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guns

Democracy

Ret. Major General explains the difference between an AR-15 and the military's weapons of war

Major General Paul Eaton was the commander in charge of training Iraqi troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He knows his weapons.

Retired Major General Paul Eaton shared his thoughts on whether the AR-15 is a "weapon of war."

This article originally appeared on 06.04.22


A common criticism gun rights activists levy toward gun legislation advocates is that many people who push for stricter gun laws don’t know a lot about guns themselves. That’s not wholly accurate—there are plenty of gun enthusiasts who support reasonable gun laws—but it’s true that many people who are horrified by our nation’s gun culture are not well-versed on the specifications of our nation’s 393 million guns.

Not every American is an active part of American “gun culture." Some of us have never shot a firearm, for fun or otherwise. Some of us really are ignorant about guns themselves.

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Photo courtesy of Change the Ref

The NRA Children's Museum is meant to get lawmakers' attention.

When Joaquin Oliver was 12, he wrote a letter to gun owners imploring them to support background check legislation to help prevent gun violence in America. When he was 17, he was shot and killed in a hallway outside his creative writing class at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Oliver's parents, Manuel and Patricia, have been on a mission to raise awareness and reduce the influence of the gun lobby ever since. They founded the gun control advocacy organization Change the Ref and their latest initiative may be their most powerful yet.

gun violence, NRA, gun controlManuel and Patricia Oliver's son Joaquin was killed in the Parkland, Florida, school massacre in 2018.Courtesy of Change the Ref

On July 14, the Olivers took a mile-long convoy of 52 school buses—dubbed The NRA Children's Museum—to Ted Cruz's offices in Houston, Texas, to deliver Joaquin's letter to him.

The empty seats on 51 of the buses represent the more than 4,368 children in the United States that the organization claims would have sat in them since 2020 had they not been killed by guns. The leading bus is filled with memorabilia of children killed in shootings—things like photos of the children, the clothing they wore or things they carried, such as the Nickelodeon backpack of a student from Santa Clarita, California, a girl scout sash from a student in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a piece of construction paper artwork from a student in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Democracy

A man told me gun laws would create more 'soft targets.' He summed up the whole problem.

As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Only in America are kids in classrooms referred to as "soft targets."

On the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.

My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, who was carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body and ended up losing both of his parents in the massacre, life will never be the same.

There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

"Way to create more soft targets."

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Brendan Constantine's "The Opposites Game" explores American gun culture through the eyes of children.

"What's the opposite of a gun?"

That's the question at the heart of a powerful—and perpetually timely—poem by Brendan Constantine, based on his own teaching experience. It begins with him describing how he led his students through a poetry exercise called The Opposites Game, in which the students were asked to come up with the antonym of each word in a line of a poem by the famously reclusive 19th-century poet, Emily Dickinson.

"My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun," was the line, and students easily came up with the opposites for the first six words. But when they got to "gun," the students paused.

For a moment, very much like the one between
lightning and its sound, the children just stare at me,
and then it comes, a flurry, a hail storm of answers –

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