Monday, 17 December 2012

Post Connecticut shooting musings

See, the thing is, I believe (and it's simply MINE), that America HAS to have an enemy. Whether it's the Russian about to nuke them, or the North Koreans or the Cubans or the Iranians or the Muslims. On an individual level, it's the 'whackjobs in my city" or "the black gangs" or some other "OTHER" that is out to get you. Look at the development of James Bond movies (yes, I KNOW he's British!). When the Cold War ended, it was the Koreans. Or the Colombians. It's JB's 'thing" to save the Superpowers (i.e Britain and the US ) from "them", whoever they are perceived to be at any one given historical moment. SMERSH, or drug cartels, or whomever.So maybe it's like that for the citizens of America? Maybe they've grown up on an insidious diet of "They're coming to get us", from earliest colonization, thru the Wild West days, via 9/11. Maybe they've been sold the lie that they actually do NEED all this weaponry? It's the reds under the beds mentality, perpetrated by whom? I don't know. Maybe the governments? Maybe the media?

And that's what I am struggling with, and is the root of my questions, which clearly appear un-informed and US-phobic to some. Australia had the same mentality during WWII when the Japanese really were coming to get us, but since then, we've had no fear of some imminent bomb to descend on us, fired by some distant enemy. Hell yes, we got involved in George Dubba Ya's fights, but even post 9/11 there was no imminent sense that we all had to arm ourselves against some possible invasion by "the enemy". I'm sure we have doomsday preppers in OZ, but we sure as shit don't have a 'reality' show about it.

Of course we worry about home invasions and our houses being broken into and our kids being raped in their beds. That shit goes down every day in Aus. What we don't have is the social/communal mentality that we must keep a gun in the house "just in case". Some of us might keep a baseball bat by the bed, or an hickory axe handle by the door, but there is no pervasive "They're coming to kill our women and take our precious metals" mentality.

The Australian government talks a lot, at the moment about illegal refugees and "our borders being overrun", and yet, there is no sense that we all have to race out and buy a gun, to protect ourselves from these faceless hoards.

300 million guns in America? Honestly, when I was growing up I didn't know ONE SINGLE FAMILY THAT HAD A WEAPON FOR PERSONAL PROTECTION. Not one. Maybe some did and I didn't know about it. Maybe some Dads had rifles in the cupboard for hunting. The point I'm making is that before the gun laws changed in 96, I didn't know ANYONE who had a gun, hand gun or otherwise simply to protect "me and mine".

How many Americans of my age can say that?
When I was in Chicago earlier this year, I was approached by a scary guy on the street. He rode past me on a bike and said "Hey baby, what's your name". I gave him a kinda "Pfft, whatever" look and the next thing I know he'd got off the bike and was coming towards me saying "What? You're not going to tell me your name".
It never ONCE dawned on me that he might be armed. It never once dawned on me that I should have bought a handgun to have in my purse. All I could think of to do was to get back into the restaurant, with my friends and "arm" myself with the safety of numbers.
I told him to "Fuck off" as I side-stepped him and went back into the restaurant, never even considering he'd shoot me. Attack me with his bare hands? Yes. Call for his mates and drag me somewhere? Yes.
 Follow me into the restaurant and shoot the place up?
 Never. 
It's simply NOT how Australians think. Guns, even when we're standing on our own, in a street in downtown Chicago,  are not what we reach for- physically and intellectually- as a first resort.
So all this personal safety thing? Imma not smack talking America about it. I simply don't understand it. Really? It seems that most of you live in a perpetual state of fear that "someone" is coming to get you and you better be armed, just in case.

Who did that to you?

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