Posts tagged with "Mass shootings"

#1 with a bullet: San Francisco board resolves that the NRA is top ‘domestic terrorist organization’

September 6, 2019

Unsettled by recent mass shootings across the nation—including the latest, in Odessa, Texas—the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution (No. 190841) this week “declaring the National Rifle Association to be a domestic terrorist organization and urging other cities, states, and the federal government to do the same.”

The resolution was introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani on July 30—two days after a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, in which three people were killed and more than a dozen others injured, The New York Times reported.

Before the resolution was put to a vote on Tuesday , September 3, Stefani spoke about the “carnage across this country,” also citing mass shootings last month in El PasoDayton, Ohio; and near Odessa, Texas.

Stefani said the NRA conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation proposed at local, state, and federal levels.

 “The NRA exists to spread pro-gun propaganda and put weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorize us,”. Stefani said in a statement. “Nobody has done more to fan the flames of gun violence than the NRA.”

While the resolution has no practical effect,. Stefani said in an interview with the Times on Wednesday, “I firmly believe that words matter, and I think this is a step in fighting the negative impact of the NRA.”

The N.R.A. characterized the action as “a publicity stunt.”

“This is just another worthless and disgusting ‘sound-bite remedy’ to the violence epidemic gripping our nation,” Amy Hunter, a spokesperson for the association, said in a statement on Wednesday, according to the Times. “This is a reckless assault on a law-abiding organization, its members, and the freedoms they all stand for. We remain undeterred, guided by our values and belief in those who want to find real solutions to gun violence.” Stefani referred to the federal Justice Department’s definition of terrorist activity, which involves the use of a firearm, weapon or dangerous device to endanger the safety of individuals. The definition also includes members of organizations that provide funds, weapons or training to individuals who commit terrorist acts.

Research contact: @nytimes

Number of U.S. ‘Doomsday Preppers’ multiplies

August 9, 2019

Following a weekend when mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio killed more than 30 Americans, researchers now say that Doomsday Preppers—once viewed as motivated by extreme right-wing or apocalyptic views—are now becoming part of mainstream U.S. politics and culture.

Indeed, research conducted by Dr. Michael Mills, a lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Policy, Sociology, and Social Research at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, has found that “prepping” has been on the rise in the United States for more than a decade—and that, for most involved in the movement, it is a response to mounting fear,

Prepping—which involves stockpiling supplies including food, water, medicine and weapons—originally was considered to be an extreme political reaction to the presidency of Barack Obama.

However, when Dr. Mills interviewed preppers based in 18 states to examine their motivations for hoarding items, he found that—although fear of President Obama and his political agenda played a role—those who engaged in the activity were motivated more by the general culture of fear that informs modern mainstream American society. Further, the research argues that a regular flow of recommendations from the US government on how to prepare for potential disasters, including, for example, advice to stockpile water, have, to an extent, helped fuel the growth of “prepping.”

Dr Mills’ research presents a more nuanced view of prepping, which has traditionally been portrayed as an apocalyptic belief in imminent disaster or the end of the world. Rather, modern preppers are responding to a general sense of fear and concern about such risks as economic collapse, cyber-attacks, terrorism, pandemics and environmental disasters—causing them to seek self-sufficiency “just in case” the worst should happen.

Dr. Mills notes, “Fear is now deeply entrenched in modern American culture and is the principal reason that so many citizens are engaging in ‘prepping’. Many believe that the government’s response in the event of a calamity, whether it’s a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, simply won’t be adequate to meet their needs. Many also believe that, under Democrat leadership, America becomes more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, financial collapse, and international hostility.

“While the media portrays ‘preppers’ as extremists,” Mills adds, “our view is much more nuanced.”

Research contact: @UniKentStaff

Americans don’t want weaponized classrooms

March 12, 2018

A majority of Americans (56%) don’t want guns in the classroom, according to findings of an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll of 2,857 adults nationwide released on March 8.

In the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed 17 victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month, President Donald Trump proposed that arming some of America’s teachers with concealed weapons and training them to “immediately fire back” at a “sicko” gunman would end school shootings once and for all.

However, students, school administrators, teachers, parents—and even gun violence experts—do not agree, for the most part. Across the board, 44% strongly disagree with the POTUS’s idea; 12% disagree, 17% somewhat agree, and 25% agree. Among Republicans, 50% agree; and among Democrats 75% disagree. Nearly half of self-identified Independent voters (46%) also disagree.

It also is little surprise that Republicans are more enthusiastic about how Trump has handled gun control than with how Congress has handled the issue, with 78% of Republican respondents indicating that they are enthusiastic or satisfied with how Trump has approached gun control so far. Only 43% of Republicans feel the same about Congress.

Majorities of Independents — 72 percent — say they are dissatisfied or angry about the way Trump has handled gun control, and 84 percent feel that way about Congress. A whopping 90% of Democrats are dissatisfied or downright angry at both Congress and Trump when it comes to gun control. Despite increased public pressure since the Parkland shooting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has given no indication of when — or if — he would bring up any form of gun-related legislation.

A narrow bipartisan proposal that would attempt to shore up the National Instant Background Check System has at least 50 co-sponsors, but it has not been brought to the floor — and GOP lawmakers have been unable to reach a consensus on what they support.

Still, a majority of Americans ( 61%) believe that  government and society can take action that will be effective in preventing mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida. Thirty-six percent think school shootings like Parkland will happen again regardless of what action is taken by government and society.

Research contact: Andrew.Arenge@nbcuni.com

77% see mental health screening, not gun control, as solution to mass shootings

February 21, 2018

Most Americans believe that the nation could have prevented the massacre of 17 students and staff members on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, based on findings of an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on February 20.

However, when considering the cautionary, legislative steps that could have been taken, gun control takes a backseat to psychiatric services among the respondents: While more than half (58%) of the 808 respondents said stricter gun laws could have prevented the shooting, a larger number (77%) said better mental health monitoring and treatment would have averted it.

Specifically, allowing teachers to carry guns— called an “opportunity and an option” by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week—is much lower on the list of preventative steps than mental health care: Just 42% percent believe that armed staff members could have prevented the killings.

Desire for action is evident in this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates: 77% of U.S. adults say that Congress is not doing enough to try to stop such shootings, and 62 percent say the same of President Donald Trump.

According to ABC, many people feel “strongly” that action to date has been inadequate: 59% in the case of Congress; 50% as relates to Trump.

The public’s especially broad endorsement of improved mental health screening and treatment is in line with another result: Americans by a 2-to-1 margin blame mass shootings mainly on problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems, rather than on inadequate gun control laws.

Still, compared with a 2015 ABC News/Post survey, somewhat fewer mainly blame mental health screening (down 6 points) and somewhat more blame inadequate gun control laws (up 5 points). Greater concern about mental health screening over gun laws was 63-23 percent then, vs. 57-28 percent now.

Banning assault weapons—the alleged shooter in Parkland wielded a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle— remains a more divisive issue, with nearly even numbers on both sides (50% in support and 46% percent opposed).

Opinions on banning assault weapons are marked by especially sharp differences among demographic groups: 55% of women support a ban, compared with 43%of men. That reflects a vast gap between white women (60% support) and white men (39%). There is no such gender gap among non-whites. The gap widens further, when looking at support for an assault weapons ban among college-educated white women (65%) versus non-college-educated white men (36%).

Research contact: heather.m.riley@abc.com