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Back August 5th, 2019 Forward
This is Normal

I get up in the morning, get dressed, do the chores. Read the news. There's news of another mass shooting in the USA. Two of them, in fact. There's no news of a mass shooting in my country. This is normal.

I drive to the university where I study. I drive carefully because I'm aware I'm moving around about a ton of metal at speeds of 40 - 70 km/h, and that can cause some serious problems to the human body if such a thing isn't done with due care and attention. I don't worry about other drivers pulling out a gun and shooting me for bad driving. This is normal.

I get to university, and go into a classroom. I'm not looking at the rooftops for snipers. I'm not watching my fellow-students cautiously, waiting to see whether today is the day one of them "snaps". I don't look for exit routes out of the classroom if a shooter should enter. This is normal.

I go to the supermarket to pick up groceries. I don't worry about getting shot in the car-park. I don't worry about getting shot in the mall on the way to the supermarket. I don't worry about getting shot in the supermarket. I don't worry about getting shot at all. This is normal.

I'll go to work later this week, and I'm not worried about my employer (who knows of my history of mental illness) deciding they're not going to keep me on due to the potential risk to my colleagues. They also know I'm not going to shoot up my workplace. People shooting up their workplace is very unlikely in this country. This is normal.

Politicians in this country don't have much to fear from crowds - the worst is maybe a cream pie, or an egg to the head, or maybe a bit of ballistic fruit or something like that for the really objectionable ones. They don't need armed bodyguards everywhere they go. This is normal.

The police here are armed - but they face severe penalties for shooting a person in the course of their duties. They know most of the people they're going to be facing don't have access to guns, so they have to use less extreme measures of taking control of a situation. This is normal.

We still have the rare person who wants to take out a bunch of others and "go down in a blaze of glory" - usually to prove something about their masculinity to themselves. They don't tend to use guns, though - guns are hard to obtain here. They also tend to survive being arrested, and go on to get long jail sentences rather than being taken out in a hail of bullets. The most popular weapon for them these days is the car. But this is also normal.

Children in our schools don't have "active shooter drills". They don't plan what to do if there's a shooter in the building. They don't plan how to hide, how to cower in a cupboard until things are over. We have occasional bomb/fire drills where the entire school evacuates onto the oval. This is normal, too.

This is all normal. This is the way Australians live. A nation of twenty-seven million people, with a lot of different racial tensions and a growing resurgence of white supremacists, and with a conservative government in charge which probably wouldn't do anything to stop the white supremacists either. But we don't live in the constant fear and paranoia today might be the day we get shot down in the street by our fellow citizens.

The way people live in the USA is NOT normal. I just think you need to know this.

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