America, It's Time To Drop Your Abusive Relationship With Gun Violence

America, It's Time To Drop Your Abusive Relationship With Gun Violence

When will you realize it's not beneficial for you?
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This month, between mass shootings at schools and police officers not being convicted for killing innocent civilians, gun control has been a topic of conversation for almost everybody. For those familiar with guns, we know the power of these tools and the destruction they can bring. Whether you've fired one or just saw one on television, you know that these tools can cause serious damage to not only one person, but their family and friends for years to come. As a minority who has grown up between urban and rural areas his whole life, I'm no stranger to the .45 pistol or hunting rifle. I've held both, and feared both, because at the end of the day I know what they can do and how they can drastically change your life forever.

When I was 8-years-old, I lost my cousin to gun violence.

This started my journey into learning what guns can do to human beings and how they can affect us. Thanks to my family, I learned how to control the weapons and was taught to only use them in dire situations. Still, to this day I hold the fear of what they can possibly do to us.

When I was twenty, I lost my childhood friend to gun violence.

When you lose someone to a gun, it creates a fear and anger that is often difficult to contain. You wonder what provoked the cowardly act of taking another man's life with a firearm, and how it could've been prevented. The same way I felt when I was eight is the same way I feel today as I am now twenty. I do not like guns. I do not believe we have any valid reason to use them as civilians. I do not believe any person should be able to purchase an automatic high-caliber rifle.

Guns in urban areas seem to carry a much different weight than guns in rural areas. I find that people more so in rural areas are burying animals once a gun is shot, but I am burying a loved one in an urban area once a gun is shot. To those who own guns in areas that are not like my own, I can understand how owning a gun may seem essential to your life, but think about what's happening to those in other areas of the United States. Gun violence and control has been a subject that urban communities have fought to get a hold over for decades. As they may not get as much publicity as a protest in the public eye now, best believe people in areas like New York City, Chicago, California and New Jersey, have been fighting for the government to place stricter control on gun laws for longer than a lot of people can actually remember.

In order to understand guns, we must first understand the second amendment. This amendment held dear by many Americans (seemingly more than the lives of their own children) allows individuals to own firearms as they please. I ask you now, to understand when it was written, and understand how it was written. The first ten amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, were accepted by the states in the year of 1789. At the time, America was fresh out of a revolution and needed a way to ensure that its citizens would not be under siege by those under British rule. The second amendment states, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

A well-regulated militia, everyone. A militia is defined as "a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency." Individuals can create a militia, but individuals themselves are not militias. The state of emergency the United States is currently under is that of gun violence.

Over the years, America has fallen in love with these firearms for the fear of losing control or dominance over our own property and those around us. If you're allowed to take someone else's life, no matter their size or strength compared to yours, I understand that you may feel a power unmatched by any. But it's that selfish thinking, accompanied by the lack of control, and in my opinion, concern from the U.S. government, that has placed us in the position that we are in today.

Guns kill people.

Nikolas Cruz did not stab and injure 17 kids; he shot and murdered 17 kids.

My cousin and friend were not killed by knives, or by the physical hands of another; they were killed by guns.

Once you understand what guns can do to an individual, physically and psychologically, you begin to understand what the problem really is with these tools. We are not a generation of killers nor do we need to be a generation of those who fear being killed.

I should not have to watch the emergency exit in class because I fear anyone can unload a rifle magazine within seconds. No one should. My cousin should not be dead, my friend should not be dead, all the people killed wrongfully by police should not be dead, and every kid that has fallen victim to the bullet during a school shooting, should not be dead.

To those who feel the same way I do, I love you, I am here for you, and I thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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