Did I provoke you to use a gun
In school, just because I was young?
Did you see me along with my mates
When you burst in through the school gates?
Did you think it all was a game
That each one would rise up again
Like they do in the video games?
Maybe you thought this would help
You get back at the staff who tried
To put you on the right track.
Maybe you hated authority figures
Thought you could solve things
With your trigger.
Now look at what you have done
A community killed with a gun.
But the state says you may have one
It’s your citizen’s right in the law.
But what about innocents like me
A victim you never cared for or saw?
Did you think my life didn’t matter
You just fancied to see some blood spatter.
Should we really all carry a gun
So when we’re drunk, drugged or want to have fun
We can shoot from the hip
Spray bullets from our grip
From a weapon of death
Kill all before?
But the Second Amendment
States freedom, is to live with a gun
Should you want
But I ask you please to consider
If my death was my freedom
The freedom I want.
I have been shocked as have many around the world at the Florida school shooting. 17 lives ended and there is a big call from young people in particular, for a change in the law in the USA which allows people to own guns. I understand the culture in the USA is very different from in the UK and some people are frightened and feel the gun law cannot be dispensed with – but Australia did it!
The photo is a provocative piece of street art by Bambi, in London, supposedly of the Michael Brown killing in 2014, but I think the picture is relevant here too. It shows an innocent saying don’t shoot. Guns are weapons, whether in the hands of the law or of ordinary people.
I would be interested to know what you think about gun law in general or in your own country.
Words and photo copyright Englepip©
11 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Florida shooting”
Canada has gun laws too, and I’m glad.
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Does this mean you have the right to carry a gun at any time? And if so do you ever get disasters like they seem to in the States?
No. The gun control laws are pretty strict. You have to keep any firearms locked up, and you’re not allowed to carry or transport handguns unless you have a special permit. Shootings, like those that happen in the U.S., are fairly rare here, but have happened.
I believe firearms are divided into categories such as prohibited, restricted, etc.
I think gun laws must be stricter there. Although I had relatives living in Canada until 2000 none ever carried a gun or ever thought to as far as I am aware. In fact It didn’t cross my mind that it was permissible. I have travelled to many places but would never carry a weapon. I think if I did it would probably tempt trouble. But that is my opinion.
So much controversy surrounds gun control, laws, and possession. I live in the United States, where this topic divides between upholders of the Second Amendment and supporters of national safety. I researched this topic not too long ago, so I have some background to add to add to the conversation:
The unamended Constitution granted Congress the power to raise an army and Americans, just released from tyrannical British rule, did not welcome the prospect of an unchecked standing army that could threaten the people’s rights. Thus, the Bill of Rights included the Second Amendment, granting “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” The governments in both England and America viewed an armed population as the best means by which to protect the nation.
With the recent tragedies involving guns in the States, I understand the push for stricter control and maybe even a repeal of the Second Amendment. The world we in inhabit now is not the same world as that of the American Revolution. Does the gun ownership justification that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” work? Maybe not. However, I don’t believe that removing the right to private gun possession would eliminate gun crime.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you I don’t think gun crime would be totally eliminated but it would be clear who the bad guys were and it would more than halve it as the Australians proved. I think violence breeds fear which in turn breeds protectionism and then more violence. Guns make killing too easy and I wouldn’t be surprised if these violent video games have a lot to answer for in encouraging the idea you can just get up and have another life. It’s a difficult one.
You make a good point about guns making killing easy. Many tools, like knives and shovels, can inflict harm, but guns can accomplish the task more quickly and over a wider range.
It’s worth noting that although we in America have a constitutional right to bear arms, not all states just outright allow gun ownership. Restrictions and requirements vary by state. Laws about permits/licenses fall into four categories: shall-issue, may-issue, no-issue, and unrestricted. Under shall-issue licensing, a license/permit is required, and obtained through meeting certain requirements (e.g. residency, no history of mental illness). Under may-issue licensing, a petitioner must meet set criteria as well as demonstrate justifiable reason to carry. In no-issue states, no laws exist that allow possession of a firearm. Unrestricted states do not require a permit or license to carry. This last circumstance is perhaps the most dangerous. As of this year, nine states do not require a permit.
It’s hard to say what the solution to gun crime is. In the past, gun legislation in America has failed to identify dangerous and potentially dangerous gun users. Take Dylann Roof, the white supremacist responsible for the shooting of the church in Charleston in 2015. He obtained a gun despite a narcotics charge. The charge was not recorded in background check databases, so it didn’t count against him when he purchased his gun.
I’ve often heard the argument that users intending harm with their guns will find ways, even with more stringent gun legislation. Would you say that this has not been the case in Australia?
I suppose in any country the very determined killer will find a way. I can only go by what I read in the press. I found this NBC article interesting. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/australian-gun-laws-stopped-16-mass-shootings-new-calculations-show-n855946
I was caught up in sorting out the gun legislation in my country that I forgot to respond to your last comment about violent video games. It’s interesting that you brought that point up, as it crosses many minds after shootings like the one in Florida. A few politicians in the past few years have actually proposed laws against violent video games!
My sister looked into this topic a couple of years ago, and found some studies that said violent video games increase aggression and others say that the correlation is negligible or nonexistent. Drawing conclusions on causation is always difficult when it comes to human subjects because researchers can only control so many variables. If you’re curious, this is an informative study on the rhetoric surrounding the debate: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/ppm-ppm0000030.pdf
The NBC article does make a strong case for stricter gun legislation and banning guns. If Americans could cooperate on this point, maybe implementation of some of legislation like that passed in Australia would work. Of course, policymakers always have the Second Amendment hurdle to overcome. There are also historical and political differences between America and Australia to consider. Some, including the Australian ambassador to the U.S., don’t think Australia’s gun laws could translate to America. This interview relates his Ambassador Joe Hockey’s thoughts: https://psmag.com/news/australia-ambassador-gun-laws
With all of the shootings in the States in the past decade, a change is certainly in order, but the opponents in the gun control debate have yet to come to an agreement. Hopefully they soon do, before another tragedy like the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
This article has more information on gun control in the States: http://www.dw.com/en/8-facts-about-gun-control-in-the-us/a-40816418 The last three especially shocked me.
I’m glad to have had this discussion with you, englepip. Thank you for the insight!
Thank you for taking the time to research. I still believe where there is a will to change there is a way. I also disagree with the Australian ambassador’s views that Australia has never been invaded. Every country has been invaded the UK many times. I doubt if he has spoken to the Aboriginal community. Still that is another matter.