I’m sitting in my excel spreadsheet raft spear-fishing for a build issue in the Visual Source Safe pond, when I’m jolted back to reality by a loud thump coming from the neighbour’s house.
The alarm clock reads 4.20am. Then there are screams, and more screams followed by curdling cries for help. I bolt out of bed and search for my pants. It sounds like someone is being assaulted next door and they sound scared for their life.
My first instinct is to run to the neighbour’s house and start yelling at the attacker. One of the many valuable things I learned in Tae Kwon Do, is that nothing intimidates someone more than acting crazy. I can handle crossing a menacing swastika tattooed biker on K-Rd, but if I encounter someone pysched out on ‘P’, I’ll promptly cross the street. Craziness freaks people out.
However, it’s dark and I first need to find my pants. Not quite conscious, my brain doesn’t register that it hardly matters whether I’m wearing any clothes or not. If the lady next door is hurt, or worse, no-one is going to be particularly appreciative of the fact that I wasn’t able to come to her aid sooner because I had a bout of cellulite insecurity.
In fact what better way to scare off an attacker than having them confronted by a menacing and screaming, mostly naked crazy cat lady. (I’m not a still sleeper, my hair ends up looking pretty monstrous by the morning)
But, I’m obsessed with finding my pants. Finally, I locate them and I’m ready to sort out the raucous. However, by then the young woman seems to have ‘escaped’ and driven off. The whole drama probably lasted less than 30 seconds. And the optimist in me hopes it was little more than a lover’s quarrel resulting from a tickling session that got out of hand.
Still, I’m now wide-awake, and start playing the situation through in my head. If someone starts screaming for help at 4.20am in the morning, there is little to suggest that they are not in dire need of assistance. Seconds count. If it’s serious, then there is not enough time to call and wait for police.
Suddenly, I’m thankful to be living in NZ.
People in New Zealand don’t tend to carry guns. The police aren’t armed. Violent attacks do happen, but are usually carried out with a blunt object or a knife. Ultimately our communities are relatively safe, and at the sound of distress, our first instinct is to provide aid, rather than cower under the bed.
No doubt, if the same situation played itself out in a Los Angeles suburb, and I rushed outside indecent, and screaming, I would have probably met with an untimely demise from a bullet or seven, by the attackers, police or any one of the neighbours. There would have been bloodshed.
The fact that the right to bear arms is a US constitutional right is bullshit.
A gun can be compared to a car. Both are lethal in the wrong hands. There is a reason why we have registration, warrant of fitnesses, and a strict licensing criteria for motor vehicles. If we didn’t, our roads would be chaos and very unsafe to drive.
What people do in the privacy of their own home to themselves is nobody’s business. But if they’re interacting with others it becomes a different matter.
A gun is a deadly weapon. Unlike a car, which serves as a transport vessel, a gun’s sole purpose is to maim and kill. Any gun-owner should under-go strict licensing and training before even allowed to possess one. And once they own a gun it needs to be stored securely to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands.
The US has by far the highest rate of gun deaths of all industrial nations. In the US 14 people per 100,000 die from gun deaths each year. In New Zealand that number is 2 per 100,000.
I have many gripes about our political system, the amount of government in our lives, and the general direction towards a big-brother nanny-state.
But one thing we do get right is our gun legislation.