A furious, heartbroken response to San Bernardino that everyone needs to read.

I'm sick and tired of this.

Police escort family members of employees of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, the site of yet another mass shooting Wednesday. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images.


I'm sick and tired of watching helplessly as innocent people are gunned down nearly every. single. day. for no reason at all.

I'm sick and tired of hearing there's no way to prevent this.

I'm sick and tired of being told not to make this political. The only people who benefit from "not making this political" are those who don't want anything to change.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

I'm sick of tired of hearing that the rate of gun murder has nothing to do with the availability of guns. Yes, it very much does.

I'm sick and tired of hearing that killers will kill with or without guns. Yes, some will still try — with knives, or bats, or their own fists. But it will be much easier to stop them before they cause mass carnage.

I'm sick and tired of hearing politicians say, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims." You know what's better than thinking and praying? Doing something.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

I'm sick and tired of being reminded that it's actually illegal for the federal government to research gun violence. That's absurd.

I'm sick and tired of hearing that stricter gun laws won't make a difference. After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia banned most private gun sales, bought back hundreds of thousands of firearms, and severely restricted who was legally allowed to own them. Guess what? It hasn't had a mass shooting since.

I'm sick and tired of hearing that more people die in car accidents, so it would be hypocritical to do anything.

No they don't. Not anymore. (And the fact that we don't do more about road fatalities is also shameful and shocking.)

Gun deaths are expected to surpass traffic fatalities this year. Photo by Mark Ralston/Getty Images.

I'm sick and tired of hearing that I need a "good guy with a gun" to protect me. You know who probably thought he was a "good guy with a gun?" Robert Dear, who allegedly said, "No more baby parts" after shooting up a Planned Parenthood clinic. He thought he was being a hero. You know who else probably thought he was a "good guy with a gun?" Dylan Roof, who believed he was avenging the victims of "black-on-white crime" by mowing down old women and children at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

I don't need a "good guy with a gun." I need the bad guy with a gun to never have a gun in the first place. Or, if that's too much of a bother, I need the police. The police are far from perfect — and frankly, need to take a good long look at how often, and against whom, they use their own guns — but in a mass shooter situation? Give me a trained, professional police officer over a rando with a chip on his shoulder and a delusional "Die Hard" fantasy any day of the week.

I'm sick and tired of hearing that "None of this would have happened if only the victims had been armed." The cops at that Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs? They were armed. They still got shot. The military police at Fort Hood, Texas, were sure-as-shit armed, and 14 people still lost their lives, many of them soldiers trained to fight in one of the best-equipped, most professional armies in the history of the world. The notion that things would have turned out differently if the county employees in San Bernardino or the schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary were packing heat is laughable and obscene.

I'm sick and tired of seeing this tweet go viral every few days:


And hoping to God it's not true, while believing — with ever-increasing certainty — that it is.

I'm sick and tired of more deranged open-carry laws being passed in this country, and having to worry that now every minor argument with a stranger has the potential to turn into a violent standoff.

I'm sick and tired of hearing that I should be afraid — very afraid — of desperate, impoverished refugees when thousands upon thousands more people are shot to death by American citizens every year.

Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images.

I'm sick and tired of hearing that the problem is only illegal guns, when nearly every mass shooter in the last six years acquired their guns legally. At least two of the guns used in the shooting in San Bernardino were purchased legally.

I'm sick and tired of living in a country where — in most places — buying a deadly firearm is almost as easy as buying a sandwich.

I'm sick and tired of this being the new normal.

Children pray for the victims of the October shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

I'm sick and tired of this being told that even the most basic, no-brainer, common-sense gun laws will never be passed because it's not a winning political issue. The only way to make it one is to call your senators, representative, state legislator, mayor, county treasurer, school board president, or dog catcher and not shut up about it until they can't brush it off any longer.

Because something has to change. Now. Not later.

Because I'm heartbroken. I'm scared. I'm furious.

I'm sick. And tired.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less