Got a gun? You get none!

Women. Have. Power.

Blame the parents?

“We grieve with these parents, but we also blame them. We put ourselves in their shoes — losing your child and carrying the burden of what they did to others before they died. And yet, we also can’t believe the parents didn’t know. Because, quite simply, if it is possible for THEM not to see the truth of THEIR children, then that means it is possible for US not to see what OURS are capable of. The idea that doing the best you can is sometimes not enough is its own kind of horror.” —
Lisa Belkin, Should we blame the parents of the Nevada school shooter?

Man of the house

“(I think), most women seem to be either silent, reasonable, or in favor of more gun control. Perhaps they know that a gun in the house raises the likelihood of their getting shot and killed by a factor of 3.4, and that ninety percent of the time their killer will not be a stranger breaking into their house in the dead of night but someone they know. (To be shot by the man of the house holding the gun that was bought to defend the woman of the house from the stranger breaking into the house… talk about irony.)” — Matthew Chapman, Guns, Guys, and Gelding — How to Stop Men and Boys Shooting People in America

Black mothers need sons

“I was mad at this news an’ so was my brothers

And I wanted to get violent but I’m a lover of black mothers

And black mothers need sons

Not children that’s been killed by guns.”

Concerto in X Minor, Brand Nubian

They can’t stop us

“If the gun extremists want to attack me, they have a constitutional right to do so, but don’t ever think that they will stop us from believing in nonviolence approaches to cure the sicknesses that are ailing our communities.” — Russell Simmons, The Anti-Violence Approach to Violence

International Day of the Girl: A Strong Message

I just has a conversation with some young women at work with and I am scared for the young women of this generation…
Young women please think of yourselves as BENTLEYs ….Not many people can afford one… Stop being HONDAs….Trust me YOU do not have to belittle yourself to be with a man ….You don’t have to have a child to keep a man….What will help you to achieve your goals in life is to always remember to respect yourself in every way possible….Educate yourself and i don’t mean going to school …yes that is a part of it….look for strong female role models that are doing positive things with their lives and have that conversation….Find a Sister Circle with like-minded people who can help you elevate yourself….let go of the passa passa…and the mix up …stop skinout on BBM and Fassbook… Malcolm X said to educate a man is to educate an individual …but to Educate a Woman it To Educate and LIBERATE a NATION…..So Young Women read this knowing that it is coming from a place of love…. One Love and please share your comments …. — Elaine R.

Help wanted

Mothers: When our boys are “out of control” — for example, if at a young age they are talking back, staying out late, skipping school, lying about their whereabouts — who do we turn to for help? Is it a sign of trouble or just boys trying to act like men?

We hear a lot of mothers complaining about these kinds of behaviours, but do you think there is any way to stop them before they become a “real problem?” If the fathers are absent, do we call on them to now step up and handle things — or is it too late? Do we tell our own families what is going on, or do we hide it from them in shame? Do we stage an intervention?

What did you do, or what do you suggest, when sons start acting out?

And please, let’s move the conversation beyond “beat them.” Scores upon scores of mothers could tell us: Been there. Done that. Doesn’t work. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong — it might have worked for you or for somebody you know. But it just does not seem like beating a child, or a teenager, or a young man (if you could actually manage it!) could really be a dependable or effective strategy at this stage of the game.

No respect

“Kids have no respect for life because they have no respect for their parents, who frankly don’t show a lot of respect for them, and it’s getting worse.” — Coray “Sip” Deering, Chicago

Pick you battles…and your allies

The last few days have been quite the worldwind of media attention. Thank you to CBC’s Ontario Today for giving us the first mainstream opportunity to take this conversation from Facebook and the blog to the airwaves. And thank you, somewhat, to the other media outlets that didn’t quite put in the effort required to create news and report accurately…but still helped to draw attention to the discussion, although with the sour taint of sex scandal dressed up and misrepresented to attract as many readers and listeners as possible.

And a special thank you to those who actually came to visit the site, maybe even read something, and tried to get a sense of what we are really talking about. Now that we’re all here, we’d like to lay out some groundrules.

Please consider this blog to be a virtual living room. In this virtual living room, we are having a conversation about the issue of harbouring and enabling armed criminals and potential criminals in our families and in our communities. You are welcome to join in. Make yourself comfortable. Stay for awhile. See what others have shared. Add your own thoughts and ideas.

This is NOT a conversation about self-proclaimed “law-abiding gun owners” nor is this conversation about hunters, sport shooters, people in the army, police, collectors, or any of the other “firearm owners” who are worried about gun control and a loss of rights. This blog is neither about you nor for you.

If the issues of criminal gun use do not affect you, your family, or your communities, please do not feel obligated to participate. However, your insight may prevent another Eaton’s Centre shooting or Just Desserts. Gun violence does not just impact the places where we think it should. We may all be one cappuccino or croissant away from facing these problems ourselves.

Like in any other living room, in this conversation you will be expected to respect the rules of the house. If your purpose is to ridicule without adding anything to the discussion, don’t expect to see your comments posted here. Unnecessary verbiage may be edited for clarity. We are trying to discuss real issues. Anything less is a waste of everyone’s time, and certain types of comments only make it difficult for those who actually want to participate in this discussion.

No sex, no food, no home, no family.

“I’ve listened to the first show [on CBC – 13 Sep 2012]. Great work. Have a gun to be used for a criminal offense — no sex, no food, no home, no family. I like what Dr. said in the first show — you have a right to search through a room in your house, your SAFE place, if you believe criminal items are being kept there.” — Johanne C.

Rape as a viable option?

The best thing about being able to move a discussion forward is to learn about what some of the pitfalls might be, where the weak areas are, what is viable and what is not. During the call-in portion of yesterday’s conversation on CBC radio’s Ontario Today, the issue of rape and domestic violence was raised a LOT. Many listeners felt that “withholding” sex from men who have guns (we had to specify up front that we are talking about guns that are meant to be used to shoot other people) — saying NO to being with a man who is a negative element in our communities (aka. “thug gangster”) could result in violence against women from these men who seem to have a propensity for violence. We were lucky to have Dr. Roz (of Dr. Roz’s Healing Place in Scarborough) on hand to address this important factor.

What do you think? Does it come down to yes or no? Should women have to say YES because of what might happen if they say NO? Do we have the services and support that are needed to help women who want to say NO, who want to move on and get away from a bad situation but can’t? If you have any insight about this issue OR any valuable resources that you would recommend, please share them here. There may be someone reading this right now who KNOWS someone or who IS someone who would like to get away from a negative situation. We may not all agree on strategy BUT we can at least agree that if a woman wants to leave, she should have the support that she needs to do so.

It was also interesting that rape was presented as though it was the next logical step for a man that is not getting sex from his partner. I was surprised that this point was raised so often because I think that most men would never think of raping anybody! More likely if they were dissatisfied with the situation, they would either move on and find somebody else, or make whatever change was needed to keep the women that they really want. However I could not deny that most of the people who raised the point of rape were men so they certainly would have some insight into how a man might react.

Overall the conversation raised a lot of great points: the possibility of the rise of prostitution, mothers in denial, social programs, calling the police on your loved ones, stronger gun laws, self-esteem and mental health issues, legal gun ownership, absentee fathers, poverty, even sex as a commodity. I hope this conversation is continuing in the living rooms (and bedrooms). Especially for people who think it’s a crazy idea because they can even raise other strategies or help to strengthen other areas that the rest of us may not be looking at.

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