Loud Gunshot Heard Stage Left


I am indebted to La Banditta for the topic of today’s post – she has raised it on Facebook and it deserves to be more widely spread. The topic is gunshots.

She’s heard a loud one very night for the last little while near her home. As her home is not Damascus or Detroit this is somewhat surprising. Perth has got some dodgy suburbs but they are rarely that dodgy. What would excite little commentary in Philadelphia or Palermo certainly does so in Parkerville or Parmelia. Despite what Crocodile Dundee would have you think we are not given much to gun battles.

It is not because we would not do so if we could – but a long series of restrictive gun laws has prevented most of us from having the hardware to hand when the need is felt. This is because the British designers of the colony realised that if lower classes are allowed access to firearms they can be tempted to remove the upper classes with them. The American Revolution explained that thoroughly, and they took the lesson to heart. So if you want to be shooter here you are required to go over a series of administrative hurdles that stop all but the most law-abiding and dedicated from succeeding. The criminal element have to resort to getting their firearms criminally…which is a crime.

Loud noises need not be gunshots. They can be cars backfiring…which is a classic bit of nonsense that has been conveniently adopted from the movies. When did you last hear a car backfire? I mean really… Apart from the racket at a drag strip or speedway, the only time cars backfire is on the TV screen.

Or they could be the sound of Thai restaurants exploding. One did a few years ago in our northern suburbs, and it wasn’t the result of Siamese gang warfare – it was the result of the owner faced with health department orders to clean up the cockroach problem. He put down about 30 of the aerosol bomb bug sprays and turned them on. When the concentrating of explosive poison vapour reached critical mass and hit a spark from the freezer motor it was heard five suburbs away. Apparently the roof beams shifted a foot.

The odd bang could be a meth lab going up. Enough of them are in operation every day, apparently, to make the southern suburbs look like the Ruhr under the RAF if they start exploding. One can only assume that the occasional detonation is accidental rather than an adjustment of commercial territorial boundaries…

Or it could be a home-made fireworks factory. I have seen one of these in operation in a back shed. The operator is a good pyrotechnician and has not exploded the suburb… yet. When he does it will be an interesting test of the insurance system here in Australia. Of course his house and contents will be null and void, and if he is standing in front of the stuff when it goes up he will be too, but I am thinking of the surrounding houses and properties. Will the average greedy insurance company pay up?

In any case, I have put in a FB message that loud bangs are better than quiet ones* as they are likely to be private criminal affairs rather than the soft plop of governmental political assassination. Perhaps I have been watching too much television, but then I never actually watch television…

  • This is a generalisation. Someone shooting off a FLAK 88 in the next yard is never good news, particularly if you are in the flight path for Jandakot Airport.



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