Who Needs Guns?

Lessons From Down Under

Australia has something under 20 million people living on a continent as large as the continental United States.  It is known as a place where an overseas visitor might, in some regions at least, find a frontier atmosphere.  There has been good historical reason for that.  Australia has an Outback, unique wildlife, and a legendary spirit of independence.  Its soldiers, for instance, knew the meaning of a command to fix bayonets, and they acquitted themselves well in those conflicts where they stood beside Americans.  The commissioned English officers notoriously did not like the Australians, though, because of Australian disdain for authority. 

Australian soldiers did not fall in behind bad leaders, and, under pressure, they tended to make their own decisions.  It was nevertheless always conceded that Australians displayed great courage and that they did follow leaders who valued equality and fairness.  With a state-oriented system of decentralized government and a long historical record as a haven for refugees from unfree countries, Australia has prided herself on tolerance.  Now, however, the federal government has begun a war on civil liberty, aimed at destroying the nation’s long-established gun culture.  

We had to stand in lines.  These were up to maybe a couple of hundred yards long in the bigger towns.  On a Saturday afternoon during...

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