Posts tagged with "Sandy Hook"

Shooting down a bad idea: Hoodies with bullet holes spark viral backlash

September 19, 2019

A New York City-based clothing company has introduced school shooting hoodies that have bullet holes in them and feature the names of four schools at which major mass shooting have occurred—among them, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and Virginia Tech, ABC News reports.

The new fashion line was shown by the brand Bstroy during New York Fashion Week—and instantly generated fierce criticism on social media and in fashion blogs.

Bstroy, a self-described “neo-native” post-apocalypse streetwear brand, according to Paper Magazine, has been slammed with comments—of all types—after showcasing its Spring 2020 menswear collection, called “Samsara,” in a series of posts on Instagram.

“Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset. If any of my followers no [sic] anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately,” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed on February 14, 2018, by Nikolas Cruz in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas

A memorial page for Vicki Soto, one of the teachers killed in the December 14,2012, Sandy Hook shooting responded directly to the Instagram post of the Sandy Hook hoodie saying “As a Sandy Hook family, what you are doing here is absolutely disgusting, hurtful, wrong and disrespectful. You’ll never know what our family went through after Vicki died protecting her students. Our pain is not to be used for your fashion.”

“This is disgusting,” actress Alyssa Milano simply tweeted, according to ABC.

The network news outlet reported that one of the company’s founders, Brick Owens, responded to the critics by releasing a statement on Instagram. “Sometimes life can be painfully ironic,” the statement read. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you consider to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential. It is this push and pull that creates the circular motion that is the cycle of life. Nirvana is the goal we hope to reach through meditation and healthy practices that counter our destructive habits. Samsara is the cycle we must transcend to reach Nirvana.”

We are making violent statements,” the other founder of Bstroy, Dieter “Du” Grams told The New York Times in a profile that was published last week. “That’s for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market. But eventually that voice will say things that everyone can wear.”

ABC noted, “While the vast majority of responses to the clothing line were negative, there were some who thought the company was doing their best to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence in America.”

“I hope all the people in the comments that are upset, are upset enough to talk to their elected officials about serious gun control measures,” said Instagram user @magnetic_poles.

Bstory has not immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment on Wednesday morning.

Research contact: @ABC

Levi Strauss CEO takes a stand on gun violence

September 12, 2018

Support for tougher gun laws hit a 25-year high last March in the United States, in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A Gallup poll fielded that month found that 67% of Americans  supported tougher restrictions on guns.

At that time, several businesses, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, responded to the death of 17 students—and the nationwide fear of gun violence—by limiting their sales of semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15, as well as the bullets that go with them.

But those companies with no ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) or gun sales hesitated to take a stand, for fear of alienating their customers. Except, that is, for Levi Strauss & Co., which in November 2016 requested in an open letters from its CEO that gun owners not bring firearms into its stores, offices, or facilities—even in states where it is permitted by law.

In a September 4 commentary piece published by Fortune magazine, Levi Strauss President and CEO Chip Bergh recalls the backlash after that letter became public—and challenges other like-minded businesses to do the same.

“In the days after I published that letter,” Bergh says, “I received threats to our stores, our business, and even on my life. It was unsettling. But these personal attacks pale in comparison to the threats that activists and survivors from Parkland, Sandy Hook, and daily incidents of gun violence face every time they speak up on this issue.”

However, he says to other business leaders in the opinion piece, “We simply cannot  stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option….Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us—all generations and walks of life.”

As of September 4, Bergh said, “on top of our previous actions, Levi Strauss & Co. is lending its support for gun violence prevention in three new areas.”

  • First, says Bergh, the company has established the Safer Tomorrow Fund, which will direct more than $1 million in philanthropic grants from Levi Strauss & Co. over the next four years to fuel the work of nonprofits and youth activists who are working to end gun violence in America.
  • Second, Levi Strauss will partner with Everytown for Gun Safety and executives including Michael Bloomberg to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety—“a coalition of business leaders who believe, as we do, that business has a critical role to play in and a moral obligation to do something about the gun violence epidemic in this country.”
  • Third, he says, “We know that some of our employees have been personally affected by this issue and want to see change.” Therefore, the company is doubling its usual employee donation match to organized aligned with its Safer Tomorrow Fund. In addition, Levi Strauss is encouraging its staff who are concerned to get involved. The company provides employees with five hours a month (60 hours a year) in paid volunteer time—and recently expanded this to include political activism.

“As a company,” Bergh says, “we have never been afraid to take an unpopular stand to support a greater good. We integrated our factories in the American South years before the Civil Rights Act was passed. We offered benefits to same-sex partners in the 1990s, long before most companies did. We pulled our financial support for the Boy Scouts of America when it banned gay troop leaders.

“While each one of these stands may have been controversial at the time, history proved the company right in the long run. And I’m convinced that while some will disagree with our stand to end gun violence, history will prove this position right too.”

The NRA commented immediately after the opinion piece ran, saying” In a repulsive insult to the nation’s 100 million gun owners, Bergh likened Levi’s campaign to restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans to previous company efforts aimed at combating pre-Civil Rights Era racial bigotry. Among gun owners, Levi’s has used its name and resources to attack gun rights.

“Given the majority of Levi’s 165-year history, Bergh’s decision to use a formerly quintessential American company to attack a quintessential American right is a particularly sad episode in the current surge in corporate virtue-signaling. We can only assume that Levi’s accountants have determined that resulting skinny jeans sales will be enough to offset the permanent damage to their once-cherished brand.”

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com

Support builds nationwide for gun control legislation

February 22, 2018

Despite a report yesterday by ABC News/Washington Post that 77% of Americans  are looking at better mental health monitoring to prevent mass shootings—and that only 58%  are advocating for stricter gun laws—new findings have been released indicating that support for gun control is growing.

The independent Quinnipiac University National Poll—also conducted following  the massacre of 17 students and staff members on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—found that American voters now are supporting stricter gun laws, 66% to 31%.

What’s more, respondents advocated, 67% versus 29% for a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons; and 83% versus 14% for a mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases.

Also released on February 20, according to Quinnipiac, this is “the highest level of support ever measured by the … poll”—with 50% versus 44% support among gun owners; 62% versus 35% advocacy from white voters with no college degree; and 58% versus 38% backing among white men.

Support for universal background checks is, itself, almost universal, with 97% of respondents for it versus 2% against (97% versus 3% among gun owners). Support for gun control on other questions is at its highest level since the Quinnipiac University Poll began focusing on this issue in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre:

It is too easy to buy a gun in the United States  today, respondents told Quinnipiac, 67% versus 3%. If more people carried guns Americans would be less safe, they stressed, 59% versus  33% percent.

Finally, the poll found, Americans think that Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence, 75% versus 17%t.

“If you think Americans are largely unmoved by the mass shootings, you should think again. Support for stricter gun laws is up 19 points in little more than two years,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Research contact: timothy.malloy@quinnipiac.edu