On April 28, 1996, twenty-eight-year-old Martin Bryant entered the Broad Arrow cafeteria in Port Arthur, in the Australian state of Tasmania. After eating lunch, he remarked to a patron, "There are a lot of WASPS, not a lot of Japs." He then picked up his bag and walked toward the entrance, where he took out a military-style semi-automatic rifle. Within 15 seconds, he had slaughtered 12 people and injured several more.
Some tried to escape; he gunned them down systematically, laughing as he fired. He chased one man onto a waiting bus and killed him, then shot the bus driver. Others tried to hide beneath the bus, but he climbed underneath it and killed them, too. A young mother with a six- and a three-year-old daughter begged, "Please don't hurt my babies." He shot her and the three-year-old, then pursued the six-year-old behind a tree, where he put the rifle to the girl's neck, and fired.
After executing others in the parking lot, he drove some miles to a bed-and-breakfast, the Seascape Cottage, whose elderly owners he had known for most of his life, and whom he had murdered on his way to Port Arthur. Armed with an extensive arsenal, moving from room to room and firing at police, he kept dozens of members of the elite Special Operations Groups of Tasmania and neighboring Victoria at bay throughout the night. Finally, at 8:45 the next morning, after setting the building afire, Bryant emerged with his clothes alight, screaming, into the arms of waiting police. The final toll, including a hostage Bryant had taken with him to Seascape from Port Arthur, was 35 dead and 20 wounded-the greatest mass murder in Australia's history.
Within days, the Liberal-National coalition government of Prime Minister John Howard called for the adoption of draconian gun control laws, which proposal was protested with huge demonstrations in Melbourne and other Australian cities... (more...)
Mass murder in Australia: Tavistock's Martin Bryant
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