Tag Archives: guns

7 Old-Time Ads That Would Cause Riots Today

Before tobacco companies were legally mandated to disclose the connection between cigarettes and cancer - it was probably a winning strategy to be the most popular death stick with doctors!When there are campaigns in the US to ban literary classics and relegate women to second class citizenship it can be hard to tell how much progress we’ve made over the years.

But can you imagine a time when it was okay to send all of your friends cartons of cigarettes for Christmas? How about feed your baby coca-cola in their morning bottle? Women are still fighting for the right to make decisions about their own bodies, but what about a time when wives were only considered important for their ability to put dinner on the table?

Check out these real ads from the past that would cause certain outrage today. Some of them are ironic, some illegal and others infuriating. We still have a long way to go with some of the issues these ads raise, but sometimes it’s good to see how far we’ve come already.

What do you think of these? Which is the most surprising to you? Tell us in comments below! 

Deepak Chopra: What Can We Do About Gun Violence?

image1.adapt.924.high.1379353105931Our hearts go out to the many affected by this morning’s tragic shooting at the US Navy Yard in Washington DC. Twelve people are reported dead – 11 victims and one shooter – with many others injured and in critical condition. Two other suspected shooters are still on the run.

Hundreds, even thousands, of other people – friends, spouses, siblings, colleagues, and peers of those killed and wounded – are also affected by the tragedy, as well as all of us around the country left wondering once again: Why the violence? Why the killing?

It is essential now that we treat the wounded, soothe the traumatized, and help the healing process of those who lost a loved one. We mourn together in times like these.

This is also a moment, though, in which some might revive conversations about gun violence and gun control, topics we are all too familiar with and yet which continue popping up after every incident of violence. Deepak Chopra weighs in on the debate in this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well. We invite you to watch the video and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

The days to come will hold grief, mourning, and the beginning of a healing process to which we add all our love and support. Please add your thoughts and messages of support in the comments section below.

Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Should Schools Arm Staff with Guns to Protect Kids?

012schoolsecurity1358542932Although gun violence has apparently decreased on the whole in the United States the last two decades, many schools are reporting increased violence and bullying in recent years. School and mass shootings in particular have grown more frequent and more deadly, causing many to question the accessibility of deadly weapons.

Soon after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year, President Obama released a plan to reduce gun violence, which included closing background check loopholes, banning military-type assault weapons, and increasing access to mental health services. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association released a different kind of plan, one that involved increasing gun ownership and instituting armed guards in every school in America. It seems there was a bit of a disconnect.

But apparently several schools have opted to run with the NRA’s suggestion. One such school, the Arkansas Christian Academy, has decided to train and arm their staff, with at least 1-7 armed staff members present on any given day.

Pastor Perry Black, an administrator at the school, told KARK:

I just felt like with what’s going on in many of the public sectors where there seems to be a lot of shootings we need to take the same stance that we do in church on Sunday for our kids Monday through Friday.

Here is the sign the school recently posted on their campus:

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One argument for this kind of action might be that the guns themselves are just a precautionary measure, but the sign should hopefully do enough to discourage any would-be shooters. Do you think this is realistic? And are guns ever acceptable in a school setting?

Bonus – Watch Deepak Chopra address gun violence in this episode of “Ask Deepak” on the Chopra Well:

Photo credit: Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post

5 Questions Every Modern Parent Should Be Asking

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.00.44 PMDo you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re sort of uncomfortable but you don’t complain, don’t leave, don’t speak up because you don’t want to cause a scene or make anyone feel bad?

Even when we have concerns that are legitimate, sometimes we hold our tongues to avoid awkwardness or confrontation. We don’t walk away because we believe our departure implies criticism, judgment or lack of trust in another’s decisions or lifestyle.  We take care not to step on anyone’s toes. We don’t want to be rude or offensive by questioning what folks are doing. Maybe we assume that the other person knows better – or knows something we don’t.

Of course we know just fine ourselves. Our little voices whisper to us, “Get out of here. This feels wrong,” or, “This guy has no idea what he’s talking about. We’re in danger.” And our little voices are usually right on target. Those voices become especially useful when it comes to our kids. But sometimes, just as we ignore it when it comes to our own safety, we ignore it when it comes to theirs.

Even though we like to think that we’d never put our babies in harm’s way, it happens to every parent at some point. That moment when we know we should be changing course but we stay put instead because we don’t want to make waves. At times like these it’s important to remember that there’s nothing rude or offensive about being a good advocate for our children. After all, our kids trust us implicitly and believe that when we send them off into the world that we are sending them off to safe place with responsible people. They never say, “Momma, will I be safe?” They move through the world with confidence, knowing for certain that we have their little backs.

We are our children’s best advocates. We are responsible for our children’s safety. And knowing about the world and how it spins in 2013, we can initiate some pre-emptive, full-disclosure conversations that will provide us with comfort and trust as our children explore the world independently. These are five “little voice” questions that every parent should be asking without hesitation or fear of imposition:

1. “Can you please not drive and text or talk on the phone while my child is in the car?”  

We all know the stats. Distracted drivers hurt people. Carpools being a vital part of parenting, often times we toss kids into minivans assuming that the drivers are responsible behind the wheel simply because they are responsible for children. Do you know if the parents or guardians in your carpool are texting while driving? I admit, while I’ve asked this question to friends on occasion, for the most part I assume that people are doing the right thing. But there’s nothing wrong with asking. We have every right to protect our kids.

2. “Do you keep a gun in your house?”  

The Newtown tragedy was not lost on anyone, certainly not parents of small children. Let’s use this tragedy as a lesson to us all when it comes to gun safety. A few weeks ago, my son was eagerly anticipating a play date with a new friend. The night before the big day, I received an email from the boy’s mom, “Don’t take this the wrong way. But in light of everything that happened this year, do you keep guns in your house?” I was so happy that I wasn’t the only parent asking that question. There is nothing intrusive about ensuring our children are playing in a safe environment. I assured her I don’t have any weapons in my house and we cleared the way for a terrific conversation about modern parenting.

3. “Will there be any other people in your home during the play date?”  

Listen, I’m not a paranoid parent, but when I drop my kids at someone’s house, I want to know about older siblings, friends, visiting uncles or handymen hanging around. When we are alert, we pass this awareness onto our children and we give them a beautiful gift called confidence. When their heads are up, they are better prepared to protect themselves if placed in an uncomfortable position. Abusers seek opportunity.

I always tell my kids this: When you go to pick out a puppy, do you want to take home the puppy who is nipping and barking? Or do you want to take home the puppy that curls up in a ball in your arms? Of course they vote for the snuggly puppy. And then I tell them that abusers think this way when they pick out victims. They want easy prey. When we are confident, when we look people right in the eye and use our strong voices to tell them when we don’t feel comfortable, we are unbreakable. Knowing who is in the house, we can prep our kids with an easy conversation and remind them that if they are ever in a place where they don’t feel right, they should go to a parent and ask for help.

4. “Will the birthday cake have nuts in it? Will nuts be offered at the party?” or, “Does your child have a food allergy?”

According to Food Allergy Research & Education, 1 in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s about two kids in every classroom. With this in mind, the likelihood that an allergy sufferer attends your child’s birthday party is pretty darn good. Peanut is obviously the most prevalent allergy in children, though lots of other issues are out there – eggs, shellfish, gluten, dairy, soy… how can we do the right thing? Some kids know enough to ask the right questions. My son, for example, has been asking, “Are there nuts in this?” since he was two years old. He has a genetic allergy and knows to be vocal. Other kids might just trust that the food is safe. So it’s important for us parents to clear potential danger out of the way by asking about allergies ahead of time. This way the party host has a chance has full disclosure.

But even though the party host may not have an allergy kid, it’s also important for her to ask guests ahead of time. Because the last thing anyone wants to do is serve a strawberry cake with almond extract to a kid with a nut allergy and sit there helplessly while the child breaks out in hives and gasps for air. This is the world we live in now, and these are the precautions we need to take. We can no longer take the “I didn’t know better” approach. Because we do know better. Ask the questions. Protect the child. Protect yourself.

5. “Can you please not use your cell phone or go in my bedroom while babysitting?”  

We may be comfortable assuming that our babysitters know better than to text, play “Words with Friends” and chit-chat on their iPhones while caring for our children. But most likely, this is not the case. Very rarely do teens log out. But it is absolutely acceptable to ask them to turn off electronics while watching our kids. We are paying them to give their full attention to our children, after all. And if there is an emergency, they can use the house phone.

We may also assume that sitters respect our privacy when they’re in the house. But I’ve been shocked to hear many adult friends confess that they used to rifle through bedside goodie drawers and personal spaces of parents for whom they sat as teens. If it’s an uncomfortable topic to discuss casually, write down a short list of expectations for the sitter like this:

  • chicken soup for dinner
  • PG movies only
  • no texting or phone calls while kids are awake
  • be sure toys are put away and kitchen is clean
  • kids in bed by 9pm
  • my bedroom is completely off limits
  • we’ll be home by 11 but call for any problems

By taking time to create clear boundaries, we are letting others know that we value ourselves and our families. This is a good thing. And really, when we share our expectations we are helping everyone by avoiding uncomfortable situations. It’s okay to speak up. It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to advocate for our kids’ safety. Safety is the last thing on their minds so it needs to be the first thing on ours.

Should We Blame Crickett’s “My First Rifle” Ad for Kids Shooting Other Kids?

BJM2y68CQAI6DDKWhen news surfaced last week of the fatal shooting of a 2-year-old by her 5-year-old brother, the question on many people’s minds was how the youngster got a hold of such a weapon in the first place?

The Crickett .22-caliber single-shot rifle apparently contained one final shell that neither the boy nor his parents were aware of, the circumstances of which lead to this devastating accident. Neither the reality of the very high gun ownership rate in Kentucky (where this family lives) nor the state’s recent ban on gun control enforcement are enough to explain the tragedy away. One disturbing factor in this story, though, is that this rifle was part of a line of guns specifically designed and targeted to children. The rifle actually belonged to the 5-year-old.

Here is the commercial for the Cricket .22-caliber rifle, marketed to children:

This ad should inspire discourse and perhaps a re-thinking of the many ways the media condones gun violence in the eyes of children. But several residents of the Kentucky town where this tragedy occurred have been quick to remind the rest of the country that gun culture varies from place to place. As Gary White, the county coroner, told the Associated Press, “Down in Kentucky where we’re from, you know, guns are passed down from generation to generation. You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything.” Another woman urged that “it’s nobody else’s business” but the that of the family and the townspeople, themselves.

Whether we consider this case a symbol in the larger nationwide debate on gun control or not, it is still a horrible event that could easily happen again. A gun is an extremely powerful, dangerous, and unpredictable weapon – especially in the hands of a child.

But what do you think? Should gun companies be allowed to market their products to children? Let us know in the comments section below!

Photo credit: From Kids’ Corner on the Crickett website

3 Ways Yoga Can Solve The U.S. Military’s Mental Health Crisis

With recent shootings and deaths involving military or former military personnel, as well as the many reports of depression and suicide amongst soldiers,  yoga can help address what appears to be a military mental health crisis.

While effective psychotherapy for soldiers is important and yoga by itself can be very good, having a more integrated understanding of the relationships between body and mind may be a missing piece.  The experiential component that happens in yoga can retrain the brain and nervous system while providing an environment for integrated healing to occur.

A non-clinical practice like yoga can also aid in shifting the perception of PTSD and the need for therapeutic work to being an ordinary part of maintaining mental health for every soldier.

1) Let’s acknowledge that military training and combat are inherently traumatizing, both physiologically and psychologically.

Yoga practice can be used as an ongoing way to calm the nervous system, process overwhelming experiences and spend a little time each day re-balancing body and mind. Having this be an integral part of basic military mental health would make soldiers better able to cope with the high-stress experiences that are part of the job.

2) Understand PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) through the lens of somatic (or body-based) psychology.

It is fantastic for soldiers and their families that the military is seeking to acknowledge and clearly define PTSD, and reduce the stigma.

A next step would be to include a more mind-body research-based understanding of what is going on in the nervous system and brains of soldiers suffering from the condition —as a way to address the problem more comprehensively.

3) Let’s train a group of yoga teachers to serve the military in two specific ways:

a) With an understanding of somatic psychology and the basic neuroanatomy of trauma, and in how to use yoga to support discharge of unresolved nervous system energy, safe integration of traumatic memories and using breath and body awareness to become more self-regulated and “resourced.”

b) With basic knowledge of the warning signs that will assist in identifying soldiers who have been pushed into extreme states of depression, paranoia, or delusions that would indicate the need for psychiatric assistance. It is no the fault of these men that they become a danger to themselves and others, and the sooner this can be recognized the safer it will be for all concerned.

It is essential that we take better care of our soldiers and their communities. The above suggestions could make a significant difference by using a science-informed, psychologically aware model of yoga to resolve, heal, and integrate PTSD more effectively.

The The Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind yoga teacher training provides a good grounding in the relationships between somatic psychology, neuroscience, yoga and healing trauma. For more information, click here

photo by: dctim1

Phil Spector – a sad tale

Music legend Phil Spector was convicted yesterday of murder – as you may know – when what is said to have been a game of Russian Roulette (how did that ever become a ‘game’?) claimed a woman’s life. She was the sixth such woman that we know of on whom Spector inflicted this behavior over a period of years. We’ll probably never know the full truth of what happened five years and one mistrial ago.

It’s tempting to make all sorts of comments about media has-beens with strange behaviors around much younger women. Or we could explore those fantasies of frightening themselves and others, power trips and so on, that Spector seems to have enjoyed.

And that would be to miss a vital point – that Spector and others like him, wrestling with psycho-dramas of anger and sexuality, have easy access to guns in this culture.

Perhaps in Europe, where guns are far more restricted, he’d still have been dangerous, but he wouldn’t have been able to blow off someone’s head on a whim, and so probably would have just been obnoxious rather than deadly.

The man with a gun thinks he’s living out the potent hero archetype, where the simple truth is he just has the money, and the freedom from restriction, to get a deadly weapon and bring it into his own personal emotional swirl. There it acts as a stage prop to ramp up his confusions.

The unstable, the anxious, and the paranoid are problematic enough as it is, but allowing them easy access to guns just doesn’t seem sensible. It’s like giving whiskey and car keys to teenagers and then expecting them not to get into trouble.

If we are to reach peace as a civilized nation we are going to have to address this issue – and others like it – with care and compassion; and quoting a political document written in 1776 may not provide the answers we need.

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