connecticut-shootings

stole this off a post on Facebook, but i feel like tumblr needs to read this

Morgan Freeman’s brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count "holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.“
Before Newtown: Connecticut’s First School Shooting

27-years before Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary and murdered 27 people, there was another, little discussed school shooting in Connecticut. 

On December 11, 1985, 13-year old Floyd Warmsley was told by his principal to remove his hat, which was against school rules. The eighth grader was “reluctant to do so”, so he walked home, stole his fathers Tec-9 assault pistol, walked back to Portland Junior High School and entered the principals office. 

He pulled the gun from his trench coat, and pointed it at the principal. Another teacher pushed him out of the way and they both hid in an office. Warmsley then shot and injured the school secretary, before going to the upper level of the school, randomly shooting at lockers and taking a student hostage. 

The school janitor, David Bangston, was returning from his break just as the vice principal announced via the intercom that there was an active shooter in the building. Warmsley aimed down the hallway and shot Langston from about 200 feet away, killing him instantly. Several hours went by as the parent of the student he took hostage pleaded with him over the intercom system. Eventually Warmsley threw the pistol out of the window and surrendered himself to the authorities. 

Floyd Warmsley was tried as a juvenile, found guilty and sentenced to four years in a juvenile facility. He was released after three years for good behavior. 

7

Sen. Chris Murphy is tweeting every U.S. mass shooting in 2015

As pundits and average citizens reflect on the year past during this New Year’s Eve, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is marking grim milestones.

The pro-gun control lawmaker is tweeting details of each mass shooting this year in a painful reminder of what feels to be an especially horrific 12 months of violence. There have been almost as many mass shootings in 2015 — 353 — as there are days of the year, claiming the lives of more than 400 innocent Americans.

Read more – and see all Sen. Murphy’s tweets – at MSNBC.com.

i feel like there’s a real issue with the way the media approaches reporting and writing about mass murders – i don’t want to know the name of the man who did this. i don’t want to know who he was or where he came from.

but they’ll report it anyways, and just like James Holmes his name will become familiar. he’ll become familiar.

we’ll all remember his name before remembering the names of even one of the victims, the same way we remember every other killer.

i hope at least one paper prints the names, faces, and stories of every victim who lost their lives without even mentioning the killer’s name.

but they won’t, and history will immortalize him in infamy and he’ll receive more attention than any of the victims, and more attention than he’ll ever deserve from anyone other than police officers and FBI profilers.

and it happens this way every single time.

For Connecticut

Every year I have been here I have taught this poem to my first year students in the Philippines.  It embodies so much the innocence and spirit of youth, and on days like this I can only hope that the children who survived can cling to a measure of comfort and hope and naivete while the children who passed have found peace where the sidewalk ends.


Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

`

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

`

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

Bullets
rip through hearts
Glass windows shatter
Faint screams
Blood spills
Sirens! Sirens!
Tears fall
Enough.
We need to converse
‘What? I can’t hear you’
We need to converse
My pleads muffled by the next man’s
'I need guns to protect myself!’
But enough.
Enough is enough.
Shoot, mourn, forget.
Repeat.
Enough.
We need to converse
'About what?’
We need to converse about safety, security.
About control.
'But it’s my right’
but it’s their lives, I say, I plead
On behalf of mothers
I cry, I scream, I plead
Enough is enough! We need to converse!

Precautions taken after 9/11
Gun massacres throughout.
And repeat.
No action.
Repeat.
Shoot, mourn, forget.
Repeat.

Talk is talk,
and enough of that.
Nothing can bring them back now.
All we can do
is condemn, and mourn.
We don’t need to converse,
we need action and amendment.

((I'm not very religious, but my prayers go to the families of Connecticut.))

((My heart goes out to the families of those kids who won’t get to see their next birthday. I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now and I’m not gonna pretend I do. I’m deeply sorry for your losses. I know my words don’t mean much, coming from someone who has never gone through this and who can’t understand your sorrow, but for what it’s worth my prayers go out to you.))

So, this made me angry...

This morning, I listened to NRA VP Wayne LaPierre’s news conference, in which he attempted to protect the NRA from negative press in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy. LaPierre made so many utterly absurd remarks that I won’t attempt to address them all, but his comments about the mentally ill were so disgusting to me that I wanted to point them out, as the media seems to be more focused on the gun-ownership/vigilantism aspect of the debate. 

In the aftermath of the horrific Sandy Hook shootings, much of the media focus has been on gun control, and rightly so, but I hope that this tragedy can catalyse still more change - in the way that our society treats and cares for the severely mentally ill. LaPierre’s comments sadly take a jaunt back to the middle ages - he goes so far as to suggest that the mentally unstable are demon-possessed: 

“The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day.”

Now, a person is indeed hearing voices, there is a word for that! Delusional, yes, schizophrenic, probably. But a “monster driven by demons”? That, my friends, is the voice of utter ignorance. The mentally ill need to be supported and cared for, not vilified. LaPierre is taking the easy way out here by making the mentally ill sound like  maniacs who are beyond help.  

“A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?”

I found this comment particularly shocking. LaPierre doesn’t even seem to give a passing thought to what a flagrant human rights violation a database of mentally ill people would be. Who would supply the information? How would it be protected? Where would the invasion of privacy end? Mental illness is already too stigmatized in this country. It is fairly obvious that the NRA is in this fight for themselves, and they are willing to pass the buck and point the finger…anything but address the central issue of gun control. What are your thoughts?