Ten days ago, John Oliver wrapped up his fabulous three-part series on gun control in Australia.
In part one, which aired on April 18, John Oliver asks the former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard whether gun control could possibly work under any circumstances ever. (Answer: there have been no mass shootings in Australia since that country enacted gun control measures in the mid-nineties.)
In part two, which aired on April 23, John Oliver speaks to Australian politicians who voted for gun controlm to see whether they survived the political backlash. (Answer: though a few of them lost their jobs, they are all alive and happy and well.)
And in part three, which aired on April 25, John Oliver explores whether what happened in Australia might possibly inform the debate in the United States. As I said, the series was fabulous, and I strongly recommend you watch it for yourself, but in the meantime, I would like to draw your attention to this third part. Oliver begins his exploration by sitting down with Philip van Cleave (of the Virginia Citizens Defense League):
John Oliver: Are there any lessons for America here? Virginia gun advocate Philip van Cleave has a clear answer.
Van Cleave: We’re not Australia. It’s a very different culture. Different people. Different everything.
JO: Right. There’s no similarity with Australia. Australia is a former British colony, with a wild frontier, that was tamed by brave men, who also wiped out almost an entire indigenous population. And we are [awkward pause for comedic effect] not similar to that. Right?
So given the vast differences between the American and Australian experiences, it would be surprising to find any overlap in the respective countries’ gun debates. And, unsurprisingly, that’s just what Oliver found when he sat down with the Hon. Bob Borbridge (former Premiere of Queensland, Australia):
John Oliver: But it’s pointless for us to study the Australian experience, because their fear of gun control back then has no parallels with ours. Well what kinds of things were you hearing when you suggested gun control?
Bob Borbridge: That the government was becoming a dictatorship.
JO: Alright, that’s one.
BB: We were told people would not have the right to defend their property and their families.
JO: Alright, that’s definitely two.
BB: That democracy is at stake somehow if the government decides there should be a background check.
JO: Yeah, alright, three.
BB: That we’re about to be invaded by the Indonesians.
JO: That’s completely different. No one in America is afraid of Indonesians.
See, it’s like totally different! Proof, then, that the lessons of gun control in Australia could in no way transfer to the eastern side of the Pacific — wait, excuse me, John Oliver, did you just say no one in America is afraid of Indonesians? Must I remind you:
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