In early October, a Florida state senator introduced legislation to repeal the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law allowing individuals to use deadly force in self-defense outside their homes. Florida was the first state to enact such a measure, and in the 18 years since its passage, studies have shown that more Floridians are dying because of it. “The data is clear: homicide rates and gun deaths are higher where these discriminatory, dangerous policies are on the books,” Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-34), the bill’s sponsor, told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). What’s less widely known is the pivotal role the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has played in ensuring the widespread adoption of such laws.
The killing of seven people and wounding of 47 more in Highland Park, Illinois on July 4 was committed with a weapon made by Smith & Wesson, the world’s biggest firearms manufacturer. So was the killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Perhaps it’s no surprise that guns made by Smith & Wesson would be implicated in gun crimes, a category that reached record heights in the United States last year. Neither is it a surprise that the issue crosses U.S. borders. In a lawsuit targeting major gun manufacturers, the Mexican government cited numerous examples of Smith & Wesson rifles being smuggled over the border to criminal cartels. The company is well aware, the lawsuit says, “that its marketing would motivate and attract criminal users — including the cartels — to select and misuse its products in unlawful acts of violence.”
In the wake of the Buffalo and Uvalde mass shootings, 70 percent of Republicans said it is more important to protect gun rights than to control gun violence, while 92 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents expressed the opposite view. Just weeks after those mass shootings, Republicans and gun rights advocates hailed the Supreme Court ruling that invalidated New York state’s gun permit law and declared that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. Mayor Eric Adams, expressing his opposition to the ruling, suggested that the court’s decision would turn New York City into the “Wild West.”
Between the lack of action around police brutality, the threats to Roe v. Wade, increasing mass shootings, and the ever looming threat of climate catastrophe, desperation and despair have become the emotions of the day. Polling shows most Americans still care about these issues, but they’ve long lost faith in mainstream institutions and their capacity for change. It can be difficult to know how to respond in moments of crisis like these. Besides panicking, one traditional approach is what is called the “ladder of engagement,” which relies on a series of actions that increase in intensity over time to win over supporters and apply pressure to people in power. This usually begins with gathering petition signatures and holding educational events while gradually building the support and capacity to move towards rallies and eventually, though rarely, more confrontational protests like occupations.
For so long, the people of South Texas have been expected to sacrifice their communities to a border security apparatus. Drones, helicopters, and agents have saturated cities and towns where residents have gone without health insurance and send their children to underfunded schools. It was this apparatus that responded in late May when a gunman rampaged through an elementary school classroom in Uvalde, killing children—19 in all—and two teachers. Hundreds of state troopers, federal immigration agents, sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Marshals, and local police quickly descended on a town of 15,000, set among ranchlands 80 miles southwest of San Antonio and 60 miles from the border with Mexico. That rapid influx reflected the deep penetration of the border security apparatus in the region.
When America No Longer Exports Carnage As A Business Model, Maybe We’ll Stop Seeing It In The Streets Here
Speaking in the dimly lit Cross Hall in the White House, and flanked on either side by rows of candles and the soft lighting of the chandeliers and torchiere lamps above and behind him, Joe Biden conjured up his best human emotions to deliver an impassioned promise that he would do something about gun violence in this country. "How much more carnage are we willing to accept?" Biden asked, demanding Republicans in particular end their blockade of gun control votes. Since the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, Biden has been pressed to do something, which he promised he would do, but his speech was only tough talk to encourage Congress to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, to expand background check requirements for gun purchases, create new rules for safely storing weapons, enact new "red flag" laws that would prevent gun sales to those with criminal records, repeal liability shields for gun manufacturers and provide more mental health services for students.
For educators like myself, no matter how far we teach from Uvalde, Texas, the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary, like so many before it, is still palpable in our classrooms — among students and teachers alike. Two days after the massacre, Toni Wright, one of my students in New Haven, Conn., stood in our high school’s hallway crying. “I couldn’t even make it to school yesterday,” they told me. “I got on the bus, I made it down the street, but I had to get off and tell my mom to come get me. I was so upset that it was physically hurting me to try to go to school.” Toni’s peers might have felt this way too, but many students did not want to talk about the shooting. As Toni explained, “I don’t think anyone knows how to talk about it without being like: ‘it’s so sad, it happened again.’”
I changed my flight back home to Hawai’i so I could be at the protest of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Houston on Friday, May 27 following the mass murder of 19 kids and 2 teachers at the Uvalde, Texas elementary school earlier in the week. The NRA callously refused to postpone its annual gun-selling convention in Houston despite the call for the organization to stand down in wake of yet another mass killing, the third in a period of three weeks with ten killed at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York and one person killed and five wounded in shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California. Thousands of angry people of all ages jammed into Discovery Park across the street from the massive George R. Brown convention center in downtown Houston.
The mass shooting of 19 children and two teachers, and the wounding of 17 more people, at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday was a genuinely horrific event. The students killed were 9, 10 and 11 years old, in the second, third and fourth grades. The adults killed, both women, were fourth-grade teachers. The perpetrator of the crime barricaded himself inside a classroom and opened fire with a lightweight semi-automatic rifle that he had obtained a day after his 18th birthday, one week earlier. In the most immediate and direct sense, hundreds if not thousands of people will never recover from the damage done in this one incident alone. The American ruling elite, its politicians and its media outlets, have nothing insightful or useful to say about this most recent calamity.
Houston, Texas - After two sleepless nights wondering what, if anything, she could do, Nancy Harris, 73, decided to drive four hours to Houston. Before she left, she pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down 12 names. Each name was someone she knew had been shot. She put an asterisk next to the ones who had died, including her own daughter. She says she didn’t know the National Rifle Association, one of America’s most powerful lobbyist groups, was meeting in Houston this weekend until after the horrific shooting in Uvalde on Tuesday. She is a gun owner but stood across the street from the NRA’s convention to share her story with anyone who would listen. “I have no children left,” Harris said.
Today, a group of right-wingers are gathering to fetishize guns. The cast of characters includes a former president, multiple sitting congresspeople, and the senator of a state which just saw the fourth deadliest school shooting in American history. There also will be members of the far-right group the Oath Keepers, people who attempted to overturn the results of the last election, weapons manufacturers, people who call queer people “degenerates,” and an actor who once played Superman. And that’s just the board members. The National Rifle Association (NRA) hosts their annual convention this weekend just a few days after a school shooting in Uvalde left 19 children and two adults dead and a few weeks after a white supremacist fatally shot 10 people in a supermarket in Buffalo.
In response to Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left at least 17 people injured, 19 elementary students and two teachers dead, students and teachers across the United States walked out of school Thursday to protest gun violence. Several walkouts occurred at schools where memories are still fresh from their own tragic experience with mass homicidal violence, a routine phenomenon in capitalist America. At Oxford High School, located on the outskirts of the Detroit, Michigan metro region, where a school shooting last December left four students dead, hundreds of students walked out of school and amassed on the football field, where they formed a “U” in support of Uvalde.
San Francisco , California - Employees at Salesforce, San Francisco’s largest private employer, are urging executives to cease their working relationship with the National Rifle Association after the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead. An open letter titled, “Ending our customer relationship with the NRA,” was sent to the tech titan's co-CEOs, Marc Benioff and Bret Taylor; CFO Amy Weaver; and CMO Sarah Franklin on Wednesday evening, according to a current Salesforce employee (who was granted anonymity in accordance with Hearst’s ethics policy). The letter, which SFGATE has viewed, was also posted on the company's internal Slack (Salesforce now owns Slack).
It is extremely easy in the United States to obtain guns, to find places to practice using them, and to find trainers willing to teach you to use them. There’s no need to have any contact with the U.S. military in order to dress and act as if you’re in the military, as many mass-shooters do, some of them waging their own delusional wars against immigrants or other groups. But it is remarkable that at least 36% of U.S. mass shooters (and quite possibly more) have in fact been trained by the U.S. military. It is equally remarkable that, although I’ve been updating and writing about this topic for years, it is virtually whited-out from U.S. media.
Gunman Rob Aaron Long opened fire in three Asian-owned spas in the Atlanta, Georgia area on March 16, 2021, killing Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Delaina Ashley Yuan, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng and Paul Andre Michels.* Six of the eight victims were Asian women. At local and national levels, the initial media response focused primarily on the gunman’s story and police statements. Reports linked the targeted businesses to sex work with insubstantial documentation, but struggled to identify if and how race and gender motivated the gunman.