This week marks 25 years since the Port Arthur massacre.
It was one of the darkest days in the country's history.
Thirty-five people lost their lives, 23 more were injured, and countless more impacted by the horrific events that unfolded at the historic Tasmanian site on April 28 in 1996.
The shootings not only devastated the tight-knit community on the Tasman Peninsula, but the rest of nation, and the entire world.
It was the first mass shooting of its kind in Australia, and at the time, was the world's worst killing spree by a lone, civilian gunman. And despite 25 years passing, the pain lingers for many.
Sadly, reporting of the incident can often be overshadowed by conspiracy theories, claiming it was setup by the government to push through strict firearms legislation.
Others publicly criticise the first responders for not killing the offender during the siege at the site.
But those are not the stories that deserve air time.
The stories that need to be told are the stories of those affected. The police, the paramedics, the civilians - every single person impacted both directly and indirectly by the actions of an evil killer.
Having only moved to Tasmania from Queensland in 2013, I had only heard about the Port Arthur massacre through news reports.
When I was tasked with covering the anniversary, I had to find a balance between reporting the facts, and respecting the survivors who were still suffering from the experience.
Because for Tasmanians, the subjects remains incredibly sensitive.
Many I spoke to refused to even be interviewed if the shooter's name was spoken, and we agreed the story was not about him. That is why in this week's episode of Voice of Real Australia he will not be mentioned by name.
The focus must remain on honouring the victims, supporting the survivors, and continuing to learn from the tragedy.
What happened was unimaginable, but some positive action was taken following the events.
All the states and territories joined together and placed strict controls on automatic, and semi-automatic weapons, creating the National Firearms Agreement.
Those laws have become the envy of the world. They made our country safer.
And while countries such as the United States continue to be devastated by mass shootings almost daily, there has not been another incident like Port Arthur in Australia.
So by continuing to talk about Port Arthur, and allowing the voices of survivors to be heard, we are not only keeping alive the memory of those who were killed, but educating younger generations on why the country's gun laws are so important.
It also lets those still suffering know they are not alone. That we all, as a country, continue to mourn what we lost that day.
Listen to the full story on our podcast. Search Voice of Real Australia on Apple Podcasts or your preferred app.
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