The latest chapter in unqualified opinions from public figures trying to remain relevant, comes from none other than Joe Hockey in an interview he did recently for lefty rag Pacific Standard:
OK, Joe. Following the Vegas massacre, you tweeted that, essentially, guns are more cultural and pervasive in the U.S. than in Australia. What do you mean by that?
Australia and the United States are completely different situations, and it goes back to each of our foundings. America was born from a culture of self-defense. Australia was born from a culture of “the government will protect me.” Australia wasn’t born as a result of a brutal war. We weren’t invaded. We weren’t attacked. We weren’t occupied. That makes an incredible difference, even today.
So could the United States replicate Australia’s success?
It’s too arrogant for me to express an opinion about another country.
Fair enough. But you seem to think it couldn’t be easily replicated.
Well, like I said, our histories are completely different. The U.S. had a horrendous civil war, with more casualties than every other war combined. We didn’t have that history. It really went to the core of what it means to defend your people. And so you have a second amendment based on an antiquated view of what it means to be occupied. But the gun culture is so ingrained in America. I can’t wrap my brain around impulsive buys, no cooling off period, no mental-health checks. I’m stunned there’s not more road rage here given the number of guns.
Was it something you were worried about when you came to the States?
The biggest fear my kids had about coming to the U.S. was guns. It’s just a different culture. We saw police with AK-47s at the airport on layover in Los Angeles. But, you know, my kids have Nerf guns. You can’t stop them.
What were some of the biggest challenges in implementing the National Firearms Act?
I was a fierce critic of existing gun laws in 1996, but I represented an urban district that’s 32 square miles, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would have guns in their homes. To this day I don’t know why anyone would have semi-automatic or automatic weapons in the middle of the city. My colleagues in rural areas had a different perspective. Being center-right, we had to stand against our base. But there was such collective grief after Tasmania that we were able to put aside our differences.
Was the bulk of the opposition from your own party?
The right wing had previously lobbied fairly hard against changes to the gun laws. The National Rifle Association sent people and money to campaign in Australia.
The National Rifle Association sent people from the U.S.?
Yes. There’s really no NRA equivalent in Australia, not like you have here. And it backfired. People saw it as American intervention in our elections. They haven’t tried it again.
What were some of the more significant changes following the implementation of the National Firearms Act?
Gun and ammunition must be locked separately. Cooling off periods, not pick up right away, gun lockers at gun clubs, spot checks for enforcement. The amnesty buyback program was the most controversial. Fifteen years before the laws, we had 13 mass shootings. In two decades since, none. Gun homicides decreased by 60 percent. Where it hurts the most are unreported suicides, and threats against women.
One of the challenges that’s often been cited in the U.S. for a failure to curb gun violence is the length of time that passing legislation takes. Australia didn’t seem to have that problem. Looking ahead five or 10 years, where do you see gun violence in America?
AI is changing everything. In five to 10 years, there will be dishes on top of every building, fully equipped with AI technology, fully armed, with cameras. And that will be the way people defend themselves.
It’s “too arrogant for me to express an opinion about another country” yet he goes and does it anyway.
The usual fallacious rhetorical claims of “muh no mass shootings”, “muh semi-autos”, “muh why do you need it” and “muh NRA” are becoming boring, but that’s all clueless twonks like Hockey have.
Also note how Hockey is against firearms for self-defence but is apparently ok with people using Armed AI to defend themselves with. Machines good, humans bad.
The kicker about “the government will protect you” from a supposed small government and liberal values party that is supposed to defend the individual’s rights over collective responsibility says it all. Liberal are just as much Big Government Socialists as the ALP and Greens are.
However, he does make a good point on this about the cultural and historical differences, which are also often left out of the debate. In the US, the culture is a healthy distrust of government and in Australia government is your mother, father and your bank – and this is where many of Australia’s problems begin.
Some also call it “Convict Mentality” and they would be right.
Americans don’t care what you think about their laws, Joe. Much we like we don’t care what they think about how we run our domestic affairs. You know, like how your economic policies have completely destroyed Australia’s economy while you’re on perhaps the most coveted, tax payer funded junket in the Australian Public Service?
Australia’s culture of self-important ultracrepidarians lecturing Americans about firearms is incredibly tiresome and continues to be embarrassing.
Jog on, Joe.
Joe Hockey – “We weren’t attacked” Sydney was shelled from a submarine, a ferry torpedoed in Sydney Harbour, Darwin was bombed more heavily than Pearl Harbor, we’ve just had the anniversary of the Hilton terrorist attack and recently a number of terrorist attacks carried out against us. Not attacked, we’ve had attacks on and off for over 70 years and you can’t adjust to the change?
Aside from the historical ignorance, this is why current politicians remind me of early WW1 generals – they just didn’t understand that the paradigm of combat had changed with barbed wire, machine guns and heavy artillery and so thousands died in useless bayonet charges.
Now the attacks are not enemy aircraft, nor even heavily coordinated terrorist operations that are subject to interdiction after communications intercepts – the enemy publishes a list of potential target types, some ideas on weapons via the internet and radical/ised individuals within the country just go off and attack – they are essentially the V2 missile of modern warfare in that they are almost impossible to detect once launched.
and our Govts think that centralised Police/Special Forces reaction groups are an effective response, the fact is they will always be too little, too late. Self defence is the only possible effective defence against the decentralised attacks we now face.
Also – “We saw police with AK-47s at the airport on layover in Los Angeles.” Police with AK-47s, when you don’t know, don’t just make it up.
Well written Harry.