Things That Matter

Lalo Alcaraz Has Painted Emma Gonzalez, The Face Of The Gun Control Debate, And Here’s How People Are Reacting

One of the most impactful moments since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, is that of Emma Gonzalez calling BS on politicians and gun laws. The 18-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is leading the fight against school violence. The teenager has become the face of a new movement of young people demanding change on gun laws.

Emma Gonzalez became a viral sensation after her impassioned speech at a Feb. 17 rally following the Florida school shooting.

People across the world heard her words that were directed at the National Rifle Association (NRA) and President Donald Trump. One of those people captivated by Emma’s passion and determination to create a safe environment for children was illustrator Lalo Alcaraz.

Lalo Alcaraz was so moved by Gonzalez and her speech that he created an illustration of her.

CREDIT: Lalo Alcaraz

“I was awed by her speech, and by all of the courage and responsibility these young people have taken on,” Alcaraz said. “I had been thinking about it for a day or so after I watched her, and then someone on Facebook nudged me and said ‘WE NEED AN EMMA CARTOON FROM YOU.'”

As soon as the image went live, people have been sharing Alcaraz’ illustration of Gonzalez everywhere.

CREDIT: Twitter/@katwardphoto

Alcaraz admits that it took more than one attempt to capture the emotion he saw in Gonzalez that day.

“I drew a realistic version of her, and I tossed it,” Alcaraz said. “I then did a quick caricature that I hoped would capture her anger and determination, her loss of innocence — that all these kids had just gone through as well and I think it worked.”

People are sharing photos of themselves with Gonzalez’ drawing all over social media.

Alcaraz has posted his own photos of fans using his art in protests recently.

“The response has been overwhelming to say the least,” Alcaraz tells mitú. “People need a rallying image, I hope this one helps the movement.”

Even Gonzalez herself tweeted the image and loves it.

Alcaraz said he is very relieved and honored to know Gonzalez approved of his illustration.

As of now, the image of Gonzalez can be printed for free but Alcaraz adds that he is currently redesigning the image for a t-shirt printing after fans demanded them. He said the new image will have the Never Again hashtag, and will be available for purchase on his online Art Shop.

He also added that all proceeds from sales of this t-shirt will go towards the Never Again movement or a gun control activist group.

Alcaraz hopes the t-shirts will be ready to go by the time Gonzalez and countless more take to the streets for the March of Our Lives demonstration taking place on March 24 in Washington D.C. and across the nation.

READ: This Teenager Was Shot 5 Times During The Florida School Shooting While Protecting A Room Full Of People

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What Makes a Mass Shooter? New Study Stresses the Need for Prevention

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What Makes a Mass Shooter? New Study Stresses the Need for Prevention

Sandy Hook PSA

After yet another school shooting in Santa Clarita, California, the conversation about gun violence has reached new and troubling heights. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks every mass shooting in the country, 2019 may be the first year since 2016 with an average of more than one shooting a day. As of November 17, there have been 369 mass shootings in the U.S. We all know that there are 365 (well, sometimes 366) calendar days in a year—so when you do the math, you’re quick to realize that 2019 has seen a serious excess of senseless tragedy…and we still have six weeks left.

The issue of gun violence is complicated by misguided political and financial interests, but the data behind mass shootings is undeniably clear—it is data, after all. The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as “any incident in which four people are shot, including the shooter.” The FBI defines mass murders as “incidents in which at least four people are killed.” While the FBI does not have a formal definition for mass shootings, the Gun Violence Archive investigates both, asserting that of the above mentioned 369 mass shootings, 28 were mass murders.

In total, there have been 34,365 deaths and 25,929 injuries as a result of gun violence in 2019, whether from mass shootings, homicides, suicides, or accidents. So, who is committing these crimes?

credit: CNN.com

Of course, the answer is varied, complex, and incredibly nuanced. But in light of the recent tragedy in California, our attention is once again drawn to one group within the broad population of U.S. gun users: mass shooters. What leads someone to carry out these large-scale acts of violence? And what do mass shooters have in common with each other?

On November 19, a study funded by the Department of Justice—the largest study of mass shooters ever funded by the U.S. government—was released, and it responds directly to these questions. A dataset that stretches back to 1966 (beginning with the University of Texas shooting of that year, chosen by researchers for the massive media attention it received), the study tracks the pattern of large-scale shootings over the course of 53 years, ultimately concluding that mass shooters share four prominent characteristics: childhood trauma, a personal crisis, sources that validate their aggressive feelings, and access to a firearm.

The study was conducted by the Violence Project, a nonpartisan organization that “aims to reduce violence in society and improve related policy and practice through research and analysis.” With a sharp focus on the life histories of more than 171 mass shooters, the study serves as the largest, most comprehensive database of its kind, and it exposes a lot about the mass shooter archetype.

In addition to revealing that 20% of the 167 incidents have occurred in the past five years, the study reveals that shooters are increasingly motivated by a racial, religious, or misogynist impetus—especially those who committed their crimes in that same time frame.

credit: Los Angeles Times

This pattern is best demonstrated by the following metrics: Of the 75 mass shootings that took place between 1966 and 2000,  9% were motivated by racism, 1% by religious hatred, and 7% by sexism and misogyny. Of the 32 mass shootings that have unfolded since 2015, 18% were motivated by racism, 15% by religious hatred, and 21% by misogyny—a jump in numbers that exceeds 200% across the board.

While acknowledging mass shooters’ tendency to target populations that they are prejudiced against, the research team also drew attention to the fact that nearly all mass shooters seemed to be in a state of personal crisis in the time leading up to the actual shooting. This pattern, according to the researchers, demonstrates opportunities for prevention that are all too often missed.

Similarly, the study found that nearly 70% of shooters exhibited suicidal motivations before (or during) the shooting—a finding that the researchers hope will directly influence public policy. We know a lot more about suicide prevention than we do about this issue, and we know what works — things like limiting access to weapons, directly asking the question, connecting people with outside resources, not talking about it in the news,” Dr. Jillian Peterson, co-founder of the Violence Project, told VICE. “This shows us that there are opportunities for intervention—this doesn’t just happen out of the blue.”

Family history, life circumstances, and mental health aside, mass shootings would not be possible without the use of a gun. Roughly half of the perpetrators in the database purchased their weapons legally, while 13% obtained their weapons by theft. Over the last five years, the study notes an increase in mass shooters’ use of assault rifles, which correlates with the increased deadliness of shootings during that period. 

Beyond a desire for tighter firearm regulation, the Violence Project aims to focus on prevention: addressing the patterns surrounding gun violence in order to end it before it begins. This extensive database is definitely a step in the right direction.

A Gunman Opened Fire On A Santa Clarita High School And Here’s Everything We Know

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A Gunman Opened Fire On A Santa Clarita High School And Here’s Everything We Know

KTTV Fox 11

One person is dead and at least three others are injured, two of them critically, after a shooting at a Southern California high school Thursday morning, officials said.

The shooting began at before 8 a.m. before classes had started, while many students were on their way to the school.

The shooting began before classes started, with authorities starting to get calls about shots fired at 7:38 a.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Adam Eichensehr, another sophomore, told ABC7 he received a text from his friends telling him not to go to school because they heard gunshots.

“At first I didn’t believe it. … then I saw cops, and so I stopped and I called my mom and she told me to come straight home,” he said. “All my friends I’ve come in contact with are OK for now.”

Police had tweeted out a warning to the community before they had located the suspect.

The Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office tweeted just before 8 a.m. local time to avoid the area of Saugus High School, which is in the county of Los Angeles, about 40 miles north of the city of Los Angeles. Minutes later, the office said people were reporting that shots had been fired at the school.

“This is an active shooter situation,” a tweet from the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office said before the suspect was located. “If you live in neighborhoods anywhere near Saugus High, PLEASE LOCK DOORS and stay inside. If you see suspect, male dark clothing, in backyards, etc. CALL 911.”

“Parents, deputies are on scene everywhere protecting your children,” a tweet from the sheriff’s office said.

So far two victims have died from their wounds and three others remain in the hospital.

Five victims were being transported to Henry Mayo Hospital, which says that three of them — two males and one female — arrived in critical condition. The female patient later died. Another male patient was in good condition and a fifth patient was still en route, according to the hospital.

Terrified students have started sharing their harrowing stories.

Student Sharon Orelana Cordova told NBC Los Angeles that she was doing homework when she saw people running so she started running too. “When I got out, I saw this person lying down on the ground, and I saw blood all over. It was really scary, I was really really scared. I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

Saugus was placed on lockdown as were neighboring elementary schools and all of the schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District, officials said.

Aerial video showed students with their hands raised, being escorted by deputies away from the school of about 2,300 students, NBC Los Angeles reported. They were transported from the campus on school buses with armed deputies on board.

An area was set up for parents to reunify with students at a park about three miles from the school.

Politicians and celebrities were quick to condemn the violence on social media.

Several of the leading candidates for the 2020 Democratic primary took to Twitter to share their grief but to also make renewed calls for increased gun control.

Bernie Sanders said: “This must end. Children in America should not live in fear for their lives at school or anywhere else. We have a moral obligation to say: children’s lives are more important than gun manufacturers’ profits. We must pass common sense gun safety legislation.”

While California’s Governor Gavin Newsome tweeted at the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel: “how many more lives will be lost? How many more shootings will we have to endure? We need commonsense gun reform. NOW.”

The Santa Clarita shooting marks the 366th mass shooting in the US just this year.

At least 30 shooting attacks on school grounds have occurred in 2019 resulting in deaths or injuries, according to gun safety group Everytown.

At least 11 people have died in fatal shooting attacks this year, according to Everytown’s research. 

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, a non-profit founded in 2006, tracks incidents of gun violence across the United States. Included in its count of gun violence on schools are any incident in which a live round is fired inside or into a school building or on a school’s campus.

The group says there have been a total of 84 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2019. There were 104 in 2018.

Of the incidents this year, 10 fatal incidents, including Thursday’s, involved attacks on others. There were other shootings that caused injury or death that involved those that died by suicide, a round that accidentally went off, attacks not targeting students or domestic incidents