This past Wednesday afternoon I received frantic calls and texts from my mother and sister, asking me if my childhood friend, a UCLA student, was alright. Without any knowledge that a shooting had happened on the campus I somehow immediately knew that was the scenario my family members were referring to.
My friend is fine, but this isn’t about him. My immediate assumption when asked about the well-being of a college age friend was that there was a school shooting, and I was right.
It’s a bit ridiculous that public shootings have become so common in our society that they are the first thought some have when they’ve heard something is wrong. More frustrating than that is how we respond to these shootings. After each there is yet another call to change policies, and put in
preventative measures, which gets national attention for a week then fades away.
The reason often given for gun violence debates fading away, until of course the next shooting
comes around, is gridlock in our government. Democrats call for gun control, and recently Republicans have started calling for mental health care reform. Neither side is wrong: Better gun control and better mental health care would both likely reduce gun violence.
What happened at UCLA was fairly mild compared to other recent shootings years, but that should not diminish it.
Reform aimed at fighting gun violence has been proposed many times over the past few years. Currently the U.S legislature is tossing around the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016. The act aims to make health care more accessible to those who need it. Hopefully this will pass, because when nothing gets done it doesn’t really matter who is right and who is wrong.
She fell asleep watching television as her parents slept in their bedroom. A few hours later, she opened her eyes to the sight of her father, lying on the opposite couch. He had been shot in the chest and was choking on his own blood. Her mother was bleeding on the floor, a gunshot wound to her leg. The little girl was startled and cried out to intruders in her home, “Why did you shoot my mom?”Brisenia's mom, Gina, cried and described the events in court back in 2011. She made it out alive seven years ago yesterday, after being shot in the leg. She called 911 and got a hold of her husband's gun.
The competing stresses posed by balancing government intrusion and individual rights in pursuit of a safe society will be the topic of a panel discussion featuring MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, journalist Glenn Greenwald and former NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden presented by the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Chomsky and Greenwald will appear in person while Snowden will videoconference from Russia. Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, will act as moderator for the discussion.Tickets to the event are sold out, but you can watch the livestream on The Intercept tonight (Friday, March 25) from 5 to 7 p.m., or catch up with a recording of the conversation on Monday, March 28 when it is posted to the UA's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences website.
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