I participated in an online open forum on gun control in NY public schools. Here are some of the comments that popped up during the conversation. (I tried to include the viewpoints of people on all sides of the issue.)
"Imagine, due to the rampant levels of racial profiling, the consequences on the learning environment and achievement for youth of color, particularly boys and young men, if they see their teachers or campus security strapped with a gun." [In response to a poll in Cali asking whether teachers should be allowed to have guns in the classroom.]
"Young people, especially our high school students should be given the opportunity to be part of the decision making process at the schools. Work alongside with them to set policies and procedures around safety and violence. Give them an opportunity to reclaim their schools as their own, and I can guarantee you they will not let us down."
"When I was a middle school teacher, one of my students told me he had brought a gun to school because he was worried about getting jumped on the way home from school. Have you ever felt like you needed to protect yourself at school or in your neighborhood?"
"I've held a gun, and quite frankly the pleasure of the weight of the tool, the thrill of it's release, and the power that there is in holding it are part of the problem. It's instant power/gratification. It's intoxicating like a drug"
"I feel like most people i know have a gun of their own, or at least have easy access to one. There's a strong value of guns that I think comes, in part, from the culture in Appalachia. It's very common for young people to know how to handle guns, and have one around. Whether it be a defense weapon, a hunting tool, or a hobby"
"Knowing the people in your neighborhood. Building community through civic engagement. Having open dialogues about issues in your community. Being HONEST about our strengths and weaknesses. This is what creates real safety."
"What really gets me is that there's more regulation on birth control than on guns. And the same people denying regulation for one, push it for the other. Why is it ok for the government to decide when and how we create life, but not when and how we take it?"
"Guns are becoming a bigger fear than diseases or car accidents for lots of people. While there is a LOT of violence all around, I think a lot of this has to do with people talking about it. The media and growing social connectivity can really pump up the power of certain stigmas. I think a positive step in terms of decreasing fear and violence would be to change the way we share and receive these stories, particularly from the media. The word propaganda comes to mind almost constantly when I think about gun control issues recently"