Swimming In The Ocean Outlawed In Australia!

Sad boy on beach

Even though I have lived in the USA for nearly 11 years, there is still a great deal that I do not understand about the American psyche. I love this country and its wonderful people. They have welcomed me here warmly. I want to understand better.

So, I’ve tried to dream up an imaginary parallel experience to help me feel how many of my American friends might be feeling right now. This is it:

Australians are a beach loving people. All the major cities of Australia are on the coast. 85% of Australia’s population live within one hour’s drive of a great beach. And our beaches are amazing! Some of the worlds best. Most Australians love going to the beach and swimming in the surf as often as possible. It’s a great place to be and it’s great fun. Although the right to swim in the ocean is not (to my knowledge) written into the Australian Constitution, it might as well be. We consider it a pastime that’s more Aussie than just about anything else.

So, I’ve imagined that there has been a terrible tragedy. Twenty-seven people died – including twenty young children – in a freak surf accident. This sort of thing has happened before, but never this bad. Between the shark attacks, the unpredictable tides, sudden storms and the like, the Australian population is sick and tired of these tragedies. Something must be done!

Supported by a swell of strong emotion amongst the general public, the government has decided to take affirmative action so that this never happens again. There will now be a ban on entering the ocean past the depth of your knees.  The government has outlawed the ownership of surf board, wind surfers, boogie boards, and several other ocean-going devises now deemed too dangerous for members of the general public to own. Funded by a tax hike, the government is buying all these items from the public at market value and having them destroyed.

How do I feel? I think I feel a little bit more like some of my American friends who have enjoyed – as a constitutional right since very near the birth of their great nation – the right to bear arms. I feel violated! I can think of plenty of other steps that could be taken to stop these deaths, but it must not take away my right to swim in the ocean! It is not the fact that we love to swim in the sea that’s the problem here!

Okay, I think I understand a little more. To my US friends, sorry for not understanding better before now. I can still only imagine how this is for you. The analogy does not bear close scrutiny, but it has helped me. Sorry, also, if this analogy is too trite.

I now think I have felt a little of what you must be feeling and thinking.

I don’t imagine that the opinion of one foreigner is really going to matter much, but here it is anyway. Even after considering my analogy – and trying to feel what opponents of gun law reform in the US feel as best I can – I still think the assault rifles have got to go. Not all the guns. Just the really big, fast shooting, big-number-of-bullets ones that are needed for mass slaughter. I cannot see how Americans need all these military-styled assault rifles in their homes ready and available for the next person who snaps.

Dear American friends – before nailing your flag too firmly to the mast of either side of the gun issue, please do your best to empathize with those on the other side of the hill. I hope we can all try to feel how the families of the people who died at Sandy Hook School on December 15th must be feeling as a Christmas passes without their loved ones.

Just my opinion. You’re welcome to disagree. But if you want to express your disagreement in writing here, please keep it impersonal, respectful and discerning. Thanks.


13 thoughts on “Swimming In The Ocean Outlawed In Australia!

  1. > “Just the really big, fast shooting, big-number-of-bullets ones that are needed for mass slaughter.”
    I can see what you did here, but let me just say this. The second amendment doesn’t specify what kind of weapons are protected, that’s true. The purpose of the second amendment though, is to give the American people the ability to defend themselves against tyranny. That means, we should have the right to have whatever the military has. I understand technology has come to a place perhaps that the founding fathers never considered. I am not advocating a tank and a rocket launcher in everyone’s back yard. But if we as a population are reduced to sticks and clubs how can we defend ourselves against full auto assault weapons? We already can’t legally own those without massive restricitons and the Government has millions of them. You can argue all day that some kinds of guns should be taken away but you should explain the reasons to the dead folks listed here on this website. http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/deathgc.htm I know it hasn’t happened in Australia yet, and may it never, but that doesn’t mean it can’t. Other measures besides gun control would reduce our gun deaths in this country while also allowing us defense against aggression.

  2. Very thoughtful post Grant. I’m thankful you’re taking the time to look at it through a different set of eyes, since I know Australia is quite different from the U.S. I know there are a lot of opinions floating around out there all over the board as far as what should be done in the aftermath of the shootings.

    I definitely support the 2nd Amendment, though I don’t have a gun or know how to shoot straight myself. That said, I ache for every life lost and pray for the families and friends.

    Thanks again for posting this,

  3. Well written Grant!

    The big difference….You go to the beach to have fun, build community, love your neighbour. One might even say going to the beach is at it’s core, an act of love.

    You buy guns and arm yourself however to keep safe, protect yourself from the unknown, to kill your neighbour. An act of fear.

    Nobody goes to the beach with the intention of killing 27 people, if they did….they’d bring a gun, a very fast, powerful gun. People do buy guns with the intention of killing, even if it’s only in the back of their minds for “self-defence”.

    Americans seem to live in a constant state of fear, and until they are able to overcome that fear, they will always feel they need to “protect” themselves.

    I do agree with your conclusion though, if the sole purpose of the gun is too kill a lot of people in a short period of time, it should be completely banned.

    • Thanks Chris. Yes, there are big difference between the reality and the comparative analogy. The beach analogy was to feel how Americans might feel about their rights being violated. It’s the best I could come up with for that, and not half bad.

      I have been unable to relate with the American fear and mistrust issues, and have not yet been able to think of the right imagined scenario where I might. That’s much tougher.



    • “You buy guns and arm yourself however to keep safe, protect yourself from the unknown, to kill your neighbour. An act of fear.”

      There are reasons other than fear. I do not own a gun myself but was raised in a family with a collection and still go to the gun range with my family. Not a single gun was purchased as a result of fear, nor have they been used to kill a neighbor. They were purchased for hunting and sport shooting. Why should those that are using the guns for sport suffer the consequences of the actions of those that are using them in illegal/inappropriate ways?

  4. I personally own several of these extremely dangerous “guns that should be banned”. You miss the point if you think that weapons are the issue. It is the depraved heart of man. I have the God given right to defend my family against that depravity with equal weaponry. Imagine for a minute. That it is the year 1500. We could have an argument about swords.” I think all large scary double edged swords should be banned. We have no need for them. A short sword will do. ” That works until the guy who has a longsword lops your head off with superior weaponry. We all know that criminals do not care about laws and rules. What will stop them? As an American I do not have an attitude of distrust. I think that is an unfair characterization. I live in an area where there are a bare minimum of 5 guns in every home. Nobody gets shot! We have a very open trusting culture in my area, nobody locks their doors. Granted this is a rural area but it goes to show it is the attitude and the heart that determines the outcome not the tools available. Don’td be fooled by the endless news reports that repeatedly talk about gun death rates in the US. Yes we have higher gun death rates than many other nations per capita. We also have more vehicular deaths than Greenland. Its all about perspective. Our overall crime rates combining rape, murder, and theft are 75 percent less than most other places and the crime we have is concentrated in very specific places. Where is it concentrated you might ask??? In all of the places with the most restrictive and crushing gun laws. More shooting more rape more theft more violence. If we got rid of California, New Jersey, etc we would have the lowest crime rates in the world. All of our mass shootings take place in gun free zones. Its basically a sign thst says shoot here everyone is unarmed. Yes we have a gun culture but guns themselves are nothing but a strawman to ignore the depravity of mans heart. If they acknowledge depravity, they have to acknowlege the exsitence of morality and ultimately God.

    • Thanks for your comment David.

      I don’t believe that weapons and their availability are the main or fundamental issue. I agree with you that the main problem is with the human heart. More specifically, the main problem is MY heart – my selfishness, my desire to live life my way, defending my rights and privileges.

      I am humbled and thankful that Jesus the Christ did not focus on, hold onto or scream about His “God given rights” as many of his followers seem to … even though Jesus asks us to follow Him – our own cross bering heavily on our shoulder – to Golgotha.

      Peace to you and happy new year.

  5. An interesting exploration. Always useful and helpful to try and understand the way other people think.

    I have real trouble understanding the expectation of tyranny that seems to be part of the US outlook. At least that’s the way about half of the arguments put forward in these discussions sound to me.

  6. Pingback: The Rights And Wrongs of Rights | Grant's Blog

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