Connecticut Shooting

How We Should Talk When We Talk About Guns

Despite the inescapable emotion involved in such a tragedy involving the loss of innocent lives, both pro and anti-gun lobbyists need to approach the argument in an unbiased and dispassionate manner. The debate needs to be depoliticized and examined at a strictly human level, where gun-related crimes have caused unspeakable horror and heartache.
Pete Souza/The White House

Would Obama Issue an Apology for "Other" Children?

At the interfaith vigil in Connecticut, U.S. President Obama, fighting back tears, expressed overwhelming grief, as a parent, on the killing of 20 innocent little children. In contrast, columnist George Monbiot noted that President Obama has remained silent over the 168 children killed by American drone attacks along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. President Obama has stated that, even if there were one step to be taken, there is an obligation to try to save another child from harm. When will Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders go beyond themselves and truly express concern not just for their own children but also those of "others"?
AP

Gun Control: Should Firearms Represent Freedom?

For all the talk of the effects of guns and the nature of gun crime, very little is said about the role that guns play as social symbols. The gun debate is still articulated by simplistic slogans such as: "guns don't kill people, people do." But in addition to their functional value -- as instruments of security and insecurity -- guns are also infused with a powerful symbolic value. A gun is more than an object. A gun is a means towards, and a symbol of, an ideal society. It serves as a functional and figurative instrument of who does, and who does not, have power and citizenship.
CP

Media Bites: The Missing Women Report Finds Canada's Dark Side

Monday morning marked the long-awaited release of Wally T. Oppal's Missing Women Commission of Inquiry report. To say commissioning this report was a bit controversial is like saying Pickton himself was a bit murdery. Oppal's investigation basically entailed a jaunty stroll across a packed minefield of modern Canada's touchiest subjects including racism, sexism, classism, aboriginal politics, the sex trade, mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, bureaucratic cruelty and police incompetence, all headed by a party hack from an embattled provincial government that might very well poll worse than all the others put together.
Getty Images

There's No Murder Gene in Mental Illness

The term "mental illness" has been thrown around as a quick and easy solution for gun enthusiasts and media alike. Mental illness, in turn, is conflated with violence through a process of loaded renaming. Mentally ill people are "disturbed," "threatening," "bad people," and ultimately counter-cultural figments of fear induced imaginations. Essentially what this means is that there are those who need psychiatric treatment and then there is the rest of the world that needs to protect themselves from those people. The truth of mental illness is it is not a static concept, an ailment reducible to genetic rhetoric, there is no "murderer gene." Tragedies are not questions, hence there are never any answers.
Getty

Why Has Sandy Hook Touched More Than Syria?

Being a US citizen, I can't help feeling smug about choosing to live in Canada where the gun culture is not so alive and well, along with a sense of despair about how deeply entrenched it is in the US. But then, being an observer of brands and myths and icons, I wonder why this event had such a powerful impact on me, and on the rest of the world. Of course, it's a lot of people, and mainly children. But why is the killing of "innocent" children so much worse than the killing of thousands of people caught in the violence in Syria? Or young urban males shooting each other every day all over the US? It can only be that we feel those other victims are somehow partly to blame for getting killed.
AP

Victoria Soto: A Real Life Batman Protecting Us From Evil

We live in a world much like the world that Christopher Nolan built. Only without Batman. There are Bruce Waynes all around us. And anyone can be that symbol. While we don't have a silent guardian watching over us, we do have heroes like Victoria Soto. While nothing can right this horrible wrong that has been done to our collective humanity, we should be comforted by the fact that a 27-year-old teacher was willing to lay down her life to save the lives of her students.
AP

Don't Let 26 Deaths Be in Vain -- Demand Change

We cannot anticipate such senseless slaughter. But we can make the next one more difficult. America does not have any more mentally handicapped, disturbed, or mad people than any other country. What it does have is more guns. We cannot make sense of what happened in Newtown. We can only try to give this senseless massacre some purpose other than a cathartic outpouring of grief.
AP

Watching the Nightmare Unfold in Newtown

Just now we are getting to know the people behind the numbers. Twenty-six dead, but who are they? The stories of immense courage are coming out, teachers running toward the sound of gunshots, some shielding children with their bodies. I don't know if anything can make this worse, but that this happened at a time of year that fills that age of innocence with such excitement and wonder just adds another level of heartbreak.