Recent headlines are clear: our world is a fearful place, spattered with blood, angry men and loose guns. But not everywhere.
One sprawling region has largely avoided, and at times even reversed, the steady proliferation of illegal firearms and death by gunshot. Twelve out of 16 Pacific Islands Forum nations are patrolled by routinely unarmed police. Ten have no military. With little or no opposition, island communities of the south-west Pacific have both resolved in law and been actively encouraged to remain unarmed.
This is no mere accident. When the nine-year war of secession in Bougainville ended in 1997, as many as 12,000 to 15,000 people had died. Since then, Pacific governments have done their best to disarm the neighbourhood.