Tag Archives: NRA

Openly Gay Politician Uses Tea-Party Dad in Awesome Campaign Ad

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There’s an adage that says, “parents just don’t understand” which openly gay Massachusetts lawmaker Carl M. Sciortino, Jr., who is running to replace now-Senator Ed Markey in next month’s state primary, is using to compel voters with is viral campaign ad.

“I’ll never forget that conversation with my dad when I had to come out and tell him…” Sciortino begins, and everyone thinks he’s going to say “that I was gay.” Instead, Sciortino throws a curveball and says, “that I was a Massachussetts liberal.” The rest of the ad cuts between the two recounting Sciortino’s increasingly liberal policies – from Wall Street and NRA regulation to equal rights initiatives.

It is touching though when Sciortino’s father begins lamenting over his son writing “The Buffer Zone” law – which protects women entering abortion clinics from harassment – but admits he’s proud his son got it all the way to the supreme court.

In the end it’s clear that neither will be giving in to the other’s political leanings, but the video ends with a Tea Party Republican saying he loves his openly gay liberal Democrat son. It just goes to show we can have different ideas and political ideals and still work together. Now if only Congress could make it work like these two.

What do you think of this campaign strategy? Share in your comments below! 

 

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

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

Deepak Chopra: Has America Earned Its Reputation in the World?

Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - The Colors EmergeEvery country has a national character that it taught to children from a young age and then becomes part of everyone’s story. In the case of America, “opportunity” is a theme known worldwide and constantly referred to when we talk about what this country means. In the same category are freedom, power, innovation – and decency. We look upon ourselves as the good guys, and we expect to be seen that way by others.

Analysts warn us that American opportunity is flagging, especially if you are poor and want to rise up the ladder. Innovation is being challenged by the Chinese, and most developed countries are just as free as America. And decency? It took a huge blow with the military adventurism of the Iraq War, a war of choice that destroyed Iraqi society, increased tensions throughout the region, strengthened Iran, and ultimately turned into a Vietnam-style quagmire, as the Afghanistan War is right now.

As a result, large swaths of the world disapprove of America, making it harder for us to cling to our self-regard as generous, charitable, moral, and decent people. Perhaps this was inevitable after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Being the only super power makes us suspect. Other nations project their vulnerability as if the U.S. caused it – look at the ultra-paranoid North Korea, whose national story consists of armed preparedness for imminent assault by American devils.

It’s hard to be the good guys when you are also the world’s biggest arms dealer and spend more money on defense than the next fifteen nations combined. But I think there’s a deeper ambivalence about decency in this country. In a decent society, do the following things happen?

  • Politics are rancorous and divisive, with each side demonizing the other.
  • In political races, the object is not simply to defeat your opponent but to destroy him.Gun violence is rampant, and attempts to counter it can destroy a politician’s career.
  • The financial sector operates out of sheer greed and takes no responsibility when its actions lead to economic collapse.
  • Corporations abandon health care and pensions for their workers.
  • The richest become richer while the poor become poorer.

Each of these bullet points represents a trend, and the trends aren’t in the direction of decency. The rest of the world is appalled by things we take for granted, like the existence of 300 million assault-style weapons in private hands. What’s more appalling is the lack of morality shown when a gun-happy minority leads the rest of society around by the nose. The most heartbreaking thing about the Iraq war was to see how decent and trusting our soldiers were, how much they cared about helping the Iraqi people, and yet how horrifying the circumstances they landed in.

Reality exists when illusions are shattered. It’s time to reach a state of untainted decency that America can be proud of. The trends I listed are well known. They are causing a deterioration of trust and social justice. No one can reverse these trends except us. Who will speak up for this? Our leaders are tentative and intimidated, a sure sign that decency has lost its hold.

www.deepakchopra.com

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photo by: familymwr

Gun Control Is About the Silent Majority

shutterstock_54879526In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, a minority issue has come before the majority.  In a democracy the majority passes the laws. In a democracy dedicated to justice, the majority is careful when passing these laws to protect the rights of the minority.  Gun control, now as in the past, defies democratic rule. An intransigent minority has a stranglehold on making the law and blocking reform.

It’s worth making such basic points, which everyone knows, because a silent majority has been acquiescent in the culture of violence that everyone is decrying now.  The phrase “silent majority” was invented in the Nixon era to ignite widespread resentment against the anti-war movement, a rise in crime and drug use, and general permissiveness.  It gave permission for scattered, unfocused anger and resentment to come together. For anyone on the left, this was moral chicanery, a way for right-wing politicians to exploit the underside of social antagonism while wearing a mask of pious rectitude.

It’s time to test if there is a silent majority that is willing to come together for issues that stand for a healthy moral sense – not social resentment and “values” issues that revolve around prejudice and reactionary religion.  In his speech last week on gun safety, President Obama rightly said that incidents like Newtown reveal a complex issue, where guns are entangled with issues over mental health, the Second Amendment, police safety, school security, and more. But he was also right in saying that complexity isn’t an excuse for not acting.

The public has become lax over the past thirty years.  The shock of the Newtown shootings has suddenly created a shift. According to the latest CNN poll, 62% of respondents favor a reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons, and the same majority would support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.  But opinions don’t create action when an entrenched minority wields political power. The NRA is doing what it has always done when the public gets aroused by a mass killing – they lie low for a while, wait for the outcry to die down, and then move in to make sure that Congress is still under their control.

We need to strip away us-versus-them thinking on guns, which only leads into endless arguments over personal values.  The gun culture in this country is implacable. They have no interest in compromise. Sensible gun laws galvanize their paranoia. On TV one hears the prevailing conspiracy theories: guns are needed so that individual citizens can protect themselves when an oppressive government turns on its citizens. Take away assault weapons, and it’s a slippery slope to taking away all guns. And so it goes. Guns don’t kill, people do. Every family needs a gun to protect itself from home invasion.  A majority of Americans don’t buy into these arguments, but they silently acquiesce to them.

Grief and shock should lead to an aroused majority that doesn’t aim to change gun culture but simply to exert the will of the country.  In 1996, Australia reacted to the crazed killing of 35 people in Tasmania by passing stiff gun control that included buying back semi-automatic weapons. Australia has a Wild West culture that dates back to its frontier days, and so there were plenty of semi-automatic weapons out there. The buy-back amounted to 600,000 weapons. The same thing needs to happen here.   We can’t shrug our shoulders once more, using “culture of violence” as an excuse for doing nothing. The rights of the minority have been tolerated too far when that minority stands for intractable intolerance itself.

 

www.deepakchopra.com

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