Tag Archives: Oregon

When Can We Talk About Gun Control?

This year, more than any other I can recall, really feels like the year of the gun in America. So many people have died and been injured in high profile mass shootings, with things kicking up heavily in July. Tuscaloosa saw a mass shooting, and then there was about one every week for another month. Even The Onion tried to run a satirical article about how everyone was rejoicing that it had been a week since the nation’s last mass shooting, and mere hours after they posted it, there was a shooting in New York City. Their response? An update to say “Never Mind.”

Just recently, the gun issue was brought back up with a high profile murder-suicide of an NFL player’s girlfriend, committed by Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. It picked up even more steam when NBC sports broadcaster Bob Costas read from a pro-gun control column about Belcher. And tonight, it’s likely to get another boost of conversation, thanks to a shooting in an Oregon mall, with two dead.

But every time these tragedies occur, we’re told that it’s rude and inconsiderate to talk about gun control. Fox News, for example, just went nuts on Costas. Of course, it’s perfectly alright to stump for lessening gun control soon after a tragedy, like they did on Fox News after the tragedy in Norway.

After all, people that support the Second Amendment to the nearly fanatical point never want to talk about gun control. Because they’re convinced that gun control equals a ban on all guns and the destruction of the Second Amendment. They have painted the opposition as so extreme, they think they know how every conversation will go. And since they don’t want to hear it, they try to play the “cheap” card, the “tragedy” card and keep the conversation muted. A free speech issue, might I add, and people that are fond of the First Amendment are more than happy to have conversations about regulation and why it may or may not be bad, generally speaking. As President Josiah Bartlet from “The West Wing” said on Twitter today, “If we cannot talk about gun control legislation in the aftermath of a tragedy, we will never be able to talk about gun control legislation. Maybe that’s the point.”

In pretty much every single argument I’ve gotten into about why we should try to limit guns or try to regulate them more in some way or another, a few topics always seem to be brought up: Knife deaths, “You can’t stop them all” and self-defense.

See, if I mention just how many gun deaths there are in America compared to somewhere like the United Kingdom where there are far stricter gun laws, they point out how many stabbings there are. If I talk about regulating guns or bullets to attempt to limit the number of homicides, the rebuttal of “Someone willing to kill’s going to find a way. You can kill with [fill in with a far more innocuous weapon here, like piano wire].” And inevitably the idea that we need guns to defend against criminals that have guns gets mentioned.

Well, here’s just a few little nuggets to ponder, not that any proponents of gun rights will listen, because they’ve spent so long trying to get people to stop talking, why bother listening at all? First, yeah, there are a higher number of stabbings in the U.K. than in the U.S. What’s your point, exactly? I’m pretty sure that the percentage doesn’t even come close to the percentage of gun-related homicides in the U.S., so if we could see the percentage drop and become all knife-related, then fine. Second, exactly how many knife-related mass killings are there? How many people can walk into a mall or a church or a school with a knife and slay multiple people before they’re stopped? Third, there was a very recent story about a 7-year-old boy being shot by his father outside of a gun store, accidentally. Exactly how many accidental knife deaths are there every year?

Will gun control eliminate gun violence? Certainly not. Not even close. Would it maybe, just maybe see the number of deaths per year drop, even slightly? It might. So, no, we’re not able to stop it all. People will find ways to kill. But isn’t seeing one less murder enough of a reason to try?

Isn’t the possibility of at least one less gun-related murder, one less death per year enough of a reason to talk about solutions?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuscaloosa May Not Be Safe Today

I don’t know if you pay any attention to football… but here in the state of Alabama, it’s pretty much impossible to not hear something about college football. Here in Tuscaloosa, it’d take a very severe coma and being locked in a room 300 feet underground not to hear about it. Especially this year. The University of Alabama Crimson Tide was one of four ranked undefeated college football teams going into their game today.

And today, due to unfortunate faults in defense, crazily well-made plays by the opposing offense, turnovers and fouls (some of which were rather suspect in being called/not called), the No. 1 Crimson Tide lost 29-24 to No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies. It’s a rather crushing blow for fans of the Tide, who truly expected a repeat of three seasons ago, an undefeated season leading straight to the National Championship, which would be the third one in four years. Unfortunately, unless at least two of Notre Dame, Oregon and Kansas State lose a game, UA may find themselves going to the Sugar Bowl instead. They are likely to finish their last two games without defeats and be sent to the SEC championship against, most likely, Georgia, but the National Championship may be now out of reach with so few games left.

Football’s very important down here. I feel like writing about anything else would get me ignored/yelled at by the populous. So, I’m writing about this. Because, with the loss of Mitt Romney and the Crimson Tide in the same week, I feel that Tuscaloosa may not be the safest of places to live in at the moment. I might not leave my apartment tomorrow.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Racist Sandwiches – PC Gone Too Far

Okay… this news is almost a month old, but I still can’t understand how it ever happened.

This is a story about racist sandwiches. Apparently, in Portland, Ore., Principal Verenice Gutierrez of Harvey Scott K-8 School believes some sandwiches are racist. Apparently, a teacher at the school attempted to use an example of a peanut butter sandwich in class, and Gutierrez claims that is racially discriminatory.

“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?,” she said. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”

Now, maybe as a white American, the whole culture of racist food is simply lost on me. Not that I ever ate PB and Js. I hate peanut butter. We never really had peanut butter in our house, come to think of it… But, okay. Maybe the PB&J is a primarily white American food. But can we really consider the use of PB&Js in the classroom as racially discriminatory? Or, frankly, discriminatory at all?

To the best of my food knowledge, there is only one specific type of food that is shared in every culture: The meatball. Every culture, to the best of my knowledge, has some form of semi-ground up meat rolled into a sphere and prepared in some type of sauce.

But using meatballs as an example would discriminate against vegetarians and vegans, right?

See where this “all metaphors and examples in the classroom must apply to every individual student” type of thinking might go too far? One could perhaps argue that I’m making a slippery slope out of things… but I’m not saying the racist sandwich is a dumb idea because it will lead to dumb things… I’m saying it’s already a dumb thing. The fact that that train of thought could easily apply to far dumber applications doesn’t matter. We’ve already reached a pretty dumb application.

Of course, this comes from Portland’s “Courageous Conversations” initiative, which states, via The Portland Tribune:

“Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.

Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.”

Now, I’m not trying to make light the predominantly white, racist culture pervading America. It exists. Some people thought our having a black president meant racism was dying off in America… I think it just made it more obvious. How many other presidents have had their citizenship challenged? Constantly, and after proof was given?

And racism needs to be tackled. However, branding the use of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in classroom examples as racist is taking the political correctness thing too far, and in the wrong direction. It continues to divide people by their race and culture when they should be explained, taught and made inclusive.

…but, ultimately, we really need to tackle the larger, more damaging issues, I think. Maybe come back to sandwiches later.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Football: Crazy, Amirite?

Today, I had originally planned to write a little piece on how sexual harassment is a serious thing, comparing the rather disturbing trend of reactions to allegations of Herman Cain’s sexual harassment to the allegations of Jerry Sandusky’s illicit sexual activities with children.

Y’know, something light and fluffy.

But I’m not really sure too many people, myself included, are paying much attention to the world outside the gridiron today. I don’t know how many of you pay attention to football, but chaos is reigning supreme in the NCAA. And I may not be the biggest football fan on the planet (ask my college friends how much I knew about the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team my freshman year), but I am definitely fond of chaos and sportscasters being as wrong as your average weatherman.

After No. 1 LSU beat No. 2 Alabama, people stopped caring about what the season was doing for the most part. Except for UA fans, who demanded a rematch between LSU and Alabama at the BCS National Championships. But the likelihood of that was slim to none.

Until this weekend.

Earlier, Stanford lost to Oregon, a one loss team only losing to LSU, Boise State lost to TCU and Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech. This weekend, No. 2 Oklahoma State lost to unranked Iowa State, No. 5 Oklahoma lost again to No. 25 Baylor, No. 7 Clemson lost to unranked N.C. State, and No. 4 Oregon lost to No. 18 USC. Tomorrow, the top three ranked teams will be undefeated LSU at No. 1, one-loss to LSU Alabama at No. 2, and one-loss to Alabama Arkansas at No. 3.

Which is fun, because that means the SEC West owns the top three spots.

And Arkansas and LSU will be playing one another this next weekend. Joy.

If Alabama can beat Auburn as soundly as they should be able to, unless LSU falls to both Arkansas and Georgia at the SEC championship, we will very likely be seeing a rematch between Alabama and LSU.

That, my friends, is the very definition of ridiculousness. (Not that rematches with the underdog winning are unheard of anywhere else. Didn’t the undefeated during the regular season New England Patriots lose the Super Bowl to a team they already beat? And I think Spain won the World Cup after beating the team they lost to in the round robins… The chaos of sports is just so fun.)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,