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Gun Control and John Oliver

If you’ve been living under a rock, you probably don’t know that there is a massive debate happening in the United States right now surrounding gun control following yet another mass shooting, this time at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last December.

The Daily Show, a US TV show hosted by Jon Stewart, has recently shown a three part series on how Australia has dealt with gun control since then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard introduced a ban on automatic and semi automatic weapons after the Port Arthur tragedy in Tasmania in 1996.

By cleverly using satire to get his point cross, John Oliver makes a pretty convincing argument in favour of gun control.

Take a look at the three video’s (click on the links) and tell me if you agree or disagree with gun control reform in the United States.  If you disagree, you better have a pretty good argument and waving the US 2nd Amendment in my face is not it.

The Time Is Now, America

Throughout history, there have been moments in time which have shaped a nation. Think JFK’s speech about sending a man to the moon or Dr King’s speech about race and equality and more recently think the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.

Well, now there is a time to make history in the United States and today, Friday, December 14, 2012, is that day.

Today, 26 innocent victims, 20 of which were children aged just 5 to 10 years of age, paid the ultimate price for that nations lack of gun control when a gunman, at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, opened fire and shot them.

I know that the US constitution, written over 200 years ago, allows the right to bear arms, but at what cost? How many more children must die due to a lack of gun control?  Die, due to a lack of empathy?  Die, due to a lack of action?

President Obama is about to commence his final term as US President.  Under American law, he cannot go for a third term anyway.  His presidency has been dogged by financial issues due to the ever worsening economy.  He needs to lead his country into a new era of gun control and this must be his legacy.  It won’t be a popular decision and he alone cannot make the law and amend the constitution.  That will be up to the lawmakers to do so but it must be lead by Obama himself.

It will be a hard sell.

Many of the pro guns crowd, led by the NRA, will argue that they have a right to protect themselves.  Well guess what?  It’s not working? It’s never worked.  It will never work.

I’ve never seen this headline:

 “Armed Citizen Saves The Day At Public School By Killing Heavily Armed Gunman”

or

“Hero Civilian With The Right To Bear Arms Kills Gunman At School Before He Tried to Kill Everyone”

The reason we don’t see these headlines is because it doesn’t happen. The headlines we do see are like these:

“Madman Kills 28 in School Rampage”

or

“Horrific”

or

“Another Mass Shooting”

And if the politicians can’t or won’t do it, then it is up to the people of the United States.  If you are a member of the NRA or are pro gun, show some true leadership and set an example that enough is enough and lay down your arms and encourage everyone to do so as well.  People power can be so powerful.

For those who say guns don’t kill people. People kill people. I agree, but why make it so easy to get access the guns?  Make it as hard as possible.

We did it in Australia.  After the Port Arthur Massacre of 1996, then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard changed our gun laws and it wasn’t an easy process.   There were a lot of people who didn’t want to give up their guns, mainly farmers and people from the bush.  But the law was changed and guess what?  Not one mass shooting since in almost 20 years.

This can be the future for the United States.  If enough people are finally outraged by today’s horrific events.

President Obama, it is time to make history.  This is the time when future generations will look back and see that someone was courageous enough to make a change.  That someone was influential enough to make a change.  That someone put their own self interests aside and just made that change.  This is your legacy.  It is your time to make a difference.

Politics – The Minimum Voting Age

I know that politics is generally a very boring subject and today will be no exception but I would like to throw out a couple of ideas to shake up the political landscape.  I would love to get your feedback and see if there are more like minded people out there.

Firstly I would like to see the minimum age for voting increased from the current 18 years to a minimum of 25 years.  Secondly I would like to see the current political system based on the centuries old parliamentary system disbanded and replaced with a better system.  I’ll discuss each idea separately and briefly so as not to have you move onto the next web page offering much better entertainment than what I am offering here.

  1. Increase the minimum voting age to 25

I am basing this on my own experiences.  At the age of 18 I really had no idea about policies and political parties and really had very little idea how it all worked.  I was a popularity voter and when I was first able to vote in 1990 I voted for the politician who I liked the most, Bob Hawke. I knew nothing of his politics, I knew nothing about his party’s politics, I just liked the way he spoke and as he was the current Prime Minister he was the most common politician I ever saw in the media.  He was also very popular for being the Australian Prime Minister at the time when Australia II won the America’s Cup in 1983 and went on TV and told Aussie bosses they were bums if they sacked anyone for being late for work that day.  Who couldn’t love the guy for that alone.

By the time of the next election I was perhaps 20 or 21 and Paul Keating had taken over from Bob Hawke as Prime Minister in a leadership spill.  I liked Paul Keating more than I liked then opposition leader, Dr John Hewson.  I liked Keating’s arrogance and therefore I voted for him.  Again I didn’t understand, or even try to understand his or the Labor parties politics, it was purely a personality vote.

Then John Howard,the leader of the Liberal Party won the election and became Australia’s 25th Prime Minister.

I think I voted for Paul Keating that election but I really don’t remember but in 1996 at the age of 24 I still didn’t really understand politics all too well.  What happened was that John Howard then stayed in office for 11 years.  During this 11 years I got a little older and a little wiser and I started to understand politics a little better.  All of a sudden issues that were important to me like immigration and tax relief and home ownership were also hot agenda topics for the Australian government.  I liked the fact that John Howard was taking a stance against illegal boat people.  I liked the fact that he introduced first home ownership schemes.  I liked the fact that interest rates were falling to a level that would allow me to be able to afford to buy my own home which after all is the great Australian dream.  Then something peculiar happened, I started voting based on issues and not based on popularity.

My point is that I think the majority of young adults under 25 would be similar to me and not really have an understanding of policies and would be simply voting based on what mum and dad have always voted or based on personalities.  By increasing the voting age to 25 it is possible that this could alter the outcome of an election and therefore policies.  I’m not sure how much of the voting population is based on the 18 to 24 age bracket but it could be significant and enough to bring about an election result based on popularity and not just on policies.  Especially if it is likely to be a very close election, personalities could be the difference between the leaders and therefore their political parties forming government.

The only part of this I don’t like is that those 18 to 24 year olds who do understand what is going on will not have the opportunity to have their right to have a say about who their leader is.  The compromise here is that those who are under 25 are not obligated to vote and therefore it is not compulsory for them to do so.  I honestly couldn’t give a rats arse if I voted or not back in my youth and only did so because I had to.  A comment was made to me the other day that if you change the minimum voting age you also have to change the minimum drinking and gambling age and also the minimum age to serve in the Australian defence forces.  I don’t think it has to go that far.

Ok so this went a bit longer than I thought so I will continue this discussion with my second point in the next day or so.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  How would you feel if you couldn’t vote until you were 25?  Do you have a better idea?  I would love to hear what you think?