Teen Survivors Lead Gun Control Activism
February 27, 2018 4:59 AM   Subscribe

The teen survivors of the high school shooting in Florida are doing something amazing. They may finally be the ones to change the debate around gun control. Due to their media savvy, they have kept the issue in the news cycle for longer than any other shooting. There's going to be a march on March 24, 2018 in several cities. Maybe this shooting is the one that turns the tide. posted by honey badger (153 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 
I hope this is true, but I'm not super optimistic,
posted by Dumsnill at 5:17 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


These young people are amazing. At a time of grief and shock they are standing up and demanding change. With simple logic, personal stories, and a powerful Twitter game they have already shamed a US Senator, faced down the far-right media and challenged the most powerful lobby in America.

The NRA is on the back foot with major corporates dissociating themselves. The Idiot-in-Chief has been humiliated again, playing golf while they grieved. That will stick.

There are elections in November. Many of these children won't be children by then. The're going to vote. And they're going to speak, and they're going to hold candidates accountable. No more shootings. No more weapons of war in our community.

This time, there will be change.

The kids are alright. Are we?
posted by Combat Wombat at 5:49 AM on February 27 [39 favorites]


Oh, please. Oh, please.

And if we don’t listen to them, God help us I hope they run in the next elections. Let them take over and fix things from the inside.
posted by greermahoney at 5:50 AM on February 27 [10 favorites]


That Atlantic article is really good, thank you for sharing. I really appreciated the critical analysis of the Parkland demographics and contrast to the Black Lives Matter movement. I really wish BLM wasn't overlooked. They are both such important causes in different ways but also overlapping in pointing out deep and disturbing flaws in the country's psychology and policies.

I don't follow political accounts on Instagram but I've followed Everytown because they seem to be taking action seriously. They outline in very specific detail what people should do and I'm really happy to see such an organised and concentrated effort around the "Throw Them Out" campaign. I admit, I initially followed them because there was a lot of noise about getting them more followers than the NRA account (which they have handily achieved). As an aside, the NRA account is so grim and gross, yuck. I mean a Valentine's day post with Love spelled out with guns and crosshairs? WTF?
posted by like_neon at 5:55 AM on February 27 [12 favorites]


People are reasonably asking why this momentum didn't come after the murders of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.

Well, that's how racism works. When it's so deeply embedded in your polity that you can slaughter kids on their way home from the corner store because they're black, then your polity is broken.

Why not after Sandy Hook, where we decided we were basically OK with the occasional slaughter of six-year-olds?

Why is this different?

Because these kids have a voice that cuts through our prejudices. They are articulate, intelligent, irreverent of authority, and they have an unarguable position. "Your laws killed my friends and hurt me. Now it's time for our laws."

Yes, this should have happened earlier. Yes, the black and indigineous and low-privilege kids who died should each have been a trigger enough. Yes, we should have managed guns and young, angry, evil men earlier.

But now we have a chance to make things better, and we must strike hard together.

It's time to make policy, to form strategies, and to get stuff done. Let's waste no time on arguing why it hasn't happened earlier. Admit that was because of racism, colonialism, classism.

Now we have a chance to make our world a better place, and that's because of the inspiring courage of the students of Margery Stoneman Douglas High School.
posted by Combat Wombat at 6:19 AM on February 27 [79 favorites]


I like the way Trevor Noah put it.
posted by Miss Cellania at 6:23 AM on February 27 [26 favorites]


These kids are also getting harrassed on Twitter and Facebook, to the point that they're getting death threats.

This may indeed be a turning-point battle, but the 2nd-Amendment zealots are going to make damn sure that it is indeed a battle.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:23 AM on February 27 [38 favorites]


I am completely jaded on the issue of gun violence. I keep hearing this narrative where the newscasters ask, "Why are things different this time?" and I think, "They're not. You guys asked that same question after the West Nickel Mines School shooting and after Sandy Hook, but nothing changed." I remember people saying, "If someone can shoot up a school full of the Amish, and we do nothing, we never will." Then they said, "If someone can shoot up a school full of children, and we do nothing, we never will." Then they said this about churches and Senators. There are so many school shootings that you can literally name many of them, and the average person won't remember which one you are talking about. So what's different? I'm going to say nothing. Marathons, concerts, churches, movies, schools, sporting events, walking down the street, nothing is really safe anymore. We can't even trust the police to not kill us.

It seems to me that this story has supplanted the #metoo movement, the North Korea escalation, Trump's dick (both literally and metaphorically), and to some degree the Russian probe in the news cycles. I am guessing it'll stay front and center until the media finds their next story to obsessively cover, and then we as a nation will move on, until the next horrific mass-killing. We don't learn.

I'm highly pessimistic that these kids will be able to affect any real change. They are part of a demographic that either can't vote or doesn't. They have little money, so they have little influence. So they created a new movement. Yay! I guess. But what about all the movements that came into existence prior (and that are still extant)? So march on Washington, hold your rallies, keep yourself in the spotlight for as long as you can, but the politicians know the public's attention span is short, and our outrage fickle. I give them another week.

I'd love for my cynicism to be proven incorrect.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:32 AM on February 27 [20 favorites]


I would love for it to be proven untrue as well, but I fear you are right.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:36 AM on February 27


Admit that was because of racism, colonialism, classism.

In the case of the mass shooting at my high school, whose 20th anniversary is this May, it was brushed aside by the media as an "exception" because it was attributed to mental illness. Several of us (myself included) spoke out. To silence. "It's an exception, he was schizophrenic." I'm not saying it to argue, I'm adding yet another reason to the list: media manipulation. Twenty years ago the media narrative behind school shooters was "bullied kids." A child who'd been treated for schizophrenia didn't fit the narrative: thus dead children killed by guns in the hand of a child, who also killed his own parents, both language teachers, were essentially ignored. Likely classism as well since it's mainly working-class kids in Springfield. You're hard pressed to find anything about Thurston when the history of school shootings comes up, and yet it was before Columbine.

It's nice to see these young adults already figured it out: there's no reason to believe someone else has things right. We get to demand the laws we want too.

I've been speaking with DeFazio about gun control for 20 years now. (Mrs. Kinkel was my French teacher – she also taught that in addition to Spanish. Other Wikipedia editors kept reverting my edits on that. *shrug*)

Call and write your representatives and senators if you want to help the momentum. I never imagined I would spend twenty years re-living the trauma. I don't want anyone else to.
posted by fraula at 6:37 AM on February 27 [35 favorites]


I really wish BLM wasn't overlooked

I completely agree. I would note, though, that the parkland kids seem aware of this problem and are using their newfound platform to bring attention to it, too. I followed Emma Gonzalez (and many of her classmates) on twitter and she's frequently retweeting about BLM, including articles about how it's getting overlooked, etc.

It's worth following them. In addition to all the good stuff from Gonzalez I'm enjoying many sick burns from Sarah Chadwick.

Also FYI there's already been a long discussion in the 'when see something say something fails' for those who missed it but are interested.
posted by robotdevil at 6:37 AM on February 27 [32 favorites]


The NRA's position, which echoes the position of the gun makers who fund them, is the logical extension of late-stage capitalist thinking. Gun sales are down so much that Remington is filing for bankruptcy. The entire premise of arming school teachers is predicated on the fact that it will sell more guns, and improve the bottom line for gun makers, along with their stock price.

The NRA is not a lobbyist organization for gun owners. It is a lobbyist organization for gun makers. Everything the NRA does makes infinitely more sense when viewed this way.

And it makes it all the more essential that we take those gun-stroking ratfuckers down, ASAP.
posted by SansPoint at 6:37 AM on February 27 [49 favorites]




I'd love for my cynicism to be proven incorrect.

Unfortunately, I think you are right. As noted in the last link, politicians at the highest levels of state government here in Georgia where Delta is based are pushing back against them no longer giving NRA members discounted tickets by backing out of proposed tax cuts on fuel worth tens of millions of dollars. And this wasn't about Delta taking an anti-NRA stance, just no longer being pro-NRA. So I can imagine there are a lot of politicians out there who will quickly mobilize against any meaningful reform.

And even most of the reforms that have been suggested aren't really that helpful, ranging from ridiculous to merely ineffective. Arming more people in schools? Ask Philando Castile how that worked out. Raising the age to purchase (some) firearms to 21? Not unreasonable, but not particularly meaningful unless it is done nationwide, and useless in terms of shooters who are over 21 or have access to guns at home. Until guns are regulated in a way similar to cars on a national basis we won't significantly reduce gun deaths in this country (school shootings are only a very small fraction of gun deaths, even though they get a lot of publicity), and I don't see any proposals remotely close to what is needed.
posted by TedW at 6:55 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


I understand the roots of the cynicism and learned helplessness around gun stuff, but I wish folks would try to resist it more. This. Is. Not. Over. If people check out and stay silent and get distracted and let the NRA normalize their positions, though, that'll end this movement faster than anything.

Use the teens as role models for action. Don't pretend you know better than them; as public figures, they've learned more in a week about the roadblocks facing anti-gun advocates than most of us will learn in a lifetime, and they're still fighting.
posted by mosst at 6:56 AM on February 27 [66 favorites]


[Just as a quick note, since we have a couple of other threads on the topic, it would be better to keep this discussion centered on the students, the activism, protests and organizing, and resulting action and response rather than more general NRA talk, etc. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:57 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Gun control has failed before, but it has also succeeded before. There has been meaningful gun control measures passed, and those measures have stood up to Constitutional tests. There was a Federal Assault Weapons Ban. It passed, and doesn't exist anymore because there was a sunset provision and the cowards in office allowed it to expire.

There are a few things now that are different. First, this is being led by young people who can articulate the experience of mass shooting from the inside, which has not happened before like this. Second, the gun fanatics have run through a series of bullshit alternatives that, due to the sheer number of mass shootings we now have, have almost immediately been proven to be bullshit, such as the "good guy with the gun" scenario. They've been reduced to suggesting alternatives that, to a majority of Americans, are absolutely untenable: arming teachers, asking students to rush shooters, etc.

Finally, it helps that the NRA has deteriorated into a small coterie of violent fanatics, and the face of the NRA is both the nakedly reactionary Wayne LaPierre and the utterly monstrous Dana Loesch, which makes for a very different sense of what the NRA is than when Charleton Heston was a doddering movie tough guy pretending he was interesting in his rights. These are noxious con artists blatantly amping up racist panic to sell more guns, and an awful lot of Americans see through it. Emma Gonzalez got more twitter followers in a few weeks than the NRA have, businesses have been fleeing the organizations, and if the NRA continues to publicly fail like this, it will stop being effective at its extremist brand of lobbying.
posted by maxsparber at 7:07 AM on February 27 [34 favorites]


For those who are cynical I'd also note that a large part of what these kids have already realized is that when it comes to politicians who can't be convinced, the solution is to vote them out rather than continuing to debate with them. (Something we've discussed frequently on prior threads, but without really knowing how to effectively get young people more interested.) But these guys are making a huge push on social media to get their demographic voting, and I think it's already looking very effective. It doesn't even really matter if the adults think what they're doing is working or is going to work. They seem committed to it either way which is why I think it will work. There's a wave of activism spreading across high schools nationwide and these kids are all either voting age, or about to be, and they're at a prime age to pour everything they have into activism right this minute. They mostly don't have to worry about their kids, or their jobs, or whatever. If we can keep supporting them, this is their job. And we should all be dumping the cynicism and doing what we can to support them. I even joined twitter, something I thought I'd never do.
posted by robotdevil at 7:13 AM on February 27 [59 favorites]


I'm a millennial and I've always had faith in my generation, I've never believed the awful things the media says about us - but this is the first time I actually thought "Shit, maybe millennials ARE the worst." Because these Gen Z kids are FIRE and they're not even adults yet. We voted for Hillary in record numbers?
Big whoop. The Boomers can blow air all day about how we're not living up to their expectations and I'll just roll my eyes, but I am SHAMED by this next generation. There are always those kind Gen X-ers who drop into the generational warfare threads to tell us we're doing fine and things are gonna be okay, and I want that to be me. I will be Gen Z's biggest cheerleader.

(I don't actually think millennials are the worst. I'm just saying that I've found who I want to follow in life and it's not people older than me or even my age.)
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:22 AM on February 27 [28 favorites]


And we should all be dumping the cynicism and doing what we can to support them.

Fucking seriously. I'm sick to death of reflexive cynicism.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:24 AM on February 27 [63 favorites]


By all means support them (and I see no reason not to) but let's also be real here: There is every reason to be cynical, beacause historically the outcome is not that wonderful. Call that reflexive cynicism if you want.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:27 AM on February 27 [6 favorites]


For the first time, in a long time, I AM optimistic about achieving sensible gun control laws. The reason I am optimistic -

1. MOMS DEMAND ACTION has had a string of wins at the state level. They are well organized and growing. Their groups are local, active, hands on and it's more than moms. It's dads, aunts, grannies, grandpas, teachers, kids, etc. I have seen lots of young and old folks at their meetings and rallies. Every meeting more folks show up.
2. We are starting to change hearts and minds! Read this and tell me there's no hope:
Kentucky lawmaker in the heart of Trump country sides with students — and gives up his A rating from the NRA
3. One of the key messages from Parkland is - these kids are going to be able to vote soon, and they are now hyper-motivated to vote and there is no worse news for the NRA than people who will vote to get rid of the politicians they thought they had safely bought.

Please don't sit on the sidelines and give up. Add your voice, use your vote. Protect our kids! We can do this!
posted by pjsky at 7:29 AM on February 27 [40 favorites]


I worked tech support in a school district after Columbine. The district I worked for took decisive action immediately and banned all black trench coats. I was told I was being insensitive when I ignored the ban. And that's the problem in a nutshell if you ask me. Our solutions are stupid, and we get offended about the wrong things. A black trench coat didn't kill anyone. Banning them wouldn't save anyone. But hey, let's get offended by someone not falling in line with security theater, and not at any of the other factors that allow for something like this to happen.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:30 AM on February 27 [17 favorites]


I was in middle school when Columbine happened. We banned trench coats too. One of my friends was expelled from high school because he wore a trench coat and there was a knife in his car. The knife was a birthday present he had just gotten. They searched his car because of his jacket. And for that, he was expelled. It's amazing to me that we can be so cowardly about clothing yet allow kids to buy military style rifles. Casey hunted, but would never have brought a gun to school. He was a sweetheart who was friends with everybody, even the little kids in middle school. He didn't look down on us.
posted by domo at 7:36 AM on February 27 [16 favorites]


There is every reason to be cynical, beacause historically the outcome is not that wonderful. Call that reflexive cynicism if you want.

So... nothing good has ever happened? Activism has never had a positive effect on anyone's life? That is not the historically valid point you seem to be portraying it as.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:37 AM on February 27 [25 favorites]


Activism has had positive and bad effects.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:40 AM on February 27


The barriers to change are high, but I try to remind myself that although the US has always had lots of guns, modern NRA-style gun culture is different from what existed historically and is by no means inevitable or unchangeable.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:42 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


But of course good things have happened, and I hope good things result from this, I'm just not as optimistic as many others, that's all.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:46 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]




But of course good things have happened, and I hope good things result from this, I'm just not as optimistic as many others, that's all.

So, you literally had the very first comment where you aired this cynicism, then chime in every time someone else says something optimistic with the same cynicism, to the point that 50% of the comments in the last hour are you. Is this meant to really advance some sort of point of view or are you just going for that cynicism merit badge or something?

Do you really feel that every single person dumb enough to hope for change needs your individual cynical spit-take? Does every individual person need "well, i'm just trying to tell you I'm not hopeful!" response?

That's not "just giving an opinion," it's "bulldogging an agenda."
posted by absalom at 8:00 AM on February 27 [68 favorites]


Ok I apologize. Didn't realize I was hogging the space so much. Sorry all!
posted by Dumsnill at 8:04 AM on February 27 [9 favorites]


The NRA is not a lobbyist organization for gun owners. It is a lobbyist organization for gun makers.

It's only coincidentally that. The NRA is basically a cultural identity of its own now that can be used by the people who control it to make money from anyone who wants to market to and influence that population. That includes gun makers to be sure, but it also includes the Putin regime, which is investing heavily in the NRA because it polarizes and destabilizes American society and the democratic process as a necessary byproduct of building its audience.

And since "NRA" is now its own tribal identifier, that tribal identity can be extended to encompass anything, not just guns. And it's starting to be used by other sectors for their own purposes unrelated to guns and gun rights. Note for example that the NRA just gave FCC Chair Ajit Pai a "courage award" for breaking net neutrality.
posted by Naberius at 8:05 AM on February 27 [18 favorites]


Activism works occasionally. Some pissed-off dockworkers in Gdansk eventually led to the fall of the Soviet Union. It's just a matter of getting enough people on board.
posted by Miss Cellania at 8:08 AM on February 27 [22 favorites]


Republicans will toss out some breadcrumbs, better background checks, banning bumpfire thingys, and maybe raising minimum age to buy a gun to 21, but that's about it. A nibbling around the edge, but nothing more.
posted by Beholder at 8:46 AM on February 27



The NRA is not a lobbyist organization for gun owners. It is a lobbyist organization for gun makers.

The NRA is basically a cultural identity of its own now that can be used by the people who control it to make money from anyone who wants to market to and influence that population.


In a sense, one might see the NRA as being the lobbying organization for the cause of promoting uncertainty, fear, and brutality in the civic space. If they can make enough of us afraid of each other and willing to employ deadly force as an everyday tactic, the people who tap into their rhetoric can lead us to do anything.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:52 AM on February 27 [9 favorites]


Maybe this will be the turning point. Not the big change we all want to see, but the first step in a different direction.

The Atlantic article linked in the post said that the Parkland shooting was "now the deadliest high-school shooting in modern U.S. history". Not the deadliest mass shooting, or the deadliest school shooting, or even the deadliest public school shooting. Just the deadliest high school shooting. Something has to change.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 8:52 AM on February 27 [7 favorites]




I have contacted my Senator and asked for a 'mass-shooting' tax on ammunition to pay for health care for victims of mass shootings. Because we don't have universal health care, and the burden of cost should not fall on the victims.
posted by fings at 8:58 AM on February 27 [29 favorites]


Fucking seriously. I'm sick to death of reflexive cynicism.

I just discovered (via one of the POTUS threads) that, in the Christian church, despair is considered a sin, one of the worst ones. Which struck me as a rather harsh. I mean, here's somebody who's so overwhelmed with awful experience that they have lost the ability to see even the possibility of anything hopeful anymore. And we're to just cast them aside, deem them evil?

But then I see (and hear) folks speak cynicism to genuine hope, and I start to get it, because cynicism is nothing if not the voice of chronic despair, poisonous and wrong. And not just morally wrong. It's also practically and strategically wrong. It's a tunnel vision that lets past outcomes determine future outcomes, which does not stand up to the empirical evidence which bluntly states that every now and then change does actually happen one way or another. Just pick up a history book.

So yeah, by all means be skeptical of any and every movement, no matter how hopeful its message -- that's a survival skill learned the hard way by all of us. But skepticism suggests study, evidence being weighed, a decision not yet made either way. Cynicism -- that's a leap, and a fundamentally stupid one the more I think about it.

Fuck that shit.
posted by philip-random at 8:59 AM on February 27 [45 favorites]


I have continued to be blown away by how awesome these kids are.
posted by Zed at 9:06 AM on February 27 [4 favorites]


The Boomers can blow air all day about how we're not living up to their expectations and I'll just roll my eyes
The boomers are saying we shouldn't listen to these kids on gun control because last week literally every teen was eating Tide pods. That's what boomer (leadership -not all boomers or whatever) are concerned about. Tide pods.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:08 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


fings - I love that idea! I just stole it and emailed it to my Senator. Thank you!!
posted by pjsky at 9:16 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


The boomers are saying

I live in a community that has more than its share of aging boomers. I am not hearing anything about Tide pods, but a lot about how amazing these young humans are.
posted by philip-random at 9:16 AM on February 27 [4 favorites]


[Maybe let's skip the repetitious "boomers are bad"/"millennials are bad" cycle; we can talk about the youths without turning the discussion to which olds are worst.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:20 AM on February 27 [9 favorites]


I just discovered (via one of the POTUS threads) that, in the Christian church, despair is considered a sin, one of the worst ones. Which struck me as a rather harsh. I mean, here's somebody who's so overwhelmed with awful experience that they have lost the ability to see even the possibility of anything hopeful anymore. And we're to just cast them aside, deem them evil?

I didn’t see that, but your explanation later on suggests one reason. On the other hand, there’s this, which seems more apt than usual today:
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:26 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Look, I get it. We've taken some pretty big steps backward in this country lately, and we didn't even have ground to cede in the first place, but can I just exhort some of y'all to resist the impulse to react with cynicism? Because cynicism is exactly what they want. Cynicism has been shown to be the best friend of dictators and authoritarians. There's a reason Putin manipulates the media to spread cynicism. It's probably the easiest, cheapest way to keep a population under your thumb.

Activism has led us here. The ammosexuals are organized. They vote, they write letters, they call. They have been very successful at using activism to get politicians to adopt their views. The Overton Window didn't move all by itself--it was dragged along by special interests working through activist groups.

Look at who is president. Nothing is impossible. I will never surrender to the acceptance that the gun lobby has irreversibly won the day. When you look at what the people actually want, the numbers are against them. Change is ours for the taking if we're willing to stand together and push hard enough. It's never too late to begin working for a better world.

So, hey, be cynical all you want. After you've exhausted all possible actions. Because if you haven't even tried, then your cynicism is just a nice cozy shield for complicity.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:30 AM on February 27 [41 favorites]


Colleges Are Promising High Schoolers That Getting Suspended For Protesting Guns Won’t Hurt Their Admissions Chances

All but one of the colleges my daughter is considering have released statements saying they won't penalize peaceful protest disciplinary action. She's going to reach out to the admissions director at that one school (which has been pursuing her very aggressively) and demand to know their stance. If they won't take a stand by decision day (May 1), she won't go there. Even though it's her current #1 choice.

Truly, the kids are alright.
posted by cooker girl at 9:40 AM on February 27 [51 favorites]


Maybe we could concentrate on fighting the fascist warmongers and not worry so much about policing each other’s emotions? Being cynical nowadays is a legitimate state of mind based on the last two years alone, never mind the last 200 years of American history.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:41 AM on February 27 [6 favorites]


Scratch a cynic and you'll find a idealist. Some of us you just have to scratch a little deeper to find it.
posted by SansPoint at 9:44 AM on February 27 [6 favorites]


I dunno, giving up because "why bother" seems like the easy move for people who no longer have to attend public school, so they can choose not to worry about it. These kids have already effected MASSIVE change nationwide in less than a month. Pooh-poohing that is being part of the problem.

In related news, my uncle who has been a Republican my ENTIRE life just told me this weekend that the GOP response to the Parkland shooting was so vile that it inspired him to finally change his voter registration from ‘R’ to ‘I’. He’s been voting against Republicans for years, but this was what made him angry enough to formally finish the process. I bet he’s not the only one.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:47 AM on February 27 [38 favorites]


on the odds of short-term difference, yeah, I currently hover in the liminal space between weary cynicism and desperate hope, but playing out the string I am overwhelmed with relief and joy at these kids even as I hate that they've been pressed in this way to this moment. the crucial thing there is that my cynicism (and yours, in the "royal you/we" sense) is not theirs and doesn't have to be.

I feel like this is frequently lost in generation-based conversations of any shape -- much of what gets debated or considered offensive or bad or dumb or indicative of whatever is a variation on the superficial forms that generational divides take, without really considering the underlying tectonic shifts that necessarily happen as you change from a teenager, to whom many adult concepts remain novel or personal, to an adult who has not so much experience or wisdom or whatever, but simply repetition and reinforcement of our pattern-seeking nature, so that you inevitably believe that what you have seen before is likely to be what will come again. mental calcification, if you will.

it's somewhat vicariously thrilling to see them deny that narrative, and to deny too dismissive narratives about their own voices and stakes. thrilling and horrific, of course, that they've been put in such a position.
posted by Kybard at 9:50 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


These kids are also getting harrassed on Twitter and Facebook, to the point that they're getting death threats.

Sadly, death threats seem to come with the territory of any form of public political activism these days, especially for female activists. I've been getting death threats for 17+ years for being a Libertarian Party hack. IIRC, Eyebrows McGee got them when she served on her local school board. At this point receiving your first death threat is like a rite of initiation.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:05 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


I'm a Red Sox fan. They taught me that long histories of disappointment are not reliable predictors of future outcomes. I really hope we've hit bottom on gun insanity, and that things are fundamentally changing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:08 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


For the record, to address the worrying over cynicism:

I indeed have hope that this is a turning point. I am just bearing in mind that it isn't going to be a fast process. This is like turning around the Titanic, is all, and we need to not let the slow pace make anyone lose hope, and be vigilant to come to the aid of those who will be casualities (emotional casualties, that is) in this process.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:08 AM on February 27 [7 favorites]


I guess my problem with cynicism about this, beyond its being unfounded (because actually a lot of shit has changed for the better because of campaigning on issues that looked entirely and permanently intractable for generations), is that it's (a) really obviously inspired by our tendency to see young people as simultaneously so helpless they can't change anything and so feckless that they're ruining the world, which is just a product of being old in a society which fetishises and envies youth to the point of hatred; and (b) such a fucking nasty-minded bummer. I mean, seriously, if you meet an old friend who has a major alcohol problem and they tell you've they've been sober for three months and they're really feeling positive, is your response "Well... I'd love to share your positivity, but research shows that most people with addiction relapse and ultimately die of illnesses related to their addictions. Really hope I'm wrong, but I think you're probably going to start drinking again pretty soon".

Cynicism about something that might just work isn't helpful critique, it's pissing on someone else's hope to make yourself feel better. We've all done it from time to time, in one way or another, I guess, but it's still a pain in the arse.

And I believe in the young. I believe that anger and energy and enthusiasm can change the world. I don't believe that we're a beaten civilisation. I think we're a civilisation fighting for freedom and greatness, while a lot of evil fuckers try to hold us back, drag us down and kill us. Maybe they'll win. Maybe we will. But, God knows, it's better to be cheering for the side of life and decency and hope.

Because these Gen Z kids are FIRE and they're not even adults yet

I'm still hoping we can get "Willennials" off the ground for those born after the issue of Will Smith's seminal work on November 16, 1999.
posted by howfar at 10:12 AM on February 27 [29 favorites]


Maybe we could concentrate on fighting the fascist warmongers and not worry so much about policing each other’s emotions

well, policing implies application of force and I don't see that happening here -- just people talking. As for fighting the fascists, I do find it easy to see cynics as their unconscious allies, so yeah, battle joined.

Scratch a cynic and you'll find a idealist.

or maybe a skeptic who's gone too deep with their research. Either way, some scratching is good.
posted by philip-random at 10:21 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


fings: I have contacted my Senator and asked for a 'mass-shooting' tax on ammunition to pay for health care for victims of mass shootings. Because we don't have universal health care, and the burden of cost should not fall on the victims.

I just tweeted out your idea, too! Thanks for the smart words. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:30 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


[One deleted; let's keep the focus on the kids/the links here rather than on whether individual people in this thread are too cynical or not cynical enough or whatever. Folks have made their positions clear enough and it's fine to leave it at that rather than going several more increasingly-personal rounds on it.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:32 AM on February 27 [4 favorites]


[Also, a different couple of comments deleted; please don't come in here to troll, just go do something else.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:47 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I think focusing on gun control is almost a complete waste of time.

I can't even say this to some of my friends anymore because uttering such a sentence gets strong emotional reactions along with the assumption that I am some gun carrying nut. But I don't own one and never have. I'm just aware of the facts and try to base my thoughts around those facts rather than how I feel.

Fact: There has been a huge rise in mass shootings over the years that very clearly correlates with the rise of the 24 hour news cycle and internet fame status.

Fact: There is zero correlation between the amount of guns in circulation and the rise in mass shootings. In fact the amount of guns has remained mostly at a constant through the past several decades. And if you look at history more gun control has not deterred mass shootings; In fact the more gun controls have been put in place the more it has increased.

Conclusion: The main reason these shootings are happening are due to the shooters' want of INFAMY... not the number of guns around. Most of them want to die, but they don't want to die in obscurity. They want to go out with a bang. They want to be remembered. Thanks to the rise of the internet and the 24 hour news cycle. You get instant fame 24 hrs a day for days on end, sometimes weeks... then your name and face get to be posted again every year on the anniversary of the event...You get to be remembered by the public for a while, but you are FOREVER remembered by those close to the location of the event- not just those who personally knew the victims. And what better way to forever etch your pathetic little face and name into the brains of all the people and the society you so loathed for being 'unfair' to you, than by murdering their children/coworkers/friends (depending on the relationship one had with those traumatized). What better way to go is there for someone who feels so wronged by life and those around him? That is clearly why they do it and the correlation shows this. Therefore, the most effective way to stop this from happening is by making it so that these people's identities are protected from being published. Rape victims and minors have their Identities protected from publish... there should be a way to do the same for people who do these shootings. If they know in advance that they will die in obscurity they will no longer have the incentive.

There is also the fact that it is literally impossible to remove the plethora of guns in existence in our country no matter how many gun laws you write down on paper. I don't like this reality, but it's still a reality and as a friend of mine once said: Reality doesn't care about our feelings.

I'm not against more gun control. I think ultimately it would be a good thing- but focusing on that first before other more efficient means would be largely ineffective. I'd be more confident about this event changing things if there was more focus on the 24 hour news cycle's attitude towards these things than on so called gun control which we should know from experience by now, won't do jack.
posted by fantasticness at 10:54 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


There is also the fact that it is literally impossible to remove the plethora of guns in existence in our country no matter how many gun laws you write down on paper. I don't like this reality, but it's still a reality and as a friend of mine once said: Reality doesn't care about our feelings.

People say this, but Australia did exactly this, and they succeeded beyond their expectations.
posted by explosion at 10:56 AM on February 27 [45 favorites]


High Schools: Your dissent will not be tolerated. You do not have free speech rights. We will do everything in our power to lessen your impact and punish you for attempting to change the world. If you protest, we will attempt to ruin your chances for a higher education and entrance to universities.

Universities: We value civic participation of high school students. Your protest will not negatively impact your chances of entrance to university. If anything we will look favorably on your student activism.

Universities aren't perfect in regards to free speech rights, but they sure as hell are on the right side of history on this one.

To every petty tyrant in a position of power in a high school: fuck off. If you had integrity, you'd be leading these marches.
posted by el io at 10:58 AM on February 27 [10 favorites]


The reason I posted this is because no one thought gun control would happen after Sandy Hook, a bunch of innocent white first graders getting shot to death. But this time is different, because these kids are older, media savvy, and brave as hell.
Their survivor stories eclipse a distraught parent's story.
Though not voters yet, they are already making a difference, that's why I felt so hopeful.
That they're also intersectional is even better, and understand why they've gotten more traction than BLM.
posted by honey badger at 11:00 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


fantasticness, how do your facts reconcile the fact that the 24 hour news cycle and social media and internet fame also occur in other countries yet they don't have mass shootings at the scale of the US?
posted by cooker girl at 11:04 AM on February 27 [45 favorites]


"People say this, but Australia did exactly this, and they succeeded beyond their expectations."

People say this because they are looking at the facts. Australia is an island that is no where near Mexico- One the largest gun circulations around- and on top of that Australia had no where near the amount of guns we did. Like- not even close.

People truly underestimate how much geography plays a role in our culture, psychology, politics... and pretty much everything. The reason Afghanistan has been impossible to control isn't because of it's backward culture... it's because of its terrain and geography- which in turn creates and reinforces the culture. The reason Iraq was impossible to 'win' is because it's next to Iran. Take that exact place with the exact people and move it somewhere in the middle of the ocean and suddenly it would be a piece of cake. Likewise for us- being right next to Mexico makes it pretty impossible to achieve anything near what people are looking for in regards to gun control in this point in time. This is generally why what works for one place often won't work for another.

And again, I'm not against gun control. I just don't believe it would be more effective at this point than what I mentioned above.
posted by fantasticness at 11:05 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


> The reason Iraq was impossible to 'win' is because it's next to Iran.

I have no idea what you're saying here. Maybe this is a well-accepted shibboleth in some other part of the internet, but it comes across as incomprehensible gibberish to me, at least.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:09 AM on February 27 [18 favorites]


"I think focusing on gun control is almost a complete waste of time."

That's an interesting take. My position on the matter is that the mass shootings are a symptom of the gun problem, not problem. The problem is the epidemic of gun deaths, few of which are related to mass shootings. The mass shootings do get the press, and I agree that the press needs to look at their role in covering these events. But to pretend that gun control doesn't work is to ignore every other country's experience in the matter.

Looking at some statistics shows that handguns are the real cause of death (why oh why, BBC, would you use a chart with different gradients of a single color that are close to each other to illustrate something, WTF?), but serious regulation of handguns is probably not going to happen anytime soon.

fantasticness: I hate to be that 'citation please' guy, but if you are going to make bold assertions about 'facts' and 'if you look at history', and those assertions are counter intuitive, please make some references to back up those assertions. Certainly the gun lobby likes to tout statistics (although also lobbies to prevent any health research into the subject), but often times those statistics are problematic and don't hold up to any kind of scrutiny.

A bit of an aside, but related: if feels super-weird when folks that are not on board with gun control refuse to look at any other country in the world than the US. Super weird.
posted by el io at 11:16 AM on February 27 [11 favorites]


The middle of a charged metafilter thread is not a good place for your crackpot theory of everything.
posted by selfnoise at 11:17 AM on February 27 [19 favorites]


"I have no idea what you're saying here. Maybe this is a well-accepted shibboleth in some other part of the internet, but it comes across as incomprehensible gibberish to me, at least."

I'm truly sorry to hear that.

In any case, as was already stated above by cj, the marches and the rallies and even the laws have done nothing as always. And in all cases it was basically people doing the same thing over and over again. Not surprisingly people are now trying to do the same thing as always thinking it's going to get them a different result than it has before. I'm just saying it's time to do something different and see if that gives us a different result.
posted by fantasticness at 11:19 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of heartbroken that we're down to children as the standards-bearers we turn our lonely eyes towards in our search for a less randomly violent society. "Everyone else has failed and no longer cares...perhaps you..."
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:20 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


I'm just aware of the facts and try to base my thoughts around those facts rather than how I feel.

You really aren't, and the "facts not feels" attitude doesn't help. Let's break it down:

Fact: There is zero correlation between the amount of guns in circulation and the rise in mass shootings. In fact the amount of guns has remained mostly at a constant through the past several decades.

Ok, first of all, you're using the "mass shootings" baseline, which is far from the leading cause of deaths, injuries, and costs (both in the moment and over time) incurred by gun violence. It's a convenient rhetorical dodge, but it belies the fact that gun availability is inextricably tied to gun violence and mass shootings in this country. Second, while gun ownership may be steady, that doesn't mean the actual number of guns is going down. In fact--and this is an actual fact--weapons manufacturing has seen a huge rise, especially since Obama was elected. And indeed, many mass shooters have used and/or later been found to own many guns.

But when it comes to gun violence in the US in general? Pretty much all the available evidence points to gun ownership, in both percentages and pure numbers, as being directly correlated with the gun violence in this country. Guns and their rates in homicides, suicides, accidents, use in violent crimes, use against women, use against PoC...everything can be tied to the gun culture and insane amounts of guns in the US.

And if you look at history more gun control has not deterred mass shootings; In fact the more gun controls have been put in place the more it has increased.

This is demonstrably false in many cases worldwide, and even if there was evidence of such correlation (and there really isn't), there are many extenuating factors in the US such as the wildly variable gun laws between states that essentially make it coincidental rather than actual correlation.

Likewise for us- being right next to Mexico makes it pretty impossible to achieve anything near what people are looking for in regards to gun control in this point in time.

This seems more anti-Mexican propaganda than anything else. First, the real problem with gun-running in the US has essentially nothing to do with Mexico and everything to do with states with poor gun control policy. And second, 70% of the guns used in Mexican crimes can be traced back to the US, which means if anything we are exporting gun violence to them.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:31 AM on February 27 [53 favorites]


Fantasticness: Ok, canada. Which shares a border with the US which is a huge gun source.

I feel like what a lot of Americans miss (on all sides) in talking about guns is that all these guns start out legal. It's legal for the manufacturer to make them and sell them to gun stores (or possibly directly gun owners). Every single gun currently in the hands of someone who is not supposed to own a gun started out legal. Many of them were stolen from people who consider themselves responsible gun owners (but whose guns may not have been locked up, so I wouldn't consider them responsible gun owners). If you stop giving permits for guns and stop letting random people who don't intend to shoot somebody up own guns, the pipeline for those illegal guns dries up. If they're not in the nightstands and glove compartments, they're not being stolen from the nightstands and glove compartments. Even better, if there legal market for them is virtually nil, they're not being manufactured.

Yes, all the guns out there would still be out there. You're going to need a massive buy-back program that pays very well. Sure, some hard core criminals will pay more and want to keep their guns, but the kinds of gun access involved in the overwhelming majority of gun crimes (and other gun deaths) would no longer exist.

Of course the US will never do a massive national buy-back. But how about this: In addition to holding people liable for crimes committed with their guns and making them hold insurance for that liability, make them liable for crimes committed while owned by the next legal owner or after they have been stolen. This would work by requiring that you buy insurance at the time of sale or when you report the gun stolen (note: if you don't report the gun stolen you would have to just go on paying your monthly insurance fees for the liability of owning the gun). If you had to buy insurance when you sold the gun and the cost of that insurance were based on who you were selling it to, you'd be much more likely to do a background check (hell, maybe the insurance company would require it).

In short, saying when guns are outlawed only criminals will own guns misses the fact that criminals would have no way of accessing guns if there wasn't a pipeline of legal owners.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:31 AM on February 27 [11 favorites]


Perfect is the enemy of the good. While it may seem unlikely that we could eliminate all future mass shootings, wouldn't it still be worth fighting for FEWER of them?

Another frustration of mine are people that state "here are the facts, i'm not weighed down by stupid feelings!!!" ... yet then proceed to talk about their opinions (which are very much tainted by feelings) and shut down any further remarks by saying "LOGIC WINS." We are humans, everything is laced with emotion. At the very least we could make an infodump of only raw data (graphs, numbers, etc) with no added commentary if we wanted to exclaim non-bias, but I rarely see people do that in gun control arguments.
posted by xtine at 11:41 AM on February 27 [16 favorites]


"Likewise for us- being right next to Mexico makes it pretty impossible to achieve anything near what people are looking for in regards to gun control in this point in time."

Right, just like Canada can't do gun control because they share the largest land border in the world with the US. Oh, wait, Canada doesn't have a (significant) gun violence problem.

STOP SPOUTING NONSENSE.
posted by el io at 12:00 PM on February 27 [34 favorites]


Likewise for us- being right next to Mexico makes it pretty impossible to achieve anything near what people are looking for in regards to gun control in this point in time.

Mexico has a problem with guns because it's right next door to the US. Weapons flow from the US to Mexico, not the other way around.

If you're going to spout falsehoods, why should we take your argument in good faith?
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:09 PM on February 27 [34 favorites]


To any school administrator who would punish students for speaking out on gun violence:

Dude- the NRA and the Republican party are putting a target on your back too! YOU WORK IN A SCHOOL!


I also like to imagine the University of Chicago saying something like "We would never place additional penalties on these students for speaking out against gun violence. If they're already coming to the University of Chicago, we figure that's plenty."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:11 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


"I feel like what a lot of Americans miss (on all sides) in talking about guns is that all these guns start out legal."

Not true at all. There are many illegal guns manufactured in Mexico that end up here... A LOT. They don't need American guns. They make plenty pf their own. They just prefer American guns for various reasons. But they manufacture plenty of their own. I'm glad to see that you did not just ignore Mexico at all and mention it later in your post. You mention a fact that I often like to remind to my gun control marcher friends that never get any results from their efforts- The fact that over half (not actually 70% that's the absolute highest estimation) of the guns used in Mexico are indeed manufactured here. In other words Gun control efforts have in large part not worked precisely because we are right next to Mexico. It only proves my point further. Geography plays a huge role in our lives. So huge a role that people often don't realize how deeply it affects everything else. The demand for guns there, the enforcement of laws there, the culture there ... it has a huge influence on US. Just getting rid of this influence alone would take almost a life-time and yet- just doing that alone would not eradicate the problem entirely.

"Ok, first of all, you're using the "mass shootings" baseline..."

I'm only using it because that is the subject of the topic and that's what I feel is the top priority.

The rise in these shootings clearly and directly correlates with the amount of media exposure these culprits have gotten over the years and does not correlate with anything else. Period. That fact can't even be argued to anyone who bothers to look it up. But the effects of gun control? That can be argued all day long with all sorts of assumptions and estimations.

Estimations given by even the most anti-gun people out there, claim that we can possibly eradicate this problem within almost a century. In other words not in our life-times . And that's the most hopeful estimation! I don't want to wait that long. Why wait almost a century when you can start seeing results now? The only way to see results now, is to focus on taking away the spotlight of fame these guys are adoring. The blaze of glory they so crave. If you can do that, you will not only see the results immediately as the incentive for these guys doing this disappears, but then you will also be free to spend the rest of your life going the extra mile and focusing on Gun Control issues. Imagine that? Doesn't that make more sense? Isn't that a win-win? Spend a couple of years working on something that hasn't been tried and would likely achieve almost immediate results that we can see and THEN focus on the gun control that only your grandchildren will be able to witness versus- Forget about seeing any change in our lifetimes and just hope for change after we die. Which one makes more sense? To those able to set aside the emotions and think logically I believe the choice is clear.

As much as I respect everyone's opinion, I believe in efficiency and I'm not going to spend any more time on this when I can use it towards writing my congressman. But I'll at least know that I'm be trying something different that hasn't been already done to death and proven ineffective each and every time. We're all in this together. Be well.
posted by fantasticness at 12:55 PM on February 27


I also like to imagine the University of Chicago saying something like

They've made no statements one way or the other, which is disappointing. Especially because I'm pretty sure* that every other major university in the city has taken a stand on the side of the students.

*Pretty sure, but not 100% positive. I know for sure: Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul, Columbia
posted by cooker girl at 12:55 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


* wasn't able to add this in time, but - I realize its difficult to portray nuance without the convenience of vocal tone and gesture- but please know that I mean this with the most sincerest warmth. :)
posted by fantasticness at 1:01 PM on February 27


For all the cynics here - go to Google Shopping. Type in “AR-15” - marvel at the response.

“Your search AR-15 did not match any shopping results.”

Change is coming. It is happening now.
If you are not with us in this fight, please, please, please, shut up and get out of our way.
posted by pjsky at 1:01 PM on February 27 [12 favorites]


When every one of your comments is a poster child for [citation needed], rehashes arguments already proven false by every study not actually funded by the NRA, and is based on a premise that has no clear correlation no matter how many times you misuse that word, maybe don't lecture others on what they're doing in regards to gun control.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:02 PM on February 27 [21 favorites]


Not true at all. There are many illegal guns manufactured in Mexico that end up here... A LOT. They don't need American guns. They make plenty pf their own.


The only small arms manufactured in any quantity in Mexico, that I know of, are H&K G3s. These are produced under license by the Secretariat of National Defense, and I'm not seeing a lot of those used in gun violence in the US.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:08 PM on February 27 [10 favorites]


What I find so interesting about the Parkland coverage is that we are only seeing the students. There are no interviews with Emma's parents or Cameron's mom or David's dad or Sara's grandma. Even the teachers aren't really saying anything about the students' activism or what they were like in class. The adults are really staying in the background and letting the teenagers be alone together in the spotlight. I haven't even seen any articles mention that the adults declined to comment. They are staying way, way in the background.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:21 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Estimations given by even the most anti-gun people out there, claim that we can possibly eradicate this problem within almost a century. In other words not in our life-times

Patently false. The "most anti-gun people out there" claim that we can substantially reduce this problem in a matter of a year or two by engaging in a similar program to Australia's.

If you want to talk about the realm of "possibility," where there isn't entrenched opposition to solving the problem, you offer a no-questions-asked buyback program offering 100% of market value, a grace period of 1 year, and then massive restrictions go into place. People will happily cash out while they still can.

This isn't something like climate change where the damage is already done, where literal zero emissions means we're still gonna see climate change for well over a century.
posted by explosion at 1:24 PM on February 27 [16 favorites]


The fact that over half (not actually 70% that's the absolute highest estimation) of the guns used in Mexico are indeed manufactured here

70% is not an estimation, it's the actual percentage of guns seized by Mexican authorities that the ATF has definitively traced to the US. That number doesn't count every gun in Mexico, but it's clear that any estimation is far likelier to be higher rather than lower.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:30 PM on February 27 [14 favorites]


But I'll at least know that I'm be trying something different that hasn't been already done to death and proven ineffective each and every time.

America has never really seriously tried gun control on the level that other countries have. Perhaps that's why those other countries have been successful and America has not.
posted by Foosnark at 1:30 PM on February 27 [25 favorites]


So right after I posted above about not seeing any adults in the coverage I came across this.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:47 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


Oh, wait, Canada doesn't have a (significant) gun violence problem.

Recent conservative governments (before Trudeau) have weakened Canadian gun control and the trend is moving towards an increased rate of gun homicides and suicides. [citation - it's an op-ed but links some relevant stats]

We only look good compared to the Thunderdome to the south.
posted by allegedly at 2:10 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Why wait almost a century when you can start seeing results now? The only way to see results now, is to focus on taking away the spotlight of fame these guys are adoring. The blaze of glory they so crave. If you can do that, you will not only see the results immediately as the incentive for these guys doing this disappears, but then you will also be free to spend the rest of your life going the extra mile and focusing on Gun Control issues.

Barely anyone under the age of 40 watches cable news anymore, and even if one was able to control how the media presents mass shootings, the decentralized nature of the internet is going to make any changes adopted by major news networks pretty much moot. We've seen how willing Facebook, Twitter, and the like are to regulate content as long as it provides clicks (which is to say, not at all), and shifting things like the names of the killers into unofficial channels will ensure this information is presented in the most sensational way for maximum click-bait. Now, if you're talking about changing American culture so that sensationalistic news is less appealing, or people are less likely to consume stories about big massacres, there are so many factors to that problem that are outside of any centralized control it truly would be a century-long project. So I'm curious what fact-based solution would work to decrease mass murders outside of gun control.

In the meantime, we've had an assault weapon ban within my lifetime, so I'm not going to accept that we cannot do that again.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:13 PM on February 27 [9 favorites]


I don’t think that the guy going to his ex’s workplace and shooting her and everyone else who gets in the way is doing it for the media fame, fantasticness. Since that describes more than 50% of mass shootings, I find your remedy unconvincing.
posted by xyzzy at 2:50 PM on February 27 [13 favorites]


The profile of the Stoneman Douglas teacher that ThatCanadianGirl linked above is inspiring and well worth the read.
On the day of the shooting, Foster taught the AP Gov students about special interest groups, like the NAACP, American Medical Association, and the National Rifle Association. His lesson plan that day included a discussion about the Columbine and Sandy Hook school shootings, with emphasis on how every politician comes out afterward a tragedy to say the right thing about changing gun regulation. The students learned how the NRA goes to work as soon news reporters and the public move on to the next story.

...Foster teaches AP Government all day: It’s the only subject he teaches. He had taught this particular special interest lesson four times by the time the gunman started shooting.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:55 PM on February 27 [9 favorites]


if the NRA has its way, educational learning facilities will be banned before ready access to assault rifles and ammo
posted by philip-random at 3:56 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Australia isn't really perfect either. I work in the Hume, the biggest hot-spot for gun crime in Victoria, roughly 200+ incidents of gun crime per year. Wasn't unusual for there to be shootings, every now and then on the road outside work. I asked a new guy how his first week went and he said he saw the police removing a body from a car in front of our office. The Hume is where most of the Middle Eastern migrants came to settle in Victoria, lots of delicious kebabs shops, also ironic, because many of them came to Australia to escape conflict in their homeland...

You can own guns to defend farmland, just not particularly lethal ones. You can have long rifles firing weaker .22 LR ammo, and shotguns, single shot weapons mostly. No semi automatic rifles, no high velocity rounds, no concealable pistols.

"Illegal" weapons do exist of course - they're the ones most used in crimes. So it is true that if you make guns illegal, only criminals will have guns. But from appearances, the cost and difficulty of obtaining them means they seem to be treated as a high value economic resource: certainly not to be risked in committing regular crime against civilians or police, where the potential gains are nowhere near worth risking such a valuable asset. They're typically used in gang-on-gang violence - conflict between organized crime / drug rings to defend their lucrative trade, and there's typically also a code of silence where the guy who is shot (if he survives) will not want to identify their attacker. More than once, there's been a shooting or even a murder on the street of my home / workplace, but my friends and I have never felt afraid for ourselves, because gun crime is almost completely confined to gang-on-gang violence and does not affect ordinary people.

(When my friends and I have been robbed it's usually by thugs using a knife, a bat, or just their fists...)
posted by xdvesper at 4:03 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


For all the cynics here - go to Google Shopping. Type in “AR-15” - marvel at the response.

This was weird, making me wonder if a Google employee went rogue from how poorly it was done, even accounting for Google's declining quality. Earlier it seemed any search with the sequence 'gun' was blocked. So I tried "hot glue" and I saw "Hot Glue Gun" results but if I tried "hot glue gun" I got nothing. Reports were you couldn't even look for "Burgundy". I don't think Google Shopping even had actual guns, but "AR-15" is still coming up blank, while "AK-47," "Desert Eagle," "MP5" come up with toys, props, and so on.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:35 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I think the tide has turned. I have one old old right wing fogey on Facebook (a former co-worker) who could be a Russian bot for the way he faithfully reposts Fox news talking points. Mostly people ignore him as hrs old, not in the best health these days and was well liked in his younger years. People have started to push back and by people I mean his peers. Men his age, female relatives, other former and current co-workers- people who wouldn't normally react just cannot let it go this time. It's a big change. I hope they can UN-brainwash him, he's not a terrible guy or he wasn't 10 or 15 years ago anyway.
posted by fshgrl at 4:47 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


I am incredibly proud of these students.

I am very sad that the reality of life at disadvantaged schools, where shootings are common, isn't part of the national conversation.

I am perplexed by people who think that a teacher or even school security guard would run towards a school shooting, facing the near-certainty of death. Even an entire SWAT team wouldn't go up against a school shooter armed only with pistols and without their millions of dollars in protective gear. And the SWAT team is specifically hired for being willing to face extreme danger, while school employees aren't.
posted by miyabo at 8:27 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]




In fact the amount of guns has remained mostly at a constant through the past several decades.

Has any study been done on what are the breakdowns by category over time? I know the vast majority of guns owned are handguns but those are shitty for mass shootings, so what percentage of guns owned were AR type rifles in 1970 as opposed to now?
posted by PenDevil at 1:42 AM on February 28


Also keep in mind the enormous number of guns purchase legally in the US that make their way south of the border. In central and south America it is something like 70% of all guns recovered from crime scenes. So its not like they just affect the US.
posted by fshgrl at 2:49 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


For all the cynics here - go to Google Shopping. Type in “AR-15” - marvel at the response.

I hate to temper the optimism here, but Google blacklisting an obvious search is about the least they can do.

...and, in fact, it seems they didn't do much else. (Mefi's own?) Maciej Ceglowski has been harping on them for the last couple days over this on Twitter (see this thread). Apparently all you have to do to dodge the blacklist is misspell your search term.

(And to be clear, Google Shopping policy doesn't allow guns or components thereof, but they're evidently not great at enforcing this.)
posted by neckro23 at 3:49 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


I know the vast majority of guns owned are handguns but those are shitty for mass shootings

No, history says they work just fine for that.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:14 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


No, history says they work just fine for that.

Sure, but not nearly as well as semiautomatic rifles with large quick change magazines and a pistol grip. In aggregate, while handguns are more often misused, when they are fewer people tend to get shot or killed. Also your chances of surviving a gunshot wound from most pistols exceeds your chance of surviving being shot with most rifles.

That said, I'd be just fine if the only pistols allowed to be taken out of a gun range without special permission were six shot revolvers with no quick loading mechanism. And that only because I have personal experience with using them to kill particularly aggressively destructive wildlife. A small caliber rifle or shotgun does the trick, but can be a huge pain when you're dealing with rabbits and gophers that come and go quickly enough that the difference in ready time matters.

Even then, some people's legitimate need for owning guns doesn't mean that it should be a damn free for all. Many other countries manage it, so unless we are a nation full of the stupidest people on Earth, I'm fairly certain we can also figure out a way to allow farmers in the sticks own guns but not have every major city awash in them to the point that even asocial people like myself know people who could hook us up no questions asked except whether the cash is on hand or not.

The one thing that just blows my mind, though, is people's insistence that more guns is the answer. It's like 30%+ of the country fancies themselves some kind of action hero with perfect aim and perfect knowledge of who the attacker is. More guns on scene has a tiny chance of ending a situation forthwith and a much greater chance of more innocent bystanders getting shot, as tends to happen when bullets are flying. And it also puts the teacher or whomever at significant risk of being shot by the police when they respond. That's assuming the armed teachers don't end up shooting each other first. And even beyond the way it complicates the situation, there's the significantly increased risk of an accidental shooting or a gun managing to sneak off and become some kid's instrument of suicide every single day it's there. The problem, sadly, is not a lack of heroism, it's the ubiquity of guns.

At this point, I'm pretty much ready to write off anyone who doesn't support significant new restrictions on firearms at this point as insane. After all, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is one common definition of insanity. ;)

We tried the moar guns approach. We tried see something, say something. It hasn't worked. Maybe now it's time to try the thing we haven't tried: serious gun control nationwide with sufficient enforcement to prevent guns from being illegally transferred and illegally taken from state to state. Maybe we could also try some financial incentives. Tax any gun capable of holding more than 6 rounds and any magazine capable of holding more than 6 rounds very heavily. Maybe tax the ammo, also. And require gun owners carry liability insurance on their guns that remains in effect even if it is stolen. And add some point of sale fees to pay for any damages caused by uninsured or unknown weapons incurred by the victims of gun violence. Make them pay their own way the same way most of the gun nuts think transit users should bear the full cost of running a transit system. Why should they get a free ride, eh?
posted by wierdo at 4:51 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]


I'm telling you -- the tide is turning!!

FRONT PAGE OF THE NYTIMES Y'ALL
Dick’s, Major Gun Retailer, Will Stop Selling Assault-Style Rifles
One of the nation’s largest sports retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, said Wednesday morning it was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles in its stores.

The retailer also said that it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines and that it would not sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws.


I wish I was a fly on the wall of the NRA offices this morning, watching them scream with impotent rage.
posted by pjsky at 6:09 AM on February 28 [20 favorites]


from the article: This is not the first time Dick’s has made changes in response to a school massacre. In 2012, after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dick’s removed assault-style rifles from its main retail stores. But a few months later, the company began carrying the firearms at its outdoor and hunting retail chain, Field & Stream.

This time, Mr. Stack said, the changes will be permanent.


I wonder if they said that after Sandy Hook, too. This can't be just a PR move, we have to keep an eye on this.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:32 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


People say this, but Australia did exactly this, and they succeeded beyond their expectations.

They did--they also bought back about 650K guns, about 20% of privately-owned guns.

The United States has over 300 million guns in private hands.

I'm not saying it's not worth trying--but let's be realistic about the difference in scale here.
posted by Automocar at 7:07 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


(Mefi's own?) Maciej Ceglowski has been harping on them for the last couple days over this on Twitter (see this thread). Apparently all you have to do to dodge the blacklist is misspell your search term.

It's been very entertaining watching half my Twitter feed shove Google Shopping about stocking tons of guns and gun accessories despite it being against their Terms of Service, and then the other half of my Twitter feed aghast that Google's broken the search on shopping by blocking any search terms that contain the letters 'gun', including webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court, Guns & Roses and James Gunn. Neither appears to know about the other.

Some wag described it at the Sgunthorpe problem.
posted by Merus at 7:59 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


watching them scream with impotent rage

oh, they're still pretty fucking potent, I fear
posted by philip-random at 9:45 AM on February 28


I don't think the US could get anything like Australia's results; we have many more guns and a much more entrenched gun industry. However, we could definitely get to better than we are now, and I think focusing on, "we could not become like Australia, like the UK, like Japan, like Sweden" etc. misses the improvements we could have.

We could restrict guns like we do cars - must have a license to get one, requiring a test about laws and safety features, and insurance for the intended purpose of the gun. We could restrict advertising and sales a lot more than we do. We could declare that guns are not allowed near schools - CA law disallows gun possession within 1000 feet of a school, but has a number of exemptions that boil down to "as long as you're not just walking around with it, it's okay." Remove the exemptions and declare that no, just bringing a gun within a certain distance of a school zone is a crime, even if you're just transporting it. We could destroy any gun used in a crime, not sell them off or keep them in the police departments.

We could prosecute all instances of shooting in public as "attempted murder," even if it was "shooting into the air" or "shooting an empty car." We could certainly prosecute them as felony reckless endangerment. (Of course, that only matters if we could get law enforcement to actually enforce laws.)

I am thrilled the kids are using social media and their current time in the spotlight to keep saying, over and over, that no, we don't have to just accept that mass shootings will happen as the cost of a free society. I want them to get together with older activists who understand law and forge a plan for long-term changes.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:50 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


but Australia did exactly this, and they succeeded beyond their expectations.

They did--they also bought back about 650K guns, about 20% of privately-owned guns.

The United States has over 300 million guns in private hands.

I'm not saying it's not worth trying--but let's be realistic about the difference in scale here.


given that USA has more than ten times the population of Australia, that scale actually tilts the other way once you crunch a few numbers. In other words, they had more guns per capita than America does now.
posted by philip-random at 9:54 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


given that USA has more than ten times the population of Australia, that scale actually tilts the other way once you crunch a few numbers. In other words, they had more guns per capita than America does now.

If you back it out and figure out how many guns there were in Australia in total in 1996, it was about 3 million. The population of Australia in 1996 was about 20 million.

For there to be an equivalency, there would have to have been 20 million guns in Australia. Or, put another way, America would have to buy back 60 million guns.
posted by Automocar at 10:31 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Remove the exemptions and declare that no, just bringing a gun within a certain distance of a school zone is a crime, even if you're just transporting it. We could destroy any gun used in a crime, not sell them off or keep them in the police departments.

Sadly, the Supreme Court got involved in that particular (federal) law. AFAIK, it was never actually repealed by Congress, just invalidated by the Supreme Court. IIRC the deal is that we can keep people from carrying guns at schools, but not near them, which makes some sense, TBH, since a lot of people (including myself) live within 1000 feet of a school and, like it or not, gun ownership is now an individual right. (Though as with any right, some restrictions are allowed under current precedent and we very much need to implement said restrictions)
posted by wierdo at 10:47 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


For there to be an equivalency, there would have to have been 20 million guns in Australia. Or, put another way, America would have to buy back 60 million guns.

yeah, I guess I missed a zero.
So it becomes less than ten times the challenge, which shouldn't be confused with impossible, not for a nation that put men on the moon way back when, not for The Greatest Country In The World (TM)
posted by philip-random at 11:30 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


We start by buying them back, and then we go and take the ones people don't want to sell.
posted by maxsparber at 1:05 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


So this is interesting:

A teacher in Georgia has been arrested for barricading himself inside a schoolroom, and then firing a single shot from a handgun. No one was hit - not even the teacher - and the only injuries seem to have been a couple people who sprained their ankles while fleeing during the ensuing lockdown. At present, the motivation is not clear, and the most that the school will say is that it seems he wanted to be sure no students were involved.

"Suicide" is probably most people's first guess. But I wonder - maybe he was trying to do some kind of weird stunt as a response to the "let's arm teachers" thing?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:07 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]




We start by buying them back, and then we go and take the ones people don't want to sell.

I mean, you do you, but I don’t really want to empower the Justice Department to seize every gun in the country when we’ve already seen what, say, ICE is doing.
posted by Automocar at 4:56 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


The government already has access to all the guns they could ever want or need.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:30 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


I don’t really want to empower the Justice Department to seize every gun in the country

I really don't want the Justice Department deciding whose guns to grab first.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:26 PM on February 28


Don't give up hope! We are having an impact. Change is happening. What State Legislatures couldn't do or refused to do, DICKS and WALMART have done in an afternoon: Raised the minimum age to buy fire arms REGARDLESS OF STATE LAWS.

WASHINGTON POST
Walmart will raise age for purchase of guns and ammunition to 21

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced a change to its policies Wednesday, saying it would raise the minimum age required to buy a firearm and ammunition and remove any items that resemble assault rifles from its shelves.

In a statement, the company said it would raise its age requirement to 21 from 18, a decision it made “in light of recent events” — most notable the national discussion about gun control since the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Florida that left 17 people dead.

“We take seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms and go beyond Federal law by requiring customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm,” the company said.The move is the latest by a private company to address increasingly loud grievances about the availability of guns in the absence of meaningful legislative action. Earlier in the day, Dick’s Sporting Goods, announced that it would stop selling assault rifles and high-capacity magazines and raise the minimum age it requires to buy a gun to 21.
posted by pjsky at 5:18 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Media Matters Fox's Jason Chaffetz: Parkland shooting survivors "need a belief in God and Jesus Christ"

Several of the victims were Jewish, and as the link notes, the Marjory Douglas HS student body is apparently 40% Jewish. This fucking Dominionist fuckstick literally rode into the Capitol with a shit-eating grin on his face to pull health care from children, and now he wants Jews to find Christ so they don't get shot at school.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:03 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


What State Legislatures couldn't do or refused to do, DICKS and WALMART have done in an afternoon: Raised the minimum age to buy fire arms REGARDLESS OF STATE LAWS.

I was glad to see the announcements and hope they will give impetus towards legislative change, but it's also worth noting the limitations of this kind of individual action: pretty much every single other licensed firearms dealer in the country will still sell to someone who is 18 years old (and likely sells AR 15s, too). Walmart stopped selling assault rifles years ago, but that hasn't hurt availability.

The articles I've seen have mentioned that people have been pushing on Cabella's to do the same, but I think they are more insulated from the pressure.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:34 AM on March 1


wierdo which makes some sense, TBH, since a lot of people (including myself) live within 1000 feet of a school and, like it or not, gun ownership is now an individual right.

Well.... The same Supreme Court ruled that anyone living within 100 miles of the border has surrendered their 4th Amendment rights.
posted by sotonohito at 7:38 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


So here's something both relevant & weird. You may have seen pictures of worshippers at a church clutching AR-15s & wearing crowns made of bullets. Turns out they're a splinter group from the Moonie cult that call themselves the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, just looking for some free publicity.
posted by scalefree at 1:18 PM on March 1


(From the latest Trump thread:)
>I mean, even countries with what we'd consider very strict gun control allow some people to have guns. It's not like no one in Great Britain hunts. It's not like no one there collects historic weapons.

A couple of years ago I traveled through 4 European countries by bicycle. These are among the top "gun control" countries in the world. What got me, though, was how many hunting blinds we saw along the way. Like, practically every field we passed had a hunting blind. These are--obviously!--people who like to hunt and who do hunt.

In fact, it reminded me a lot of home here in Missouri.

But here in Missouri, the gun owners tend to fantasize that if we implement gun control or regulations of any kind, then "they'll take my guns!" and "there will be no more hunting!"

Reality is quite different. You can have quite stringent gun regulations--as befits a tool of such demonstrated danger--and yet still have hunting. LOTS of hunting!

The overall murder rate in Austria (a typical one of the four countries we bicycled through in 2015) is about 1/7 the murder rate in the U.S.

That's a *lot* of murders . . .
posted by flug at 7:23 PM on March 1


One of my friends online was talking with a mutual friend who is a police officer in Australia. He mentioned something about "they have gun control in Australia, but I'll bet you still have to deal with armed criminals, when guns are outlawed all the outlaws still have guns, blar blar blar." Our police officer friend gave a noncommital response, but it got me wondering.

The NationMaster.com site has interesting side-by-side comparison charts of crime-related states in various world countries, including rates of gun ownership, murder by firearm, overall murder, violent crime, etc. So it is really educational to compare various countries:

Austria vs U.S.
Germany vs U.S.
Canada vs U.S.
United Kingdom vs. U.S.
Australia vs U.S.

So looking at those comparisons, typically I see:

- The U.S. owns 3-5 times as many guns per capita
- The U.S. has a 3-5 times as high overall murder rate
- The U.S. has about 10X as high firearms murder rate

The point we usually take away from this is that regulating gun ownership has a DRAMATIC effect in reducing the firearms murder rate and the overall murder rate both.

It is also well worth pointing out that "take away the guns and criminals will just find another way to get it done" is not true at all. A relatively small amount of the firearms murders end up happening regardless (by some other means) but the vast, vast majority are simply eliminated.

However another point well worth emphasizing is that democratic countries across the world have been able to do all this WITHOUT taking away all the guns.

There is still a very, very healthy amount of gun ownership there.

What they have done is taken away gun ownership from:

- People who don't treat their guns responsibly or with safety
- People who can't be bothered to learn and practice safe gun ownership
- People who are somehow irresponsible or mentally unbalanced
- People who engage in criminal behavior

NRA talks a lot about "good guys" with a gun. What's left under a system like this is EXACTLY the "good guys"--ie, the responsible gun owners.

What we have in the U.S. is #1. Responsible gun owners (about 1/3 or 1/4 of the total), #2. A lot of nitwit and irresponsible gun owners, and #3. A relatively few real bad actors and criminals.

Most of the violent crimes and murders, as well as gun accidents & the like, can be traced to groups #2 and #3.

Those in group #1 shouldn't really object to limiting gun ownership in groups #2 and #3. Because why the HELL are irresponsible & dangerous people of those types allowed to have dangerous weapons in the first place?
posted by flug at 7:50 PM on March 1 [8 favorites]


It is also well worth pointing out that "take away the guns and criminals will just find another way to get it done" is not true at all

Yeah, Japan is an easy example of how false this is. Other than the Yakuza (who have the connections necessary to acquire firearms) gun crime is almost nonexistant. While a low crime country in general, Japan certainly has crime --- but not with guns.
posted by thefoxgod at 7:58 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


What they have done is taken away gun ownership from:
- People who don't treat their guns responsibly or with safety
- People who can't be bothered to learn and practice safe gun ownership
- People who are somehow irresponsible or mentally unbalanced
- People who engage in criminal behavior

This is what I want. This is what I mean by "I don't want to take away everyone's guns." I know responsible gun owners who I trust won't go crazy and shoot everyone. But since our country cannot deal with this sort of thing, it leaves the "everyone has to have their guns taken away because that's the only way to stop mass shootings" as the only option.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:37 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


The NYT has an interesting comparison of the process to buy a gun in 15 countries. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but I wish we had a system more like what it describes for Germany, where normal firearm ownership and use is legal, but there are just a bunch more regulatory hoops and oversight. The impact to someone like myself would be very minimal, but with real barriers to lower the rate of gun violence.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:54 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


ArsTechnica (citing the New England Journal of Medicine): During NRA conventions, gun injuries drop 20% nationwide—63% in hosting state

"The finding was based on an analysis of insurance data on gun injury rates during NRA conventions from 2007 through 2015, as well as rates three weeks before and three weeks after each of the conventions." ...

"Though the analysis can only provide a correlation—not causation—[the researchers] Jena and Olenski suggest it may refute a common argument among gun proponents. That is, that gun accidents happen primarily in the hands of inexperienced users and that practice and training—promoted by the NRA—can greatly reduce or eliminate safety concerns and accidents, which affect thousands each year."

posted by bz at 8:25 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


From New York Magazine: "War Room: The teenage strategy sessions that built an anti-gun movement out of the trauma of Parkland in one week."
posted by How the runs scored at 8:21 AM on March 3 [4 favorites]


It's just beyond my comprehension that so many people are against the idea of kids walking out of school for 17 goddamned minutes.

I teach in a very conservative right wing town in Massachusetts and I've been literally sickened at the parental reaction to the kid-organized walkout. There's a resident Facebook page and the comments from the adults are just disgusting--mostly along the lines of, "they should all be expelled" to "yet another example of liberal teacher agendas at work," and "why don't they try be nice to the outcasts and maybe this wouldn't happen."

This letter has been making the rounds
and parents are glomming onto it. It's the most hideous example of victim blaming I've ever seen and suggests that maybe if kids were nicer to the loners, they wouldn't come to school with guns.

I've been really struggling to not scream at these people, "THEY JUST DON'T WANT TO BE SHOT AT SCHOOL, YOU STUPID FUCKS," but I'm afraid to post that.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:04 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Wow, that letter is just disgusting. Snide tone, utter lack of understanding of the problem, and a general tone of contempt. The writer should be ashamed of themselves, but probably aren't.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:23 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]




Gun Advocates Are Not Happy About Trump Advocating For Risk Protection Orders (NPR, March 12, 2018) -- President Trump's school safety agenda encourages states to adopt "risk protection orders." These allow law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from people judged dangerous to themselves or others.

Sounds logical to me. And hey, it's even temporary!
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Red-flag orders allow police to temporarily take guns away from people who've been found by a judge to pose a threat to themselves or others. Connecticut adopted the nation's first such law nearly two decades ago. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal says it's worked.

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: The Connecticut experience over the last nearly 20 years has been that these extreme-risk protection orders or red flag really save lives.

HORSLEY: So far, only a handful of states have followed Connecticut's example - California, Oregon, Washington, Indiana. Florida passed its own red-flag law last week. Now President Trump is urging every state to do so. Kristin Brown of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says without such laws, police are often powerless to stop a would-be killer like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

KRISTIN BROWN: It's really a slap in the face - the idea that there were so many signs associated with this individual that should've meant that he was not able to possess or purchase firearms.

HORSLEY: Dozens of states are considering red-flag laws. Blumenthal says the potential impact is broader than just school shootings.

BLUMENTHAL: These kinds of orders help prevent not just the mass slaughters but also the one-by-one shootings that account for a lot of the 90 deaths every day in the United States as a result of gun violence, including suicide.

HORSLEY: In fact, one of the big success stories in Connecticut has been preventing suicides which account for about two-thirds of all gun deaths in the country. Duke University professor Jeffrey Swanson has studied the Connecticut law and says about 60 percent of the red-flag orders sought are for someone at risk of taking his own life.

JEFFREY SWANSON: This could be - you know, we're worried about grandad. He's bereaved. He's all by himself, and he's drinking heavily. And we're worried about him. He has all these guns.

HORSLEY: Swanson estimates the Connecticut law saved one life for every 10 to 20 gun seizures. He says it makes sense to focus enforcement on those who pose an immediate threat.
And then there are interviews with the gun nuts, who see this as taking away their second amendment rights. And the piece ends with this note: Senator Blumenthal has joined forces with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in calling for a federal red-flag law that would apply in all 50 states. So far, the president has not gotten behind that.

So far, the president is just blowing smoke. Got it.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:16 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


And NPR also found someone in rural New Mexico who is in favor of arming teachers, after a school shooting in Aztec, New Mexico. Why Some Educators In New Mexico Are Calling For Teachers To Be Armed (NPR, March 12, 2018) -- hey NPR, that's one educator.

The counter voice is that of a student, who has solid concerns:
If you put a gun on school, who's going to have access to it? How are people going to get it when they get into a situation? How are they going to grab it in enough time to save other people? It's just more complex than people want to make it.
I don't want to see teachers with guns on their person. And I don't think it's safe to have a gun in the classroom, even it it's locked up, because kids will know there's a gun in the room and might decide it's a challenge to get the gun out. Gun violence facts and statistics are grim when it comes to having easy access to firearms:
  • In 2014, 2,549 children (age 0 to 19 years) died by gunshot and an additional 13,576 were injured.
  • Those people that die from accidental shooting were more than three times as likely to have had a firearm in their home as those in the control group.
  • Among children, the majority (89%) of unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home. Most of these deaths occur when children are playing with a loaded gun in their parent’s absence.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:25 AM on March 13


When I was in middle school, there was this one class with a frustratingly ineffective teacher and us immature little snots decided that the best way to handle that was to mean-spiritedly prank her all year long (I feel awful about it now). We constantly stole small-but-irritating things like the remote to the overhead projector, to the point where the principal had to come in and give us very stern talkings-to and school security got involved. If there had been a weapon in the room, we definitely weren't mature enough to take that seriously and probably would have done something infinitely stupider than what we did do.
posted by mosst at 7:59 AM on March 13


From The Onion: Betsy DeVos Argues Issue Of Guns In Schools Should Be Fully Left Up To Individual Shooters

I normally get a laugh from The Onion, but I am not even close to a place where I'm appreciating jokes in any way about kids and guns and schools. I'm still too sick and disgusted and furious and scared.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:17 AM on March 13


I tend to think of it less as joking around and more like them making explicit what horrible people actually want. Same with Clickhole.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:53 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]




Students Walk Out To Protest Gun Violence 1 Month After Parkland Shooting (NPR, March 14, 2018)
There are more than 3,130 largely student-organized walkouts scheduled, according to EMPOWER, the group behind the national school walkout. National organizers, who are the youth branch of the women's march, are advocating stricter gun regulation including bans on assault weapons and expanded background checks.
Fuck yes, youth of America. Fuck yes, Women's March organizers for including/ supporting this and other youth movements.

Across The Country, Students Walk Out To Protest Gun Violence (NPR, March 14, 2018) -- a brief look at the various walk-outs and related efforts around the country.

Yesterday, NPR looked at the difficult position that schools are in with regards to walkouts, as schools are legally the guardians of students during the day once they are first on campus, and walking out can be treated as disrupting class, both of which points give schools the option of punishing those who walk out. But Esha Bhandari, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, made a very good point:
"Students shouldn't be punished any differently than any other unexplained or unexcused absence would be. I think that's the really critical distinction here."
So if walking out of class normally gets you a three-day suspension, then this could be treated as a standard reaction to such behavior. But of the standard policy for such "disruption" of a brief unpermitted departure from class is to give the student a lunch detention, then that should be the response here.

Or, you could work with the students and incorporate it into a multi-day learning experience, such as in Hartford, Conn., where
"Staff, administration, and students will be walking out, down to our football field, and we will stand there in silence for 17 minutes," says Gage Salicki, who teaches social studies at Bulkeley High School.

So the walkout will happen at Bulkeley, but that's only half the story.

"In preparation for this walkout, we asked that students design something related to civic action," Salicki says.

In fact, Salicki helped build a multi-day lesson plan around the walkout — one he began teaching last week. His class watched cell phone footage taken by students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and explored all sides of America's raging gun debate.

"We wanted to make sure that students, if delving into some heavy legal territory related to Second Amendment rights, would have equal access to the pros and cons of the issue," Salicki says.

The school's approach wasn't to shy away from politics but to give students a range of resources and encourage them to think critically about the facts. Students were then asked to do one of a few things: make a poster to carry during the walkout, write a letter to a person in power or write a song or poem about what they've learned.

Salicki hopes they've turned this tension-filled moment into a teachable moment.
Good on you, Salicki and Bulkeley High School.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


In response to the walkout, the NRA responds in typical NRA fashion.

Stay classy, assholes.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:59 AM on March 14


"I'll control my own guns, thank you. #2A #NRA"

And a picture of an AK-47 (type?) assault rifle. With a little American flag on it.

Yup, the gun of choice for self defense and hunters.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on March 14


Related: How America's Gun Industry Is Tied To The NRA (NPR, March 13, 2018)
After every mass shooting, a debate unfolds. There are some voices that by now we're used to hearing. There's the gun control camp, the NRA. But one sector that is typically quiet is the gun industry. According to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the American gun industry manufactured more than 11 million firearms for domestic consumption in 2016.
HOLY SHIT. But they're under-producing, if they want to keep the US armed at the astonishing 101 guns per resident, considering that the US population increased by 2,250,443 in 2016 - that's not even 5 guns per new American!

Depressing snark aside, there are some interesting comments by Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a gun control advocacy group that has researched the firearms industry and its ties to the NRA:
The industry is constantly trying to find the next big thing to sell to this traditional cohort of gun owners who are aging white males who are dying off. And to borrow a phrase from the tobacco industry, they're not finding the replacement shooters to take their place. At the same time, they work to exploit any opportunity to sell guns whether it's passage of a gun control law, whether it's the election of Barack Obama - his re-election, whether it's 9/11.

One of the most drastic miscalculations the industry made was they assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to win the presidency. So when she didn't, the sales demand dropped precipitously. And that's why you're seeing the situation today with these leading gun manufacturers.
...
It means that the industry has to go find new markets. And once again, following a trail blazed by the tobacco industry, they're continuing to focus on women and also now very aggressively targeting children.
...
Children can't buy guns, but their parents can buy guns for them. You have efforts from groups like National Sports Foundation where they work to actually get what they call youth ambassadors at the grade-school level to come in and bring children into the gun culture by introducing the firearms and discussing, you know, what they view as the merits of gun activity.
If only Hillary Clinton won, so many people would be happier and healthier, even the NRA and the gun makers!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:05 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


The coverage of the student walkouts on social media has had me in tears several times today. Two that really took my breath away (click through for pics that are just punches to the gut):

Lois Beckett: Covering a walkout this morning at an elementary school in Virginia, and the 11-year-old organizers had a press packet ready for me.

Len Ramirez: Leonardo Aguilar was the only one to walk out of his second grade classroom so he joined the highschoolers at Lincoln High in San Jose. @CBSSF #walkout
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:43 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]




Patrick Blanchfield: The Market Can't Solve a Massacre
The emotional and political landscape of American gun violence and school shootings specifically reads like an atlas of neoliberalism. To be sure, our singular problem with gun murder—of which mass shootings are only a fractional percentile, one with no real analogue anywhere in any other nation in the world, neoliberal or otherwise—has deep roots in America’s unique history of ethnic cleansing, racial oppression, globalized militarism, entrenched inequality, and violent ideologies of masculinity; these forces shape how gun violence plays out in and determines which Americans must bear its traumas most. But how our society has chosen to frame and respond to the problem of mass shootings, and school shootings specifically, over the course of the past two decades illustrates neoliberalism’s corrosiveness.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:51 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


This has got to be the most screwed up response to the walkout I have seen:
Sister Of Charleston Shooter Dylann Roof Arrested After Menacing Social Media Post
posted by TedW at 5:54 AM on March 15


School 'resource officer' and gun safety instructor injures student in class when his 'unloaded' gun goes off.

I keep saying this: I don't care who's holding it, the presence of a gun makes it more likely that someone will be shot. This is so obvious that it's bewildering how anyone can advocate people carrying guns in schools.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:02 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Late edit: I thought the guy was a resource officer, but the article doesn't say that. It does say he's a high school teacher of Administration of Justice, and was teaching a "gun-safety course".
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:18 AM on March 15


the man of twists and turns: “Patrick Blanchfield: The Market Can't Solve a Massacre”
“Very literally, Americans teach their children to understand the intrusion of rampaging killers with assault rifles as a random force of nature analogous to a fire or an earthquake.”
I suspect if John Brunner knew how right he'd turn out to be, he would have spit.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:37 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Gun nuts in Utah are planning to come visibly armed to a March For Our Lives protest. Apparently if you don't respect gun culture after being yelled at, then you deserve to do so at gunpoint.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:39 AM on March 20




Those are the good guys we're supposed to rely on.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:34 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


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