One area of policy about which both conservatives and liberals often agree is gun control. Liberals (lefties in Oz) are all for it all the time, even more so when a horrific mass shooting occurs. And, particularly in the wake of these terrible events, many conservatives also demand sweeping legislative changes.
The best known local example was John Howard's reaction to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Now, after this Sandy Hook massacre, conservatives such as Miranda Devine are sounding very leftish.
I certainly sympathize. When you learn of the mass murder of children it's hard to stand up for the rights of gun owners. That's because your emotions are engaged. "God, this is too horrible," you think. "Politicians have to do something, anything, to at least try to stop such a thing ever happening again."
But if you look at the situation rationally it's hard not to conclude that lives could have been saved if there had been another armed citizen there at the scene. Hell, most people right across the political spectrum -- except for maybe some uber-leftie mega-saps -- would have been all for a security guard, cop, or army sniper taking out Adam Lanza immediately after he started firing (or even before he managed to kill anyone at all). He'd be feted as a hero if he did so. So why are they so appalled at the thought of a civilian doing exactly the same thing?
I think there are two kinds of irrationality at work here. There's the general belief that guns are evil in and of themselves which is what lefties in particular are most prone to. Then there's this idea that guns are okay, but only in the officially approved hands of cops, soldiers and the like. Conservatives, being respectful of institutional authority, often succumb to this fallacy.
But we know for a fact that many millions of people do own guns in western countries. The vast majority of them never use them for evil purposes. And surely killing a mass murderer early on in his shooting spree would not only not be an evil purpose, but an extremely good and admirable one -- regardless of whether the person firing the gun is wearing a uniform or not.