An Open Letter To Steve Benko, Your Local Odyssey Hater

An Open Letter To Steve Benko, Your Local Odyssey Hater

Writing for Odyssey is amazing.

Dear Steve,

I'm so glad you have heard of our site! I'm not here to tell you that your opinion is wrong, or try to change your mind, but I do want to argue on behalf of the Odyssey community. I also hope you do not actually break your laptop in half just because you do not like our site or the articles. That's a little extreme and expensive...

Many of the Odyssey articles are written to spread awareness of issues happening in America as well as across the globe, so I do not really see how all of the articles are written by privileged college students. Here is one article I have read of many discussing privilege, so many millenials are fairly aware of their privilege.

Let me ask you something: Do you honestly believe all the writers, designers, photographers, and videographers on this site are #MakeAmericaGreatAgain people?

If you look at the homepage of Odyssey every time Donald Trump makes an offensive remark, I am sure you will find an article talking about his most recent stint, and I am also positive the writer will offer some background knowledge of the issue before stating his or her opinion. Many articles related to politics either bash Trump, or advocate for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, so clearly we are not all #MakeAmericaGreatAgain people. In fact, I would say there are more people on this site who would vote Bernie or Hillary.

Since Odyssey consists of mainly college-aged writers, I do see how many articles would seem similar, but there is an most communities will offer an submission option, so anyone could submit an article. So, how does Odyssey limit "people of all backgrounds from sharing their opinions and experiences on subjects?"

Your following point about most of the writers being privileged college students who come from the same background is not true. If it were true, then you would have cited more than two articles out of the thousands on this site that illustrate how we are all privileged. My fellow writers are all of various races, ethnicities, political parties, geographic locations, and socio-economic backgrounds, so clearly we are not all privileged. Sure, there are plenty of writers, myself included, who are, but you cannot make such a bold argument that we are ALL privileged.

Moving on, when you say "a few voices don't speak for an entire site," you are directly contradicting your previous points. I mean, since you cited two articles that illustrate how all of us writers are privileged, then we must all be privileged, right? Or not, since you also just said that these "few voices" (the two articles illustrating privilege) cannot represent the entire site?

Additionally, as a country that was founded on the principle of freedom, it makes absolutely no sense why you would criticize social media and blogs for allowing anyone to express their right to freedom of speech. And, you wrote your article based on your opinion, so why should you be allowed to express your opinion while everyone else can't? Is it because their opinion is different from your own? If so, then you are completely missing the point of blogs and websites like the Odyssey and BuzzFeed. These sites are meant to do just that -- express your opinion.

Why would you want to shut down a website that does just that? The same could be said about WordPress. I am not going to advocate that WordPress be shut down simply because I do not agree with your opinion, that is childish and immature.

I would actually like to thank you, Steve, for reminding me why I became a writer for this website. And, for bringing the Odyssey community closer together to defend this website that allows us to spread awareness while expressing our opinions.


One of many writers for Odyssey.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.


In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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