TIME Crime

Parents of Slain TV Journalist ‘Cannot Be Intimidated’ on Gun Control

Alison Parker's parents say they have a new mission in life

The parents of a Virginia TV journalist who died in a grisly on-air shooting last week said in a new interview that they are committed to waging a campaign for more gun control measures in the wake of their daughter’s death.

“You can’t change the world in a day,” Barbara Parker, Alison Parker’s mother, told CNN in an interview. “But we cannot be intimidated, we cannot be pushed aside.”

 

A disgruntled former employee fatally shot Parker along with a co-worker during a live broadcast outside Roanoke, Va., a bloody act that has since spurred renewed calls for gun control legislation. The Parkers have become some of the most vocal advocates, saying that ending gun violence has become one of their missions in life.

Andy Parker, Alison Parker’s father, said he’s been speaking with influential gun control advocates, including Mark Kelly, the husband of shooting survivor and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, about pushing “sensible gun control legislation.” Like other gun-control advocates who have emerged from shootings like those at Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Co., the Parkers face an influential and well-funded gun lobby.

“Alison would be really mad at me if I didn’t take this on,” Andy Parker said. “And I promise you, these people are messing with the wrong family. We are going to effect a change.”

[CNN]

 

TIME Research

Why the U.S. Has 31% of the World’s Mass Shootings

gun
Getty Images

Part of it has to do with gun laws, but maybe it's because we're American

The U.S. is home to 5% of the world’s population, but has had 31% of the public mass shootings worldwide between 1966 and 2012, according to a new study presented at the American Sociological Association meeting. “That is not a coincidence,” says study author Adam Lankford, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama, who believes his new study on the topic is the first to confirm that there’s something strongly American about public mass shootings. A lot of that, he’s found, has to do with gun ownership.

Lankford quantitatively analyzed various reports, from the New York Police Department’s 2012 active shooter report, the FBI’s 2014 active shooter report, and international sources including the United Nations and the World Health Organization. He focused on public mass shootings, defined as those that took place in a confined, populated space and resulted in the deaths of at least four people.

MORE: Homicides Are Spiking This Year After Falling For Decades

Lankford found a strong correlation between gun ownership in America and violence. The U.S. ranks first in gun ownership in the world, with surveys suggesting the rate to be 88.8 firearms for every 100 people in America, or 270 million total firearms within borders. (At a distant second is Yemen, with 54.8 firearms per 100 people; the numbers tumble after that.) There have been 292 public mass shooters who have killed a minimum of four people between 1966 and 2012. And when you narrow shootings down to just those that occur at school and work, American incidences account for 62% of global cases.

Lankford wanted to understand why Americans were so much more likely to be public mass shooters. His findings suggest a theory that points to two quintessentially American factors: gun culture and exceptionalism.

Being American, for a large swath of people, can be traced to the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a right to bear arms; 65% of Americans believe it is their right to own firearms.

But an even more significant contributor may be the very reason some experts think the U.S. has been so successful: its strong sense of exceptionalism and individualistic culture, something that American kids are taught from an early age.

MORE: Read The Transcript of Amy Schumer’s Emotional Speech On Gun Control

“There is this notion that in general, America is exceptional in a variety of ways in terms of our history: the degree to which we fought for independence, being the first and most successful country of our kind,” Lankford says. “If you teach your kids, ‘You can accomplish anything you want if you put your mind to it,’ it might be setting them up to fail.”

Achieving a sense of fame and success isn’t always a good thing. The idea of fame is a repeating motif in public shooters’ confessions and manifestos, Lankford says. “The media gives these attackers what they want, and they want fame.”

Globalization, too, has a role to play. Consider the dominance of Hollywood and entertainment in the lives of young people worldwide, which is largely American and often violent. “We’re exporting mass shootings as well, and attackers around the world are copying what’s happening here,” he says.

Lankford acknowledges there’s still a lot we don’t know about gun violence. The analysis he ran excluded other gun crimes, like homicides involving three or fewer people, and suicides. Domestic violence and gang violence often fuel these shootings and they remain largely misunderstood, though most experts agree firearm ownership is a big contributor to these crimes.

There’s a silver lining, however. Because the U.S. has a preponderance of public mass shootings, the country is more prepared than any other to deal with them, Lankford says. He points to Columbine and Sandy Hook as events that shaped enforcement procedure. “When Columbine happened, it took three hours to respond, in part because we didn’t know how to respond,” he says. “Do you prioritize helping people flee? Do you secure the perimeter? Do you go in and disable the active shooter? We now know you have to make sure the active shooter no longer is active,” he says. “At least we know how to deal with this.”

TIME Crime

This Chart Shows How Mass Public Shootings in the U.S. Have Risen

The "incidence rate" has quadrupled since the 1970s

If it seems like mass shootings in public places have become more commonplace in the United States after a summer of deadly shootings in Charleston, Chattanooga and elsewhere, that’s because they are.

According to a recent study released by the Congressional Research Service, the average rate of mass public shootings—defined by the FBI as “a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms, within one event, in at least one or more public locations”—has gone up from being a singular, annual tragedy in the 1970s (a 1.1 incidence rate) to about 4.5 incidences per year between 2010 and 2013.

mass shooting frequency rising

The CRS report, which was based on data from the FBI and also from criminologist Grant Duwe, found that the U.S. sees a total of 21 mass murders by firearms a year on average—including not just public shootings in places like churches and schools, but familicide and shootings committed during other criminal activity.

The report recommends Congress direct the federal government to improve how it collects data on shootings with multiple fatalities.

TIME Crime

Homicides Are Spiking This Year After Falling for Decades

A study says homicide rates are down. But 2015 rates—especially for gun violence—are very different.

Since 1960, U.S. homicide rates have been falling—that is, until this year. Meanwhile, intimate-partner violence and child abuse affect up to 12 million and 10 million Americans, respectively, according to a survey released Tuesday in JAMA. Taken together, it paints a bleak picture for Americans’ safety, and it has violence prevention scholars trying to figure out what led to the changes—and when.

At the annual meeting of the Major Cities Chiefs Association on Monday, police chiefs grappled with the fact that some cities are seeing a 50% increase in murders compared with last year. Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier pointed to the nation’s capital as an example: This time last year, D.C. had 69 homicides; this year, D.C. has seen at 87 homicides. Nearby Baltimore tallied 42 homicides in May alone, with 45 in July. And in Chicago, there have been 243 homicides this year so far—a 20% spike from last year.

Until 2012, “we saw decreases for homicide and aggravated assault,” says Dr. Debra Houry, a co-author of the JAMA study who works with the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “It’s promising because it shows that violence is preventable.”

Homicide rates in 1980 stood at 10.7 per 100,000; by 2013, they’d been cut in half. Aggravated assault saw a similar halving of incidences between 1992 and 2012.

But Andrew Papachristos, a professor of sociology at Yale and a criminal justice expert who has focused much of his research on Chicago’s gang and gun violence, says that JAMA‘s findings may not offer a nuanced enough picture of what’s going on in the United States, because it looks at general trends across the country. While on average crime might have fallen until to this year, some cities, such as Chicago and Milwaukee, are still facing severe problems with violence, particularly in certain areas of the city. Indeed, within cities, “the rates of violence across neighborhoods can be exponentially higher in certain areas and almost zero in others,” he says.

Policy changes can make a difference, says Papachristos. Programs that aim to decrease unemployment, particularly among African Americans, is a critical policy adjustment, he says, since unemployment is correlated with gun violence. He also cites outdated gun laws as part of the problem.

One policy bright spot was found in a study released by the American Journal of Public Health earlier this summer, which looked at Connecticut’s permit-to-purchase handgun law as a case study. The law dates to 1994 and it requires gunowners to purchase a license prior to acquiring a handgun. The state would only allow people to buy guns if they passed a background check and gun-safety course. The result? Connecticut residents can credit the law for a 40% reduction in gun-related homicides. (Of course, in a dreary statistic that illustrates Papachristos’ point, it’s not down everywhere in the state; Hartford is experiencing a massive surge in gun violence this year.)

But even with some signs of promise, any changes to law or policy might come too late for many victims of American crime this year. Criminal justice expert Rod Wheeler told Fox that America is snowballing into the most violent summer the country has seen in decades.

“I said this back in June, that we’re going to have a long, hot, bloody summer,” he said. “And unfortunately, it’s coming to pass.”

TIME Crime

Amy Schumer Calls for Action on Gun Control After Trainwreck Shooting

"Unless something is done and done soon, dangerous people will continue to get their hands on guns"

Comedian and actress Amy Schumer joined her cousin, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, on Monday to make an emotional call for more intensive background checks and increased government funding for mental health care to combat mass shootings.

“Unless something is done and done soon, dangerous people will continue to get their hands on guns,” the Trainwreck star said, several days after a gunman—whose name she refused to say—killed two people and injured nine others when he opened fire during a screening of the romantic comedy.

“We need a background check system without holes and fatal flaws,” she said. “We need one with accurate information that protects us like a firewall. The critics scoff and say, ‘Well, there’s no way to stop crazy people from doing crazy things,’ but they’re wrong. There is a way to stop them. Preventing dangerous people from getting guns is very possible. We have common-sense solutions. We can toughen background checks and stop the sale of firearms to folks who have a violent history or history of mental illness.”

The Democratic senator for New York laid out proposals to incentivize states to share information on felons, domestic abusers and dangerously mentally ill, to increase funding for mental illness treatment, and to standardize involuntary commitment for the mentally ill across all 50 states.

 

 

TIME ted cruz

Watch Ted Cruz Cook Bacon With a Gun

The GOP senator demonstrates how to cook breakfast Texas-style

Ted Cruz prefers a Texas-style method of cooking bacon.

In a new video posted on IJReview, the Lone Star State senator and GOP presidential candidates demonstrates how to prepare breakfast by wrapping strips of bacon around the muzzle of a gun and firing.

Cruz looks like a pretty good shot, but the bacon doesn’t appear particularly crispy. Perhaps he can spare a few bucks from that campaign war chest he keeps bragging about and pick up a cast-iron skillet.

TIME Crime

Los Angeles to Ban High-Capacity Gun Magazines

gun los angeles
Nick Ut—AP Parents of victims of gun violence, pastor Ruett Foster, from left, his wife Rhonda and Anna Del Rio hold pictures of their late children, during a rally supporting a city ordinance to ban the possession of high-capacity gun magazines outside Los Angeles City Hall, on July 28, 2015.

Possessing magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition would be illegal

The city council of Los Angeles unanimously voted to prohibit possession of gun magazines that can contain more than 10 rounds of ammunition on Tuesday.

Gun groups such as the National Rife Association have already threatened to sue the city over the ban, claiming it is preempted by California law and violates 2nd Amendment rights, the Los Angeles Times reports. “If the NRA wants to sue us over this, bring it on,” Councilman Paul Krekorian, one of the twelve council members who voted (three were absent), said at a City Hall rally. “People who want to defend their families don’t need a 100-round drum magazine and an automatic weapon to do it.”

California mostly prohibits the manufacturing and sale of such high-capacity magazines, but the state doesn’t outlaw possession of them. Juliet Leftwich, the legal director for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told the Times that the high-capacity magazines targeted by the law are “the common thread” between the country’s mass shootings, including Columbine, Newtown and Virginia Tech.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he plans to sign the measure, which would give residents 60 days to turn in or legally sell the magazines before the law goes into effect. Breaking the law, which is modeled after similar ordinances in California cities San Francisco and Sunnyvale, would be a misdemeanor.

[LA Times]

TIME Crime

Rick Perry Wants to Allow Guns in Movie Theaters

Perry's comments come mere days after the Lafayette theater shootings, which injured 11 and killed two plus the gunman

Rick Perry believes Thursday night’s movie theater shooting in Lafayette, La., shows why gun-free zones are “a bad idea,” in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union and said it “makes a lot of sense” to allow guns in movie theaters.

“I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have been appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to use firearms, to carry them,” Perry told host Jake Tapper. “If we believe in the second amendment and if we believe in people’s rights to protect themselves and their families—to tell them they cannot carry a weapon that they are legally obliged to carry, that they have been through the training for, makes no sense to me.”

John Russell “Rusty” Houser entered a showing of Trainwreck on Thursday night and opened fire with a handgun that he had legally obtained from a pawn shop. Houser shot 11 people, killing two, before fatally shooting himself.

Perry, a former Texas governor and now a Republican presidential contender, said gun laws were in place, but enforcement was the issue, saying that current laws should have prevented Houser, who had a history of mental illness and a criminal record, from obtaining a gun.

But Perry remained steadfast in his belief that had theatergoers had been allowed to carry guns into the movie theater, the tragedy might have been lessened or even prevented. “I believe, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there’s as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette,” he said.

 

TIME White House

The Lack of Change in Gun Laws During His Presidency Has Been ‘Distressing,’ Obama Says

Michelle Obama Hosts 2015 Beating The Odds Summit At White House
Mark Wilson—Getty Images U.S. President Barack Obama greets guests during a surprise visit to First Lady Michelle Obama's event on higher education in the East Room of the White House July 23, 2015

The President spoke of feeling "most frustrated and most stymied" over the issue

Failure to pass what he called “common-sense gun-safety laws” during his tenure in the White House has ranked among his greatest frustrations, Barack Obama has told the BBC, in a wide-ranging interview covering much of the last years of his presidency.

Obama said he felt he had made strides in many political arenas but that it was “distressing” not to have affected significant change in gun laws “even in the face of repeated mass killings.”

With less than two years left in power, Obama said guns were the policy area that made him feel “most frustrated and most stymied. “If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100,” he said. “If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands.”

During a turbulent summer that saw nine African Americans killed at a South Carolina prayer meeting in June, Obama told reporters that “politics in [Washington]” precluded most options for change in gun control policy.

The BBC interview was conducted previous to the July 23 shooting at a movie theater in Louisiana and did not touch on that event.

[BBC]

TIME celebrities

Kim Kardashian Talks Hillary Clinton, Gun Control and Feminism

"I guess people would call me a feminist," she said. "I just do what makes me comfortable"

Kim Kardashian got serious Tuesday night at an event in San Francisco, where she discussed gun control, feminism and whether the U.S. will elect its first female president next year.

Kardashian was interviewed by retired state judge LaDoris Cordell in an event organized by the prestigious Commonwealth Club of California, an institution founded in 1903 that has previously hosted speakers like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. When Cordell asked Kardashian to give the audience an idea to change the world, she answered, “Gun control.” She also said she hopes Hillary Clinton will be the first female U.S. president. But when asked whether she’s a feminist, Kardashian said “I don’t like labels.” She said she wouldn’t use that word but didn’t distance herself from the phrase. “I guess people would call me a feminist,” she said. “I just do what makes me comfortable.”

The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star said she has consciously flipped the script on media objectification of women, and taken control of her own image. “You really can take that power and put out what you want people to look at,” she said. Even her new book of selfies, entitled Selfish, is an exercise in purposeful self-objectification, as she explained: “I’ve taken them … I’m proud of them … I have the control to put out what I want, even if I’m objectifying myself.” Kardashian also noted that the key to a good selfie is excellent lighting, and said that she doesn’t use filters, ever.

Kardashian revealed that she got her start in the fashion universe after she got her dad to buy her seven pairs of Timberland Manolo Blahnik shoes (at $750 each) after she saw Jennifer Lopez wearing them in a music video, then sold them on eBay for $2,400 each. She credits that experience as proof of her early love of “selling and hustling.”

The interview in the Commonwealth Club’s “Inforum” series is part of a string of slightly more substantial interviews Kardashian has been giving in the past few weeks, including an appearance on NPR and a cover story in Rolling Stone. Some people haven’t taken kindly to the appearances, with NPR listeners writing in to complain that they were “disgusted” and that “the Kardashians represent much of what is wrong with America today.”

There was plenty of self-promotion from Kardashian during the event in San Francisco, including a video ad played before the event for her app Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. When responding to a question from Cordell about whether she promotes an “unhealthy standard of beauty,” Kardashian pivoted to speaking about how her hair care and makeup lines are affordably priced so they can be consumed by “the masses.”

But when Cordell asked Kardashian what she thought of backlash to her appearance on public radio—and at the Commonwealth Club event—she said, “I don’t know. And I really don’t care.” The crowd cheered for her, some yelling, “We love you, Mrs. West!” Still others just begged for her to take selfies with them.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com