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Saturday Links: Our Hearts Go Out to Newtown Edition

Sending love to anyone who has ever been hurt by gun violence.

Our hearts are broken because of what happened in Newtown, CT, yesterday. We in America need to talk about gun control. The current laws are not protecting the most vulnerable among us. Let’s petition Congress now and always until it happens.

Because if we don’t talk about gun control now, as this Slate article asks, “could you just let us all know: when would be a better day?”

Here are some really scary facts about guns and violence in America.

And if you have something you want to tell the leaders of this country, here is link to send your message to President Obama and the White House.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, named for the press secretary who was seriously wounded during an assassination attempt on President Reagan, is a grassroots organization that works for gun legislation in an effort to reduce gun-related violence. It’s a great place to get informed, make a donation, or find out if you can help any local groups in your area.

Cure Violence, formerly known as CeaseFire, is an organization that started in Chicago, which is my hometown as well as President Obama’s. When Obama spoke about the Sandy Hook tragedy he mentioned the gang and gun violence that plagues Chicago and so many urban areas. Cure Violence takes the approach that “violence is like a disease and can be treated like one.” I truly hope that organizations like this one can make our streets and neighborhoods safer.

Connected to Cure Violence/CeaseFire are the Interrupters, a group of people who use their past experience with violence to mediate current conflicts. You can learn all about the approach in this film, which aired on Frontline earlier this year. One of the documentary’s subjects is Ameena Matthews, who is the daughter of a famous gang leader and was a gang member herself. Now she is one of only two female Interrupters in Chicago.

If you’re looking for ways to more directly help the families in Newtown, consider donating even $5 to one of these organizations:
The American Red Cross: Immediately after the shooting, the Red Cross supplied the hospital closest to Sandy Hook Elementary School with blood, platelets, and plasma; they are currently providing food, water, and counseling to Newtown families and first responders.
Newtown Youth and Family Services: This nonprofit health clinic is offering free emergency counseling to the local community all weekend. All donations will go directly to the people affected by the tragedy.

(And while we’re thinking about gun control, let’s also talk about improving access to mental-health services in this country.)

Shinji Moon is my favorite contemporary poet. She’s also around my age, which makes me like her even more. She wrote this really beautiful, moving poem about the tragedy. It resonates with me so much that it brought me to tears.

Do you love LOVE? Then you are going to cry big baby HAPPY tears at Buzzfeed’s photos from Seattle’s first day of marriage equality.

I’m sure you guys already heard about this, but in case ANYONE hasn’t: a monkey dressed in a winter coat was found alone inside an Ikea and that’s really all you need to know.

The New York Times also put up this beautiful video gallery of 13 actresses who especially killed it this year:

I think Elle Fanning, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Rebel Wilson were my favorites.

And here’s a self-esteem boost for humankind: according to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, people are smarter than they used to be. Yay!

Emma S.
Every December, the literary website The Millions runs a series called “The Year in Reading,” and it’s always amazing. Scores of writers send in their lists of books they loved in the last year, regardless of publication date. One of my favorite entries so far this year is Chris Ware’s, all about reading Laura Ingalls Wilder with his daughter.

I live in Washington, D.C., so I’m surrounded by politics. And despite all the important world-changing decisions that happen here, most of what goes on behind the scenes is an awful lot like high school—a lot of pettiness, bickering, and popularity contests (heck, most of that’s not even behind the scenes). That’s why this Mean Girls of Capitol Hill meme KILLED ME. Congress and North Shore–how has no one made this connection before?

Emma D.

Last year Booooooom, one of the coolests art/design blogs on the internet, teamed up with Adobe for “Remake” project. The submissions–quirky but clever photo remakes of masterpieces—drew inspiration from sources as diverse as Yahoo News and the MoMA. Now the project is going to be turned into a book. This week a new call for submissions was announced, so pick your favorite painting, grab a camera, and go down in art history.


Jessie Ware is a British singer whose vocals you might recognize from some of SBTRKT’s best loved tracks. She just released her debut album, along with this charming video. I came across it while sneezing miserably in bed with a flu, and it was like a combination of chicken soup and a three-hour-long marathon of cute cat videos rolled in one (I know because I have tried both in the last three days). ♦


  • jenaimarley December 15th, 2012 12:14 PM

    Thanks for all the information about standing up for gun control. I live in Tucson (where the January 8th shootings of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford happened) and so I know how devastating such tragic events can be for a community. They also offer us an opportunity to come together to fight for positive change.
    The frontline program is also really good. We watched it in our public policy class.

    • jenaimarley December 15th, 2012 12:16 PM

      Also Tavi, the Seattle photos!!!! I’m crying joy love tears now! I have two moms and can’t wait for their marriage/partnership to be officially/legally recognized.

      • jenaimarley December 15th, 2012 12:41 PM

        One more thing:
        Those who are eligible should consider donating blood. My school is doing a drive the day before winter break and one donation can save the lives of three people and that’s a really beautiful thing to give especially around the holidays.

  • Zebby December 15th, 2012 12:41 PM

    The IQ test is really just a measure of how well you can take an IQ test. Whether that’s related to actual intelligence is debatable.

    • Zebby December 15th, 2012 12:45 PM

      So the fact that our generation does better on IQ tests doesn’t necessarily mean we’re smarter than old people, it just means we’re the most IQ-tested generation to ever exist (not to be a buzz-kill on the self-esteem boost!)

      • Tavi December 15th, 2012 1:15 PM

        Right, that’s an important distinction to make. I was just, you know, writing a sentence to link people to the piece. The larger takeaway is I think that now certain circumstances are more conducive to that sort of intelligence, though of course it’s not the only kind.

        • Zebby December 15th, 2012 1:40 PM

          Oh I wasn’t meaning to sass you, I just wanted to start a convo about the article. He makes some interesting points, but they don’t seem very research-based.

      • Tavi December 15th, 2012 1:57 PM

        No sass taken!

      • purrr December 16th, 2012 3:16 PM

        but they addressed the bias in the article

  • Tyknos93 December 15th, 2012 1:05 PM

    I held my baby brother a little tighter after I heard the news. I work with children that age and I can’t fathom ANYONE being that sick to hurt them like that. I just cannot wrap my head around any of it. My heart goes out to those families affected by this.

    Another thing, alot of criticism was given to Obama and his camp for not breaching the topic of gun control, but I don’t know how I feel about that being brought up so soon. Yes, I believe it’s important, but it think it’s early when so many are still grieving over an ordeal like this. I don’t know many people are going to disagree with this probably.

    It needs to be talked about and something needs to be done, but in time. How much time will that take? I have no idea, but I am sososo sorry for anyone affected by gun violence or who has lost a loved one prematurely.

  • Ludo December 15th, 2012 1:59 PM

    I was almost really disappointed when I saw that all of the articles mentioned about the shooting yesterday were in regards to gun control laws, but Anaheed’s mention of mental health services saved it. Thank you for showing more than one viewpoint on this.

    Also, LOVED the art remake submission contest post. I looked at all of them. Thanks Emma :)


    • mollyes December 15th, 2012 10:29 PM

      Same here. While I enjoy the fact that Rookie tries to display a variety of political and social views, I feel that gun control is not the answer. An increase on restrictive laws towards guns will not make terrible people go away. Let’s not forget that the man who did this did not actually own the guns he used, they were stolen from his mother. I wish that guns were the primary problem, but it is obvious that the people behind them are what cause the devastation.

  • CheriTori December 15th, 2012 2:04 PM

    As a girl from a Far away country where gun abuse is almost non-existent, I have very little idea about how it feels to be a part of a community who lost more than a dozen innocent lives at the hand of a Maniac. My condolences go out to every person who had to go through all of that, to every person who was exposed to the grief of yesterday. I may not know the loss of a loved one yet, but I have seen enough of it in my short life to fear it at every turn. May this year, there was a terrible fire at a Mall in my country, and it resulted in the deaths of no less than 13 children, all by suffocation. there was a family that lost their triplets- their only kids- in that fire, and the sad part was that the triplets were aged two. seeing their grief was heart-breaking.
    I just hope no other parent will have to go through the pain of losing a child way before its time.

    on a fun note- I just realised that abut is an actual word…..

  • DreamBoat December 15th, 2012 2:58 PM

    OMGGGG! So happy you guys posted the Seattle gay marriage pictures!!! My uncles got married that day and are the couple in pictures 17, 18, and 19! I’m actually the girl with the rose in the background of 19!
    It was an absolutely one of the best days ever and so emotional and beautiful <3

    I'm ecstatic we've come this far, and congrats to every new married gay couple!!


    • coolgirl December 15th, 2012 5:22 PM

      congratulations to your family! that is wonderful, such beautiful pictures

  • Ladymia69 December 15th, 2012 3:08 PM

    Tavi! That is NOT all we need to know! It would’ve been nice to know that he was okay after his debacle! I almost had a coronary, i was so scared for him! Luckily i found out he/she is safe at a primate sanctuary in toronto, living it up. :)

  • farawayfaerie December 15th, 2012 4:04 PM

    The seattle pictures are so beautiful and inspiring. I think that I often take the concept of marriage for granted, and am often so anti it, yet these photos were so beautiful and inspiring and it made me want to weep. Congratulations to all the newly weds!

  • Mary the freak December 15th, 2012 5:00 PM

    Awesomesauce! Those are the best saturday links so far. Tavi your links are killing me, that’s all sooo cute!
    It is incredible what happened it newtown.I cannot imagine how awful it was. I am so incredibly sad about all this. It is impossible to put this cruel and inhuman into words. My deepest condolences for every one involved we all pray for you!!!


  • youme2000 December 15th, 2012 5:03 PM

    Though I understand why so many are turning towards blaming gun laws for this tragedy, I don’t feel like changing them would prevent such incidents in the future. My point I’d like to raise is that if the shooter didn’t have direct access to a gun, what would have stopped him from reaching for a knife or building a bomb. A man who is willing to commit such an act of violence isn’t going to be interested in following laws and I’m sure that even if guns were entirely outlawed that he would have still found a way to follow his plan. Instead of putting such an emphasis on the guns used in this tragedy we need to be looking at the mental health and mindset of this man. With a month that has the theme of faith, I feel like you (Rookie) could have written a very heartfelt and deep article about the morals involved and how religion of any way shape or form can alter the human mindset for the better. I don’t mean to sound snobbish or inconsiderate in these times, but there are many other views that need to be evaluated in this event.
    May God being watching over these families and the town of Newtown, CT.

    • La La Land December 15th, 2012 7:24 PM

      Then why do these massacres always happen in the USA and hardly ever in the rest of the world? And mind you, i did not say never, because they do happen in the rest of the world as well, but why not half as often as in the US of A? People with mental health problems or alienated from society for whatever reason exist everywhere. Can you explain what do you think makes this difference, if not the guns laws?

    • La La Land December 15th, 2012 7:34 PM


      • youme2000 December 15th, 2012 9:42 PM

        They do happen elsewhere. Simple as that. Just look at the data for school shooting alone across the globe. Just last year in Brazil 13 students lost their lives. This isn’t an issue isolated in the US alone, it’s one that occurs across the globe every year regardless of varying gun laws. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting

        • La La Land December 16th, 2012 5:55 AM

          That’s what I said… they do happen elsewhere, but not as frequently. And if that means that even just half of the people get saved , it is worth it.

    • a-anti-anticapitalista December 17th, 2012 9:27 AM

      So… because the US has easier access to guns we automatically assume that the reason is that there is easier access to guns? there are many other things in the US that would make people more susceptible to violent behavior… like, oh, I don’t know, the fact that we have the largest military in the world (like RIDICULOUSLY larger) and glorify violence like no other nation? or the fact that people are far more alienated from each other in our neighborhoods and by the state and like there are ridiculous expectations on how we should lead our lives, and don’t even get me started on everything about the school system.

      Correlation does not mean causation myfriend. don’t get me wrong, I am totally not for guns, but if they were outlawed (especially considering the ineptness and the limitations of state power) people who want guns would get them through illegal channels, and since they are getting them illegaly why not get more and more dangerous ones while they are at it?
      So yeah, totally agree with you youme2000.

      • La La Land December 18th, 2012 12:49 PM

        My friend, i do not believe that easier access to guns is the underlying reason. i only addressed that because i had not time to write a whole articulated idea, and because i wanted to answer to youme2000′s opinion that guns don’t make a difference. Because that’s not true, they do. That doesnt mean i think that they are the *real* reason though. I agree that the real reason is a socio-cultural contest that is absolutely disastrous. That is what really needs to be addressed and changed, and the discussion on that should start NOW, because it will take a long time to change it, at least one or two generations. However, in the meanwhile, how many people have to die that could have just been wounded? Or not even wounded at all? Not all of these massacres are planned, and a harder access to fire arms would limit some of the damage. Btw, it is already possible to have (legally) huge, military firearms.
        Then yes, this will continue happening until the culture will be changed, but it doesn’t have to have such bloody results every time.
        Anyway, as I said, alienation, horrible school systems and expectations exist in other countries too. I think not as much the cult of violence, but other things are just as bad (and in big part thanks to the USA cultural exports, thanks a lot :P)

    • justbouton December 17th, 2012 11:46 AM

      On the same day as the school shooting, there was a knife attack in Chinese school. 22 children were stabbed, but none died.



  • maddyr December 15th, 2012 5:06 PM

    While we’re talking about mental health in relation to mass shootings, I recommend that y’all read this statement from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2012/12/asan-statement-on-media-reports-regarding-newton-ct-shooting/

    I thought this was especially relevant: “it is imperative that as we mourn the victims of this horrific tragedy that commentators and the media avoid drawing inappropriate and unfounded links between autism or other disabilities and violence. Autistic Americans and individuals with other disabilities are no more likely to commit violent crime than non-disabled people. In fact, people with disabilities of all kinds, including autism, are vastly more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. Should the shooter in today’s shooting prove to in fact be diagnosed on the autism spectrum or with another disability, the millions of Americans with disabilities should be no more implicated in his actions than the non-disabled population is responsible for those of non-disabled shooters.”

  • Sorcha M December 15th, 2012 5:43 PM

    My thoughts go out to Newtown.

    also (sorry) but someone on tumblr edited the ikea monkey to be margot tenenbaum and that was kind of beautiful

  • MissKnowItAll December 16th, 2012 9:19 AM

    I wrote a poem about the shooting. I just thought it can help translate all the pain these parents feel.

    Sweet Baby child of mine
    Where have you wandered so?
    I’ve lost my sanctuary, my home.
    Have you wandered past the playground where the children play alone.
    far past the meadows where we frolicked together.
    YOu were mine, but I am yours forever.
    Sweet baby child of mine
    Where my heart was, there is a hole.
    You were my world. All I had ever known.
    All those hours I waited by the phone
    but you never came home.
    Sweet baby child of mine, I wonder where you went.
    Past the gates of heaven you were sent.
    Sweet baby, angel of mine.
    I miss you so.
    One day I will join you… I hope.

    • Tavi December 16th, 2012 10:25 AM

      This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it.

      • MissKnowItAll December 16th, 2012 3:32 PM

        Your welcome. I wanted to submit it but I tought it was too late

  • Mattie December 16th, 2012 11:26 AM

    I live in Newtown Connecticut, well technically Sandy Hook. This means the world to me. Thank you so much.

  • dharma94ara December 16th, 2012 4:10 PM

    Thank you so much for the information. Honestly I found myself tuning out when gun control was discussed in this presidential campaign. But the fact that this tragedy involved such innocent souls, I think everyone realized that evil and guns really don’t know right for wrong. Gun control should be a topic that should be looked at more carefully, especially since this year was such a newsworthy one. I go to high school in New York City and it would’ve been easy to say that our school is safe but after this horrific event, school can’t even be considered a sanctuary. Just the thought of these stolen youths by a thing is just so unfortunate. It sad to realize that such destruction can bring people closer together, but we need to hold on to these memories of what could happen if gun control isn’t at the least discussed.

  • a-anti-anticapitalista December 17th, 2012 9:19 AM

    I mean, isn’t it not only ridiculous but counter-intuitive and down-right DISGUSTING that the second this happened the whole media was turning to Obama, someone who has enabled the murder of countless children and who was not related in any way to these shootings, looking for what HE would say? looking for some words of condolence from him and some thoughts on the matter?
    This article makes an important case about mental health http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother
    But honestly, I don’t think we can look for the state for answers and solutions, I think that is the problem. These issues are deep, government can only put a band-aid on them and pretend they are fixed, only to let them rot and get worse under them.

  • Teal December 18th, 2012 1:31 PM

    OPEN CALL FOR SNOWFLAKES – for Sandy Hook, CT:

    Make any kind of snowflake to decorate the new location of Sandy Hook Elementary School! Love from everywhere helps.

    Mail snowflakes to: Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514, by January 12, 2013.

  • jeffh January 1st, 2013 4:27 PM

    heey Emma – thanks so much for mentioning our Remake project! love Rookie, so it was really cool to see it posted here!