I do not assume that my personal life choices are so fundamental that other people are less human or will live less fulfilled lives because they don't make the same ones.
My assumptions about history began to change 13 years ago. I was teaching a class called Media, Stereotyping and Violence when the tragic events of 9/11 overtook our lives. In the days that followed, my students and I confronted a question: Is all this violence inevitable?
What the NRA is trying to do is cast itself in a softer, more reasonable and, if you'll pardon the expression, less combative way, because for the first time they are up against an opponent whose money, smarts and media access can sway lots of people to go the opposite way.
These groups would have us believe that only gun owners should be allowed to speak about guns, and helpless, tongue-tied gun-owning parents need to be constitutionally protected from their subversive pediatricians.
I would like someone to explain to me why we need more research on the characteristics of gun violence to understand why 100,000 deaths and injuries from guns each year constitutes a risk to health.
While states in much of the country were content to take quick action to address gun violence, Massachusetts took time to craft a comprehensive and strong bill which has garnered wide support. Our law in Massachusetts is unique.
Barbers and hairdressers, like Dionne Flowers of St. Louis, are an integral part of the society. The inconceivable, unknown detail in this story is that Dionne had more training for her license as a hairdresser, than the officers who pulled the trigger on Kajieme Powel had for their licenses.
For some, nationalism can feel like all they have. Others turn to a gang, revenge, or a twisted form of Islam. None of this, of course, remotely excuses invasions, gang violence, massacres or terrorism. But it may be a warning that we can't just flatten the world. We also have to find ways to fill it up.
This week got off to a horrifying start as a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot a gun range instructor with a fully automatic Uzi. While the manager of the Bullets and Burgers range promised a "policy review," how about one for the country? Let's look at why 30 states allow children to own long guns; at why the number of kids dying from gunshot wounds is up nearly 60 percent in 10 years; at why twice as many kids die each year from guns than cancer; at why almost 200 children died from gun violence the year after Sandy Hook. And at what it says about our real regard for child safety that all this can be true while, last month, a mom was arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play alone at a playground. This latest gun-related tragedy certainly has more than one victim. How many more children's lives have to be destroyed for us to come to our senses?
Imagine what that child has to live with the rest of her life, having killed a man she didn't know, whom out of normal kindness was trying to help her. But what about the parents who recklessly took their young daughter to a gun range and allowed her to handle such a weapon?
Friends of mine who have guns in a household with children don't want to believe that their home is actually less safe, not more. Those who believe in a society with no guns (me), and those who are training their kids on firearms at the age of 5, will never be able to agree on this.
One of the deeper, darker questions concealed in the maelstrom of rage and grief of Ferguson is this one: What if Officer Darren Wilson had not been armed when he told the two teenagers to get out of the street?
Until recently, conventional wisdom had it that nobody could go up against the NRA and win. They had too much money, too much clout, too many politicians doing their bidding and, most of all, a dedicated and energized membership that could swing public opinion and election results their way.
We need to do more than remember headlines, lest names change but headlines be merely repeated.
Today I want to take a break from real estate to share a life experience I had with a powerful organization and strong group of women.
Our city has an opportunity to stand up for the 403,120 authorized residents of public housing by reducing gun violence and in turn reducing crime in NYCHA developments.