Wow. Should have asked him how many guns he recommend the Navy Yard should have had. Via.
A University of Kansas professor was put on leave after a tweet to the NRA. Please use that as the backdrop for today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
Re "Police warned Navy about shooter," Sept. 19
As journalists dissect the mental health of the individual responsible for the Washington Navy Yard shooting, I want to challenge us to stop focusing exclusively on blaming individuals. Trying to assign a motive is to miss the point.
Gun violence is an epidemic in this country. This issue is not about politics or the 2nd Amendment, it's about public health. In Los Angeles County, guns are the second-leading cause of death for young men. If a disease were killing us at this rate, we would be using every tool to do something about it.
To those who say gun laws have no effect, research shows that of the 10 states with the strongest gun safety legislation, seven have the lowest rates of gun deaths. And the gun issue is not just about the mass shootings; more than half the young people who commit suicide with a firearm got that gun from their home.
Gun laws alone will not solve this, but they are a critical component of the systemic change that is required. There is a package of gun violence prevention bills on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk right now. We can choose not to accept gun violence as part of our lives.
The writer is the director of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles.
What needs to be explored is why gunman Aaron Alexis, who had mental health problems and a record of strange behavior, was able to buy a gun and receive security clearance. This is a more significant reflection on our society than on Alexis.
When as a society are we going to become more adept at providing psychiatric assistance to those who are suffering? I believe the 13 deaths in Washington on Monday represent a systemic, societal problem.
In a separate article, a close friend of Alexis asked a question that deserves an answer: "Why didn't they get him help?"
Guns don't kill people. People who are able to get guns because the National Rifle Assn. refuses to accept universal background checks, which could keep guns out of the hands of mentally disturbed people and others who shouldn't own firearms, kill people.
A professor apparently "disrupted the learning environment" at the University of Kansas with a tweet.
The NRA has disrupted America with its gun lobbying, but they're not "on leave." Wayne LaPierre has disrupted politics with his frequent, public, vile spew, but he's not "on leave." The consequences of their words and actions, all that shilling for the gun industry, have been tragic.
Mass murderers disrupt (read: end) lives but they're still out there, able to slaughter crowds with their semi-automatic weapons. The consequences of their actions have been tragic.
But a journalism professor didn't shoot a gun, he shot off his mouth and swiftly got silenced. He is now on indefinite administrative leave.
The NRA is still out there selling deadly firearms, and very little is being done to deny them their voices.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas journalism professor was placed on indefinite administrative leave Friday for a tweet he wrote about the Navy Yard shootings which said, "blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters."
David W. Guth, an associate professor of journalism, made the comment on Twitter after Monday's shootings in Washington, D.C., in which 13 people died, including the gunman. The tweet didn't attract much attention until Campus Reform.org posted a story Thursday, sparking a social media backlash that's spilled over into some state lawmakers calling for his dismissal.
Now personally, I don't agree with Guth's approach at all, but the point of this post isn't about the content of his tweet, it's about the backlash. Why isn't there an equally swift, equally effective response to those who actually contribute to cutting lives short?
Guth, who on Thursday told The Associated Press in a phone interview that his tweet "got a conversation going — that was exactly what I wanted to do," agreed Friday that the university's action was appropriate in light of email threats he and others at the university had received.
There are now calls for his dismissal, specifically by Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Republican who has received $2,500 in campaign contributions from the NRA since 2004.
And an NRA spokesman self-righteously declared, "This is hate speech. It is disgusting and deplorable. It has no place in our society."
But assault style/military style weapons with high capacity magazines that make it easy to mow down crowds but are unnecessary for hunting or personal protection do have a place in our society. Those aren't disgusting or deplorable at all. In fact, they're hunky dory.
On September 11th, 2001, this was heard from a police helicopter hovering over the World Trade Center:
''About 15 floors down from the top, it looks like it's glowing red,'' the pilot of one helicopter, Aviation 14, radioed at 10:07 a.m. ''It's inevitable.''
Orders were given to evacuate. There was just one hitch. One fatal hitch:
Yet most firefighters never heard those warnings, or earlier orders to get out. Their radio system failed frequently that morning. Even if the radio network had been reliable, it was not linked to the police system. And the police and fire commanders guiding the rescue efforts did not talk to one another during the crisis.
At least 121 firefighters died as a result.
That was over a decade ago. Heartbreaking. Infuriating. Fixable.
Radios for federal firefighters and police officers failed during Monday’s mass shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard, according to union representatives for first responders.
Union officials said police and firefighters resorted to using their cellphones and radios from D.C.’s emergency responders to communicate with each other during the attack. [...]
After the first shootout with the gunman, one officer found his radio’s battery was dead, while another officer could not receive a signal from his radio and was unable to call for help. That forced them to use an officer’s cellphone to call others outside the building, according to Meely. [...]
[Anthony Meely, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Naval District Washington (NDW) Labor Committee], who was on the scene at Navy Yard and took part in the search for a potential second shooter, said problems with their radios have been “a known issue” on the base with radio batteries not being able to hold charge and being unable to receive signals inside buildings.
The union representative said he thought it was “sad” that police officers had to use a cellphone to call for help.
Firefighters + police + problems with their radio signals = Disaster-in-waiting. Preventable disaster-in-waiting.
It's 2013. 2001 was twelve years ago. After twelve long years, lives are still at risk from the same type of communication problems that existed on September 11, 2001. This is mind-boggling. And it is also unacceptable.
You'd think fixing something this crucial to the safety of our first responders and those whose lives they try to save would be a priority, wouldn't you?
Even in a small, quite benign state like New Hampshire, you can't be shielded from the whack-atude of the GOP right. On the heels of the horrific tragedy at the Washington DC Navy Yard a Republican candidate for Jeanne Shaheen's (D-NH) Senate seat has reinforced his earlier statements how violence in the workplace is the fault of -- WOMEN!
Yup, that's the conclusion of former state Sen. Jim Rubens (R-NH) came to when he wrote in a 2009 post, as reported by BUZZFEED
"Because status success is more vital to the male psychology, males are falling over the edge in increasing numbers."
The fact that the economy has changed, Rubens also argued, has had a dangerous effect on men, causing a small portion of them to commit more acts of violence.
TPM, also covering this announcement for Rubens' senatorial run, had this quote, an update of his 2009 comments and stated after the Navy Yard tragedy:
"It's a tiny fraction of males that become stressed for whatever reason and engage in acts of extreme violence," Rubens said. "If you look through individual psychology of mass shooters over the past 10-20 years, you can see that in the profile. Often it's a person who has been subjected to extreme stress in the form of social rejection, job loss and associated mental health issues."
Now a sane conclusion to these delusional remarks by the new candidate is that women are the root of these workplace shootings. Get rid of them and you get rid of the cause.
So, all of you working women out there, on behalf of working men all over the globe, please pack your things. You've got to go. Our safety is at risk with you in the workplace.
I'm sure that message will win him a lot of support. You go, GOP! Go far away -- off the edge of the flat earth.
This graphic shows the Mass Shooting/Killing incidents since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. (H/t: Nicole Sandler)
In today's Los Angeles Times, there was an article that went into more detail about Navy Yard murderer Aaron Alexis's "calm, indiscriminate" gun massacre, and how he intended to kill as many people as possible.
As I read the piece, three passages stood out to me, three passages that were painful reminders of how wrongheaded Republican policies are and how the consequences of their laws can hurt Americans.
Let's take them one at a time.
One: Conservatives are obsessed with Small Government (except, of course, when their party's legislators shove trans-vaginal ultrasound probes into women's vaginas against their will). Ironically, it slips what's left of their minds that We the People are government, Elected officials represent We the People. We the People gave them their Big Government jobs. And they claim to value We the People over government, so by shrinking government, they're contradicting themselves by squeezing We the People out. We, too, become smaller. Oops.
Meantime, here's what happens when the GOP succeeds in downsizing the role of that Big Bad Evil Kenyan Marxist Government:
Anthony Meely, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police's labor committee for the Navy Yard's officers, said in an interview that the force was woefully undermanned Monday because of government cutbacks, which may have led to additional deaths. There were only six patrolmen on duty instead of 11, all were posted at the gates, and only two patrol cars were available [...]
Meely summed up: "I believe the security guard might still be alive if we had had adequate staffing." Instead, he said, "we were undermanned."
So budget cuts eliminated the very protection the shooting victims' lives depended on. Budget cuts resulted in people dying.
Two: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Uh huh:
The chief could hear the shots ringing inside and saw the private security guard at one of the entrances, Meely said. The chief told the guard to unholster his weapon and be prepared to return fire, Meely said, and when the guard did, Alexis shot him.
The bad guy with the gun killed the good guy with a gun. Again, the end result was death.
Three: Gotta have those High Capacity Magazines, because the Second Amendment is the most important Constitutional Amendment evah! The problem with that is, those magazines allow high volume, uninterrupted bullet paths right smack into a large number of human targets. Mass murderers have often been tackled only when they needed to stop and reload. Had Alexis had an assault style firearm capable of shooting 30 to 100 rounds before having to reload, more people would have died:
[FBI Director James B. Comey] said the rampage ended only when Alexis ran out of ammunition. "He was isolated and pinned down by the first responders," he said.
Freedom to own certain weapons is one thing. Freedom to spray crowds with bullets is another. Most of us support the freedom to breathe without fear of being mowed down.
But gun makers donate to politicians and the NRA, and politicians and the NRA do their bidding. Because, you know, freedom.
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