huerca zafada: Steubenville's Jane Doe asked people to do something... -
I’ve never asked anyone to reblog anything before, and I probably won’t again. But I am now - because this matters.
The Steubenville rape victim, when offered money for her legal expenses or counselling, asked that people donated to a shelter for abused women and children in her county, Madden House, instead.
Her attorney spoke in a local news article on why the family wanted this, and said they hope very much that “the attention … can help other people that have been victimized by this type of crime,” Fitzsimmons said, “and give them some strength and some assurance that people are there to help them when that happens.”
You can donate as little as $2 via your Paypal account to Madden House. (You can also navigate their website from that link, to be sure it’s a charity you can also believe in.) When I donated back in January, they had a message up that said, “Every single cent says, ‘We believe you, and we care.’” They had to remove it almost at once. I’m sure you can deduce the reasons why, in a case where even her status as “victim” was challenged before the trial.
Madden House and the Family Violence Project helps anyone, men included, but they have a strong focus on families, and on low-income women, especially those from the African-American population.
The best way to show you support Jane Doe is to make a donation, however small and leave a Paypal note when you do saying “In the name of Jane Doe, Steubenville.” They are telling her how many people donate in her name so it’s a direct way of letting her know. Even if all you can afford is a dollar, a thousand Tumblr users donating that is a thousand dollars for abuse victims. And it’s also a thousand people telling her directly that they, unlike the likes of CNN and her erstwhile “friends”, care about her, support her, and believe in her. It’s what she has actually asked people to do. In a case where she has been so effectively silenced and sidelined, I think acknowledging she’s been heard is particularly important.
I think it says so much about this girl and her parents, that when met with offers of serious money they immediately asked that it went to a charity that helps other victims of violence instead. They are extraordinary people in my opinion, and that’s why she had the strength to come forward. Images of two other girls, naked and face down on that basement carpet, were found on a phone. The boy insisted he’d never seen them before, and had no idea who they were of. Jane Doe may well not have been speaking up only for herself. She has very possibly saved others with her courage. She deserves so much more respect than the mainstream media have given her.
If you can’t donate, I really do understand. I’ve been broke before too. But please, do reblog. Get the message out. There is a genuine, positive way to support the victim, in the way she has asked for, and this is it.
Sorry it’s so long. There are so many scams online that I wanted to provide ample links, so there can be no doubt this is legit. Please, if you can, donate/reblog. Show Jane Doe what you think of her.
Ghastly H. Crackers: Fascism and the right to bear arms. -
There have been a lot of people lately saying the only thing standing between freedom and fascism is the right of the people to bear arms. The argument is a fantasy of people who like to imagine themselves as heroes in the glorious freedom revolution that will sweep away everything they hate about…
Tea Party Friend provided this chart of gun ownership vs. murder rate, to put things in perspective. He put it forward to support his claim that gun ownership reduces murder, but I disagree. The chart shows that the vast majority of countries are low on both murders and gun ownership, although some countries (e.g., the U.S. with its famous “gun culture” and Switzerland with its famous universal conscription) are outliers in the high-gun low-murder direction. Tea Party Friend asserted that the three extreme outliers on the high-murder, low-gun branch of the chart all have gun bans and are also all deeply impoverished. The poverty part is true, but only one has a strict ban. Found via some quick Googling:
In Côte d’Ivoire (56.9 murders/100k people), although information is frustratingly hard to find, it appears that he’s right on this one as far as a gun ban — possession of gunpowder in general is (apparently?) illegal, and from what I can piece together from the French text of the actual law (singular) regarding guns, I think it might be illegal to own any kind of gun without the individual approval of the government through some unspecified process. However, since the country has had two civil wars and numerous riots in the past decade, I suspect that political violence accounts for a large portion of the country’s consistently high murder rate, and that easier gun ownership would not have helped the situation.
On the other hand… in El Salvador (69.2 murders/100k people) and Honduras (91.6 murders/100k people), gun laws are not very different from the U.S., actually. There is a licensing system, not an outright ban, and the specific kinds of guns civilians may own are not very different than the ones Americans can. Gang violence is extremely common, and probably explains a lot of the murder rate. To its credit, Honduras appears to limit the definition of “assault weapons” to fully-automatic weapons and military-style sniper weapons rather than the bizarre and inappropriate U.S. definition I previously linked to.
Although gun ownership does not appear to be the cause of murder, especially in the U.S., it is also not a cure for it. Canada is demographically and culturally similar to the U.S., and also has a relatively high gun ownership rate. Japan, which I often only half-jokingly accuse of trying to be more American than Americans are, has an outright ban on civilian gun ownership and a murder rate of only 0.4 murders/100k people. There’s something totally un-gun-related going on and we need to examine the causes of violent crime in general (which I suspect are mainly effects of living in dense, poor cities) and try to correct them if we want to reduce murder instead of just come in after the fact to punish the guilty once murders have already happened.
Three more articles to consider:
1. Why reviving the assault weapons ban is not a good idea.
2. Why licensing is a good idea.
3. Why improving the safety features of guns themselves is an even better idea.
I’d like to share some particularly thought-provoking links shared by friends on Facebook in the last couple of days, regarding contributing factors to the shooting.
1. “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother”, a piece on what it’s like to raise a child who is clearly disturbed and violent, and lamenting the lack of good mental healthcare in the U.S.
2. “The Problem of Illegal Gun Trafficking”, giving examples to the effect that it’s not so much more gun control that’s needed, but better enforcement of existing laws in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
3. “ASAN Statement on Media Reports Regarding Newtown, CT Shooting”, a press release from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network rebutting suggestions by media outlets that the shooter’s Asperger’s Syndrome caused the shooting.
To head off everything everyone is about to say about the shooting…. And no, I am not arguing about the Second Amendment. It’s a terribly-phrased, outdated relic. I am arguing about what the law SHOULD be, not what the law IS.
If we make any dangerous item X illegal, people will find illegal ways to acquire X. What needs to be done to actually reduce the amount and danger of X is to convince people that X is unacceptable whether it’s legal or not, and to place barriers to the acquisition of X that make it very difficult for X to reach the black market in the first place or to pass through legal channels into the hands of people who should not have X.
Consider motor vehicles. They, like firearms, have some legitimate uses and some disastrous uses. They have a minimum age for supervised use in a training setting, then a higher minimum age at which a person may pass a test in order to show that they should be allowed to use them. I propose that guns be treated the same way, with perhaps an allowance for a lower age for minors learning to hunt, analogous to the lower driving age for farm equipment.
Now, the problem here is that weapons are by definition intended for the specific purpose of inflicting harm, unlike vehicles, which are merely capable of causing harm incidentally. This is even more true for those weapons intended specifically for military use… machine guns and rocket launchers are obvious examples. In order to secure these from being obtained by anyone who cannot be trusted with them (would-be mass shooters, gangs, terrorists, etc.), some weapons (the cutoff to be determined later, since I’m not sure myself where exactly it should be) should be classified by federal law as suitable only for military use and tight controls should be placed on the companies that manufacture and sell them.
I realize that this raises the issue of maintaining an armed public which can rebel against the government if necessary. To achieve this, I propose that the National Guard be returned to the control of their respective states with no condition under which the federal government may take control of them, and that any and all weapons used by the federal military be available also to the states. Further, military personnel in the U.S. would adopt the same policy as Switzerland and keep their regular arms at home, since they have received the proper training and discipline to use them with discretion.
Back on the topic of civilian use, though, I find it eminently reasonable to insist on background checks and licensing enforced on people who purchase guns, and restrictions enforced on sellers of guns.
I honestly can’t think of a conclusion… Sorry. Maybe I’ll have more to say about this later.
In the wake of Hurricane (or, “Superstorm”, as the media keep calling it) Sandy, New York conducted audits of the utility companies that operate within its borders to figure out why power was not restored in blacked-out areas as quickly as they had anticipated. The results? Their leadership is distant and incompetent. As my local paper, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, puts it:
“Key units went from 20 employees to three or four — because, auditors found, Spanish executives believed utilities in New York state, susceptible to fierce blizzards and powerful hurricanes, could get by with the same workforce as their units in Spain, where weather is somewhat more serene.”
This is exactly why I believe utilities should be public and local. Under the people’s ownership in some form of another (either the government or as a co-op), decisions presently made by executives on the other side of the Atlantic would be made by residents who have a good grasp on their region’s particular needs. They would be less willing to cut positions to cut costs because they would understand the impact it would have on them to do so. Places with more dramatic weather need more people to maintain their infrastructure, and this is understood best by the people who live there, not the owners of some company who are not affected by the fallout of their decisions in any way other than how much money they can make off them.
For example: Syracuse, NY, where I went to college, is the snowiest city in the U.S., and accordingly has a large and dedicated fleet of snowplows. The roads remained clear and drivable even through an unusually heavy week of continuous lake-effect snow two years ago, when the city got four feet of snow in the span of four days. Gaithersburg, MD, where some of my cousins grew up, does not have this infrastructure, because snow is very rare. If Syracuse’s city government made its snow-plowing decisions based on the assumptions of the government of MD, it would be helplessly encased in snow. And, the other way around, Gaithersburg would experience a giant waste of resources it would almost never use if it were run like Syracuse.
But, of course, since our private sector is geared towards profitability, not quality of service, it makes sense to the previous owners’ so-called “rational” self-interest to take a utility that is necessary to the well-being of the people of New York and sell it to a foreign conglomerate that doesn’t understand the needs of New York. So what if it leads to confusion, understaffing, and prolonged blackouts? It’s good for the investors!
A Canadian vs. an American on Canada's Healthcare -
(The linked blog is most definitely NSFW, but this particular post is.)
Although network connections within and between specific organizations had been around for years already, on November 3, 1992, CERN made this page publicly accessible, officially launching the Internet as we know it. Happy 20th birthday!