After I wrote a post about my mortifying turn escaping being shot in the head as an accomplice to egging innocent people, several people wrote to me and asked why I had stopped writing the “Raising Voices” posts. Long story short: I’m lazy. And, honestly, I forget that most people don’t have the same SQUIRREL! reaction to stories involving gun violence as I do, so I figure everyone else has paid attention to what I have. Obviously, that’s not true. Just as I don’t follow everything about fracking or GMOs or even Common Core (all topics I care deeply about), others have competing interests as well.
So here is an annotated collection of relatively recent news stories:
Stand Your Ground: With the Jordan Davis murder trial over, a lot has been said about why the 1st degree charges ended in mistrial but the attempted murder charges were upheld. I have my theory based on the testimony I watched, but I’ll save those for now. The actual Stand Your Ground defense wasn’t used in the Davis trial (nor was it used in the Trayvon Martin trial), but it affected the outcome just the same. Most clearly, it affected the jury instructions. You can see it here: Jury Instructions (Florida). Oh, and while it gets the most attention, Florida is just one of 26 states with versions of these “Shoot First” laws.
Lucy McBath, Jordan’s mother, wrote a moving Op-Ed after the trial. If you haven’t already, please sign this petition asking governors of SYG states to repeal this law that gives people permission to kill first and defend themselves later.
WTF Florida: A blind man shot and killed his drinking buddy, and he used the Stand Your Ground defense in Florida. The judge in the case didn’t want to, but by law he had to return the man’s guns. So he did.
More WTF in Florida: A woman comes home to discover her house was broken into, sees a car she doesn’t recognize and decides she’ll take care of business herself. She DRIVES to find the car and shoots and kills the man behind the wheel. Two infants were in the car with him. Oh! And guess which person in this tragedy has a lengthy arrest record?
Most Preventable Type of Gun Violence: Another child was shot and killed by his eleven year old playmate, this time in Georgia. The boys found the loaded gun in a backyard shed. The Sheriff said, “We ask and encourage everyone to keep weapons locked and away from children.” Too late for this boy, and let’s not mitigate the impact on the friend who survived.
Cake, Ice Cream, and a Tourniquet for that Leg: Thankfully, the 13-year old is out of surgery and will be relatively okay. This is a case of “Ooops! Forgot it was loaded!”
Long-term effects of Survival: In case you think that “relatively okay” is just dandy, check out this blog How I Survived a Gunshot to the Gut for details, and an amazingly positive attitude (which, by the way, no one should HAVE to have!).
You Don’t Know What’s in Someone’s Heart: This is a devastating “Faces of Courage” entry about a 13-year old boy who chose to take his life and a mother who felt she should have done more to protect him. Those of us who have worked with teenagers know that the sunniest kids sometimes feel the deepest sadness. Don’t assume your kid doesn’t know where the guns are. Don’t assume your happy child doesn’t have dark moments or weeks or months you can’t comprehend. Lock up your firearms SECURELY.
SMART Guns: This technology would prevent tragedies like children killing each other by “accident,” stolen firearms from being usable, cleaning accidents, and so on. But the gun lobby hates it. HATES it.
Facebook Hates Boobs, But Loves Guns: A photo of mother nursing her baby gets removed from Facebook, but the site allows groups like Guns for Sale to display firearms for sale and trade. Two recent stories have come out recently about a felon and a 15-year old boy who purchased firearms through connections found on Facebook. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and other gun violence prevention groups are in talks with Facebook about this policy. Lend your voice here: Another Petition!
Further Reading: As always, for those that are interested, I suggest following Joe Nocera’s blog THE GUN REPORT for a regular dose of what firearms do to our nation on a daily basis.
Also, David Waldman of The Daily Kos has a GunFail blog that he updates weekly. Its tone is much more irreverent, but the details are just as devastating.