In the aftermath of the Port Arthur tragedy, greater regulation of guns and violent videos is imperative.
However, there is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. That is the emotional health of our society.
Besides those few people with severely disturbed personalities, there are many people who feel angry and alienated to some extent, or who suffer from low self-esteem.
We need to become a gentle and more caring society which focuses more on human human needs and less on material things.
We have certainly demonstrated these qualities in the last few days. It would be wonderful if it could continue!
We need to make time for each other and value the uniqueness of every individual.
Early childhood is particularly important in this regard, as children who are given a great deal of approval (which includes lots of gentle physical contact) and opportunities for self-expression, grow up with self-esteem.
It's time we gave as much importance to emotional development, as intellectual development -- hearts and heads! We will then have a much healthier and less violent society.
- Gregor Lasch, Hobart
I realise there are many deep issues involved but I am convinced that the availability of violent videos and the showing of violent films at theatres and on television feeds the minds of disturbed people and encourages them to act out their fantasies.
Being involved with young people and seeing the pressures that they face in today's world I would urge all those in authority, parliamentarians, teachers, youth workers and parent to take a definite stand and deamnd that pornographic and violent programmes be banned from media and all video outlets.
The filthy language used, the bizarre, cruel, violent and often lustful behaviour is an insult to our Creator.
I challenge each and everyone to join together in fighting for the purity and integrity of ideals for the youth of today's hurting world.
- Jennifer Filby, Lindisfarne
If we were to deliberately set out to desensitise our community, and encourage senseless violence, how better could we do it than to subject ourselves to regular exposure of the sights and sounds of graphic, hate-filled violence, to glamorise murder and war, to "entertain" with pain and suffering.
Yet we daily subject ourselves, and, more worrying, the more vulnerable members of our society, to this brainwashing on television, film and video.
Why then are we so suprised when someone acts out what we daily promote as exciting, powerful and glamourous?
The Port Arthur tragedy shames us all.
- Beth Rees, Lauderdale
One facet of the problem with violent videos, films etc. is the impression left with susceptible viewers that the story ends when the curtain falls or the TV is switched off. The awful aftermath, heartache and sadness which would ensue in real life from these similar events is ignored, no doubt it being considered that if it has no entertainment value it is not worthy of inclusion in the story.
A few mandatory episodes following the misery through may throw a clearer light on some of these macabre shows.
- L.J. Bridge, Lutana
Those who wait for Port Arthur to return to a tourist mecca in the old style have perhaps not yet come fully to terms with what has happened there. It is most unlikely to ever happen. Instead the Toll Booth is likely to become a chapel of remembrance and the Broad Arrow site a garden of meditation of some kind. The (hopefully many thousands) of feet which will in future tread the grounds will likely do so in reverential silence remembering the victims of mindless violence over the past 150 years or so. A violence which permeates our society today no less than it did in the era of officially sanctified violence, and one which produces victims who are both the the perpetrators and those who have the violence inflicted upon them.
For those who look on in helpless bewilderment at the violence endemic in our societies and wonder what they can do to right the situation the Australian Nonviolence Network may have some answers as to how to being to nonviolently tackle some of these enormous societal pressures which lead to violence and in turn call forth more impulses to violence.
An eye for an eye until the whole of society is blind and in an unending maze of violence is obviously not the way forward. But nor is responding with passive helpless frustration. There are existing techniques which can begin to cut across and finally -- hopefully -- even end this cycle of violence and counter violence.
Please don't sit at home waiting in dread. Instead you can actually begin to become skillfully involved in some small way in helping to avert it.
- Jack Lomax, Australian Nonviolence Network, Lachlan