Home

Join The March on Mother’s Day!

2 Comments

              This year, instead of sending Mom a bunch of smelly flowers on May 8th which she’ll pitch into the garbage can, I have a better idea about how to celebrate Mother’s Day. If you live in or around Boston, you can go to the Town Field Park in Dorchester, MA and join in the 26th Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace sponsored by the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, or you can make a donation to help fund this effort, or you can do both.

              Got something better to do on May 8th?  No, you don’t, and here’s the reason why you don’t.

              Louis Brown was a 15-year old student who was on his way to a meeting of a group in Dorchester called Teens Against Gun Violence when he was caught in the middle of an outbreak of shooting and was shot dead.  His death occurred on a public street in the middle of the day.

              Following this unthinkable incident, his parents, Joseph and Clementina Chery, had nowhere to turn to help them deal with their grief. So, they founded the Peace Institute in 1994 which was eventually recognized as a major factor in reducing juvenile crime in Boston and continues this important work today.

              The Institute’s work is supported and championed by many community-based anti-violence organizations, as well as the major hospitals in Boston and a gun-control group, the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, that was formed after the Sandy Hook massacre and has been active in trying to reduce gun violence in the Bay State.

              Among other efforts, the Coalition worked tirelessly to help pass the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, which makes it easier to intervene in situations where someone may be considering suicide who also happens to have access to a gun.  In case you didn’t know, guns and depression are a lethal combination, and the Coalition’s efforts in this regard should be commended and expanded into other issues where access to guns breeds disastrous results.

              Come to think of it, access to guns in any circumstance is a recipe for disaster, unless you believe that a half-ounce piece of lead flying through someone’s head is a good thing. Oh, I forgot. The group which fronts for the NRA in Massachusetts, the Gun Owners Action League, (GOAL) will tell you that promoting gun ownership is all about protecting freedom, whatever that means. 

I guess what they mean is that if you own a gun, you’ll be able to shoot yourself or someone else with it whenever you want. After all, the guy who shot and killed Louis D. Brown in 1993 was only protecting his Constitutional ‘rights.’ Right?

Either we do something meaningful about gun violence or we don’t. I just hope that everyone who joins the Mother’s Day march on behalf of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute finds a way to get someone else to join the march next year.

When all is said and done, when it comes to dealing with any issue, boots on the ground mean a lot more than boots plopped up on the coffee table while you’re watching MTV.

Donate – 26th Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace (mothersdaywalk4peace.org)

Rohan Krishnan – A Violent Connection: Mass Shootings and Domestic Violence

Leave a comment

 

Mass shootings are increasingly becoming a fact of life in the United States. According to the FBI, a mass shooting is defined as a shooting where at least four people are killed, not including the perpetrator. America has significantly more mass shootings than any other comparable Western nation.

LV2The goal of my project was to explore if a causal relationship exists between mass shootings and domestic violence. Mass shooting data from multiple sources such as the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports, Congressional Research Reports, Everytown and Mother Jones reports etc. for the past 20 years (1998-2017) was extensively analyzed in this project. Each instance of mass shooting was validated through 10-12 supplementary articles in the media which provided additional information such as location, criminal and mental history, motive, relationship to victims etc. A custom Google Map was created to capture all the 74 mass shootings in a visual fashion. Each shooting was categorized into the following buckets: domestic violence, workplace violence, mental illness, vengeance, terrorism, race-related and gang-related violence. Detailed information such as the identity of the shooter, number of casualties, firearms used in the shooting and whether the guns were obtained legally or not is indicated on the map. The analysis leads to the conclusion that roughly 36% of these mass shootings had a strong correlation to domestic violence meaning that the shooting itself was either a case of domestic violence or the shooter had previously been reported for domestic violence against a spouse or a family member. The frequency of domestic violence related mass shootings has increased over this 20-year period, especially the last few years, which has witnessed a dramatic spike in shootings and casualties. The surprising observation is that the majority of the shooters in domestic violence related cases obtained their firearms legally. This demonstrates that the systems in place was not able to prevent these horrible abusers from obtaining deadly firearms legally.

In order to address this serious issue, a package of three legislative proposals, already implemented successfully in several states, is proposed as part of this research. These include the following:

  • ERPO (Extreme Risk Protective Order), a bill that essentially allows family members to notify police if a gun owner exhibits aggressive or dangerous behavior that may put themselves or others at risk and thereby allows law enforcement to confiscate their guns for a temporary period of time. Given that mass shooters and domestic violence abusers often exhibit signs of aggressive and dangerous behavior before the actual act of shooting, allowing family members to report such behavior to authorities can potentially prevent such familicides. ERPO has already been enacted in California, Oregon, Washington, Indiana and Connecticut. States where ERPO has been enacted witnessed one suicide averted for every 10 guns seized. Currently, ERPO bills are being considered in 19 states and Washington DC.
  • Secondly, the boyfriend loophole that originated in the Lautenberg Amendment allows those with a domestic violence restraining order against a partner with non-marital status or stalker to continue to buy or possess firearms. This loophole has not been closed in 29 states allowing dangerous abusers to keep their firearms. According to the Bureau of Justice, 48.6% of domestic violence victims are in dating relationships, which indicates that prohibiting these violent abusers from possessing firearms is imperative.
  • Although the Lautenberg Amendment prevented domestic violence offenders from obtaining guns, it did not give authority to the government to remove firearms already in their possession from these offenders. According to a Johns Hopkins University study, neither law enforcement nor the courts have been granted the authority to confiscate firearms from domestic violence offenders in as many as 23 states.

I firmly believe that these common sense legislative approaches which enjoy bi-partisan support can significantly reduce mass shootings related to domestic violence. None of these proposals call for a broad-based ban of firearms which allows law-abiding citizens to possess firearms while keeping them out of the hands of dangerous abusers. As a result, these pieces of legislation can be realistically passed in the near future with the potential to significantly reduce gun violence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: