Tag: guns

Imagined New Worlds


This week I published the following:

  • There Are Always Two Paths – There are always two paths. The darker heavier path, or the lighter easier path. You can always choose to make something already hard worse by your response, or you can choose to make it easier by a different response.
  • Thank You. I’m Sorry. – Thinking about language and my daily interactions with culturally diverse communities and individuals.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


Misinformation around COVID-19, vaccines an ‘urgent threat,’ surgeon general says

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, called on social media companies and politicians to take more responsibility, saying misinformation threatens the nation’s health.

Much of my original line of research focused on the critical evaluation of online information. In this, there was always in the back of my mind thought about how this was primarily an academic exercise. But, I knew that this could turn deadly if we focused on health information.


Can We Imagine a Better Internet?

On 17 June 2021, over 40 participants from all over the world joined the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy for a workshop exploring ‘the cost of convenience’ and the opaque impact that digital technology has on the environment.

This visual representation below shares some of the responses collected in the sessions.

In order to understand and better address the environmental consequences of digital tech, researchers need to be more clear about the concepts we use but also to be more open to the experiences of individuals and communities on the ground who often ‘know better’ since they live (and occasionally also cause) the very consequences of tech we research.

Why Is the Country Panicking About Critical Race Theory?

The battles over Critical Race Theory (CRT) are raging. So…what is CRT?

Critical race theorists tend to share several key assumptions, as Janel George, a law professor at Georgetown, explains at the American Bar Association website:

  • Race is not a biological fact but a social construction.
  • Racism is not aberrational but an inherited, ordinary feature of society.
  • Racial hierarchy is primarily the product of systems, not individual prejudice.
  • Racial progress is accommodated only to the extent that it converges with the interests of white people.
  • Lived experience, not just data, constitutes relevant evidence to scholarship.

Treatment for gun injuries costs more than $1 billion a year, federal watchdog says

In a groundbreaking report released on Wednesday, a federal watchdog estimated that the cost of medical treatment for survivors of gun injuries in the United States amounts to at least $1 billion each year, but is likely much higher.

The report provides shocking new evidence of how gun violence strains our health care system and disproportionately harms historically marginalized communities in the United States.

Students’ abilities to evaluate the credibility of online texts: The role of internet-specific epistemic justifications

Elina K. Hämäläinen, Carita Kiili, Eija Räikkönen, and Miika Marttunen with some interesting research about critical evaluation of online texts.

Evaluation of online texts is challenging for adolescents and their ability to evaluate the credibility of online texts varies considerably. Beliefs in justifications for knowledge may contribute to the evaluation of online information.

The research suggests students’ evaluations of online texts reflected different credibility aspects and depth in reasoning. Students used more frequently venue, evidence, and author than intentions and corroboration as evaluation criteria. Students’ beliefs in justification by authority and justification by multiple sources predicted their evaluation performance.

This means that students should be instructed to evaluate various aspects of credibility and engage in deep reasoning. Students would benefit from learning how to use corroboration with multiple texts as an evaluation strategy.

The Game Makers and Artists Pushing Roblox to its Limits

Last year, when the pandemic made in-person gatherings impossible, digital artist Everest Pipkin downloaded Roblox Studio, the platform’s game creation software, to construct a digital space to host their own party.

It’s still publicly accessible, a giant mountainous landscape packed full of hang-out spots and, befitting the celebratory occasion, a balloon dispenser. Friends rolled through virtually over the course of six hours, an event Pipkin describes as “goofy,” “strange,” and, above all, “lovely.”

In fact, Pipkin was so taken with the platform that they decided to use it to build a new project entirely within it. The so-called Dream Diary is a little different from the birthday zone; it allows players to peek into the most intimate recesses of its creator’s nocturnal mind.

It’s interesting to see the storytelling, art, and narrative in these spaces.


How ‘Soft Fascination’ Helps Restore Your Tired Brain

Attention fatigue is a threat to your cognitive and mental health. Certain activities seem to reinvigorate the brain in ways that support directed attention and self-regulation.

  • A 20-20-20 rule for your brain?
  • Schedule some “soft fascination” into your day



If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

George Orwell

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Viral virtuoso Marcin returns with rip-roaring, reverb-drenched rendition of Metallica’s Master of Puppets.

Come say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

On What We’ve Lost


Welcome back, friends and family.

In 2020 I was selected as one of the winners of the Divergent Award from the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research. Because we could not meet together for an awards ceremony and series of keynotes, the honorees submitted a video. Here are my responses.

This video was edited together into a literacy doczoomentary reflecting on the past twenty years of 21st-century literacies and where we go from here. Enjoy.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self – 1 Year Later

It’s been exactly one whole year of forest fires, murder hornets, pandemics, isolations, protests, quarantines, elections, vaccines, and riots and yet here we find ourselves, back at the beginning…

This series of videos from Julie Nolke is funny…and terrifying at the same time.

Enjoy Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


Guns don’t kill people…good guys and the legitimization of gun violence

It’s Time To Retire The ‘Guns Don’t Kill People — People Kill People’ Argument. Actually, guns DO Kill People.

The research linked above utilizes an online concealed carry forum to critically analyze how firearm proliferation is rationalized in the U.S.

The analysis focuses on three specific examples of violence—the Parkland, Florida, and Philando Castile shootings, and stories of children who find guns and shoot themselves and/or others to critically examine the discourse used to rationalize the proliferation of guns as a response to gun violence in the U.S.

The “guns don’t kill people” argument is flawed because it sidesteps the debate. The issue is not whether guns can spontaneously kill people on their own. The issue involves how incredibly easy a modern weapon makes killing.

Police Violence And Reform: The Inequality In Restorative Justice Opportunities

From George Floyd to Adam Toledo to Daunte Wright to countless other killings, the world is asking questions about racial injustice and excessive use of force by police. A patchwork approach to police reform has left the nation at a critical crossroad with no clear path forward.

One possible path might be available in restorative justice. In educational contexts, this is based on three pillars:

  • Empathy for all and by all
  • A mumbled “sorry” is not enough
  • Everyone is involved in the healing

NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with attorney sujatha baliga about whether restorative justice principles are useful after a shooting incident or killing involving a police officer.

How to Help Your Adolescent Think About the Last Year

For many of us in education, we’re turning the page to the summer…and the fall. As the number of vaccinated adults rises, we begin to imagine a post-COVID world.

In previous posts and interviews, I’ve discussed the need to learn lessons from this global pandemic.

Online schools are here to stay, even after the pandemic. Some families have come to prefer stand-alone virtual schools and districts are rushing to accommodate them — though questions about remote learning persist.

Judith Warner suggests that we should not refer to this as a “lost year.” Also, screen time with friends? It’s good for mental health.

Pew Report on Social Media Use in 2021

A new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that despite a string of controversies and the public’s relatively negative sentiments about aspects of social media, roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they use any kind of social media site. This is a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years.

A majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, while the use of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok is especially common among adults under 30.

Google Earth is now a 3D time machine

Google has pushed out what it says is Google Earth’s “biggest update since 2017” with a new 3D time-lapse feature.

Entering the new “Timelapse” mode of Google Earth will let you fly around the virtual globe with a time slider, showing you satellite imagery from the past 37 years.

Using the 3D Google Earth globe, you can watch cities being built, forests being cut down, and glaciers receding.


What to say when someone is gaslighting you

The term “gaslighting”— as in, the psychological manipulation, not the 19th-century profession—has been thrown around a lot over the past decade or so.

Here’s how to deal with gaslighting and stand firm in your truth:

  • Know how to recognize when gaslighting is happening
  • Stand firm in your truth
  • Write things down
  • Keep the conversation simple
  • Be willing to leave the conversation
  • Don’t worry about trying to outsmart the gaslighter
  • Increase your support system and share your truth



Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first.


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If spiders and spiderwebs fascinate you, then you may be interested to know researchers have turned spiderwebs into music. It’s a virtual look into the world of spiders and the vibrations they sense.

Look/listen here. Perhaps VR (virtual reality) is more your speed.

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Digitally Literate #209


Sometimes you gotta fly
Digitally Lit #209 – 8/10/2019

Hi all, my name is Ian O’Byrne and welcome to issue #209 of Digitally Literate.

In this newsletter I distill the news of the week in technology into an easy-to-read resource. Thank you for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already.

This week I sent out the following:


“Rick Rubin” by Alison Chernick (2:50)

Last weekend I needed a break from the news so I sat down to finally binge watch the documentary series titled Shangri-La on Showtime. The four part series follows legendary producer Rick Rubin as he tours his Malibu studio.

The series is an interesting look at the components and culture of creativity. One thing in particular that I noticed was that Rubin indicated that he wears no shoes everyday.

In a conversation with Tyler the Creator, Rubin says, “The earth actually has an electrical and magnetic energy that goes into our body if we are naked on it, and if we’re covered all the time, we don’t get to feel it. In terms of health and in terms of knowing things, part of the life source is being tapped into the earth.”

I played this part over a couple times, and reflected on how interesting (wacky) this was. I also thought about the only other person that I knew that walked around barefoot…Dai Barnes.

I have a lot to say about this, but I’m honestly still processing. I would recommend checking out these great posts from Aaron Davis and Tim Klapdoor.


We have studied every mass shooting since 1966. Here’s what we’ve learned about the shooters.

A must read op-ed. Two researchers share findings from a National Institute of Justice funded research looking at the life histories of mass shooter in the US. They studied every mass shooting since 1966.

Here’s four commonalities that they learned about the shooters.:
– Early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at an early age
– Reached an identifiable crisis point in weeks or months leading up to the shooting
– Access to actions, ideologies, and validation for their plans from other shooters
– Access to the means to carry out their plans. Can they obtain firearms?

Read more about this research here.

The El Paso Shooting and the Gamification of Terror

After these mass shootings, we learn a lot about the massacres and the motivations that play into these events. As identified in the research shared above, one of the common threads in mass shootings is the dark spaces of the Internet people go to social, subscribe to these ideologies, and sometimes become radicalized.

On a seemingly regular basis in this newsletter I seem to find threads in which harmful discourses spread online. We may not want to peer deep into these areas, but I think that in order to be a responsible citizen of the web, we need to understand the good, and bad/horrible that is out there.

Robert Evans reports on some of his investigations of far-right extremist groups in the US and the ways in which they radicalize and communicate through the Internet.

In this post, we documents the concept of high scores on 8chan, where white nationalist terror has been gamified by lonely white men seeking identity and acclaim.

‘Shut the Site Down,’ Says the Creator of 8chan, a Megaphone for Gunmen

8chan (also called Infinitechan or Infinitychan) is an imageboard website composed of user-created message boards. There is little to no interaction from site moderators or admins. 8chan picked up notoriety when the moderators at 4chan (another English-language messageboard website) got serious and started banning users for illegal, or exceptionally disturbing content.

This post shares the story of Frederick Brennan, the founder of 8chan. Brennan started the online message board as a free speech utopia. But now, 8chan is known as a megaphone for mass shooters, and a recruiting platform for violent white nationalists.

Not long after the recent round of massacres, Cloudflare indicated that they would no longer protect 8chan from attacks. Cloudflare is a web infrastructure and security company. Put simply, they protect websites when others try to shut them down. Not soon after these announcements, attacks starting coming to shut down 8chan. This has caused a number of members of 8chan to head elsewhere online. Please note, in an earlier issue of this newsletter, I detailed the use of Gab (and Mastodon support) to create a distributed space for these communities.

There is much more to talk about with this issue. I’ll stay on top of the story and try to help explain it. Please note, this also raises important questions about freedom of speech, and the role/purpose of our online discourse systems.

Study: most people would rather lose a job to a robot than a human

Really interesting survey about human opinions about workforce automation.

Scientists in Germany find that most people would rather a robot replaced them in their job than a human. On the other hand, most people would be upset if a robot took the job of a colleague.

People have different emotional reactions to being replaced by robots versus humans. I really can’t figure out the logic here. What do you think?

Publication is available here.

Scientists Just Discovered 39 ‘Invisible’ Galaxies

A much needed bit of perspective.

Scientists have found a vast array of hidden galaxies, which together could change our understanding of how the universe works.

The mysterious galaxies, which were previously unknown to researchers, were discovered by a breakthrough new approach that allowed astronomers to look more deeply than ever before into the universe.

The astronomers describe the new find as a treasure trove, representing a huge set of galaxies. It could help solve some of the most deep and fundamental questions about the universe, including the mysteries of supermassive black holes and dark matter.

The pub in Nature is here.


How to Smize

This week was really stressful. Here is the US, we seem to be set at panic mode…for justifiable reasons.

When you go out in public the next time, look at people (yes, strangers as well) and smile first. Better yet, make it believable and smize.

Supposedly a smize, or smiling with your eyes makes you look more genuine. If you smile first, many times this will be returned with a smile from a stranger. Who knows…it may make you feel better as well.

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You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

Toni Morrison

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This week I was digging Echoes of Japan from the Minyo Crusaders. Minyo Crusaders reworks traditional Japanese folk songs (minyo) with Latin, African, and Caribbean rhythms.

Digitally Literate is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Say hey with a note at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

Teaching in the Age of School Shootings

Teaching in the Age of School Shootings by Jeneen Interlandi

What happens to teachers who are forced to act as first responders?

Jeneen Interlandi in The New York Times. All annotations in context.

Teachers were the first responders. Before police officers and medics arrived, they gathered sobbing, vomiting, bleeding kids into the safest rooms they could find, then locked the doors and kept vigil with them through the stunned and terrified wait. They shepherded the injured to hospitals in their own cars. And they knelt on the ground with the ones who were too wounded to move, stanching blood flow with their own hands and providing whatever comfort and assurance they could muster.

How do we prepare teachers (and students) for this sort of trauma? How do we prepare teachers (and students) to be first responders? Should we have to worry about this?
It’s important to think about the stats of these events.

For all of the fear they inspire, school shootings of any kind are technically still quite rare. Less than 1 percent of all fatal shootings that involve children age 5 to 18 occur in school, and a significant majority of those do not involve indiscriminate rampages or mass casualties. It has been two decades since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold ushered in the era of modern, high-profile, high-casualty shootings with their massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. According to James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, just 10 of the nation’s 135,000 or so schools have experienced a similar calamity — a school shooting with four or more victims and at least two deaths — since then. But those 10 shootings have had an outsize effect on our collective psyche, and it’s not difficult to understand why: We are left with the specter of children being gunned down en masse, in their own schools. One such event would be enough to terrify and enrage us. This year, we had three.

It’s important to recognize the trauma that exists even if there is only a “threat” or a “hoax.”

Teachers are at the quiet center of this recurring national horror. They are victims and ad hoc emergency workers, often with close ties to both shooter and slain and with decades-long connections to the school itself. But they are also, almost by definition, anonymous public servants accustomed to placing their students’ needs above their own. And as a result, our picture of their suffering is incomplete.

We know that the trauma that teachers experience after a school shooting can be both severe and enduring. “Their PTSD can be as serious as what you see in soldiers,” says Robert Pynoos, co-director of the federally funded National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, which helps schools coordinate their responses to traumatic events. “But unlike soldiers, none of them signed up for this, and none of them have been trained to cope with it.” We know that teachers who were least able to protect their students in the moment tend to be especially traumatized. “For teachers, the duty to educate students is primary,” Pynoos says. “But the urge to protect those students is deeper than that. It’s primal.” And we know that their symptoms can include major sleep disturbance, hair-trigger startle responses and trouble regulating emotions.

Perhaps the roles and relationships of teaching are also changing.

Jenny Darnall decided to re-evaluate her understanding of what it meant to be a teacher in the first place. She had never been particularly compassionate with the students. The way she saw it, her job was to educate them, not give them advice they should be getting from their parents. But now, she felt as if God were telling her to step up and do more: Call parents more and tell them the hard truths she might normally expect them to discover on their own. Talk to the kids more too. Tell them that they are loved, even when they’re being terrible. Those things did not feel like part of her job. But maybe now they would have to be.

Many questions exist about how to follow-up after these events. Perhaps we have the wrong goals.

From the inside, a mass shooting can feel distinctly unchartable. But Reed — and Pynoos, and Melissa Brymer, his colleague at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress — say that while each school shooting is different in its particulars, several features are common to all. For example, Brymer says, it can be the secondary trauma that undoes a school’s recovery. “After a shooting, everyone wants to talk about how to find the next shooter so that this doesn’t happen again,” Brymer says. “But that’s not what the school itself needs to focus on. We’ve had suicides, car accidents, overdoses.” For a school that’s already traumatized, she says, these follow-up events can be incredibly devastating.

Brymer advises schools to conduct mental-health screenings before anniversaries, to find the people who are struggling most and help them. The hierarchy of hurt can split in surprising ways. For the most part, people closest to the carnage are the most traumatized, and people farther away are less so. But any teacher might be plagued by any number of things, including what they saw and how they responded in the moment. One educator might flee the building in a panic, leaving his students behind, only to be devastated by guilt afterward. Another might behave heroically, then seethe with resentment over not getting enough recognition. Each will need counseling and support to fully recover.

Teachers (and students) need to recognize that they are struggling and in trauma.

Brymer advises schools to conduct mental-health screenings before anniversaries, to find the people who are struggling most and help them. The hierarchy of hurt can split in surprising ways. For the most part, people closest to the carnage are the most traumatized, and people farther away are less so. But any teacher might be plagued by any number of things, including what they saw and how they responded in the moment. One educator might flee the building in a panic, leaving his students behind, only to be devastated by guilt afterward. Another might behave heroically, then seethe with resentment over not getting enough recognition. Each will need counseling and support to fully recover.

A common lament among educator-survivors is the way that personal boundaries shift within the school community. Abbey Clements, who taught second grade at Sandy Hook, says that after the shooting, she would take her entire class to the bathroom at the same time, so that no one would have to leave her sight. But as they drew their students close, she says, she and her colleagues distanced themselves from one another. “You’re afraid that if you start talking about your own trauma, you might trigger someone else’s,” she says. “You’re also afraid of looking weak or unstable, afraid you’ll be asked to leave or take leave if you admit how much you’re struggling.”

As a result, many teachers bury their fear and anger and guilt, until it changes into something else entirely. The question of where to erect a memorial, or when to take one down, can create fierce divisions. So might similar questions about how long to allow comfort dogs on campus, or what to do with the mountain of gifts and condolences that pile up. Students may come close to blows over whether to discuss the shooting during class time. Teachers may feel close to doing the same. “It’s not all ‘Kumbaya,’ ” Clements says. “When the system is cracked by a trauma of this magnitude, a lot of stuff leaks out. It gets messy. And it can change relationships.”

Some real answers.

Matthew Mayer, a professor of educational psychology at Rutgers’ Graduate School of Education, says that among experts the best solutions to school shootings are not really in dispute: basic gun control, more and better mental-health services and a robust national threat-assessment program. We also need to help educators create an atmosphere where students who hear about a potential threat feel comfortable sharing that information with adults. (Many student shooters, including Gabe Parker at Marshall County, hint about their plans to at least one other person or tell them outright. Getting those others to inform teachers is one of our best options for preventing shootings from happening in the first place.)

In February, Mayer and his colleagues circulated an eight-point document titled “A Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America,” which summarized these and other key actions needed to reduce the risk of school shootings. So far, 4,400 educators and public-health experts have signed it. But political will is still missing. “We keep revisiting the same conversations every five or six years without learning or changing much of anything,” Mayer says. “Armed guards and metal detectors make it look like you’re doing something. You get far fewer points for talking about school climate and mental health.”

Predicting Active Shooter Events: Are Regional Homogeneity, Intolerance, Dull Lives, and More Guns Enough Deterrence?

Predicting Active Shooter Events: Are Regional Homogeneity, Intolerance, Dull Lives, and More Guns Enough Deterrence? (ResearchGate)
Research in Crime and Delinquency from Richard B. Duque, E.J. LeBlanc, & Robert Rivera.
Abstract: Based upon a secondary analysis of 2016 General Social Survey (GSS) data, this study identifies regional “Heterogeneity”, “Tolerance”, “Life is Exciting”, “Lack of Confidence in Institutions” and “Gun Ownership” effects related to the frequency of Active Shooter events, which occurred in the United States between 2000 to 2016. For Education Active Shooters, regional homogeneity is related to more tragic events as is less gun ownership per capita. For Workplace Active Shooters, more gun ownership per capita is associated with more events as is regional diversity and tolerance. The findings support calls for arming schools in white, affluent neighborhoods as well as more aggressively profiling, arresting and convicting potential White perpetrators in order to reduce the risk of Education Active Shooters. Meanwhile, stronger gun control measures in diverse and tolerant regions might reduce the incidents of Workplace Active Shooter events. The findings also suggest that organizations should acquire digital “Human Analytics” platforms and programs that integrate internal member profiles, conflict incident reports and culture climate data along with relevant regional and national data like that analyzed in this paper to help alert them to their dynamic Active Shooter risk. Also, re-evaluating diversity training seminars and courses, which often cast teen and middle-aged, White males as historical “villains”, might help address the chronic strain this population experiences at school and at work. Finally, re-evaluating how disassociated White males are treated, as well as expelled/fired from school or work, might also help defuse the “popcorn effect”associated with these tragic events.
PDF – Predicting Active Shooter Events

The School Shootings That Weren't

The School Shootings That Weren’t (npr.org)
Anya Kamenetz on NPR’s Morning Edition.
How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school? The reports from the U.S. Department of Education are apparently way off.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.

NPR researched these findings by reaching out to the schools and districts with the help of Child Trends, a nonpartisan research organization. They found that more than two-thirds of these incidents never happened.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.

Department of Ed officials indicate that they rely on school districts to provide accurate data. This confusion is not helpful as real data about school violence as new school years begin.

Our reporting highlights just how difficult it can be to track school-related shootings and how researchers, educators and policymakers are hindered by a lack of data on gun violence.

Comparisons of these reports call into question how difficult data collection may…or may not be.

For comparison, the Everytown for Gun Safety database, citing media reports, listed just 29 shootings at K-12 schools between mid-August 2015 and June 2016. There is little overlap between this list and the government’s, with only seven schools appearing on both.


separate investigation by the ACLU of Southern California also was able to confirm fewer than a dozen of the incidents in the government’s report, while 59 percent were confirmed errors.

It is possible that some of these incidents were listed as “school shootings” whereas they were incidences in which a firearm, explosive, or toy cap gun went off.

There’s also potential for confusion within the CRDC itself. While this particular item refers clearly to “a shooting,” the previous item asks about a long list of incidents, some involving “a firearm or explosive device” and others involving “a weapon.”

Arming Teachers And Expelling Students Is Not The Answer To School Shootings, And It's Dangerous

Arming Teachers And Expelling Students Is Not The Answer To School Shootings, And It’s Dangerous (Learning Policy Institute)

What can we do to end #SchoolShootings? Give students the tools that can help them resolve conflicts peaceably and lead to success later in life.

Post by Linda Darling-Hammond in the Learning Policy Institute blog. All annotations in context.

These social-emotional learning practices have been found in hundreds of studies to reduce negative behavior and violence in schools, making schools safer while also increasing academic achievement. The guidance builds on what we know about how to increase school safety through “conflict resolution, restorative practices, counseling and structured systems of positive interventions.” The guidance also provides research-based resources to address students’ mental health needs, as well as proven practices that make students feel more connected to school and part of a community, so they are less likely to engage in negative and harmful behavior.


Indeed, school exclusion, without these supports, can exacerbate a bad situation. In the Parkland case, the fact that Nikolas Cruz had been expelled from school may have contributed to driving an angry young man who felt isolated to take out his frustration and anger by killing students and staff at his former school. In theory, zero-tolerance policies deter students from violent or illegal behavior because the punishment for such a violation is harsh and certain. However, research shows that such policies ultimately increase illegal behavior and have negative effects on student academic achievement, attainment, welfare, and school culture.


Numerous studies have suggested an association  between exclusionary discipline  practices and an array ofserious educational, economic and social problems, including school avoidance and diminished educational engagement; decreased academic achievement; increased behavior problems; increased likelihood of dropping out; substance abuse; and involvement with juvenile justice systems. All of these problems are costly to the victims and to our society. They drive up the public costs associated with the aftermath of violence, substance abuse counseling, unemployment or underemployment, policing and the justice system, and much, much more.


And in our schools, we need to continue the work done by many states that are pursuing educative approaches to school safety and student success by reducing school exclusions and leveraging initiatives that strengthen students’ social-emotional skills, mental health supports, and sense of safety and belonging. If we genuinely want to ensure safer schools, we should follow the evidence about what works, rather than jeopardizing lives with ideological battles.

Actually, guns do kill people, according to a new study

Actually, guns do kill people, according to a new study
new study published in the journal JAMA Network Open underscores an often overlooked factor in gun-policy debates: When it comes to lethality, not all guns are created equal.
This latest paper on the caliber of the gun adds a different layer to the gun debate, and it makes a compelling argument for why the type of gun used in a shooting can make a difference between life and death. In other words, having fewer big guns on the streets could make gun violence in America less deadly.

Researchers have found time and time again that more guns mean more deaths. And Americans have a lot of guns, and easy access to them. Americans own almost half of the 650 million civilian-owned guns there are in the entire world, and gun homicide rates in the US are 25 times higher than in other high-income countries. States and developed countries with more guns have more gun deaths.


Analyzing data on hundreds of shootings in Boston from 2010 to 2014, Anthony Braga of Northeastern University and Philip J. Cook of Duke University found that on a bullet-per-bullet basis, shootings committed with a large-caliber firearm are much more likely to result in a fatality than those with a smaller-caliber gun. Caliber is a measure of the diameter of the bullets fired by a particular gun.


But they found stark differences in shooting outcomes depending on the caliber of gun used. They divided the calibers of guns used in the shootings into three categories: small, which included .22-, .25- and .32-caliber handguns; medium, including .380s, .38s and 9mms; and large, including .40s, .44 magnums, .45s, 10mms and 7.62 x 39s.

It’s the Guns

It’s the Guns (The Atlantic)

The outrage after Parkland set off a moral reckoning and awakening—there’s a simple explanation for school shootings.

Commentary from David Frum in The Atlantic following the school shooting at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston, TX.

Americans of high-school age are 82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than 15- to 19-year-olds in the rest of the developed world.


Only 30 percent of Americans own guns. Thus far, that minority has sufficed to block substantial federal action on guns. But a one-third minority—and especially a non-urban one-third minority—may no longer suffice to shape American culture.


American gun culture in the 2010s is as blithely irresponsible as American alcohol culture in the 1960s.