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Author: TheConversation

Usual Suspects: Politicians continue to use mental illness as a scapegoat for gun violence

By Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University President Donald Trump called for reform of mental health laws on the heels of two deadly shootings that claimed the lives of at least 31 people and left a grief-stricken country in disbelief. The president, saying that “hatred and mental illness pulls the trigger, not the gun,” also called for better identification of people with mental illness and, in some cases, “involuntary confinement” of them. These sentiments are similar to comments that Trump and a number of other politicians have made previously. For example, after the Parkland shooting, which...

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Communities pay high economic costs resulting from changes in ICE enforcement

By Emily Ryo, Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Southern California President Donald Trump has continued threats of mass raids nationwide using the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While these mass raids have yet to happen, the specter of sweeping immigration raids have stoked fear among immigrants and mobilized immigrant rights advocates across the country. Threats of mass raids in communities at large are representative of how the Trump administration has shifted the focus of immigration enforcement since the Obama administration, making changes that could have significant implications for U.S. democracy and the rule of law. I investigated patterns...

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Good Guy with a Gun: How pulp fiction became a deadly American fantasy

By Susanna Lee, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Georgetown University At the end of May, it happened again. A mass shooter killed 12 people, this time at a municipal center in Virginia Beach. Employees had been forbidden to carry guns at work, and some lamented that this policy had prevented “good guys” from taking out the shooter. This trope, “the good guy with a gun,” has become commonplace among gun rights activists. Where did it come from? On December 21, 2012, one week after Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,...

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Stop blaming video games for mass killings that are inspired by political hate

By Christopher J. Ferguson, Professor of Psychology, Stetson University In the wake of the El Paso shooting on August 3 that left 22 dead and dozens injured, a familiar trope has reemerged: Often, when a young man is the shooter, people try to blame the tragedy on violent video games and other forms of media. This time around, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick placed some of the blame on a video game industry that “teaches young people to kill.” Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California went on to condemn video games that “dehumanize individuals” as a “problem...

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Elder Abuse: Mistreatment of older adults is steadily on the rise

By Linda R. Phillips and Lisa Marie O’Neill, Professor Emeritus of Gerontological Nursing and Associate Director of Research and Education, University of Arizona About 16% of older adults are victims of some form of mistreatment and the number of reported cases of elder abuse is steadily increasing. Because of poor record-keeping, however, those of us who study elder abuse don’t know if the trend reflects an actual increase, an increase because of growing numbers of older adults, or only an increase in reporting due to greater awareness. Elder abuse involves intentional or unintentional acts that result in physical, emotional...

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The environmental impact of using E-Scooters as a replacement for car trips

By Jeremiah Johnson, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University Shared dockless electric scooters, or e-scooters, transport riders over short distances in cities. Ride share companies promote them as an environmentally friendly choice that reduces dependence on cars. To properly assess these claims, it’s important to consider all relevant environmental factors, including the materials and energy required to manufacture scooters, the impacts of collecting them daily for charging and redistributing, and the electricity that charges their batteries. I study methods for assessing environmental impacts of products and materials. In a newly published study, I show that e-scooter...

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