Guest blogger and friend Deborah Morel recently moved to Australia from Honolulu Hawaii to work in law enforcement. This employment in Australia follows three years previously employed with the New Zealand Ministry of Education, as an Education Advisor and member of a trauma team responding to threats of suicide and possible sexual assault.
One of Deborah's favorite quotes close to heart is, "The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do this for them." Lois McMaster Bujold
Today Deborah talks about Australians trying to understand America...Enjoy!
What is Happening in America?
My family has recently arrived to Australia to work, attend University, and live; I have resumed my professional status in law enforcement/social work. I am delighted to finally return to this part of the world of Australia and New Zealand, and being given the opportunity to work along side some highly qualified and ethical lawmakers and professionals--my family beginning a new chapter.
It is somewhat like coming home. Memories of comfort, sensibility, and fond memories, are all around my family. I am considered by the Aussies to be "dyed in the wool." In American terms the saying " as honest as the day is long," is an equivalent. Year after year, Australia and New Zealand--by reliable global research, meters and gauges, rank top as two of the 5 most ethical, and happy, countries in which to live. The attitudes, and conduct, of Australians, and New Zealanders, demonstrate these rankings.
Several days ago, a story was published by Australian news. The title of the story is "Tampons banned, guns allowed at Texas senate vote." There has been more than one Australian ask some honest questions of me about why the US government is not getting the gun violence crisis, in the US, under control.
Australians, honestly, want to try and understand, because no matter how they search their minds or reason, it just doesn't make sense. These questions to me, as an American, are in hopes of a better understanding to what is actually happening in the USA regarding the outbreak of violence in America. I would be the one who might have the answers. These Aussies are hoping that I can provide answers that will help them to stop searching their minds. They truly want to understand with an open mind, give every benefit of the doubt, and their concern is felt.
The most common response by Aussies is similar to, "I just can't make sense of why something isn't being done. There are rights to bear arms, but this seems crazy." I will add that Australians tend to be especially polite, open minded, worldly, and keep their opinions to themselves when speaking to strangers. I will, also, add that the Australian news, and media, publish only a very, very short order of the daily incidents of gun violence occurring in the US; however, Australians are apparently getting enough of a hint to know that gun violence is out of control in the US. I believe that they don't know the half of it.
Sadly, and with my own sense of embarrassment as an American, the honest answer that stops the intellectual searching as to why little is being done to stump American gun violence is because the issue is political--not that of a government driven social or safety campaign as one would expect. Our US political leaders have thrown US citizens under the bus. The National Rifle Association has been lining high powered politicians' pockets for years. The issue is about power, favour, and greed.
In the end, innocent US citizens become the victims of these political plays--citizens such as the 20 children, and 6 adults, whose lives were taken in Newtown, CT, Sandy Hook Elementary School gun violence. The children killed accounted for more than 2 percent of Sandy Hook Elementary student enrollment.
In April 1996, Australia had its own gun violence tragedy in Port Arthur. What was different from that of our own gun violence tragedies in the USA? As Australian writer John Cook is quoted, "This tragedy set a new dimension for the heartache and national despair through Australia...In a remarkable turnaround, the Liberal and National parties lead the way towards much stricter gun laws." All Australian states and territories pulled together in an "Amnesty Gun Buy Back" campaign. The campaign was successful. About 640,000 guns (many prohibited) were taken under this scheme. The Australian government immediate Gun Buy Back scheme, and rapidly crafted legislature by, both, the National and Liberal Parties in unison for stricter gun laws, have saved lives.
In our own country, in childish acts of defiance, Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and US President Barack Obama, cannot even get past being in the presence of the other in the same room while in the capacity of public servants. This, while according to researchers, Chris Kirk and Dan Kois, as of 07/14/2013, there have been roughly 8,085 people die from guns in the United States since Newtown CT, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Every day, about 75 American children are shot. "Most recover — 15 do not. Gunshot wounds are now the leading cause of death for teenage boys in America (white, African-American, urban, and suburban)." The data and facts are startling enough, and the blatant lack of action on the part of the US government to remedy the gun violence crisis clear enough, that I am concerned for my family, friends, children, and all citizens of the USA. What will the future hold for our children, families and the Nation?
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