Australians will soon be arming themselves against perceived threats from local Islamists. Policy makers and legislators need to start preparing for the strategic shock now.
The slow wave of shocking attacks by Islamists across the globe that we see almost weekly on our TVs, elicits a myriad of responses from stunned onlookers. One notable response is the sense of helplessness. It is immediately clear to many watching that should they experience such an attack themselves there is nothing they can do about it. Almost every attack may as well have been carried out in a kindergarten – the victims are that helpless.
A chain of thought sparks in the minds of most of us watching the helpless victims from our armchairs. We see that no one from the law enforcement community is there to help. No patrols. No one comes to their rescue. Where are the police?
The obvious solution for many watching the defenceless killed in public, in broad daylight, without impediment, is to arm-up. All it takes is one or two examples in the media of an armed victim fighting back against the terrorists, and the floodgates will be opened. Australians everywhere will beg, borrow and steal to arm themselves, so they can feel safer walking the streets, taking the train to work, dropping the kids off at school and shopping in the malls.
The thought of being armed everywhere they go, will replace the job police are failing to fulfil, a sense of genuine security and safety. At last Joe and Jane Public won’t have to worry about adding yet another fear to their growing list of dangers from the community.
The danger on the horizon is of much more concern to average Australians, as it is utterly new, they don’t really understand its nature, it seems incomprehensible, it’s a scary, ugly terror and they know the police can’t protect them. Being armed they are no longer helpless – in their mind. Knowing they can turn from victim into counter-attacker, shooting back, will become close to desirable in the minds of many, especially men.
No one wants them or their loved ones to die for some stupid, pointless reason at the hands of a religious idiot nut-case, just because they had nothing to fight back with.
Unlike the gun culture of the United States, Australia has spent decades with strict firearms restrictions that has produced generations without any understanding of their power and their potential. In the States, firearms are not uncommonly used in the settling of disputes, such as road rage and family or neighbourhood arguments. However, most of these end at the presentation of the weapon or the firing of a warning shot; hardly a terrorist attack.
For Australia, the phenomenon will be a shock to the system, as there is no “real” familiarity with firearms by almost all dwellers of Australia’s few cities. They have almost no appearance in the life of a city-dweller, and even on television they rarely feature outside fiction, only occasionally in the news, and never in lifestyle television outside the odd hunting programme that most viewers will flick past whilst channel surfing.
There is an unwritten social contract in the US, between its comparably more fire-arm familiarised citizens, that is effectively a self-regulation. You avoid certain situations and certain escalating arguments, because someone might have a gun. This self-regulation is more obvious in areas of high firearm ownership, such as the cities of Texas and the Mid-western cities, such as Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho, but applies across the country and is understood by most. The point here is that it is no use looking to the US as a model to follow in Australia; it’s chalk and cheese.
Australian policymakers and legislators need to consider the implications of a secretly armed citizenship. The widespread carriage of secreted fire-arms in public will imply more than its relatively innocuous intent.
What should we imagine when considering the evolution of road-rage, pub brawls, arguing neighbours? Will people start resolving disputes with their weapons? Will the threatening presentation of a fire-arm be used to curtail an escalating argument between citizens? Instead of relying on current recourses, such as the pointless arguing and futile paperwork handed to them by impotent police stations, the armed citizen will not even bother wasting their time with the police.
What effect will an armed society have on the black and open marketplace for weapons? We should expect to see the typical abuse by the retail trade, as supply creates demand.
Will self-defence classes move from the Dojo to the pistol range?
The change will affect the law enforcement community, certainly, schooling, public transport, health, privacy, even taxation, but also the commercial sector: the security industry, the insurance industry, private healthcare, sport and recreation industries, and the black markets of weapon suppliers, criminal activity to fund supply, and organised crime.
The implications are legion, as are the number of questions needing answers, problems needing solutions, laws and policies needing drafting well before that first TV news item airs all over the country. “Neighbourhood argument, pub brawl, street party, road rage, school bullying… ends in shooting.”
 Terrorists are unlikely to attack the regional farming communities, where any firearm familiarisation in Australia is only found among those protecting their crops from predators and pests, or for game during hunting seasons. This article is therefore concerned only with communities of strategic interest to Islamist terrorists, and these are likely to be large cities rather than country towns.
 Excluding movies and crime drama television, as fictional representation is a poor preparation for the real thing when it comes to firearms.