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October 22nd 2016 print

Michael Galak

Tyranny Loves an Empty Holster

Much of last week was dominated by charge and counter-charge concerning deals allegedly struck to legalise a seven-shot shotgun, the weapon's opponents seeing it as a tool of mayhem and terror. Be that as it may, a gun serves the purpose of the person who holds it, good or bad

us gunMany surprises await the traveller in the US of A. However, no matter how much one expects to be dazzled amazed or stunned, no catalyst for instant culture shock can compete with the variety of guns and ammo offered for sale. Openly, even in some supermarkets. I still have a supermarket flyer, kept as a souvenir, which advertises  a selection of rifles and pistols with the appropriate ammo for all.

It took me almost a week to stop looking for concealed guns everywhere, wondering who might be packing an equalizer. My fearful imagination battled thoughts that I might at any moment be caught up in the homicidal rampage of a mad gunman. Eventually I started to relax. And think. And talk to the armed citizens our foreign correspondents unvaryingly depict in their dispatches as symptoms of US society’s collective insanity. Casting aside preconceptions was a good start because, gradually, I came to understand that Americans view their right to bear arms in a somewhat different context than we Australians think they do. However, there are also some intriguing similarities, which, to me, signify a certain degree of an emotional affinity and conceptual confluence on the subject of gun control.

But first, just for some context, let me recall a bus trip I took with my wife in 1981 from Melbourne to Uluru (then still known as Ayers Rock). Ah, memories of a nose caked with red dust and those jarring, corrugated roads come flooding back! Likewise the spectacle of my fellow, full-to-burst passengers jiggling like a mob of St.Vitus Dance patients as they waited in line at the coyly named  “comfort stops” along the way. One overnight stop was Coober Pedy, an unruly opal town where life has gone underground to escape the withering heat. We went to a supermarket, mostly because it was the only air-conditioned sanctuary that wasn’t a pub or a church. It was in that supermarket where an astonishing spectacle stopped me in my tracks.

Neatly stacked on easy-to-reach shelves, row upon row of red gelignite sticks and spools of fuse by the metre. It was a revelation — high explosives for sale just down the aisle from the lettuce and cheese. More than that, explosives in an Australian supermarket were treated as a fact of life. Nobody was shocked, surprised or outraged. Me neither, when I thought about it.

Now, let’s get back to Americans’ alleged “fascination” with guns, which isn’t the right word at all. Like Coober Pedy miners and their off-the-shelf high explosives, the Americans with whom I spoke accepted guns as a fact of life. Underpinning this was the conviction that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms isn’t something bizarre, outlandish or provocative. Rather — and this is what Australians find hard to grasp — many felt it was a civic responsibility. When I heard that, I asked what kind of responsibility? To kill anyone you do not like? The response was hearty, indulgent laughter. Gently, I was advised to read the Second Amendment, which I did. Pasted it below, please do read it.

second amend

I had always sided with those who advocated a complete ban on weapons. I also accepted as an axiom that the gun ownership means crime, injury and the deaths of innocents. Every time a mass shooting occurred, whether here or abroad, I was distressed, thinking I or someone I love could have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. The closest I have come to being a victim was at the time of the Hoddle Street massacre. I was on my way to work, close to the stretch of busy Melbourne inner-city road that Julian Knight had selected as his killing ground. I heard the news and was shocked. But amidst my thoughts and concern for Knight’s victims, in the back of my mind were the words of the Second Amendment.

I thought, ‘Hang on, the Second Amendment says nothing of the right to shoot innocents or to rob banks — nothing of the sort.’ All it says is that Mr. and Mrs. American Citizen have the right to form militias and bear arms to protect both their democracy and freedom. The Second Amendment also implies that the maintenance of collective and individual freedom is the right and responsibility of the citizenry, and it likewise countenances the possibility that recourse to arms might be required to achieve as much. Those who misuse the right enshrined in the Second Amendment are criminals and the law takes care of them — or rather, should take care of them. This simple chain of reasoning changed the way I thought and felt about guns in private citizens’ hands. Who knows, had their victims had guns and thus were able to defend themselves, Julian Knight and Martin Bryant might not have slaughtered so many. Who knows how many victims of law-breakers and killers might still be alive.

Guns mean crime. Or do they?

But what about crime? What about the seemingly clear connection between gun availability and the murder rate? Actually, the connection is not at all clear. Let me give you two examples: Switzerland and Israel. According to UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), the intentional homicide rate per 100,000 of population in various nations is as laid out below:

Canada,  1.6
USA, 4.8
Israel, 2.1
Switzerland,  0.7
Belgium, 1.7
Russia, 10.2
Finland, 2.2

Canada and USA take different approaches, with Canada’s gun legislation much tougher than in the USA, but it is possible to own guns legally in both. Israel and Switzerland each require their respective citizens to keep  military-service weapons in their homes. Both are small countries with extraordinary amounts of weaponry in the hands of private citizens. Both have remarkably low homicide rates.

It is generally agreed that one of the reasons Nazi Germany did not invade Switzerland during the WWII was the existence of a well-armed and ready citizen army. To be fair, the Nazis also factored in the difficult topography and Switzerland’s usefulness as a banking centre, but the readiness of the Swiss to defend their nation was certainly a consideration.

Israel, a small country surrounded by avowed enemies sworn to its destruction, is another case in point.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that every family has at least one weapon at home, often more than that. While the exact rate of the personal ownership is not known, the intentional homicide rate in Israel is almost equal to the low homicide rate of Finland, which has 56 weapons per 100 people.  Belgium, whose citizens  do not have the right to bear arms, have a higher murder rate than Switzerland.  However, Russia, which does not accord its citizens the right to bear arms, sees a higher homicide rate than Israel, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined. As I found, the UNODC site makes for fascinating reading.

During my research I came across of an interesting study conducted by Cato Institute, a US think tank, dedicated to the preservation of individual liberty. The report, titled “Tough Targets”, examines the change in the balance of power between criminals, attempting to assault their potential prey and potential victims who, being armed, refuse to become actual victims. This study is extensively  quoted by Forbes magazine in an article by Larry Bell, Houston University professor, who offers  some interesting insights.

“The ostensible purpose of gun control legislation is to reduce firearm deaths and injuries. But authors Clayton E. Cramer and David Burnett believe these restrictions put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage to criminals who acquire guns from underground markets since it is simply not possible for police officers to get to every scene where intervention is urgently needed. They(The Authors, MG)  also document large numbers of crimes…murders, assaults, robberies…that are thwarted each year by ordinary persons with guns.” 

Another interesting feature of the Cato study is that home robberies in Canada and UK when a resident is present at home represent half of the overall number. In America, where many households are armed, these constitute only 13%.

Naturally, I was interested in the Australian statistics, especially the dynamics of murder-rate change (if any) after the Port Arthur massacre and the consequent tightening of Australia’s gun laws. According to the UNODC, a change did occur: from 1996 (the year after Port Arthur) until 2010 (the latest year for available statistics) the murder rate decreased from 1.7 to 1.0 per 100 000 of population. Whether this statistical decline reflected the ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons is anyone’s guess.  It might just as easily be said to represent an overall downtrend of violent crime rates in the developed world — a trend which, if carefully examined, does not seem to be correlated to the existence of gun-control laws. Besides, I do not know of many instances of a murder committed in Australia using automatic and semi-automatic weapons before or after Port Arthur. This most horrific national calamity is indelibly imprinted on the national psyche; unfortunately it is also  associated with the image of then-PM John Howard addressing an audience of gun owners while wearing a bulletproof vest. The precaution, in the light of the fresh aftermath of the slaying of innocent tourists is understandable, yet it was an insult all the same to one of the most law-abiding segments of the Australian population. I speak from personal experience.

Goondiwindi Shooting club.

I worked in this small Queensland town, joining both Toastmasters International and the local Shooting Club. Toastmasters is a great exercise in maintaining (or developing) eloquence, the ability to speak publicly and to think on one’s feet. It is also a lot of fun. Since English is not my first language, joining Toastmasters was an excellent way to practice and improve my spoken English. The Shooting Club was a different matter. I had served my conscription service tour of duty in the USSR many years before and was then rated a good shot. I decided to check my skill and see whether I could still shoot straight after all these years. I was not surprised to see that the shooting club was a family affair — couples with children in tow, oldies with their grandkids, and everyone buzzing with a common interest and the shared goal of teaching a new generation of shooters to use and handle their weapons. Safety rules were treated as holy writ, never to be trifled with. It struck me that women seemed especially safety conscious, their presence a moderating and stabilizing influence.

One day, when we were target shooting at a distance of almost one kilometer, the accuracy of fellow members astonished me, and I recall thinking that these gifted marksmen were an asset to the country. At the same time I recall silently bristling at the condescending, patronizing descriptions of these good people, representatives of the sort habitually denigrated as “red necks”. That insult seemed especially to come from Brunswick-type “progressives” who did not like guns and, in their insulated arrogance, deemed anyone who did not share their views to occupy a lower moral and and intellectual plain. No suprise, really. The same crowd I have also heard denigrating with their sneers members of the Army Reserve.

The reason I regarded my fellow Goondiwindi shooters as assets is that they were gun-savvy in general and  ready-made snipers in particular — a pool of defense talent immediately available should war and conflict erupt. These people, at no expense to the taxpayer, maintain and develop one of the most valuable military and ecological skills known – sharp shooting. They are hardworking, law-abiding, family people whose association with weaponry taught them respect and caution while dealing with the deadly machinery. After the shoot I asked a member of the local police – how often these shooters cause trouble? The answer was short and direct, “Never.”

Why?

I used to work in Melbourne’s now-closed Pentridge Prison, where  I expected a chaos of flying insults, attacks  and continuous violence. That’s what I have expected, but I was wrong. Prisoners, even the most notorious and violent, spoke to each other with a degree of courtesy you don’t expect behind prison walls. I was astonished. Later on, I  came to understand why this was so. In the emotionally charged atmosphere created by the artificial concentration of violent people, a wrong word, move or even tone of voice could get one killed. In other words, good sense prevailed and manifested itself as civility.

I am aware of the strong feelings engendered by the subject of gun control. I am also aware that some people, even those who otherwise like and admire America, regard their citizens’ right to bear arms as an obscene insanity. Guns equal murder, that is where their apppraisal starts and stops. Fair enough, that is their point of view and they are entitled to it, just as I am entitled to mine. Looking at the repeated tragedies, when mass shootings occur with depressing regularity, gun accidents happen and even children get killed in insufficient home storage accidents – it is easy to be on the side of the presumed angels and demand further restrictive measures, including outright prohibition of gun ownership. There is another side of this evergreen debate and this side I have attempted to put forward.

Throughout history, in order to subjugate, all tyrants were compelled to take away the right of the citizenry to be armed, to take away their capacity to defend their freedom. Romans did it, Greeks did it, Mongols did it, Nazis did it, Soviets did it. In their preparations for the Night of the Broken Glass, Nazis disarmed the entire Jewish population. Only after taking away the Jews’ guns did the Nazis go on their rampage, not worrying about the armed resistance.

Before Stalin attempted to nationalize Russian countryside and to create the modern serfdom, putting all Russian peasants into his notorious kolkhoz collective farms, he disarmed them.

Before Mao went ahead with his insane Great Leap Forward, which ended in disaster and deaths of tens of millions, he disarmed his population.

Before Pol Pot announced his Year Zero and started the genocide against his own nation – he disarmed his population.

We can be fairly certain that people of North Korea are disarmed.

By its Second Amendment, Americans have ensured that they will never be short of the means to defend their freedom from tyrants, foreign invaders, terrorists or criminals.

Fanciful, you think, no threat to democracy could ver, possibly arise on our quiet, law-abiding shores. Quite possibly so — and let us hope it is. Then again, a Jewish shopkeeper in 1930 Berlin probably shared the same opinion.

Comments [22]

  1. Homer Sapien says:

    Thanks Michael, sound reasoning to me…also preached by Dr Ben Carson.

  2. Jack Brown says:

    A necessarily simplified model is that at a macro level the 2nd Amendment is aligned with the US constitution which creates a Republic whereby individual citizens are the source of authority which they delegate upwards, i.e. bottom-up, and the citizens there retain full rights to own guns so as to employ force to assert and protect their ownership of the Republic. By contrast Australia as a Constitutional Monarchy has power devolved top-down, and the State, as in the USSR, ultimately retains ownership of the means to employ force to protect that form of government, so banning/restricting gun ownership is aligned with the Australian form of government. From this point of view the same principal applies.

    As with the Goondiwindi .v. Brunswick contrast the same exists in the US, well at least in the Pacific North West. The green coastal fringe where most live is green politically too, with legalised pot and hotel lobbies containing brochures for pot district tours. A friend living there is for gun control whereas another is against it but the latter originally came from a small town a long way east of the Cascades, way out in the sagebrush/scablands semi arid high desert part of the state, which the first mentioned friend said was effectively a different state from the green coastal fringe zone.

  3. LBLoveday says:

    The year before Mr Galak’s trip to Ayers Rock, I rode a trail bike from Adelaide to Alice Springs up the mostly unsealed Stuart Highway with a loaded 5-shot pump-action 12-gauge shotgun in a scabbard strapped to the bike. I parked it unattended outside pubs in Coober Pedy and other towns without any comments or attention.
    The trip was such a bone-shaking one that I put the bike on the Ghan and caught a plane back to Adelaide. I checked the shotgun and scabbard as luggage and the “check-in chick” asked whether it was loaded. Oops! So I pumped the shells out and threw them in a bin.
    Such a different life-style then!
    Howard paid me handsomely for the gun as well as a 5-shot semi-automatic 44 magnum rifle, and I used part of the proceeds to buy a double-barrel coach-gun and a 9 shot lever-action 44 Magnum – those who used to watch “The Rifleman” would know that a competent shooter can load, aim and fire a lever-action not much less quickly than a semi-automatic, and there was 4 more bullets to fire before reloading. I wrote to Howard asking what he’d achieved, but got no reply.
    Mr Galak addresses the deterrent effect of firearm ownership on home invasion by comparisons of the USA with UK and Canada; I have previously read several times that the rate in Australia is 3 times of the USA, and that makes sense – even those who do own guns have to have them locked in a safe and try telling the ever more brazen home invaders “Hang on while I get my gun out of the safe”. I am long past the age I could defend myself against the likes of Apex gang invaders without a weapon, but the government (SA at least) decrees I’m not allowed to have even a baseball-bat for the purpose of self-defence (and I’d have trouble proving it was for batting even if I were prepared to lie), not even a can of mace, not even in my own home. MPs, living in homes bristling with security devices, effectively sentence the majority of us to go belly up, accept being beaten, robbed, even killed.

  4. Bushranger71 says:

    Bravo Michael; would be nice if your piece could be forwarded to all serving Federal politicians and the Editors of the mainstream media; also of course John Howard.

    I grew up with duck, hare and fox shooting in younger days and later served in the military. I owned shotguns for many years and like LBL; only surrendered my trusty Browning 5 shot automatic when Howard offered more than 3 times the purchase price.

    These days, I am doing a bit of wandering the country as a 79 year old ‘grey nomad’ and would feel much safer if able to carry an Adler lever action 12 gauge weapon, in case my wife and I are ever accosted by ‘Ice’ crazed bastards in remote areas.

  5. Rob Brighton says:

    The “well-armed militia” are turning up to a drone fight with guns.

    As a young man, I read a deal of Robert Heinlein, a quote from one of his books was (sorry cannot recall the name) “an armed society is a polite society”.

    When I lived in SA (early 2000′s) I read about a group of home invaders who happened to pick a house occupied by a Kenjutsu instructor. One dead, the other forever limited to scratching his nose single-handedly.

    • LBLoveday says:

      I still have a letter from my then MP (in storage, I left Australia as soon as my daughter turned 18) in response to my comments on the inability to legally protect my daughter in our own home.
      He stated he would rather take the small risk of his daughter being assaulted (I’d said raped, which is I presumed covered by “assaulted”) than have a firearm in his house that could be used by an invader against him.
      Bully for him, he can do that, but why deny me the right do as I want, to protect us in our own home? Why judge my ability to handle firearms by his? I used to shoot (and trap) rabbits to feed the family at 11, took down a few ducks for the Aborigine kids at Merry Vale station on my Alice trip – they were great, split the guts open with two stones, threw the body unplucked onto embers of an open fire and pulled the meat off with their fingers – no military service but I’d bet heavily against invaders using my gun against me.
      I ended up with a large flashlight with a can of mace inside activated by a trigger with the spray emerging from a tube below the torch head. Probably as illegal as not locking up the shotgun, and certainly not as effective, but less likely to land me in jail. Neither had to be used, but like the Boy Scouts say – be prepared

      • rosross says:

        Are you aware that the research shows armed Americans and their family are more likely to be killed or injured than those who are unarmed? Guns kill and the facts reveal that they rarely if ever save anyone from anything.

        Needing a gun reveals high levels of paranoid mistrust.

        • LBLoveday says:

          No; but Mr Galak’s quoted sources show a far lesser home invasion rate in armed USA than unarmed elsewhere. And what matters to me is my God-given right to protect myself and my family, and I can only do that with a weapon, best a firearm. I care not an iota about armed drug dealers breaking into another armed drug dealer’s home and who kills whom.
          What would have happened is never definite – it’s always conjecture – but to say “if ever save anyone from anything” is rubbish (cite the research if you disagree, but never, not once!!! Rave on). Here’s just one of many proofs it is rubbish https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VOxZ17MyBg and there are follow-ons the same link and so many others than any realist can identify.
          I reckon the gun that shot Bin Laden saved many from much; if the marksman who had Bryant in his crosshairs had pulled the trigger many would have been saved, ditto 2 in Monis’s case. The massive list of about-to-kill people who were shot down before they fired, stabbed or detonated makes a mockery of “if ever save anyone from anything”.
          How many lives would have been saved if one of the Orlando homosexuals had a firearm and shot the piece of garbage while he reloaded instead of having no useful method of response?
          Anyone who does not mistrust others in today’s society of Apex and other rampant criminals is stupid, or at best naïve; I am no longer the strong young man I was and could only oppose invaders with a weapon; no matter how small the chances of invasion are, I should be allowed to protect myself. Governments make everyone fence pools on the basis “if only one life is saved…”. Is is paranoid to fence pools?
          How many lives would have been saved if one of the Orlando homosexuals had a gun and shot the piece of garbage instead of having no useful method of response?

      • rosross says:

        Quote: Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study.

        http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/10/929.full

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact-check

    • rosross says:

      ‘An armed society is a polite society?’

      The US is the most heavily armed place on the planet, after Yemen, and one thing it is not, is polite. Neither is it safe or peaceful.

  6. rosross says:

    The Second Amendment has been misinterpreted, misquoted and misunderstood. More to the point, it reflects the age in which it was written – the 18th century and to that degree is out of date and out of place in a modern world.

    If some 300 million weapons did 318 million Americans any good, they would have the best quality of life on average in the developed world and they have the worst. They also have around 100 people a day dying because of guns, a quarter of them children. They have shocking rates of children shooting each other, their parents, their siblings, neighbours, relatives in ways simply unseen in other non-armed nations and that is an unnecessary horror. Americans live in fear in general but more fear because of their guns. What an environment for a child to grow up in!This is the land of kindergarten ‘drills’ to teach toddlers to ‘protect’ themselves from lunatics who might tear their small bodies to pieces, as happened at Sandy Hook, with military assault weapons.

    Who on earth wants that for their children and that is the price of easy gun ownership. The guns are slaughtering Americans, by the hour and achieving not freedom, but a horrible deadly, daily prison existence.

    And when citing Israel, let’s err on the side of reality and accuracy:

    Israel, a small country surrounded by avowed enemies sworn to its destruction, is another case in point. It would not be an exaggeration to say that every family has at least one weapon at home, often more than that.

    Israel as a nuclear-power, backed by the US, is not under threat from its neighbours and in fact has rejected peace offers from them and been the one who attacks its neighbours, as opposed to being attacked by its neighbours. When Israel was attacked by its neighbours, decades ago, it was the actions of allies, seeking to support the Palestinians against colonial rule by European Zionists, in the same way that the allies fought against German occupation in the First and Second World Wars. Israel’s war with its neighbours did not happen in a vacuum.

    And Israelis are generally armed because as a colonial ruler, all Israelis are in essence, if not literally, members of the military required to maintain occupation, colonisation and apartheid in Palestine. The reason they may not be shooting each other is because they are busy shooting the indigenous Palestinians whom they hold under brutal military rule.

    • LBLoveday says:

      A few questions:
      Why is Howard allowed to wear a bullet-proof vest in public and I’m not allowed to have one even in my own home, even on the off-chance of armed invasion/insurrection?
      Why do minimally-trained security guards carry mace in public, but I can’t have it in my own home?
      Why is Turnbull allowed to have armed guards in public when I’m not allowed to have a firearm in my own home?
      Why is Armaguard allowed to have gun-toting cowboys riding their vans when I’m not allowed to have a gun in my own home?
      Why, when I bet at the Randwick Auditorium did I have armed, semi-English literate Arabs chatting away on their phones in Arabic standing behind me, “to guard the money”, but I can’t have a gun in my own home “to guard the money”?
      My and my family’s safety and possessions may not be as paramount as Howard’s, Turnbull’s, Westpac’s and the AJC’s are in the eyes of the law-makers, and they may be at greater risk, but mine are more important to me, and no matter how small the ever-increasing risk, it is not zero, not even negligible, and we should be able to take the same precautions, at least in our own homes, as the rich, famous and elite do in public.

      • rosross says:

        Public figures have always had security because they are public figures. Having said that, Australian politicians move with more freedom than American politicians do because ours is not an armed society.

        And all the data in the gun-mad US shows having a gun in the house does not protect and increases the chances of you or a family member dying by the gun. The fantasy is that being armed protects you. It doesn’t.

  7. Bushranger71 says:

    Stating the obvious, but I am on your side LBL.

    I was out Charleville, Queensland way last week visiting family (now back at Tuggerah, NSW). Son-in-law (57) shoots regularly at a local Pistol Club and loads his own ammunition; .375″, 9mm, .44″. The Police Training College at that town use the range, but decline to compete with the locals who are much more skilled in weapon proficiency. The QLD Police apparently only get 60 rounds per annum for practice and little wonder that use of firearms by Police in all Australian States is sometimes very ordinary.

    I have been associated with (shot)gun clubs, rifle and pistol clubs during my life where the maintenance of weapon safety and discipline is paramount. NEVER have I witnessed or heard of any accidental discharge of weaponry at any of these sporting venues.

    There is just too much hype generated regarding firearms by people who have probably had no significant exposure to their properly educated usage. That probably applies to some of the conributors to this forum.

    If Johnny Howard and his throng of disciples believe ownership of firearms is so risky, then why has there not been any move
    by Federal and State Governments to severely penalize carriage of knives in this country? Would it not be appropriate to have a mandatory fine of say $5,000 for a first offence and automatic incarceration for 2 years for a second offence, regardless of age.

    Born 1937, knife attacks were virtually unheard of until Australia’s immigration policies began going awry from about the 1960s onwards. I am sure the statistics regarding knife attacks in Australia would now be horrifying.

  8. Ian MacDougall says:

    In Australia, one is not allowed to own a gun for self defence, thanks largely to our peculiar history. In the US, thanks to ITS peculiar history, one is so entitled. I am also a trained soldier, and as well hold 2 dan grades in a serious martial art which I studied and practiced for 25 years. Yet thanks to Australia’s quite sensible gun laws, I am not allowed to have a gun loaded (never mind cocked and ready to fire), and within easy reach as so many Americans do. Which is as it should be. The house is safe for my grandchildren and neighbours who like to call. The American situation as outlined so well by rosross (above) should not be imported here.
    IMHO if in the vanishingly improbable event that my home is under invasion or invaded, I think that the the best thing I can do before they finally get in is to first go to the phone, dial 000 ( http://www.triplezero.gov.au/pages/usingotheremergencynumbers.aspx ) say in as few words as possible what is happening, and then leave the phone off the hook, so the other end can hear and record whatever is going on.
    Then I step into the kitchen, open the pantry door and grab my handy one-shot ready to go secret weapon: my ever-handy trusty can of ground black pepper. I flick the top off it with the thumb of the hand holding it, and then let the assailant have the contents straight into the eyes, nostrils, mouth and face.
    If that technique is done only half properly, and whether he be large, small, trained in whatever, drug crazed or otherwise, he should lose all further interest in the contest. (I have practiced this with a pepper can full of sand, and I can do it fast enough.)
    I first read about this technique in a martial arts magazine some years ago, and think it just as effective as an open-carry fire arm, as popular in many parts of the US. Also, as a can of black pepper is a one-shot weapon, it cannot be captured by the intruder and turned against me. Nor can I be prosecuted for having it in the house. (“That’s not a weapon, Your Honour; I am just a keen home curry cook.”) And my (untrained) and otherwise peaceful wife can use it.
    I also keep a jo, which is indistinguishable from a broom handle to the untrained eye. It is in a clothes cupboard, and is preferable to a rifle for close contests indoors. It is very easily brought into use. But one has to be trained to use a jo effectively.
    And I nearly forgot: under the seat of my car I keep a short arnis stick as used in the Philippine martial art of Arnis Lanada (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT4Wn9T7t9s )
    I once got into an altercation with a road rager, but managed to talk him away from violence before he used any. But an exponent of karate whom I know had a different road-rage experience.
    So did his road-rager assailant.

    • rosross says:

      I would just add, having lived in an African war zone and in both Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa, for many years, even with their deadly and high percentages in terms of violence, I was never attacked and the chances of it happening in Australia are zip!

      The closest I came to being shot was in Angola when our trigger-happy guards with their machine-guns decided to get involved in a street battle between police and car thieves and the bullets started slamming into our house.

    • whitelaughter says:

      That post was well worth reading.

  9. rosross says:

    The American way of the gun:

    In 2016, Toddlers Have Shot More People in the US Than Muslim Terrorists Have

    https://mic.com/articles/142348/in-2016-toddlers-have-killed-more-people-in-the-us-than-muslim-terrorists-have#.ptiyUNyzz