Topic

Mass Shootings

349 petitions

Update posted 13 hours ago

Petition to Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, Hillary Clinton

Emotional Health Education and Emotional Intelligence to prevent mass shootings

I consider what I'm proposing to potentially be a solution to the vast majority of issues we face in the world. I believe the solution to things like school shootings, bullying, suicides, rampant child neglect, crime, even wars starts with the emotional intelligence of children. This idea came to me shortly after taking a course based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book and hearing about yet another school shooting. The pattern I noticed underlying all of these issues boiled down to a person or group of people making an incredibly bad decision that negatively affects everyone involved, all because of a lack of emotional health. I consider things like war, crime, discrimination, racism, resource inequality, etc to be signs of an immature civilization. With emotional health education starting early and being widespread, we could replace those things with peace, cooperation & security, true equality, abundance, and so many other positive things. We could usher in a whole new age of prosperity and exploration. I'm thinking of a Star Trek like near future here, at least socioeconomic-wise if not technologically speaking. This isn't necessarily an attempt to teach children how or what to think; it's definitely not brainwashing. It's more about teaching children habits that will lead to more constructive and positive ways of thinking. I want to really drive this point home. This is more "meta" than teaching someone how or what to think. This is more of a "what do I do with my current thoughts and feelings" and a "how do I want to think and feel" and how to go about bringing that to fruition. Some might say, "we've done just fine without emotional health education (or the government telling us how to think/feel)," but then I ask, "have we?" We've been repeating history throughout the entire existence of our species. War and conflict permeate that history. The only thing that has changed is technology. Are we doomed to continue repeating history until we self-destruct? Will we continue doing the same thing over and over again with this new technoligy until we unwittingly end up being ruled or destroyed by it? We need the same kind of progress we see in technology, in our individual and collective behaviors. Otherwise, we're just really very pretty, well groomed, cave men/women that happen to live inside wooden shelters all the while shaking increasingly destructive weapons at each other in threatening manners. What you think becomes what you believe, what you believe becomes what you feel inside, what you feel affects your behaviors, and your behaviors affect your actions and what shape your life takes. I've already attempted to contact various political figures, including our president, about this idea. I've stated to them that the more I hear in the news about school shootings, suicides, discrimination, and world problems, the more I think that people need to be taught how to manage their thoughts and emotions in public schools as early as possible. I think there should be a psychology and or self-improvement component to our education. It's not enough to assume that kids will learn this sort of thing from their parents, because if their parents don't know how to manage their thoughts and emotions, how are they going to teach that to their kids? Lack of healthy thought and emotion management is the root of the problem; the "why" these tragedies are happening in the first place. A lot of people don't know the first thing about managing their thoughts and emotions. Most people believe that they are victims of circumstance. It's the reason for kids taking their lives, parents take their family's lives, people feeling like they're not good enough. So many tragedies and they all start with those small seeds planted in our minds when we're young and vulnerable. I believe that every human being should be given the opportunity to learn how to manage and cope with their thoughts and emotions. A friend of mine brought up a few very important and interesting questions about the effectiveness of this educational program. What if a particular child doesn’t have a happy home life? How is that going to affect their progress with this material? Will it reduce or nullify the effectiveness, the benefits, and the overall desired outcome to greatly reduce or eliminate tragedies that stem from a lack of internal emotion and thought management? I understand the difficulty of making emotional health education stick to children when there are other things in their life that may contradict it, but this could be something that could be addressed as part of the education. I think that this can be overcome with time and steady, progressive change. It’s an understandably expected variable, and it can be accounted for. The result of this could be that the 1st generation of children to learn the material will learn it from a teacher who does not understand it themselves because they do not live it, and then go home and experience life in ways that could be contradictory to what they learn. The 2nd generation of children will learn the material from the same teachers, who have been teaching it for many years by this point, or new teachers, who were a part of the 1st generation to learn it. They go home and experience life in ways that are less contradictory to what they learn because their parents would be familiar with the material. Each generation going forward would become more familiar and more successful with the material learned, and live home lives more consistent with that material. Suddenly you have 99.999% of children with happy home lives and high grades. The amount of time it would take to reach this ideal outcome could be discouraging to some, but it is absolutely necessary and expected as a natural evolution toward a more mature society, so we better get started ASAP and quell the urge to need instant gratification. A child's physical health and well-being are very important in the grand scheme of this idea. It goes back to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This is something that can be taught, and over time, addressed and solved. I don't believe that this needs to be solved first, at least not in the greater scheme of things. Individually, it is definitely a problem that needs to be solved before said individual can "move up the hierarchy" so to say. But the point I'm trying to make is very similar to the "help yourself first before you are capable of helping others" argument. You need to get your oxygen mask on first, before helping someone else with theirs, otherwise, you could pass out before succeeding, and then you'll both be passed out. Essentially, helping even a few will eventually help everyone in the long term. I've made it a habit to collect various sources of information that could be used to put together a learning program that would teach children how to be emotionaly healthy. One example of an activity that would improve emotional intelligence is keeping a positive event journal. Kids would learn to keep their focus on the positive aspects of their lives. What you focus on grows. For younger children, who have yet to learn to write, they could draw and or show and tell something positive about their day. This isn't to say that negative events should be ignored. They can be learned from and or gotten help for. So perhaps there could be a "lessons learned" journal where children think about things that happened that day that they didn't like and come up with positive solutions; a what to do about this problem, or what to do better next time. A solution oriented mind is a happy and productive one. Another example is learning to be cognizant of thoughts and emotions; what to notice, current habits? Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness practices are a great idea as well. A friend of mine showed me a Facebook story about primary school children in Berkshire having these meditation classes "...to help them manage their own behaviour and anxieties, and improve concentration" - https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=934795656611025&id=153132638110668&__mref=message_bubble These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other helpful concepts that can be taught in so many different ways. Part of the challenge of putting together an educational program like this is figuring out what to teach and when to teach it. At what point in a child’s life would teaching them certain concepts be most beneficial to their positive psychological development? The first source of information that I think would be helpful in putting together this educational program is the book "7 Habits to Highly Effective People." I also enjoyed the "taking responsibility for your life" and learning to love yourself aspect of "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay. The movie of the same name is pretty phenomenal. Dale Carnegie material could be good too as well as mindfulness practices. The mindfulness solution is a book I personally own. The following is a list of links I've collected on the subject: https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/21-signs-youre-mentally-stronger-143500494.html http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/smart-living/10-toxic-people-you-should-avoid-at-all-costs/ar-AAdW3iu?li=AAa0dzB http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/smart-living/19-things-unhappy-people-do/ss-AAetk9M http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/mind-and-soul/12-cheap-ways-to-hack-your-life-for-happiness/ss-AAe3BM4 http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/smart-living/22-things-you-can-do-to-love-yourself/ss-BBnmLDz#image=3 http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/mind-and-soul/13-things-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/ar-AAfTKls?li=BBnb7Kz http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/smart-living/57-small-things-you-can-do-every-day-to-be-happier-and-more-successful/ss-BBnYlII http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/naturally-happy-people-never-do-these-6-things/ar-BBnJbXR?li=BBnba9O http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/weightloss/40-tips-for-motivation-that-actually-work/ss-AAgrvTt http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/12-habits-of-people-who-look-and-act-younger-than-their-age/ss-BBotQ2k#image=1 http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/mind-and-soul/50-ways-to-feel-better-about-yourself-right-now/ss-BBoth83 We can use the fundamental concepts in these books and other sources, to develop a program that everyone can agree on, with subject matter that will be beneficial to children at target ages. I've actually tasked myself with going back over the material in the two books I mentioned and trying to develop a program targeted at children at different ages. This way, I'll have something concrete to offer. It could be a model or guide for educators to follow in developing a program that will address emotional health education. Any positive influence on any children like this would mean a positive influence on other children and a general positive influence on society going forward. A good point was made to me, recently, about this idea: not everyone is going to buy into it. I'm sure that we can expect, more often than not, people not buying into this, because that is the state of mind most people exist in, in the world today, and is part of the problem this idea would strive to solve. I think the goal I want to convey, is that there will always be some sort of opposition to an idea in some form and quantity, and that's a healthy, natural thing to occur. The goal is to address each objection that comes our way in a constructive, collaborative manner, so that the quantity of our opposition, shrinks. The fact of the matter is, we do not have a good, universal system in place to address this problem of emotional health, without alienating individuals in some way. Sure, right now, there are school councilers, doctors, and psychiatrists that individuals can voluntarily meet and interact with, but I don't believe it's enough. Take the 2012 Aurora shooter, James Holmes, for example. He saw a psychiatrist. He was on medication. It didn't help him the way he needed it too, and ultimately, he made a very poor decision and took the lives of many people, in effect, causing a massive general negative effect to that community and their future and "what could have been." My solution is to have daily group emotional health education, not to discuss everyone's problems, because that, in my opinion, is a destructive activity, and any discussion of problems that NEEDS to be discussed, maybe for safety purposes, would be a private matter. This daily group emotional health education would focus on practical techniques for how to effectively manage thoughts and emotions. A good way to gradually introduce and or pilot this kind of program, could be starting it as an after school activity for students and parents who are interested in finding a solution for their children's emotional problems, bullying problems, or even their school work problems (you could make the argument that learning to address certain thoughts and emotions that might be affecting a child's education could improve their grades). They already have a mindfulness meditation program I linked too, earlier in this letter, that's in place to address children's anxieties and general peace of mind. I was pretty excited to hear about that. Eventually, we'd have groups of students, educated in thought and emotion management, becoming a positive influence on others. The results will speak for themselves. The idea will sell itself. More people will become interested. My hope is that this idea isn't taken up by just one political group, and have its necessity debated. I would hope that both political groups would be interested in the emotional health education of our children as a way to benefit life and our society, and reduce unecessary death and crime. It could be suggested that there are alternative ways of going about addressing this issue, and the political groups could choose which way they think would be most effective. If you agree with my idea and if there's anything that you can do or any advice that you can give to help make this a reality, I would greatly appreciate it. I consider this petition to be a living document; it will grow and be refined and improved as I discuss it with others and do my own work to create something concrete that could serve as a prototype for what something like this could look like. I plan on keeping signees who are interested in updates, updated on changes that I make to this document. Thank you for your time and consideration, Andrew Beehler

Andrew Beehler
17 supporters
Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, Charles Schumer

Tell Congress They Must No Longer Accept Contributions from the NRA!

After the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 15, 2018 that resulted in the deaths of 17 students and teachers and injuries to at least 17 more, it seems as though we have finally had enough of the out-of-control violence caused by people with access to AR-15s and other assault-type weapons. Despite what the NRA would like us to believe, guns do kill people! Students across the country are in fear for their lives. They are afraid to return to their schools, and are demanding major changes to our gun laws to protect them from more occurrences of the senseless violence. In support of that demand, plans are under way for a mass protest in which they will walk out from their classrooms and not return until laws are passed to ensure this never happens again. But change will never happen as long as the members of Congress are in the pocket of the NRA and the gun industry. In support of this effort to make our country a safer place for our children to grow up in, we propose the all 100 Senators and 435 Representatives sign a pledge to no longer accept donations, or funds of any kind, from the NRA or any gun manufacturer. Our lawmakers must be freed from the influence of these entities that put profit before people and actively conspire to maintain the gun culture that has allowed these unprecedented acts of violence to continue at an alarming rate. In 1996, after a man killed 35 people with a semi-automatic weapon in a popular tourist area of Port Arthur, in Tasmania, the people of Australia stood up and demanded that the their government ban rapid-fire guns to end these kinds of mass shootings. The government responded, and the proof that tougher gun laws are the solution is that there has not been one death from a mass shooting incident in Australia since the new laws were enacted. It CAN work here as well, but not as long as our elected representatives are beholden to the gun industry and their enforcers, the NRA. These are our children, the future of our country, and their voices must be heard. For America to survive and grow as a free nation, we must protect them, and ourselves, from the epidemic of deadly violence that has infected every part of our country. Let's tell our lawmakers in no uncertain terms that this must be the first step they have to take to actually protect the country and the people they took an oath to do.

Andrew Zweigel
7,922 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, President of the United States, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, American International Group - AIG, National Rifle Association, Carolyn Maloney, Kirsten Gillibrand

Mandate Liability Insurance for Gun Ownership

As a mom I refuse to wait any longer for congress to take action. The school shootings must stop. There are now so many guns in circulation in this country that banning or restricting guns sales is almost futile, so let’s try a different path entirely. One that stops demonizing gun owners and allows everyone to get what they want. Make it illegal to own or possess a firearm without LIABILITY INSURANCE. We should let the actuarial tables determine how much of a risk an individual’s gun or arsenal poses to the community at large to determine fair premiums. Discounts for steps taken to secure weapons and keep them out of the hands of people (big and small) who could cause harm. Let the insurance company decide on appropriate qualifications (trust me, the necessary data exist) and monitor the mental health of their customers as well as their online personas, safety of their homes, and to impose guidelines for storage. Then allow them to deny coverage for people who do not adhere to adequate standards resulting in injury or death.  Bottom line, if you own a gun you should keep it safe and be financially responsible for it in the event it kills someone. This is not unreasonable. We insure cars because they can be dangerous and we can figure out exactly how much a person should pay for life insurance based on factors in their life and health choices. So let’s run the numbers and create a boatload of American jobs in the new gun insurance industry and put an end to mass shootings every week. If you can afford a gun and you can keep it safely, you can afford insurance. If you can’t do those things, isn’t it fair to say you shouldn’t have a gun?  But what about illegal weapons? Make it a separate crime with severe financial consequences to be in possession of any gun without insurance and start cracking down while offering amnesty.  Use this money to provide grants to lower income individuals who would qualify but can not afford the insurance or adequate safeguards as well as educating young people about gun safety in a meaningful way. Of course there will always be illegal gun violence and people will fall through the cracks but if we have an insurance industry to hold accountable, I believe we will see a decrease in preventable gun violence.  I am furious that no American student is safe in school anymore and that our so called leaders sit on their hands. I demand action. No more lock down drills. No more students stuck in school after a shooting for hours only to be paraded out arms up and searched. Enough. Enough. Enough. Tell your representatives you want gun insurance now.  #insuregunsnow #momsdemandguninsurance 

Jacqueline Braunstein
32,713 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Richard Burr, Walter Jones, Virginia Foxx, Mark Walker, David Rouzer, Richard Hudson, Robert Pittenger, Patrick McHenry, Mark Meadows, Ted Budd, Thom Tillis, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Luke Messer

Pass Federal “Red Flag Law” to Prevent Gun Violence

As a mother of two in public schools,  I'm well aware that the Parkland shooting could've happened anywhere in this country, and that it's more likely to happen in the US than other countries. In Europe, there hasn't been a major high-casualty gun attack on a campus in almost a decade. Whereas in the US they've become commonplace. Our current federal and state laws focus on background checks and preventing dangerous people from buying firearms.  But there are already around 270 million guns owned by US civilians so restricting purchases would have a more long-term effect; not the immediate impact we need. Five states currently have “red flag laws” that allow the seizure of guns before people can commit violent acts.  According to a Washington Post article, these statutes in California, Washington, Oregon, Indiana and Connecticut can be used to temporarily take guns away from people a judge deems a threat to themselves or others.  Mental illness, escalating threats, substance abuse and domestic violence are some reasons why a judge can order weapons restrictions under the statutes. If Florida had a “red flag law”, the Feb 14 school shooting could have been averted. Family members or law enforcement officers could have asked a judge for an “extreme risk protection order” or a “gun violence restraining order” against the 19 year old gunman, based on his violent behavior and threats, and his AR-15 could have been confiscated. More states are considering “red flag laws” but gun violence protection is a nationwide concern and we should have a federal standard.  The NRA has not put up much opposition to the 5 states’ statutes, suggesting that legislation could be passed quickly at the federal level.  Lawmakers, please act now to prevent the next mass shooting.

Lara Broadwell
432 supporters