. Kids who belonged to ordinary parents like you or me.
I published this interview some time ago and then was anonymously contacted by a person telling me that they had information that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. If it’s not cruel enough to lose your children in a horrendous act of violence, then you have this enduring legacy of the pro-gun lobby spreading vile conspiracy theories that the victims fabricated the story. Wow, that’s some freedom they’re got over there.
If I lived in America I wouldn’t send my kids to school. It’s too dangerous. This is American school life in the last few months: A 25-year-old girl was shot in a Texan school cafeteria on January 22 this year by a 16-year-old classmate. The next day in Kentucky two students were shot dead when a classmate opened fire with a hand gun; a boy and girl, both 15 years old, died. On 1 February four students were injured in an LA classroom when a gun went off in a classroom with a 12-year-old boy being shot in the head. Valentines Day saw 17 people die at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School; 7 March another kid got shot at Huffman High School; 20 March a 16-year-old girl died when she was shot in the head… and it goes on until right now when 10 people were killed at Santa Fe High School.
When does it stop? When does a country that cares so much about ‘freedom’ start caring about their children? Maybe those pro-lifers, who care so much about saving what they call unborn lives, should stop hassling women and start hassling the NRA about the born lives being murdered every day. Oh, hang on, that’s right. The NRA are pro-life. Just embryos though. Not actual children.