SYDNEY, Australia Most Australians would remember where they were when they firstly heard something bad was going on at Port Arthur.
I was moving through the common room at my university residential college and there was a group glued to the old-fashioned television tube video in the corner — strange for daylight hours.
Scraps of information were seeping out from the windswept historical site on the southern beach of Tasmania , not far from the bottom of the world and already stalked by the souls of its harsh penal colony past.
No one was Tweeting. Social media barely existed. Mobile phones were a luxury and recognises as remote as Port Arthur had no coverage anyway.
A gunman was on the loose. Five, ten, 15 beings shot. Laughable quantities that precisely retained growing.
Local police scrambled down the narrow street in, unaware what horror they approached. In the end the toll from the Port Arthur Massacre, as its inscribed into Australian jargon, was 35 dead and 23 injured.
April 28, 1996. Twenty years next year.
Its sometimes cheap to remark an episode changed a nation — but Port Arthur changed Australia.
A whole generation of young Australians is now coming of age having never borne witness to a mass filming in their own country.
They dont remember Port Arthur because they werent born when a 28 -year-old with a low IQ stalked through a sightseer attractivenes picking off innocent followers, women and children with high-powered weaponry for concludes nothing of us will ever fathom.
Young adults who have graduated high school, can vote, drive and legally booze booze( in Australia the drinking age is 18) “ve never” went on to campus panicking the weirdo from their financials tutorial might turn out to be a gun nut with a death wish.
Eighteen- and 19 -year-old Australians have a luxury they dont even recognise. Huffington Post Australia spent time on the campus of Sydney University expecting about the threat of gun crime.
The reactions( see above video) speak for themselves.
Tim Jackson, 21, summarized it up: It hasnt has been the case in Australia now for roughly 20 years so to me I dont think theres a particular risk of it happening to any of us.
As the full-scale fright of what had undone at Port Arthur dawned on shocked Australians a refrain Americans would be well familiar with rang out — never again.
The gunman — to this day holed up in a Tasmanian prison helping 35 life sentences had used two semi-automatic rifles, which he claimed to have bought from a pusher with no license.
John Howard would just like to very recently been elected Prime Minister, producing a coalition authority with the conservative urban National Party. Ask him now what he considers the greatest achievement of his 11 -year administration, he invariably reacts gun control.
With the move of nearly two decades it might start to appear radically modernizing Australias gun rules was easy.
The legal administered by firearms in Australia was a government , not federal, issue. The brand-new prime minister had to corral the premiers of six diverse states into banning the military-style artilleries not considered crucial to the agricultural sector.
The debate reached its culmination when Howard appeared at a rallying in rural areas in Victoria wearing what seems to be body armour under his jacket.
In a nation where the PMs motorcade is a single trailing sedan, the persona shocked many and piqued others — not least conference participants at the rallying who seemed unfairly maligned.
Howard has said since it was the wrong decision to wear it, telling an interviewer last year, I never actually seemed frightened … it communicated the wrong signal.
But comprehending the momentum generated by never again, The National Firearms Agreement banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and pump-action shotguns, and brought in rigid licensing plans. An amnesty was testified and all federal departments spent$ AUD 500 million — paid for by a special excise — on buying back artilleries unexpectedly governed illegal for their market value.
Nearly 1 million firearms were purchased by the government and destroyed.
All handguns in Australia must be registered to a licensed owned and stored under strict healths, separate to ammo. Securing a gun permission is onerous, and compels background checks that can take months.
The Queensland premier Rob Borbidge paid with his career. The conservative then-leader of Australias most conservative government set his political cervix on the line for gun security and lost authority at the next election.
In 2013, he told John Oliver: I was prepared to face the political causes and we extradited gun control. We paid a high political toll but we did the right thing.
There are Australians alive today because we took that activity. How much is a life merit?
No rules are perfect. The Australian Crime Commission forecasts there are probably 250,000 illegal long-arms in Australia, and 10,000 illegal handguns.
The pump-action shotgun used in the 2014 Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney was believed to be one of them.
You can never actually read never. But you are able to jealousy those 18 – and 19 -year-olds ranging university campuses across Australia never having had to contemplate they might be next.
Video being developed by Amber Ferguson and Christine Conetta in the U.S. and Tom Compagnoni and Josh Butler in Australia .
Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com