A culture of scapegoating and responsibility-dodging

Surprising absolutely nobody, in the wake of Sandy Hook’s shooting, the American congress is swinging into rapid and decisive action… against video games. Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks sums it up nicely:

What’s more is, the narrative against video games appears to have been set well before there was any proof that the shooter, Adam Lanza, was a gamer. It was set, in fact, when reporters misreported the shooter as a Ryan Lanza, the name of Adam’s brother. People found a Ryan Lanza’s Facebook profile, though it might still have been an entirely unrelated Ryan; they noticed that he had Liked the page for Mass Effect, and Mass Effect became the first scapegoat for the shootings.
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Fischer: God didn’t stop Newtown shooting because he’s a “gentleman”

Bryan Fischer asserts that because Christianity isn’t taught in public schools, God was unwilling to step in and stop the shooting because he doesn’t appear where he’s not wanted. Never mind that students are (as always) free to pray as they see fit — they’re just not LED in prayer by school officials, forcing all students to either pray if they believe, or sit quietly in the hallways while public school time is wasted on prayer.

Explain, then, to me why the Colorado theatre shooting happened, when overtly Christian movies make the theatres all the fucking time?

On Systemic Violence, Misconceptions, and How We Fail Ourselves

Considered Exclamations has a guest post by Brendan Murphy, treasurer of the SSA’s board of directors, which analyzes the political reactions to previous mass shootings and the fallout thereafter. It’s what I was asking for yesterday: for people to look at these shootings as a trend, and deal with them appropriately.

The above sign is a decoration of Fenway Park, well-known to many Bostonians, and sponsored by the Massachusetts-based organization Stop Handgun Violence. After this morning’s violence in Connecticut, those big numbers will tick upwards by 18. And yet, White House press secretary Jay Carney had the following to say this morning:

“Today’s not … a day to engage in the usual Washington policy debates. That day will come, but today’s not that day.”

I agree – today is not the time to have ineffectual discussions peppered with political platitudes and unfulfilled promises of resurrecting bygone legislation. Now is the time to substantively discuss exactly what systemic forces lead us down this road time and time again. If all we do is grieve and mourn without addressing the why, we have failed the victims, and ourselves. Let’s look at some 2012 history, and what’s been said politically.

Keep reading.

Yet another isolated incident of gun violence

I talk quite a bit about guns. Today’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut — where a twenty year old assaulted an elementary school and killed 26 people, 20 of them kids — just leaves me dumbstruck. The only thing I can bring myself to say is, what will it take before people start treating these mass shootings as something more than isolated incidents?

This interactive map shows what I’m talking about quite well. A snapshot:

Since 1999, there have been 45 shootings in schools worldwide; 31 were in the States. Mass shootings are almost a daily occurrence in your country, and each seems to be going for a high score over the last. They are a much realer and more immediate threat than death by terrorism, or plane crashes, or bear attacks. Why are you as a nation so numb to this? Why is your immediate recourse as a nation to demand that people have readier access to guns, to demand that everyone go armed, to put more guns into the hands of more people who might for some reason feel oppressed and take it out on a school full of children?

Meanwhile, in China, children suffered a knife attack in an elementary school. 20 children were injured. Injured, not killed — which would almost certainly not be the case if the attacker had a gun. And people are talking about China having something rotten at its core. Why is nobody saying the same about America and the gun culture that would ignore such trending data?

Other posts you should read:
Kate Donovan: When you tie shootings to mental illness
Miriam Mogilevsky: If not now, when? On politicizing tragedy

Both of these posts lead me to the same conclusion: there is something larger going on here and the more we sweep it all under the rug and repeat the drumbeat platitude of “more guns”, the deeper into the delusion rabbithole we go.

And another: Greta Christina: The Newtown shootings: It is not too soon to start talking

An anniversary to remember, with a thumb to Harper’s eye

Today’s the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, which has of late been a focus in Canadian politics with Harper having successfully destroyed the long gun registry.

Except, as it turns out, in Quebec. The provincial government kept their copy, with the help of a sympathetic judge, and plans on implementing their own registry, according to Stephane Bergeron in statements made marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Bergeron also mentioned the deadly shooting at Dawson College in 2006, as well as the fatal shooting that disrupted Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech on Sept. 4.

“Quebec believes in a system of firearms registration, essential to the administration of justice, to police work and to the safety of the population,” he said.

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Harper government celebrates destruction of long gun registry… quietly

Via Winnipeg Free Press, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed that the long gun registry has been destroyed — at least, except for Quebec’s, where legal battles are ongoing. Interestingly, the Harper government did not issue a press release on the matter; it took gun enthusiasts rumoring about the registry’s destruction before the spokesperson would confirm.

No formal news release appears to have been issued by a Conservative government that has made repeal and destruction of the long-gun registry one of its bedrock promises.

Nor has the government said exactly how much taxpayer money will be saved by repealing the registry, although a study by The Canadian Press suggests it is a small fraction of the millions spent annually on gun licensing.

Could it be because the suggested “savings” are a total canard? A non-starter? A… dare I say it… complete line of bullshit?
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Kid tries to prove his masculinity by shooting himself in the head on live video

See, it’s bullshit like this that motivates me to destroy gender roles, not just for feminism’s sake, but for men as well. This child did not, obviously, think things through before he tried to prove how “manly” he was to his friends on video chat. He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, not realizing that the gun was loaded.

About 1:15 a.m., the teen was video-chatting — police believe it was either over Skype or another video-chat service called ooVoo — with an as-yet-unidentified person while his brothers were asleep in the room in their Kensington house.

Sometime during the video chat, things went horribly wrong.

“His manhood or his ego was challenged and he said something along the lines of, ‘I’ll show you,'” Gallagher said. “He thought he was clowning around, trying to shock the other party on the Internet site.”

That’s when the teen picked up his older brother’s gun and, believing it was unloaded, put it to his head and pulled the trigger, police said.

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Thirteen year old black kid gunned down while taking out trash by white neighbor

Unbelievable that this is happening again, in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s shooting. You’d think it would have been an object lesson in “children are not a clear and present danger”! And yet, somehow, I expect the white supremacists to dig through this thirteen year old’s history to find something with which to convince everyone he’s some sort of thug.

A 75-year-old Milwaukee man charged in the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy who lived next door had been a repeated target of break-ins, according to neighbors.
[…]
According to the complaint, Spooner approached Simmons as the boy retrieved a garbage cart from in front of a house Thursday morning. The boy’s mother, Patricia Larry, who saw the shooting, said Spooner told her son he “wanted his stuff back and that he wanted his shotguns back,” the complaint said.

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Quebec gun registry spared (very) temporarily

Yesterday, a Quebec Superior Court judge granted a five-day injunction against the Harper government’s attempted early destruction of the long gun registry. You’ll remember that I reported back in December that they were totally going to go ahead and destroy it once the law passed even if the court case was ongoing. Well, the court case has at least another four days now, and the government is disallowed to jump the gun, so to speak.

Via the CBC:

The Quebec government sought the injunction in court in Montreal Thursday, in anticipation of royal assent for C-19, the Harper government’s legislation to fulfil a longtime campaign promise to scrap the registry.

The injunction granted Thursday applies to the data collected on residents of the province of Quebec, but also covers the accessibility, availability and integrity of the system holding the registry, as well as the equipment and tools that allow access to the Quebec data. That means the federal government can’t take further steps on ending the registry while the injunction is in place. And Quebec can keep adding data to the registry.

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