When students are killed, injured, or put in harm’s way on school grounds, when does it “count” as a school shooting? Not all of the time, according to a number of right-wing commentators — and CNN.
ThinkProgress reports that “In a news report published Thursday, CNN amends its prior reporting that there were 74 school shootings since the Newtown Massacre — a number calculated by gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety — and concludes that there have instead been just 15.
“CNN determined that 15 of the incidents Everytown included were situations similar to the violence in Oregon — a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school,” the article explains. Except for the times when those criteria don’t apply: “Some of the other incidents on Everytown’s list included personal arguments, accidents and alleged gang activities and drug deals,” the article explains, apparently nixing Everytown’s bright line criteria that encompassed all incidents “when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts” in exchange for its own subjective assessment.
“Among those incidents not included was a brawl that escalated outside a college basketball game at Chicago State University, a shooting at a Mississippi town’s football game that left a 15-year-old dead, and a Georgia college that saw two shootings in two days. As Everytown points out in response to CNN, these discounted shootings led to 25 deaths and 45 injuries. They included familiar scenes of students hiding under desks and running for cover. And many of them were characterized by CNN as “school shootings” at the time of the incidents. Continue reading “What counts as a “school shooting”?”
Finally someone is talking about this. No, not talking about the shootings. Instead we have found a thought piece about the mushrooming “discourse” about the shootings.
It usually takes a bit of time for such a retrospective analysis to take place, but we live in a faster world. Today in Truthout, William Rivers Pitt looks at the war-of-positions we’ve all been
witnessing, and his thoughts are excerpted briefly below:
“A few hours before President Obama and Vice President Biden unveiled their proposals for gun reform in America, the National Rifle Associationlaunched a preemptive strike on the president’s children. To wit: an NRA-sponsored television commercial claimed that, because Sasha and Malia get armed guards in school and your kids don’t, Mr. Obama is an elitist hypocrite. Continue reading “Selling the Shootings”
“We have a long history in the US of giving people involuntary medical treatment and using mental institutions to lock up people who are “different” or threatening to social norms,” says University of Washington law professor Dean Spade, author of the book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law.
Spade was speaking about California’s “Laura’s Law” which provides court-ordered outpatient treatment for the seriously mentally ill. “So many people who could use mental health care do not reach out for it because they are afraid that they will be locked up involuntarily if they reach out to a provider,” Spade said.
Spade is the subject of an interview appearing in today’s issue of The Nation conducted by Laura Flanders. The article begins,
“Exactly as the shootings debate is playing out, funding for mental health services are teetering on the fiscal brink. Obama and Speaker John Continue reading “Dean Spade on the shootings and mental health care”
As we enter the most recent round in the media violence debate, a story from the past is illustrative of the difficulties in drawing conclusions too quickly from what seem like common sense observations.
In a now-famous study conducted in the 1970s, a group of American researchers were convinced they’d come up with a perfect way to measure the effects of violent media.[i] They had decided to study teenage boys who lived in residential facilities and boarding schools where television viewing could be completely controlled. For a period of six weeks, half of the boys were permitted to watch only violent programs and the other half non-violent shows. Everyone expected the boys exposed to violence to become more aggressive and unruly, as similar studies of younger children had demonstrated. Continue reading “Misunderstanding Media Violence”
Until cooler heads prevail, for the time being we will be living through a war-of-positions on game violence. Despite the absence of empirical evidence linking media violence and real world “effects,” a moral panic atmosphere is rising throughout the U.S. But as this recent essay by Steve Benen points out, nations where people play plenty of violent video games don’t seem to share America’s predilection for mass shootings. Reproduced below is an except from Benen’s article as it appeared on maddowblog.
“Plenty of officials, including folks like Joe Lieberman, have been arguing for years that violent games desensitizes young people to violence and contributes to a larger corrosive effect on the culture.
“There’s just no evidence to support the claims. Hunches and cultural criticisms notwithstanding, there is no science to bolster the contention that gaming and gun violence are connected. (Adam Lanza was reportedly obsessed with “Dance Dance Revolution” — which is a game, as the name suggests, about moving feet, not shooting weapons.) Continue reading “Looking beyond game violence”
“On an international scale, America exports its culture of under-regulated violence.” Today’s edition of Le Monde carries an article by Heidi Morrison that puts recent events at U.S. elementary school in the context of broader patterns of American violence in recent years and the nation’s history. Reminiscent of Richard Slotkin’s classic Regeneration through Violence, Morrison examines this tragic tradition, as excerpted below:
“Seeking an explanation for tragic violence, we often turn to history and ask ourselves how we got to this point. Writing the historical narrative for the forces that led to the horrific elementary school massacre of 28 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook has already Continue reading “America’s culture of violence examined”
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As a topic, bullying has received considerable media attention in recent years in its linkages to online harassment, school shootings, suicide, and even a notable candidate for political office. While bullying can be overt or subtle, it nearly always involves a power imbalance based on some kind of difference in behavior, appearance, culture, or belief. Perceived standards of the “normal” or “natural” get used to rationalize verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. In The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools (New York University Press, 2012), Jessie Klein argues that these notions of normality are far more significant in bullying than individual pathology.Bullies may the active agents in causing harm, but larger groups or an entire “bully society” may be the real problem, especially when we consider that this is not just about kids. Writ large, bullying can be seen to inhabit the workplace, the political arena, and the mediascape.
Continue reading “The bully society”