Australia Stopped Mass Shootings–Yes, It’s the Guns

Rupert Murdoch, no liberal, posted a tweet last week after the murder of 26 people in Connecticut…

‘‘Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy,’’ Mr Murdoch said

What was this about? ‘Oz’, aka Australia, reached a tipping point after a series of mass shootings terrorized and demoralized the public. In 1996, Port Arthur, Australia suffered an attack that took the lives of 35 people.

LeftyCoaster at Daily Kos posts a comprehensive social history of a society plagued by violence, and how Australia put an end to this type of crime. He demonstrates that mass shootings are socially enabled and not beyond our power to stop.

The Port Arthur perpetrator had been assigned a defense psychiatrist named Paul Mullen. When Mullen first interviewed the shooter, he was struck by his repeated queries about the death toll: He wanted to know if he had exceeded the body count of the Dunblane massacre in Scotland, which had occurred six weeks earlier.

Mullen had a suspicion about his client’s repellent one-upmanship, and his research confirmed it: that civil massacres were by their nature copycat crimes, “modeled,” as Mullen has since written, “on Rambo-like images and informed by knowledge, and occasionally study, of prior massacres.” While it is true that civil massacres occurred throughout the 20th century, they were rare until the mid-1960s, when the phenomenon took a grimly familiar shape with the so-called “tower sniper.” The incident at the University of Texas, in which a former Marine held the Austin campus under siege from a bell tower, received massive media attention and was even turned into a well-known TV movie. It provided, according to Mullen, a kind of ritualized script (Mullen’s word) that civil massacres have followed ever since.

LeftyCoaster’s Daily Kos post contains many excellent links. If you are looking for the kind of ammunition that shoots down falsehoods, go there.

Salon says that the NRA is pledging to help prevent school shootings. This is a little like a heroin pusher packing Narcan. Hey, he might even save a life, which is good for business after all.

America is not more addicted to guns than Australia. The difference is that the public there finally said, No More. Will a week of funerals for little children bring us to that point?

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2 Responses to Australia Stopped Mass Shootings–Yes, It’s the Guns

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