Culture

Thumbnail image for Do You Feel Safer?

Do You Feel Safer?

by Junco Canché 12.21.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for The Best Reporting on Guns in America

The Best Reporting on Guns in America

by Source 12.20.2014 Gun Control

By Blair Hickman, Hanqing Chen, Cora Currier, Lois Beckett and Suevon Lee / ProPublica

Are Mass Shootings Increasing? Depends on How You Count Them

Criminologists have made the same point again and again: the number of mass shootings in America is not increasing. Experts told the Los Angeles Times that mass shootings represent only a small fraction of the annual deaths due to gun violence, and that police data indicate that the overall count of mass shootings per year has not shown any significant increase over time. This conclusion is based on the FBI’s broad definition of a mass murder: four or more people murdered in the same incident, typically in the same location.

But what if you focused just on shootings “in which the motive appeared to be indiscriminate mass murder”? Mother Jones decided to track the number of high-profile attacks in public places excluding armed robberies, gang shootings and domestic violence murders that happened within a home. Using this different definition—a controversial choice—Mother Jones concluded mass shootings are on the rise.

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Thumbnail image for Penis Control Before Gun Control

Penis Control Before Gun Control

by Will Falk 12.19.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

My position on gun control is simple. As long as the police, soldiers, and rapists have guns, we should have guns, too.

As long as one in four women in this country are raped in their lifetimes, women should have access to guns. As long as people of color are gunned down in the streets, they should be capable of defending themselves. As long as theft of native land continues alongside genocide of native peoples, they should be able to arm themselves against their invaders.

People – mainly white, male people – tell me that I take too extreme of a view. They tell me they just do not see the violence.

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Geo-Poetic Spaces: Talking To Myself

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 12.19.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Talking To Myself

I won’t stop talking to myself
while: Money has the last
word
torture is up for debate

I’ll keep shooting propaganda
with poetry
until people kill guns …

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Thumbnail image for The Horrifying Banality of Mass Shootings in America: 3 Shocking Facts About Gun Violence

The Horrifying Banality of Mass Shootings in America: 3 Shocking Facts About Gun Violence

by Source 12.19.2014 Gun Control

By Allegra Kirkland / AlterNet

By now, the cycle is familiar. One morning the news will light up with reports of a lone gunman wreaking havoc in a public place or a relative’s home. For days, left-wing politicians and grieving families will plead for common-sense gun control legislation, even as conservatives and NRA reps make their usual “gun’s don’t kill people, people do” stump speeches. Then, as quickly as the tragedy entered the public consciousness, it falls off the radar, forgotten until the next mass shooting occurs.

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Thumbnail image for Restaurateur and Cartoonist Join Forces to Help Children of Deported Veterans, DREAMers, and Refugees

Restaurateur and Cartoonist Join Forces to Help Children of Deported Veterans, DREAMers, and Refugees

by Brent E. Beltrán 12.18.2014 Cartoons

Mark Lane of Poppa’s Fresh Fish and Lalo Alcaraz of La Cucaracha organize holiday toy drive this Friday in Logan Heights

By Brent E. Beltrán

Once again restaurant owner Mark Lane, the accidental activist, has stepped forward to help not only refugee children but the children of deported American veterans and children of deported DREAMer moms as well. He will be hosting a toy drive and presentation on Friday night at Poppa’s Fresh Fish featuring former Lemon Grove native and syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz.

Lalo, the creator of La Cucaracha and Pocho.com and writer and consulting producer for the soon-to-be aired Fox cartoon Bordertown will be giving a thirty minute presentation about his cartoons and art and will follow with a book, poster and 2015 Cartoon Calendar signing.

“We chose to work with Lalo Alcaraz, as he has been a tireless fighter for immigrant rights, using his forum as a syndicated cartoonist to fight. He is a hometown hero in my opinion,” wrote fellow Lemon Grove native and resident Mark Lane.

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US Funds Mexico’s War on Drugs

by Eric J. Garcia 12.18.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for What’s the Deadliest Day of the Week in Your State for Gun Violence?

What’s the Deadliest Day of the Week in Your State for Gun Violence?

by Source 12.18.2014 Gun Control

By Janet Allon / AlterNet

You might think Monday would be the most likely day when miserable, unhinged people are most likely to go on a murderous gun rampage. But you’d be wrong.

In 20 states, including California, Sunday is the deadliest day for gun violence. And in several Bible Belt states, Saturday is the worst. All in all, weekends, including Friday, are the times when Americans are most likely to get shot in 29 of the 50 states.

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Thumbnail image for Why Do Democrats Keep Trying to Ban Guns That Look Scary, Not the Guns That Kill the Most People?

Why Do Democrats Keep Trying to Ban Guns That Look Scary, Not the Guns That Kill the Most People?

by Source 12.18.2014 Activism

On the twentieth anniversary of the assault weapons ban, a look at why politicians and the public support a policy that showed no evidence of saving lives.

by Lois Beckett / ProPublica

This story was co-published with the New York Times.

Over the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.

That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public. In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.

But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.

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Thumbnail image for Let’s say “No More” Violence Against Women

Let’s say “No More” Violence Against Women

by Ernie McCray 12.17.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

It’s sad that there’s such a notion as “violence against women,” but it’s heartening that, seemingly, we, as a society, are now looking into such an unsavory practice as though we want to do something about it.

A catalyst for a big part of our interest in the subject has been the National Football League (who would have ever dreamed that?) with their “No” to violence against women television PSA’s, featuring present day and ex-pro football players, motivated by that horrible tape we saw of star running back, Ray Rice, punching his wife out in an elevator, one of the nastiest sights anyone could ever see.

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Thumbnail image for The Best Reporting on PTSD in Children Exposed to Violence

The Best Reporting on PTSD in Children Exposed to Violence

by Source 12.17.2014 Gun Control

By Lois Beckett / ProPublica

Updated Sept. 19, 2014 with new stories; originally published June 24, 2014.

When people think of post-traumatic stress disorder, they often focus on military veterans. But there’s growing evidence that PTSD is also a serious problem for American civilians, especially those exposed to violence in their own neighborhoods. Researchers in Atlanta found that 1 out of 3 inner-city residents they interviewed had experienced symptoms consistent with PTSD at some point in their lives. Earlier this month, we published a new story on an Oakland family struggling with PTSD after two young children, ages six and one, witnessed their mother being shot.

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Thumbnail image for The City Council’s Symbolic Re-Vote on Lightner as President

The City Council’s Symbolic Re-Vote on Lightner as President

by Doug Porter 12.16.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

It’s business as usual in San Diego. Amid concerns that last week’s city council election of Sheri Lightner as president, may have followed meetings in violation of the Brown Act, a special meeting has been called today to affirm the decision.

NBC7 reported last week on what might be “serial meetings,” one-on-one private sessions involving six council members. They passed on the findings to the City Attorney’s office.

Since that decision Councilwoman Lightner has been acting as president. I believe her election was orchestrated by local business interests as retaliation for Councilman Todd Gloria aggressive support of a local minimum wage ordinance.

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Holiday Noir

by Bob Dorn 12.16.2014 Gun Control

By Bob Dorn

I woke up early Bloody Wednesday. I could hear the alarm on my Sig Sauer Smartshot pleading for attention. It’s automatic loader had failed and the diagnostics were blinking error 1037, error 1037, error 1037…

Of all days, Bloody Wednesday, Christmas Eve, my companion gun’s auto-feed goes manual. I’m going to lose precious seconds loading and reloading manually at the mall.

I’ll have no advantage over the last-minute shoppers who’d put off shopping until the last minute for no good reason.

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Thumbnail image for The Gun Death Capital of the World – United States of America

The Gun Death Capital of the World – United States of America

by John Lawrence 12.16.2014 Government

By John Lawrence

The US leads the world in deaths from firearms. Countries like Great Britain and Japan, which outlaw guns, have hardly any gun related deaths.

These countries don’t have the “freedom” to own a gun. We Americans are free to own a gun and free to go bankrupt from medical debts. In countries like Britain and Japan they are not free to go bankrupt from medical debt because they have national health care systems which prevent that from happening.

Freedom is relative isn’t it, and open to interpretation. One person’s freedom is another person’s bondage. As Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose.”

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Thumbnail image for Newtown Families Sue AR-15 Gun Maker

Newtown Families Sue AR-15 Gun Maker

by Doug Porter 12.15.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It’s been two years and a day since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut left 26 people, mostly first graders, dead. The school has been torn down. The house where the shooter lived will soon meet the same fate.

The troubled 20-year-old gunman shot his way into the school. He shot and killed his mother before driving to the school, and he committed suicide as police arrived. The shootings at the school, lasting just over four minutes, were possible thanks to the military-style weapon used.

This morning a law firm representing the families of nine of the 26 people killed and a teacher filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used in the shooting.


Welcome to Guns, Policy and Progressives week at the San Diego Free Press. We’ll be talking about guns and their role in society. Provided you can be civil about it, we invite you to join the conversation.

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Thumbnail image for Washington State Voters Overwhelmingly Approved Citizens’ Initiative to Expand Background Checks to All Gun Sales

Washington State Voters Overwhelmingly Approved Citizens’ Initiative to Expand Background Checks to All Gun Sales

by Source 12.15.2014 Activism

By Jennifer Fuson / The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Washington, D.C. – In the only place where guns were directly on the ballot this election day, Washington state voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 594 to expand background checks to all gun sales, including online and at gun shows. A competing initiative (Initiative 591) designed to block the implementation of background checks and sponsored by the gun lobby failed 55 to 45%.

Washington became the seventh state to require background checks on all gun sales, the fifth state since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 (Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and New York).

“The bottom line is this law will save lives. Washingtonians should sleep better tonight knowing that their state will be a safer place thanks to expanded Brady background checks,” said Brady Campaign President Dan Gross.

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Thumbnail image for The Day School Shootings Became the Norm

The Day School Shootings Became the Norm

by Annie Lane 12.14.2014 Culture

By Annie Lane

The 1999 Columbine High School shooting jolted me. I was 15 at the time. That is, I was still immortal and arrogant in the way that only a teen can be. Despite this, I remember being jolted by the violence of it, and the permanence. The kids killed were my age; they were essentially moments away from entering into the adult world, however unprepared, just like me.

The black-and-white cafeteria footage that ran on a seemingly endless loop across news stations nationwide was spell-binding. It was simultaneously real while perfectly mimicking Hollywood violence – or was it the other way around?

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Just Another Day at the CIA

by Junco Canché 12.13.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for The Season for Mindless Consumerism

The Season for Mindless Consumerism

by Source 12.13.2014 Culture

This Christmas, put your money to better use than thoughtless gift-giving.

By  / OtherWords

‘Tis the season for mindless consumerism.

I love giving gifts when they’re from the heart. But I hate giving or receiving presents if they’re things nobody needs, given out of a sense of obligation.

Here’s a story that illustrates what I mean. Back in college, a friend of mine approached me and said, “I just want to give you a heads up, my new girlfriend bought you a gift.”

Uh-oh, I thought. I didn’t even get him a gift, let alone her. But without missing a beat, I replied, “Oh, that’s so sweet! Well, I got her something too.”

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: When the Joshua Trees are Gone

Geo-Poetic Spaces: When the Joshua Trees are Gone

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 12.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

How will we find our way
out of desert
when the Joshua Trees are gone?

No iconoclastic arms
reaching out of mountain passes no white flower
guiding Yucca Moths
to broken promise of land …

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Ham Sandwich Not Indicted

by Eric J. Garcia 12.11.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for 5th Annual Love Thy Neighbor Toy Drive Takes Place This Weekend

5th Annual Love Thy Neighbor Toy Drive Takes Place This Weekend

by Brent E. Beltrán 12.11.2014 Arts

 By Brent E. Beltrán

This weekend the 5th annual Love Thy Neighbor Clothing & Toy Drive takes place at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park. For the past five years Ruben Torres and some of his close friends have organized this event to bring a little joy during the Christmas season to youths in San Diego and Tijuana.

South Bay native Ruben Torres continues to give back to the community he loves. He says, “God gives us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with. I’m honored to see the community come together to give and to be a blessing to the needy.”

Toys will be collected for the children of the YWCA as well as families of The Training Center in Spring Valley.

This year’s main event takes place on Sunday, December 14 from 12-8pm and is hosted by radio DJ Beto Perez of 95.7 KISS FM and features an art show curated by Ruben Torres and Wendy Wolf.

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Thumbnail image for SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

by Doug Porter 12.10.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Students at San Diego State University participated in a march and sit-in on Tuesday, demanding the school take action in response to sexual assaults and harassment. The protest was triggered by reports of people associated with fraternity houses yelling  obscenities, waving dildos and throwing eggs at a Nov. 21st  anti-rape march called Take Back the Night.

Their demands included an open forum with  SDSU President Elliot Hirshman during the spring semester, along with the resignations of fraternity members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi from various posts on the campus. The protesters cited the need for a planned Women’s Resource Center to serve as a rape crisis center and for CSU and UC colleges to release all statistical data on the investigation, adjudication and sanction of cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

As is the case with police-linked killings around the country, the protests are the local manifestation of a much larger problem, and today I’ll try to give this story some context.

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Thumbnail image for Judy Finally Goes To the Dentist In Tijuana

Judy Finally Goes To the Dentist In Tijuana

by John Lawrence 12.08.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

Judy hadn’t seen a dentist in some time and she needed to go. I tried to persuade her to go to my dentist, Dr. Miguel Garcia in Tijuana, but she had a fear of crossing the border. I had been going to Dr Garcia for 10 years or more, and I told her she had nothing to fear.

Everybody in Dr Garcia’s office spoke perfect English. They had the latest, most modern equipment and the best training. My friend Olof who had been going to Dr Garcia for years on my recommendation also tried to persuade Judy that there was nothing to be afraid of. She would be in good hands.

Finally, Judy agreed to go. I had assured her I knew the way by heart, and we could drive right into the building to park. Then it was just a short walk to the elevator. We’d be on the fourth floor and in the Baja Oral Center in no time.

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