Martin Bryant shooting is still fresh in my mind

April 28, 2013

Today is Sunday 28th April 2013, a day that reminds me of Sunday 28 April 1996 while I was still in high school when the whole of our country Australia was shattered by horror killings in Tasmania. On evening of that fateful day, I learned through Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that scores of people had been murdered and many others injured. The killings were described by the mainstream print media as orgy of violence at the Port Arthur Historic Site, in my mother ancestral state of Tasmania committed by Martin Bryant, the son of a British immigrant. Martin Bryant, armed with several guns, shot and killed 35 people in a lonely and desolate corner of Tasmania. For those who don’t know, the site is one of the Australia’s most venerable historic sites. After many years of investigation, the evidence pieced together revealed that Martin Bryant was a man born with a personality disorder and was intellectually impaired. Bryant was also struggling with autistic traits and his genetic load was the baggage he carried with him into life.

Bryant was later described as a man living with frustration, anger, resentment of rejection and social misunderstanding that investigators believed led to his heinous act. Martin Bryant was a young Caucasian male with long blond hair, and was apprehended by police the following Monday morning after he emerged from a burning tourist guesthouse, Seascape Cottage, which was located a short distance from Port Arthur. Until this day, Martin Bryant is easily the most vilified individual in Australian history. Bryant was also enlisted in the serial killers’ hall of infamy as the world’s second most lethal gunman. The ugly side of the case is that it never went to trial and some crime experts have revealed direct and indirect clues suggesting that Martin Bryant, the then 29-year-old man with an IQ of only 66, was framed. Until this day, I laud the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard who responded definitively with gun-control legislation, effectively regulating the licensing and gun ownership while also reclaiming almost 25 per cent of all the firearms in circulation in Australia.

Contador Harrison