Tag Archives: peace

Guns, America, Anonymity, Sad Panda

If you have a minute, download this PDF from the Brady Bill website and read the stories. Obviously, the site has an agenda and the document is inherently political, but…read the stories. You don’t have to read all of them; the document is 62 pages long.

It’s a list of mass shootings in America. Since 2005. I’ve dipped into it a few times now. Whatever your politics, whatever your beliefs, it is a stunning and upsetting document that bears witness to a lot of deaths that could have been prevented.

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I had a conversation with the twitter rep for AMC movie theaters earlier this evening. The news reported that costumes and fake weapons had been banned from theaters. Now, call me a geek (no really, do) but…I don’t remember any incidents wherein a Guy Dressed Up Like Aragorn stabbed a Guy Dressed Up Like Harry Potter as the two fandoms jockeyed for places in line. Having attended exactly one midnight showing in my life (for The Two Towers, in Edinburgh)…well, can I just say that contrary to the belief claimed by AMC’s twitter rep, that the lack of costumes would contribute to their patrons’ feeling safer…are you kidding me?

We talked. A lot. He clarified the company’s position: fake weapons were banned (you know what? Fine. I’ll give them a fake weapons ban. Even though fake weapons don’t generally, you know, shoot people), but costumes were actually not. Just, you know, masks. And things that cover your faces. If you don’t want to link through to their statement, I’ve copied the full text below:

“Statement About Aurora Incident (updated 2pm CDT)

3rd update: July 21, 2012, 5 p.m. CDT Contrary to media reports, costumes are not banned, but we will not admit guests with face-concealing masks and we will not allow fake weapons in the buildings. We want all our guests to feel comfortable at our theatres and we will be closely monitoring

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2nd update: July 21, 2012, 2 p.m. CDT Kansas City, Mo. – AMC Theatres is deeply saddened by the Aurora tragedy. Movie going is part of our social fabric and this senseless act shakes us to our core. We’re reinforcing our security procedures with our theatre teams, which we cannot discuss in detail for obvious, safety reasons. Local law enforcement agencies, our landlords and their and our local security teams are stepping up nationwide to ensure we provide the safest environment possible for our guests. We couldn’t be more grateful for their collective support.

At this time, our show schedules circuit-wide will not change. We will not allow any guests into our theatres in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings. If guests wish to exchange or refund any tickets, we will honor our existing policy and do as our guests wish. We are taking necessary precautions to ensure our guests who wish to enjoy a movie this weekend can do so with as much peace of mind as possible in these circumstances.

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ORIGINAL STATEMENT: We are terribly saddened by the random act of violence in Aurora and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. For the safety and security of our guests and associates, we are actively working with local law enforcement in communities throughout the nation and under the circumstances, we are reaching out to all of our theatres to review our safety and security procedures. Being a safe place in the community for all our guests is a top priority at AMC and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

 

Okay. Interesting proposition. So I ask them: What about a woman who wears a veil or hijab? Would she be refused entry to the theater? At this point, the twitter rep, Shane, said he would look into the situation; reporting back, he said that veils were not included in the theater’s ban on movie-going attire.

I asked for clarification regarding the wearing of hijabs, because issues about veils and other body-coverings have increasingly become an issue in Western European countries over the last decade or so (France being the topmost example in my mind).

At this point, Shane said that AMC was really just asking their customers to use their best judgement. But that wasn’t what AMC was doing, I pointed out. AMC was saying “no fake weapons and no face masks.” Maybe the better policy would be to have a policy of allowing customers to use their best judgement?

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It sounds as though I’m picking on AMC here, as if they could be at fault for an act of horrifying, senseless violence that took place on their property. As if they could have forseen it. And that is not my intention. The next question I asked was a bit broader:

Were guns permitted in AMC theaters?

Absolutely not.

At this point, one of my twitter followers chimed in to mention that actually, many citizens are able to get concealed carry permits. In this case, how would the theater know that the moviegoer had a concealed weapon? Pat-downs? Searches? Metal detectors?

The thoughts in my head:

– We didn’t have these things in school when I was growing up. Then we had Columbine.

– We didn’t have them in airports – just X-ray machines – when I was growing up. Then we had 9/11.

– If the MPAA thinks they’re losing money to piracy, wait until they start losing money to I don’t want to go through a metal detector every time I go to the movies.

This blog entry rambles. Time to draw it to a close.

My thoughts and gratitude go out to those on social media whose lives have been touched by this tragedy, who have taken The Aurora Incident, as AMC’s website calls it, as an opportunity for dialogue and communication. Both are good things. My heart is with the people who were just out to enjoy a movie they wanted to love – and whose lives were irrevocably altered (or worse, ended) in this morning’s early hours.

Peace and love, friends. Stay safe.

Vagina Vagina Vagina.

UPDATE, 6/17, 11:57am:
Check out my next blog post for information on solidarity events taking place in NYC – and hopefully elsewhere – Monday night.

How many times does a woman need to say “No” before the person she’s speaking to takes her seriously?

Last night, I started seeing internet chatter about Reps. Byrum and Brown of Michigan, who were barred from speaking on the house floor due to speaking out of turn. Both are women, and the debate they were barred from speaking in was one on yet another anti-abortion-access bill: HB5711, which Speaker Bolger (@SpeakerBolger on twitter, if you’d like to let him know your thoughts) described via tweet as protecting “women from dangerous practices/unsafe facilities for abortions, requires proper handling of child’s remains.”

The quote that started #Vaginagate? Essentially, “I’m glad you’re so interested in my vagina, Mr. Speaker, but No Means No.”

Sexual Violence: Not A Joke

While I agree with tweeters who say that joking about sexual violence doesn’t help advance equality for women, this doesn’t play as a joke to me – nor does it play as an inaccurate analogy.

In recent months, multiple states have passed laws which prevent women from fully exercising control over our biological processes. Rape is not the only form of sexual violence. Intimidation, badgering and barraging us with bills that call into question our right to determine the treatment of our own bodies are also forms of sexual violence.

How many times do we have to say “No” before lawmakers respect us enough to listen – and stop wasting everyone’s time and money with these debates?

While @SpeakerBolger may have gotten a response that was not as respectful as he wished, neither is his or his party’s commitment to making women spend time and energy repeatedly defending access to our hoo-hahs respectful.

A Sustained Attack On Women’s Mental & Physical Health

From Planned Parenthood bombings to excommunicated nuns to legislative manipulation, I feel like a battering ram is being used against the women of this country. Stop it, every person without a vagina who thinks they have a say in what happens to mine. Stop it, every person with a vagina that isn’t mine. Stop making me repeat myself. Stop making me spend my time and energy fending off this degrading mental and ideological abuse.

It’s not moral or ethical to batter another person with the same question over and over and over in different phrasings, breaking them down to the point of exhaustion – then act against their oft-expressed wishes the moment they can no longer defend themselves. That’s not the behavior of someone who should be making laws. It’s the behavior of a spoiled child.

But that’s what’s going on with women and our bodies and these bills and laws. (And with a number of other civil liberty issues: PIPA/SOPA/CISPA, anyone?)

So what can we do about it?

Late last night, I tweeted the author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler,  and asked a question: would she be willing to support a round-the-clock reading of her play outside the Michigan State Legislature?

This morning, she tweeted me back.

BREAKING EDIT: 7:23PM EST 

“@EveEnsler has just tweeted the following:
Vaginas Take Back Michigan Capitol. I’m be there w Sen Reps activists & thousands to perform Vagina Mono on steps @ 6pm. COME SAY THE WORD”

If you can’t be in Michigan, be online and vocal. 6pm Monday night.

UPDATE: 8:01PM
Just had an email from @EveEnsler’s team; things are getting crazy and this is getting huge. I will be in NYC promoting the hell out of it any which way I can.

UPDATE: 9:01PM (every hour on the hour?)
Interest is being expressed in a New York based solidarity event Monday night. Please let me know if you’d be interested in participating; leave a comment or tweet me at @girl_onthego. 

Check out the hash tags #ConnectTheLeft and #WarOnWomen for access to broader conversations on this issue.

UPDATE: 6/16/2012, 6:51pm
If you’re in Michigan and planning to go to this event, please let me know either here or on Twitter.

Event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/268583796582574/
I’ve just set up a paper.li twice-daily paper which will update using a search for #VaginaBlogs and #VaginaGate – so again, make sure you use the hash tag when you post on Twitter – you might see your story on paper.li! http://paper.li/girl_onthego/1339985196#

Planning your own action? Drop me a line and I’ll retweet/publicize as best I can. Check back for details as the NYC #Solidarity event takes shape.

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The start of America’s Tahrir square? Photos from #ourwallstreet

I went downtown today and spoke to some of the people who are in the process of trying to occupy wall street, as part of the #ourwallstreet protest.

The actual protest is not taking place on Wall Street – Wall Street has been barricaded off, and some of  the video I uploaded to YouTube earlier today shows NYPD officers talking to individuals. (I saw a number of NYPD and there did not appear to be conflict between the police and the demonstrators, interactions seemed peaceful.).

The dislocation between physical and mental space is is somehow appropriate, since the actual centers of power being protested – lobbyists, corporations – are probably not located on Wall Street, ether. I don’t think this dislocation invalidates the symbolism of the location that has been picked.

Here are some photos I took. Videos will be added to my YouTube channel.

It’s important to remember what’s happened, and what’s happening: 9/11/2010 at Ground Zero (#9/11, #peace)

Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of 9/11. I went to Ground Zero and photographed/filmed protestors, demonstrators and the general public. In the interests of making this experience viewable to a wider public, I’ve uploaded the photographs to Flickr.

 Edit: Full album now available on Flickr.

 

 

 

 

 

Edit: Prefer video?

Edit 2: I’ve been having a hard time finding a way to upload the 20 minutes of video during which I walked through the pro-mosque rally; it was a really inspiring walk and something I’d like to share. If anyone has suggestions on a good program to use to break the video in two (I’ve tried loading Windows Movie Maker – really just looking for a quick and easy solution) please email me or comment. Alternatively – what are some good places to host videos that run over 20 minutes?)