19 December 2012

Former Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey blames media and drugs for gun massacres

Former Western Australian Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey has weighed into the debate on gun control in the United States which ensued in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. In a letter published in today's edition of The West Australian, he says measures to restrict private ownership of firearms would be futile in the United States and blames the media for encouraging individuals to carry out such atrocities. Tuckey also links drug abuse to gun violence.

Letters to the Editor, The West Australian, Wednesday December 19

Gun link to drugs, media

Americans bought two million firearms last month, which indicates they believe that the best protection from a gun is a gun. The extent of overall gun ownership in that country highlights the futility of gun control to protect its citizens from gun violence.

In Australia, where the Howard gun buy-back has reduced access to guns, we are assailed daily with reports of murder by knife, frequently the kitchen variety, or king hit and similar physical violence.

Which raises the question in both countries: why is it so?

Americans have always owned guns and had a strong hunting culture yet once gun violence was the preserve of the gangster class. In my youth we took our cadet corps 303 home and at 16 I bought my own .22.

Gun deaths did occur but until the Tasmanian tragedy had not been associated with mass and inexplicable killing.

The common denominator is without doubt the rise of the drug culture and the role of the media.

In our household, with an otherwise strong addiction to current affairs reporting in both print and electronic venues, it is now our practice to turn off the electronic sources and immediately consign the necessary front pages involved to the recycling bin for the weeks involved while the latest tragedy is played out in embarrassing detail to the exclusion of the issues which affect the daily lives of Australians over which they might also have some influence. Above all, this practice is to shield our youngest grandchildren who are frequent and regular visitors whose sleep and behaviour has been affected in the past by this constant and detailed buffeting of tragedy.

They are certainly not of an age or disposition to contemplate copycat crime but I cannot rule out this circumstance as a contributing factor to this more recent phenomena.

I note with disapproval the continuous intrusion into the grief of parents, friends and the general public in the hope that tears can be generated to emphasise their grief.

I note as a matter of record that in the same period a similar tragedy occurred in China where the instrument of destruction was a knife, but the Chinese media did not download any gruesome details.

Few solutions outside the impossible are being promoted, but an even greater effort to prevent drug addiction must be high on the list.

In African countries I have visited, access to public buildings is severely limited and our banks have demonstrated sensible security measures to protect their staff. It should not be beyond the resources of the American nation to implement security measures to at least protect children in their classroom.

And please stop giving such perverted individuals their moment of public “glory”.

Wilson Tuckey, Ascot

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