Oregon shooting massacre: How many more have to die?
MANY Australians will be rightly asking this morning: When is Barack Obama and US legislators going to do something about the appalling number of gun-related deaths in their country.
"This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loves ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it safes lives. The notion that gun violence is somehow different—that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt, and protect their families, and do everything they do under such regulations—doesn't make sense." —President Obama on the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon: http://go.wh.gov/7Gk8Eh #UCCShootingPosted by The White House on Thursday, 1 October 2015
Just as Australia largely ignored the 'terror at home' - domestic violence - in favour of whipping up fears about ISIS, the Obama administration has ignored the ignored the elephant in the room - gun control.
News of another colleage massacre, surely, would prompt action.
But no, we will hear a litany of reasons why Americans should have the right to bear arms.
Guns don't kill, people do, we will hear.
But the facts speak otherwise.
This will keep happening until enough decent Americans rise up and say enough. Where are you, and what exactly are you waiting for? #guns— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 1, 2015
According to a recent report in the New York Times, gun violence claims one life every 16 minutes in the US.
According to the report, more Americans die in gun homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.
Children are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries.
That alone is an appalling statistic.
Its bizarre that a country as 'civilised' as the US, which has regulations governing everything from food standards to swimming pools, has virtually no controls on guns.
You can buy them in the same stores as you buy toys. The toys probably have more regulations around them.
Guns are involved in the death of more than 33,000 people in the US every year through suicides, murders and accidents.
The US certainly could learn a lot from Australia when former Prime Minister John Howard courageously introduced guns laws in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre.
The firearm suicide rate dropped by half over the next seven years and the homicide rate from guns was almost halved.
We can only hope that politicians on both sides of US politics can wake up to the reality of the need to act now.
Or do we need another 45 school shootings (the number since the Sandy Hook massacre) for something to be done?