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Buy a Gun, Be a God

Mark Morford   |   May 28, 2014   11:24 AM ET

Again with the mad rush to explain. Again with the desperate need to try and figure out why an intelligent, privileged white kid from one of America's wealthiest areas, a young man with every advantage the culture has to offer, would instead deem himself sufficiently vilified and marginalized that the only obvious solution is to buy multiple semi-automatic handguns and several hundred rounds of ammunition, and calmly massacre as many people as possible. And then kill himself.

Do you think you have one? A suitable explanation, that is?

Insanity is always convenient. And popular. This was "the work of a madman," said Santa Barbara's sheriff regarding Elliot Rodger's massacre of seven people, because it sounds right, because it seems so obvious, because really, what other reason could there be? Unless you're a cop or serve in the military, anyone who ever shoots another human must be at least somewhat mentally deranged, right?

Well, no. Not at all. Despite years of therapy, Rodger reportedly had no signs of madness or even serious instability. In truth, few killers do. But the insanity claim is popular because it neatly swallows up all the other possibilities and cultural mutations, which is why gun advocates love this excuse most of all -- they're instantly off the hook, when the hook is all theirs to begin with.

2014-05-28-flowers.jpgWhat about extreme misogyny? The feminist blogs, not to mention Twitter, are lit up with this discussion, and it's fascinating, sad and powerful all at once; most of the writers have a heart-wrenchingly valid point indeed, given how Rodger's disgustingly entitled, antagonistic attitude toward women is little different than the hostile, bitches-'n-hos, slut-shaming douchebaggery on display across much of bro culture, an undercurrent of sexism and potential violence women have to deal with every day.

Result: Women are scared. Perhaps more so than ever. Certainly far more than most men realize -- even the "good" men, the ones who feel they're being unjustly lumped in the sexist/entitlement debate. Have you followed the #YesAllWomen Twitter phenomenon? It's astonishing. No matter what kind of male you think you are, this is essential -- and humbling -- reading for all men (thanks Phil Plait at Slate for the most apt summary I've read so far).

Perhaps you prefer something less specific? Maybe you think mass shootings -- or even the "everyday" gun violence that's so common it barely registers on the media (example: three people were shot to death at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina the day after the Rodger massacre -- did you hear about that?) are always the result of a bizarre, unknowable mix of psychological and cultural forces no one can ever fully unpack.

I used to think this way, too. Sometimes I still do. But I've also come to realize this view misses the biggest, most overarching point of all.

The point is simple enough: It's the guns.

Wait, let me clarify: I don't mean the debate around access to guns, or the absurd fight over background checks, or even the failure to prevent the mentally ill from buying weapons in the first place. As pointed out everywhere, California already has the strictest laws in the land (a relative point: they're only strict by comparison to gun-worshipping states like Texas), and Rodger had no problem buying all the weaponry he wanted.

No, the larger issue is something even more nefarious, and more deeply embedded in the American (male) psyche: It's our cultural obsession with, and fetish for, guns and gun violence, our near-religious belief in firearms as salvation, cure, solution, defense, protection, the ultimate phallic symbol, the most shameful icon of American pseudo-cowboy patriotism and bogus virility.

Don't you know it already? More then 70 mass killings in the U.S. in three decades; more than a dozen in the past two years alone; an average of two mass shootings per month for the past five years; 20 children and six adults slaughtered at Sandy Hook; more than 12,000 dead (more likely twice that amount) from guns in 2013 alone, which is an average of 30 every day; upwards of 32,000 gun-related deaths every year; more than 100,000 people shot every year (including non-fatal and suicides) -- there is only one commonality: the gun.

Not just easy access to -- reliance upon, and fatal obsession with.

Put it this way: No matter his motivation, every shooter in America has concluded, in his own dark, sociopathic, or just plain stupid way, that the only way to solve his problem, to rectify the situation, to prove he's a "man," to properly "get back" at society, women, his boss, the world, is to buy a firearm and start shooting.

It's a distinctly male credo, too:...

Read the rest of this column by clicking here.

Mark Morford is an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate, the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, and the creator of the Mark Morford's Apothecary iOS app. He's also a well-known ERYT yoga instructor at San Francisco's Yoga Tree, and the creator of the Yoga for Writers series of workshops and retreats. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...

Dancing on the Graves of Innocents

Robert L. Cavnar   |   May 28, 2014    9:41 AM ET

Yet another mass killing happened last Friday in Santa Barbara, where a deranged 22 year old man, Elliott Rodger, went on a rampage, killing 6 and injuring 13. During the shooting spree, he fired weapons likely dozens of times, sometimes randomly through the window of his speeding car before he finally crashed and took his own life. Of the victims, he killed 3 with a knife, killed 3 with guns, injured 3 with his car, and injured another 10 through random shooting. In all, there were 19 victims, 13 by gunfire. After he took his own life, police found over 400 rounds of ammunition in magazines in his car.

In the past, it's been traditional for the NRA and other pro-gun organizations to go underground for some days after a mass shooting, saying only that anyone who talks about gun violence is merely "politicizing a tragedy"; they would eventually emerge, reciting a few platitudes about praying for the families, blah, blah, before going back to business, pouring millions of dollars into politicians pockets, paying them to stand idly by, doing nothing. However, that stopped working after the Newtown tragedy, and they've changed tactics, becoming much more aggressive. Now gun culture surrogates emerge immediately after a mass shooting, downplaying the level of violence and emphasizing every possible factor that takes the focus off of guns, usually mental health, other weapons, political leanings, and failures of local officials rather than acknowledging the elephant in the room.

Recently, though, even that tactic has taken a dark turn. Now gun cultists have begun attacking victims, their families and those who defend them. "Truthers" now vandalize memorials to victims, even confronting their families spouting nonsense about "false flags" and that their loved one never even existed. It's become especially bad in states like Texas, where zealots, who brandish loaded weapons in public, taunt and sometimes threaten perfectly innocent people, especially women, who dare to talk about gun safety and sane policy. Civility and simple common courtesy have gone out the window in favor of inflammatory rhetoric, fueled by talk radio and radical organizations who believe their "2A" rights trump all other rights and the rights of all other Americans. To add insult to injury, pseudo-celebrities often add their own voices to the din, usually with some inane comment about "liberty" with a little victim blaming thrown in.

It happened again after the Isla Vista rampage, where social media came alive with the usual gun memes and commenters focusing simply on the car and the knife that Elliott Rodger used, completely ignoring the gun violence. Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher then chimed in, with an open letter on conservative blog, BarbWire. It was the normal partisan screed that we've come to expect from Wurzelbacher since he was inflicted upon the American public by the McCain campaign in 2008, but this one was particularly heartless, where he poured salt into the wounds of the victims' families, saying:

"As harsh as this sounds -- your dead kids don't trump my Constitutional rights."

"Mr. Martinez and anyone calling for more restrictions on American's rights need to back off and stop playing into the hands of the folks who merely capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends.

They don't care about your family or your dead children at all. They sound like they do, whereas I sound uncaring and like I say, harsh. Don't be fooled -- I care about your family and mine. The future of our very liberty lies in the balance of this fight.

In conclusion, I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are going through, having had your child taken away from you. However, any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those."

So, to be clear... while claiming the opposite, Wurzelbacher politicizes the deaths of these victims, ignoring the families' rights and grief in the process. Such is the state of the gun debate in the US today. The gun cult has radicalized in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and subsequent mass shootings, especially since our political leaders are silent, held hostage by the gun lobby. In that vacuum of leadership, the size of mass shootings increases and the lethality of weapons continue unabated. Emboldened by the utter lack of political leadership that has tied the hands of law enforcement, gun cultists now use social media to taunt, insult, threaten, and celebrate the gun culture, parade around with loaded assault weapons and use violence such as in Isla Vista as a catalyst to escalate their rhetoric, hate, and mis-information.

The problem here is obvious to everyone not blinded by the nonsense spouted by the NRA and other gun organizations promoting the notion of life in America as a running gun battle. Responsible gun owners like me want lethal weapons taken out of the hands of the untrained, the unstable, the criminal, and the terrorists. I thought Newtown would finally change the conversation. It has, but unfortunately for the worse.

Ed Mazza   |   May 27, 2014    9:57 PM ET

A woman pushing her newborn son in a shopping cart was injured in a freak shooting incident at a Walmart store in Columbus, Ind., according to local media reports.

Police say a .22-caliber pistol fell from the pants of Tony E. Ward on Saturday evening. When the gun hit the floor, it discharged. The bullet missed the baby, but hit a bottle of soda in the cart, then ricocheted and struck the woman in the upper arm -- and it all happened while the local chief of police was in the store, according to WBIW.

Police chief Jon Rohde called for help for Virginia Thompson, 26, who was treated at the scene but she did not wish to be taken to a hospital, WHAS11 reports.

Ward, 56, had a permit for the weapon and will not be charged with a crime, Columbus Police Department spokesman Lt. Matt Myers told The Republic newspaper.

It's at least the second accidental shooting in a Walmart this month. On May 17, a shopper at a Walmart in Phoenix accidentally shot himself in the leg.

His injuries were not life-threatening.

The Santa Barbara Shooter: That Guy Was in My Class

Kimberly Dark   |   May 27, 2014    5:13 PM ET

Oh. My. God. That guy's been in my class.

It was my first thought as I watched Elliott Rodger's youtube channel. All of those cry-for-help videos have now been seen by thousands since he went mad and took his legally purchased guns to try to prove what he thought was important: He was the "alpha-male."

No, I don't teach at UC Santa Barbara, and no, I've never met Elliott specifically, and yet, that guy's been in my classes on a few occasions over the years. And though he's a difficult student to teach, I'm always glad he's there because often, he's on the verge of doing horrible things -- maybe not murder, but things that show a sense of entitlement to what he perceives as "the good life." Usually that means finding a traditionally beautiful woman to adore him or have sex with him. He usually also want money and the respect of men like him. What else is there? He can't imagine that there's anything else worth wanting.

That guy's been in my class. And when the class starts talking about gender, he's usually baffled, incredulous at the fact that there are views other than his in the world. He reads and discusses with disbelief, and sometimes, I see him soften his bitterness a bit. Other times I don't see softening, but I know that at least now he knows: there are other ways to see the world. There are people who count human worth differently than the standards by which he judges himself.

I teach in sociology and women's studies and let me be clear: That guy is not usually in a gender or women's studies class. (Once I had that guy in such a class. Did you see that video Rodger's made where he is genuinely asking why women seem to hate him? Imagine having brought that question to a group of women in a college class, asking it in subtle ways, again and again, "Why do women hate me?" But with real people and a professor to explore answers to the question.)

No, that guy usually ends up in one of my other classes. At my university, we offer degrees in criminal justice and sociology and when that guy is in my class, most often he is a criminal justice major. I teach a Sociology of Education course, for instance, and it becomes clear that he's "that guy" when he starts to relive painful moments of his own schooling, of feeling inadequate, being targeted for abuse. It becomes clear when we start to talk about gendered expectations in schools and the way privilege is organized in school systems. That's when that guy reveals himself. And often, he realizes he's not alone and that systems have actually made it more likely that he he'll feel the terrible loneliness that Rodgers expressed in those videos.

Yes, that guy who feels entitled to attention from certain types of women is often a little scary. As much as he exhausts me and makes me want extra pay, it's a good thing that guy shows up in classes like mine. It's a good thing because reading and discussing views with which we don't agree can broaden our thinking. Coming into meaningful dialogue with people we wouldn't normally spend time with, over topics we wouldn't normally discuss can expand how we see the world. It can even make us more content with our small human lives because we come to take pleasure in learning. We feel power in our abilities to connect with and change one another.

Taking a women's studies class will never make that guy more sane. It can possibly change how he focuses his obsessions though. It may prompt him to seek help. And that might make him less likely to murder people as a way to teach women a lesson for not loving him.

The fact is, we live in a country where access to guns is super-easy. We could change that, but we haven't. So, every Elliott Rodgers who wants guns should be assumed to have them. We also live in a culture where people stay pretty segregated. We spend time with people who share similar views, are of similar social class and want similar things -- so every Elliott Rodgers likely has his feelings of inadequacy reinforced daily. Rather than meeting people who could help him see his life differently, he's likely to meet people who share his view that he is a social failure. He also has media telling him that if he doesn't have status himself, he can get it through his girlfriend's/lover's/wife's beauty. People who cross the line into violence can always slip through the cracks, but we also live in a nation where there is no clear system though which people can get help for mental illness. It's hit and miss whether a person will get help. Just like in a drive by shooting. Hit and miss.

I wouldn't dream of suggesting that guys like Elliott Rodgers just need an excellent professor in a women's studies class to sort them out. They just need to hang out with some feminists. That would be ridiculous. And wow, guys like Elliot have been in my classes. I'm glad they were because they seriously need to have their delusions interrupted and no one else seems to be doing it.

Chris Gentilviso   |   May 27, 2014    2:07 PM ET

Months after a federal judge ruled its ban on handgun sales was unconstitutional, Chicago has responded with a sweeping ordinance loaded with strict regulations.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is proposing rules that would require videotaping of all gun sales -- a move designed to warn buyers against transferring firearms into the hands of criminals. The ordinance would also include special-use zoning that limits gun stores to only 0.5 percent of the city.

Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., who represents the city's 27th ward was among the supporters, telling WBBM newsradio that the plan sends a "very serious" message.

“This is just letting everyone know that we here in the city of Chicago are very serious about gun trafficking going on in the city of Chicago,” he told the radio station. “So we want to make sure if a person is proposing to do some gun trafficking here, we want to limit them as much as possible.”

Emanuel's move arrives ahead of schedule. After U.S. District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang ruled the ban went "too far," the city chose against fighting it, and instead opted for a six-month period to craft the new ordinance that emerged Tuesday. The city asked for that time period to put together the "many detailed components, including zoning, licensing, and operational requirements for gun dealers, as well as robust regulations targeting illegal sales and transfer practices."

Paige Lavender   |   May 27, 2014   12:03 PM ET

Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, insisted the deaths of innocent people "don't trump" his constitutional rights in an open letter to the families of victims in Friday's shooting rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Wurzelbacher's letter was published on Barbwire Monday, days after one shooting victim's father blamed "craven, irresponsible politicians" and the National Rifle Association for his son's death.

Wurzelbacher said the words of Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Martinez was a victim in Friday's incident, "will be exploited by gun-grab extremists as are all tragedies involving gun violence and the mentally ill by the anti-Second Amendment Left." The former Congressional candidate told Martinez to "back off."

Wurzelbacher said his letter is directed "only to the families of the gunshot victims in Santa Barbara" and not to the families of three who were stabbed ahead of the shooting spree.

"I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But: As harsh as this sounds -- your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights," Wurzelbacher wrote.

Wurzelbacher acknowledged his comments are "harsh" but claimed pro-gun control activists "don't care about your family or your dead children at all."

"They sound like they do, whereas I sound uncaring and like I say, harsh," Wurzelbacher wrote. "Don’t be fooled – I care about your family and mine. The future of our very liberty lies in the balance of this fight."

Read Wurzelbacher's entire letter here.

(h/t TPM)

  |   May 24, 2014    4:13 PM ET

Yet another massacre occurred last night at an institution of learning, this time the University of California, Santa Barbara. The price we paid for the National Rifle Association’s “freedom” was seven people murdered and seven injured at nine different crime scenes.

CANDICE CHOI   |   May 19, 2014    7:42 PM ET

NEW YORK (AP) — Chipotle is asking customers not to bring firearms into its stores after it says gun rights advocates brought military-style assault rifles into one of its restaurants in Texas.

The Denver-based company notes that it has traditionally complied with local laws regarding open and concealed firearms.

Smart Guns and the Right

Robert Slayton   |   May 19, 2014    3:26 PM ET

Read More: gun control, smart guns, nra, guns

Everybody's buying smart products. Smart phones, smart watches, with smart glasses on the way. So what about smart guns?

Armatix is marketing a German made pistol that has a unique feature. To fire the gun, you first punch a code into your watch. No code, the gun is locked. And cannot fire. Also, if the gun is moved more than 15 inches away from the transmitter in the watch, the same result.

There are a number of benefits to this system. It protects children, who occasionally experiment with what they find in the house. It prevents some suicides, by those who use someone else's gun to take their own lives. Above all, it will help police officers, who sometimes have their guns taken away in a fight, and then turned on them. Impossible with this system.

The Right, however, is dead-set against this idea. The NRA has labeled it as part of the "anti-gunner's agenda" to ban guns for everybody. On another forum, one person went much further, writing, "I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans."

Let's take a look at some of the arguments against this technology. First, there's the concern that this will be the advance man for further gun control efforts. In fact, New Jersey passed a law requiring that once the technology was proven, all gun sales in the state would have to be smart. And then what?

So, how about another law instead, saying these guns will only be available to police officers? There are already a number of such laws in effect -- in many states you need a letter from the military or a law enforcement agency to purchase an automatic knife -- and they seem to be working reasonably well.

There is also the claim that 15 inches is too short. Will you exceed it by holding the gun over your head?

Okay, we'll make it 20 inches. Happy now?

The big one is that the gun will jam. In 1999 Colt tried to market the Z-40, with similar features. It didn't work very well. What if this new gun jams when you most need it, when your life depends on it?

First of all, technology has moved a long way since 1999. Remember what kind of cell phone you had back then? And what it could do? And not do? Today phones work well, networks perform, and you can call practically anywhere in the world quite easily.

But here's the big reality check. Guns jam. Even great guns. Especially when you're stressed or frightened.

It is absolutely true that guns are much more reliable than ever. Glock makes the best selling side arms sold in the United States because they can literally go tens of thousands of rounds without a stoppage.

But it does happen. Anybody who knows anything about pistols learns as one of the first exercises rack-tap-bang, the basic procedures for fixing a malfunction. Unlikely to be needed, but it's there when even the best gun has an off day. A friend of mine served on the police force of a local community. His duty arm was a Glock 21 in .45 cal. Yet he still received training on clearing jams.

NYPD detectives were known for the New York Reload: carrying multiple weapons. Mostly because it's quicker to grab a second -- or even a third -- gun compared to reloading. But also just in case your first pull balks, you're still in the fight.

Revolvers are still bought because, unlike automatic pistols, they are foolproof. Nothing can go wrong, unlike with an automatic pistol.

There are a lot of fans of the AR-15 platform today, of proven and demonstrated quality. One of the best versions of this is the one equipping the US military.

Despite this, our forces spend a lot of time making sure recruits know how to field strip their weapon in the dark, to clear a problem. Just in case.

Yes, this new pistol might jam. But so may an M4 or a 1911A1. Or any other weapon.

The reality is, opponents of these weapons really fear the possibility of further government intrusion. The NRA's position is that it, "does not oppose new technological developments in firearms; however, we are opposed to government mandates that require the use of expensive, unreliable features, such as grips that would read your fingerprints before the gun will fire. And NRA recognizes that the 'smart guns' issue clearly has the potential to mesh with the anti-gunner's agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology."

The paranoia goes further. Belinda Padilla of Armatix once testified before a UN panel on gun safety. She is frequently referred to as a stalking horse for efforts to impose UN gun measures on all Americans, and as a pawn of George Soros.

How about, just this once, we dial down the rhetoric, and try and protect some police officers? That just seems like a reasonable goal.

Reducing Gun Violence Isn't a Lost Cause

Elizabeth Evans   |   May 19, 2014    3:26 AM ET

I've seen real people have reasonable conversations about guns in America. I've even seen people who support gun ownership agree with those who don't, on some basic changes to how we provide access to guns in our country.

Not long after the Sandy Hook tragedy, I had the opportunity to work with teachers from across the country, who used innovations in technology to come together as a community of problem-solvers, and choose real, actionable solutions to the scourge of guns and violence in our schools. It was inspiring to see this group of more than 300 teachers, gun owners and gun control advocates alike, work together with passionate focus on how to make our schools safer. They agreed to disagree about letting teachers have guns in school, but they also resolved, firmly and clearly, on the need for more limits on weapons of war. They also called for necessary changes in the way we treat mental health and teach problem solving in school, the kind of social and emotional growth we nurture in our children, and even better ways to design and build schools.

Reading the news about the student in Texas who was caught with an AK-47 and two handguns or the "Safe Carry Protect Law" enacted in Georgia, I think about those ordinary citizens who accomplish so much more than the talking heads in Washington. I can't help but react with the same internal monologue every time: All we need is a little more honesty. All we need is to listen a little harder, posture a little less, and be authentic. It's internal because it seems to me no one wants to hear anything about solving our problems with guns and horrible violence that kill too many American children -- whether they live in our worst pockets of poverty or our most placid communities. Sometimes, I don't see any reason to talk about it anymore.

In our connected world, points of view can be shouted and spread virally in the blink of an eye. But, is anyone actually listening? Is anyone interested in making change, or are we destined to an endless cycle of shouts and counter-shouts?

I think the vast majority of those of us living everyday lives in our neighborhoods would like to see change. Most of us, public servants included, are well intentioned and place more value on doing than on rhetoric and posturing. So, let's stop the cycle of spin and build networks for change. Technology gives us the tools, if we're each willing to do our individual part.

Isn't it time we all took a cue from those 300 teachers, and turned our attention to problem solving through careful listening?

The Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls and What We Must Teach Our Daughters

Barbara Greenberg   |   May 15, 2014    3:04 PM ET

I have a confession. I have been up all night feeling sickened. I am sickened with worry about the plight of the hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped from their school-Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in Nigeria. A radical Islamist group known as Boko Haram has actually come forth and claimed responsibility for this act of terror that has the world reeling. The girls were not up to no-good as we are fond of saying, using drugs or doing any of the things that we as American parents worry about on a daily basis. Instead, they were at school to take exams. Imagine that. They, like millions of other girls and young women around the world were simply taking exams and getting an education. Or, so we thought and so they and their parents thought.

Instead on that night of April 14, 2014 the lives of these girls and their families would be irrevocably changed in the worst possible way. And, I look at my calendar for April 14th to see what I was doing on that day. I see that on that day that we will never forget I was preparing for a media appearance on a totally unrelated topic. I begin to feel queasy and even a bit guilty. I was preparing for a television segment on photo-shopping and across the world other mothers' children were literally being stolen. Suddenly my day's activities feel somewhat irrelevant and worthless. I do not, however, see myself as an irrelevant individual who is incapable of instigating thought and action. So, I am here with mothers everywhere to discuss the lessons that we must teach all of our girls no matter where we live.

I was particularly impressed and at the same time haunted by the comment of one Nigerian mother who as she was wailing about the fate of her kidnapped daughter had the wherewithal to ask "What Am I to Do As A Mother?" Yes, as mothers we struggle with this question way too frequently. As a clinical psychologist and a mother I would like to answer this question for you. I cannot of course answer the question about how to save the hearts and souls of the girls and their families in Nigeria but I would if I could. Damn right. I would if I could. Instead, I'll attempt to answer another question which is what we forget to teach our daughters. Keep in mind that I am in no way implying that the mothers of the kidnapped girls or the girls themselves are in any way responsible for what happened and is happening. I have never ever been one to blame the victim. Please understand that.

I suggest strongly that you teach your daughters the following:

1. To both pay attention to their intuition and to learn to trust it. The body often gives us cues that something is amiss.

2. To be both independent and to protect their peers. Way too often we suggest to our girls that they need to look out for themselves and we forget to teach them that they have responsibility for their peers as well. Look we are a community and we must act as such.

3. If our girls are in danger then they must and should raise bloody hell. There is nothing virtuous about remaining passive. Get your girls involved in self-defense classes. Help them find their speaking and screaming voices. As Dylan Thomas suggested we should not go gently into that good night. And, our daughters should not go gently into a situation where they may get raped or taken advantage of. Sometimes, of course, they may not have any choice especially when they are staring into the barrel of a gun.

4. Listen to your daughters when they are angry. Find out what they are angry about and validate their feelings if they seem to be on to something. They need to know that it is okay to feel anger and even to express it.

AND

5. Encourage your daughters to get all of the education that they can so that they can become powerful and influential in all kinds of positive ways. No one ever complained about having too much education.

Let us all join in the effort to do whatever we can to be a part of the international community. The Nigerian girls are our girls too. Yes you must tell your own daughters about the suffering of the Nigerian girls. Start teaching them that suffering occurs on many levels and that we as citizens of the world must support one another in both small and large ways.

  |   May 15, 2014    1:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has upheld the gun-control law in the District of Columbia, which bans assault weapons and large-capacity magazines while imposing registration requirements for handguns and long guns.

In a ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said the city seeks to combat gun violence and promote public safety and that the current law does so in a constitutionally permissible manner.

The District of Columbia previously had one of the most strict gun control laws in the nation, but it was struck down in 2008 when the Supreme Court concluded that that the Second Amendment protects handgun possession for self-defense in the home.

The law upheld Thursday seeks to accommodate that constitutional right while also protecting the community from gun violence.

View the ruling below:

Dc Gun Control Ruling

Alex Lazar   |   May 14, 2014    3:58 PM ET

Oklahoma GOP gubernatorial candidate Chad Moody has a catchy slogan that he hopes will get voters talking: "God, grass and guns."

"I tried a few different slogans and then that one flashed in and I was pretty certain that was it," Moody told KOCO 5 News. "Most political campaigns start out as something serious and turn into a joke, this kind of started out as a joke and it's turned into something serious."

The "grass" part of the slogan comes from Moody's view that non-violent offenders who are in prison for smoking marijuana shouldn't be cooped up there.

"The department of corrections hides how many people are in there for marijuana," Moody said. "It's all about money and it's all about a private prison industry that is the modern-day slave trade."

He is also advocating for allowing law-abiding citizens to carry guns without a permit or license.

Moody has posted his slogan on billboards across the state, some of which have cost him up to $800, he said.

Moody faces incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin and Dax Ewbank of Guthrie in the Republican primary on June 24.

  |   May 8, 2014    7:34 AM ET


TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) - A 27-year-old Japanese man was arrested on Thursday for illegally possessing handguns made by a three-dimensional printer, media said, marking the first such case in Japan, a country that takes pride in its low crime rate.

Police in April found five plastic guns and a 3D printer at the suspect's home in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo.

Two of the handguns were later proved capable of killing or wounding people, although no bullets were found at his home, public broadcaster NHK said.

Police also found blueprints for manufacturing guns stored in the suspect's personal computer. The blueprints were believed to have been downloaded from the Internet, NHK said.

"I made the guns by the 3D printer at home. I did not think it was illegal," the suspect, a college employee, was quoted by NHK as telling police.

A spokesman at Kanagawa Prefectural Police, which covers Kawasaki, declined to comment.

The suspect has frequently made Twitter entries aimed at justifying possession and manufacturing of guns and once said on the Internet "Gun restrictions are violation of human rights," NHK said.

Jiji news agency reported the suspect also possessed 10 toy guns. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Nick Macfie)