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10 May 1996. Thought for the Week: "Society has long recognised the disruptive action of even casual stealing: systematic stealing by threats of brute force has usually ensured prompt protection action. Yet we find actions, which are considered immoral and inexcusable in a private individual, have become acceptable in governments. The Moral Law has ceased to apply to governments. Governments recognise the laws neither of God nor man; they make their own laws; they are a law unto themselves....Having one set of laws for private individuals and another for government officials is sufficient to disrupt any society...."
James Guthrie, B.Sc., in Our Sham Democracy
BEHIND THE VIOLENT SOCIETY
by Eric D. Butler
The Port Arthur massacre, different only in terms of numbers killed from several other mass killings in recent years, is but the latest example of violence in what has increasingly become a sick society. Not surprisingly the event has generated a type of hysteria, which sheds more heat than light on basic causes. Presumably some of the people who have been ringing up and threatening the staff at the hospital at which the suspected killer was being treated for burns, are normally law-abiding people. Did these people want the nursing and medical staff to kill the suspect, or let him die of his wounds?
Fortunately in Australia the civilised
Christian based rule of law still prevails, and every suspect
of a crime, however serious, is treated as an individual and
entitled to a fair trial. The Tasmanian Crown Prosecutor has
been rightly scathing of the role of the mass media in the
Port Arthur affair. It is appropriate to point out that the
media, which heads a campaign which urges more "gun control",
is not suggesting that it might be an appropriate time to
re-establish capital punishment in Australia. Why?
Christianity claims to be a religion of realism. The realist knows that after the wave of emotionalism associated with the Port Arthur tragedy, there will be further acts of violence throughout Australia unless there are reversals of the policies which have produced a sick society. Control of any of man's creations, which can kill or maim, can at best have minimal effects if basic causes are ignored. Police expressed their dismay when in spite of all these warnings, there was a sharp increase in road deaths over last Easter. Presumably all cars involved had been registered, and the drivers had licences. With the statistics revealing that the biggest number of fatal accidents is young drivers, the obvious conclusion is that all the legislation in the world will have little effect until there is a greater sense of personal responsibility. But the concept of personal responsibility has been eroded in modern society.
That wise British statesmen Enoch Powell has recently observed that today's younger generation are basically the same as their elders. But the elders have permitted the young to be fed on a cultural diet, which is the basic cause of the social disintegration in society. Assuming that Big Brother John Howard and his fellow politicians permit the elderly to have guns in their homes to defend themselves, as some of them have been doing, this may act as a deterrent against some break-ins, but while the finance economic policies which John Howard favours, continue to result in an underclass of young unemployed, youth violence will continue.
It has been estimated that in recent years, the biggest number of suicides, not all with guns, have been among Australia's rural male youth. Who has been responsible for the type of policies, which have led to hundreds becoming so despairing of the future, with a feeling that they have been failures? The answer is those Federal politicians who have religiously defended the debt financial system while sometimes abusing as "extremist" the League of Rights, which has consistently warned about what was happening and the inevitable destructive consequences.
It is right and proper that Australians should bow their heads in prayer when shocked by a Port Arthur tragedy. But far more than this is needed to avoid further violence. Is it too much to ask Christian leaders to direct their attention to basic causes?
LESSONS FROM THE PORT ARTHUR TRAGEDY
by David Thompson
In a crisis with emotional undertones it is clear that people will accept centralised controls that they would otherwise find abhorrent. One of those who has more cynically exploited the Tasmanian agony, is N.S.W. Premier Bob Carr. With seriously depleted electoral stocks, and a series of recent political blunders behind him, Carr was one of the first to identify the perfect political opportunities arising from the slaughter. He moved immediately to capitalise on this by stage-managing the attempt to hand over N.S.W's. responsibilities for firearms regulation to the Commonwealth. The pious demands for similar action by the other States was an attempt to wring every drop of political mileage from the issue.
It is underlined by the fact that Carr's much-trumpeted legislation is not legislation at all. This is merely a Bill before the N.S.W. Parliament, and it has gone almost unnoticed that there has been no attempt to have Carr's anti-gun legislation even debated by the Legislative Council, which was not even sitting. Perhaps Jeffrey Kennett's scathing criticism of Carr as Pontius Pilate, washing his hands of responsibility, was fully justified.
The truth is that Carr does not really
want the Legislative Council to debate this legislation, for
two reasons. First, he would be offering a perfect platform
for the Shooters' Party M.L.C., Mr. John Tingle. The moderate,
able and articulate Tingle has been responding to the anti-gun
hysteria very effectively when he has the chance.
BAYING FOR BLOOD
The self-righteous moralising about the
"red-neck gun lobby" is the height of hypocrisy. In a system
of representative government, every group with a special interest
has every right - even a duty - to seek political representation.
The same people who yesterday insisted that the Green Senators
who hold the balance of power in the Senate had the right
to demand green concessions in the budget, or similar legislation,
are today baying for the blood of people like Shooters' Party
M.L.C. Mr. John Tingle.
Right around the nation, the centralists are taking the opportunity to centralise further State powers in Canberra. Some interesting political bedfellows are emerging, such as the Carr and Howard administrations. Irrespective of party label, the impulse to hand powers to Canberra is a centralist, Fabian proposal, and should be identified as such.
Problems can rarely be solved by centralising power; this usually intensifies the problem. One of the great ironies is that the passionate demands for rigid nationwide firearms legislation will not address the problem. What is the problem? Sometimes a person kills one or more others. A ban on semi-automatic rifles and a nationwide firearms register cannot prevent this. In fact, according to Dr. Adam Graycar, Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, guns are not the primary choice of murder weapons. Over one third of murders are committed with a "sharp instrument" (knife, etc.) and at least another third of murders are committed with a "blunt instrument".
About a quarter of murders are committed with the use of firearms. Some of those are committed by licensed shooters, and as is alleged to be the case in Port Arthur, some offenders are not licensed. Indeed, New Zealand research reveals that the majority of "massacres" in New Zealand are committed by licensed firearm owners. Licensing shooters does not help.
THE INFLUENCE OF CULTURE
The principal criminologist at the Institute, Dr. Sat Mukherjee (presumably of Indian background), argues that distinct cultural factors may also be at work here. He refers to British reserve, and wonders at its influence in reducing violence. Japan has a low crime rate, and Mukherjee argues that the country's homogenous culture, with its disciplined codes of behaviour and political emphasis on full employment, have played a role in minimising violence.
He contrasts this (Weekend Australian, 4/5/96) with the U.S. where multiculturalism generates many complex social tensions inflamed by easy access to weapons. It is impossible to ignore reports that the alleged Port Arthur gunman muttered something about foreign tourists before beginning to shoot.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the Tasmanian
shooting is that it could easily have been prevented. Even
without the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the alleged
gunman was known to mental health authorities and to police.
Press reports indicate that the accused was of very unstable
mental background, and quite incapable of handling his own
Bryant had a very disturbed childhood, being expelled from several primary schools, set fire to a local hospital, was banned by a bus company for abusing passengers, and had an air rifle confiscated by police. His own parents had referred Bryant to Health and Community Services almost a decade ago when they felt they could no longer control him. It would appear almost certain that Bryant was taking medication for psychiatric disturbances, and herein lies a serious unreported cause of extreme violence.
It is well known that illicit drugs - even marijuana - alter human behaviour, and usually for the worse. But what about prescription drugs? Some prescriptions specify that a patient should not even drive while taking them. Some of the most dangerous prescription drugs are given to psychiatric patients.
Studies in the United States show that psychiatric drugs have a mind-altering, violence-inducing effect. One of Australia's most violent crimes was committed by Frank Vitkovic on December 8th, 1987, who shot and killed 13 people in the Melbourne G.P.O. before committing suicide. He had been prescribed the anti-depressant Ativan, and according to the Mims Drug Compendium, one of the side effects is "rage". Many other cases have been reported.
In 1990 a Sydney magistrate was shot dead by a son who had been on psychiatric drugs for many years. In the U.S. in 1981 John Hinkley took several Valium tablets two hours before attempting to murder President Reagan. Many, many other cases are known, but seldom reported, and almost never given the significance that they merit, which would result in a challenge to the major drug companies of much greater severity than the challenge to gun laws.
It was reported (Sun-Herald, 5/5/96) that on the occasion of the apparent suicide of Bryant's father, Maurice, in 1993, police located a strip of Serapax nearby, with 18 tablets missing. There is every reason to suspect that the Port Arthur tragedy owes at least as much to mind-bending drugs as it does to availability of firearms.
TINGLE UNDER GUARD
Shooters' Party M.L.C. John Tingle, who supports the banning of military-style assault weapons, does not support a national gun register. This will not solve the problem. Tingle's view is that the governments should rather seek the social and psychological causes of massacres. It is ironic that the same lobby that is calling for the banning of guns, and blaming the Tasmanian massacre on the Shooters' Party, has threatened John Tingle with death. Tingle now has a 24-hour-a-day armed guard to preserve his own life.
When it was suggested that if only one other person at Port Arthur on Sunday, April 28th, had a weapon, the gunman could have been stopped, reaction from the anti-gun lobby was scathing. But it is always ignored that in Switzerland, where every able-bodied man is required by law to have a military-style firearm in his home, and know how to use it, the crime rate is almost the lowest in the world.
TREAT CAUSE NOT SYMPTOMS
A quick, centralist legislative response at the height of emotional fervour about the Tasmanian massacre, is a dangerous response. It will certainly not solve the problem, but may give the illusion of having done so. It is quite likely that we shall then subside, with collective, self-righteous relief, at having "fixed" the gun problem. Will the next major massacre jolt us out of complacency? As Dr. Robert White, Melbourne University criminologist says, "Compared with 20 years ago, the world is much more violent and my own view is that it's going to get worse."
The only possible answer begins in every Australian home. As well as using the T.V. "off" button, we need to be teaching our children the values upon which Western civilisation was built. This is essentially and specifically Christian. But it is more than a legalistic "thou shalt not kill". It is a culture of love that begins in the family, and grows through the Church - the body of Christ - until it permeates even the most unfortunate families, and surrounds them with a genuine care that could see that a young man has a problem, and help him with it, before he helps himself to firearms in a drug-induced haze.
ACTION ON FIREARMS HYSTERIA
The first imperative about the firearms debate is to insist that those who disagree with the politically correct "line" that banning guns will fix the problem, should feel free to say so. This is what representative government is all about. Apart from this, Christians in particular in our view, have a responsibility to tell the truth, because the truth is that a band-aid ban on guns won't solve the problem. We have a responsibility to say so.
Constitutionally, of course, the gun
issue is a State issue. The man who campaigned on decentralising
power and States' rights, Mr. John Howard, should now be reminded
of it. There is no solution to this issue by centralising
it further, in Canberra.
The first of the major tranquillisers was introduced in 1954, according to a report by the Citizens' Committee on Human Rights (201 Castlereagh Street, Sydney), with a host of others quickly following. The documented emergence of "motiveless crime" can be traced to just a few years after the introduction of these mind-altering drugs. Further information on their effects is an urgent requirement.
ZIONIST JEWS BAN IRVING BOOK"The Australian Jewish News" of April 26th reports on how Jewish pressure on American publishers St. Martin's Press prevented the publication of David Irving's work on "The Goebbels Diaries". 'The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee were among the organisations which wrote to the publisher." It is this type of breathtaking totalitarian arrogance, which creates anti-Jewish feeling. If Zionist Jewish organisations set themselves up as censors concerning what publishers may publish and what people may read, they should not be surprised that large numbers of freedom loving people deeply resent this type of behaviour. Irving's historical work on Goebels will be published irrespective of what the totalitarians say. The English edition of the Irving book will, we are assured, be available in Australia shortly.
THE TARIFF MIRAGE
In a recent media release, John R. Siddons,
Deputy President of Society for Balanced Trade, provides the
following revealing information about Australia's tariff policies:
The taxpayers are meeting the costs of these so-called expert economic think tanks, which have a track record of being so erroneous. The latest claim from the Economic Planning Commission was that we could expect an increase in gross domestic product of 15 percent by the year 2020 through a further reduction in farms, but the punch line not made clear in the headline is it will take 15 years for the benefits of tariff cuts to accrue - and who'll remember then? They based their amazing prediction on the performance of Finland, a small nation within the OECD. What relationship this has to Australia, isolated within the Asian community, is hard to imagine.
Tariffs in Australia have already fallen from 40 percent in 1968-69 to 19 percent in 1987-88 and are still being reduced. What benefits have occurred to Australia over this nearly 30-year period? Manufacturing's share of gross domestic product has fallen from 24 percent to 14 percent. We are now asked to believe that by further attacking the 14 percent of manufacturing that is left - mainly the car industry - we will get a 15 percent gain in G.D.P. in 24 years' time. Asia has achieved growth in G.D.P. without tariff reduction but this is ignored by the Government experts in their complicated arithmetical models.
FROM THE PRESS
A few thought-provoking letters have appeared in the press, through the mass hysteria. The following is a selection
From "The Australian ", 2/5/96
"Why didn't any civilian fight back
at Port Arthur? Was it because no civilian had access to a
rifle? Or what?"
"We feel great compassion for those shot
and wounded at Port Arthur. They were utterly defenceless.
They were defenceless because Australians are discouraged
from carrying firearms of their own. Just one person at that
dreadful scene, armed himself, could have arrested the carnage."
"Please, please, please, Mr. Howard.
You head a conservative government, it's time for conservatism.
When you wrap up the gun law revision meeting on May 10, set
another date to consider the ban of violent movies, TV shows,
video and computer games. Violence begets violence. Some people
can't distinguish between reality and fantasy. The death of
beauty is a six-year-old behind a tree waiting to be picked
off by a Rambo-style gunman."
From "The Australian", 4/5/96
"The only thing more sickening than
the slaughter in Port Arthur was the journalists crawling
over the tragedy with mawkish pride, as though perhaps, Australia
had won some kind of ghoulish Olympics and had truly come
One of the few levelheaded and considered
"opinion" pieces published since the Port Arthur shootings
was by Tasmanian novelist James McQueen. In "The Sun-Herald"
(5/5/96), McQueen wrote:
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