Gun control. What’s the hold up?

A pun may be in poor taste given the most recent mass shooting in the US being reported today, but really – it couldn’t make things much worse.

It was only last night that I was discussing the Daily Show series of segments that explored gun control and Australia’s successful legislation, implemented by the Howard government in 1996 following the Port Arthur massacre.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the full, three part series – do yourselves a favour immediately:

My truly Australian predisposition to cultural cringe aside, I can’t help but feel proud of the way in which politicians put aside clear differences and tendencies to placate their constituents to implement sweeping reforms that have COMPLETELY eradicated gun massacres ever since. Howard stared down a largely conservative and rural supporter base and was almost thrown from office in order to implement these reforms.

I’m sure at the time there were ugly moments and points at which the whole thing looked as if it would fall apart, but the footage of John Howard shouting “it’s the only way” to a crowd of booing protesters is nothing short of inspiring, knowing the result.

Granted, gun culture may be more ingrained in the United States psyche, but surely not at the cost of people’s lives. How have American politicians not done the same as their former Australian counterparts? How can the desire to remain in politics outweigh the desire to improve the society in which they live and are ostensibly there to serve?

Of course there are aspects of Australian politics that are very well deserving of our cringes, cultural or otherwise. Our elected leaders have certainly been on the wrong side of history on more than one occasion (White Australia, anyone?). Thankfully it didn’t take us too long to figure out that Pauline Hanson was a genuinely terrible idea. I’m sure that in the decades to come, there will be more instances.

The obvious suggestion is that it could be climate change.

The news of the last few days regarding Tony Abbott’s male-dominated Cabinet and Ministry would tend to indicate that it may be gender equality.

Perhaps it is obesity?

For all of my love of the nonsense that goes along with politics, the personalities, the meltdowns and the treachery in the name of improved polling results – I am genuinely glad to live somewhere that has the capacity to occasionally put the snarking aside and do something genuinely good.

Not about to get a Southern Cross tattoo to celebrate it, mind you. Ugh.


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