What to Know Today
The state of school safety, 10 years after Sandy Hook. In the decade since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, the debate about how to keep schools safe has shifted toward human-focused, preventive approaches like providing mental health support to students and creating safe educational climates, experts in the field told Education Week. That’s a stark contrast to the post-Columbine push to “harden” schools — security upgrades many districts can’t afford anyway — and give students little-proven, often traumatizing training in active shooter situations.
How can we reduce mass shootings, really? The circumstances around five high-profile gun attacks this year — in Buffalo, Uvalde, Highland Park, Charlottesville, and Colorado Springs — are remarkably similar, Mark Follman writes in Mother Jones: All were carried out by troubled young people who displayed well-known warning signs of violence, and all of the shooters had obtained AR-style rifles and ammo devices. Noting the overlaps, Follman argues policy solutions like expanding red flag laws and banning gun sales to people under 21 could decrease mass shootings. A new political powerhouse: The families of Sandy Hook victims have become a key political force since 2012. They’re channeling their grief into pursuing legislative change, and they’ve had some early wins.
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More than half of Massachusetts police departments say they don’t inspect gun dealers. State law requires local police departments to inspect gun shops’ records and inventory annually. But a Boston Globe investigation into 112 departments found that 62 haven’t completed such an inspection since 2017, and police rarely deny or revoke gun dealer license applications. The departments covered in the investigation are responsible for evaluating dealers that conduct 97 percent of the state’s in-person gun sales annually.
Megan Thee Stallion’s shooting is not a laughing matter. The public reaction since the hip-hop star revealed that she was shot by a former friend in 2020 has ranged from (illegitimate) skepticism, to online harassment, to joking about her trauma. Treva Lindsey, the author of America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice, told Vox’s Fabiola Cineas the backlash shows that no matter the decision in the trial against Megan’s alleged shooter, which began this week, there’s “no ground in which she wins” in the public eye: “The conundrum that a lot of Black women victims and survivors of intimate violence face is that, no matter the outcome … folks will make jokes, and malign and vilify these women.”
Five ways Philadelphians think the city could solve its gun violence crisis. WHYY asked two community leaders, a clinician, a high school student, and a public safety employee what measures they think the city could take to curb shootings. Among their suggestions: building community gardens, expanding partnerships between police and communities, and increasing funding for grassroots groups. “I felt like I had to do something”: Bout Mine I Matter, an arts-centered program in North Philly, trains young people who have lost someone to gun violence in video production skills and de-escalation techniques.
>323,000 — the number of kids who have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine, as of November 22. [The Washington Post]