Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Cultures and violence

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  • Megan Wegan,

    I admit it. I was wrong. And I take back anything I said. It's the girls' fault.

    I would argue that maleness and whiteness are commodities in decline. And while those of us who are not male or white have enjoyed some benefits from their decline, the sort of violence and murder that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary will continue to occur if we do not find a way to carry them along with us in our successes rather than leaving them behind....From the civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960s and onward, young men – and young white men in particular – have increasingly been asked to yield what they’d believed was securely theirs.

    SERIOUSLY.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to David Hood,

    Maybe NZ should stop equipping our cops with their guns, then?

    Dunno who else to buy from though. Kalashnikov? Used by the good side and the bad in many wars. Probably never spent a penny on advertising. Also, designed for illiterate peasant use, so even the dumbest cop should be able to avoid jamming or breaking one.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Here is an interesting article that adds some insight to the subject.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323723104578185271857424036.html?mod=rss_opinion_main

    Most interesting part.

    Finally, it must be acknowledged that many of these attacks today unfortunately take place in pretend "gun-free zones," such as schools, movie theaters and shopping malls. According to Ron Borsch's study for the Force Science Research Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato, active shooters are different from the gangsters and other street toughs whom a police officer might engage in a gunfight. They are predominantly weaklings and cowards who crumble easily as soon as an armed person shows up.

    The problem is that by the time the police arrive, lots of people are already dead. So when armed citizens are on the scene, many lives are saved. The media rarely mention the mass murders that were thwarted by armed citizens at the Shoney's Restaurant in Anniston, Ala. (1991), the high school in Pearl, Miss. (1997), the middle-school dance in Edinboro, Penn. (1998), and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. (2007), among others.

    At the Clackamas Mall in Oregon last week, an active shooter murdered two people and then saw that a shopper, who had a handgun carry permit, had drawn a gun and was aiming at him. The murderer's next shot was to kill himself.

    So that explains why there were only 2 dead in Oregan last week, but the media being in favour of gun control hasn't reported that. Adam Lanza fits the profile described above as he shot himslef as soon as he heard the cops arriving. Imagine if the headmaster at Newton had had a gun (even one firing blanks or rubber bullets) and been able to engage Lanza rather than throw herself at the gunman and get killed. It would seem that it would be much less likely that we would be mourning 26 deaths.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It's almost as if there were a group of people trying to distract the discussion away from the issue of gun control.

    oh look, here's James

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to George Darroch,

    A friend on Facebook made the point that the US has ‎9 gun related deaths per 100,000 population, while there 13 suicides per 100,000 in NZ a year.

    The US suicide rate is about 12 per 100,000. A friend of mine pointed out that about 90 people die per day in the US on the roads (which is also about 12 per 100,000). But these numbers are not much different to comparable countries, while
    their gun-related fatality rate is a outlier: it's 4 times higher than ours and 9 times higher than Australia's. There is clearly something unusual causing that statistic.

    They’re not the same statistic. Neither do they have the same solutions, though they affect proportionately similar populations. But it does indicate the magnitude of suffering faced here. Before we start to feel like other countries are warped and bizarre, and we’ve got our shit sorted…

    Well the US has almost the same suicide rate and a much higher gun-related fatality rate (note there is considerable overlap between those statistics). So they are still pretty warped and bizarre. Our overall suicide rate is not unusual; it's actually lower than countries like France, Sweden, Finland, and Japan. What is alarming is how high our youth suicide rate is, and the fact that it is increasing.

    Since Sep 2009 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Bremner,

    So that explains why there were only 2 dead in Oregan last week, but the media being in favour of gun control hasn’t reported that.

    Actually, James, the media haven’t reported it that way because it’s bullshit.

    Oregon Live quotes the armed shopper, who confirms that he did train his gun on Jacob Roberts, but didn’t pull the trigger because he was worried about hitting bystanders – a possibly responsible decision indicating a fairly obvious flaw in the the right-wing “no one would die if everyone was armed” fantasy.

    Roberts didn’t suddenly shoot himself before he was shot by an armed citizen. There’s no indication that he even saw Nick Meli pointing a gun at him in a crowded mall. Roberts just walked off, down a hall and down some stairs and then took his life.

    But good try.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Oh, FFS. Recent mass shooters are dressing in the best anti-ballistic armour they can get their hands on precisely because they are expecting to be shot at.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 842 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    but didn’t pull the trigger because he was worried about hitting bystanders

    Yup, and he may also have been concerned about drawing fire from an assault rifle onto himself. A mall is a wide open space, and a pistol is a close range weapon that leaps in the hand on every shot. An assault rifle pointed at you can fire concentrated bursts from a much larger magazine with almost triple the muzzle velocity of a handgun, so the hydrostatic shock alone can kill you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Josh Addison,

    That's a good link, thank you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Quentin Tarantino's had to pull the release of his new film: http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/8094915/Tarantino-premiere-cancelled

    It's a good thing Peter Jackson had the foresight to omit the bit where all the hobbits rampage through the dwarf school with machine guns and flame throwers.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, my son is seriously pissed off about the video-game-blaming around Newtown.

    He sent me these two links with the comment “This just feels like an insult to both games and the people we lost.”

    Mob Blames Mass Effect for Shooting, is Embarrassingly Wrong

    Fox News Tries to Tie TV, Facebook and Gaming to CT Tragedy

    Yet another case of the "video games made him do it" defence. Again, I mentioned upthread Karl du Fresne invoking the same thing about Anders Breivik.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4065 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Daughter’s link:

    The last three paragraphs:

    It’s not racist or sexist to suggest that white men are struggling with a loss of power in this country. I’m not demonizing white men, many if not most of whom probably don’t feel powerful and in control. But the fact remains that in this country white men have long ruled–in public and private life. They continue to dominate government and media even as the nature of families and private life has evolved over time. No one likes to lose power. Losing power is hard and unpleasant, frightening and disorienting.

    But distributing power equitably is important. It’s a change we can seek to understand, openly discuss and facilitate, or we can ignore and exacerbate harm.
    This violence is a public health crises. Other countries understand the vital importance to society of understanding gender constructions, but ours is mind-numbingly resistant. We really, really need to do this if we hope to understand how to stem this hemorrhaging of life. Pretending that hyper-gendered cultural pressures and entitlements that are part of boys becoming “real man” aren’t critically significant to these mass shootings, and to the everyday gun deaths in this country, is the national crime.

    This is a more able version of the column Megan linked to, derisively, above. The author still can’t quite say the obvious: that a significant number of the perpetrators of rampage killings, especially in schools, look like victims of those “hyper-gendered cultural pressures".

    Like the Columbine shooters, Lanza was a retiring, bullied geek who probably projected his own self-hatred. Like the Virginia Tech shooter, he appears to have had the additional challenge of an autism spectrum condition.

    Megan, you’re my friend, but I had to stop myself replying to what you said on Twitter about that column, in part because I know you’ve had young, male violence right in your face in a terrible way this week.

    But for you to dismiss the idea of empathy for fearful, loser kids because they possess “immense privilege” just made me furious. It’s everything that makes me angry about the use of the concept of privilege. You have privilege, I’ve got it in spades. I think we should be very, very careful of attributing it to the kid in the photo in the link above.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner, in reply to Russell Brown,

    RB, the article at your link doesn't say whether the shooter saw the guy or not. Be interested to know where the WSJ guy got his info from, he seemed pretty definitive. But it has been reported that Lanza offed himself when he heard cops arriving, so he fits the description of the cowardly shooter that the WSJ article I linked to refers to.

    " the right-wing “no one would die if everyone was armed” fantasy."
    A load of bollocks, to be sure, and one I subscribed to for a long time to until I thought about the issue a bit more.
    You only need a handful of people to have a concealed weapons license and be carrying a weapon, a few percent of the population, so there would be a decent chance that one of those people would be in a mall or other populated place and be able to intervene if a shooter turned up. Retired cops & military, hunters etc, there are a lot of people around (in the US) who know how to handle a weapon.
    And yes, hitting bystanders is a huge issue, and some of these nuts wear ballistic armor, but if you could wing a guy or tie or slow him down until the cops you arrive you will save a lot of lives. Every minute is valuable in these situations.
    There is no perfect solution to this problem. No one ever suggested there was. But passing laws that many will ignore (they are crazy) or creating a make believe world of gun free zones and leaving people defenseless when there are crazies and guns (and always will be) doesn't seem like a hell of a good idea either.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    From the civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960s and onward, young men – and young white men in particular – have increasingly been asked to yield what they’d believed was securely theirs.

    That comment - and the viscerally disgusting Bushmaster tripe - make me sad, feel helpless - and seriously worried about portions of our world (more so than before...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Here are some facts from The Atlantic Wire
    The take home- over time Americans have been disarming, but those keen on guns have been more than making up the difference in sales.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 842 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to James Bremner,

    You only need a handful of people to have a concealed weapons license and be carrying a weapon, a few percent of the population, so there would be a decent chance that one of those people would be in a mall or other populated place and be able to intervene if a shooter turned up.

    The problem with your argument is that the US already has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Most states already allow concealed weapons. What you are proposing is already in practice, yet it is clearly not eliminating these incidents. Rather than continuing to promote increasing levels of gun ownership, perhaps instead it is time to try the tactics that have been proven to work in countries such as Israel and Japan?

    Since Sep 2009 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think those two columns are arguing different things, and no, one is not a "more able" version of the other. The one Megan linked to argues that "because resources are limited, gains for women and minorities necessarily equal losses for white males". Which is such a bizarrely adversarial way of looking at life that I don't really know how to respond to it. The one Ross links to argues that "ideas about whiteness and maleness... are imbued with an innocence and authority that makes it almost impossible to critically talk about them" and that the redistribution of power is something we should "seek to understand, openly discuss and facilitate, or we can ignore and exacerbate harm". Chemaly's talking about discussing what's happening more openly; she isn't giving these guys carte blanche to rage at everyone around them because women got the vote, which I think the Wampole piece comes dangerously close to saying.

    (I think it's also probably useful to cut people a little bit of slack - this week, at least - for being viscerally angry with and not-so-empathetic for the problems of a dude who gunned down a bunch of six-year-olds. Because: Jesus fucking Christ, you know?)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    It’s not racist or sexist to suggest that white men are struggling with a loss of power in this country. I’m not demonizing white men, many if not most of whom probably don’t feel powerful and in control. But the fact remains that in this country white men have long ruled–in public and private life. They continue to dominate government and media even as the nature of families and private life has evolved over time. No one likes to lose power. Losing power is hard and unpleasant, frightening and disorienting.

    For this well educated, wealthy, and comparatively powerful woman, class is apparently just not something worth discussing when it comes to power relations.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1264 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Crikey editor-at-large Guy Rundle's latest, furious column is sadly hidden behind a paywall, but it's worth excerpting a couple of key paragraphs. (It's also worth subscribing to Crikey too, as it happens). He calls the latest incident a "pivot point in wretched gun debate".

    Some key quotes:

    There is no doubt that something has changed with this massacre, for obvious, if irrational reasons. This was the first large-scale primary school massacre in the US by a young person (rather than a disgruntled teacher), and the pull of guilt at a society's failure to protect its own children has become a powerful force against the homilies of the gun lobby. There was a similar sort of feeling at the time of the Columbine massacre, but less strong, even though the prospect of a teenager facing a violent and immediate death -- with the full knowledge of imminent extinction and a life missed out on -- seems equally horrific.

    To continue the old "guns don't kill people, people do" shtick in the wake of all this, now seems not clever or persuasive, but obscene and obtuse. Subsequent events seemed to confirm that society was, in this respect, spinning out of control; on Sunday, a morning church service in Newtown's St Rose of Lima church had to be abandoned when bomb and gun threats were phoned in. The Huffington Post is now running a whole series of reports on individual murders here and there, to show the absolute carnage in a country, where nowadays you have to hit double figures to make an impact.

    But more importantly:

    Indeed a lot of the arguments that "there is nothing to see here" are spurious. It’s argued that the number of massacres hasn't gone up since the '20s. But in the '20s many of these massacres were "rational crime" -- they were either large family or clan feuds, gangsterism or the like. Much of this stuff now goes unreported. What passed for a massacre in the 20s, is Saturday night in Philadelphia now.

    What has come out of the blue are stranger and semi-stranger massacres, which were almost unknown before World War II. Since Charles Starkweather, the killing of whole classes of people simply because they are co-workers, McDonald's patrons or school students has gone through the roof. In their rush to defend guns, the gun lobby ignore this important shift.

    It's seriously worth tracking down, Rundle's anger is marshalled and absolutely on target (no pun intended).

    Also, someone at Democratic Underground has compiled some of the best editorial cartoons in the wake of the shooting. The second one is simple, obvious, but undeniably powerful.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to James Bremner,

    make believe world of gun free zones and leaving people defenseless when there are crazies

    I love it when people say we're living in make believe worlds. We live in societies of our creation. They are not immutable!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1159 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss, in reply to Russell Brown,

    that a significant number of the perpetrators of rampage killings, especially in schools, look like victims of those “hyper-gendered cultural pressures”.

    Well said Russell. Privilege is not the issue to focus on.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to David Hood,

    Here are some facts from The Atlantic Wire

    Action - 0: Number of concrete things President Obama has done to keep guns off streets that White House press secretary Jay Carney could name in a press conference Monday.

    John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Kennedy, Gabrielle Giffords, - across America 30 people die from gun violence each day - around 200 a week - 11,000 a year.

    Notwithstanding "Newton" it is alot of people to die because there is no will to find a solution to the over abundance of guns.

    With all my heart I trust that will change. A legacy of substance - a future without such incidents - gun violence becoming a distant experience in the collective memory of America.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1174 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to SteveH,

    Regarding the Second Amendment and it's amazing ability to ensure the freedom from tyranny, it's worth noting that Tunisia, with the lowest rate of gun ownership in the world, overthrew it's tyrannical government 2 years ago.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

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