Thursday, 25 September 2008

a challenge for Finland

I was sad to hear of the tragedy which again has befallen Finland with another school shooting this time in Kauhajoki. Having myself lost a best friend while I was in my first year of University I can perhaps understand the feelings of those who have lost their friends. It is a terrible thing.

Now Finland is struggling with the vexed question of gun controls, with the President stating that tough new laws will be introduced. Its easy to blame the issue on the ability to access guns, certainly its easier than asking our selves the social questions of "can we stop crazy people from doing crazy things?"

Certainly something has to be done in response to this as we can not just sit by and watch it happen again. However the question needs to be asked what is a proper response?

Now I don't have a gun myself, but many of my friends both here in Finland and back in Australia do have. Almost all are sporting shooters, meaning that they enter into competitions and enjoy target shooting for a sport. They favor guns such as single shot target pistols and black powder (stuff like from the 19th century) pistols.

Most of these people see no need for semi automatic guns of any nature, as they are not effective at hunting or sports. They are more effective as weapons (as we can see from tragedys like this).

As an Australian I come from a place with among the toughest gun laws in the world. Despite these tough laws I was stunned to see this article in The Australian almost at the same time as the tragedy in Finland. Let me quote a section from it.

a "Year 9 student at Kurri Kurri High School had been suspended after he was found with the gun in his bag."

Further he's hardly acting responsibly as: "who was in the English class when the weapon was allegedly produced, said the teenage boy had been "bragging" to his mates when he produced the gun"

So perhaps his gun was "antique" but its clearly a breach of the laws controlling guns.

With stuff like this happening in Australia one has to ask the question of "would tighter laws in Finland stop a situation like this?" or would they just interfere with the activities of ordinary normal people? Already in England as a result of the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 is not possible for people to practice for some of the Olympic events. Worth keeping in mind is that no laws will prevent the access to illegal guns. Guess what ... people break laws.

Can you get a gun illegally? You betcha, and what more if it became more profitable I'm sure it would be simply more likely you could.

So the reason I'm writing here is to ask for the people who vote for the people in charge of us, as well as the people in charge of us, to consider carefully what their response is. Consider that all guns are not equal, some are highly unsuitable as weapons (like single shot target pistols and flint lock and other black powder guns) while others (like the semi-automatic pistols) are excellent weapons.

Speaking of weapons, vehicles have been used as weapons such as in Japan just this year when a loony drove his truck into a crowd and then started slashing people with a knife. He killed 7 and injured 10. Heck at home in Australia carving knives are used to kill too, and in fact are the most common weapon in Australia. Should we restrict or ban them too? I see that the most common murder weapon in China is rat poison.

So, please consider the reality and the whole picture, before the Knee Jerk Reaction.

Its all I'm saying.

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