Part three of a series on gun control in the USA, this is a roundup of some of the interesting and important articles I have read since Thursday's Oregon College shooting.
While Kids Continue to Die, All We Are Doing Is Teaching Them To Hide Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune (Link)
"Our door isn't soundproof this year," my (9 year old) daughter tells me. "So we have to be silent, so the gunman can't hear us."
Not a single morning goes by that I don't drop my son and daughter at school and wonder for a split second — that's all I allow myself — whether they will be murdered by a gunman that day.
I know I'm not the only parent who does that.
We have become like the sea turtles who entwine pollutants into their nests — accepting and weaving deadly trash into the most sacred parts of our lives.
Gun nuts, the ultimate thought police: Shutting down an open debate after yet another mass shooting Gary Legum, Salon (Link)
For all the caterwauling of gun control advocates, it seems clear to me that they have lost the fight. Contrary to the right-wing paranoia, the Second Amendment is in no danger of being repealed. It is nearly impossible to push even the mildest gun control measures through legislatures at either the federal or state level. The Senate took months to confirm our current surgeon general because he’d had the temerity to suggest research on the causes of gun violence might help us find solutions to reduce it. Gun nuts: You’ve won! It’s all over but the shooting shouting!
The Geography of Gun Deaths Richard Florida, The Atlantic (Link)
Let's start by looking at factors that are sometimes assumed to be associated with gun violence but statistically are not.
It is commonly assumed that mental illness or stress levels trigger gun violence. But that's not borne out at the state level. We found no statistical association between gun deaths and mental illness or stress levels. We also found no association between gun violence and the proportion of neurotic personalities.
Images of drug-crazed gunmen are a commonplace: Guns and drug abuse are presumed to go together. But, again, that was not the case in our state-level analysis. We found no association between illegal drug use and death from gun violence at the state level.
US Gun Control Jim Jefferies, Comic
Armed vet destroys gun nuts’ argument on mass shooters by explaining why he didn’t attack Oregon killer Tom Boggioni, Raw Story (Link)
“Luckily we made the choice not to get involved,” he explained. “We were quite a distance away from the building where this was happening. And we could have opened ourselves up to be potential targets ourselves, and not knowing where SWAT was, their response time, they wouldn’t know who we were. And if we had our guns ready to shoot, they could think that we were bad guys.”
Spare me this sanctimonious Australian self-congratulation after US gun massacres Jason Wilson, The Guardian (Link)
More immediately , it glosses over the fundamental reason that Australia was able to introduce strict gun control where the United States was not. It was not that the nation “grew up” – whatever that could possibly mean. It’s that there were fewer structural impediments to introducing the necessary laws at an opportune moment, a process which was almost entirely top-down.
Four Pro-gun arguments we are sick of hearing Amanda Marcotte, Rolling Stone (Link)
While victims are being rushed to the hospital, many right-wing pundits and politicians are no doubt readying their talking points to explain why the 264th mass shooting of the year does not mean the United States should tighten up access to deadly firearms.
Well, guys, I hate to break it to you, but we heard you the first time. And the second time. And the hundreds of times since that our country has grappled with an individual eager to take out as many lives as possible with a firearm. We can recite your arguments in our sleep, and they haven't grown better through repetition.
4chan and the Oregon shooter: What the suspicious thread says about a horrifying subculture of young male rage Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon (Link)
It may have been a direct warning. It may have been just a coincidence. And regardless of which scenario is true, the fact we can’t yet be sure should tell you plenty already about the horrifying subculture of murderously angry young men out there.
How To Make A Mass Shooter Dr Andrew Smiler, The Good Men Project (Link)
Teach him that revenge is a good way to deal with anger, that vengeful acts have no scale, and that all hurts and pain are equivalent. This way, he’ll believe that overwhelming force is an acceptable response to any hurt he experiences
Many School Shooters, One Common Factor - A warped View of Masculinity Stacey Tiecher Khadaroo & Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor (Link)
While mass shooters are often seen as “outliers or oddballs ... we should actually think of them as conformists,” says Tristan Bridges, a sociologist at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, citing research on masculinity by expert Michael Kimmel. “They’re over-conforming to masculinity, because they perceive themselves, in some way or another, as emasculated.... It’s a terrible statement about American masculinity, to say that when you’re emasculated, one way to respond is to open fire.”
Kilmartin of the University of Mary Washington says that while there’s some discussion of masculinity, mental health, and violence (both mass shootings and interpersonal violence such as rape), he encounters resistance when he raises these issues. “I get hate mail, as if I’m betraying men,” he says. On the contrary, he says, he’s motivated by the belief that “we as men can do better.”
It's not about mental illness, The big lie that always follows mass shooting by white males Athur Chu, Salon (Link)
I get really really tired of hearing the phrase “mental illness” thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like “toxic masculinity,” “white supremacy,” “misogyny” or “racism.”
What I hear from people who bleat on about “The real issue is mental illness,” when pressed for specific suggestions on how to deal with said “real issue,” is terrifying nonsense designed to throw the mentally ill under the bus.
Everyone Blames Mental Illness, But what if They're Wrong? German Lopez, VOX (Link)
Jonathan Metzl, a professor of psychiatry, sociology, and medicine, health, and society at Vanderbilt University, argues that mental illness is often a scapegoat that lets policymakers and the public ignore bigger, more complicated contributors to gun violence.
Killing strangers seems so far outside the bounds of civilized society and sanity that looking to insanity is understandable.
Turning Murderous Prats into Nihillistic Pin Ups, SCOUT Magazine (link) (The comments are worth reading)
Will news networks and newspapers ever take it upon themselves to heed the words of the experts, or does the need to sensationalize for ratings and hits make larger societal considerations laughably quaint?
We're Better At Killing Americans Than Our Enemies Are Michael Shermer, The LA Times (Link)
Consider this finding from a 1998 study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: "Every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides."
Yes, people can kill one another and themselves with knives, ropes, lead pipes, wrenches and candlestick holders, but the data match the growing national intuition that guns are a major problem.
Hi I'm Nicole