Polls show most people think this is a "fuss over nothing"

Matho’s blog: Olympians with guns

D’Arcy’s got a gun. So what?

The overreaction to Olympians Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk holding guns is unbelievable. On the very same day our Olympic shooting team was announced, the swimming pair was hammered for holding guns.

Most media reports weren’t bad, generally leading with the fact that the pair was in trouble with Swimming Australia. But not all.

3AW’s Jim Wilson was “outraged over their stupidity” and the station’s predictable Derryn Hinch had a go at them, too.

The Herald Sun went the full tabloid garbage: “If there were a gold medal awarded for stupidity, Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk would be at the top of the dais,” Rebecca Williams wrote, but her lead was moderate compared with Aaron Langmaid’s efforts.

He wrote about them posing “smugly” with guns “similar to those used in the Virginia Tech and Port Arthur massacres”. He also pulled gun control nutter John Crook into it.

“If ever there was a photo of two kids playing macho boys this is it,” Crook crowed. “It’s a disgrace to the Olympic swimming team.”

“Swimming Australia and the head of the Aussie Olympic team have kicked our Olympic shooters in the teeth”

But is it? Swimming Australia seems to think so, although three-quarters of the people responding to the Herald Sun’s poll think it’s just “a bit of fun” that shouldn’t invoke sanctions.

“These images are foolish and clearly inappropriate for members of the 2012 Australian Olympic Team,” said the man who will lead the Aussie team to London, Nick Green.

“We say again to our athletes, do not put anything up on social media that you would not share with your mother or grandmother.”

I dare say Mrs D’Arcy and Mrs Monk probably got a bit of a giggle out of the photo. They certainly would not have been worried their boys were about to go on a rampage.

Shooting is an Olympic sport. Australia has a shooting team that includes some of our most successful athletes of all time. Nick Green is also leading them, apparently, though whether he’ll allow them to send happy snaps back to mum is another matter…

The Herald Sun chose to compare the guns held by D’Arcy and Monk with those used in massacres, but they’re not dissimilar to those used by our Olympic pistol and shotgun shooters, either.

As a result, Swimming Australia and the head of the Aussie Olympic team for 2012, along with the Herald Sun, 3Aw and the other knockers, have kicked our Olympic shooters in the teeth. It’s bad enough for our shooting athletes when they’ve got anti-gunners to contend with, without also having to defend against ignorant insults from within their own ranks as well as our media.

It’s the same kind of pig ignorance that underlined Cr Simon Clough’s accusations of racism by Savage Arms and Suffolks Outdoor Sports. The same ignorance that fuels opposition to hunting in NSW national parks. The same ignorance that sits behind almost all opposition to law-abiding firearm ownership.

It gets a bit tedious, doesn’t it? But keep buying firearms, keep encouraging friends to get gun licences and keep correcting people in conversations about guns. The momentum is behind us, and a few minor setbacks are to be expected.


Mick Matheson




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.