The senseless killing of a 22-year-old Australian man in Duncan a week ago has made international headlines and focused attention once again on the radical, pro-gun policies of the National Rifle Association.
Christopher Lane, a student and baseball player at East Central University in Ada, was gunned down as he was jogging in Duncan, the home of his girlfriend, according to media reports. Three teenagers have been charged in the killing, which authorities claim was a random, cruel act of violence.
In Australia, the reaction was swift and not kind to the powerful NRA, which works against gun regulations and promotes the sale and use of weapons. A former deputy prime minister of the country, Tim Fischer, was widely quoted as saying:
Tourists thinking of going to the USA should think twice.
This is the bitter harvest and legacy of the policies of the NRA that even blocked background checks for people buying guns at gun shows.
People should take this into account before going to the United States.
I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers [but] it’s a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA.
There is a gun for almost every American.
Tourists SHOULD “think twice” before coming to this gun-infested country where the proliferation of guns has led to regular mass shootings and daily violence. It’s a way of life in this country. It even happens in small towns, such as Duncan. Let’s hope Fischer’s comments lead to some discussion about gun control here, but that’s highly unlikely.
In Oklahoma, gun proponents’ reaction to Fischer’s comments on discussion boards, social networks and in the media has been typical. Their basic argument is that the three teenagers were basically thugs and could have killed Lane anyway using a knife or baseball bat, or running him down with a car. The fact that a gun was used was immaterial, they argue.
Let’s parse that argument a bit. Lane was an athlete so it’s quite conceivable that he could have outran the three teenagers or defended himself against a knife or baseball-bat attack. Lane might have also been able to escape a car barreling down on him, especially because of his age and his physical condition. He at least would have had a chance.
In fact, it’s much easier to kill someone with a gun. That’s the point of guns, isn’t it? Lane’s attackers, if using a knife or baseball bat, would have had to conceivably fight and struggle to kill him. Shooting him in the back with a gun was easy, just as easy as getting a gun in this country and in Oklahoma. Our country makes it easy for people to kill people. Who can deny that?
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, pictured right, offered his apologies to Australia about the shooting, but he also repeated the knife, baseball-bat and car excuse that has seemed to emerge as the main NRA talking point about the killing. Gov. Mary Fallin seems to think that the fact that the gun was stolen negates any criticism over gun control laws, but that begs the question. Stolen or not stolen, guns are everywhere in this country. No one can truthfully argue otherwise.
The fact that the shooting happened in Duncan, a city of around 23,000 people and approximately 90 miles south of Oklahoma City, makes the case for better gun-control laws even stronger. Again, the fact is that guns, legal or stolen, are widely available, and not just in larger urban areas, but even in small towns where supposedly this type of violence shouldn’t happen.
The lack of stronger gun control laws in this country is shameful and horrific, the entire world knows that and it becomes more apparent with each and every tragic shooting that becomes an international sensation.