Sandy Hook Shooting

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Can We Prevent School Shootings?

The December, 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of twenty children and six adults shocked the world. The call for greater school safety following this tragedy led to virtually every state legislature in the United States introducing new laws to make schools safer.
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A Special Sandy Hook News Bulletin for Children

It's one thing to be a parent talking to your kids about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting -- it's quite another to be a journalist writing a news story about it for them. My audience is five- to 12-year-olds and somehow I had to write a story that wouldn't be too scary or grown-up. While I don't get to choose the news, I still get to choose how I report on it.
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.
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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.

Don't Blame Adam Lanza's Mother

Nancy Lanza -- mother of Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza -- is dead. And it's not the time and place to criticize her as an anomaly, some sort of freakish survivalist, when in fact she was a participant in a broader gun culture that should be getting our serious attention. When such shootings happen, however, it is far easier to blame one individual woman for being a "bad mother" who created a "monster" than to acknowledge that some aspects of society in general might be bad and in need of changing. Where does the real instability lie?
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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

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.

Adam Lanza Was a Killer, Not a Goth

The Newtown, Connecticut killer is not a Goth. And so I shouldn't even be writing this. The fact that the most media outlets who have run with this are generally tabloids or right-wing is not a surprise. That's what they do best, inflame and demonize. And so they picked up on one comment from one rather dubious source. I have something to say about what happens when you link a criminal, especially a mass murderer, with an entire subculture of people he or she has absolutely nothing to do with. How it not only doesn't help to answer the question "why?", it actually causes more hurt, more harm.
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Teachers: The Real Heroes of Sandy Hook

No one goes to teacher's college because he or she wants to hide with children in a dark closet, or step into the path of an armed madman. But we don't choose the society we live in, and sadly, this comes with the job. So teachers do so rightly (I feel obliged to say) armed not with guns, but with the kindness, compassion, and sense of duty that can only be found in one's heart.

The Right to Bear Arms Is Wrong

Words cannot describe the agony and pain felt by the families who have lost loved once in the mass shooting that had taken place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut on Friday....
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No Place For Ambiguity In Aftermath Of School Shooting

The politician in me understands that in crafting policy, factors such as social conditions, supports available for mental illness, and the protection in place at children's schools, must all be considered. I am well aware of how important comprehensive consideration, investment, and ultimately prevention can be in avoiding incidents like Friday's shooting. The cop in me, however, is an unyielding proponent of strict gun control after witnessing firsthand the devastation gun violence causes society. It also makes me intolerant of playing the politics of re-election and courting public support on issues of this magnitude.
CNN

Post-Shooting, These Kids Don't Need Media Attention

In the wake of the tragedy in the Newtown, CT elementary school, we are all left speechless. In the midst of the chaos that ensues, we rely on news media to guide us. But in order to get as close as possible to the story, sometimes news media pass the line of what is acceptable. Today, there were many instances of reporters talking to little children. Eight- and nine-year-olds. A little child who has just experienced a tragedy like this doesn't need a microphone in his or her face. What we don't want is the use of little children as a means of getting viewers. Those children need love and care first. The story should always come after.