Again, we’ll ask why

April 17, 2007

As I woke up this morning to a report from the US that another “lone gunman” has gone on a rampage killing 32 people and then himself, I just thought “oh, so it’s today”… It was only a matter of time before this sort of thing happened again. When I say this sort of thing, I’m not even sure what I mean. This “sort of thing” happens everyday in the US in the form of individual killings – it’s only big news when more than two or three are killed at once with a gun.

As people recoil in horror, the blame merchants will emerge from all over the place, just like after the Columbine shootings. There is no one single blame for these horrific acts though. Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine should again be taken down off the shelf of those who have it and given to those who need to watch it. Moore hits home with the powerful points he makes in that film in relation to the availability of guns and ammo, the underlying culture of violence and the military industrial complex of a society that produces some of the most lethal and efficient killing machines this planet has ever seen.

Of course it may surface that the person who has committed this act may have been mentally ill, like Martin Bryant who killed 35 people at Port Arthur in Tasmania in April 1996. This doesn’t weaken Moore’s analysis – it strengthens it. A society which makes people feel isolated, alienated and downtrodden from the mall to the office block to the university campus and then makes guns freely available to just about anyone who wants one or feels that they need one is bound to reap what it sows.

Yet, I can’t help but feel that we’ll just ask why again without really wanting to know the answer – and I’ll wake up to the same story again sometime in the next few years.

My heart aches for the families and friends of those who’ve lost their lives.



  1. Nice blog!

  2. Thankfully though, Port Arthur saw serious reforms to Australia’s gun laws (why *any* guns are allowed amazes me, but that’s another issue).

    Culturally, of course, we’re still screwed.

    Difficult to feel optimistic in a world where not only do these things happen, but further, people actively defend the “right” to possess and use a tool thats only purpose it to pain or to kill (even the sport of shooting seemingly arose from our cultural respect for those who can harm or kill better than the rest of us).

    Will we hear from Mr Heston soon no doubt.. or is he dead already..?

  3. Indeed Grant. The gun lobby will no doubt come out and somehow try to twist this around and say it’s an argument for more people to bear arms. In fact I’ve already seen pathetic ramblings on some right wing blogs that are attempting to do just that. And of course, that all wise philosopher-king, Bush, has said that he still strongly believes in the “right” to bear arms since this tragedy – so we can’t expect any meaningful action there… So, around and around we go – it will happen again.

    And thanks Livette, appreciate it!

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