Saturday, April 15, 2017

Gun Culture Conference Opened My Eyes

By Jessica James

Going into the fields of both social work and criminal justice, in some sort of manner I will have to deal with guns on a daily basis. Whether I get a job where I will be permitted to open carry a weapon or even if I have to deal with a suicidal patient who has a cabinet full of guns at home, I knew in some sort of fashion, firearms and guns would always play a part in my life. And this is one of many reasons I wanted to attend the Ashland Center for Nonviolence conference about Understanding our Gun Culture. This conference opened my eyes to a lot of issues relating to gun rights and gun control.

The first night of the conference, as a part of the pre-conference panel, I heard a lot about the issues of gun control and gun rights, specifically relating to this past election.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When Violence Starts at Home

By Maria Cardona

As kids, many of us were taught about “stranger danger.” Our parents told us that if anyone picked on us, we had to tell an adult, that hurting people was wrong, and that there are just certain things you can’t do. For many of us, home is a safe place away from bullies, toxic relationships, and the cruel realities of the world we live in. However, what happens when violence starts at home?

What do you do when your dad’s temper ends in bruises covered by sweaters and scarves? What do you do when your mom’s drinking habits end in a barrage of insults? What do you do when your cousin slips into your room at night and touches you – but don’t you dare say a word because that’s not nice. What about when you become your husband’s or your wife’s punching bag – when their hands and/or their words injure you? What about when you’re so depressed and locked inside yourself that you hurt yourself and pray to die every night because your life has become unbearable?

How do we talk to kids, our friends, our neighbors – our own family and tell them that there is safety when they live in a state of constant torment and fear? What can we do for that trembling child who’s molested every night? What can we do for that battered woman or man who’s threatened into staying? What can we do for those who drink away their pain and those who have to face their drunken wrath time after time?

It’s difficult to say because victims of domestic violence are so good at hiding it. They’ll draw up excuses to explain away bruises and we’ll be skeptical but we’ll believe them because it’s easier than facing the truth. It’s easier than realizing your neighbor is aggressive, it’s easier than admitting that there’s a rapist inside your family (maybe even inside your home), and it sure as heck is easier to pretend that when the alcohol is speaking, nothing is said in earnest.

It’s harder when the victims are children because they don’t understand and because the power dynamics are so great that they become powerless in any situation. How can a child explain what’s going on if they don’t even possess the vocabulary and the comprehension of what’s being done to them? Plus, under the threat of upsetting their parents and being bad kids, they do whatever the grown up tells them because they’ve been taught not to disobey. What power can we give an innocent child facing danger at home?

And for those battered men and women, how do we encourage them to leave when they have everything to lose? If they don’t have a job or a home of their own – where do they go when they leave? How do they avoid being a burden to others? And if they have children – yes, leaving is good because your children won’t think abuse is okay but leaving is worse because they lose a parent, a home, stability, and many times an income.

It’s hard to talk about this and it’s hard to come up with viable solutions because what seems so obvious becomes unclear when you’re at the mercy of fear. To many of these questions, I have no clear answer. I think we need to come together as a community and create answers. Offer our neighbors a home if theirs is broken. Really listen and read between the lines. Don’t let bruises and scars be explained away. Tell children that adults aren’t always doing the right thing and that the danger doesn’t always come from a stranger. Remind a person that being intoxicated is not an excuse to hurt yourself or others.

We cannot allow our victims to stay victims. We need to help them rise above – to become survivors. We need to remind them of their beauty and their worth. We need to validate their experience whether it happened today, 2 weeks ago, 6 months ago, or 20 years ago – because it happened and it counts.

Maria Cardona is a senior at Ashland University and an intern with the Ashland Center for Nonviolence.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Register Now - Understanding Our Gun Culture conference

Registration is now open! Register Here

John D. Stratton Conference - Understanding Our Gun Culture

Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio

March 31 - April 1 2017

Featuring keynote speaker, Randolph Roth

Take advantage of early bird rates through February 15, 2017
$25 for students, $50 for general admission

Presentations from a variety of national experts will include:
  • "Narratives of the Gun Paradox" - Amanda Gillespie (Miami University)
  • "Should Concealed Guns Be Permitted on College Campuses?" - Ian Young (Bowling Green State University)
  • "Guns and their Owners as Material and Affective Assemblages: Notes toward an Ethnographic Account of American Gun Culture" - Michael Grigoni (Duke University)
  • "Social Violence: Role of Gun Culture" - Binod Kumar (University of Dayton)
  • "Who Owns Handguns?: An Analysis of the Correlates of Handgun Ownership" - Mitchell Gresham (Bowling Green State University)
  • "A Carribbean Perspective: Gender and Age Lessons Learned from assessment of youth on youth violence factors of School Bonding, Protective, Threat, and Risk Factors" - Carolyn Gentle-Genitty (Indiana University)
  • "The American Gun Culture: Potential Impact on K-12 School Violence" - Gordon Crews (Tiffin University)
  • "Fatal and Non-fatal Shooting Incidents: Understanding the Circumstances of Victimization" - Lauren Magee (Michigan State University) and Natalie Kroovand Hipple (Indiana University)
  • "Gun Shops as Local Institutions: Federal Firearms Licensees, Social Disorganization, and Neighborhood Violent Crime" - Trent Steidley (University of Denver)
  • "The Storied Gun: Using Narrative to Grasp the Moral Logic of Guns in America" - Mark Ryan (University of Dayton)
  • "But the Disciples did not carry guns: The Apparent Contradiction of the Gun Rights Christians" - Matt Stolick (University of Findlay)
  • "A Study in Contrasts: European Domestic Control of Guns and their International Export" - Rachel Boaz (Baldwin Wallace University)
Lunch will be provided.

More conference info: