Turning 21 is one of the milestone birthdays you get in life.
And for all those people turning 21 this year, there’s an extra reason to celebrate, an extra reason to be happy.
None of these people have ever seen a mass shooting in Australia.
Sorry to take a left-turn like that, but it’s true. Not once in their lives did they pick up a newspaper or turn on a TV to discover someone somewhere in Australia has gone on a shooting spree.
It really highlights a huge difference between Australia and the US.
Over there, they count the time between shootings in days, not decades.
Last week, there was a school shooting in Florida, where 15 people were killed.
Care to take a guess how many mass shootings there had been in the US in 2018 – including this one?
Five? Ten? Twenty? Nope, this was the 31st mass shooting in the US in 2018.
This is shocking for two reasons. Firstly, that there have been 31 shootings to February 15 – one every 1.4 days.
Secondly, that you probably didn’t even realise the number was that high.
The sad, sad truth is that an American running amok with a machine gun hardly seems out of the ordinary these days.
So you probably didn’t hear about the five people murdered in Kentucky just four days before the Florida school shooting.
That same day – February 11 – a gunman killed three women in Detroit.
On January 29, there were two mass shootings in separate cities in Pennsylvania where a total of nine people were murdered.
They represent some of the 60 people murdered in those 31 mass shootings.
I’m sure an American child born this week would love to reach their 21st birthday without a single mass shooting occurring in their country.
Sadly, they’ll be lucky to make it to the weekend.