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Thomas Abt @Abt_Thomas
, 23 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Here's a post-#Parkland checklist you can use after any mass shooting. The horror is terribly real, the tragedy overwhelming, and the frustration palpable, but we can make progress if we push hard in the right directions. Read on.
1st and foremost, remember the victims. Celebrate their lives, not their deaths. Here's a place to start:…
2nd, help the survivors and the victims' families. Here's another place to start:…
3rd, appreciate our first responders. Police, EMTs, doctors, and others respond heroically, if not always perfectly, to these terrible tragedies. They need our support too.
4th, forget the shooter. We know that mass killers study each other, trying to one-up the competition with higher body counts. Prevent copycats by keeping the shooter's name and photos out of the news. #DontNameThem #NoNotoriety…
The @nytimes, @washingtonpost, and @USATODAY, among other outlets, all identified the shooter. Pressure every media organization to never do this again. The op-ed pages of such papers rail against mass shootings, so now it's time to clean up their own backyards.
5th, admit, once and for all, that this is about guns. Americans are outliers when it comes to homicide: we kill at a rate 7x other high income countries. This disparity is driven by a gun homicide rate 25x times higher than other rich nations.
Also acknowledge that the problem is getting worse. 3 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in US history happened in the last 5 months, and mass public shootings are on the rise over the past 5 years:…
6th, push for commonsense restrictions that help keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of killers. Blue states like Connecticut have led the way here:…
Also, we regulate both cars and drivers, and no objects. Why can't we do the same with guns? @NickKristof said it best after the Las Vegas shooting:…
Become a single-issue voter, matching the intensity of @NRA supporters. Hold your politicians accountable. Give money to the right candidates and to organizations like @Everytown, @GiffordsCourage, @Bradybuzz, and @teamtrace, and vote vote vote.
7th, realize this is not just about federal gun control. We need better threat assessment and response by states and localities too. Almost all mass killers display warning signs before acting, and many are previously involved in domestic violence.…
The @FBI and Florida social services both screwed up with #Parkland and must do better. At all levels, protocols need to be in place for addressing warning signs. One important tool that even some conservatives support is the Gun Violence Restraining…
8th, continue to push back on all the silly standard arguments that gun advocates try to sell to the public at large. @Jerry_Ratcliffe made a great primer for just this purpose:…
9th, as @Jerry_Ratcliffe has observed, recognize that we have at least four major gun violence problems in the US. In order of lethality, they are: (1) suicides, (2) urban violence, (3) domestic violence, and (4) mass killings.
In each case, the typical victim is different. For suicides, it's older white men. For urban violence, it's younger black men. For domestic violence, it's women and children. For mass killings, it can be anyone.
Mass killings account for less than 1% of all gun violence, yet receive a hugely disproportionate share of media coverage and public attention. This is understandable, but responsible coverage will make room for the chronic challenges of gun violence, not just the acute crises.
My focus is usually urban violence, the category of gun violence responsible for the most homicides. If you want some solutions in that area, here's an op-ed that shows what to do (ignore the title, I didn't pick it):…
If I were in Congress or working as a state legislator, I would craft a comprehensive bill that addresses all four problems at once, uniting these constituencies instead of making them compete against one another for attention and resources.
10th, here's a few things I wouldn't do. I wouldn't buy into the distraction that this is all about mental illness. It isn't. Most mass killers are not mentally ill in the clinical sense and we already stigmatize mental illness too much.
I also wouldn't turn our schools, public areas, or workplaces into fortresses. It wouldn't help much, it'll be very expensive, and by doing so we'd give in to terror and fear, which is exactly what the killers want.
Finally, I wouldn't send out "thoughts and prayers," then do nothing as the bodies continue to drop. I'm looking at you, #Republicans in Congress, but not just you.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find this checklist helpful, and please add missed items or points when you respond or retweet. Bottom line: we are not helpless in the face of this horror. Let's do something, now.
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