Australia cf. USA

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Fri Jan 19 2001 - 23:15:32 MST

At 12:34 AM 20/01/01 -0500, Michael Lowry <> :

[golly, you've changed your surname, Mike?]

wrote some things I'll get to eventually in response to this exchange:

>> >Some statistics a year after Australia's gun confiscation:
>> >State of Victoria, homicides with firearms up 300%!

>> Victoria's rate *for the whole goddam year* went from 7 to 19.

That's all I was saying there. I wasn't comparing Oz data with anyone
else's, explicitly at least. I was saying that it is either ingenuous or
disingenuous to brandish such a small noise-level movement as evidence of
*anything*, let alone any purported dire impact of `Australia's gun
confiscation'. (The immediately preceding bulge in the curve was caused by
a single atrocious massacre, incidentally.)

Mike adds, amid a flurry of interesting data with no bearing whatsoever on
my post:

>I'll bet Australias racial
>cross section is markedly different.

Yes, of course: we are markedly heterogeneous in a rather different way
from the USA. (I'd prefer not to use the unscientific term `race', but I
see what you mean.)

>the Australian Bureau of Statistics [...] did admit that indigenous people
>about 15 times more likely to be imprisoned.

>Now, this is rather
>interesting: it is black people in the US who [...] contribute the most to
crime rates.

Why is that interesting? Black people in the USA are not indigenous. They
arrived as slaves, and have mostly been treated like shit by the dominant
culture and by the criminals of their own culture. Black people in Oz are
most of Aboriginal descent, so your comparison should be with American
Indians; Aborigines have mostly been treated like shit by the dominant
culture and to a lesser extent by each other, in their tragic, excluded and
deracinated circumstances.

>Australia, [...] is a far more
>racially monocultural nation than the US is, with its far smaller
>indigenous population being in a very similar state of incarceration in
>the justice system.

Aboriginal people get locked up by white authorities more often than
equivalent white offenders. That's standard racism. They also commit some
crimes, of drunken trouble-making, low-level theft and violence, due to the
appalling conditions many of them live under. Again, I gather that the more
illuminating comparison is with American native peoples.

It's imaginable that ready possession of hand guns among such disaffected
and desperate Aborigines in cities would swiftly escalate to terrible death
rates from firearm injuries. As it is, I get the impression that more ruin
is being self-inflicted by petrol sniffing and alcohol abuse.

The sooner we get the technologies of true abundance, the sooner these
atrocities will be a thing of the past, and the less incentive there'll be
for sticking weapons into other people's faces. Bring on the Spike!

Damien Broderick

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