If a gun is murder, then alcohol is manslaughter
Once again a crazed killer has been thrust into the spotlight, and done the only thing that crazed killers seem to be able to achieve: spark a mass debate around the world concerning the US and their gun laws, which, should be noted, is a debate that will inevitably go nowhere.
Why, we lament, are Americans such idiots and why don’t they ban something that is so incredibly dangerous to their society? Because, they are living in a society where it is perceived as their God-damn-given right to own one if they want to, that’s why.
But surely they can see the damage that it does, right? Well, yes, most of them can see it, but that doesn’t take away the right to have one if they want.
Gun ownership in the US is huge. Very huge. For every 100 Americans, there are approximately 89 guns owned. And considering that fact, the death rate is only at 14.24 deaths per 100 000 people.
To put that into perspective, the next two nations with the highest gun deaths per capita are Brazil and Mexico, with statistics of 12.95 and 12.69 per 100,000 respectively. But in those nations, gun ownership only ranks at 8 per cent (Brazil) and 15 per cent (Mexico).
So, really, the United States is somewhat correct in their belief that the majority of the population can own and use a gun responsibly.
Now, I’m not an advocate of the Gun Lobby, but I am getting sick of the “stupid American” discourse that has become popular worldwide, despite the fact that the (Western) world is largely appreciative of (usually the less endearing) facets of their culture.
So, how can I put this into perspective for us Australians? Simple. Our love of alcohol.
Australians consume 10.3 litres of pure alcohol, per person, per year. That’s about 215 schooners of beer. Or eight-and-a-half of the finest four-litre boxes of goon. That’s just by yourself, not sharing with your mates, and that’s taking into account every single granny, health enthusiast or teetotaller you know. This is considering a large group of Aussies abstain from alcoholic beverages for a month for the sake of a charitable cause. We’re making up for all of that, and we are doing it in a big way.
Alcohol contributes to the majority of violent disputes across the nation, be it domestic assaults, young men in fights, Mathew Newton around taxi drivers… Police often tell us that if we banned alcohol, their workload would be down by 80 per cent, giving them more time to focus on murderers and rapists, the numbers of which subsequently would also be down.
Not to mention, alcohol causes plenty of deaths in our nation, in fact, 2357 deaths per 100,000.
And we have the audacity to tell the US that they’re stupid because they won’t ban guns?
Now, most Australians will be saying “I can drink responsibly”. And that may well be the case, but it probably, statistically speaking, is not.
We have an underlying sentiment of “It’s my God-damn-given right to have a few with my mates”. And people who are trying desperately to curb our drinking are wondering where this belief stems from.
One assumption is to blame parents and their drinking habits, but neither of my parents are heavy drinkers, quite the opposite, and I would easily consume the national average, if not be one who makes up for all the teetotallers.
Another assumption is to blame the availability of it, and the fact that opening hours of bottle shops, pubs and clubs have been extended. It could be the prevalence of advertising, peer pressure and the fact that there is barely an adult social situation that excludes it. By and large, a combination of all of these factors has led us to the intrinsic belief that it is our right to consume alcohol, and we will choose to have it any damn way we please.
I’m not one to advocate prohibition, I reach for the bottle in a manner similar to a baby reaching for theirs. I know it is hazardous to my health, but it is my choice, it is my poison, and there are plenty of Australians out there who share a similar sentiment.
There are plenty of things out there that are dangerous, and we can not be protected from them all. In fact, there are many who want to toy with the dangerous, because without it, we would have such a monotonous existence.
I understand that a gun is a weapon with every intention to kill, and alcohol is not so direct. But in that sense, if a gun is murder, then alcohol is surely manslaughter with a higher hit rate.
So next time you’re enjoying a glass of red with your friends, rolling your eyes about how Americans are idiotic for their love of guns, maybe take a moment to realise that you share a similar bond with an also deadly product.
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