Rugged Individualism Replaced by Australia’s Nanny State

by Jeff Knox

I've long been fascinated by Australia and its people. A visit to that country has been high on my bucket list since I was just a kid, but more and more as I read about present-day Australia I am disappointed and saddened. It seems that the days of rugged individualism and self-determination are gone from the land down under and the heroic characters of the past like Ned Kelly and Banjo Patterson have faded into the realm of myth and fairytales. It wasn't so long ago that the reputation of Australia included the belief that one Australian could easily – and happily – pommel any two men from any other country – more if she put down her baby. And Australian men had an even hardier reputation.

Sadly that's no longer the case as Australia has apparently devolved into a namby-pamby society of effete urbanites, hen-pecked by anglophilic nannies and socialist, world-citizen politicians who revel in Australia's rugged history while criminalizing and quashing any hint of such thought or action in present day.

My disappointment in Australia turned into outright disgust recently when I happened upon two stories in Australian media, both dated August 10. The first, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the government of New South Wales had revoked the firearm license of Richard Hawkins, an 89-year old veteran of World War II, because the tool chest in which he locked up his two .22 rifles did not meet the government's security standards. This was discovered during a routine "safe storage audit." Hawkins then disassembled the rifles and gave them to a local locksmith – the son of a war buddy – for safe-keeping until he could get a more secure storage container. Unfortunately one of the rifles was a semi-auto and therefore a "Category C" firearm requiring a special license to possess – a license the locksmith did not hold. The hearing officer cited these errors as proof of Hawkin's inability to understand the rules of firearms ownership.

The magistrate expressed further concern that the old vet was only able to shoot from a supported position due to back and neck injuries he sustained fighting for Australia's freedom against Nazi and Japanese aggressors.

"In my opinion, it is not in the public interest for a person to hold a firearms license if that person does not have the physical capacity to safely use a firearm, including use in unexpected or emergency situations."

Unexpected or emergency situations?

These are .22 caliber rifles which are required to be locked, unloaded, in a government approved storage container at all times except when actually being used for government approved purposes. Mr. Hawkins, who lives alone on secluded land out in the country, explained that he used the .22s for pest control. What response to "unexpected or emergency situations" is this judge possibly referring to? Certainly not self-defense.

Then ABC Newcastle reported that during another routine "safe storage audit," a loaded gun and ammunition were discovered locked in a farmer’s government approved firearms safe. The nanny from the gun control coalition explained: "There's a reason why firearms and ammunition are separated and that is for safety, particularly because guns are kept in the home. We need to ensure the persons that are in the home are as
safe as possible. This is because of accidents or suicide or potential domestic violence situations."

Clearly the farmer in this case, the husband of Pru Goward, a member of the New South Wales Parliament, like the battle-hardened veteran and life-long gun owner Mr. Hawkins, needs this nanny to keep him and his family safe. His case was scheduled to go to trial later this month.

Mr. Hawkins asked an important question when the police advised him that they were revoking his firearm license: "Haven't you blokes got anything better to do than going around harassing war veterans?"

Seriously, how much time, money, and manpower is wasted in registering, inspecting, and confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens – and prosecuting those good citizens? Australia has spent Billions of dollars on this nonsense while their crime rates soared. At this point their violent crime rates are in decline, as they are in the US and Canada, but they are declining from record highs set after the people allowed themselves to be disarmed. What could have been accomplished if all of that money and energy had been focused on criminals rather than law-abiding gun owners?

What's most disheartening is that the Australian people are not outraged and revolted by stories like these. Sadly, the beautiful "land down under" has followed the UK into a true-to-life Monty Python joke.

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