Posts Tagged With: Gun Control

Black and Blue

I sometimes feel like the tragedy never ends in these times.  I’ve been reading salacious romance novels all weekend for a little bit of escape.  That being said, I think there’s a time to process things, and then a time to act.  It’s time to act.

This is a warning that I’m about to get political on you.  Stop reading now if you don’t want any of my liberal political opinions.

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I’m getting to the point where I’m hating to do these things.  But I also feel like the blog is a place with an audience, and we should all be doing something if we can.  I’ve been sad all weekend about the latest African American deaths and the Dallas police shooting.  It feels like the world has been upended.

As always, history gives me a little bit of hope.  A friend of mine asked if this year was the worst we had ever seen.  While it’s the worst one I’ve experienced, your parents and mine were all around for 1963.  That’s when JFK was shot, riots sprang up all over the south about desegregating schools, Birmingham churches were bombed, and the Birmingham riots happened.  That’s the one you always see footage of when you’re looking at civil rights films: police called out the dogs on a peaceful protest (literally) and sprayed people with high power hoses, crushing them to death in a panicked crowd.

I don’t bring it up to pass the buck.  It’s just that sometimes I feel like there’s so much to do that it’s impossible to accomplish anything.  It feels hopeless that our current situation will ever get better, that race will ever be anything but deadly in this country.  It’s a bit helpful to know that, as bad as things are, it’s not rock bottom.  We’re making progress.  We can continue to make more.

The Dallas police were doing the right thing at that protest.  No one was wearing even a Kevlar vest, and they were walking with the protesting crowd, not positioning themselves as against it.  That, my friends, is a whole lot of progress.  It’s just sad that it had to end the way it did.

We only make progress by acting.  And, like it or not, we only make progress when the majority is convinced that things aren’t okay and need to be changed.  If you’re white, that puts the onus on you to stand with the black community.  Not to speak or advise, but to point a finger and say “this is important, listen to this.”

Blue Lives Matter?  Yes they do.  My post on what you can do to further gun control laws is here.  If mentally unstable people didn’t have easy access to weaponry, they couldn’t open-fire on crowds and target police.

Black Lives Matter?  Yes they really, really do.

First, you can read the BLM movement’s list of demands.  How best to help once you know what is needed?  Google your city council and your mayor.  Their names and email addresses should be easily accessible.  Write them that you want civilian oversight of police proceedings, and body cameras for everyone (if you don’t already have it – you should be able to check that on the web, too).

And I just want to point out one small thing in this whole debate that you can think about.  While I think we all support police and the courageous work they’re doing in our communities (for the most part), a blue uniform is something someone can take off.  A police officer can quit their job and/or dissolve back into regular society if they want to.  A black person cannot ever stop being black.

Alright, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Have a happier week, please.

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Another Shooting…

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I’m late on the uptake, not because I haven’t been mourning with the nation but because I didn’t take my laptop on vacation, and it’s hard to write a long post with links from a cellphone.  So here we are… I’m not gonna say much about the tragedy. It’s already been said so much better than I ever could.  I am, however, going to offer you something you can do beyond posting support on Facebook and mourning the loss of these vibrant lives (and I want to be clear that I’m not mocking either approach – sometimes people desperately need to know you’re with them and that’s something valuable you can provide via Facebook).

But, more action is clearly needed.

At the bottom of my San Bernardino post is a handy guide on how to contact elected officials, including a template letter if you don’t want to spend the time crafting one of your own.  I recommend you don’t just stick with your congressperson… try House and Senate leadership as well, and your state representatives.  When I did this after the San Bernardino shooting, it took me about 1/2 hour to email everyone I could get an email address or online “contact” form for.   Time well spent.  https://caseykins.com/2015/12/03/upset-write-about-it/

Before you write, I also recommend this site: http://whoismyvoice.com/.  Put in your address and it will tell you if your elected representatives took campaign contributions from the NRA.  You can write them about that when you’re writing them about acting on gun control.

I also want to highly recommend Americans For Responsible Solutions, http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/.  It’s a non-profit founded by Gabby Giffords (the Congresswoman who was shot in the head in Arizona).  Both Gabby and her spouse Mark are gun owners and have been for their entire lives.  They’re working toward ending needless gun violence without taking away the rights of responsible Americans to own guns (mostly advocating closing  gun loopholes of all kinds and funding research into causes of gun violence so we can make smart laws/choices in the future).  Although they could probably use a few bucks if you can spare it, they also have a petition on their website that you can sign for free.

That’s all, folks.  I’ll be posting happier stuff later this week, but I just wanted to get this off my chest.  Your elected officials really do care what you have to say about a subject.  This and voting are the best ways you can exercise your rights in a democracy.

Besides, I find it helps me more to be doing something, however small, than to sit around and think about how much I wish this didn’t happen.

 

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Upset? Write About It.

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Okay, so I try not to do the political thing on the internet, but I’m giving you fair warning that I’m about to do it, hardcore.

The San Bernardino shooting yesterday affected my family.  The Inland Valley Regional Center is 8 miles from my house.  It is 4 miles from my mother-in-law’s work.  She was on lockdown all of yesterday at the San Bernardino Airport, and it turns out that she knew some of the victims because she worked for San Bernardino County for 10+ years.  The perpetrators holed up in a condo 2 miles from my house, drove down the freeway both Brian and I use to commute home, and then were shot in their black SUV 5 miles from my house.  With 14 people dead and another 17 injured, this is one of the worst mass-shootings in recent years.  Or should I say months?  Because they’re happening a lot now.

Brian and I played it safe.  We both came to Claremont instead of going home, and only left when we knew things were okay in Redlands.  Our neighborhood, while geographically close, is a downtown area and a freeway away from the condo complex.  It was quiet, and everything was normal.

But, I mean, really?  I was DONE with these shootings after the last one, and now I’m not only DONE, I’m angry.  And still no action has been taken.

Nicole Silverberg has put together a handy guide for contacting your congressman.  It’s here.  One of the things she provides is a form letter for you to use if you feel like you don’t want to write your own letter from scratch.  I hope she’ll be okay with me reposting it below.  In addition to greater background checks, Mark Kelly (husband of former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – shot in the head in 2011) says that creating stronger laws against gun trafficking, strengthening the criminal background check system, and funding research about the causes and impacts of gun deaths can be helpful in preventing these sorts of things.  He has research and statistics to back it all up, too.  Here.

It should not be harder to legally drive a car than it is to get a gun.  Were the two shooters in San Bernardino undoubtedly mentally ill?  Yes.  But there is not “nothing we can do about it.”  In case you need more evidence of that, here’s a handy chart showing that America is the only Western nation dealing with a problem on this scale.  There is a solution, and others are implementing it.

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I’ll be contacting my various congressfolk today.  I hope you’ll join me.

Dear ________________,

I am writing to urge you to support expanded background checks to reduce gun violence in the United States. I am begging you to vote to close the deadly loopholes in our laws that make it too easy for dangerous people to get guns.

Background checks are supported by over 90% of all Americans and are a commonsense tool for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Background checks on gun sales are the most effective way to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and help save lives.

It’s time to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Thank you for doing what is right for the people of [your state] and the United States.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

Find your Representative in the House; Senate. Or you can use this rather comprehensive list that Nikki Pierce put together.

Categories: Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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