I never thought I’d see a funny public service announcement for gun control, but today was the day, my friends. “Playthings” warns adults of the dangers that come with leaving certain things out in the open—and in this case, it’s dildos. As two embarrassed moms look on while their sons sword fight with their sex toys, they suddenly learn the value of locks. And the same goes for guns, you guys! Get it? Anyway, watch the video for yourselves and learn a little something while you laugh.
Earlier this week, a 15-year-old boy brought an assault rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, and several hundred rounds of ammo to Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon. He shot and killed a 14-year-old classmate, Emilio Hoffman, in the boys’ locker room before being cornered by police and taking his own life. The shooter got everything he needed to carry out a mass murder from his parents, “responsible gun owners” who kept the military-style weapons and ammunition in the family home.
Seth Needler, a teacher at Reynolds who was hunkered down in a classroom with 40 students during the shooting and ensuing lockdown, wrote up a chilling account of the ordeal and a call to action to fix our nation’s epidemic of gun violence. He posted it on Facebook, and it has been shared nearly 3,000 times so far. Read his powerful words in their entirety below, and keep sharing it — and demanding action — until our leaders finally take note. Not one more. Keep reading »
“It’s been step by step since I was shot three years ago. I’ve overcome a lot. Progress has come from working hard. Today, I grieve, I remember, and I take another step. I’m stronger now. I’m winning back movement in my right arm. So I have the opportunity to do something I love: skydiving with my friend, former Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch. Southern Arizona will look beautiful, peaceful from the top of the sky.”
Three years ago, on January 8th, 2011, Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 18 others were shot at a constituent meeting in Tucson. Six people died; Giffords sustained brain damage and was partially paralyzed. Today, she posted this hopeful update on her Facebook page, in addition to a New York Times op-ed about the gains she’s made in physical therapy and the gun reform activism that’s become her new life purpose. In true fearless Gabby fashion, she’s celebrating her milestones by jumping out of a plane. She is such an inspiration. We wish her the best in her continuing recovery and her quest for sensible gun laws.
It’s hard not to feel powerless in the face of the frequent gun violence (especially after today’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport). Instead of just wishing she could help, Toby Milstein took action. Like countless others, Toby was distraught when she heard the news of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012. She worried that her brother, who was in Colorado that summer, had been injured. She soon learned he was safe, but she couldn’t stop thinking about how often she’d been seeing mass shootings in the news.
Toby, a senior at Barnard College in New York City, also noticed the popularity of guns and skulls in fashion. The imagery, which she refers to as “aggressive iconography,” became her inspiration to create a necklace with the shape of a gun on the pendant. The words “Wear It: Don’t Bear It” are displayed on the pendant to remind those who wear it to be responsible with firearms. Keep reading »
Just days after 12 people were killed in the Washington Navy Yard shootings, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz penned an open letter to his customers respectfully requesting that they no longer bring guns into their 7,000 coffee shops. The company, which had previously supported by local “open carry” laws, has reversed its stance on firearms due to a recent “open carry” rally gone awry outside of a San Antonio store and some kerfuffles between pro and anti-gun activists. Read an excerpt from Schultz’s letter after the jump. Keep reading »
In what is sure to cause at least some controversy, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has released this PSA in protest of the various “Stand Your Gun” laws around the country, reenacting the night Trayvon Martin was killed. In the video, we see a man (representing Zimmerman) following a young black man (representing Martin) walking down a dark street, while the sound of Zimmerman’s real 911 call plays. There are gunshots, and then the sound of the 911 call from a neighbor reporting the shooting. Instead of just seeing one body lying on the grass, there are multiple, all wearing hoodies. The PSA is sure to have its critics, particularly because Zimmerman’s attorneys did not use Stand Your Ground as his defense — they stuck to regular ol’ self defense. (However, it is worth noting that the judge’s instructions to the jury in the case made it clear that they needed to consider whether Zimmerman was within his rights to “stand his ground” the night he shot Martin, and one juror told Anderson Cooper that “stand your ground” was one reason why the jury didn’t convict.) What do you think of the PSA? Is it successful? [YouTube]
Last weekend, families across the country gathered for hot dogs, fireworks, American flags, and clouds of bug spray. So much bug spray. My family was no different: we had our annual party at my sister’s house. But our party was better this year: we had a kiddie pool and a bucket filled with squirt guns. As the Fun Aunt (read: the only one with no children, which means I have surplus energy to run around the yard with the little monsters), I quickly armed myself and sneak-attacked some kiddos with a spray of water to the face. We ducked behind bushes and trees, shrieking with glee and, honestly, relief at a the cool bursts of water on a 90-degree suburban day.
But as we dodged and weaved and got wet, something occurred to me. I was playing with a gun. A toy gun, sure. But I was playing with a toy gun with kids. Keep reading »
It was “political fear” and “cold calculations” that drove a Senate minority to block a gun background-check measure yesterday. But “that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets,” writes Gabrielle Giffords in a blistering New York Times op-ed. Some of those senators have met with Newtown victims, “have looked into my eyes” as Giffords discussed her own shooting. Yet, despite polls showing overwhelming support for the measure, “then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby—and brought shame on themselves by choosing to do nothing.” Read more on Newser…
Today, in a 54-to-46 vote, the Senate voted against a compromised proposal that would have expanded background checks on firearm sales. This, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans, including card-carrying NRA members, supported the measure. The parents of many of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, four months ago sat in the room as the Senate voted. Above, President Obama reacts to the vote and has some strong words for those politicians who voted against the proposal, calling it “a shameful day for Washington.” But he’s also clear that this fight is not over. (The playlist above breaks Obama’s remarks into two parts.)
As predicted, the Senate today rejected a bipartisan effort to expand federal background checks on gun purchasers. The proposal would have required checks for all transactions at gun shows and online. The 54-46 vote was a blow to the drive to curb firearms sparked by December’s massacre of children and staff in Newtown. The roll call was also a victory for the National Rifle Association, which opposed the plan as an ineffective infringement on gun rights. Read more on Newser…