Category Archives: Guns, violence, crime

This is Disarm Hate week

from Shira Goodman, director, CeaseFirePA, 6/14/17

This is Disarm Hate week, a week that began with the one year anniversary of the horrific Pulse shooting and that ends with the two year anniversary of the tragic shooting at the AME Church in Charleston. Two mass shootings memorialized in the same week should be enough, but today we learned of another shooting, this time in Virginia, targeting U.S. Representatives and their staff. Once again, we are reminded that no one is immune from gun violence — this problem touches all of us, no matter who we are or where we live.

We deserve to be safe where we live, work, pray, learn, and play. We deserve to be free from fear and worry when we are out living our lives. That we are not, in America in 2017, should be our great shame.

We know the problem — easy access to guns by those who should not have them, easy access to powerful weapons by those intent on doing harm. We know how to solve the problem. Disarming hate is what will make us safer.

What we lack is leaders with the will and courage to take action. Let’s change that.

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Rep. Steve Scalise on guns

Hmm, “bill to restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia”…?

If Mr. Scalise and company really believe guns make them safer, why don’t they allow guns into the Capitol building?

from Rep. Scalise’s web site

“A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Scalise has sponsored and cosponsored legislation protecting citizens’ right to keep and bear arms. In the 112th Congress, Scalise introduced H.R. 58, the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which improves law-abiding citizens’ ability to purchase firearms. The bills Scalise has recently cosponsored include H.R.645, a bill to restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia and the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, H.R.822, which would ensure national reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders. Congressman Scalise’s pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. A member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force, Congressman Steve Scalise will continue fighting to protect every citizen’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

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The Post-Dallas Kumbaya Window Begins to Close

By John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 7/14/16

The Ultimate Attribution Error Fuels War

Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya

– From the Gullah song meaning, Lord, come by here and help us

There was a true kumbaya moment after the Dallas cop massacre similar to the moment after 9/11 when sympathy was expressed for America from many unexpected quarters around the world. That window began to close when US leaders took a hard line and vengefully attacked an un-implicated nation to counter the very sense of vulnerability that moved people of the world to sympathize with us. Similarly, the sympathy for attacked cops in Dallas may be evaporating thanks to a familiar sociological dynamic involving in-group, out-group identification.

Sociologists and psychologists call this “the ultimate attribution error.” As explained in an interesting New York Times article by Amanda Taub, it’s when people “attribute another group’s positive actions to random chance or circumstance but assume that [the other group’s] negative actions reflect the group’s core nature.” That is, in times of stress, people “circle the wagons” around their own kind based on a belief that their motives are human and honorable; those of the projected enemy are the essence of pure evil. “Once you dehumanize them, it’s easier to justify violence,” says Professor John Dovidio of the Inter-Group Relations Lab at Yale.

This can be seen on both sides of the Black Lives Matter versus Blue Lives Matter conflict. For me, it involves anger, laziness and a failure of courage to see or listen to or talk with a perceived enemy. Better to huddle up with your own pack and project your fears on the other guy….

continue reading at This Can’t Be Happening

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Filed under Guns, violence, crime, John Grant, Race, Ethnicity, Immigration

Gun deaths and public life

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 4/23/16

In the midst of election turmoil and craziness, it can be discouraging to pay close attention to what goes on in public life. There is so much self-interest, hypocrisy, and meanness. But then, we need to remember that real issues underlie elections and we can take our lead from those candidates and activists who promote a genuine vision of the public interest.

Among the most noteworthy of these, to me, are individuals fighting to prevent gun violence in this country. After years of carnage, our senses are dulled by so much shooting. Where was that shooting? How many dead in that one? What kind of gun? A relative accidentally shot a 4-year-old girl in Philadelphia and someone killed 8 sleeping members of a family in Ohio (Daily Local, April 16 and 23). In a few days, we won’t even remember.

But we all surely remember in 2012 when a deranged 20-year-old killed 20 elementary school students and 6 school staff, after killing his mother (who had enabled his gun habit) and before killing himself. The even worse news is that that one morning of terror accounted for only about one-third of this country’s average of 90 gun deaths a day. (More than half of those are suicides carried out by people who should have treatment, not access to guns.)

Many people in the Sandy Hook community, including parents who had lost children in the massacre, banded together to try to save others from having the same tragic experience….

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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