To be precise, there were more than 5 school shootings in 2012, but only 5 of them resulted in deaths.
The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.
Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, a public health specialist at Harvard who has written an excellent book on gun violence. […]
So what can we do? A starting point would be to limit gun purchases to one a month, to curb gun traffickers. Likewise, we should restrict the sale of high-capacity magazines so that a shooter can’t kill as many people without reloading.
We should impose a universal background check for gun buyers, even with private sales. Let’s make serial numbers more difficult to erase, and back California in its effort to require that new handguns imprint a microstamp on each shell so that it can be traced back to a particular gun.
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” President Obama noted in a tearful statement on television. He’s right, but the solution isn’t just to mourn the victims — it’s to change our policies. Let’s see leadership on this issue, not just moving speeches.
Other countries offer a road map. In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The “national firearms agreement,” as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.
The law did not end gun ownership in Australia. It reduced the number of firearms in private hands by one-fifth, and they were the kinds most likely to be used in mass shootings.
In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.
Or we can look north to Canada. It now requires a 28-day waiting period to buy a handgun, and it imposes a clever safeguard: gun buyers should have the support of two people vouching for them."
— Some ideas from N.D. Kristof
I cannot bear to hear one more time that “guns do not kill people—people do”. Or that talk of gun control is a slippery slope threatening a host of American freedoms. Or that millions of responsible gun owners must not be judged by a few lone miscreants who, it is claimed, would find a way to exact their revenge with or without firearms.
Nor can I stand to hear, in the aftermath of these now monthly massacres, about “thoughts and prayers” going out to the grieving, or of candlelight vigils or roadside shrines, or of communities coming together to begin the healing process. Increasingly, Christian sympathy crosses over into impotence; communal feeling into denial. Tears and cries to God envelop the heart of the matter in a faux-soulful gauze, masking the weakness and numb ritualization of the actual collective response.
The subject, in fact, is not cosmic unknowables, the mysteries of Man’s inconsolable suffering. It is the facility with which teeming thousands of sociopaths are empowered to spray the hated American world with bullets.
My fellow conservatives have lied, made excuses, and enabled one murder spree after another for decades, and I am through listening to it.
Enough crying. More action."
— Fred Regan
Ok, so this is going to be a little difficult to put into words, especially since Tumblr can be about as bigoted toward creationists as conservative Christianity is toward gays. (Don’t assume conservative Christianity and creationists are equivalent.) Earlier this week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R) answered a question in an interview for GQ:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
RUBIO: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
Since then his comments have sparked a bit of a crapstorm in the political echo chamber, and I’ve become annoyed.
Yes, we want officials who do not operate with complete disregard for scientific evidence. Knowing their relationship to the scientific community is important when sizing up the sorts of choices they might make once elected. (No more Todd Akin junk, thank you very much.) This consideration for science is especially important when it comes to climate change. Creationism, however, is more nuanced. And the question asked by GQ about the age of the Earth really is a subtle way of asking about the origin of the Earth.
My biggest gripe with the Rubio story is that the talking heads are trying to make scientific sense of an inherently evasive answer. Rubio’s response is not the best form of the argument by a long shot. In fact, it’s very purposefully not an argument at all. His words are calculated to keep from alienating a religiously conservative base, not to answer a question about the age of the Earth. A certain degree of responsibility needs to be placed upon the reporter, too, because it’s foolish from the outset to assume that a politician with a couple of law degrees is in any kind of position to be answering questions pertaining to archaeology and astrophysics.
Still, the only part of Rubio’s answer that is actually reproachable is when he says that the age of the universe is “a dispute among theologians.” I disagree with that. I believe that the realm of theology is too saturated with metaphor to adequately address the issue.
As for the rest of his answer, Rubio is pretty responsible: “I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.”
Also, if this country is going to continue to have the religious freedom that it has had for its entire existence thus far (and please note that I am not very religious), it’s important that creationists (whether you agree with them or not) have free voice. I don’t think one particular religion belongs in the classroom. But considering the fact that a large percentage of the US population do believe in some version of God, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to make mention of one of their shared beliefs in the educational system.
Since Marco Rubio avoided the question, I’m hoping to give you a better form of the argument - one that will hopefully explain why being a creationist is not so fundamentally idiotic.
[…] Obama’s weeping episodes happened first when he was reflecting on his remarkable rise from junior Illinois senator to president of the United States, and then when he was celebrating winning his second term. His tears, then, seemed to be a positive display of humanity and humility in the face of success, rather then an admission of weakness.
The idea that male crying is acceptable in a time of strength but repellent in a moment of weakness holds for men besides Obama and in realms other than the political.
Best political Pokémon reference ever.
No matter who wins the presidential race, no matter which party controls Congress, can we at least agree as reasonable adults that when it comes to voting itself the election of 2012 is a national disgrace? We ask our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, to give their lives abroad for noble concepts like “freedom” and “democracy.” And yet we are content as a nation, and as a people, to tolerate another cycle of election rules that require our fellow citizens to sacrifice a measure of basic human dignity simply to exercise their right to vote. […]
This is happening not because of a natural disaster or breakdown in machinery. It is happening by partisan design. Alarmed by the strong Democratic turnout in early voting in 2008, Republican lawmakers, including Governor Rick Scott, reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight. When the restrictions were challenged in federal court under the Voting Rights Act, a three-judge panel said they would have a discriminatory impact upon minority voters. But only five of the state’s 67 counties are covered by the federal civil rights law.
Read more. [Image: Michael Finnegan/Twitter]
EFFING GOP IS PISSING ME OFF TODAY. WAIT, THAT’S EVERY DAY.
In addition to the partisan divide that exists in this country, there also has developed an unfortunate divide at other levels. The election results will further highlight this problem.
The race divide is well documented and has increased. Blacks and Latinos will give near-universal support to President Obama, while a majority of white voters will go for Mitt Romney. Younger voters overwhelmingly support Obama; older voters back Romney. There will be a consistent divide between the sexes, with a majority of women supporting Obama and a majority of men siding with Romney. The income divide continues to grow, as lower-income voters support the president and wealthier ones endorse Romney.
There also is a spiritual divide in this country. Folks who have a strict interpretation of religion and faith will go for Romney, and voters who don’t attend church regularly or have a more progressive view of spirituality will choose Obama. Further, there is a marriage divide, especially among women, in which single women will vote for the president and many married women will vote for Romney. And then there’s the geographic and community divide. The large urban centers will vote overwhelmingly for Obama, and small towns and rural communities will be just as enthusiastic for Romney. Most of the voters on the East and West coasts will vote for Obama, while the middle of the country by and large will go for Romney.
We are becoming more a nation of tribes in which we align ourselves with a certain side and are unwilling to unite for the benefit of the country as a whole. As many sociologists and historians have pointed out, democracy can’t survive or function in tribal cultures. We are on a fast road to a broken democracy with an inability to reach consensus on the big issues.
There are many things to blame for this: A media culture that seems to reward and encourage bitter and rancorous communication, a political culture that puts party over country, an unwillingness for all sides to sacrifice for everyone’s benefit and a winner-take-all attitude at every level in which compromise and agreement are seen as signs of weakness as opposed to strength."
Are you fucking serious? “Illegal immigrant” is not a slur if they’re FUCKING ILLEGAL. There are far worse ACTUAL slurs used against Mexicans.
(1) I am “fucking serious.”
(2) Not all undocumented immigrants in America are Mexican
(3) Being in a country without proper identification is a civil offense, not a criminal one so the misnomer of ‘illegal immigrant’ is legally and technically inaccurate.
(4) To borrow from Jose Antonio Vargas: “The term dehumanizes and marginalizes the people it seeks to describe. Think of it this way, in what other context do we call someone illegal?”
(5) “Illegal immigrant” is a term used primarily in a partisan and racially charged way in news reporting and/or opinion pieces to stir controversy. In almost no circumstances is it a neutral, descriptive term.
(6) To quote Fox News Latino, “The term ‘Illegal immigrant’ originated in 1939 as a slur by the British to describe Jews entering Palestine without authorization after fleeing Nazi Germany.”
(7) “But the word illegal refers to the action of breaking immigration law, not the person!” No. If that was the case, then why do we call people driving without insurance “uninsured drivers?” They aren’t illegal drivers, are they? If you are driving without a license you aren’t an illegal driver, you are an “unlicensed driver.” Illegal in illegal immigrant doesn’t mean undocumented, it means “you are not American, you do not belong here, you do not deserve to be here, get out.” As Charles Garcia points out, you are not illegal when you commit other crimes, including murder or paying your taxes. That descriptor is reserved for racially and ethnically charged hatred and political gain.
(8) If the world is merely descriptive, then why has Fox News Latino responded to the opinion of their audience to stop using it? Why has the US Supreme Court toned down its language regarding undocumented immigrants?
(9) Read this.
(10) “You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?” - Elie Wiesel
CHECKMATE. POINT, SET, AND MATCH. FINITO.
Dear Ann Coulter of the Day:After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a retard in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:
Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.
I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.
After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet, John Franklin Stephens Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia
Hey, Anne Coulter, here is some commercially available burn cream.
When you say destroyed, do you mean it in it’s English definition of “said something completely untrue and was called out and embarrassed by the debate moderator to the cheers of the crowd” or its other definition of “we don’t care about journalism?”