It has been a very boring last day of freedom for me. I start work on Monday. Most of the day has been spent browsing the internet - with that nagging feeling that "gosh darn it, I should go do something."
I decided to browse Time Out Sydney in hopes of finding something entertaining to do tonight. I clicked on a link to blurb about The Flinders Hotel. I chose the link because it said it was modeled after a classic American dive bar. It peeked my interest so I clicked away to read about this Sydney bar.
It wouldn't be long before I read enough to be offended. The following is a clip from the article.
"The Flinders was recently bought and renovated by restaurateur/club owner Nick Mathers, Ksubi's Paul Wilson, and Bang Gang DJs Gus Da Hoodrat and Jaime Doom. It's modelled on a classic American dive bar. In the US, you can go to almost any bar and get a decent Manhattan or Daiquiri, natural as carrying a loaded weapon in your glovebox, and that's how it is at the Flinders. There are no fancy cocktail glasses, the service is casual as they come (but still professional and personable) and they serve straight-up great cocktails."
I have highlighted the part I find offensive in red. It's comments like this that just drain me of my energy - and I wonder if it is worth it at all bothering to explain the inaccuracy of statements like that. Alas, one last time, I will try to explain...
Honestly, carrying around loaded weapons in gloveboxes does not come as "natural" to Americans and would not be considered to be a normal activity to the majority of Americans. Yes, America has a gun violence problem! American inner cities are plagued with a culture of violence and poverty. Tragically this cycle of violence and poverty seems to renew itself from one generation to the next. Yes, this problem is begging for a solution!
Do I think banning guns with fix the problem? No, I do not think that would fix the problem. We are talking about a culture of violence here. If you want to fix the violence problem you need to fix the heart of the problem. Why are people so angry? Why is there such a disregard for human life? You can take away the guns - but what stops the violent individual from stabbing someone? Or bashing someone with a baseball bat? The violence of the inner city is not strictly a gun issue! It is a violence issue!
In America, we do have laws and regulations regarding firearms. Unfortunately, there is also an underground market for illegal guns. It may surprise some (apparently from all the comments I hear) but most of the guns used in gun violence are illegally obtained. In fact, surprise surprise, the majority of Americans who own legal guns do not use them to shoot people. I know, I know - it's not what you've heard - but it's true, I promise.
Heck, I even grew up in a household that had guns. I did not find this fact scary at all. We did not keep them loaded (this is not safe.) They were kept out of reach of children (my brother and I) and of course the children were not permitted to touch the guns. Why did we have these guns? Well, because, I am from the country. We hunt in the country. We shoot animals - and then eat them.
I get very tired of the assumption that guns cause the violence and if America would simply get rid of guns we would get rid of our violence problem. People can get pissed off as much as they want about how 'stupid' the saying "Guns don't kill people. People kill people" is but it is true. Place a gun in my hands - and I will not shoot you. Place a knife in my hands - and I will not stab you. Place a baseball bat in my hands - and I will not bash you. It is not the object itself that motivates the violence - but a much deeper problem.
I may well never convince a single person that although gun violence is a problem in America it does not run rampant through every corner of America. I am not interested in hearing your overly simple solution to alleviating American gun violence. It is not a simple problem that can be easily fixed by banning guns - and I no longer have the energy to discuss this complex issue with simple people - who just don't get it.
Lot's of Love,
A disgruntled American
P.S. If the letter seems slightly off topic - that would be because I was sidetracked into writing about previous gun issue debates with non-Americans that offered inadequate simple solutions to a very complex problem.