Dear Steve Scalise, Karma’s a Bitch

This article is meant to parody the typical Conservative response to mass shootings. Links to real news sources are posted below.

Early this morning, at a GOP charity baseball practice session, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot by a lone gunman in Alexandria, Virginia. Two members of the Capitol Police, a congressional staffer, and a lobbyist for Tyson Foods were also shot. These five injured parties were hospitalized. The gunman, identified as James Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois, was reportedly killed by law enforcement at the baseball field. (Source 2)

Hodgkinson was 66 years old, an entrepreneur, politically active, and leaves behind a wife and daughter. His motives are unknown at this point, although some people suspect me have have suffered a recent mental break. Currently, the only thing we can do is wait for some sort of explanation for this tragedy, and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims. (Source 1)

Rep. Steve Scalise underwent surgery this morning and remains in critical condition. In addition to being the House Majority Whip, Scalise has been an opponent of gun control measures, and also has ties to known white supremacists.

In 2016, Scalise interviewed with CNN’s Jake Tapper and aggressively opposed then President Obama’s new gun control policies, calling them “executive overreach,” and claiming the U.S. already had adequate gun control measures and protections (Source 6). Watch the full interview here:

In 2002, he spoke at a European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) conference about “the most effective and up-to-date methods of civil rights and heritage related activism.” EURO was founded by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). (Source 3)

Steve Scalise claims he “didn’t know” EURO was a white supremacist organization, nor did he know it was founded by David Duke, and says speaking at this 2002 conference was a “mistake” which he “regrets” (Sources 3 & 4). However, EURO was a well-known racist hate group in 2002 according to a spokesperson for SPLC, and this conference was also on an “Anti-Defamation League list of extremist events for that year” (Source 3).

Scalise continued to defend himself by claiming he has spoken to many different groups with different ideologies, and “when people called and asked me to speak to groups, I went and spoke to groups” (Sources 3 & 4). He also said he did not have a scheduler on staff in 2002, nor did he have “the benefit of Google” (Source 4). It should be noted Google’s internet search engine not only existed in 2002, but was growing in popularity.

In 2014, The Washington Post interviewed David Duke on whether or not Saclise was aware of Duke’s connection to the 2002 EURO conference. Duke said he did not know for sure if Scalise knew “what the conference was,” but that Scalise was asked to speak by “two of Duke’s longtime associates.” (Source 4)

Additionally, Steve Scalise was likely aware of who David Duke was prior to his 2002 EURO conference speech, given a 1999 statement he made about Duke. When interviewed by Roll Call regarding Rep. Bob Livingston’s (R-La) resignation and the possibility of both David Duke and himself filling that newly vacated House seat, Scalise said he embraces many of the same “conservative” views as Duke, but is far more viable.” (Source 5)

Sources:

  1. Jose Pagliery, “Suspect in congressional shooting was Bernie Sanders supporter, strongly anti-Trump,” CNN, June 14, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/homepage2/james-hodgkinson-profile/index.html
  2. Tal Kopan and Eric Bradner, “GOP House Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition after shooting at baseball practice,” CNN, June 14, 2017,
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/politics/alexandria-virginia-shooting/index.html
  3. Molly Reilly and Ryan Grim, “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Spoke At White Supremacist Conference In 2002,” Huffington Post, Dec. 29, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/29/steve-scalise-euro-conference_n_6392036.html
  4. J. Scott Applewhite, “Rep. Scalise: Speech At White Supremacist Gathering ‘A Mistake I Regret’,” NPR, Dec. 30, 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/12/30/373955103/rep-steve-scalise-i-went-and-spoke-to-any-group-that-called
  5. Niels Lesniewski, “What Scalise and Vitter Told Roll Call About David Duke in 1999,” Roll Call, Dec. 29, 2014, http://www.rollcall.com/218/scalise-vitter-talked-to-roll-call-about-david-duke-in-1999/?dcz=
  6. “CNN: Scalise Blasts Obama’s Gun Measures,” CNN, Jan. 6, 2016, http://scalise.house.gov/press-release/cnn-scalise-blasts-obama%E2%80%99s-gun-measures

What the Anti-Trans Bathroom Debate is Really About

After the White House rolled back protections for trans public school students (click here for link to news story) the “should trans people be able to safely use public bathrooms” debate has raised its ugly head yet again. And frankly, this debate is absurd. I cannot believe we are still debating whether or not trans folx are ‘permitted’ to take a piss in a public toilet. Like, are you fucking kidding me? Why are we discussing this? How is this even an issue? The level of bigotry required for this to be a problem for someone is truly terrifying.

prostest this shit

Image Description: An elderly white, feminine-presenting person with a walker holding a sign that reads, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit!”

Those promoting this specific form of transphobia claim their concern is primarily with protecting children and preventing sexual assault. It’s obvious to me, and most other queer folx, this so called “bathroom debate” is not about protecting children or preventing sexual assault at all. Nor is it really about trans people using bathrooms. However, before I explain what the “bathroom debate” is about, let’s first explore these transphobes’ claims.

First, these transphobes argue they just want to protect “The Children.” But by “The Children” they mean their children; specifically, their cis, straight, and usually white children. But setting aside the fact that these people completely ignore the existence of trans kids (something I will circle back to), let’s dig into this “but what about The Children?” argument:

download (2)

Image Description: Mr’s Banks from the TV show The Simpsons. Text reads, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”

So, what exactly are these people trying to protect their kids from? Well, for one, they want to protect “The Children” from being “scandalized” by seeing genitalia (specifically, penises) in the women’s bathroom. My question here is, what the hell kind of bathrooms are you and your family using? While I primarily use the women’s bathroom, I have also used the men’s and gender neutral facilities. And I can honestly say I have never seen genitalia in any public bathroom – ever. My dad even used to take me in the men’s room with him when I was a toddler and there was never a problem. Okay, a little boy walked in on me once, but I think he was just as scandalized as me. So, this is really not an issue… unless these people are trying to see genitalia in public bathrooms. In which case, they’re the perverts; not trans folx who just need to take a leak. Also, if people with penises really are flinging themselves all about in men’s rooms, why are we comfortable with little boys being exposed to that? Sure, many toddlers go in the women’s room, but by 8 or 10 most kids can use public bathrooms while their guardian waits outside. So, it’s acceptable for little 10 year old boys to be flashed in the bathroom, just not little girls? That’s pretty fucked up. It’s almost as if this argument isn’t about protecting “The Children” at all… Hmm…

Another argument these transphobes make is they don’t want their children to be “confused.” Confused by what? That all humans pee and poop? Aside from the occasional mirror check, peeing and pooping is literally all that goes on in public bathrooms. Unless of course I missed the memo about all the bathroom orgies? Which would be sad, because I’m down for an orgy… although, not in a public bathroom. That’s gross.

download (3)

Image Description: A black, masculine-presenting person. Text reads, “Girl that’s nasty.”

I guarantee these same people opposing trans folx safely going to the bathroom are also brainwashing their kids with archaic, unfounded ideas about sex and gender essentialism. (Click here for more information on essentialism.) These are the people who teach their kids sex and gender are the same thing, and there are only two – “male and female” – because god says so. And anyone who doesn’t force themselves into this rigid mold is going to hell. Talk about confusing. Sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and biologists will all tell you sex and gender are not the same thing, and there are more than two of each. So, just because these people refuse to open their minds, and therefore are incapable of providing their children with accurate information on sex and gender, doesn’t mean they get to exile all trans people so their kid never questions this brainwashing. (Click here for link to more information on the differences between sex and gender)

And to circle back to trans kids (because they do actually matter) – they’re being told they have to use a bathroom that makes them uncomfortable, unsafe, and that does not match their gender. Trans girls are being told they have to use the boys’ bathroom because they are a boy – even though they’re girls – is not okay. Trans kids face enough bullying, transphobia, microaggressions, mental health challenges, and other abuse. The last thing they need is to be forced to use a bathroom that is potentially unsafe and traumatic, or at best, awkward and uncomfortable.

The last line of the what-about-The-Children? argument is usually, “I don’t feel comfortable with unsupervised men being in the bathroom with my wife and/or daughter.” Ignoring the paternalistic undertones of this statement, it sort of sounds like [cis] men are the problem. It sounds like even these overly-conservative transphobes don’t trust men to behave themselves around women. To which every woman and feminine of center person sarcastically says, “you don’t say!” Although, you certainly won’t hear these conservative, “god made men superior” -criers, binary gender roll adhere-ers admit men pose a serious threat to women. Oh no. These are the same ‘concerned’ men who blame women for their own sexual assault because of what they were wearing or how much they drank… But I’ll come back to this issue later.

willy-wonka-so-you-dont-want-to-be-sexually-assaulted-have-you-tried-like-not-getting-raped

Image Description: Willy Wonka from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Text reads, “So, you don’t want to be sexually assaulted. Have you tried, like, not getting raped?”

So, if men are the problem, why are these people attacking trans women and femms for using the women’s bathroom? Oh, unless they’re misgendering trans folx, equating women with vagina/uterus owners, and are therefore referring to trans women going about their normal bathroom business as “unsupervised men.” (Hint: this is exactly what they’re doing.)

The only counter-argument to make here is that trans woman are women. This is not something that is open for discussion, as this is simply a fact. However, those who insist on being transphobic assholes and saying trans women are not “real” women, don’t get to exclude trans folxs from public facilities simply because they insist on being transphobic assholes. Not to mention, equating women with vagina/uterus owners reveals their true views on women. If she doesn’t have a vagina for them to put a dick in, or uterus to make a baby with, she is not a useful/real woman.

Now, these people might reply by saying men and women are inherently different on a biological level, and it’s not just about having a vagina/uterus. Well, that’s pseudoscience that has been disproved many times over. There are very few significant biological or genetic differences between what we have traditionally classified as “male” and “female” sexes. Given that there are only a few percentage points difference between human and chimpanzee DNA, it is ridiculous to think there are gaping biological differences between people with penises and people with vaginas. Also, studies have shown folx from different sex categories may function differently, but there are very few inherent biological or genetic differences. Much like how people from different cultures or geographical regions function differently but are still very similar on a biological and genetic level. (Click here for a summary of study on the differences between men and women’s brains.) Additionally, conceptualizing sex as a binary thing is empirically false, as more than two sexes exist. (Click here for further information on intersex.)

The second main argument these transphobes make is that women and children need to be protected from sexual assault. Yes! Finally, conservatives are acknowledging sexual assault is a pervasive problem in our society. But wait, how exactly do these transphobes think banning trans folx from public bathrooms will prevent sexual assault? First, they claim allowing trans people to pee in public toilets undisturbed will also allow cross-dressing [cis] men to easily and covertly sexually assault women and children.

Apparently, cross-dressing [cis] men will be able to sneak into the women’s bathroom unnoticed amidst a crowd of trans folx, assault a couple cis women, and disappear with all the trans folx before anyone can say shit about it. But even if that were to happen, which is highly improbable, these cross-dressing men are cis men, not trans people. So, even in this far fetched scenario trans people are not the problem, cis men are. And the many people who have been sexually assaulted by cis men are all like:

stupid

Image Description: Comedian Kevin Hart holding a microphone saying, “I gotta stop saying ‘how stupid can you be?’ I’m beginning to feel like people are taking it as a challenge”

You know who is actually likely to rape women and children? Fathers, boyfriends and husbands, teachers and coaches, the creepy neighbor, that perv-y uncle, youth-group leader, a boss, or that long-time family friend you never felt comfortable around. (Click here for more information on perpetrators sexual assaults.)

And even when a [cis] man wants to rape a stranger, he doesn’t need to cross-dress and sneak into a public bathroom. What planet do these transphobes live on? [Cis] men don’t need a ruse to sexually assault people. Women and children are regularly sexually harassed and assaulted in public spaces. Street harassment is a daily occurrence for many women and feminine-presenting folx. Fucking Br*ck T*rner committed his rape behind a dumpster. And just to drive a nail in the coffin of this absurd argument, Oklahoma State Senator, Ralph Shortey, voted for a piece of anti-trans legislation and then was caught in a hotel room with a minor (click here for the story).

The second way these bathroom bill assholes think trans folx using public bathrooms encourages sexual assaults is that it will give sexual predators a free pass because “they can just claim they’re trans.” Um, no.

download (4)

Image Description: 3 elderly white, feminine-presenting people talking in a living room. Text reads, “that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.”

Providing legal protections to trans people when using public bathrooms doesn’t negate existing laws which make assault a criminal act. Cis men and women using the men’s and women’s rooms aren’t legally allowed to assault people in the bathroom. And if a trans person assaulted anyone I’m positive they would be arrested. However, there are no reports of trans people assaulting anyone in public bathrooms. (Click here for article linking to various Trans Rights organizations’ statics) However, white cis men get away with assaulting people all the time. So, it’s not trans people getting a free pass, it’s white cis dudes. (For examples, Google any of the following names: Donald Trump, Casey Affleck, Bill O’Reily, Woody Allen.)

Of course, to non-bigots all of these “anti-trans bathroom” arguments make zero sense. These transphobes’ claims of wanting to protect “The Children” collapse with the slightest breeze like a poorly made souffle. And preventing or reducing sexual assault and trans people’s natural bodily functions have fuck all to do with each other.

If these people were actually concerned about “The Children” they would be concerned about all children, especially the most vulnerable children. Not only would I venture these assholes don’t actually care about poor kids, Black kids, undocumented kids, and kids suffering from abuse, they obviously don’t give two shits about trans kids. Never mind the fact that 92% of trans adults in the U.S. attempted suicide before 25 (click here for data from the Trevor Project). And never mind that an estimated 20 to 40% of homeless youth are trans, LGB, or otherwise queer (click here for data on homelessness in the LGBTQIA+ community). These people still want to force trans youth into unsafe bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match their gender and where they are often bullied and assaulted. So much for protecting “The Children.”

As bad as the “but what about The Children?” argument is, I am most disgusted by the supposed sexual assault prevention claims. Dear transphobic assholes, stop weaponizing sexual assault to promote your anti-trans bathroom bills. Stop pretending to care about sexual assault victims to justify your transphobia. You don’t give a flying fuck about sexual assault victims, you hypocrites!

I’ll believe these fuckwits care about preventing sexual assault, when they stop protecting/defending their own white cis rapists (for examples Google Donald Trump, Casey Affleck, Bill O’Reily, or Woody Allen). Or when the assholes making these transphobic laws stop assaulting people in bathrooms themselves. (More Republican Lawmakers Have Been Arrested For Bathroom Misconduct Than Trans People.) I’ll believe they care about victims and survivors when they start sentencing rapists to more than a few months in jail (Google the Brock Turner or Stacey Rambold rape cases). Or when they actually start holding [cis] men accountable for sexual assault. Or when they start believing folx who say they were raped. Or when they stop normalizing rape in our pop culture. Or when they stop giving boys a pass on assaulting girls because “boys will be boys.” Or when they stop sweeping sexual assault and pedophilia under the rug in religious organizations (for example, the Duggar family). 

So, if the “bathroom debate” isn’t about protecting “The Children” or preventing sexual assaults like its proponents claim, what exactly is this shitty, dehumanizing debate about? It’s actually very simple; this “bathroom debate” is about excluding trans people from public spaces. It’s about making it even more difficult to exist while being trans. It’s about continuing the oppressive systems trans and gender nonconforming folx are living under. It’s about dehumanizing trans folx in order to maintain our current cis supremacist society to the benefit of cis people.

The last thing I want to say is three days ago on June 6, 2017, Kenne McFadden, a 27 year old Black trans woman, was murdered. McFadden is the 12th trans person of colour to be murdered in the U.S. this year alone (click here for link to the news story). So, excuse me while I don’t care about your discomfort at the thought of pissing next to a trans person.

cis tears

Image Description: A white, non-binary presenting person with short brown hair wearing a blue shirt and tie holding a much that says, “cis tears.”

If you are interested in reading more about this issue, please click here for an article by Laverne Cox titled, “It’s Not About Bathrooms: Laverne Cox on the Attack Against Trans Rights.”
Or click here for an article by a trans woman named Mari Brighe titled, “What Really Happens When a Trans Woman Uses a Public Restroom.”

To the People Saying We’ll Survive Trump

1-yozfh5nygzkxmhjpn_h8lg

Image Description: Crowd of people standing and a few are holding signs. One sign reads, “this is not okay,” and the other sign reads, “fear…” and the rest of the sign is unreadable.

[TW: discussions of, and references to racism, Islamophobia, colonization, xenophobia, racialized violence, transphobia and other queerphobia, misogyny, sexual violence, ableism, and various types of hate crimes and bigotry]

This is to all the people telling members of various disadvantaged and oppressed groups to “calm down,” that we all just need to “come together,” and that if conservatives “survived Obama,” we’ll “survive Trump:”

SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

Do not fucking tell us to calm down. We’re entitled to feel however the hell we feel. Do not tone police our reaction to President Toddler Hitler-lite. You have no idea where we’re coming from, and you clearly are not bothering to try to understand our very precarious situation. You’re blinded by your own privilege, so shut it.

And don’t you dare tell us we need to come together with Trump and his supporters. We are not obligated to unite with people who hate us, are bigoted toward us, and who terrify us. Trump and his supporters don’t get to be raging xenophobic, misogynistic, racists for a year and a half and then expect everyone they hate to be all hunky-dory and just fall in line. Fuck that!

How hell do you not understand that asking a person of color to set aside their own rights and well-being to make peace with a white supremacist is a giant slap in the face? Or how expecting Muslims, immigrants, or refugees to forget about all the hate and discrimination they faced from Trump and his supporters for the sake of your personal comfort is just plain heartless? Or how simply asking the LGBTQIA+ community to overlook the fact that Mike Pence and many Trump supporters think it’s perfectly acceptable to torture the f*ggot out of queer kids may cause actual trauma? Seriously, where the hell do get off asking these things of people?

Do not tell us we’ll live or we’re overreacting, because here is a list of people who will literally not survive the Trump-Pence administration:
1. Black folx and other PoC who will face increased racialized violence from police and white p*wer groups.
2. Native North Americans and Indigenous people whose land, water, and other resources will be polluted and stolen by the government and corporations.
3. Latinx people who will be racially profiled by ICE, many of whome will be illegally detained in inhumane facilities.
4. Undocumented immigrants who will likely be hunted down, rounded up into concentrated areas (does this sound vaguely familiar?), and deported.
5. Muslims who will be stigmatized even further, face an increased threat of violent hate crimes, be racially profiled by law enforcement, and who may have to register as Muslims (you know, like Jewish people in pre World War II Germany).
6. Refugees who will not be granted asylum in the U.S. Refugees who are running for their lives and have no where to go.
7. People with mental illnesses, disabled folx, and those who otherwise depend on state assistance for lifesaving healthcare.
8. People with pre-existing health issues and anyone else that relies on the regulations set forth in the ACA to obtain lifesaving health insurance coverage.
9. Any person who needs, or will need, access to affordable reproductive healthcare, including contraception, abortions, STI testing, reproductive-related cancer screenings, etc.
10. Trans and genderqueer folx who need accessible, legal avenues to change the gender identity on their legal documents (birth certificates, passports, state-issued photo IDs, etc.)
11. LGBTQIA+ folx who need access to safe transitional housing, to mental healthcare, to legal protections for their civil rights, and who will face increased rates of hate crimes.

If you don’t believe me, check out the links below. There are reports of trans suicides, racial violence, and violence against Muslim women.

And do not compare our terror and protests of Trump’s presidency to people’s animosity toward President Obama. Most people were angry about Obama’s presidency because they were racist. A few people may have simply been upset their candidate didn’t win, but let’s be honest, most of them were just racist assholes.

Those of us freaking out about Trump aren’t doing so because we’re sore losers, or because we’re bigoted assholes who are scared of losing our privilege. We’re freaked out because we know we’re about to face a living nightmare of hate crimes, police violence, and a loss of civil rights. We’re not shitty because other people might take a few steps toward equity and social justice, thereby narrowing the gaps in our social hierarchy and reducing our own privilege. We’re shitty because we’re about to take a giant step backward.

So yeah, sit your damn ass down and shut the fuck up!
Preston, Dominic. “Reports claim ‘at least 8’ trans youth died by suicide after Trump’s win,” Pink News. Nov. 10, 2016. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/10/reports-claim-at-least-8-trans-youth-committed-suicide-after-trumps-win/

Boyer, Ashley. Facebook Post screenshot via Kat Blaque. Nov. 10, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/kat.blaque.5/posts/1218259301582221

@Toure. Tweet screenshot via Shaun King Facebook page. Nov. 11, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/shaunking/photos/a.799605230078397.1073741828.799539910084929/1195912750447641/?type=3&theater

3 Cheers for Guns, Guns, and More Carnage!

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: a large black automatic rifle with a scope, flashlight shining, and what appears to be a muzzle suppressor

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: a large black automatic rifle with a scope, flashlight shining, and what appears to be a muzzle suppressor

The United States has a serious problem. In the wake of yet another school shooting, one might think the problem is gun violence, and it is – to a degree. The bigger problem, however, is the United States’ collective response to gun violence. Firearm related deaths occur at a significantly higher rate in the U.S. than in almost every other country, yet politicians and the general public respond to mass shootings with cold, ignorant indifference. People talk like extreme levels of gun violence is inevitable, and that mass shootings are an inescapable tragedy like car accidents or cancer.

GOP presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, responded to the most recent school shooting by saying “stuff happens,” and in the event of a crisis “do[ing] something” isn’t “necessarily the right thing to do.”1 A presidential candidate’s advice regarding U.S. gun violence is essentially, shit happens, and I don’t think we should really do anything about it. Another GOP hopeful, Donald Trump, made similar statements, and explained he would not try to prevent gun violence as president because, “no matter what you do you will have problems and that’s the way the world goes.”2 Such sentiments are unfortunately very common in U.S. political discourse, and are not only callus, but fail to reflect reality.

National and international data show the United States has an extremely high rate of gun violence, and other gun related deaths, relative to almost all other countries. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. has the “highest homicide-by-firearm rate” in the western-industrialized world.3 Yet U.S. politicians and citizens do not seem bothered by such data. To be fair, most people are not social science/statistics geeks like I am, so perhaps politicians and the average citizen will be moved by less abstract information? No, sadly that is not the case.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting in December, 2012, there have been 146 school shootings in the U.S. On average, that works out to be approximately one per week.4 The most recent school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, marks the 264th mass shooing (not limited to schools) just 274 days into 2015.5 According to Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 10,000 deaths via firearm in the United States so far in 2015.6 And according to Politifact, there have been approximately 1.4 million firearm related deaths in the U.S. between 1968 and 2011. To put that into perspective, a total of 1.2 million U.S. residents have died in U.S. wars; that includes every war from the Revolutionary War to the War in Iraq.7

Yet despite a ridiculously high body count, the U.S. fails to do anything to prevent, or even lessen, gun violence. In fact, regular mass shootings followed by little concern and zero preventative safety measures has literally become a punch line. After every U.S. mass shooting, The Onion, a satirical online news paper, publishes the same headline, ” ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”8 And that accurately sums up the U.S. response to mass shootings and other gun violence.

In addition to the anomalous nature of U.S. gun violence statistics, which demonstrates mass shootings and other high levels of firearm related deaths are preventable, many U.S. allies, such as Great Britain and Australia, have successfully implemented gun control measures which greatly reduced the number of gun related deaths. For instance, 60 percent of homicides committed each year in the United States are with a firearm, while only 10 percent of homicides in the U.K. are committed with a firearm each year.9

Australia is perhaps even a better case study, as they too had extremely high rates of gun violence and gun related deaths in the 1980s and 90s. However, after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded, Australia decided it was time to implement serious gun control. Within weeks the then-conservative government drafted and passed laws to restrict access to guns by making the import of automatic, semiautomatic, and pump-action shotguns illegal. They also increased the amount and severity of punishments for breaking existing and new gun laws. Over the next five years the Australian government bought and destroyed over 700,000 guns from it’s residents – one of the largest government gun buy-back programs in history. What happened? Did the government then take away other supposed liberties from its citizens? Did Australians suddenly find themselves living under a totalitarian regime with no way to fight back? No. Instead, they saw an immediate decline in firearm related deaths, including firearm homicides and firearm suicides.10

These are countries the U.S. conceptualize as “like us,” considers to be good role models, and they serve as evidence that weekly school shootings, near-daily mass shootings, and thousands of gun deaths per year are preventable. Australia, especially, should be an inspiration and a model to the United States. Unfortunately, we, as a country, have proven time and time again that the bodies of dead children, dead students, dead movie-goers, dead domestic violence victims, and dead suicide victims will not move us. I believe the U.S. position on guns is firm; guns and the profits made from them are vastly more important than people.

Sources:

  1. Martin, Jonathan, and Flegenheimer, Matt, “Jeb Bush Is Criticized for Saying ‘Stuff Happens’ in Reaction to Shootings,” New York Times, Oct. 1, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/10/02/jeb-bush-is-criticized-for-saying-stuff-happens-in-reaction-to-oregon-shooting/.
  2. Atkin, Emily, “Trump: Mass Shootings Are Inevitable, And The People Who Commit Them Are ‘Geniuses’,” Think Progress, Oct. 4, 2015, http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/10/04/3708887/trump-mass-shootings/.
  3. Masters, Johnathan, “U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons,” Council on Foreign Relations, June 24, 2015 http://www.cfr.org/society-and-culture/us-gun-policy-global-comparisons/p29735.
  4. “School Shootings in America Since Sandy Hook,” Everytown For Gun Safety, Oct. 1, 2015, http://everytown.org/article/schoolshootings/.
  5. Dickinson, Tim, “Oregon Tragedy 264th Mass Shooting of the Year,” Rolling Stone, Oct. 1, 2015, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/oregon-tragedy-264th-mass-shooting-of-the-year-20151001.
  6. Home, Gun Violence Archive, Oct. 4, 2015, http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/.
  7. Jacobson, Louis, “PBS commentator Mark Shields says more killed by guns since ’68 than in all U.S. wars,” PolitiFact, Jan. 18, 2013, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jan/18/mark-shields/pbs-commentator-mark-shields-says-more-killed-guns/.
  8. ” ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” The Onion, Oct. 1, 2015, http://www.theonion.com/article/no-way-prevent-says-only-nation-where-regularly-ha-51444.
    ” ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” The Onion, May 27, 2014, http://www.theonion.com/article/no-way-to-prevent-this-says-only-nation-where-this-36131.
  9. “Oregon shooting: Statistics behind ‘routine’ US gun violence,” BBC, Oct. 2, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34424385.
  10. Weller, Chirs, and Baer, Drake, “Australia’s success in curbing gun violence could be a model for the world,” Tech Insider, Aug. 26, 2015, http://www.techinsider.io/australia-gun-reform-provides-an-example-for-the-us-2015-8.