Weekly Reads: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Guns and Kids and Black Panther a Hit

Hello there Readers… It’s February 21st in the year of Our Lord Voldemort Two Thousand and Eighteen. A week ago a 19 year old former student walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida with an AR-15 rifle and proceeded to murder 17 of his classmates and teachers and wound 16 others.  The suspect was apprehended, a rarity in these cases. The young man’s motives are still being investigated, but early reports describe the now familiar themes, a troubled white male with easy access to an arsenal taking his grievances out on his neighbors. Today’s links will largely focus on this news and subsequent events, so this entire post comes with a (CN: Gun Violence.)

The Parkland shooter (I’m choosing not to publicize the young man’s name, it is available in most of these stories,) used the now ubiquitous AR-15 rifle. The WaPo has a quick rundown of the weapon’s history, which reaches all the way back to the Vietnam War, as well as some basic information about how it was legally purchased in Florida.

Many experts are calling for the return of the 90’s era Assault Weapons Ban , especially the provision limiting magazine sizes…

Klarevas says that the key provision of the assault weapons bill was a ban on high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. “We have found that when large capacity mags are regulated, you get drastic drops in both the incidence of gun massacres and the fatality rate of gun massacres.”

The opinion is shared among many researchers who study gun violence for a living. In 2016, for instance, the New York Times asked 32 gun policy experts to rate the effectiveness of a variety of policy changes to prevent mass shootings. The roster of experts included violence prevention researchers like Harvard’s David Hemenway, as well as more ideologically driven gun rights advocates like John Lott.

On a scale of effectiveness ranging from 1 (not effective) to 10 (highly effective), the expert panel gave an average score of 6.8 to both an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines, the highest ratings among the nearly 30 policies surveyed.

De Elizebeth is a teacher who would do anything for her students, however, being expected to die for them is terrifying. 

Addison Ashe at Scary Mommy is a gun owner, and she supports every gun control measure out there. 

One major difference between this horrific event and past massacres has been the immediate and intense response from the students themselves, who have taken to the internet (and soon to the streets,) to express their anger, grief, and outrage at our lawmakers refusal to do anything to prevent this from happening. Student Cameron Kasky, interviewed by Anderson Cooper, had this to say…

“This is the time to talk about guns,” Kasky immediately replied. “But there’s much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done and much more that people like Sen Marco Rubio and Governor Rick Scott are not doing. It’s scary to think these are the people who are making our laws when our community just took 17 bullets to the heart. It feels like the only people who don’t care are the people making the laws.”

“There is a segment of this society that will shrug this off and send their thoughts and prayers but march for hours over a rainbow wedding cake,” he later added.

And the video of senior Emma Gonzalez’ impassioned speech quickly went viral. 

And how about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the student’s fault, the fault of the people who let him buy the guns in the first place, those at the gun shows, the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic, the people who didn’t take them away from him when they knew he expressed homicidal tendencies, and I am not talking about the FBI. I’m talking about the people he lived with. I’m talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.
If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.
You want to know something? It doesn’t matter, because I already know. Thirty million dollars. And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States in the one and one-half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to being $5,800. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump? If you don’t do anything to prevent this from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number that they are worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you.
To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.
Their example has sparked walkouts at schools across the nation and organized walkouts are being planned for March 14th by the organizers of the Women’s March, a march on Washington including Parkland Survivors on March 24 called March for Our Lives, and another school walkout is being planned for April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. 
Dahlia Lithwick at Slate is reporting that there is also a movement for a nationwide walkout of our country’s 3 million schoolteachers. 
Finally (on this story at least,) you might be wondering where these high school kids get their activist spirit from? Then you need to learn more about Marjory Stoneman Douglas!
The global crackdown on parents who don’t vaccinate their kids has begun. Countries are getting tired of measles outbreaks, a virus that should be extinct by now.

There’s a school of thought that refusing vaccines on behalf of your children amounts to child abuse, and that parents should be punished for their decision. We know vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and effective at preventing the spread of disease, and failing to immunize children can put them (and vulnerable people around them) at tremendous risk of illness or even death when outbreaks get rolling.

Now it seems Australia and a number of countries in Europe are fed up enough with vaccine-refusing parents that they’re experimenting with punitive measures. We haven’t quite reached the level of child abuse charges, but moms and dads in these countries may face fines if they fail to give their kids the recommended shots. In Australia, the directors of schools that let in the unvaccinated kids would be fined too.

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes. [Source.]

Rogers believed deeply that other people’s problems were also, on some level, his problems. He was careful to take the time to meet with as many fans as possible when he was out in public. For more on this, read this beautiful profile of the man by Tom Junod.

Black Panther opened on the big screen to rave reviews and shattered box office records. I loved it, but not anywhere near as much as the two African American girls sitting next to me who I hope will grow up to be badasses like Nakia and Okoye. Two young gentlemen did try to stiff Disney for $10 bucks in a delightful attempt to get two in for the price of one… 
Lots of bad feelings this week… let’s allow Fred to play us out on a good note.

Featured Image Credit: Mike Luckovich

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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