What I’ve Been Reading (re: Newtown, Gun Violence, Mental Health, etc)

UPDATE #2 (12/16 at 9:45pm CST):

People Magazine’s page dedicated to the 27 people murdered on Friday.

The Heroes of Sandy Hook (Andrew Kaczynski at Buzzfeed). They are all women.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn: Reflections In the Aftermath of the Connecticut School Shooting (Kristin Rawls at Global Comment)

Faith is one of those standbys in times of intense trauma. It can be a community institution that allows people to come together to grieve, which is what I would like to think took place in the many small towns of Connecticut tonight. It can allow for collective expressions of grief that become a crucial part of the healing process.

And it can be a destructive and abusive force that minimizes human loss for its own self-aggrandizement. The many fundamentalists who shouted yesterday about the “culture of death” and the need for “repentance” in American society are too self-satisfied to weep with those who weep. At minimum, perhaps we can start honoring the victims by shielding their families and loved ones from the callous pronouncements of the religiously smug.

Human tragedy cuts us all in different ways. So, we mourn. Then we figure out a better way to live.

From the Up with Chris tumblr:

From 2008 to 2009, the number of preschool-aged children killed by guns was nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

A graph showing that From 2008 to 2009, the number of preschool-aged children killed by guns was nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty - 89 police officers, 173 preschoolers.

Cedar Lake, Indiana: Man with 47 guns arrested after school threat

A northern Indiana man who allegedly threatened to “kill as many people as he could” at an elementary school near his home was arrested by officers who later found 47 guns and ammunition hidden throughout his home.

Von. I. Meyer, 60, of Cedar Lake, was arrested Saturday after prosecutors filed formal charges of felony intimidation, domestic battery and resisting law enforcement against him.

Don’t Stigmatize Asperger’s Syndrome in Wake of Newtown Massacre (Ron Fournier at National Journal)

Feinstein to introduce assault weapons ban at start of next Congress (Russell Berman at The Hill)

Arming People Doesn’t Stop Mass Murders (Wonk Wire)

UPDATE #1 (12/15 at 9:40pm CST):

Los Angeles: Shots fired at Fashion Island; lockdown in effect

Memphis: MPD officer (Officer Martoiya Lang, a nine-year veteran and mother of four) killed in hail of bullets

The Geography of U.S. Gun Violence (Richard Florida at Atlantic Cities):

With images of mentally deranged killers so prominent in the media, it is frequently assumed that gun violence is a product of mental illness or drug abuse. But we found no association between mental illness, stress, or illegal drug use and gun deaths at the state level. While one would think gun violence would be higher in states with higher levels of economic anxiety related to unemployment or inequality, we found no association to either at the state level. My colleagues and I did, however, find gun deaths to be higher in states with higher levels of poverty and  lower incomes, as well as in red states and those with more blue-collar working class economies. Conversely, we found gun deaths to be less likely in states with more college graduates and stronger knowledge-based economies.


I’ve been following The Guardian‘s live coverage to stay on top of details. And David Grann’s Twitter feed is excellent. The Guardian‘s Ed Pilkington is on the ground in Newtown.

I’ve also been updating my post on teachers and school administrators as we learn more about the people in Sandy Hook who put themselves between the killer and the children.

And credit where it’s due: a whole lotta these links are from a wide range of my friends on Facebook.

Newtown and the Madness of Guns (Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker)

So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.

The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, is of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.

On “Mental Health Care” (Dan Solomon)

These are just the very, very basic questions that come up when the words “mental health care” are invoked to prevent people from having a conversation about guns. These are only the obvious ones that have to be addressed and considered before you can even be considered to have an actual opinion about this. If you can’t answer the question “what does that look like” when you say “we need more mental health care” in response to someone talking about mass gun violence, then you’re not participating in a conversation at all. You’re just trying to shut one down. 

Everything is Political and Politics is Everything (William Richardson at Red. Soc.)

The real politics of race doesn’t happen when a young black man is shot by a cop, it happens in the minds of Americans who associate “black male” with “criminal”. The recent War on Women didn’t begin with anti-abortion laws: it likely began with a bunch of “make me a sandwich” jokes. Politics, and thus the decisions of who can and cannot control society and reap its benefits, don’t begin with political candidates, bills, and laws but with ideas, conversation between people, and our own lived experiences. Everything is political because politics involves everything.

Battleground America: One Nation, Under the Gun (Jill Lepore at The New Yorker on the history of guns and the second amendment in the US, from April 23, 2012)

Petition at White House website: Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress.

The Newtown Shooting: Kindergartners and Courage (Amy Davidson at The New Yorker)

How do we find ourselves asking kindergarteners to be more courageous in the face of a gunman than politicians are in the face of the gun lobby?

Everything at Mother Jones. Everything.

Mr. Rogers on talking to kids about tragedy.

Right To Own Handheld Device That Shoots Deadly Metal Pellets At High Speed Worth All Of This (The Onion)

Fuck Everything, Nation Reports (The Onion)

And in other gun violence news in the last 24 hours in the US:

I’ll continue to update this with what I’m reading.

If you’ve got any good links, feel free (please!) to leave them in comments.


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