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Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist cultural critic, has for months received death and rape threats from opponents of her recent work challenging the stereotypes of women in video games. Bomb threats for her public talks are now routine. One detractor created a game in which players can click their mouse to punch an image of her face.

Not until Tuesday, though, did Ms. Sarkeesian feel compelled to cancel a speech, planned at Utah State University. The day before, members of the university administration received an email warning that a shooting massacre would be carried out at the event. And under Utah law, she was told, the campus police could not prevent people with weapons from entering her talk.

“This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history, and I’m giving you a chance to stop it,” said the email, which bore the moniker Marc Lépine, the name of a man who killed 14 women in a mass shooting in Montreal in 1989 before taking his own life.

The threats against Ms. Sarkeesian are the most noxious example of a weekslong campaign to discredit or intimidate outspoken critics of the male-dominated gaming industry and its culture. The instigators of the campaign are allied with a broader movement that has rallied around the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate, a term adopted by those who see ethical problems among game journalists and political correctness in their coverage. The more extreme threats, though, seem to be the work of a much smaller faction and aimed at women. Major game companies have so far mostly tried to steer clear of the vitriol, leading to calls for them to intervene.

The New York Times, "Feminist Critics of Video Games Face Threats In ‘GamerGate’ Campaign"

Gun Country

Artist Michael Murph has created Gun Country, a site specific installation that consists of 130 toy guns for the open art competition ArtPrize this year.

NY TIMES: "Among the items found in Mr. Gonzalez’s vehicle in July was a mini-arsenal of 11 guns including two shotguns and four rifles, some equipped with scopes and bipods that a sniper would use and 'a map of Washington, D.C., with writing and a line drawn to the White House,' law enforcement officials said. He also had four pistols, three of them loaded, and a revolver. The inventory of Mr. Gonzalez’s vehicle listed by the Virginia State Police indicates the items were found stored in his vehicle’s 'bulky floor.'" »

Yes, let’s not do anything about the military’s mental health, or about the gun problem in this country.

Gun nuts don’t care if there is inherent racism in their favorite weapons. After all, how else would they want to murder “savages”? Besides with smallpox blankets, of course.

The four-hour tours offered by one of the big gun ranges here are a popular tourist attraction. Starting at $200 a person, a bus will pick up visitors at their hotel in Las Vegas, 25 miles to the north, show them Hoover Dam and bring them to a recreational shooting range called Last Stop, where they can fire the weapons of their dreams: automatic machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers. A hamburger lunch is included; a helicopter tour of the nearby Grand Canyon is optional.

But on Monday, one family’s adventure went horribly wrong. A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally shot and killed her instructor with an Uzi submachine gun while he stood to her left side, trying to guide her. A video of the shooting, which her parents recorded on a cellphone, suggests that the girl, in pink shorts and with a braided ponytail, was unable to control the gun’s recoil; the instructor, Charles Vacca, 39, was rushed to a hospital in Las Vegas, where he died Monday night.

The parents turned over the cellphone video to the sheriff’s department, which released it publicly. As they spread online and on television, the images of a small girl losing control of a powerful war weapon during a family vacation created a worldwide spectacle, prompting some commentators to castigate parents who would put a submachine gun in the hands of a child.

“What in the name of Jesus is wrong with us, Americans?” one person wrote on the TripAdvisor page for Bullets and Burgers, the tour company that brings people to Last Stop, amid other reviewers who raved about the great time they had firing guns there. “Automatic weapons as toys? And now a man is dead, for no reason, and a 9-year-old girl is scarred for life.”

Some gun owners took to Twitter to defend the practice of letting children use firearms and pointed out that it is both legal and commonplace in the Las Vegas area and elsewhere. But even the owner of the Last Stop, Sam Scarmardo, said he would reconsider the practice in light of Monday’s accident. He said he had been in business 14 years and had never had a problem before.

“It is pretty standard in the industry to let children shoot on the range,” Mr. Scarmardo said in an interview. “We are working with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, and we’ll make a decision if we’ll make any changes after we review all the facts.”

Mr. Scarmardo said that the girl’s parents “were very familiar with weapons” and that Mr. Vacca and a tour guide had driven the family to the shooting range from their hotel in Las Vegas.

“We lost a friend — basically we lost a brother — we are all very close, we are a tightknit organization and community,” Mr. Scarmardo said. “Everyone here at Last Stop is either former military or police officer. We are all highly trained in firearms and safety.”

There is nothing illegal about a girl handling an Uzi. In Arizona, there are no age limits for firing guns, and while federal law prohibits people under 18 from possessing a handgun, there are exceptions for shooting ranges, said Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a legal nonprofit that works to strengthen gun laws.

Some ranges in the area do prohibit young children from handling such heavy weapons, but Last Stop allows children as young as 8 to participate. Bullets and Burgers said on its website that customers could “shoot a wide variety of fully automatic machine and belt fed guns including the AK-47, Colt M-16, MP5/40, FN FAL, Bren, M4, M249, M60, PKM and M203 Grenade Launcher.”

But Uzis are considered particularly tricky because they are light — unloaded, they weigh just under eight pounds — and powerful, making recoil tricky to handle even for adults, gun experts said. Designed for the Israeli military in the 1950s, Uzis are known for their simple design and operation, and they have been featured extensively in popular movies and video games.

“We allow children to shoot, but not a fully automatic Uzi,” said Genghis Cohen, owner of an indoor shooting range, Machine Guns Vegas. He called the shooting on Monday tragic, but added, “It was completely and utterly avoidable.”

“It was just a result of a lapse of attention,” Mr. Cohen said, “but I would never let a girl of that size shoot a fully automatic gun of that size — never.”

The New York Times, "A 9-Year-Old At a Shooting Range, A Spraying Uzi, and Outrage."

Everyone, from the irresponsible parents who allowed their daughter to even pick up and fire a gun, to the owners of the business who also allowed a nine-year-old to pick up and fire said gun, is responsible for this needless tragedy.

And more silence from the NRA, BTW.

In 1981, press secretary James Brady was wounded during an assassination attempt on president Ronald Reagan.  Brady was shot in the head and became partially paralyzed; in the years since, he became a staunch gun control advocate.

On Friday, a medical examiner ruled Brady’s death a homicide, caused by the gunshot wounds he suffered more than 33 years ago.  John Hinckley Jr., the gunman, may now be charged with murder.

(Photo: Zebowski [top] and Ron Edmonds / AP via the New York Daily News)

“I wanted justice. You know, looking at him to know that justice needs to be served. You did cold-blood murder. That was murder. That was no accident. That was not self-defense. He did murder.”

MONICA McBRIDE, mother of 19-year-old Renisha McBride, shot to death by Theodore Wafer while she stood on the front porch of Wafer’s home in Dearborn Heights, MI last year.  Wafer, who fired shotgun into McBride’s chest, claimed self-defense in a case likened to the slaying of Trayvon Martin; he faces up to life in prison during his sentencing later this month.

(via the Detroit Free Press)

My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage. … We’re the only developed country on Earth where this happens. And it happens, now, once a week. And it’s a one-day story. There’s no place else like this.

… I have been in Washington for a while now, and most things don’t surprise me. The fact that 20 six-year-olds were gunned down (at Sandy Hook Elementary) and this town couldn’t do anything about it was stunning to me.

… The country has to do some soul-searching about this. This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me. I am prepared to work with anybody — including responsible sportsmen and gun owners — to craft some solutions, but right now, it’s not possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress, and we should be ashamed of that.

PRESIDENT OBAMA, on the (perhaps willing) inability of Congress to address gun violence, at yesterday’s Tumblr town hall in Washington, DC.

There have been 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

The NRA and its members shrug.

(via)

“The incident is contained; the shooter is deceased. We are now working on re-unifying students with their parents.”

POLICE OFFICIAL in Troutdale, Oregon, discussing the aftermath of yet another school shooting, at Reynolds High School in a suburb of Portland; the gunman is dead and “others are injured.”

Or, as the NRA calls it, a nuisance.

(quote via CNN)

A man armed with a shotgun opened fire on the campus of Seattle Pacific University on Thursday afternoon, leaving three people wounded and one dead before being taken into custody, the Seattle police said.

The police said that the gunman had stopped to reload before he was pepper-sprayed by a student security guard and subdued at a science and engineering building. Witnesses described scenes of blood and panic, and frantic cellphone calls to loved ones. But the episode was over quickly.

A spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center, Susan Gregg, said a 20-year-old man arrived at the hospital in critical condition and died shortly afterward. A 20-year-old woman was in critical condition, Ms. Gregg said, and two other men, ages 24 and 22, were in satisfactory condition. One of the men’s injuries did not involve gunshot wounds, but no other details were available.

No names were released, and the police did not say what led to the shooting.

Chris Howard, a 22-year-old mechanical engineering student, found himself cradling one of the victims, a young woman he did not know, with her head on his lap as responders surged to the scene. He took her cellphone, he said, and tried to reach her mother and her aunt, but got only voice mail.

“There was a lot of blood on her chest,” he said. “There appeared to be a tourniquet on her arm.”

The school, which was founded in 1891 by Free Methodists and promotes a Christian educational outlook, has about 4,000 students on a 40-acre campus about 10 minutes from downtown. Buildings went into lockdown as emergency responders arrived at the scene, Otto Miller Hall, which houses science, engineering, mathematics and physics classrooms. The police, posting updates on Twitter soon after the shootings, said a second suspect was being sought, but minutes later said there were “no outstanding suspects.”

All classes and activities on campus scheduled for Friday were canceled.

The New York Times, "Shootings Leave One Dead at Seattle Pacific University"