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The good, the bad and the wallaby - Stephan [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Stephan

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The good, the bad and the wallaby [Oct. 20th, 2008|01:09 pm]
Stephan
One of the recent topics on my LJ got sidetracked into the issue of firearms, and whether or not it’s appropriate to open fire on potential rapists or bag snatchers

You might be interested to know that a few years ago our little wallaby poet has been the attempted target of both a bag snatch and a molestation. Oddly enough both were on board trains. Here are the stories related to me by Perri, as best I can recall.

Perri would have been about 60 when each of these incidents took place, and she’s rather short (the wallaby fursona fits).

A couple of teenagers spotted her sitting on the train, not far from the doors, with the strap of her handbag around her arm. The thieves’ plan had been for one of them to prop the train doors open while the other did the bag snatch and they would both jump off as the train was pulling out of the station.

Their plan failed to factor in the burly man dozing on the carriage’s opposite side. When the scuffle began he leapt from his seat and came to Perri’s aid, smacking the would-be-snatchers around. The teenager by the doors realised the jig was blown, and fled off the train. However his less prudent companion refused to leg go of Perri’s handbag, even at the point that he was partway out the (closing) doors and the train was gathering speed. Eventually he was persuaded by the Good Samaritan to leave both the train and the bag, on receiving a hefty blow to the face.

When the police interviewed Perri and her white knight, they asked for a description of the two attackers. The man replied “well I’m pretty sure one of them has a black eye.”

On the occasion Perri was nearly molested she was travelling alone. Now this story is less clear in my memory, so I’ll need to confirm these details next time I meet her, and if anything’s wrong I’ll post corrections.

She was on a train somewhere around 8-9am one morning when a man in his early twenties entered from an adjoining carriage and began making lewd comments to her. For him not to perceive how old Perri was he must have been under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. His tone became threatening after she ignored him for a while, and then he said “I’m not going to let you off this train.” She told him to leave her alone, and when her station came she prepared to disembark.
He snuck up and grabbed her from behind.

In spite of both her age and her size, Perri is no weakling. She biffed him twice in the jaw (or was it the nose? I’d say she’s more likely to have hit his jaw). He backed off, yelled “you’re a wild woman” and fled.

Perri reported the incident to police, but to my knowledge the lunatic hasn’t been traced.

Two crimes successfully fended off, neither requiring the use of personal firearms. Guns are not part of the solution; they’re part of the problem.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2008-10-20 03:08 am (UTC)
I'm glad Perri came out okay each time. But I'm afraid these anecdotes make a poor argument. All they indicate is that guns aren't always necessary to prevent or foil violent crimes. If Perri had been alone at the bag snatch or weaker at the molestation, the criminals probably would have succeeded. In the latter case, at least, a gun and the proper training to use it might have come in handy.

I've heard Aussies contend that Australia is more dangerous now than before its gun restrictions. I'm not sure, tho. D.C. became more dangerous with its gun ban, but a Washingtonian need only leave town to get a gun. If any place can profit from a gun ban, an island nation should.
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[User Picture]From: secoh
2008-10-20 08:36 am (UTC)
twaddle. Australia is no more dangerous than any other time. Sydney might be more dangerous, but more because of the 1st gen immigration and the Ice epidemic rather than due to any weapons per se.

If Perri was weaker and had a gun, she would essentially be handing them a weapon. In the closed confines of a train it's not likely to have the time or space to wave a gun around before you are overpowered.

Guns are a tool. Tools can be dangerous, and should be treated and stored with appropriate respect and consideration. They are neither evil nor dangerous on their own, it takes a person to make them so.

in 2005 there were 20 murders by firearm in Australia (pop 22 mil). In the USA in 2005 there was something in the order of 7,000 (pop. 300 mil).

Guns are available in Australia, they are not banned in total. Only handguns and full autos are banned, and even then there's exception. There's a lot of anti control propaganda about gun control that is totally false.

If you are a licenced and sporting shooter, you can have firearms in your house but they must be registered and locked in an approved cabinet, which the police inspect a few times a year.

It's not so much about banning guns as it is about knowing who has them, knowing they are held by people without criminal conviction, are locked away to reduce theft, and are locked away to reduce kids from inadvertently discharging one, or angry domestics having a brain snap.
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2008-10-20 04:36 pm (UTC)
In the closed confines of a train it's not likely to have the time or space to wave a gun around before you are overpowered.

Granted.

In 2005 there were 20 murders by firearm in Australia (pop 22 mil). In the USA in 2005 there was something in the order of 7,000 (pop. 300 mil).

Okay, but what happened to the overall murder rate in Australia? I'm not so interested in comparing the gun murder rate to that of the U.S., which far outstrips any industrialized nation's regardless of gun laws.

Guns are available in Australia, they are not banned in total. Only handguns and full autos are banned, and even then there's exception.

I've actually heard as much from gun control opponents. Sorry to have oversimplified in my speech.

If you are a licenced and sporting shooter, you can have firearms in your house but they must be registered and locked in an approved cabinet, which the police inspect a few times a year.

I assume that there are other times that one may legally unlock the cabinet; otherwise, why bother allowing the possession?
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[User Picture]From: secoh
2008-10-21 07:48 am (UTC)

Okay, but what happened to the overall murder rate in Australia? I'm not so interested in comparing the gun murder rate to that of the U.S., which far outstrips any industrialized nation's regardless of gun laws.

from the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4510.0Main%20Features22007?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4510.0&issue=2007&num=&view=

"Murder, 1.2 victims per 100,000 persons, down from 1.4 victims in 2006 "

Murder rate by population percentage is declining. IIRC the hard numbers have increased but we are experiencing large population growth.

However, robbery and petty crime is on the increase. Again, 1st gen immigrants and Ice, as well as a degradation of the civil police forces and a previous gov't focused solely on economic issues and totally ignoring social ones.

I've actually heard as much from gun control opponents. Sorry to have oversimplified in my speech.

That's cool, I was kind of pre-empting the usual pro-gun waffle that seems to abound throughout the 'net.

I assume that there are other times that one may legally unlock the cabinet; otherwise, why bother allowing the possession?

ahh here we come to the fundamental cultural difference bewteen the USA and Australia.
Yes, you can remove the gun from the cabinet any time you like, for cleaning, transport etc whatever.

You CANNOT use it for protection or self defence. Only for hunting or sporting use.

You guys have gun ownership and the right to bear arms as part of your constitution, due to your nation being borne from a war.

We got our nation by (relative) democratic vote, and didn't need to go to war with anyone to do it. Needing to form militias at the drop of a hat to fend off the British was not something we had to do, so it was never written into the laws here.


I'm not on a high horse or anything, the US has a different history and a different outlook than us, just the way it is. I think we have it better here, but that's only my opinion.

But there's a lot of misinformation about gun control and gun use in Australia, and it bugs me when I stumble across it. (not that there was any in this thread BTW)
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2008-10-21 04:35 pm (UTC)
I've always found the "protection against criminals who would have guns anyway" argument more persuasive than the "protection against a government that might go too far" argument.

As for hunting, well, I've grudgingly come to recognize that it can benefit the ecosystem when done right.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-10-21 11:12 am (UTC)
I consider it to be a very good argument because only in a cartoon would a short 60+ year old poet reach into her handbag for a 9mm and confidently hold off either two teenagers or a twenty something molestor. And considering that she would most probably need to keep the gun in her handbag then if her handbag were stolen it would be one more firearm falling into the wrong person's clutches.

The theory that a gun will serve the victim only works if *ALL* the following conditions are satisfied:

The victim has the firearm
AND
The antagonist does not
AND
The victim has the appropriate training
AND
The victim has the confrontational disposition
AND
The victim keeps the gun properly maintained
AND
The victim has the gun where he/she can reach it at a milesecond's notice

If BOTH parties have a gun then you either end up with a standoff, or "claret everywhere" as they once said on The Bill. How many times have we seen that played out in movies? The scene which first comes to mind is in Speed where Keanu Reeves character entered a Mexican standoff with the criminal on the bus. You may recall that he almost successfully diffused the situation by putting his own gun away. But then someone tried to disarm the crim by force and an innocent person (the bus driver) was shot.

deckardcanine said:"I've heard Aussies contend that Australia is more dangerous now than before its gun restrictions. I'm not sure, tho. D.C. became more dangerous with its gun ban, but a Washingtonian need only leave town to get a gun. If any place can profit from a gun ban, an island nation should.",
I would imagine those speaking against the gun ban being either from Adelaide, or members of the gun lobby itself (or both). The gun laws were introduced in response to a public outcry after the Port Arthur massacre of '96. However these laws are being salami sliced away by state governments in exchange for votes by the gun lobby, in late night sessions of parliament.

The increase in crime here has nothing whatsoever to do with either success or failure of the gun laws, it's due to our shortage of police officers. A fact I've brought up virtually every time I've mentioned shortages here. Given the economic situation this is likely to grow worse, not better. A new law isn't very effective when the long arm of the law has been cut short by a lack of funding.

Nonetheless, we haven't had any high school shootings or sniper attacks. I'd immagine it will happen some day, but not to the extent where it would in a country where people grow up with the idea that everyone has to have a gun to protect themselves from everyone else.
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