Cotton herself got caught in the crossfire of all of those broken systems that produced her shooter, as did the 18 others who were shot and wounded. In this video, posted eerily almost one year ago exactly by Park Triangle Productions, Cotton expressed her concern about New Orleans violence and also her compassion and love for black men in the city who are too often the perpetrators and victims of that violence:
FBI officials remarked that yesterday’s shooting was “street violence” not an act of terror, but Ariella Cohen, a friend of Cotton’s and editor of Next American City, questioned why that distinction is even necessary. Wrote Cohen:
This distinction is troubling because it distinguishes between crime that is seen as against ‘all Americans’ from crime that is seen as a byproduct of an urban American sub-culture, a subculture that happens to have racial and class associations.
Local attorney Samantha Kennedy, who’s also a capital mitigation specialist who worked in Tucson after the mass shootings there, questioned if trauma services would be available to the New Orleans communities as they were offered in Arizona and Colorado. “We have a multigenerational multi-layered PTSD in this community,” wrote Kennedy on Facebook. “Violence begets violence because trauma begets trauma. We live in a highly traumatized community. When are we going to take the biopsyhochemical and emotional needs of our people seriously?”
Gov. Jindal allowed a behavioral health program in Louisiana that served “at-risk,” low-income children to close, but has proposed legislation that would streamline case management services for that population of children.
New York’s Assembly on Tuesday easily passed the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, calling for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats.
Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features such as folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The proposal reduces that to one feature and includes the popular pistol grip.
Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family will be subject to a background check through a dealer. New Yorkers also would be barred from buying assault weapons over the Internet, and failing to safely store a weapon could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
Ammunition magazines will be restricted to seven bullets, from the current 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines will have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine will face a misdemeanor charge.
Another provision places requirements on therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and licensed social workers who believe a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally. They would be required to report such a threat to a mental health director, who would have to notify the state. Any registered handguns — or registered assault weapons purchased before the ban — could be taken from the patient.
The legislation also increases sentences for gun crimes including the shooting of a first responder that Cuomo called the “Webster provision.” Last month in the western New York town of Webster, two firefighters were killed after responding to a fire set by the shooter, who eventually killed himself.
In The Hill Poll, 49 percent of voters asserted that current gun laws are too lax, against 35 percent who said they were about right. The gun laws were judged to be too strict by 11 percent of voters.
A striking consensus was evident around the belief that Obama and Congress would come together to make the current laws pertaining to firearms more rigorous. Asked to set aside their personal opinions about the desirability of such a change, a full 64 percent of voters asserted that action was very likely or somewhat likely. Only 26 percent said that it was not very likely or not likely at all.
Asked directly about the mass shooting in Connecticut, 47 percent of voters said that it had made them more supportive of tighter gun controls while 32 percent said that it had not altered their views.
[Only] 19 percent — said that the events in Connecticut had made them less supportive of stricter gun laws. In the wake of the tragedy, representatives of the National Rifle Association (NRA) suggested that giving teachers permission to carry firearms might help prevent future atrocities.
As many have heard by now, the COWARD that massacred the innocent peace-loving Sikhs in Wisconsin was a neo-nazi white supremacist, who has been on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch List for at least a decade. When are we going to stop letting these COWARDLY WHITE TERRORISTS literally get away with murder? When are we going to stop letting these COWARDLY WHITE TERRORISTS obtain weapons?
Gun toting zealots say, “go out and get a gun.” But guess what, black and brown folk are more likely to be scrutinized by the police and government for obtaining weapons than white folk. And black and brown folk are more likely to be targeted by the white terrorists who hate them for no other reason than apparent and perceived differences. One need not go further back than the history of the Black Panthers. So guess who is made more vulnerable by the lax gun control laws in this country — a white supremacist or an innocent brown or black person merely going about their day?
And what about those who oppose carrying weapons because it is antithetical to their own philosophical and moral framework? Antithetical to their own belief and value system? Those who are overzealous about their guns embrace a culture of fear and machismo, a culture that has been nothing but destructive.
When will the black and brown person’s individual sovereignty be recognized? When will those who cherish their beloved guns do the responsible thing and advocate for better protection of black and brown folk from organized hateful white supremacists in this country? Do you really value your gun, and the false sense of security and machismo it gives you, more than the lives of others?
A piece in Colorlines today hit the nail on the head:
Murderous insanity can infect any community, and maybe that leads people to call these senseless acts of random violence. But of course they are neither senseless nor random, and the vast majority of such incidents here involve white men. Racism holds a terrible logic, for a concept with no grounding whatsoever in science or morality, yet too many white people don’t see any patterns.
I think about the young woman who taught me to speak English in a tiny rural schoolhouse, the widow who gave me my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the father of my best friend who was so kind to me while I was growing up. Yesterday, did they quietly hope that the shooter wasn’t one of theirs? Probably not, even though the link between violence, masculinity and whiteness is well-established. White men seem to be in deep crisis, and white people would do well to deal with it, as Tim Wise points out again and again. I implore of my white friends, when your nutty uncle or classmate goes off about some set of foreigners, you must make a fuss, cause a family crisis, become unpopular, speak up. We cannot do this for you.
I despair for our country on days like these. How long before paranoia and fear, recast in the language of moral fortitude (stand your ground!), cut so deeply into the beautiful American friendliness, open-mindedness, and generosity that I have grown up with? How many Trayvon Martins, Brisenia Floreses and Balbir Singh Sodhis must there be before white folks question whether suspicion of brown skin is justified? Must I arm my mother and send her to the shooting range if she wants to wear a sari in public? In two weeks, 20 families have lost a beloved member. Are we going to have 20 more every month for the foreseeable future?
Massacre in Wisconsin, Members of Sikh Temple are Killed
Another senseless tragedy has befallen America: a gun toting individual went into a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and massacred several people who were simply meditating peacefully on their lives and their relationship to all things spiritual. This senseless gun violence comes barely two weeks after the Aurora shooting. Unlike the Aurora shooting, I have no doubt in my mind that this shooting was a hate crime — people targeted because they were perceived as being different, possibly Muslim. And with hateful rhetoric from people like Bachmann, an elected official of Congress, is there any wonder that we are now re-entering the Wild Wild West era? As Max Read said, there is simply no way to politicize a tragedy, because the tragedy doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but is the result of a culture that makes it an eventuality:
There is no such thing as “politicizing” tragedy. James Holmes did not materialize in a movie theater in Aurora this morning, free of any relationship to law and authority and the structures of power in this country; nor did he exit those relationships and structures by murdering 12 people and injuring several dozen more. Before he entered the theater, he purchased guns, whether legally or illegally, under a framework of laws and regulations governed and negotiated by politics; in the parking lot outside, he was arrested by a police force whose salaries, equipment, tactics and rights were shaped and determined by politics. Holmes’ ability to seek, or to not seek, mental health care; the government’s ability, or inability, to lock up persons deemed unstable — these are things decided and directed by politics. You cannot “politicize” a tragedy because the tragedy is already political. When you talk about the tragedy you’re already talking about politics.
The President has already spoken on gun violence and the need to take steps to ensure more tragedies like this don’t happen. Guns do not belong in hateful, sociopathic hands. Period.
If you look at the comments posted to the above youtube video, you will see it is riddled with disrespectful diatribes by gun toting zealots. We cannot allow ourselves to be bullied by those who prioritize their guns over maintaining a civil society. And we certainly cannot allow ourselves to be bullied by the likes of the profiteering NRA.
It is tough to discuss these issues, particularly in a volatile election year, but it is long time past due that America grow up and discuss them. Each candidate should spell out their plan to address the increasing gun violence in this country and how it threatens the very notion of our government, way of life, and civil society.
Enough is enough.
Prayers and thoughts go out to the families of the victims of this very senseless tragedy.
UPDATE: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund Condemns Act of Terrorism Against Sikh Gurudwara in Wisconsin
On Sunday, a horrific mass shooting took place at the Sikh gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, as members of the Sikh community were preparing for a peaceful religious gathering. It has been reported that a white male killed six people, and he was later killed himself after exchanging fire with a police officer.
AALDEF condemns this blatant act of terrorism against innocent people at a house of worship, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, the three continuing to fight for their lives in critical condition, and the entire Sikh community in Oak Creek, whose lives have been changed and feeling of safety shattered.
While details continue to emerge on this tragedy, the 700,000 Sikhs living in the United States have increasingly been victims of hate and discrimination. The media coverage following this tragedy, including CNN Network’s disturbing decision to distinguish Sikhs and Muslims, which implicitly suggested an attack on Muslims is within expectation, and its initial hesitation to call this an act of terrorism, show how severely intolerance and ignorance have been allowed to persist in our country, and the immediate need to stop it in all of its forms.
As more information comes to light, AALDEF will seek to work with other social justice organizations in making policy recommendations in hopes that such tragedies can be prevented in the future. http://bit.ly/MHsHcY