Category Archives: Gun violence

The Virginia Beach shooting confirms that gun violence is a national emergency

By Editorial Board, The Washington Post, June 1 at 2:45 PM

The Virginia Beach shooting confirms that gun violence is a national emergency

Mourners pray on Saturday for the victims of the mass shooting in Virginia Beach. (Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images)

THE TWELVE victims killed in the Virginia Beach massacre were the people who knit the sinews of a society together, who plot the course of overhead wires and underground pipes, who set the course of roadways and sidewalks. They were municipal engineers and administrators, account clerks and agents, all of them making sure in some way or another that the essential connections and pathways everyone relies on would keep functioning. One of the victims had come simply to follow the rules, and file for a permit.

That they were murdered in cold blood at their workplace on Friday afternoon is another sign that our society is not functioning properly in the face of an awful scourge. Mass shootings at schools, newspapers, concerts, nightclubs and factories have become a threat to public health and safety in the United States, an epidemic of violence resulting in hundreds of deaths every year. Would the nation’s politicians be mute and paralyzed if, say, 199 people were killed by food poisoning, a defective toy, or an automobile part malfunction? That is the number who have died in mass shootings so far this year (along with 643 nonfatal gunshot wounds), according to one group that keeps track. Sadly, sensible gun control generates headlines for a few days after each massacre, but then nothing happens.

The reason for this inaction is no mystery: Politicians are intimidated by a gun rights movement, led by the National Rifle Association, that has for too long stood in the way of action. There are promising signs that this year’s crowded field for the Democratic presidential nomination might generate some long-overdue commitment to gun control, and some Democrats in Congress are devoting fresh attention to the crisis, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has suggested is a national emergency. But the hour is late. The answers are not rocket science: universal background checks for gun purchases; banning semiautomatic assault rifles, which are weapons of war; putting limits on high-capacity magazines, which allow mass shooters to take more and more lives (these magazines were used by the Virginia Beach shooter) and other measures.

The authorities in Virginia Beach announced they would say the shooter’s name only once. No doubt, many mass shooters may have been motivated by the perverse attraction of media notoriety, and so it will be interesting to see if this well-intentioned move has any impact, given today’s relentless and intense news and social media environment.

But something greater must be done. The Virginia Beach shooter put a sound suppressor on his .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol so that the death shots were muffled, perhaps denying others the warning that would have allowed them to escape. It is long past time to remove the silencer that seems to suppress action on gun-control legislation, to treat mass shooting as the epidemic it is, and do everything possible to save lives.


    Parkland mourns 2 student suicides a year after Stoneman Douglas shooting. Now parents are urged to be alert

    Repost from CNN

    By Kaylee Hartung, Susannah Cullinane and Holly Yan, March 25, 2019 10:37 AM ET

    The grief that still envelops Parkland after last year’s school massacre is now compounded by the recent suicides of current or former students.

    Community leaders are urging parents everywhere to be vigilant and proactive in talking to their kids about trauma.

    Parkland school shooting survivior dies by suicideSydney Aiello, a 2018 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, died by suicide last week. She survived the attack on Valentine’s Day 2018 that killed 17 people at the Florida school — including 14 students and three staff members.

    Aiello, a Florida Atlantic University student, suffered from survivor’s guilt and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, her mom told CNN affiliate WFOR.
    Then on Saturday, more tragedy struck Parkland when a second student died in what police describe as “an apparent suicide.”
    The student, who has not been publicly identified, was a student at Stoneman Douglas High. It’s not clear under what circumstances the student died, or whether the apparent suicide was related to last year’s massacre.

    Parents: ‘We have to take this seriously’

    “Unfortunately, what we’ve learned is that the survivors of a traumatic event like a school shooting carry with them a lot of guilt, anxiety, pressures, depression even,” said Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina Petty was killed in last year’s shooting.

    Study: More US school-age children die from guns than on-duty US police or global military deaths

    Petty, who has another child who survived the attack, established the WalkUp Foundation after the shooting with a focus on preventing suicide.
    “We just have to assume as a parent that your child is not immune for that. Your child is at risk, and you need to take that seriously,” he said.
    Petty said the school district, community leaders, law enforcement and concerned parents met Sunday to discuss how to address the trauma survivors are facing.
    “Even if everything appears to be OK, you need to take that seriously,” he said. “You need to ask them the questions. Have you thought about killing yourself? Have you thought about ways you might do that?”
    How to get help for someone who might be suicidal
    Petty said students had been offered resources after the shooting, including counseling options. But he said sometimes there are stigmas associated with getting help, or that students just pretended that they were OK.
    “So unfortunately some students are not availing themselves of those opportunities, and some parents are not understanding that the risks of anxiety and depression in a post-traumatic environment like a school shooting,” Petty said.
    “So our message is parents we have to take this seriously. We have to take this into our own hands. … Regardless of your proximity to the building and whether or not you saw the horrific events of that day that took 17 lives and injured 17 others, you’re part of a school community and that community is suffering.”

    The power of peer-to-peer communication

    Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, the president of Children’s Services Council of Broward County, also attended Sunday’s meeting.
    1 year after Parkland, parents and teachers are still grieving. These are their stories
    “One of the things that I have heard parents and children say is that nobody cares, and they just want us to get on with our lives. And I really want them to know that that’s not true,” she said.
    “I just left a room full of 60 people who came on a moment’s notice on a Sunday afternoon to show how much they care.”
    She said that peer-to-peer communication could be a powerful tool, as teenagers might not turn to their parents as a first resource.
    “We want to harness the power of the young people to speak to each other,” she said. That may include using Instagram, Snapchat or any other method that could “yield huge benefits.”

    MSD students use their experience to help others

    In an example of such networking, MSD students have themselves been reaching out beyond their own community to help other people experiencing trauma.
    Parkland students comfort families in Nwe Zealand
    Survivors began a letter-writing campaign last week to help heal families and communities affected by the March 15 shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
    The Parkland students grew connected to the Christchurch community when they visited New Zealand last July on a learning and healing trip.
    “We got letters after our tragedy. That was something that really surprised us,” said Kai Koerber, a Stoneman Douglas senior who went on last year’s trip.
    “It’s something that really warmed the hearts of people in my community. I think it will warm the hearts of people in Christchurch as well.”

    If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here’s how to get help: In the US, call theNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

      TODAY! Town Hall with U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson Monday, March 18

      Repost from Progressive Democrats of Benicia


      Congressman Mike Thompson will meet with us at a Town Hall here in Benicia TODAY, Monday, March 18.

      Click to download flyer

      Co-sponsored by Progressive Democrats of BeniciaCarquinez Patriotic Resistance, and Vallejo-Benicia Indivisible for Justice, the program will be held at the Benicia Senior Center, 187 East L St., 6:30 to 8:30 (doors open at 6:00).

      This is a special opportunity to hear from our Congressman and to ask him questions. He has been asked to focus on five specific issues in his opening remarks, with follow-up questions from the audience on these issues, and others time permitting. The five issues are:

      • Gun violence prevention
      • the Green New Deal / Global warming
      • Health Care
      • Taxes / Economic Inequality
      • Immigration