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Sarah Stankorb

Writer. Midwesterner.

I am good at chitchatting, making new pals and building blanket forts.

Location
Ohio
sarahstankorb
Website
www.sarahstankorb.com

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    Engineers Keep Cincinnati Mountain from Sliding Away via cincinnatimagazine.com

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    Children Are Better Sharers When Given a Tough Decision, Not a Reward via ctvnews.ca

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  • Sarah Stankorb replied to a comment by MEH1951

    GOOD Magazine Feature | Get to Know the Americans You'd Least Expect to Fancy the Firearm via magazine.good.is

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    MEH19518 months ago

    Sarah seems to be missing the point. The US gun death rate far exceeds that of every other industrialized nation. The reason is we have too many guns and too few gun safety regulations. Guns are the last consumer product not regulated for consumer health and safety.

    Does Sarah not believe universal background checks are a good idea? Does she not believe that smart gun technology is a good idea? We will always have guns in America. But do we have to have so many gun deaths? Let's take a reasonable public health approach and reduce the gun death and injury that over 100k Americans experience each year. Final fact: a gun in the home makes you 22 times more likely to be killed or injured than if you didn't have a gun in the home. The idea that a gun protects you is a false idea sold by the NRA and gun industry to gullible Americans. Sadly, too many Americans, including you, have taken the bait.

    Sarah Stankorb8 months ago

    Thanks for reading. I'm certainly not arguing against universal background checks or anything that would help make the legal use of guns safer. I worked on this article in order to better understand why in the world anyone would want to have or even use a firearm--because I hated the NRA and everything it stands for. But not all gun-owners fall into those narrow parameters, and talking with liberal gun-owners taught me quite a bit about why people, who are otherwise philosophically quite close to me, use guns (and similarly argue for greater safety, because they know too well how dangerous guns can be). I don't think we'll actually succeed in getting to those important safety regulations if the levels of vitriol remain as high as they are in this debate.

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    GOOD Magazine Feature | Get to Know the Americans You'd Least Expect to Fancy the Firearm via magazine.good.is

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    Sarah Stankorb8 months ago

    Emiotke, thanks for your kind words. I may not have succeeded in articulating just how hard it was for me to cross the line and take part in this "exploration."

    And you're spot-on about Chicago. I used to live in Chicago and as background for this article, interviewed a second amendment scholar who grew up in South Side Chicago. He told me this--it makes him sick how many kids are dying in Chicago, how many kids end up selling drugs because it seems like their only option. His solution: legalize marijuana, stop the drug war, and invest that money in fixing their schools, bolstering social services. He said, "What I think we should try to do is shrink the illegal world so that people don't live in an illegal world and that there is not great advantage to using firearms for illegal purposes."

    It was quite a shock to talk to a staunch defendant of second amendment rights and be told we should legalize weed and increase funding to social services. That, if nothing else had been, was a reminder that people can have complex allegiances and perspectives.

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  • Sarah Stankorb commented on a link

    GOOD Magazine Feature | Get to Know the Americans You'd Least Expect to Fancy the Firearm via magazine.good.is

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    Sarah Stankorb8 months ago

    Thanks Ray (and Reese, sorry your comment didn't show--I think they are working to fix that). You are absolutely right, having guns at home statistically makes you less safe. But Americans own somewhere around 300 million guns and sales have skyrocketed after Sandy Hook. I certainly wouldn't want one in my house, but I think a lot about my neighbors' guns after writing this article--and all the guns around us everywhere.

    As I interviewed people who had kids and asked how they stored their guns, I got a range of answers (anything from a high, top shelf in the case of a police officer, to never bringing it home and keeping it locked up at the shooting range). I've certainly never thought to ask when my kid goes on a play date if guns are in the house and if so, how they are stored.

    One gun-owner I interviewed told me that the current climate around guns had him deeply concerned, because it made the discussion all about rights to own guns, and not the very important responsibilities associated with them. It put gun-owners in a defensive crouch, more apt to buy more. He wondered if instead of talking first about regulating gun sales (to him a bit of a lost cause) we might first focus on fostering a public movement around gun safety. Tax breaks for buying gun safes or incentives for storing them at shooting ranges. Celebrities talking about how, when they are done at the shooting range, they properly store and secure their firearms so they can't fall into the wrong hands. He seemed to see a middle ground there, for those who hate guns and those who own them, to work together to make everyone safer.

    Trust me, before I started working on this story, I never would have considered that there could be a middle ground or a bridge between, or that I'd want to be there, but I think we can all agree, we don't want more school shootings, we don't want cities torn apart by gun violence, and with the realities we've got (millions of guns and second amendment rights protecting those who own them legally), we need a more productive starting point if things are to improve. Seeing gun-owners as evil or trigger-happy is not productive.

    And last, a big part of that number of shootings that happen at home are suicides (nearly 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides), and as a society, I feel we really need to talk about that as well. I have no answer there, and would be curious to know what you think.

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