Monthly Archives: May 2014

Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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In light of a recent mass murder suicide in Santa Barbara, California, there has been a frenzy of impassioned speculation as to what spurred the killer, Elliot Rodger, into carrying out his crime. One point of view put forward is that it was the phenomenon of violence against women; not just on his part, but on the part of men in general that spurred him on to commit this crime. That and abuse of women at the hands of men is tolerated in US society  in a “culture of misogyny and toxic masculinity.” The abuse of women is a problem and without any doubt reprehensible, but is it fair to lay the blame solely on men? Is it reasonable to assert that the abuse of women is tolerable in US society? These questions merit discussion, but in short, my answer to both questions is a resounding no. Continue reading

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I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use. — Galileo Galilei

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In reaching a historic agreement on prohibition of weapons, we made a mighty contribution to delivering a safer and more secure Australian society. — John Howard

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The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. — Josh Sugarmann

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The term assault weapon comes up frequently in media reports on guns in society. The term has its origins in the 1980s and is credited to Josh Sugarmann  executive director and founder of the Violence Policy Center (VPC) and noted prohibitionist. Prior to founding the Violence Policy Center in 1988, Sugarmann served as communications director for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns (renamed the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) in 1989). The term assault weapon entered common parlance after Sugarmann authored a publication entitled Assault Weapons and Accessories in America in 1988. Sugarmann and the Violence Policy Center are among those advocates of prohibition who frame the argument that prohibition is a matter of public health and safety, that this trumps the individual right to own and use guns. In their effort to advance this agenda, prohibitionists resort to the underhanded tactic of framing the debate in a manner that confuses the issue, causing people to quarrel over what is they view as good guns vs bad guns. Continue reading

What will survive of us is love. — Phillip Larkin’s An Arundel Tomb

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The story of the life and love shared by Thomas Lee Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone resonates with me to this day. I learned of their life together and the tragedy that befell them in viewing It could happen to you, the YouTube video produced by Shane Bitney Crone in memory of Thomas Lee Bridegroom, who died in a tragic accident on May 7, 2011. Though I do not know either of these men, I was so moved in a way that I normally am not upon hearing of a personal tragedy that strikes people who are strangers to me. Watching It could happen to you had a profound effect on me; I felt grief and outrage well up inside me upon learning of the injustice and iniquity that was heaped on Shane Bitney Crone following the death of his partner, Thomas Lee Bridegroom. As same sex couples could not marry in California at the time of Tom’s death, Shane had no legal standing as Tom’s partner and could do nothing as the Bridegroom family claimed Tom’s body, his assets and barred Shane from attending his funeral. This is so wrong and it happens to other couples. From the grief and outrage I experienced I was inspired to join in the effort to advocate for full civil rights for gay people, marriage rights in particular. Continue reading

I’m concerned about how accessible guns are. — Stevie Wonder

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A shooting at a sawmill in Nanaimo, British Columbia on April 30, 2014 has left two men dead and two in hospital recovering from gunshot wounds. The gunman, a 47 year old former employee is in custody. The murder weapon is a shotgun. I will not be surprised if prohibitionists use this tragedy to step up their complaints that it is the “availability of guns,” that it is too easy to get a gun, as to what is to blame for such incidents. “Availability” or “access to guns” is commonly held as a problem in the ranks of prohibitionists who tirelessly assert this claim. Researchers have tried to test this theory that there is a causal link between the availability of guns and deaths and injuries by gun. The difficulty for researchers studying this theory is in generating data that can be tested using scientific research methods. However, their inability to find a causal link between the availability of guns and deaths and injuries by gun has not stopped prohibitionists from advancing their belief that such a link exists. Continue reading