Since October 2017, America experienced three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history. This epidemic coincides with a frightening resurgence of white nationalism. Sometimes the two trends overlap.
With the US mass shootings epidemic claiming 17 more lives at a school in Florida, there has been a nationwide outcry against multi-million-dollar lobbying by the National Rifle Association. But how the NRA, and other corporate giants, wield power and influence over the US government is mostly concealed by the very laws meant to strengthen democracy.
https://democracynow.org – Dozens of students who survived last week’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida have arrived in Tallahassee to push for new gun control measures. On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives blocked a bid to bring up a bill to ban sales of assault-style rifles in the state. The Florida gunman, a 19-year-old white former student named Nikolas Cruz, was a member of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program before he was expelled from the school. Cruz was also part of a four-person JROTC marksmanship team at the school which had received $10,000 in funding from the NRA. For more, we speak with Pat Elder, director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, an organization that confronts militarism in schools. He’s the author of Military Recruiting in the United States.
Three-fourths of all Pennsylvanians want to see an end to live pigeon shoots.
A statewide survey by the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Company reveals not only do 75 percent of Pennsylvanians want to see legislation to ban live pigeon shoots but only 16 percent of Pennsylvanians oppose such a ban.
Our country’s rocked by yet another mass shooting this time in Newtown, Connecticut. This time a 20-year-old kid, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, in their home then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he killed six adults including the principal and 20 children before killing himself.
Shortly before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on an amendment last December that would ban pigeon shoots, the Pennsylvania Flyers Association sent out a bulletin it marked as “urgent.”
“We must act now to preserve our sport,” the Flyers screeched. In a separate letter, the Flyers told its members they “should be very proud that your association has been able to keep the sport alive in PA [sic] for the last 27 years.” For added support, the notice referred to an NRA release, which called pigeon shooting a “Pennsylvania Sporting Tradition.”
Iowa, which gave us the carnival known as the Iowa Straw Poll and artery-clogging Deep Fried butter, will unleash another health problem, beginning Sept. 1.
The Iowa legislature last year approved a dove hunting season, the first in more than nine decades. However, the state’s Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Commission (DNR) banned the use of lead shot and bullets.
As some of my readers know, I am a public health physician. I recently had the opportunity to offer some remarks at a conference at the Yale School of Public Health on gun violence and public health. This Commentary is drawn from those remarks. I began by noting that when talking about this subject, the National Rifle Association is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. I noted at that conference that none of the other speakers, all of whom had government grant-funded research and intervention programs underway, mentioned the words “National Rifle Association.” All publicly funded, how could they? If one whiff, not of the gunshots that are so frequent in our society, but of criticism of the NRA coming from a publicly funded program got back to the NRA, giving its totally corrupting influence on the political process in our country, there goes that funding.
This is the story of two Marys. Both are in their early 60s, heavyset, with curly reddish hair. But for years they have worked on opposite ends of the same issues. Mary McFate is an advocate of environmental causes and a prominent activist within the gun control movement. For more than a decade, she volunteered for various gun violence prevention organizations, serving on the boards of anti-gun outfits, helping state groups coordinate their activities, lobbying in Washington for gun control legislation, and regularly attending strategy and organizing meetings.
Mary Lou Sapone, by contrast, is a self-described “research consultant,” who for decades has covertly infiltrated citizens groups for private security firms hired by corporations that are targeted by activist campaigns. For some time, Sapone also worked for the National Rifle Association.
But these two Marys share a lot in common—a Mother Jones investigation has found that McFate and Sapone are, in fact, the same person. And this discovery has caused the leaders of gun violence prevention organizations to conclude that for years they have been penetrated—at the highest levels—by the NRA or other pro-gun parties. “It raises the question,” says Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, “of what did she find out and what did they want her to find out.”