When I was young lad [I am not giving my age away here] I walked into the old Adelaide Harris Scarfe store, down into the basement, up to the sporting section counter. I asked the man behind the counter about buying a gun. “You need to be 16 years old” I was told. “How would you know I was 16?” I asked. ‘’You would tell me!’’ was his terse response!
My how things have changed! Could you imagine me then at 13 years old, but very tall for my age, telling a porky to the salesman, posing as 16 and then proudly trotting home on the bus with a firearm under my arm? No one on that bus would have batted an eye lid! The only thing that stopped this purchase was my empty pockets. Mum of course would have throttled me.
As a child, often the first question I would ask a new friend was whether their Dad had served in the war. Prior military service was very common, as were guns in the household. Where I was born in Redcliffs near Mildura, it seemed everyone had guns! As a young man I was treated to a range shoot on a Legacy camp, a great day I will never forget. Firearms in my youth were never considered the taboo that they are today.
Wars and conflicts continued to rage after WW2, however, we were never bombarded with constant, instant, media coverage. I believe our attitudes started to change with the Vietnam conflict, suddenly, for the first time, death and mayhem of the world was in our living rooms, nightly.
We changed our attitudes because the information feed to us changed, not because of true cause and effect.
There are two common terms used a lot in the media today in describing firearms; 1: Machine guns, 2: Assault weapon or rifle. Both of these weapons are illegal to own in Australia, one dates back to the last century, and one the century before! WW1 saw the large-scale introduction of machine guns however, they had been in service in the century before [the 1800’s], while Nazi Germany produced the first true assault rifle back in 1943. Yet these are the weapons we fear most, the weapons that unless brought in illegally we will never, ever see – weapons that have been around before most of us were born. Unfortunately we, as a community are afraid of something that is virtually non-existent in Australia.
Where does this leave us?
Are we in any more danger of being attacked with a firearm today than in the 60’s?
I think not. Take out the self-harm component from gun deaths and your chances of being killed by a legal firearm are extremely slim to zero. Walking your dog may well be more dangerous.
Is there a danger at all?
My answer to that is yes, as the conflicts and terrorism around the world increases, Australia will slowly be drawn into them. Unlike the last two world wars, the next war may well be a war without borders, without fronts. History has shown that the most effective warfare is ‘guerilla warfare’, where the enemy combatants live amongst the inhabitants of the conflict zone. The U.S.A. failed to draw on its own experiences, of their own success during the War of Independence against the British, whilst combating the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War. As a result a vastly superior nation was humbled by a smaller, ill-equipped nation. The South Vietnamese sadly lost their homeland. The cost to us, Australia, fighting enemy combatants on our own land is immeasurable; we could well lose our homeland as we know it.
What should we do?
1. Prepare! Not just the high-end tech stuff, Australia needs to seriously look at large scale small arms manufacture [weapons that a person can carry], and suitable light weight 4WD vehicles that can be produced in large numbers to defend our land. While we still have the skills and we still have the G.M.H. factory, let’s start building the replacement for the light 4WD military spec. vehicle. There is a huge void in the world market for suitable vehicles such as these. We need to begin training our population on a volunteer basis; it may be the preparation that saves us in a future conflict. This is a well-established principal in other nations.
2. We must stop the enemy at the gates. We have porous borders and slack immigration control. We have failed to remove those who have issued threats against us. Recent reports about allowing ISIS fighters to return to Australia must sound a warning bell to us all. Our Government is gutless!
We have a beautiful, peaceful land, but now the true ownership of this country is being threatened. Our success in retaining this prized possession will come down to our resolve, today and tomorrow.
Kind Regards Steve Burgess