Get ready for some incredibly mediocre photos from a flip phone.
Today, I’m at “Marching On: A Conference on Gun Violence Prevention” in Exley Science Center, a conference hosted by CT Against Gun Violence (CAGV). The conference runs from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM, and consists of a Welcome, a session about gun violence in CT, two breakout sessions, and a keynote speech by Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of Connecticut. Click past the jump for the liveblog.
Earlier this month, The Onion mocked college activists in a video news clip entitled “College Activists Excited to Add Powerless Voices to Gun Debate,” which involved an actual Argus editorial and a fake interview with Micah Feiring ’11 (renamed “Michael Feiring”) in its scathing take-down.
A few days later, on Valentine’s Day (which doubled as the two-month anniversary of the Newtown shooting), I joined about 30 other Wesleyan students, as well as Rabbi David Teva and Reverend Tracy Mehr-Muska, on a brief trip to Hartford for the March for Change rally in support of stricter gun laws. Initially proposed by Reverend Tracy, the trip was organized by Em Kianka ’13, Zach Malter ’13, and Michael Linden ’15.
Carrying signs with slogans like “MORE LOVE LESS GUNS” and “STAND ON THE SIDE OF LOVE,” we arrived at the state capital building in Hartford, where a crowd of over 5,000 supporters had gathered near mounds of snow and Governor Dannel Malloy was finishing up a stirring speech that hearkened back to his moving remarks in the hours after the tragedy. “Every day that we delay is a day in which more innocent individuals,” Malloy spoke from the capital steps. “I hope the NRA hopes the ‘Newtown Effect’ will go away. It won’t. We can’t let what happened in Connecticut ever go away.” At one point, a hushed chant broke out in the crowd: “Now. Now. Now. Now.”
Want to spend the two-month anniversary of the Newtown shooting marching through Hartford with thousands of others to demand sensible gun legislation in Connecticut? So do I. There’s a planning meeting on Tuesday, and Em Kianka ’13 has deets:
The recent tragedy in Newtown has just made more apparent an issue that has been neglected for far too long. We as a community must take a stand and tell our legislators that enacting gun control legislation now is necessary to ending gun violence in the state of Connecticut. Come stand in solidarity with those working to end gun violence and join the March for Change in Hartford the morning of February 14th. The March for Change is organized by a coalition of activists supporting the enactment of safer gun legislation in CT and will support the efforts of CT Against Gun Violence.
Interested in marching or helping mobilize a coalition of Wesleyan students to attend or volunteer at the march? Come attend this planning meeting on Tuesday, 1/29 at 4:15 in Usdan 110 to talk about our vision for Wesleyan’s involvement in the march. THERE WILL BE SNACKS!
Also, please invite your friends!
Date: Tuesday, January 29 (the actual march is February 14)
Time: 4:15 p.m.
Place: Usdan 110
In the wake of the Newtown shooting, should teachers be armed?
One week after the Newtown shooting, the NRA has ended its social media blackout and the national gun policy debate is as bitter as it’s ever been. Thousands of Americans are demanding gun control now, and if you’re reading Wesleying, chances are you agree. But on the gun-owning side of the lobby—the sort of people who follow NRA’s Twitter account in the first place—conservatives demand the opposite: more guns, more concealed carry, more self-defense. (Don’t believe these people are real? Read a few NRA Facebook comments. Go ahead; I’ll wait.) In one heated exchange, Larry Pratt of the Gun Owners of America appeared on Piers Morgan and suggested that gun control advocates are responsible for the massacre. “Since we have concealed carry laws in all of our country now, people can get a concealed firearm,” Pratt argued. “And yet, we have laws that say not in schools.”
Should teachers be armed in the classroom? Could guns in school have saved the lives of 20 children and six teachers? Should America combat guns with—err, more guns?
Over at Tenured Radical, in a post titled “Teachers Are Not Soldiers,” Professor Claire Potter has a response for the pro-gun lobby. In a phrase: “Uh, no.”
Professor Potter describes learning about the Sandy Hook massacre after having just read Jeffrey Goldberg’s December Atlantic piece in favor of more guns. The bulk of her argument revolves around an experience at Wesleyan following the shooting of May, 2009, when a gunman remained on the loose after murdering Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10 in Red & Black Cafe. Wesleyan’s campus went into lockdown, and Potter waited for hours in the Center for the Americas:
A few days ago, I posted a link to a petition that urges the White House to start a debate about gun control on my Facebook because of the Sandy Hook shooting. Thankfully, it seems as though the White House is finally on the road to enacting gun control reforms, after years of infuriating inaction. To my surprise, however, the first comment under my post was a criticism of my logic, in which the author inserted a link to this Christian Post article and argued the following:
I think the problem is how mental illness is addressed in this nation, and NOT guns. The assault weapons ban expired years ago, and nothing changed; to put another ban in place without addressing other problems in our society will only make people feel good. It’s funny that bibles are allowed to be read in prisons, but not in our public schools. Too bad that a mentally sick person has to commit a serious crime before he gets off the street and into an institution where help is rendered…just saying.
The person who posted this is a member of my family, whom I get along with and love deeply. Additionally, I agree with him to a slight extent, in that I think mental illness is an important factor in mass shootings and gun regulation (but my agreements end there). Because of all this, I found it very difficult to react to his views in my typical fashion — that is, with rage and a righteous affirmation that “he’s an ignorant, Bible thumping conservative who just doesn’t get it.” While part of me still thinks this about people who claim “guns aren’t the problem,” having a close family member voice this opinion gave me pause, because I care for and respect him. Ultimately, I decided to respond to him, and I have copied my rebuttal to his comment here.