A barrier-breaking generation gives context to contemporary female life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guns Don't Make Citizens Safer

Do you really want the facts about gun ownership and gun violence, or do you prefer the NRA's false rhetoric? At Harvard School of Public Health, where I worked until recently, its Injury Control Research Center website tells the truth about the causes and consequences of our precious "right to bear arms" -- more like a "right to be killed by a gun."

Some examples: States with higher gun ownership rates have higher rates of gun homicide. Same holds true for countries. (the point -- guns don't make people safer) And guns in the home are more likely to be used to intimidate intimates than to fend off strangers. Meanwhile, young people who commit suicide by firearms almost always do it with a gun owned by a parent. How tragic is that? Completely preventable. Guns give no second chances. Of people who attempt suicide by gun, 85% are "successful". Compare this to attempted suicide by poison/pill overdose -- 2% success. And the vast majority of people who have a failed attempt at suicide will not eventually die by suicide. Instead they will go on with their lives and die sometime of other, different causes. But, as I said, no second chances for people with a gun in their hands.

The right to bear arms is bunk. Semi-automatic weapons too easily turn violent psychotic people into mass murderers. Think about if the guy at the movie theater last night in Aurora, a suburb of Denver,  had only had a knife...

At this posting, 12 people were killed in the massacre and 59 were wounded.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Girl from Delhi in Ghirardelli Square

courtesy: Chronicles of a Valley Girl

As a "pioneer" in an earlier generation, I identify with my young friend from India. She is an engineering student at Princeton University, the first of her extended family to study abroad and a female at that! What a fuss the Aunties made at home, she told me, criticizing her parents for allowing her, an unmarried girl, to live and study beyond their reach and protection.

There are still many barriers to break, pioneering to be done by women globally. My friend recently felt her liberation, of personhood and thought, most keenly in SF's Ghirardelli Square. Her post is illuminating -- about her journey and ours.

On the SF visit, my friends were kind of annoyed at my constant nagging to go to Ghirardelli Square to eat ice cream (though they did a good job of trying to hide it!). Still, visiting Ghirardelli for me was more than just tasting their wonderful desserts. The last time I visited Ghirardelli Square and stayed around for a while was in 2008 with family. 2008 was a different life. It was my first visit to the US and I was struck first and foremost by how self reliant people here seemed. Of course, I now know that it is more of a necessity. The US seems to force you to be self reliant, in a way in which I was never forced before. Growing up in Delhi, I was very protected and sheltered. Of course, a lot of it had to do with age and the level of safety a city like Delhi accorded me - but coming to the US, I felt it gave me the means to be completely free, make my own decisions, my own mistakes and really understand myself.
I mentioned this to my parents and others around me when we visited, and most people laughed it off. Like many other things I said on the trip, this too was considered a whim, a teenager’s fantasy and phase that I would soon grow out of.
“Things are different in the real world. Don’t try and be TOO independent. It’s not a good attitude, especially for girls…”

Full blog post at Chronicles of a Valley Girl

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Swimmer and the Writer

Charming and uplifting first person story by NYT sportswriter Karen Crouse on how she impacted a swimmer's life at age 13 through the power of the written word. He went on to become an Olympic champion. She went on to become....NYT sportswriter Karen Crouse.