As one of the biggest, most populated countries in the world, it's not surprising that the United States has some cultural idiosyncrasies that baffle the rest of the world. Those unique American beliefs are more often than not both heartwarming and harmless, but one of them is getting harder and harder to justify, as demonstrated by Saturday night's mass shooting in Orlando — the American attitude towards gun control. Australian comedian Jim Jefferies examined the U.S. gun control system in his Netflix special Bare in 2014, and it's actually a useful reference for tackling the gun control debate that can provide a little levity in the wake of the devastating tragedy.
Australia banned guns 20 years ago after the biggest mass shooting in its history, when a gunman killed 35 people at a beach in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Instead of debating, stalling, and letting the issue die, a cycle that is all too familiar to the American people, the Australian government didn't waste any time in making sure that an incident like that never happened again. 12 days after the shooting, the newly elected conservative prime minister instituted sweeping reform to decrease gun ownership, which, unsurprisingly, led to a huge decrease in gun-related violence, homicide, and suicide. That's the perspective Jefferies brought to his examination of the cumulative American gun control policy, and it's one that the U.S. could definitely learn from.
The obviously comedic approach to Jefferies' argument doesn't take away from its legitimacy. He thoroughly and categorically addresses pretty much every argument in support of gun control, from personal protection to defense against the government to the "good guy with a gun" myth. Jefferies offers a perspective as an immigrant that gives special poignancy to his statements, much like John Oliver's ability to pinpoint and perfectly explain the many failings of U.S. institutions. Although Jefferies takes the comedy a little too far to be serviceable in an actual argument, the majority of the segment is a useful and insightful look at the various ways the American system needs to improve so that the routine violence and death in this country can end. And obviously the Australian system might not be the best solution for the United States, but as Jefferies so articulately points out, the current American system is no solution at all.
It's tough to be in the mood for comedy right after a tragedy of this scale, but the gun control debate is bound to return in full force once more following this latest shooting. If you need to respond to an ignorant Facebook comment or retort a misguided relative at an upcoming family barbecue, Jefferies' comedy actually isn't a bad resource to utilize for one of those discussions. Remember, people respond positively to humor, so it's useful to have that tool in your hate-fighting toolbox.