Liberal Gun Owners is a Non-Profit Organization that provides social media and educational opportunities for the center-to-left gun owner. We began our journey as a small Facebook discussion group in 2007 and have been able to use 11 years of social media experience to develop an exceptional discussion forum, based upon decorum and respect. This approach allows LGO to accept and support members who represent a more potent level of thought and consideration - a level that is rare in the wider gun culture. As such, Liberal Gun Owners embraces and engages in the opportunity to move a section of gun culture out of the typical, online gun-swamp. Our primary purpose is to serve as a haven for this brand of gun owner and to offer opportunities for their growth, in community. We support the responsible engagement of firearms ownership and encourage the acceptance and enjoyment of the phenomenon.
Our secondary purpose is to connect gun culture to the wider social fabric by both: staying sensitive to the world around us and providing clear, mature, reasonable thought. We have begun to use social media to represent a more broad and culturally aware voice than is typically represented by the gun world. Liberal Gun Owners is living proof that a firm support for the Second Amendment can coexist with broad, social sensitivity. It is in the realm of this secondary aspect that we are creating this report. This report is an endeavor aimed to benefit our own community and, hopefully, the wider world. It is within our organizational goals to present this brand of report, annually. LGO's annual report will focus on a specific aspect within the nexus point between gun ownership and public safety. This 2018 report will focus on the school shootings phenomenon.
The nexus of gun ownership and public safety is a giant area of consideration. It is an area that requires extensive dedication to grasp adequately. Because, ultimately, the pursuit involves the exhaustive assessment of the point where Positive Law overlays Natural Law, where the Anglo-centric world overlays the ancient world, where civilization overlays the natural world, and where the entire human history of positive human behavior butts into the entire human history of criminal behavior. The efforts to merely assess the contemporary aspects of the juncture have been a complex and difficult venture for an entire, centuries-old, legal system. For Liberal Gun Owners it is no different.
The problem of human violence has never been, nor is it now, currently solvable. As such, gun violence is also not currently solvable. These problems, however, are mitigable. The negatives are improvable. This is the ultimate reality of gun violence. Any notion or subtext from a citizen, activist, politician, organization or media source that expresses complete and ultimate solutions to gun violence will end up being a hurdle or distraction in the effort to effectively deal with the phenomenon in American society. This aspect is important for us to accentuate: in American society. While we certainly need to be open to information and solutions that other nations have come upon; while we certainly need to be open to embracing outside ideas that can be used to improve our own society; and while we certainly do track the shadow involved in our often abusive notion of exceptionalism, we, ultimately, are not supposed to be, nor should we strive to be as other countries. The Bill Of Rights, whether a citizen understands it or not, is the only legally bound, legitimate representation of natural rights protections on the planet - even if our system often serves it poorly. We can and often do possess a robust list of grievances towards our own country. At the same time, we realize the importance of The Bill Of Rights, and believe we must continue to better understand and support it. We want to make it clear that Liberal Gun Owners, the organization, is officially inside of the cultural effort to address schools shootings. Our approach may not be in the manner in which others agree with, but we are committed to the task, none-the-less. We believe that we can hold strong to the Second Amendment and continue to provide gun-related services for our community while we act as an effective cultural force towards mitigating gun violence. In our view, this is the approach that meets the cultural requirements of responsibility for the 21st century gun owner.
As an entity inside of gun culture, Liberal Gun Owners finds that the, "from my cold, dead hands" approach of the NRA, (as well as a section of the wider gun culture) underserves American cultural intelligence. As such, it underserves American society. Because it underserves American society, it naturally will underserve the cultural efforts to deal with the school shooting phenomenon or any manifestation of gun violence. As of the writing of this report (2018), we feel that the extreme attitudes and behaviors of the NRA, (as well as a section of the wider gun culture) are also, officially, underserving the future of the Second Amendment via propagating a culture-war mentality. This mentality works against the requisite cooperation required to advance society. It is also true that anti-gun and pro-heavy-regulation progressives share the same culture-war approach, and have the same net effect on cultural accomplishment. These two, polarized approaches seem to have powerful voices. But the reality is that the vast majority of Americans fall into neither camp.
We would also proffer that the vast majority of gun owners do not fall into the NRAs' camp. As such, the NRA (and a section of the wider gun culture) are completely blind to a more effective approach in engaging the vast majority of the country. Their efforts are pushing the campaign to drag the rest of gun culture into the paradigm of extremism - not strong belief, but extremism. The Second Amendment does not exist in a vacuum, despite how it is often portrayed by gun culture. We all share in this society. The Second Amendment is, indeed, an extraordinary, irreplaceable part of American culture. It's foundation rests in the spirit of integrity and responsibility. That spirit does not remain if gun culture disconnects itself from the world around it. With its reactions to the school shootings phenomenon, the NRA has officially done that. They have disconnected themselves from an adequate level of heart and reason.
The dynamic of extremes in the gun debate are now being highlighted by the crisis that we face over the school shootings phenomenon. We are, indeed, labeling it a crisis. This dynamic of cultural extremes is being highlighted as an extraordinary weakness in the face of something so horrendous. All of the typical political traps are being played into. All of the typical blindness of reactionaries are being enacted. All of the typical use of statistics are present, either in the attempt to demonize firearms or the attempt to remain unchallenged by a phenomenon that is very real. It is extraordinary for Liberal Gun Owners to observe the cultural inability of the American people to observe the school shootings phenomenon while they permit superficiality to cause overall inertia. The notion that gun violence mitigation requires no effort on the part of gun culture because of statistical insignificance is no different in its immaturity than the notion that all guns need to be banned. Both reek of the same neglect of reality, and the same degree of insularity. At the same time, we do observe small sections of American culture coming together over the issue. This heartens our organization. However, very few people are seeking out the proper information on how to deal with such a thing. Even with something so horrendous, Americans can't drop their ridiculousness and come together. Certainly, in gun culture, no one is attempting even an adequate effort. Liberal Gun Owners, on the other hand, is going to attempt an exceptional effort.
We make no claims of ultimate mastery over any information presented in this report. We are not attempting to produce something flatly academic or flatly scientific. This report is a cultural assessment by everyday people. We consider this to be its strength. We respect statistics and we respect science. However, we also highly regard individual observation and expression. We will be including all of these aspects in our reporting efforts: the intellectual to the visceral. We want this report, and all future reports, to primarily serve the LGO community by sparking the desire to move beyond merely reading links and articles from our forums. As an organization, we have already commented on a phenomenon that we call superficial position. One of its manifestations is the human habit to spend as little time as possible to find a version of information which quickly supports ones own thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, it's a regular habit and a giant weakness for Americans. As such, it is also giant weakness for the LGO online community. As a community, we spend a lot of time pointing out superficial position in conservative culture and certainly not enough time recognizing the practice of it in our own culture. As long as Liberal Gun Owners exists, we will push and inspire people to stop this habit. Success in any collective endeavor will hinge upon how many people move out of superficial position. It's that simple. Overall, liberal gun culture will never possess the same scale of participation that conservative gun culture possesses. If we want to be effective, we have to concentrate on quality of approach. If we want to have impact on gun culture, on the wider world, on gun violence, or even on a more enjoyable experience in our own discussion community, then we need to self-assess and inspire one another to improve the manner in which we deal with information. With the numbers stacked against us, we cannot afford to act in a low-minded fashion, similar to the morass of general gun culture. Please take our testimony seriously: people in liberal culture are just as bad with information as those in conservative culture. We cannot afford this in Liberal Gun Owners.
While overall gun crime is trending downward, this niche expression of violence in school shootings is terrifying, very real, and surging. There are scores of legitimate professionals who deal with the matter extensively. We understand that the average person does not have this kind of time or energy to spare. This report should give the average person concepts and actions to consider. The effective efforts to properly deal with school shootings are related to grass roots society, associated cultures, and the mechanism of communities. There have already been effective, preventative systems being enacted in this country, as an antidote to the issue, for almost twenty years now. Why do most people not know about these preventative systems? Because American culture runs superficially. It only acts or changes when forced to by extreme crisis. It looks to politicians, to the internet, and to entertainment news to educate itself. Even in the face of something as ugly as school shootings, American culture struggles with inertia and denial. Superficial position wants immediate answers, levers to pull, people and laws to vote for, things to blame, and statistics and studies to either shirk responsibility or decimate individual rights. A person cannot vote school shootings away. The facts do not support being reactionary, they support long-term, culturally involved systems of prevention in schools, complemented by other variables. The facts do not support heavy, top-down approaches with gun regulation.We cannot just blame mental health and/or guns and get the proper results. The situation is not that facile. At the same time, you will never hear Liberal Gun Owners state that guns are not a part of the equation. Access to firearms, by the incompetent, is a demonstrable and significant variable in all gun violence. It is undeniable. However, whether a person likes it or not, the complexity of the phenomenon defies singular blame. Aspects of it are also, currently, unknowable. The school shootings phenomenon is real, potent and now deeply woven into the fabric of the world. That is correct, we are stating "the world". The school shootings cultural script, along the regular attempts to enact it, are a worldwide phenomenon - under-reported and poorly covered by the media at any effective depth. We will further make the case for school shootings script being a worldwide phenomenon, a worldwide algorithm, inside of this report. The phenomenon is, by far, more potent than most people are aware.
If any member of Liberal Gun Owners is sick of seeing what we all are observing on the news, then this report is for you. In our opinion, the only legitimate way to turn that feeling into an effective solution is to advocate for cultural change in all cultures related to school shootings: family, community, schools, administration, students, mental health, security, law enforcement, and judicial. We've already made it clear that LGO is dedicated to changing gun culture and how it connect to American society. This report is proof of our beginnings with that effort.
Ultimately, if LGO members want the short answer for what they should do to address the phenomenon, and they do not wish to read the rest of this report, then those members should immediately start to research student threat assessment systems. They should become an ardent supporter of student threat assessment systems and they should start talking to their school districts about implementation. It's that simple. The deeper answer is more integrated and complicated than that, but the outline looks like this:
1. All cultures associated with school culture need to be pushed to evolve and adapt to the new, unfortunate reality.
2. The facts support preventative mechanisms. Pro-student, School Threat Assessment Systems should become a regular part of American school culture.
3. Innovative, nimble, on-site security mechanisms need to be implemented that have no negative effect on the school experience.
4. Innovative, pro-student-experience, security-enhanced building design and effective, security related retrofits need to be implemented.
5. Supportive legislation should be enacted that tightens the effectiveness of our current background checks, that adds significant liability to gun owners who are negligent in securing firearms, and ERPOS need to be a consideration under the condition that the statute must be created to act as a bulwark to individual rights and due process. The ERPO also needs to contain a severe punishment aspect for law enforcement abuse.
6. Supportive legislation should be enacted to make funding available for the development Threat Assessment Systems, Innovative Security, Innovative Design and Retrofit, and Student Mental Health.
But if you want the quick and short, that's it. We will also have some stop-gap recommendations for security protocols that teachers and parents can enact in the cases where school systems are being lazy and negligent.
We also want to make this very clear, despite the fact that school shootings may be statistically on the low side, measuring the effect of school shootings by relative frequency alone underserves the societal costs of the phenomenon. At some point in the near future, LGO believes that reality is going to reinforce our position that merely seeing school shootings as a statistically insignificant phenomenon or as a part of life that we can find no solution for will officially become human negligence. We feel the same way about school districts who are not taking the phenomenon seriously enough to consider improving their culture and their school security approach. Soon, this too will be negligence.
The initial part of this report is going to outline the reality of how the Liberal Gun Owners is going to deal with gun culture and the second amendment. We recommend that our members consider our view and organizational stance. The second part of this report is a basis for the school shootings phenomenon and our advocacy for an integrated approach to solutions. Our concentrated recommendation will be for members of LGO, who want to be effective towards the school shootings phenomenon, to join us in becoming advocates for the Salem-Keiser Threat Assessment System (STAS) or any threat assessment model that they find effective on their own. As a gun organization, we believe that the school shootings phenomenon is one of the definitive issues of our time. Although not caused by guns, it is connected to guns. That makes it our issue. We are taking responsibility for that, in our own way. Liberal Gun Owners will be dedicated to supporting effective solutions to the school shootings phenomenon as long as it is necessary.
The enjoyment of firearms aspect of our community is easy. That's something that our community can continue to nurture. As such, we are putting our focus onto something more critical. The school shootings phenomenon is here and it's real. For Liberal Gun Owners leadership, it's not going to be explained away by "statistical insignificance." Prudently deciding to act is not the same as being reactionary. By the time people are reading this report, we will already be more focused on and involved in the solutions to the phenomenon than anyone in the wider gun culture. This is in-line with the goals that we have now dedicated ourselves to. Liberal Gun Owners is going to act, speak, publish and represent itself like a cultural leader should. It is now obvious that the wider gun culture cannot produce this voice. So, we will produce it. We aren't asking for permission. We aren't concerned about validation. As a matter of fact, we have already arrived on the spot.
The NRA and aspects of the wider gun culture are going in one extreme direction. Progressive anti-gunners and high-regulation supporters are going in another extreme direction. Liberal Gun Owners is going to the middle ground, with both the second amendment and societal compassion intact. As we have just stated, we've already claimed the ground and are walking on it. While there are elements of truth in the attitude that "guns don't kill people, people kill people", it is an exceptional example of a superficial effort to deal with the complexities of society. It only takes a few repetitions of this brand of concept before it reaches the land of heartlessness. Liberal Gun Owners believes that the use of modern firearms for defense of self (and others) is now, and should always be an inflexible right. This truth, however, is not served properly by heartlessness and social insensitivity. We will not engage in such things.
We are aware of the viewpoint that iterations of extreme gun violence, amongst adolescents, are not new. Inner city gun violence, amongst African American adolescents, has long been an issue. We are aware that many in our community are making the point that, because excessive violence is now finding its way into middle class schools, American culture is suddenly paying attention. We certainly agree with aspects of that. That is why the 2018 report will deal with the school shootings phenomenon. We will take what we learn from this course of study and experience and pour it into next year's report.
The Liberal Gun Owners 2019 nexus report will be on gun violence amongst adolescent African-American males, inner-city gun violence / black-on-black gun violence.