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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
May 11, 2023

Deaths from firearms keep climbing in Texas, decades after lawmakers began weakening gun regulations

New article in the Texas Tribune describes how as Texas has accelerated efforts to ease access to guns, deaths from firearms have increased.


Deaths from firearms in Texas — the vast majority of them suicides or homicides — have continued rising in Texas, reaching levels not seen in almost three decades.

At the same time, Texas relaxed its gun laws in a decadeslong push to expand Second Amendment rights in the state, most recently in 2021 when Gov. Greg Abbott signed what Republicans called a “constitutional carry” bill into law, allowing Texans to carry handguns without a license or training.

Texas lawmakers have approved more than 100 bills that loosened regulations on firearms over the last two decades, from blocking campus “zero tolerance” policies that expelled gun-carrying students to preventing hotels from restricting handguns, according to data compiled by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that deaths from firearms in Texas generally began to increase about two decades ago after a dramatic decline in the 1990s. There were 15 deaths by firearms per 100,000 people in Texas in 2021, a 50% jump from 1999 when there were on average 10 deaths by firearms per 100,000 people. Over the same period, firearm-related homicides rose 66% and suicides involving firearms rose 40%.
January 29, 2023

The Origins of Asymmetric Propaganda in American Media

Very interesting academic paper on the asymmetric nature of American media with the mainstream and left at least making an attempt to abide by journalistic standards while the right wing media being wholly focused on promoting partisan propaganda that can be totally disconnected to fact whether it be promoting vaccine disinformation or conspiracy theories about election fraud.

Unfortunately, mainstream media itself has often ignored this asymmetric landscape, and often embraces a false equivalency between Republicans and Democrats, which only served to validate the most extreme voices on the right such that Ted Cruz, MTG and Matt Geatz, on the right, are seen as equivalent in credibility to AOC, Katie Porter and Elizebeth Warren on the left.


Benkler describes the results of a large-scale study of the political media ecosystem duringthe 2016 US presidential campaign and the first year of the Trump presidency. The majorfinding is that the American political media ecosystem is asymmetrically polarized, with aninsular, well-defined right wing, and the rest of the media ecosystem, from the center-right to the far left,forming a single media ecosystem anchored by traditional media organizations like the NewYork Times or the Washington Post. The structure renders the American right moresusceptible to propaganda and disinformation than the left. The chapter then offers analysis of why political economy, rather than technology, was the source of thisasymmetry, outlining the interactions between political culture, law and regulation, andcommunications technology that have underwritten the emergence of the propaganda feedbackloop in the right wing of the American media ecosystem, and outlines the structural driversof the present epistemic crisis.

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