When Will America Learn?

When Will America Learn?

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In the ‘land of the free’, the greatest freedom of all—the right to life—is being destroyed by deeply flawed governance.

Toward the end of last year, the U.S. state of Oregon encountered its deadliest shooting at the Umpqua Community College, claiming ten lives including the perpetrator. Ten lives lost. Ten families forever in grief. According to The Guardian, the United States has witnessed 994 mass shootings in 1004 days from the 1st of January 2013 to the 1st of October 2015. With this in mind, it is apparent that mass shootings are becoming a mainstay in the American psyche, casting an enormous shadow over the American dream.

For all the hot air produced by the Obama administration, the United States has failed to curb gun violence as American mourn the loss of its innocent week after week, day after day.

History will show that the United States was not alone to be afflicted by mass shootings. Australia endured 13 mass shootings from 1978 to 1996, culminating to its deadliest and indeed one of the deadliest single-gunman shootings worldwide, Port Arthur.

In response to the Port Arthur Massacre that shockingly claimed 36 lives, Australia introduced a package of stringent gun control measures which have become the universally-acclaimed model the world yearns to emulate.

Led by former Prime Minister John Howard the banning of automatic and semi–automatic rifles and shotguns masterfully complemented by a mandatory buy–back scheme which saw homicide rates fall by 59% whilst the firearm suicide rate fell 65% in the decade following the enactment of the laws. In fact, there has not been one single mass shooting recorded in Australia since. Despite the initial scepticism and political backlash, the results are tangible in the saved lives of Australians.

Yet still, mass shootings continue to ravage the wealthiest country on the planet, wreaking havoc on streets, in schools, at colleges and in movie theatres, as lives are taken and aspirations are cut short. Following Sandy Hook, the Obama administration proposed expanding background checks. However, this measure was shamefully defeated amid a hostile Congress and lack of bipartisanship.

Major pro-gun lobbyist, the National Rifle Association (NRA) plays a prominent role in the American political sphere, legitimising its pro–gun agenda through the civilian right to bear arms, enshrined in the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States. According to The Washington Post, 213 members of the 113th Congress received campaign funding by the NRA, proof of the political muscle this organisation has on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, in the ‘land of the free’, the greatest freedom of all—the right to life—is being destroyed by deeply flawed governance. If the United States truly is a beacon for human rights and freedoms, they will be as brave as Australia was in her uncompromising pursuit to eliminate gun violence once and for all.

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