It's funny the kinds of bullshit you hear from people when they are trying to justify their ideology.
I got into a Facebook discussion today with Rob McNealy, my guest on a recent podcast about gun control in the USA. Rob posted comparing gun laws in Mexico to America, suggesting that tighter gun laws in Mexico haven't made it safer. I pointed out that Mexico's GDP is about one fifth that of the United States and he should really compare the USA to a country with similar economics – like Australia.
Rob replied “You are trying to deny the fact that gun control don't stop murder from happening. You are a typical anti-liberty liberal that wants to create MORE murder victims.”
I explained that in the years after the Port Arthur massacre, the risk of dying by gunshot in Australia fell by more than 50% — and stayed there, quoting an article from CNN.
He then replied with this post, claiming that “the percent of murders committed with a firearm (in Australia) was the highest it had ever been in 2006″. His source even claimed this data was from “Australian Bureau of Criminology”.
Oh really? I googled “Australian Bureau of Criminology” and I came up blank. There is an “Australian INSTITUTE of Criminology” but Rob's source doesn't reference any particular report or website, so I don't know where they got their data from. In fact, it is likely they pulled it out of their asses.
This information about the high rate of 2006 gun murders is totally at odds with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which shows that in 2006, gun homicides in Australia were at an all time LOW.
Here is a graph from UTS. See that huge drop after 1996? That's when Johnny Howard introduced the National Firearm Agreement and the buy-back scheme that aimed to eliminate semi-automatic firearms in Australia. It appears that our gun homicide rate fell by 50% immediately and has continued to drop.
Tell me again how “gun control don't stop murder from happening”?
This second graph is from the ABS and shows the falling rates of guns homicides as a percentage of all homicides. Again – a big drop off after 1996. Although this chart stops at 2003, the ABS site for 2006 confirms that the percentage of homicides from firearms in 2006 was an all-time low.
Unfortunately, Rob's source was the “National Center For Policy Analysis” which, according to SourceWatch, is funded by conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers. You can tell people are desperate when they resort to making up bullshit to support their arguments. Of course, most of their readers are not likely to do their own research, much like Fox News viewers, and will just regurgitate the NCPA's claims.
The real question is whether or not the NFA had much of an impact on overall homicides or if they were already dropping due to other factors. What we *do* know for certain is that there hasn't been another mass shooting in Australia since 1996. However homicides have only demonstrated a slight decrease since then. The rise in sexual assault is thought to be an increase in reporting of sexual assault, not an actual increase in incidents.
By the way, here is a chart of America's gun homicides since 1998:
So, the next time you hear someone tell you that gun control didn't work in Australia, you can just send them to this post and facepalm.
My guest today is Virginia Balmain who is the President of the United Nations Association of Australia (QLD) and the Vice-President of the UNAA in Australia. We chat about Australia’s role in the UN, our obligations as a Member Nation, and some of the contentious issues surrounding the UN – the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council, the rise of the “Islamic Bloc”, how it is funded and whether or not it is a “toothless tiger”.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Ewan Saunders is the Socialist Alliance’s Brisbane candidate in the upcoming federal election. I caught up with him recently to talk about socialism, climate change, indigenous communities, and the Socialist Alliance’s policies on subjects like Iraq, Afghanistan and immigration.
As I mention during the show, if you’re interested in hearing more about “participatory democracy”, then listen to my 2008 interview with Richard Moore.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
While waiting in the Apple Store Chermside today (waiting, that is, for them to replace the hard drive on my 5 month old 17″ Macbook Pro for the second time in a week), I started reading the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 report. The report was recently released by Beyond Zero Emissions, a non-profit group based in Melbourne. Their report details how Australia can become a zero carbon-emitting country by 2020. In their introduction, they remind us that Australia has the highest carbon emission per capita ranking in the entire world.
I had forgotten that fact, so I tweeted:
Let’s remember during this election that Australia has the highest emissions per capita IN THE WORLD. We are a disgrace.
A few hours later I saw this tweet in response:
I wish to express my utter disdain for what @Vzzzbx just retweeted from some twat called @cameronreilly (see next tweet)
I don’t know who this Ches Trulson guy is, but it always amuses me when someone just slags me off and doesn’t try to debate the facts. It’s usually the sign of a limited intelligence. But I popped over to read more of his Twitter feed, just in case he was someone to take seriously.
Here’s a sample of his Twitter feed, following on from the ‘disdain’ post:
We live in a first world country, this means our emissions are worse than much of the world. Bad? Sure.
France is also a first world country, but their emissions are one-third of Australia’s. And France’s emissions per capita have reduced by 40% since 1979, while Australia’s have grown by 40%.
It’s also really fucking big, and our population is spread across a large area. Again, bad. We also have a varied and harsh climate. Bad.
Russia is a pretty big country as well and their climate is pretty harsh. Their emissions have dropped by 30% since 1992, while Australia’s have grown.
Except of course, that none of that is practical to change, or any of our fault. Yet I should feel ashamed? Get fucked.
This is what amuses me the most. “None of that is practical to change or any of our fault.” That kind of lazy, defeatist attitude is precisely WHY we are the worst emitters in the world. Huge brains like Ches just throwing up his hands and saying “not my fault”. Of course it’s not your fault, Ches. Meanwhile, the ZCA2020 report says it *is* practical to change – in fact, we could be a zero carbon emission country within ten years – if we can get people like Ches to pull their heads out of their asses.
I’m all for living sustainably, but Aus is not a significant problem IMO, and making us feel bad about it is helpful in no way whatsoever.
Aw, diddums. Did Bad Cameron make you cwy? Grow up, dude. It’s precisely because we are a first world country that we are a significant problem. The rest of the world (read: the developing countries who are still trying to pull themselves out of poverty) are looking towards the first world countries as guidance. If we don’t seem to be taking this stuff seriously, then why should they? Australia should (IMHO) be leading the world on this issue. We have the wealth. We have the political stability. We have the intelligence (well…. some of us). Perhaps most importantly, we have huge sources of renewable energy. Let’s lead the world for once in something other than sport and racist actors.
Hard to argue convincingly over twitter, but whatever, rage subsiding.
Well here’s you chance, Ches. Argue convincingly here. If you can.
Oh, and this from a guy who does marketing for cigars and pergolas? Hilarious.
Yeah I see what those things have to do with each other. No, wait…. I don’t. Please enlighten me. Of course, this is all coming from a self-confessed “car nerd”. I guess when you’re a “car nerd”, the whole idea of reducing carbon emissions is likely to induce cognitive dissonance.
On other Twitter fronts….
My mate Ben Wilks took umbrage to my retweet about how stupid Gillard’s “small Australia” policy is.
@cameronreilly umm, ok. Population has doubled in the last 15 years. Property prices and traffic ARE QUALITY OF LIFE. Seriously, WT?
Actually, Ben – no. Property prices and traffic are NOT quality of life. At all.
This whole “small Australia” policy is seriously dysfunctional. Here’s why:
According to the IMF, Australia ranks #10 in GDP per capita.
On top of that, we have one of the lowest population densities in the world.
If we can’t have quality of life while we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world with one of the lowest population densities – then we are seriously messed up.
This all reminds me of a story Clive Hamilton (he of the internet filter) wrote about in one of his earlier books, Affluenza.
I don’t have the book in front of me, so I’ll paraphrase it. He wrote that the average net household income in Australia has increased by something like 300% since 1950. And yet when you survey the Australian population and ask them “do you have enough to get by”, something like 75% of people say “no”.
We’re messed up, dysfunctional.
When you have an individual who has everything going for them and yet they feel oppressed, it’s often a sign of a psychosis or mental illness.
When you have an entire population who has everything going for them and yet they feel like they don’t have enough to get by, what does that say about the general psyche of the country?
(pic via suburbanbloke’s flickr)