By Anonymous (not verified) on October 31, 2012

The shooting at the spa in Brookfield, Wis., on Oct. 21, underscores the need to finally do something about gun violence.

This violence is as much a suburban problem as it is an urban problem.

In the suburbs of Milwaukee, the horror of gun violence was already fresh in our minds after the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Aug. 5, which took six lives. The Brookfield spa killings were a hideous echo.

Gun violence is not a “ central city” issue. Gun violence is about America; it is about all of us, and serious action is needed. We can’t sit back and do nothing as more of our fellow citizens get gunned down.

The U.S. firearm homicide rate is about 20 times higher than in 22 other populous high-income countries combined, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Our inertia on this issue is the result of the radical gun lobby’s 50-year spin campaign to distort the debate and turn it into a contest between those who favor gun rights versus those who favor sensible gun control.

Our major presidential candidates have dodged the issue. Most members of Congress won’t go near it. And much of the media underplay it, except when there is another mass tragedy, even though there are plenty of gun tragedies every day.

So here we are, still mourning the loss of innocent victims to senseless and preventable gun violence.

We need a new framework for dealing with this issue: a public health and prevention framework.

Public health professionals combat other epidemics by offering realistic proposals to stem the tide, implementing preventive strategies, and projecting outcomes if we don’t do what is necessary. We can do the same with the epidemic of gun violence.

Here’s the really good news: hundreds of exemplary public health projects across the United States are already working toward this goal. Our political leaders should endorse these projects.

Gun violence is not a partisan issue, just as it is not a geographic issue. But in a political climate that promotes division and hatred, it is often the poster child for issues that divide us.

We can do better. Let’s follow through with these public health projects and construct a safe and hopeful future with far fewer violent gun deaths, and far fewer devastated survivors.

All of our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and we must promise them that beyond our sorrow, a gathering sense of long-delayed outrage will finally turn this tide around.

Janet Fitch is a Milwaukee-based filmmaker and director of the “ Guns, Grief & Grace in America” trilogy. The concluding film is titled, “ Changing the Conversation: America’s Gun Violence Epidemic.” www.ChangeGunViolence.com. Joette Rockow is a senior lecturer in the journalism, advertising and media studies department at UW-Milwaukee. They can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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