Everyone has a right NOT to get killed by a random person with a gun. The right to live on this earth without fear of sudden death from going about everyday activities must rise above all else.
Where are you safe from a mass shooting? Not in schools, hospitals, churches, synagogues, malls, supermarkets, clubs, concerts, parks, office buildings or street corners.
There is no logic to not allowing people to live.
There is no logic to allow people to get gunned down at any give moment.
And it’s up to us to figure out how to fix this.
Here are 12 ideas about guns, violence, gun control, and mass shootings—all of which connect to longer articles. They are from a diversity of viewpoints. Ultimately, they are about hope. We must start, we must start somewhere. Start somewhere, start anywhere. It is up to us.
1) Ever wonder how mass shooters get made? Here’s how.
“Keep Him Angry. In addition to having your would-be killer have a sense of entitlement, you’ll also need to teach him that anger is the only acceptable emotion. When he gets hurt, ask “what are you going to do about it?” instead of acknowledging that pain and sadness. Teach him to “tough it out” and “play through the pain.” Pain feeds anger and anger feeds action. Sadness doesn’t feed either anger or action.
Point out the people who look like they are “gaming the system” and moving ahead faster than others. Call them cheaters and repeatedly point to their group as rigging the system. It really doesn’t matter what group you pick – Blacks, Jews, Women, Muslims, Illegal Immigrants, whatever. The important thing is that he resents one or more of these groups. Resentment feeds anger.
Teach him that revenge is a good way to deal with anger, that vengeful acts have no scale, and that all hurts and pain are equivalent. This way, he’ll believe that overwhelming force is an acceptable response to any hurt he experiences. If his own list of accomplishments is short or non-existent, he may even come to believe that his own pain and his own life can be sacrificed in the name of revenge.
Once you teach him all that—then you can trigger him. — Read more on “How to Make a Mass Shooter” by Andrew Smiler
2) An insight from a parent: “My rules about guns will not keep my kids safe.”
“What do you do if you see a gun?” I asked my children.
“Run and tell an adult!” they chanted back.
“And you NEVER touch it!” my 5-year-old added.
“Yes,” I said. “Guns are serious business and need to be treated as such.”
But this is not enough. This image sums up America’s relationship with gun violence.
3) Want to know how those pro-gun internet trolls work? They try to get you to stop caring. #Trolling101
“Internet trolls, as it turns out, have their own particular type of reasoning. I wrote a post about gun violence that made the argument that gun violence stats for the US in 2018 will make ‘any reasonable person nauseous’. In return, a commenter came back with this counter-argument: “To lower the death by gun rate in America, liberals need to stop being idiots.”
But what I realized was that every troll these days has the same argument. It’s the only argument left when you are talking about the senseless deaths of innocent people.
This is the only counter-argument to hearing the sound of gunfire, the screams of people as they lay dying or injured.
“Stop caring that people were hurt.”
It’s the only argument left when school children are gunned down mercilessly.
“Stop caring that children are killed.”
What other logical argument is there, really?
And look! You can also apply that same logic to all sorts of issues.”
— Read more on “‘Stop Caring Whether People Live or Die. Stop Caring if People Get Hurt’ Said Every Internet Troll Everywhere” by Lisa Hickey
4) An impassioned plea to the youth of our generation: “This Is Your War to Win“.
“Dear Teenage America…
In a few years you will have the vote. You will no longer be teenagers and will have the same voting rights as every adult in America. You can use those votes in blocks to eliminate every cynical politician who has sold us out. Between now and then, it’s all about exposing them and pressuring them to do what is right or step down.
Organize, gather, and demand what is right, once and for all. Yes, it will take decades to clear the land of guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. The sooner we begin, the fewer the decades.
Thoughts and prayers in absence of action aren’t even background noise.
Assault weapons have got to go.
Background checks must be mandated.
Mental health requires more than lip service.
You can make this pointless bloodshed end.
We are counting on you.
Humbly in your debt,
The grown-ups who so terribly let you down”
— From “Your War to End” by Ken Goldstein
“Movies had taught me that a gun was a magic wand that created loud noises, and would get me my way by shattering inanimate objects around anyone who confronted me. That its mere presence would end arguments. And on any given evening, it would protect me from everything I was afraid of, which was everything. The violation of that evening replayed itself each time I crossed paths with another man. We would meet eyes, puff up like two male lizards. The weaker would acquiesce, look away. I strutted with false bravado, knowing the Ruger in my closet was there to fall back on. I told myself that knowing it was there kept me from acting upon my fear and anger.
Until it didn’t.”
— Thomas Pluck, in The Little Gold Colt: There Are No Accidental Shootings
6) Yes, there is a connection between violence, white supremacy and video games.
White supremacist neo-Nazi bigots are engaging in online video “games” in which the aim is shoot and murder Jews, LGBTQ people, and black people. The video slaughters, attributed to “Wheel Maker Studios,” are openly promoted and downloadable from Christopher Cantwell and his far-right website. Cantwell is now well-known as the so-called “Crying Nazi.” Reporters recorded him weeping in jail to gain sympathy following his arrest as one of the organizers of the infamous Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where marchers carried Tiki Torches and changed Nazi slogans like “Jews will not replace us.” A marcher killed a counter-protested with his car.
In the original video game, Angry Goy, according to the British newspaper, The Jewish Chronicle, the game’s opening announcement reads:
There is only one solution…a Final Solution.
— Read more about the intersectionality of social issues and gun violence in Warren Blumenfeld’s article: “Violence, White Supremacy & Video Games“.
7) A fourteen year old student writes about her fear of school shootings. And breaks her father’s heart.
“My leg shakes under my desk just trying to get through each class
Half the time too scared to go to the bathroom
Because if there is a lockdown
I would be stuck in the stall
There is no escape from the NRA
Except to get rid of them both
But those are only things we can wish for
Things that only exist in our dreams”
— From Jim Mitchem’s daughter in “Things That Exist Only In Our Dreams“.
“I’m tired of writing about gun violence. I’m tired of discussing active shooter training with my twelve-year-old son. I’m tired of having to spend time in my own classroom planning escape routes, a protocol for how to keep my students safe. I’m tired of this becoming—of being—a part of our life.” — by John Williams
8) Sorry to break this to you. There is no ‘good guy with a gun’. Because we can’t really tell a good guy from a bad guy until they fire their gun.
“‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun,’ we are told repeatedly, ‘is a good guy with a gun.’
On Thursday, March 1, 2018, a high school teacher in Georgia named Randal Davidson showed up for work. He was by all accounts a good guy: The principal characterized him as a “very good teacher” who was “well thought of.” He had been there over a decade; he had written a book about the school. Then he locked himself in his room and fired a gun (which he was illegal in possessing). One student tweeted, “My favorite teacher at Dalton high school just blockaded his door and proceeded to shoot.”
It wasn’t long before the media caught itself and realized Davidson had to be painted as a lunatic. Time reported that he “has a history of bizarre behavior,” and pulled out a wild-eyed mugshot to go with the story. And as easily as that, he became a bad guy with a gun.”
— Read more: It’s Time to Retire the “Good Guy” Narrative by Paul Hartzer
9) Even avid gun owners are trying to find solutions for gun control.
“I am a life-long shooting enthusiast. I can do the two-pistol thing better than almost anyone I know. I enjoy skeet shooting. I grew up hunting. Haven’t killed an animal in a long time now, though. There’s plenty of food at the grocery store and I object to killing other living creatures for no good reason, but I could totally stalk and butcher other mammals if that was the only way I had of feeding my family.
As far as handling the guns proficiently goes, I’ve got that. I’m pretty attached to my scattergun which was manufactured in the 1930’s and gifted to me by one of my grandfathers. I treat that gun with all the reverence that is due an ancestral weapon. I have rifles, shotguns, and handguns in my house which I have no plans to give up anytime soon.
But this is not about my guns.
Schoolchildren are dying needlessly in mass shootings at such an alarming rate in this country that I’d homeschool the boy just to keep from sending him to the schoolhouse every day, if I could afford to do that. And I am not a fan of homeschooling. I believe in public education. I don’t mind paying my share of the taxes to support it. But I would keep him home if that were an option.
We must do something about this gun problem.”
— From Gene’O Gordon in “5 Ways to Think About America’s Gun Problem: From an Avid Gun Owner“.
10) So you think you have a God given right to own guns. How about cobras?
“Me, I got probably 50 cobras around my place. I keep some in every room and always have two in my nightstand. People say “why you need so many cobras” and I say “why don’t you need more cobras?” That’s what I tell them. And besides, what’s the right number of cobras—three? Twenty? Who’s to say, that’s what I say.
“But isn’t it illegal to have cobras,” some ask me. You show me in the constitution where it says a man can’t keep a venom spitting snake for home protection. I know my rights.
My sister, she’s always trying to make a big deal out of it. “What if they get loose,” she says. Look, I’m not a fool. I keep my cobras locked up safe, ain’t none going to get out except for that one time those three got out on the porch while the mailman was handing me that package. Some people don’t have any common sense. Don’t you know better than to knock on a stranger’s door just to give him a box? He might have a house full of cobras.”
— From “Fighting for My God-Given Right to Own Cobras” by James Stafford
11) When we look at mass shootings, there are patterns with men and identity.
“What I see is this. In the majority of cases, the catalyst for the shooting was something that threatened the man’s identity as a man. The main statistic is inarguable—98 males to one lone female are the perpetrators in mass shootings. Being a man is the single most common characteristic of every mass shooting in the last 32 years. I’d prefer to think that men are not inherently more violent—most men do not become violent in their lifetimes, for any reason. And while biology, strength and testosterone can’t be completely discounted, I’d rather look at whether the pressures to conform to a certain type of masculinity are so strong that not being able to do so can cause a person to break under the pressure.
The idea of men going on shooting rampages because of threats to their identity as men makes sense to me. One way to think about that idea is to look at the cases where women DO kill multiple people. In the ones that make the news, most often the victims are the woman’s own children. They are not counted as mass killings because the body count usually isn’t high enough. But just like the breakdown in identity that I see happening with men, when the thing that defines a woman’s identity as a woman breaks down (being a good mother), she—in those most extreme of cases—feels the need to kill the part of her that is causing the most pain.
And there is no doubt these killers, men and women both, are in pain. In fact, that’s why I believe the place where these shootings happen is worth looking at—they happen in schools, they happen in the workplace, in churches, at parties—the very places where the person doing killing has been in the most pain. Sometimes the killer sets out to kill specific people, but other times it is simply a desire to kill whoever is in that particular place. When you are socially isolated you go to kill in the places where people are most social.”
— Read more about “The Patterns in Mass Shootings and a Conversation About Men” by Lisa Hickey
12) First person stories from people who grew up around guns are powerful. For example, this: “I Grew Up With Guns, Then I Was Held Hostage by One.”
“I have a Winchester over-and-under that was a gift from my grandfather.
And I love that gun.
It’s a 12 gauge, which should make it heavier with bigger recoil than a 20 gauge, but somehow, magically, it isn’t—it’s lighter, with less recoil than most modern 20 gauge shotguns I’ve handled. Or maybe it’s just that this has always been my gun, and I’m most used to it.”
— Read more of Haley Elkins story.
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