Tagviolence

Recipe for a shooting

Men are unable to deal with their emotions. We’re taught from an early age to man up and be tough. No one is going to see you cry.

And it’s garbage. Men are emotional people too. We cry. We hurt. We have emotions but it’s not allowed for us to display them.

So we pick up guns.

We go online and scream at people to make ourselves feel better. We form hate groups. We harass women and minorities. We act out violently towards anything we don’t understand or disagree with.

We don’t know any better. We were never taught any better.

Chuck Wendig wrote what I wanted to say so go read his words.


It begins with men. Young men, usually.

(This is a recipe that simmers a long time on the stove.)

>You teach them that the world was made for them. That they own it and can do what they want and take what they desire. You also teach them that they are not allowed to express themselves. Doing that is to be like a woman, and men are told that they are very explicitly not women. Men own everything, remember. It is their right to own and to want and to take. Women are lesser, for they do not own the world. So to be like a woman — to cry and to manifest other feelings — is to be lesser. It’s not that they don’t have feelings. It is that they are taught to keep them inside. In boxes and bottles. In lead-lined trunks locked tight lest they ever escape.

What I Learned From Pro-Gun Twitter

When I wrote about President Obama’s Executive Order about guns I specifically wasn’t trying to change anyone’s mind. There’s a reason for this. I am not trying to strip my opponents of their identities. Guns are their identities.

Obama coming for your guns

Jenny Trout posted a single tweet. My child is more important than your gun.

The replies are what you expect. Threats against her. Threats if she tries to come and take their guns. Fear. Yes, she picked the replies but what she posted was indicative of what happens when anyone says something even remotely about guns control online. Remember, this started with her saying my child is more important than your gun. She’s not coming to take them away. It’s not a pro-gun-control message. It’s a mother’s statement that her child is precious.

But she hits upon some truths I think we overlook when trying to have a debate about guns in this country.

The pro-gun right has one weapon, and that is fear. If they can’t make you fear “terrorists”, they’ll try to make you fear “thugs”. If they can’t make you fear “thugs”, they’ll jump to the hypothetical rape of your pretty white daughter. If they can’t make you afraid at all, they’ll become violently afraid of you. Then they’ll kill you, and say it was in self-defense because you tried to take their guns. Self-defense, because their guns are their selves. That’s why they’re panicking; if the government legislates their guns away, they’re legislating these peoples’ identities away.

For a group who uses fear as its main tactic, fear is at the heart of the issue. They see gun control as an attack on their guns which they view as part of their identity. Their guns are their selves. That’s why the government is so scary. It’s threatening to remove part of their identities. How do you even begin a discussion that starts with wanting to remove part of someone’s identity?

Update

Richard makes a great point. We need to deal with The Anger before we deal with The Gun.

The Anger is in all of us. The Anger manifests itself differently in each person, to different degrees. The Anger can be eased, it can be released safely, but it never goes away. You have to be taught how to deal with The Anger, but few people ever learn on their own. Fewer still know how to teach it. Instead, we try to sublimate The Anger, hide it, pretend it doesn’t exist. But it doesn’t go away. Without a way to acknowledge The Anger, to release it in a safe way, The Anger explodes, increasingly in a hail of gunfire.

The Anger feeds on the Fear. The result is a much darker version of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition sketch.

Every gun-related death is preventable

“We know that we can’t stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?”

President Barack Obama tears up as he delivers remarks to announce steps that the administration is taking to reduce gun violence, in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 5, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Believe what you want about guns and rights. Believe what you like about President Obama, the Second Amendment and the NRA. I am not going to try to change your minds. I won’t.

What I want is not to lose any of you to gun violence. I don’t want to see a Facebook update about how you were gunned down last night.

I don’t want to get a call that you were murdered while seeing a movie, going to church or being black.

I don’t want your family to mourn your death. I don’t want you to be a loss your family commemorates. I don’t want you to be reduced to a memory and a grave stone or a sprinkled pile of ash.

I want you to be alive. I want you to be well. I want you to live and breathe and make the most of your life. I want you to enjoy the life you were meant to lead. I don’t want you to die.

I don’t want to die. I like going to the movies. I used to regularly attend church. I drive my car and use public transit. I don’t want to get gunned down as I go about my day.

And I want the same for you. I don’t want you to get killed. I want you to live a long and full life. And I want to enjoy the same.

I own a gun. I don’t think about it. It’s not a part of my life. I have the right. But I don’t need to carry it around and keep it on my person at any given time. I understand those who feel the need for a firearm for their own safety.

But I am not that person. I don’t feel unsafe. If I walk outside and I meet a gunman and it’s my day to die, then so be it. I don’t believe if I were armed I would stand a better chance in living through the encounter.

I write this as a I watch President Obama’s talk on guns tonight. I know he’s a controversial figure and anything he says will draw fire from all sides.

He is not coming to take our guns away. He is not trying to infringe on our rights as Americans or gun owners. He is asking why we allow gun violence to be a daily problem in our country.

Watch President Obama Share the Steps He’s Taking to Reduce Gun Violence.

“Maybe we can’t save everybody but we can save some.”

It seems like a reasonable idea.

The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.

Part of the President’s plan has nothing to do with guns themselves. But to invest in treatment for people with mental health issues. These issues can lead to homicide, but also suicide.

I fully support helping people with mental health issues get the care they need. This will take the guns, pills, cars and knives out of their hands and allow them to live a happy and healthy life.

Let’s keep people safe and keep them alive. I support life. I support people getting the help they need. I support making it just a bit harder to get a gun immediately. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind. I’m not trying to. I watched this talk tonight with tears in my eyes as I thought about all the children, parents, teachers, and friends lost to needless violence.

I support less death. I support trying to do something about gun violence. Doing nothing is not the answer. And I don’t know what the answer is. But what we’re doing now isn’t working. So it’s time to try something new.

The Virginia Tech shooting will always be a part of my life, as long as I live as my wife was a student at Tech when it happened, and I covered it for our college newspaper. The pain of a death doesn’t end at the day of death.

Header image from Flickr: Young Cardinals fan and a machine gun

50 Shades of Bruise

Jian Ghomeshi beats women. He has tried to play this off as consensual BSDM play. This is not BDSM. Nor is it consensual. There are now 8 women who have come forward with accusations. One of them has publicly told her story and the Toronto Star has been looking into allegations against him since May.

Jian Ghomeshi: 8 women accuse former CBC host of violence, sexual abuse or harassment

Before all of this became news, I saw a tweet linking to a post on Facebook written by Jian Ghomeshi explaining he was wrongly fired from the CBC.

He writes:

Today I was fired from the company where I’ve been working for almost 14 years – stripped from my show, barred from the building and separated from my colleagues. I was given the choice to walk away quietly and to publicly suggest that this was my decision. But I am not going to do that. Because that would be untrue. Because I’ve been fired. And because I’ve done nothing wrong.

I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.

He goes on to explain the smear campaign perpetrated against him by a jilted lover. He does not explain the other women who have since come forward with their own tales about his abuse and violence.

Six months ago, I would probably not be telling you about this because I would have had no idea who he was. However, since then I have started listening to NPR whenever I get into the car. And I’ve heard him on Q many times. It was, and still is, a good show I enjoy as part of NPR’s lineup.

There are two parts of this story that need to be told. First, this is not BSDM or any other kink. This is violence. Pure and simple. BSDM relationships are built on trust and love. This is pure violence against women.

Ghomeshi’s friend Owen Pallett took to Facebook and wrote some of his thoughts and says this in so many words.

The beauty of BDSM relationships is that the power is always in the hands of the sub. BDSM and choke play is a subversion of male violence.
To hear that anybody has been abusing the BDSM power relationship for the purpose of engaging in non-consensual violence-against-women is horrifying.
That is not the point of BDSM. BDSM is in fact about the exact opposite thing. It is about repurposing acts of violence into creating a power dynamic of fucking EQUALITY.

The author John Scalzi has some similarly harsh words for Ghomeshi.

  1. It was canny of Mr. Ghomeshi to try to frame his assaults in the context of BDSM, but also disingenuous and false. BDSM is not my thing, but I know a lot of people for whom it is. None of them would see what Mr. Ghomeshi did as something relating to their particular kink. Attacking someone without their consent isn’t about sexual gratification, it’s about the assertion of power — the ability to say “I can do this to you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” And sure, maybe Mr. Ghomeshi got a rise out of that, too. But at the end of the day choking a woman who is not consenting to the experience and saying it’s BDSM is akin to stabbing someone in bar and claiming it was a martial arts test match. Again, BDSM isn’t my thing, but it’s a thing I know enough about to know that what Mr. Ghomeshi was doing wasn’t that.

The next part of this story is a sad tale that gets repeated far too many times. The women here are the victim. It does not matter that he was a radio show personality. It does not matter if they came forward immediately. They were beaten by this man.

Here is Ghomeshi’s friend Owen Pallett again:

But let’s be clear. Whether the court decides that predatory men are punished or exonerated does not silence the voices of the victims. It does not make victims liars.
Whether our culture continues to celebrate the works of predatory men is another issue. It does not silence the voices of the victims.

He ends with.

Jian Ghomeshi is my friend, and Jian Ghomeshi beats women. How our friendship will continue remains to be seen.

We’ve heard this story before. A man is having his life ruined by an ex-lover. OK. So that explains one person. What about the other seven people who have come forward with similar allegations?

This is why women don’t come forward. The burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt they were beaten and attacked is frightening. Then, even if they are able to come forward, they risk not being believed and backlash against them. This is true of someone who is not a media figure with a fan base.

This is true of every woman.

Women should not be afraid to report violence against them.
Women should not have to band together in numbers too large to ignore to report an attack.

One attack is too many.

Violence Problem

In the wake of 20 students being stabbed at a Pennsylvania high school, much has been said about it. But I’ve read nothing better than what Chief Oliver from the Brimfield Police Department posted to the police department’s Facebook wall. I have included it in full below:

Good Afternoon,

A little while ago, I posted about the tragic stabbings of students at a high school in Pennsylvania. We post info like that incident (and also officers being killed) as a notice for mourning and reflection. Soon after, the insults and innuendos started, with words like “conservative” “liberal,” “it wasn’t a gun” and “arm the teachers.” Here is some unsolicited advice. Do with it what you will. If it does not apply to you, then ignore it.
Until we, as adults, learn to stop being angry, insulting each other and picking fights every chance we get, how in heck can we expect our kids to behave any differently? I guarantee, if you are an Internet troll, generally angry and surly and by all appearances hate the human race, the children around you will act no better than what you are modeling. We have to be the examples for those who are still growing.
If you want another opinion, here you go. Until adults start leading and acting like adults, we are just spinning our wheels. There is no perfect political party, no perfect way to peel a banana, and no perfect person. Adults insulting each other and cramming political views in our ears in a constant barrage of “the world is ending,” is only making the kids in our society more stressed and angry.
In a case like this awful stabbing incident at a HIGH SCHOOL….pipe down and let the people mourn. Be there for them, but be quiet unless there is something helpful to say.
My apologies for being direct. It’s sort of my thing.
Carry on….Chief Oliver.

Take a moment to read his words. We need to come together and stop blaming each other. It’s not the violent video games or loud music turning our kids violent.

Adults insulting each other and cramming political views in our ears in a constant barrage of “the world is ending,” is only making the kids in our society more stressed and angry.

Maybe it’s us. Kids look at how we treat one another and reflect that. Look around you. Everyone is screaming at everyone else over everything. How are kids supposed to learn to deal with their problems when we’re so quick to scream and threaten. So what’s what our children do.

Despite a personal policy of never reading the comments. I did wade into the muck since I saw the Chief was responding to a couple of them.

Greg Aydt RhymesWith Right writes:

Chief – you should still think twice before you use official department resources to spout your personal opinions and tell Americans what they should and should not say. Get your own blog or own facebook account if you want to do that.\

And the Cheif replies with:

Greg….All I want, simply, is for everyone to stop fighting and solve problems. We don’t have a gun or knife problem…we have a violence problem. We also have a problem involving everyone being angry and spouting politics constantly. It is getting old. You are attacking a person who likely shares many of the views you have….which is troubling….Chief Oliver.

He’s right. We have a violence problem. And until we start addressing that we’re not going to get anywhere.

But Carl. That’s such a huge problem how do we even start?

The first step is to start treating each other as human beings with feelings. Start talking to each other instead of at each other. Stop being so quick to anger. Stop shouting. Take a second. Think before we speak. As the Cheif said, you are attacking a person who likely shares many of the views you have…which is troubling…

And it is troubling. It doesn’t matter how we got here. We’re here now. And we need to step back.

I’ve got a task for you today. Instead of replying to someone in anger. Take a second. Think before you speak or hit post. Respond with kindness. Respond with peace. Respond from a place of level-headed thought instead of reactionary vitriol.

The world could use some more positivity in it.

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