Newtown woman, US civil society call for movement against gun violence

Can the US overcome a fatal block on legislation some say would prevent the recent rash of mass-shootings? 

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Still, Hull is confident in imagining a national movement to come. She believes it will orient itself in a various ways, distinct from the US' public outcry against economic injustice during the Occupy Wall Street movement that spread around the globe.

“I think it's going to take lots of different forms. Some will be behind the scenes, calling congressmen... I wanted to make it easy for them to act. It' think the candle light vigils will continue. Marches in Washington,” she said.

Renowned political activist and co-founder of CODEPINK, a women's activist organization that has long been a vocal in various leftist political movements from the rallies against Iraq and Afghanistan to the Occupy movement, also believes there's something brewing amid the socially minded in the US.

Her answer to the legislative impasse that leaves Americans like her feeling powerless amid a series of mass-shootings is a re-orientation of the media's treatment of the shootings. 

“The media tells this as a story about the government needing to fix this problem. If you say governments are going to fix this problem, you quiet people down.”

Evans believes removing oneself from the US culture of violence is a choice individuals need to make for themselves.

“It's a responsibility of the people of the United States to ask themselves how they participate in creating a violent society and what they can do to change it […] We are all participating in it.”

A financial framework

Sound economic leadership may also be crucial to combatting the US' mass-shooting pandemic.

Both Hull and Evans worry that the US' plans to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that analysts say could return the nation to crippling recession will mean cuts to mental healthcare necessary for people like the gunman identified in the Newtown shootings, Adam Lanza, whom various media have said suffered from autism.

“We create forms of austerity that don't allow funding for mental health care, where we erode values of austerity. Instead of care, we call it 'socialism' and we call it 'evil,'” Evans said. 

Not all men are created equal... in the US public conscience

Both Hull and Evans also explained that racial dynamics are playing heavily into the sudden outcry against this latest instance of gun violence. 

As an educator based in Oakland -- historically a hub of the nation's African American community, Hull explained that the fact that many of the victims in the latest massacre were predominantly white seems to have aroused a stronger response.

“I live in Oakland – I've been working in schools for years. We have shootings of our children of color all the time. We aren't angry – we are happy this issue is finally getting some traction,” she said.

Evans echoed Hull's sentiment. “I wish this kind of outpouring would have happened for Trayvon Martin,” she said, referring to the controversial death at gunpoint of an African American teen in Florida.

Some deaths matter far more than others in the US public conscience, Evans observed.

Despite the outpouring of anger over mass-shootings that has driven even some Republicans to oppose the NRA's bid to maintain gun ownership rights, Evans said, the US public have largely ignored the children killed by violence the world over.

“There is no mention of 157 innocent kids that died in Pakistan from our drone attacks,” she said.

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