It’s obvious to many that the Australian media and politicians have been at the forefront of shaping Australians’ perception on firearms, particularly to those who are indifferent or against firearms in general.
The level of astounding mistruths and misinformation that are promulgated on this topic in Australia is of epic proportions, but like any issue, unless you’re a firearm owner or clued on about guns in some way you aren’t going to know that. Frankly, most Australian journalists and politicians are rubbish when it comes to the issue of firearms.
It’s important to understand how they have been able to achieve this and it’s very simple: through language. In reality, they nearly always employ a barrage of emotive buzzwords in place of any sane debate or discussion on this topic in Australia. It is exactly the same trick as yelling “racist” or “bigot” when you want to shut down a debate on immigration or any other issue.
There many terms used by the Australian media and politicians to stifle debate on firearms and we’ve identified the five worst phrases.
Google just about any article on firearms in Australia and it’s a safe bet that the Port Arthur Massacre is in some way mentioned.
This is, in reality, a form of trauma-based neurolinguistic programming. When Port Arthur is uttered, the average Australians’ thought process goes something like this: “Port Arthur Massacre – man killed lots of people – semi autos are bad – John Howard changed gun laws – no mass shootings since.”
All of these points are demonstrably false when explored with an open, objective mindset and a hint of critical thinking. There’s little to no discussion by the media of where the AR15 used allegedly came from, the Police response time, the active role John Howard and Tim Fischer took in ensuring there was no Coronial Inquiry or Royal Commission or any discussion about how the National Firearms Agreement was formulated as far back as 1991 by Labor. There’s no exploration of the relationship between NFA architect Rebecca Peters and her personal financier, George Soros.
It was infamously said that the reason for no Royal Commission into the events at Port Arthur was because of ‘trauma to the victims’, but it seems that goes out the window whenever there is some issue regarding firearms in this country and it’s ok to keep bringing it up and put the victims’ through it every time.
It is the go-to weapon of the media but fortunately, the knife has really started to become blunt. Continually relying on Port Arthur as your primary argument for gun control is in fact, a weak one.
“American style gun culture!”
Another buzzword deemed fail safe and arguably the 2nd worst used. If in doubt, just bring up some vague comparison to the USA and the debate is, apparently, over.
There’s never any discussion about the complete disparity between the two nations which add validity to any discussion: levels of income disparity, population size, gang activity, health services, demographic crime trends, etc. It’s just a straight up, superficial black and white reference.
Comparing Australia to the United States is an intellectually dishonest, false binary argument. There’s never any mention of the daily examples of firearm self-defence by US citizens which far outweigh the total number of homicides ever year. There’s no discussion about disproportionately higher African-American crime rates or the scourge of Mexican cartel violence spilling onto US soil. Those who cite this argument also almost always don’t know what the laws actually are or the wide variance of laws at the federal, state and county level.
There’s also no comparison to other western countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Czech Republic, etc which have far more liberal gun laws and comparable crime rates to Australia.
The reality is the per capita murder rate in the US has declined 49% over the last 25 years while firearm sales and concealed carry permit holders have nearly trebled. Meanwhile, south of the border, Mexico just posted a record number of homicides for 2017 in a country with gun laws stricter than the UK. Don’t worry though, their lives don’t count.
It’s also amazing that Australians’ are so open to sledging the US on this issue, yet we complain about not being able to defend ourselves in our own homes and are 100% reliant on the ANZUS treaty for military protection against foreign threats.
The amount of lies told about self-loading, semi-automatic rifles in Australia is astounding.
The biggest one being is that they’re banned completely in Australia. Well no, they’re still legal. Semi-auto handguns are also still available. However, the restrictions on both of them are absolutely ridiculous and make very little common or legislative sense that they are virtually banned.
The doublespeak around semi-automatic rifles is even more blatant when Police are praised for having them yet citizens are demonized for the same. When the Police have them they are deemed “proper and necessary tools to protect the public” but when the public have them they are “killing machines designed purely to commit the next Port Arthur”. Seems fair and reasonable.
Semi-autophobia is one of the leading causes of ignorance in Australia in the firearm debate. Meanwhile, over the ditch in New Zealand (and a slew of other countries), one of these can be hand on the lowest category of licence and remains the most popular rifle in NZ. No “mass shootings” there in 21 years either.
First of all, you cannot buy back something you did not own in the first place – this is sleight of hand. The use of this term is deliberate and invokes a sense of mutual agreement. “Don’t worry mate, we’ll be a good government and give you some cash for that gun and she’ll be right”. The reality, as we have seen, was far more sinister than that.
Call it for what it was: compensated confiscation with the threat of imprisonment. Seriously, does this look like a passive buy back to you?
Further, the number of number of firearms that were confiscated by the government seems to inflate year on year and depends on who is doing the reporting. There’s also no mention of several of those firearms re-entering circulation due to negligence and corruption in 1998 either. Or you could ask Michael Keenan about how many were recently handed in.
“No mass shootings since 1996!”
Patently false and one of the more annoying catch cries. If we want to get technical, then the last mass shooting in Australia honour goes to NSW Police, who shot an escaped mental patient with a pair of scissors and three old ladies out for morning tea at Westfield Hornsby in 2016. But that’s ok, because the government did it.
There is no international consensus on what constitutes a mass shooting. The FBI uses mass killing as 4 or more. Interpol use 4 or more, some countries use 3 or more. Should it be people shot or people shot and killed? Who is right?
Australia has changed the definition of mass murder multiple times since 1996 and the latest research by the notoriously anti-firearm University of Sydney used “5 or more killed by one or more perpetrators” to get around the Logan shootings in 2014. They also were forced to concede they couldn’t attribute any decline to the 1996 laws.
They also discount the massive decline in firearm homicide, as shown by the ABS no less, between 1980 and 1995.
Mass shootings are a poor metric of firearm law effectiveness. We now have daily gun crime in our cities, home invasions and car jackings are now a regular occurrence and the public is unable to protect themselves against it with so much as a pepper spray.
Declaring that victims of mass shootings are somehow more dead than those that are killed by other means is also a facile argument. Do victims care how they’re killed or injured? No, they care about why it happened and how it could have been avoided. We have had many sickening mass casualty attacks since Port Arthur, some with and some without firearms, with vehicles now seemingly the latest trend.
There’s absolutely nothing to stop another mass shooting – as Man Monis, Rick Maddison and a slew of other incidents have shown. And the second another major one happens in Australia, the apologists won’t know what to do with themselves.
There’s also been no mass shootings in New Zealand for the last 21 years either despite not changing the laws, but that doesn’t count for some reason.
Obviously, the above is not an exhaustive list. There are several other terms that they employ like “assault rifle”, “high powered”, etc, which are equally as dishonest and have the same objective.
Again, education and experience are key in the firearm debate. The media and political class know this, hence why they invest so much time and energy in emotive linguistics to keep the debate in a juvenile context.
However, you can only cry wolf so many times before the magic wears off and the fake news MSM seem not to have learnt their lesson.
It’s not all bad though, in 2017 during the firearm amnesty Channel 9’s Brett MacLeod interviewed Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Jeff Bourman in a very balanced and noteworthy interview. This is the standard the debate should be at in the media and kudos to Brett MacLeod for providing some much needed balance.
Note to the media: Brett is smart.
Be Like Brett.