Guns

Guns…

What are they good for?
In the last week the ring heard round the country has [once again] been the debate about guns. I say debate loosely. Is it really a debate at all? I know gun regulations have a spectrum. Some people might think we should get rid of guns all together and some people think any person of any age of any mental status or background should be able to buy as many guns as they want. Politifact provides some interesting data that shows there’s actually more alignment, especially on background checks, than we are led to believe. They rated these two statements as True:
74 percent of National Rifle Association members support requiring background checks for all gun sales.
Americans have overwhelmingly supported common sense gun reform. 90% support universal background checks.
I’ve been reading a lot about the data around guns in this country (this past week especially) and there are some very interesting findings. Many of these quotes are pulled out of context, so if you’re interested in reading further, I’ve provided the links to the articles.
From the NY Times: “Overall, mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent 1 percent of all gun homicides each year, according to the book “Gun Violence and Mental Illness” published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2016.”
Another article from the Times has a fascinating scatter-plot of mass shootings on one axis and number of guns by country. “The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.”
One thing is for certain: the Parkland shooting was a tipping point. Something triggered a mass uprising of the students and they are leading the march (figuratively and literally) toward demanding common sense gun laws now. When one of the students tweets around the same time as the NRA, he gets 6 times the likes and 4 times the retweets:
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Google trends has the gun topic on their home page. I thought this comparison was particularly fascinating, as it shows how in the last week, searches across the country are skewing toward gun control, as opposed to gun shop, compared to the past year. Whether this shift is based out of fear or support for gun control is undetermined.
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It has been incredible to see the progress that has been achieved by these kids in such a short time:

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So there are a lot of things people can argue guns are good for, but what we’ve seen in the last week is that they are definitely not good for a lot of reasons. While we still have yet to see specific legislation pass, many of these baby steps are indications the laws could be coming soon.
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Peaceful Persistance

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When I was a kid, my mom took my brother and I to a predominately African American church in Tacoma on Martin Luther King Day. I will never forget the feeling of being one of the few white people in a room full of people with a different skin color. I automatically thought “now I know what they feel like,” because I had never experienced looking around a room and not seeing very many people that looked like me.

Over the weekend I asked my daughters if they knew who Martin Luther King was, to which Eloise (in Kindergarten) responded “Doctor Martin Luther King Junior (she said so as to correct me) made the world a better place because they used to not let the dark skinned people drink from the water fountains and then he made it so they could. It’s not nice to not let people do things just because of their skin color.”

The world is just so simple in the eyes of a five year old. We tend to make things more difficult as we age for some reason.
A bunch of us were sitting at the team lunch yesterday discussing how racism even came to exist and one of our clients recommended the documentary I Am Not Your Negro. One of our colleagues also recommended 13th.
One of the things I think is interesting about MLK Jr. is that he’s known so well for his peaceful and loving approach to making monumental social changes in this country. At the same time, he persisted and never let up his cause just because he wasn’t met with the same respectful response. Going into a weekend where I know a lot of us were peacefully marching for Women’s rights, I wanted to share some of these quotes from the amazing MLK Jr. that serve as inspiration to me to always continue down the path of working together to make a better world.