Gun violence destroys lives, tears families apart, and traumatizes entire communities. Too many elected officials have ignored this ongoing crisis, as well as the unacceptable fact that black Americans are more likely to die from homicide than Americans of all other races.
I have been traveling away from Palo Alto to L.A., Florida, and New York City. During this time there have been certain events in the news and others from my personal experience that have challenged my customary comfort zone of perception and cognition.
Parmalee has had a wild ride over the last four years, one that almost didn't happen, after the Thomas brothers became victims of an attempted robbery in September 2010. "They had me at gunpoint and they fired on us," Matt said, "and Scott was basically just protecting (us)."
Guns and grief are a bad combination. Our judgment is clouded and undone in moments of aggrieved passion; we are least suited at such times to take on the roles of both jury and judge, leaving aside the illegality of such vigilantism. We may, in the throes of passion, misconstrue causes and misdirect blame. But we may hope to live through such moments, and see in a calmer, clarifying light.
The fact that the NRA has never conducted any study to test the before-and-after results of distributing their safety literature either in classrooms or in community groups makes it impossible to accept their self-congratulatory statements about teaching gun safety to kids.
It's time for parents to stop making excuses and start driving change.
ArmaLite is one of the nation's leading manufacturers of AR-type semiautomatic assault rifles. The way the company markets and sells these weapons is as revealing as it is typical of today's militarized firearms industry.
If we define gun violence as using a gun to end a human life, the FBI is telling us that less than 10 percent of those fatalities would be eliminated if we got rid of all violent crime.
Violence here is no longer theoretical, and weak Texas gun laws are giving it every chance to happen.
I'm licensed for CCW and I carry a gun from time to time. So I'm not opposed per se to the notion that guns do more good than harm. What I do oppose is constructing an argument for either position out of whole cloth.
I don't want anyone to ever believe that just because a certain individual has access to a Twitter account it means that she is a spokesperson for the Christian faith. Mocking people of other faith traditions is not Christian. Neither is it Christian to worship the gun culture in America that has done so much damage to our society.
What was once the "tool" of law enforcement types, the military, and hunters is now the equivalent of an iPhone, a talisman of connection and social order. It's something that just about anyone can put in a pocket, a purse, or simply strap on in the full light of day in a land where all of us seem to be heading for the O.K. Corral.
The real test of a community is not its immediate reaction to grief -- but its tenacity. Even after a shooting that rocked us to the core, we can't turn inward. Even after plummeting into a vortex of grief, we can't turn isolationist. Even after numbness, we can't turn away.
It has somehow become acceptable to many of my colleagues to simply express condolences and repeat tired excuses for inaction like "we can't legislate away crazy," or "guns don't kill people, people do." Meanwhile, their intransigence allows the violence to continue as the roots of this problem are ignored.
There are certainly many legitimate purposes for firearms in our society, to include recreational shooting, home defense, collectors, etc. But just because something is legitimate doesn't make it wise.
In the wake of the murder of two New York City police officers, the National Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to the White House and Congress asking that "bias attacks" against police be prosecuted more harshly through hate crime laws.