Tag Archives: gun control

The Question Doctors Can’t Ask

The Question Doctors Can’t Ask

It is unfair of Florida to ban all doctors (including pediatricians) from at least asking their patients if there are guns in the house and if they or anyone else in the house has access to them.

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A Judge Beautifully Exposes the Shameful Double Standard in Conservative Arguments Against Abortion

A Judge Beautifully Exposes the Shameful Double Standard in Conservative Arguments Against Abortion

a, judge, beautifully, exposes, the, shameful, double, standard, in, conservative, arguments, against, abortion,
Image Credit: AP

This is pretty much perfect, your Honor.

A law that would have shut down three out of five abortion clinics in the state of Alabama has just been temporarily struck down by a judge using the most immaculate analogy of all reproductive time. U.S. District Judge Myron Thomson ruled that the Alabama legislation, passed in 2013, imposed the unnecessary restriction of having admission privileges to hospitals and therefore posed an “undue burden” on women to get the, let us reiterate, legal, procedure in the state.

Since the proposed law threatens to close down all clinics except for those in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, the judge suggested that the same law applied to guns would face gross opposition.

According to Al.com, he proposed a scenario in which gun regulations would force the state to close down all but two stores who sell guns, forcing residents of the state to only buy guns at these two stores. 

“The defenders of this law would be called upon to do a heck of a lot of explaining — and rightly so in the face of an effect so severe,” the judge said. “Similarly, in this case, so long as the Supreme Court continues to recognize a constitutional right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, any regulation that would, in effect, restrict the exercise of that right to only Huntsville and Tuscaloosa should be subject to the same skepticism.”

For some, the analogy between guns and abortion doesn’t immediately resonate, but in fact in many states, it’s still harder to get an abortion than a gun. This is unsurprising given that there has been more anti-choice legislation enacted in the last two years than over the past decade. Indeed, a quick look at successful legislation from the last year suggests that guns have become less controversial than women’s control over their own uteruses. In 2013, there were a whopping 91 new abortion restrictions compared to only 64 for roughly the same period. In many states, for example Arizona, Missouri and Utah, you have to wait longer to get an abortion than to get a gun, because women’s control over their own uterus is deadlier than a lethal weapon, apparently.

As Tara Culp-Tessler points out for Think Progress, drawing similarities between access to abortion and guns isn’t as far fetched as some may think. Quoting Thompson, she notes  that “neither right can be fully exercised without the assistance of someone else,” and that “the right to abortion cannot be exercised without a medical professional, and the right to keep and bear arms means little if there is no one from whom to acquire the handgun or ammunition.” This parallel was apparently instrumental in the judge’s decision. In the context of both rights, the Supreme Court recognizes that some regulation of the protected activity is appropriate, but that other regulation may tread too heavily on the right,” he concluded.

Moreover, while many anti-choicers appear to be motivated by the misguided argument that restrictions on abortion will actually lower the abortion rate, increased regulation doesn’t actually make the procedure rarer or safer, and may even increase the prevalence of illegal abortions. According to a 2011 UN report, legal restrictions aren’t only “discriminatory in nature” they also “violate the right to health by restricting access.” In the words of the former Senior Policy Advisor at Amnesty International, “restrictions on abortions just don’t work in that they don’t result in the desired outcome.” Given that getting an abortion is safer than receiving a shot of penicillin and that complications from a conoloscopy are five times more likely, laws forcing proximity to a hospital or admission privileges, like the one proposed in Alabama, further women’s health risks. That’s why the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stronglycondemns these types of anti-choice legislations, revealing the lie behind politicians and lobbyists daring to argue such laws are designed with “women’s health in mind.

Abortion and gun control have long been ideological goldmines for conservative politicians, meaning that Judge Thompson is certainly not the first person to relate the two issues. There was, for example, the unfortunate bumper sticker idea floated by the always-colorful Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas. Stockman, who’s past gimmicks have included Obama barf bags, made the assertion in 2013 that it would be nice if we could arm our embryos.

Image Credit: Twitter 

We shouldn’t pick and choose the freedoms that our justice system defends. They need all be respected, equally. But when the right to bear lethal arms has become less mandated than women’s right to bodily autonomy, it’s a sign that our priorities are at the wrong place. And besides, what’s the point of a right if you can’t exercise it? Abortion isn’t like bread rolls at an Italian restaurant, women won’t get more if it’s available, but it still needs to be on the table.”

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No, Concealed Carry Permits Do Not Result in a Lower Murder Rate

No, Concealed Carry Permits Do Not Result in a Lower Murder Rate

“The news: Almost everyday, new studies claim to definitively prove something (like whether coffee is good or bad for you). The public is often eager to believe “scientific proof,” but many people don’t realize they aren’t getting the full story.

That’s the case with the most recent study from the Crime Prevention Research Center that allegedly proves a link between more concealed carry permits in the U.S. and a decline in the national murder rate.

The broader picture, though, illuminates much less conclusive evidence. And if you can pull at least one loose string, the foundation for an argument starts to completely unravel.

So who exactly conducted the study? The Crime Prevention Research Center was started by economist, researcher and pro-gun advocate John Lott, who also spearheaded this latest report titled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.

The think tank’s mission is to “advance the scientific understanding of the relationship between laws regulating the ownership or use of guns, crime and public safety,” which directly undermines the idea that studies should be founded in unbiased claims.

Consider the language used in the report. The study reports that over 11 million Americans, nearly 5% of the population, currently have permits to carry concealed weapons. However, this data, the report admits, may not be representational because numbers for every state are not available and it doesn’t account for people that have permits but do not carry their weapons.

The main argument is that two things that happened simultaneously are related: A 22% drop in murder rates and a 103% spike in gun permits during 2007 and 2013. The report concludes that by “using this new state level permit data from 2007 on, our analysis suggests that each one percentage point increase in the percent of the adult population holding permits is roughly associated with a 1.4 percent drop in the murder rate.”

Words like “suggest” and “roughly associated” are dubious and opaque. The report doesn’t seem to take into account matters like improved policing or high incarceration rates that can also be attributed to the drop in murder rate. Just because things happen concurrently, does not mean that they are mutually exclusive.

Other organizations have found the opposite: there is no link. A 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council found that firearm related homicides in the U.S. are “19.5 times higher than the rates in other high-income countries.” Handguns are used in more than 87% of violent crimes because they’re “easily concealable.”

However, this same study reported that defensive uses of guns consistently lowers injury rates of victims compared to those victims without guns. But an earlier 2004 study from a committee within the National Research Council stated that they discovered “No link between right-to-carry laws and changes in crime … in the raw data.”

This reaffirmed what the CDC discovered in 2003 when they conducted a comprehensive study about firearm laws and their effectiveness in preventing violence. “Results of studies of firearms and ammunition bans were inconsistent: certain studies indicated decreases in violence associated with bans, and others indicated increases,” the report concluded.

Comparing the other reports with Lott and his study, the new results are controversial at best. Lott wove together ideas about concealed guns that can be, “roughly associated” with reducing homicide rates in the U.S. But there is not enough hard-hitting proof to declare a direct causation between a drop in murder rates and a rise in concealed weapons. And until that is proven, Lott, other politicians, and NRA advocates should be weary of misleading the public with abstract and unsubstantiated language.”

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A Conservative Sensation’s Attempt to Represent a ‘True American’ Backfires Spectacularly

A Conservative Sensation’s Attempt to Represent a ‘True American’ Backfires Spectacularly

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Becoming Better Victims

When rape victims are told that it was their fault, when young women and girls are told that they must cover up their “distracting” skin and curves, when they are told to not walk home alone, when they are given pepper spray as presents for dorm life, we are teaching them that they need to become better victims.

When children are told to stand up to their bullies, when they are told to stop the personal expressions that attract bullies’ attention, when they are taught preventative self-defense, when they are given bullet-proof mats to protect them in a school shooting, we are teaching them that they need to become better victims.

When minimum wage workers, the unemployed, and the homeless are told that they need to use more ingenuity to get by, when they are told to manage their personal budgets better, when they are criticized for not being able to support their children, we are teaching them that they need to become better victims.

When LGBT individuals are told that their sexuality and gender expression is a choice, when they are denied their existence and livelihoods, when they are denied dynamic roles beyond the typical stereotypes in popular culture, we are teaching them that they need to become better victims.

When “minorities” are criticized for having high unwed birth and single mother rates, when they are seen as less capable of academic and financial achievement, when they are seen as dangerous criminals and drug addicts, we are teaching them that they need to become better victims.

When people are encouraged to use guns for self protection, when they keep hidden defenses in their purses and wallets in case they get abducted or kidnapped, when they switch to the other side of the street to avoid walking by dubious-looking others, we are teaching them that they need to become better victims.

 

Instead of examining why rape, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, and other forms of arbitrary discrimination exist and why society produces these horrors, we are placing the blame on the victims.

We are saying: it’s your fault you were targeted, it’s your fault that you have big breasts for a 13-year-old, it’s your fault that a multi-million dollar corporation does’t pay you a living wage, it’s your fault that your school district does not teach comprehensive sex education, it’s you fault that you’re gay, it’s your fault that American prisons are for-profit and have capacity quotas to meet, and it’s your fault that you couldn’t defend yourself during a mass shooting, a robbery, or a rape.

We are saying, you are the one who is wrong.

We need to turn around and instead examine why the rapists rape, examine why the bullies bully, examine why the CEOs don’t pay a living wage, examine why the homophobes are homophobic, examine why “minorities” are given unfair treatment in the eyes of the law, examine why the murderers murder, and examine why the kidnappers kidnap.

We need to fully examine an individual’s journey to victimhood and see if it’s actually the fault of the victim as we are often too eager to assume in this society. We are brainwashed into thinking that it’s the victim’s fault that they’re in the position they’re in. I’m arguing for deconstructing that idea and re-examing how they became victims, and then pursuing/punishing those whose fault it actually is. I would argue that, more often than not, it’s not the victim’s fault that they’re a victim.Victim-blaming just perpetuates the cycle and it needs to change, now.

 

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Photos: Father Of Santa Barbara Killer Meets Victim’s Dad

June 16, 2014 3:51 PM ET

“Sometimes, not much needs to be said. That’s the case with a series of photos released today that show an early June meeting between the father of the Santa Barbara killer and the dad of one of his 20-year-old victims.

Richard Martinez said he wanted to meet Peter Rodger to figure out a way to work together. Simon AstairePeter Rodger (left) and Richard Martinez in Santa Barbara on June 1.Simon Astaire

If you remember, Richard Martinez made national news when he appeared at a police press conference and delivered an emotional plea to “stop this madness.”

In the days that followed, Martinez said he would like to meet Peter Rodger, the father of Elliot Rodger, who police say killed six people and himself.

“I’ve been told that the shooter’s father has said he wanted to devote his life to making sure that doesn’t happen again. I share that with him,” Martinez said. “He’s a father. I’m a father. He loved his son. I love my son. His son died. My son died.”

In early June that meeting came to fruition. The pictures were released by Rally, a communications firm that focuses on advocacy. It handles the publicity, for example, for Sandy Hook Promise, the group of parents who came together after the Sandy Hook shooting to try to bring about changes to gun laws.

The firm did not release details about the conversation.”

 

So important.

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by | June 17, 2014 · 4:14 pm

Turning 14 in Cincinnati: ‘I worry about surviving’

This article punched me in the heart. I want to hug every single one of these rays of sunshine.

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by | June 10, 2014 · 10:53 pm