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Posts Tagged ‘handguns’

A few thoughts on Newtown

In behavior, blogging, books, Crime, culture, journalism, Media, news, politics, women on December 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm
English: Photo of Harvard University professor...

English: Photo of Harvard University professor David Hemenway, PhD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a busy few days!

I did an interview with BBC’s Newsday, one with a German freelancer, and wrote two op-eds on this story, both requested.

For anyone who wonders how I get to speak out publicly like this, it’s a matter of relationships. All four opportunities came to me through long-held relationships with editors or these institutions.

I also, which I really value, am essentially asked to explain this specific example of American exceptionalism to other nations who find Americans’ attachment to gun ownership truly bizarre. If you have never visited the National Rifle Association’s website, you must do so, no matter how repugnant you may find their views. Their appeal is emotional and clearly, to its members, very powerful.

If you have no idea what they are saying to their members — and do not understand how organized and well-funded they are –  it’s more difficult to fashion any useful counter-arguments or marshal useful and effective opposition.

This section of it, the ILA, is well worth following, as it is their legislative action component.

It was challenging indeed to produce two op-eds within hours, knowing the subject is wildly inflammatory.

I want to read and hear more women’s voices on this issue!

While Rep. Dianne Feinstein plans to re-introduce the ban on assault rifles -- that expired eight years ago — I see very few women speaking out right now.

Not just grieving — but arguing loudly and publicly in every possible venue for change, offering their own ideas as well.

Here are my two op-eds, one written for a Canadian audience, one for Americans.

This ran in the Ottawa, (Ontario) Citizen:

The guns used in this attack belonged to a woman, 52-year-old Nancy Lanza, a middle-aged small-town divorcee, probably the last person many would expect to own five guns, including a Sig Sauer 9-millimetre pistol, a Glock 10-millimetre pistol and a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Why, asked one of my Facebook friends, an artist in California, did she even choose to collect guns? “Why not bicycles or butterflies?”

Because, for millions of American gun owners, owning a gun is as key to their identity and core beliefs as their support for, or opposition to, abortion. For some women, knowing how to shoot accurately and having a firearm in their home and/or vehicle, maybe even in their purse, also reflects the American ethos of individual rights and self-reliance.

And I added my voice to those of The New York Times’ on-line Room for Debate:

President Obama has vowed to take action, but to do so he needs to involve women. He should create, this week, a multidisciplinary committee — composed not of politicians whose alliances and funding have impeded federal gun legislation for decades — but of those most directly involved in gun use and violence.

Perhaps most important, the committee should include its fair share of women — both those who have been affected by gun violence and those who own firearms. Many women with useful insights into this issue are afraid to speak out publicly for fear of being vilified and shunned in ways that male gun-owners are not.

It might include: emergency room doctors and nurses; hospital administrators bearing the significant costs of treating gun shot wounds; law enforcement and criminologists; public health advocates like Harvard’s David Hemenway; moderate, concerned individual gun-owners; experts in diagnosing and treating mental illness; domestic violence experts; and primary care physicians and pediatricians wary of — even legally forbidden from — discussing how their patients may store their guns and ammunition.

Until all sides are negotiating at the table together — gun owners and victims of gun crimes, public health workers and private gun shop owners, men and women — a viable solution will continue to evade this society.

What do you think of this idea of a Presidential committee?

I think we desperately need new and fresh ideas, no matter how odd or challenging they appear to put into action.

Home, Home On The Range — The Gun Range, Tomorrow

In sports on January 1, 2010 at 11:01 pm
Cover of "Blown Away: American Women and ...

Cover of Blown Away: American Women and Guns

If anyone reading this is looking for a fun afternoon, I’m in Jersey City tomorrow from noon onwards at 174 Danforth Avenue, signing and selling my book, “Blown Away: American Women and Guns” to celebrate the opening of a new gun range, The New Jersey Firearms Academy.

To get some idea how handguns work while writing my book, I trained with several different facilities, from the Smith & Wesson Academy in Springfield, MA to FBI headquarters in Quantico. I also spent an afternoon at NJFA with its director, Latief Dickerson. He’s a good guy and it made for one interesting afternoon when I and my sassy young editor, Lauren McKenna, headed out there together.

Given that 25 Manhattan publishers passed on the book — a dispassionate look at a complex subject — Lauren’s decision to acquire it showed guts, as much as coming out to the range with me that day.

A Vending Machine Filled With Fake Guns Freaks Out London

In culture, politics on September 7, 2009 at 2:06 pm
A Taurus PT145 that has been field stripped in...

Image via Wikipedia

An art installation that would have placed a fake gun-vending machine near children’s schools has London up in arms. Artist Ben Turnbull, 35, defended his project on BBC World News today as “edgy. It’s alerting people to the dangers,” he said. The BBC interviewer, (they’re typically rarely shy to interject their own opinions), asked if it was not irresponsible. Turnbull defended his work, entitled “Kids Have Everything These Days” as “theatrical” and “artistic.”

Police threatened to arrest him if he went ahead as planned, placing three of the machines near newsagents’ stalls and close to schools. He wanted to register children’s reactions to the idea of formally ready access to handguns, but a public outcry stopped him. Turnbull now plans to show his “bubble-gun machine” outside a London art gallery instead.

Turnbull says he’s horrified by gun crime and wanted to focus attention on how fascinated kids are by guns; his project filled a case with fake plastic Berettas he bought elsewhere in the city for about $50 and would have photographed the kids’ reactions to it.

Gun crime is a touchy and timely topic in the city, in a nation where gun laws are much stricter than those in the U.S. South London has seen three shootings in the past three months; on June 1, a 15-year-old girl was shot and injured and 17 arrests were made. On August 3, a 24-year-old driving his car down a quiet street was shot and killed and that same week a 19-year-old man was also killed.

Turnbull told the BBC people need to confront this new reality. “A guy was shot at the end of my road,” he said. What do you think of his idea? Nuts? Worth trying, if only to provoke dialogue on gun violence?

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