US to Open All Combat Roles to Women, #EndViolenceAgainstWomen Campaign


US to Open All Combat Roles to Women, Defense Secretary Says-BBC

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has declared that all combat roles in the U.S. military will be open to women. The U.S. military has 30 days to officially enforce this announcement. As a result, there will be 220,000 openings available for women to join the military. There has been some contention within the military with this decision including the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford arguing that the Marines should remain as male-only units because in studies mixed-gender units have not been as successful as male-only units. “As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before,” Carter said.

Five Ways the U.S. Could Reduce Gun Violence-CBS News

Due to another mass shooting on Wednesday in San Bernardino, California at an Inland Regional Center and last week a gunman opening fire at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs there is more pressure on lawmakers to stop mass shootings.  Here is five ways the issue could be controlled from Democrat and Republican Senators. 

The first option to prevent gun violence is to tighten restrictions on gun sales.  Democrats are considering legislation that will prevent people on the U.S. no-fly list from buying guns and ammunitions.  "If you are too dangerous to fly a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun,” Sen. Dianne Feinstien said. 

Another option would be to improve the mental health system. Republicans have been striving towards legislation that will improve treatment of people with mental health issues and provide more beds for psychiatric patients preventing them from buying guns. “These are people we can identify and help early on for treatment…many of these cases never have to advance to level of violence,” Senator Tim Murphy said. 

The third option to stop gun violence is to conduct gun violence research. The CDC has been prevented for 20 years from completing gun violence research. Giving the CDC funding to investigate gun violence could help explain the causes of gun violence. 

The fourth option to prevent gun violence is to reduce the lethality of guns by using new technology called “smart guns” that has the ability to recognize the owner’s fingerprints before it can be fired. The fifth option to hinder guns falling into the wrong hands is to address illegal firearm sales. Legislators could create a “gun trafficking statute” making it easier for law enforcement to arrest people selling and purchasing guns illegally.  These options face contention in Congress to be passed.  “The National Rifle Association has a stranglehold on Congress, and particularly Republicans in Congress, so even the most common-sense law faces a tough uphill climb,” Senior Vice President for Third Way, Jim Kessler said.  

#EndViolenceAgainstWomen Names and Shames Men who Troll Women Online-CNN

A group of Australian women started the #EndViolenceAgainstWomen campaign due to the online abuse Australian Columnist Clementine Ford encountered this week. Ford had received multiple messages on Facebook and Twitter with death threats and sexually explicit abuse.  Ford then posted a column filled with this abuse. Consequently, Kerri Sackville an Australian author and commentator decided to start this campaign after reading Ford’s column. “When I was reading this I was just horrified. I mean I’d read other messages before but just seeing them all compiled like that was just so confronting and horrendous,” Sackville said.  The #EndViolenceAgainstWomen campaign allows women to tweet out or share on Facebook names of online male offenders. The Campaign began on Friday Dec. 4th and quickly became the number one trending topic on Australian Twitter. “A lot of people say that cyber-threats and cyber bullying aren’t the same as those that occur in the real world but they are just terrifying and it made me think that I should give up writing opinion pieces altogether if this was going to be the consequences,” Australian journalist Tracy Spicer said.