Another day, another awful tragedy. Several months ago, I'd pitched a story to Huffington Post about tangible, rational, fact-based suggestions to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in America—specifically, things that might be a little uncomfortable for Left-leaning liberals to acknowledge, but things that would actually make a difference (and have a chance of getting passed).
But every time we planned to publish it, it was always felt too uncomfortably close to another mass shooting. So we put it off for a while longer, again and again and again.
Then Las Vegas struck. And if it wasn't clear before (it was), then it certainly is now (it is) that the time to talk about gun violence is right now, and the longer we put it off out of some kind of expectation of polite social courtesy, then the higher the body count will climb.
So here it is. Now let's do something about it.
(I also had the privilege of speaking with Chris Frates on the Smerconish Show on Sirius XM Potus Politics. You'll need to be a Sirius subscriber to listen, but we had a great chat about finding common ground on gun violence issues, which inspired some wonderful call-in comments from listeners as well) Read More
For those who don't know, The New York Times recently posted an article about the life of Michael Brown, the teenager who was recently gunned down in Ferguson, MO. The piece, which ran opposite of a flattering profile on the life of the (surviving) police officer who shot the poor boy six times for the crime of walking down the street, criticizes the dead teenager who can't even defend himself for being "no angel." His numerous faults include occasionally disagreeing with his parents, drawing on the walls as a toddler, trying to escape from his crib, dabbling in drugs and alcohol, and listening to "the rap music." These behaviors reflect a common psychological condition known as "being a god damn kid" — a condition which, yes, is fatal, but usually not for another 70 years or so.
If you're struggling to understand why painting a dead black teenager as a "thug" because he did the things that teenagers do, The Boston Globe offers a particularly eloquent takedown of the problematic of this piece. I suggest you read it. Meanwhile, I've rounded up some of my favorite responses from the around the web (read: seen on Twitter), comparing Brown's obituary to similar mainstream retrospectives on other individuals who are almost universally accepted to be more deservedly reviled. Read More
Anna Westendorf, a Journalism/Theatre student at Northeastern University, has been working on a project about theatre & new media, with a focus on the Huntington Theatre Company. We spoke a few times, since, well, that's the whole point of what I do here at the Huntington. It's not my most eloquent, seeing as I hadn't slept in about five days at that point (Thom no talk good on no sleep), but still, it's something.
Thanks to Anna for taking the time to speak with us!