Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Connecticut part two: Where Do We Go From Here Where Do We Start?

The NRA takes down their facebook page.

            Our national sickness expressed itself once again in Connecticut and garnered national attention.  It expressed itself a few weeks ago in Cleveland Heights as the community met to deal with elementary school kids being forcibly robbed of school Ipads.  No one died but it’s the same issue.  Before that our sick country screamed out in pain through Anthony Sowell in East Cleveland, Ohio.  No one was shot but it’s the same issue.   Just recently again America screamed “I am sick!” through two deaths and 137 unanswered shots fired again in East Cleveland.  Trayvon Martin told us we have a problem some of us are comfortable not listening. 

            Mixed signals fill the airways with President Obama suggesting that he would do all with in his presidential power to effect meaningful action as the White House spokesman was not so quick to commit officially saying, “It’s complicated.”  This clearly suggests there should be no mass sigh of relief that gun control is handled at the presidential level.
We have to do it, start anywhere after you start at home in your own head, heart, spirit, and body.  What personal commitments will you, have you made as of today to perfect your internal world and direct it toward peace, whatever that means to you?
A few weeks ago Michael Dunn a 45 year-old gun collector and software engineer overcome by dis-ease felt obliged to shoot at least 8 shots into a car with unarmed black teenagers killing one 17 year old because their music was too loud.  He was standing his ground in Florida…
There should be a public outcry of 1968 civil rights proportions until stand your ground laws in Florida and elsewhere are change and politicians who support the law are removed from office and to court room on public endangerment charges.   “The Florida version of the law passed in 2005. While the legislation provides no clear definition of what constitutes a threat, it allows people to use deadly force if they feel threatened regardless of whether they can safely leave the scene,” according to Huh what, regardless of whether they can safely leave the scene?!  More people are going to die and fewer people will be brought to justice.
A study by John Roman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, found that Stand Your Ground laws tend to track the existing racial disparities in homicide convictions across the U.S. — with one significant exception: Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.  What else can be done?
Close to home
I’ve personally seen all of the Godfather movies, CSI, my share of Law and Order Criminal Intent, Good Fellahs, my all time favorite, Revolver and I’m kinda found of mixed martial arts.  The harm I think it has done to me is desensitizing me.  It has not made me violent. I’d say it’s not in me but I think everyone has the capacity and my past media diet would take exception. 
I’ve made a commitment to not make gratuitous violence a major part of my diet and stopped watching television over a year ago. Even though I have seen a difference for many years I have many times made the determination that taking on the violence was worth it, for instance, like with the movie Revolver; possibly a pure justification.  I’ve changed my language to be more logical and less antagonistic, more exchange and less confrontation. I strive more to be heard and understood than to win arguments and make people see my way; respectively I seek to listen and understand others. I don’t always get it right.
As I direct attention internally I express it externally through interaction with others, through writing and through what I support.  I’m willing to go out. I will be asking groups I work with if there is something we can do short term and long term.  I will be asking writers I know what they think they should do.  I will be trying to sustain an effort of some sort for a year.
There have been over 30 shootings since Columbine in 1999.  Since 2004 when Mr. Obama took office he has resisted doing anything about the laws stating enforcing current laws was what was needed.  Now in the face of mounting pressure the president seems to be reassessing this stance.  Part of Australia’s fix was to buy back guns. What can be done to not only support any effort toward gun reform but to change the entire cynical malaise of this country?
Make plans, something you can start doing right now also and then something long range that may take preparation.  Join in with someone some group you may not have to reinvent the wheel. We need to walk each other toward a peaceful spirit and put pressure on local and national leaders.
The National Firearms Agreement of Australia -- reached among the political parties less than two weeks after a gunman killed 35 people and injured 23 at a Tasmanian seaside resort -- cut firearm homicide by 59% over the next two decades and firearms suicide by 74%, the report showed.

The law banned semiautomatic and automatic rifles and shotguns and put in place a mandatory buy-back program for newly banned weapons.
The buyback led to the destruction of 650,000 guns, the Sunshine Coast Daily reported.  That would be like the US destroying 40 million guns.  Currently there is an average of 88 weapons per 100 people according to the Pew Research Center.
Embrace and Assert What We Already Do More Toward a More Civil Society- things we might consider, a list.
There are so many things that already happen if we could embrace them more and make them central to our everyday comings and goings I believe it will change things.
Specific to mass gun shootings social media mavens replace your profile pic with a no guns sign or the like once a month for the next year. 
You know a blogger or an opinion maker or someone like a musician who has access to lots of people?  Challenge them to cover gun violence, nonviolence, civil discourse, a kinder gentler work place or whatever once a month for the next year. 
Are you a community group or head of a school that could pass out statistics about violence and bullying to students and parents, show a movie that deals with the issue, make it a family night? Pass out stats about gun violence in neighborhoods door to door where resources are limited.
It is better to feel good than to look good. Many organizations have things in place they could perhaps turn toward our national illness such as the Cleveland Museum of Art.  They have a program in which you catch your colleagues doing something right and out side of what their job description says, report it and HR recognizes them.  Could your school or organization adapt and use this program? Find out more?  The Cleveland Museum of Art Director of HR Sharon Reaves;

Random acts of kindness and Pass it forward. Who can’t do these with a vengeance?
Practicing patience while driving
Changing one’s language from insulting to understanding.
Are there people who think this is a bunch of nonsense? Sure there are.  Let’s get their ideas.  Where do you stand? What are your ideas?

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