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Sidney Burris
Ahimsa, Everywhere
Teaching English literature & the history of nonviolence & human rights.
Interests: Nonviolence, Tibetan Buddhism, Human Rights, Gun Control, India
Recent Activity
After every mass shooting in America, and depending tragically on how many are killed, our nation erupts in a polarizing debate about how the shooting could have been avoided. The NRA sees it as an opportunity to further their agenda of selling more guns to more people in more places.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2018 at GUNSENSE
After every mass shooting, a steadily growing number of Americans—concerned, activated, enraged—ask the inevitable and necessary question: What can I do? It's a good question, and two years ago, I posted a piece that offered advice to those who wanted to become part of the solution. You can find it... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2018 at GUNSENSE
Welcome to the course. We admire your spirit—you’ve signed up to take a course from a Tibetan Buddhist monk & an American professor of English, and that’s probably not something you figured on doing when you came to Arkansas. We’ll try to make it worth your while. Course Disclaimer—although the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2018 at the literature of nonviolence
A map of historical Tibet, to facilitate class discussion. Continue reading
If you had any doubt that the NRA is running the current bill, #HB1249, you might look at this recent posting on their lobbying website. You will see that it wrongly claims that "the Garner amendment maintains the excessive 16 hour training requirement." Falsely representing the bill’s language allows the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at GUNSENSE
Now that HB 1249 has reached the Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee, you might want to track its progress. Note this scheduling matter, however: The House Judiciary Committee meeting, where we received so much support on Tuesday, January 31, was scheduled at a specific, pre-announced time specifically so that our Chancellors,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at GUNSENSE
As most of you have heard, HB1249, Representative Collins’ bill to put guns on our campuses without allowing our Boards to opt out, passed through the House Judiciary Committee this morning. This was expected. The crowd in opposition to the bill was overflowing. UAPD Police Chief Gahagans led off the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2017 at GUNSENSE
First of all, I would like to thank all those who have voiced their concern about Representative Charlie Collins' new gun bill, recently introduced to the 91st Arkansas General Assembly. Your support has been invaluable, and because of it, we are dramatically raising awareness about this dangerous piece of legislation.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2017 at GUNSENSE
This innovative course and film-lab will introduce students to the two fundamental skills that structure the most important media outlets that we consult on a daily basis: historical research and basic video editing skills. In this course, you will learn how to investigate an historical figure, compose a research paper... Continue reading
Welcome to the class! And welcome to our website! I'm not going to spend a lot of time posting material this semester, but I will use this site as a repository for the syllabus, the online reading, and any other links or images that might be relevant to the class.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2016 at ENGL 2323: Postcolonial Literature
I was in Baton Rouge, visiting family, when the shooting started. I was never in any danger; I had no desire to move toward the cordoned-off area, either during the event or after the shooter was down and the area declared safe. Like the rest of the country, I followed... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2016 at GUNSENSE
Speaker Ryan & a gun bill? Not right now. Everyone knows that American gun-violence has been in the news lately. Everyone also knows that Americans, by huge majorities, support universal background checks on the sales of all firearms and that these very same Americans have informed their Congressmen of their... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2016 at GUNSENSE
The screen cap above is taken from the website of the Academy of Combative Warrior Arts in Richardson, Texas, just outside Dallas. We learned recently that Micah Johnson, an Army veteran who killed five Dallas policemen at a protest march, had not only continued military drills in his yard after... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2016 at GUNSENSE
Knowing that I was involved in the gun-violence prevention movement, one of my students asked me this morning to respond to the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, as well as the shootings in Dallas last night. It is a difficult moment for our country now, and very often,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2016 at GUNSENSE
Dear Gun-Lovers: Let me speak personally to you, without statistics, without affiliation, without insult, without condescension. Without history, in effect, which is impossible, I know, but worth trying. I want to speak to you person-to-person. You know what I mean: the bill-paying, family-raising, slightly disgruntled, wish-things-could-be-better person who, if we... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2016 at GUNSENSE
Shannon Watts (center), Jamie Ford (far right), and a few of the dedicated women of Moms Demand, Little Rock. On Wednesday, April 27, I had the good fortune to hear Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in a question-and-answer session at The Clinton School... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2016 at GUNSENSE
Not sure if he has engagements planned in NYC or not.
1 reply
Anyone who was listening to the Democratic debate on Sunday, March 7, and heard Sanders make the comment that the NRA promptly endorsed knew that this was a bad moment for him. If you're a progressive candidate of any sort, you don't want to wake up the next morning and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2016 at GUNSENSE
Mid-afternoon, February 16, 2016, GOP Presidential hopeful, George Bush, dropped this little Tweet. It's directed, of course, at South Carolina where currently 30% of Bush's followers support a compete ban on all Muslims and 35% favor keeping a data-base on them. Fifty percent support the Confederate flag and 30% wish... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at GUNSENSE
In case you missed this powerful address on gun-violence given by our President on January 5, I post it here, for the record. It is a passionate, compassionate, and well informed plea to our nation to take action in the prevention of needless gun-deaths. At a little over 19 minutes,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2016 at GUNSENSE
Amidst all of the tributes for Sandy Hook that will take place today, I would point to only one thing: our clear need to develop the space for an ongoing civil discourse about gun-violence and its effect on American life. Period. There will always be divisions, anger, heated exchanges, but... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2015 at GUNSENSE
Note: I wrote and originally posted this piece a day before the Paris Attacks. It remains relevant, so I have reposted it in light of the sound advice that Krishnamurti gives all of us as we grapple with our responses to the latest act of savagery of France. In a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2015 at GUNSENSE
After the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, which occurred on October 1 and left ten dead and seven wounded, America sat up and noticed. As we always do. We were shocked, and we said so, and we prayed for the victims, and we denounced our legislators. Since then,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2015 at GUNSENSE
I've decided not to trade insults anymore with people who don't like the fact that I'm trying to prevent gun-violence in America. Most of my friends made this decision a long time ago. Why it took me three years to do it I don't know—and don't care to know—so I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2015 at GUNSENSE