In Parkland, the Kids Are Already Changing Things on Guns

PARKLAND, FloridaThe stages of grief are active in the young lives of students who survived Americas latest school shooting, but its the last stagethe acceptance stagethat they will not allow to set in.

Fourteen children and three adults were killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday. It was the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook. Unlike mass murders since then, where people have resigned themselves to gun laws not changing, this time already appears to be different, thanks to the kids.

I dont even have a job. I dont even have any money, Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, told The Daily Beast on Sunday. Stopping this from happening again is my life now.

The heart of this movement is in Parkland… Parkland is strong and its the type of community that can make change from tragedy, Cameron Kasky said to the crowd of gun reform supporters at North Community Park, less than a quarter-mile from the high school.

Stop yelling at each other, stop it with the Republicans and the Democrats… for Gods sake, fucking hug each other, Kasky said.

Just outside the high school, teddy bears, flowers, candles, and personalized messages to the fallen stand out from the crime scene tape that still surrounds the perimeter gate. A row of parked cars on the grass down a residential street indicates a private memorial.

The students, parents, and teachers have started the #NeverAgainMSD movement and have organized the March for Our Lives on March 24 in Washington, D.C., to demand action on guns, which seems already to be having an impact on staunch pro-gun legislators.

Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents Parkland, told The Daily Beast on Monday that the push for gun reform feels different this time.

Now, is it just because this happened in my backyard where the connections are so close and the pain is so raw? I dont know, maybe, but I dont think so, Deutch said.

Its different because you have all of these brave young adults who have unfortunately aged far beyond their years as a result of this shooting, leading the effort, Deutch said. The difference between now and in the past is this is the active shooter generation. These kids have been doing active shooter drills since they started kindergarten.

On the national level, White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Friday that President Donald Trump is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system for firearm purchases.

The bipartisan Senate bill introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) seeks to improve the reporting process of offenses on the state and local levels that could further aid in keeping firearms out of potentially dangerous individuals.

This is not a Second Amendment issue, its a public safety issue, Deutch said. He [Trump] spent a lot of time complaining about extreme vetting in the context of immigration. Well, we certainly should do extreme vetting of people who are about to purchase a firearm that could cause the kind of mass casualties that weve seen over the past few years.

Meanwhile, in Florida, pro-gun legislation seeking to expand, not restrict, current gun laws has stalled for the moment. The bills that were set to come to the floor and pass within the states House and Senate were pulled amid the growing national attention on Florida.

If passed, the bills would have sought to change Florida from a concealed carry to an open carry state; provide broader authorities to people with concealed carry licenses to move from state to state without violating state or federal laws; and provide teachers with firearms.

Broward County Mayor Beam Furr told The Daily Beast that Republicans in Tallahassee were embarrassed to have the legislative bills on the floor as Florida gained national attention after the shooting.

The power is primarily Republican in Florida and theyre not willing to compromise, Furr told The Daily Beast on Sunday.

In a early sign of progress for the #NeverAgainMSD movement, Florida state legislators in the House and Senate signaled they would draft new legislation aimed at curtailing access to semi-automatic rifles by raising the legal age of purchase from 18 to 21 years old and provide a three-day waiting period before the firearm sale is complete.

We owe it to victims of families on what I now consider the absolute most important issue of the session, said Sen. Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

However, the plan stops short of the demands from the majority of Parkland residents, who call for an all-out ban on assault rifles. Florida Gov. Rick Scott told CNNs Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, Everythings on the table. Im going to look at every way that we can make sure our kids are safe.

When asked if he supported tightening gun restrictions in the state, Scott told CNN, We cannot let this pass without making something happen that hopefully, and its my goal that this will never happen again in my state.

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords PAC has begun running attack ads against Scott over his gun policy record, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Specifically, the ads target Scotts supporting a bill that prevents doctors, including mental health professionals, from asking patients if they owned a firearm. Scott currently has a A+ rating from the NRA.

Florida has historically been the epicenter for legislative test bedding for new or modified bills backed by the NRA in support of expanding gun rights that influence how firearms are regulated in other U.S. states, Floridas Stand Your Ground law, for example, gives legal protections to people who use deadly force in public if they feel they were in imminent danger.

The effort in Florida is led by the first female president of the National Rifle Association. Additionally, the gun lobby is bolstered by suburban financial backing and a dedicated voter base that keeps Republican lawmakers in office.

Floridas gun laws came under scrutiny in recent years, especially after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and in Fort Lauderdale in 2016. However, despite the national attention then and now, the only movement on gun legislation out of Tallahassee is proposals to relax restrictions on gun owners and expand the scope of where guns could be carried.

Meanwhile, local officials like those in Broward County are hamstrung by a law that prevents local officials and police chiefs from passing new laws or amending existing gun laws. The provision even allows for the arrest of local officials who try to challenge the law.

We could very quickly figure out something that could further protect our citizens, but right now that wont see the light of day, Furr said.

Carlos J. Reyes, the executive director for Broward Countys Charter Review Commission, says it is working to see what can be done immediately to provide additional protections for residents.

Theres currently a section within our charter that regulates handguns, but because of the state statute, thats considered null and void. The mere thought of trying to introduce change from a policymaker triggers a violation of the statute, Reyes said. Its a $5,000 fine and removal from office.

So when we say our hands are tied, its literal. It means going to jail if we try to pass any common-sense measures, Furr told The Daily Beast.

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Remember This Week: Its the Beginning of the End of the NRAs Reign of Terror

Shun the NRA. Shun the assault weapons manufacturers. Shame and vote out the politicians who take their money and do their bidding. Thats the strategy that activists for firearms sanity have finally seized on, after decades of losing to the most bloodthirsty lobby in America.

The rise of the Parkland students, and their #NeverAgain movement following the slaughter of 17 of their classmates and teachers by a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County Florida, presents the most existential threat to the gun lobby in my lifetime. These kids, aged 15 to 18, have spoken more clearly, more forcefully, and more effectively than any activists or politicians, who for decades have pleaded for laws prohibiting the amassing of personal military-style arsenals by American gun fetishists.

What these young people have is special. They are too hurt and shocked and angry to be told to calm down. They are too social-media savvy to be fazed by bots and trolls and insane conspiracy theories. They were born in the post-9/11 age and are too fearless to be made to back down by bullies like the NRAs resident Cruella de Ville Dana Loesch and her fellow travelers on the right. And they can easily spot the BS of a president, who has to hold a palm card to remind him to care when he speaks to them about their terrifying experiences.

And what they are demanding is so rational its impossible to argue against it: an end to the ability of a teenager who cant legally purchase Sudafed, rent a car or buy a beer to obtain a weapon of war, and to turn his anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts into mass slaughter.

The statistics are damning. Since 1966, when a gunman turned the clock tower at the University of Texas into a snipers nest, killing 17 people before police killed him, 1,077 Americans have been murdered in mass shootings, including 162 children and teenagers. According to The Washington Post, which examined 150 mass killings in which one or more gunmen participated and four or more people died, 167 of the 292 guns used by 153 mass murderers were obtained legally, and only 49 illegally (the sources of the rest are unknown).

The problem is not illegal guns. Its the ones that are perfectly lawful to obtain. And by the way, mass shootings represent a fraction of the overall gun deaths that are unique to America, which lost more than 1.5 million lives to gun homicides and suicides between 1968 and 2015 more than have perished in all the wars America has been involved in combined.

And the gun lobby aims to keep the cash registers ringing. With gun sales on the decline, particularly without the black bogie man President Obama to send the war games in the woods militia ranks soaring, they are constantly looking for new ways to terrify existing gun owners into hoarding even more.

The problem is not illegal guns. Its the ones that are perfectly lawful to obtain.

With each new tragedy the gun lobby pushes for more concealed carry, more open carry, campus carry, guns in bars and churches, preventing bans on guns that are undetectable by metal detectors, legalizing silencers and armor piercing bullets whose purposes is solely human extermination, and arming teachers; all in the name of expanding firearm sales. And they stand firmly in the way of any law that would take weapons of mass death out of the hands of abusers, suspected terrorists, and even the insane.

After a gunman used a Glock 17 and Ruger P89 9mm pistol to shoot 50 people, killing 23 inside Lubys Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas in 1991, both the U.S. House and Democratic Governor Ann Richards fought for measures that would have outlawed the kind of weapons used in the killings. The Texas and national gun lobbies fought back, defeating the measures and replacing them with increased support for concealed carry. Richards vetoed one of the new, bloody bills. Her successor, Gov. George W. Bush, signed it.

After an armed security guard a proverbial good guy with a gun proved powerless to prevent two students from Columbine High School in Colorado from slaughtering 13 of their classmates before killing themselves in 1999, the Denver Posts David Olinger wrote this:

They stashed enough firepower under long black coats and in duffel bags to shoot at hundreds of classmates. Concealed in the coat Dylan Klebold wore to school on April 20 was an assault weapon banned from manufacture in 1994, a crude, menacing pistol made to fire 36 rounds without reloading. Eric Harris brought a new, short-barreled rifle that fired 10 rounds at a clip, the maximum allowed by the assault-weapons law.

Each carried a shotgun, sawed off at both ends to render it half its original length, short enough to hide like a handgun and wield like a Capone-era street sweeper.

All four of these guns had been sold from Colorado gun-show tables in 1998 by private sellers who took no names, required no signature, called nobody for a background check. Robyn Anderson, an 18-year-old Columbine High senior, bought three on a weekend shopping spree with her 17-year-old companions. Klebold and Harris supplied the cash, she the driver's license. The assault weapon, a TEC-DC9, was sold at a different gun show to Mark Manes, a young man who later resold it for $500 to the killers – and then sold them a fresh supply of ammunition on April 19, 1999.

At that time, the question was how to close this gun show loophole." The NRA and its fellow gun lobbyists went to work on politicians fearful of being washed out in the 2000 elections and saw to it that nothing was done.

After another gunman carried four guns including an AR-15 (the assassins weapon of choice) and 6,000 rounds of ammunition and murdered 12 people at a Batman: The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, injuring 70, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

After a gunman killed 32 of his classmates at Virginia Tech in 2007, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

After a teenager slaughtered 20 six- and seven-year-olds and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut 11 days before Christmas in 2012, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

After a racist gunman murdered nine black parishioners during Bible study inside historic Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June of 2015, the NRA made sure nothing was done.

After the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando left 49 young people dead and 58 injured in June 2016, Marco Rubio used the tragedy to launch his reelection campaign, and then he and his fellow Republicans, under the direction of the NRA, made sure nothing was done.

As the young people of an earlier time led their parents and grandparents and an unwilling nation to moral improvement during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, these children are leading us.

After gunman turned a hotel room on the Vegas strip into a snipers roost like the one in Texas 51 years earlier, raining more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition onto a crowd of country music concertgoers, killing 58 people and wounding a breathtaking 851 more, the NRA made sure nothing was done. When it was revealed that the gunman tricked out his semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks to allow them to fire like machine guns, the NRA opposed outlawing the accessory, even after hinting they might grow a conscience and support a ban.

Indeed, all the NRA and even more extreme lobbying groups like Gun Owners of America have done after each of these tragedies is to push for more guns in more places, more permission for gun owners to kill fellow human beings by ensuring they can get away with it via laws like Stand Your Ground, more extremism allied to right wing media, neo-Confederate lunatics and even Russia, and more blood money in the hands of Republican politicians.

Currently, the NRA is on record opposing restoring 21 the age of majority at this countrys founding as the minimum legal age to buy the kind of assault weapon used to mow down 17 children and teachers at Marjory Stone Douglas High School something that now even the A+ rated governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is calling for. The 21-year-old minimum age to buy a handgun (but notably not a rifle, including an assault rifle) became the law of the land in 1968 following the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy that year and the murder of President John F. Kennedy five years before. At the time, the NRA which was still primarily a sportsmans organization supported it, as it had supported the public disarming of the Black Panthers in California under the Mulford Act signed into law by then-governor Ronald Reagan in 1967.

Well, the children of Parkland, in 2018, have finally said enough. As the young people of an earlier time led their parents and grandparents and an unwilling nation to moral improvement during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, these children are leading us. And we are proud to so honorably led.

These children are united and determined. And they can win. Indeed already, the quarantining of the gun lobby has begun.

This week, the mayor pro tem of Dallas invited the NRA to find a new location for their bloody convention, and warned that if they do show up in his city, there will be protests. Governor Scott and Nevada Attorney General Paul Laxalt, both staunch pro-gun Republicans, wont even publicly admit they plan to attend a sign of how toxic the NRA has already become.

The Parkland students have called for a March 24 march on Washington. The march for our lives has already attracted millions of dollars in pledges and support from Hollywood titans like George and Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. The march could put millions of people, young and not-so young, in the streets all over the country. School districts should be warned that punishing students for walking out in support of the movement will only make it stronger.

On Friday, First National Bank of Omaha, the largest privately owned credit card company in the U.S., along with Enterprise, Alamo and National car rental agencies, ended their partnerships with the NRA, which offered discounts and perks to their members.

This is only the beginning.

The forces of rationality finally sense an opening. The gun lobby is weak and cleaving to extremists. The Parkland children are strong and declaring that they no longer want to be a generation practicing active shooter drills and afraid to go to school.

Parents are standing up and refusing to sacrifice their children so the gun lobby can stuff more money into their pockets. Their kids may be too young to vote, but they arent.

And no, we dont want are schools to be armed camps, with the lunch lady and the math teacher expected to be prepared to kill a former student who arrives ready to murder and to die

If our politicians dont have the courage to do what is right, what is moral and what makes sense, by stopping the legal sale of these weapons, the American majority will change the politicians. If Wayne LaPierre doesnt understand that the next generation and the next will be unavailable to him and his vile philosophy, he needs a quick lesson in demographic math. One way or another, the NRA and its extremist ideology are on a path to extinction.

And good riddance to them in advance.

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Democrats Flip Two Seats in Connecticut and New Hampshire, Bringing Trump-Era Total to 39

Two Democrats won state legislative contests on Tuesday night, flipping the seats from Republican hands and marking the 38th and 39th legislative flips since President Trump's inauguration. Democrats have now also flipped six this year alone.

Democrat Phil Spagnuolo won a special election in New Hampshire's Belknap County District 3 on Tuesday night 968-841 (54%-46%).

The contest for this state House race pitted Spagnuolo, a substance abuse recovery coach, against Republican Les Cartier, a former employee at the state fire marshal's office. The seat was left open after the death of Republican State Rep. Donald Flanders last September. Donald Trump won the district by a sizable 54-41 margin in 2016, four years after Barack Obama carried it by just one point, 50-49.

Democrat Phil Young won a contest in Connecticut's state House District 120 as well, a seat that had been held by Republicans for 40 years.

The race in House District 120 was a result of a vacancy when former State Rep. Laura Hoydick, a Republican, resigned after becoming mayor of Stratford. It pitted Young against Republican Bill Cabral, both of whom were former Town Council members. In the 2016 presidential election, the district voted for Hillary Clinton by a small margin 49-47, despite the fact that she beat President Trump statewide by nearly 14 points.

The Democratic flips tonight add to a string of recent victories for the party in state legislative races. Last week, Democrat Linda Belcher won back her seat in Kentuckys state House District 49, which had favored Trump by nearly 50 points. It was the 37th legislative flip since Trumps inauguration and the fourth this year, following a win by Margaret Good in Floridas 72nd District the previous week. There have been additional flips in Missouri and Wisconsin earlier this year as well.

Another race on Tuesday night took place in Kentuckys state House District 89. Democrat Kelly Smith, a librarian, faced off against Republican Robert Goforth, a pharmacist for the seat vacated by former Republican Rep. Marie Rader who resigned due to health concerns. Trump won the district in 2016 by a margin of 79-17. Goforth prevailed on Tuesday but by a smaller margin of 33 points.

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For struggling teens, the support they need can come unexpectedly from drama teachers.

When Kevin Bohl started high school, he felt like an outsider.

He was the new kid in town, and he and his mother had just moved into a tightknit community.

“Everyone knew everyone else. Picture Bedford Falls from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’” he says. “I knew no one. It seemed that all of the other freshmen had been going to school forever.”

To not feel invisible, he joined the football team — but he only showed up to one practice.

“I forgot to think about whether I wanted to play football,” he explains. “Turns out, I didn’t.”

Back at square one, he could have easily felt discouraged — but that’s when he saw the drama club’s autumn production. He fell in love immediately.

The next semester, he signed up for drama, a decision that would not only change his high school experience, but introduce him to a teacher who he would never forget — Mr. K.

“He gave me my first lead role,” Bohl says. “His trust in me, an unknown kid, meant more to me than he will ever know.”

That role not only placed Bohl in the spotlight, it finally gave him the sense of community for which he was desperately looking.

Kevin Bohl, present day.  Image by Simone Scully/Upworthy.

“[Mr. K] was like no one I’d ever met. He spoke to all of his students like adults. We could curse in class, which was utterly scandalous,” Bohl remembers. “And he chose projects that challenged us. He wanted us to think and feel.”

Being given space to think and feel might seem simple — but it can have a profound effect on teens who are just coming into their own.

“High school students have such fraught emotional lives,” Bohl says. “I can’t imagine a discipline better suited to [guiding] a teenager through that time than a drama teacher.”

That’s because drama teachers like Mr. K give students much more than stage directions.They provide a safe haven for teens to express themselves and heal.

Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, an associate professor in the UTeach Theater program at the University of Texas at Austin, knows this better than most. She’s an expert in preparing professionals to teach drama in high schools and knows just how important it is for teachers to empower the youth they work with.

Image via iStock.

“For marginalized youth in particular, theater can be a place where their voices matter,” she explains. “The best theater teachers engage students in the creative process, ask questions, make space for and amplify young people’s voices.”

A teacher who isn’t afraid to tackle the sometimes difficult material that speaks to the kids they’re teaching can have a profound impact on students. The benefits of doing so are undeniable.

With a good teacher, theater becomes more than a fun hobby for kids. It becomes the foundation for better mental health and academic outcomes.

According to the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, drama classes not only improve standardized test scores, they decrease dropout rates and improve self-esteem.

“[Drama teachers] can, and often do, provide empathy for [struggling] kids,” Bohl says. “They can focus students’ disabilities in productive directions.”

Image via iStock.

With this kind of support, students who participate in the arts are three times more likely to win an award for attendance, directly linking investment in the arts to increased engagement at school. In other words, when students are given a voice, they show up.

“[Theater teachers] encourage young people to think critically, consider their role in the world, how to empathize and engage with others,” Schroeder-Arce says. “[These are] skills that we all need to be effective in our work, in our homes, in our communities.”

Today, Bohl — now 51 — is a working actor in New York, and not once has he forgotten the impression that Mr. K left on him.

“To this very day, there is nowhere I feel safer than in a theater or rehearsal space working on a show,” he says. “[Mr. K was] instrumental in instilling my own belief in my abilities, challenging me to stretch them, and making it safe for me to fail.”

Kevin Bohl in a theater.  Image by Simone Scully/Upworthy.

For Bohl that sense of safety was invaluable. “[Drama teachers] are unsung heroes,” he says.

While Bohl began high school feeling invisible, it was teachers like Mr. K who made him feel seen. And while that might seem like a small gesture, it can make all the difference.

Based on a true story, NBC’s new drama “Rise” has inspired us to look for other real stories about the impact of great teachers and drama classes on high schoolers’ lives. “Rise” premieres on March 13 after “This Is Us.” Click here to see the trailer for this new show.

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Breaking The Cycle Of Addiction: Heineken Has Unveiled New Bottles With Extra-Long Necks To Give Alcoholics Time To Think About All The People Theyre Letting Down

When it comes to corporate responsibility, so many companies are quick to pass the buck, but it’s heartwarming to see a big company step up and take matters of public health into their own hands: Heineken has unveiled new bottles with extra-long necks to give alcoholics time to think about all the people they’re letting down.

Wow, what a thoughtful gesture. This is definitely going to help a lot of people break free of the vicious cycle of alcohol addiction.

While the beer will still have the same classic taste Heineken drinkers have always enjoyed, the bottles have been redesigned to feature an extended neck that will give anyone with a destructive relationship to alcohol a few extra moments before the beer reaches their lips to reflect on the people who love and depend on them and all the promises they’ve made before they throw it all away. Whether it’s a spouse their addiction has put through the ringer or the children they may never see grow up if they don’t make health a priority, the extra moments it will take the beer to travel all the way out of the totally cool, elongated bottle will give those succumbing to their alcohol dependency time to really consider the consequences their drinking might have on the people they love the most before they decide to take that sip.

“We’re excited to debut bottles with longer necks than ever before so that valued Heineken customers who habitually drink our fresh, high-quality lager to excess will have a bit more time to think of their families and loved ones before indulging in that world-class Heineken flavor,” said a spokesperson for the company in a press release. “We at Heineken hope that these extra-tall bottles will encourage people to reflect on the people they’ll be letting down and the lives they’ll be destroying if they choose to take that refreshing sip of delicious Heineken.”

That sounds pretty awesome, if you ask us! It’s amazing to see a company that truly cares about its customers. Our hats are off to you, Heineken!

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Michael Ian Black makes some great points about how we raise boys.

Boys are broken,” wrote comedian Michael Ian Black on Feb. 14th.

Just hours earlier, a gunman shot and killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The tragedy led Black to get a bit introspective about his gender and speculate the role society’s more toxic messages play in these much-too-frequent massacres.

“Until we fix men, we need to fix the gun problem,” he wrote on Twitter. “The last 50 years redefined womanhood: Women were taught they can be anything. No commensurate movement for men who are still generally locked into the same rigid, outdated model of masculinity and it’s killing us.”

A week later, The New York Times published an op-ed by Black tackling the issue in more detail.

“Too many boys are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity, where manhood is measured in strength, where there is no way to be vulnerable without being emasculated, where manliness is about having power over others,” Black wrote. “They are trapped, and they don’t even have the language to talk about how they feel about being trapped, because the language that exists to discuss the full range of human emotion is still viewed as sensitive and feminine.”

The point he was making was that we aren’t doing enough as a society to encourage and support boys and men emotionally. He’s right — and there’s data to back him up.

On March 7, LGBTQ student organization GLSEN shared some interesting findings related to Black’s argument. It’s the same point that’s been made a number of times before by writers like Bryan Epps, Lauren Sandler, and Jennifer Wright: Society’s outdated vision of masculinity can be harmful.

The argument is not “anti-men” or “anti-boys,” but a plea to provide the necessary support to sidestep toxic masculinity.

According to GLSEN, a study of the 31 mass school shootings between 1995 and 2015 found that “each shooter was male and all experienced challenges to their performance of masculinity, through homophobia and other forms of gender policing,” to which they responded by trying to “prove their tormentors wrong.”

Disturbingly, it looks as though teachers are actually getting less involved in trying to protect their students from bullying.

Creating an environment where bullies thrive unchecked is bad for all students. When that bullying centers on how boys express their masculinity, it simply results in more bullies and, occasionally, violence.

The way we talk to and about boys fosters unhealthy personal expectations, leaving many to feel isolated, alone, and afraid to seek help when they need it.

“Globally, boys are allowed far less space than girls to act outside the norms forced upon them,” GLSEN tweeted.

Of course, as the group notes, “most boys experience some gender policing and don’t commit acts of mass violence like in Parkland.” It’s not meant to be an excuse for atrocities, but maybe a bit of an explanation.

There’s nothing wrong with being a man, but maybe we do need to rethink what it means to be one.

“Our society’s typical notion of what it means to be a man might keep boys from reaching out or accepting help,” GLSEN tweeted, continuing:

“It may also lead them to assert masculinity via weapons that are often exalted as symbols and tools of masculine strength and power. … There is no one cause of mass school shootings. Nor should there be one response. Yet, for the wellbeing of young people of all genders, it’s crucial for EVERYONE (in schools and elsewhere) to expand our ideas of what being a man can and should be.”

“We know ourselves to be men, but don’t know how to be our whole selves,” Black tweeted.

The last two tweets from his thread tell the whole story — the fragility, the fear, the need for help. Having these tough, honest conversations, however, are a great place to start changing the world for the better, for children of all genders, not just boys.

“We’re terrified of being viewed as something other than men. We know ourselves to be men, but don’t know how to be our whole selves. A lot of us (me included) either shut off or experience deep shame or rage. Or all three. Again: Men are terrified,” Black wrote. “Even talking about this topic invites ridicule because it’s so scary for most men (and women). Men are adrift and nobody is talking about it and nobody’s doing anything about it and it’s killing us.”

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“You Cant Fix Her”: To the Man Whose Wife Has Anxiety

For someone who doesn’t live with anxiety, it can be difficult to understand and care for someone who does. It isn’t choosey in whose mind it captures, and it’s relentless in its efforts to destroy any peace one might have.

Mommy-blogger and mother of two Laura Mazza knows the feeling. The “Mum on The Run” took to Facebook on Sunday to encourage and inform “the man whose wife or partner has anxiety.”

“You might have heard that she has anxiety from sitting by her side in a doctor’s office, holding her hands while the tears steam down her face. You might have seen her get angry and explode because she’s overwhelmed. Wondering where this rage has come from. You might have seen her sit quietly staring into the distance with a panic in her eye.”

Laura says whether a man guessed his leading lady had anxiety, or she told him, there are some important things every man in this situation needs to know.


“Anxiety isn’t a one size fits all, it isn’t consistent and it isn’t always easy to tell. You might think she’s just snapped at you, but it was anxiety that did it, you might think she’s angry, but it’s the anxiety that’s got a choke hold, you might think she’s not enjoying herself when you go out and it’s your fault, but it’s not. It’s anxiety.”

She breaks down the thought process of someone like herself—a loving and caring woman whose mind has a tendency to play tricks on her, and get the best of her. She explains the things that from the outside just don’t make a whole lot of sense.

“You know how she can’t understand when she asks you what are you thinking, why you would respond with ‘nothing’…it’s because she never thinks nothing. Her thoughts replay like a freight train in her head full steam ahead, over and over. It’s exhausting for her. It’s why she’s tired.

There isn’t a day that goes by where she doesn’t think. She thinks about everything, and usually it is the worst case scenario. She worries that something will go wrong. That some days if she leaves the house, something will happen. Kidnapping, deaths, falls, cars spinning out of control, that’s why she can’t just leave the house or just go out, even though you’ve suggested it with good intentions. But it’s not so easy. That’s why when she’s home alone or out by herself she will text you a million times, telling you her every move or telling you everything that’s going wrong, she knows you can’t change anything, she knows you feel helpless, but so does she, that’s why she needs to share it with you, otherwise her head will explode with panic.

Sometimes she wonders why you’re with her, and if you knew she had anxiety would you still be there, do you regret it? Being with her? Do you wish you were with someone else that didn’t have this vice around their neck?”

After sharing some things that men in this scenario “need to know,” she informs them of what they can, and should do.

“I want you to know I see that this is tough on you, tough to see your loved one hurt, tough on you, the pressure for you would be immense. But don’t think for a second she doesn’t see you, don’t think for a second she doesn’t worry about you too. She even gets anxiety about you. She knows it’s not your fault, and she knows you want to fix her and in the way that means you help her, but you can’t fix her. She’s not broken.”

Anxiety is tough, and it has a horrible way of overtaking relationships, special occasions and everyday outings. But it’s not something to “fix.”

“But you can help her, you can loosen the vice. You can see what gets too much for her, the crowds of people or bed time, dinner time, see it and help her by holding her hand and tell her you’re with her. Do it with her, take over, tell her to sit down for a while and breathe. 

If you see her struggling with appointments, reschedule them for her, encourage her to take it slowly. Too much is overwhelming for her, even though she has good intentions. Don’t make her feel bad for missing an appointment, a party, whatever. She wanted to go, but she couldn’t. She already feels bad. Tells her it’s okay. Take the kids out for a play when you see her struggling, encourage her to take time out for herself. If the kids are awake all night and she’s worse if she has less sleep, get up with her, take over. Tell her to go back to bed.”

Even with all of her advice, Laura acknowledges that the solution will be different almost every single time. It won’t always be obvious, but there is still one thing you can do that will help every time.

“Sometimes the answer won’t be so obvious. Sometimes she won’t even know the answer is to what she needs, but so long as [you’re] patient with her, she will feel your love.

She or you won’t benefit if you get frustrated, it’ll just escalate and make both of you miserable. She doesn’t want her anxiety to define your relationship and when you are patient, you’re telling her you’re willing to do the same.”

The mother of two reiterates how heartbreaking anxiety is for the person who lives with it, saying she wishes she could just “feel free.”

“Free of the voice that follows her listing all her insecurities.”

Laura closes with a heartfelt message to all of those men who are seeing this, reminding them that they too are loved, and cherished, and appreciated—even when mental health prevents their loved one from expressing that.

“She appreciates you, she loves you. She’s vulnerable and scared. But she chose you to share her biggest deepest scar tissue that resides in her heart, and she knew the day she met you that you were the one worthy enough to see her in all her imperfections. She will love you with that whole heart, and you know she will because she’s already listed the pros and cons…and just as you are by her side she will be fiercely loyal to yours. Forever and ever, you just to need take her hand and tell her, ‘I am with you.’


A wife, a woman and a mumma who has anxiety.”

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GM Crops Found To Increase Yields And Reduce Harmful Toxins In 21 Years Of Data

A study looking at 21 years of data on genetically modified crops (GMOs) in the US has found that not only can they increase crop yields, but they can also be good for you.

Published in Scientific Reports, the team was led by Elisa Pellegrino from the Institute of Life Sciences in Italy. They conducted a meta-analysis of 6,006 peer-reviewed studies from 1996 to 2016 on maize that had been genetically engineered. Only 76 publications, however, met the researchers’ high standards for inclusion.

The results showed that genetically engineered (GE) maize produced a greater yield of 5.6 to 24.5 percent compared to non-GE maize. It resulted in lower concentrations of mycotoxins (−28.8 percent), fumonisin (−30.6 percent), and thricotecens (−36.5 percent). The former is toxic and carcinogenic in humans and animals. There were also no significant differences in grain quality, such as proteins, lipids, and fiber.

“The results support the cultivation of GE maize, mainly due to enhanced grain quality and reduction of human exposure to mycotoxins,” the team wrote in their paper.

Data came from GMO corn that had been planted in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. They were based on 11,699 observations of production, grain quality, and more.

“This analysis provides an effective synthesis on a specific problem that is widely discussed publicly,” study co-author Laura Ercoli told the Italian newspaper La Republica. The researchers also noted that some studies showed the use of GMO corn has reduced the active ingredient of herbicides and insecticides by 10.1 percent and 45.2 percent respectively.

Previous reports have suggested that GMO crops do not produce yield increases, such as a criticized article in the New York Times in 2016. This latest study, however, seems to suggest the opposite.

“The Italian meta-analysis marks what could be a final chapter in an important facet of the ongoing debate over the use of GMOs in farming,” said the Genetic Literacy Project.

However, Biofortified noted that one drawback of the meta-analysis was that it grouped various GE traits of corn together. They noted that each type of GE trait “has benefits and drawbacks and typically must be considered individually.” The positives of the meta-analysis, though, seem to outweigh the other factors.

“Even with the limitations of what is available in the literature, this meta-analysis shows once again that crops produced with biotechnology are some of if not the most studied foods that we eat,” Biofortified noted.

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Dad Turns Back & Autistic Teen Disappears12 Hrs Later, Neighbor Notices His Shed Looks Unusual

For father, John Barbella, spending even a minute away from his autistic son Joseph can seem like an eternity.

So whenever he turned his back ‘for a second’ to discover that the 16-year-old had wandered out the front door in the middle of a vicious storm known as a nor’easter—needless to say, John was panicked.

After about twelve hours passed, nerves continued to rise as the 16-year-old’s father and mother (who was also battling cancer) feared the worst.

Knowing the limitations his autism imposed, they worried what the fierce winds and relentless downpour could do to their son both physically and mentally. With the power to take out power lines and snap oak trees in half, Joseph certainly wouldn’t stand a fighting chance out there for long.

Thankfully, an intuitive neighbor named Michael was on high alert when he awoke and learned of the missing teen.

Upon taking a glance at his shed, Michael realized it bore an unusual resemblance to a clubhouse. After watching a documentary on autism recently, he recalled that people with the condition often liked to find hiding places. On a “hunch” Michael decided to check inside his shed to see if the teen may have been using it as a safe haven.

Sure enough, when he opened the door, he found Joshua curled up sleeping on the floor, using only a golf bag and toys as his pillow.

As soon as the Barbellas got the news that their son had been found in good health, they were completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the heroic stranger with a killer gut instinct.

“So filled with joy and just wanting to run to where the location is,” said John, recalling the moment Joshua was found. “My son is with me all the time. We do everything together, so a minute apart is tough.”

Michael has been hailed a hero in his Long Island hometown and was even presented with an honorable ‘key to the town’ by officials, but the humble neighbor is not one to pat himself on the back.

“I’m very flattered to be called a hero,” says Michael. “But I’m just proud and blessed that I was the final piece of the puzzle that helped get this young man home and safe.”

See more from this inspiring hero story in the CBS News interview below, and be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook! 

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Vegan Woman Forced Her Fennec Fox To Go Vegan, And Heres What Happened

Fennec foxes eat rodents, insects, birds, rabbits, and eggs, but this one doesn’t. For years, vegan blogger Sonia Sae has been raising her pet fox Jumanji on a vegan diet, and it has developed all sorts of health problems. Recently, however, a few people worked hard to spread the word about this behavior they call abusive, and the internet is infuriated.

According to experts, a fennec’s diet in the wild is comprised of about 90% animals and insects while the remaining 10% consists of various plants they dig up. Naturally, they need a lot of protein when living in captivity as well. Forcing her omnivore Jumanji on a vegan menu only, Sae has probably messed up its entire nutrition. For example, fennecs really need calcium and taurine. The latter is an organic compound that’s widely distributed in animal tissues. Without it, these big-eared creatures will probably develop reproductive and heart problems. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Sae has already admitted that Jumanji is half blind, suffers from spontaneous convulsions and a severe skin condition. However, she refuses the idea that its diet is a cause of these problems. “They use the word ‘abuse’ to describe the act of feeding [it] food that no animal had to die for. Despite the obvious oxymoron, any other non-vegan alternative DOES involve abuse by default,” she said in a Facebook post.

People have already contacted local animal rights authorities and are waiting for their response.

For years, vegan blogger Sonia Sae has been raising her pet fox Jumanji on a vegan diet ’cause she thinks that all species are equals

This was brought to the internet’s attention after one concerned woman posted a message on Facebook

This is how the fox looked like when Sonia Sae bought it:

Later, however, its appearance started to deteriorate

Alice tried to explain why the owner shouldn’t feed him a vegan diet

While Sonia kept sharing her pet’s photos with very concerning descriptions

Alice also pointed out that Jumanji was experiencing some serious health issues

But Sonia refused to believe what ‘haters’ were saying

In the photos that she kept posting on Instagram, it was clearly visible how thin the fox has gotten

Not only that, her fur is thinning, she’s developing severe skin conditions

Fennecs really need calcium and taurine. The latter is an organic compound that’s widely distributed in animal tissues

Without it, these big-eared creatures develop reproductive and heart problems

This is what the owner had to say about the accusations people made online

Someone e-mailed animal rights authorities trying to consult what could be done with this and here’s what they had to say

For comparison, here are some photos of healthy fennec foxes

Image credits: Kitty Terwolbeck

Image credits: Floridapfe from S.Korea Kim in cherl


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