I have been following and observing anti-Gun Violence activism on Twitter. On Martin Luther King Jr. day on April 4th, @Everytown tweeted that, “today we remember a man who understood the fierce urgency of now.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination reminds me of Freelon, McIlwain, and Clark’s work, “Beyond the Hashtags.” In this reading, these authors contend that the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality issues instigate public disgust and mobilization due to the graphic documentation of vicious acts of police violence against vulnerable civilians. More abstract movements, on the other hand, like Occupy Wall Street failed to effectively collectively mobilize and accomplish a plan. The argument put forth in the “Beyond the Hashtags” article is that more conceptual and less visually-provocative movements fail because immaterial notions, such as wealth inequality that was fundamental to the Occupy Movement, do not inspire a sense of urgency. @Everytown encourages us to emulate MLK Jr.’s sense of urgency to stop gun violence; Freelon, McIlwain, and Clark would contend that graphic and violent videos/photos inspire this collective resolution.
I not only have been tracking gun control outlets on Twitter, but I have also been following extremely conservative outlets like the NRA. Reading through tweets, I am reminded of Corder in his work, “Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love.” The NRA, for example, has constructed its own narrative to support its ardent, ruthless protection of the second amendment (frequently tweeting #2A). Corder writes in his article that, “We are always, as the rhetorician might say, inventing the narratives that are our lives” (17). Earlier today, the NRA tweeted about Claire McCaskill, a Missourian Senator, and how she, “…turned her back on their [Missourians] freedoms by voting against Gorsuch.” The NRA is therefore creating a narrative regarding Senator McCaskill’s moral character due to her decision to vote against the conservative, Coloradoan judge for an open Supreme Court seat. Painting her as a traitor to the people of Missouri, the NRA is trying to create the narrative that Senator McCaskill is duplicitous and untrustworthy.
Recently, people have been tweeting about the man who shot himself at NRA Headquarters by accident. How’s that for irony?! The hashtags #GunSense #SafetyFirst have been erupting on my feed.
Over the past two weeks, more disheartening reports on gun violence have continued to come up on my social media feeds. I tweeted about these reports on my profile so my followers can easily keep up-to-date on gun violence as well. On April 18th, an ABC article reported disheartening yet sadly not surprising news. An eight-year-old girl in an elementary school in New Baunfels, Texas opened her bag in class to find a loaded gun inside. Thankfully the young girl immediately notified her teacher who called the police. Upon closer investigation, the girl’s parents claimed that they accidentally left the gun in their daughter’s backpack during the process of moving homes. That is crazy! This forgetful mistake could have resulted in the deaths of students and faculty — a sadly classic tale in U.S. history.
Along the same lines of gun violence in schools, groups such as Moms Demand Action tweeted on April 20th in remembrance of the Columbine High School shooting. The Moms Demand Action tweet read, “On this day in 1999, 13 people were killed and 31 were injured in the mass shooting.” These depressing statistics and the loss of so many innocent victims’ lives serve as a reminder to honor them by fighting against NRA legislative victories. It is only through gun sense legislation that feats in reducing, and ultimately ending gun violence, can be achieved.
Sadly, this week the NRA gloated that the Alabama Senate voted to let people carry concealed guns even if they do not have a permit. Now, how will officers discern criminals from “safe” gun owners? The NRA continues to be a scary, potent force that pushes for legislation that jeopardizes people’s lives.
Since over the last two weeks we have been listening to podcasts focusing mostly on helping us create our own podcasts, relating gun violence on social media to our homework is a little difficult. I did, however, see a connection between a podcast we listened to for class and my independent social media following of gun violence. Jake Greene in “Episode 1: What’s an Audio Rhetoric?” stresses the importance of defining any significant terms and then using lots of examples to discuss key points. The most compelling reasons for more gun regulation, in my opinion, are found in real life examples and testimonies. The article I read from ABC that was twitted about regarding the little girl from Texas bringing a gun to school is an instance of unsafe gun use that motivates audiences to get interested in gun legislation. Greene in his podcast argues that by using lots of examples, one draws in as many audiences as possible. I think this logic of using lots of stories/examples makes reports on gun violence more compelling as well.
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