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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Port Arthur Shooting & Gun Buy-Back 20 Years Ago;

Twenty years ago today - 28 April 1996 thirty five people were killed and twenty three wounded in Tasmania by a deranged, socially isolated and intellectually handicapped gunman Martin Bryant with a sub-normal IQ of 66 - equivalent of an eleven year old.

He is currently serving 35 life sentences plus 1,035 years without parole.

The then Prime Minister John Howard introduced 'Gun Bans' and the 1996 'Buy-Back' scheme that resulted in nearly 661,000 firearms being destroyed at an expected cost of 500 Million Dollars.

Howard recently attempted to justify his '1996 Buy-Back' scheme by stating:

"Surveys indicate it had a big impact on male youth suicide. I believe we have prevented a lot of death of people who would once grab hold of a rifle."

- As hanging suicides rose at about the same rate as gun suicides fell, it is possible that there was some substitution of suicide methods.

In 2005 the head of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn noted that the level of legal gun ownership in NSW had increased in recent years, and that the 1996 legislation had little to no effect on violence.

The Australian Crime Commission reported in 2013 that the number of guns imported to Australia legally has also risen, including a 24 per cent increase during the past six years in the number of registered handguns in NSW.

A 2014 report stated that approximately '260,000 guns are on the Australian 'grey' or black markets', and discussed the potential problem of people using 3D printers to create guns.
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Ten years earlier again - 30 years ago - on 26 April 1986  31 people were directly killed in Chernobyl, Ukraine when the Nuclear Power Plant there suffered power surges and a fire - releasing radiation across a wide area of Europe.
Total Chernobyl deaths are estimated to eventually reach 4,000 among the heaviest contaminated - this includes some 50 emergency workers who died shortly after the accident from acute radiation syndrome.

Two crimes against humanity - which was the greatest?

Marty K.