Bowling For A Change To Gun Control Conversations

Bowling For A Change To Gun Control Conversations

Since the Parkland shooting, the conversation about guns is turning out to be quite different.

“Did you hear about what happened in Florida?” one of my friends in class asks me.

“No, what happened today?” I reply.

“17 people were killed in a school shooting.”

On any given day, I normally would have expressed immediate sympathy for those that were killed in the Parkland shooting on Valentine’s Day. But instead, I fell silent. I bowed my head immediately and thought to myself:

“Not another one.”

The reality of school shootings is starting to become an all too familiar trend. We hear about the shooting, we have thoughts and prayers, the politicians we elected say some BS about gun control, and then we move on.

Not this time.

This time, the conversation is turning out to be quite different. Instead of the usual thoughts and prayers and vigils, the survivors and community of Parkland are speaking out. Since the school shooting, Parkland survivors have been calling BS against the NRA and the Trump administration, staging lie-in protests outside the White House, and even hosting a town hall with CNN and directly speaking to lawmakers like Marco Rubio to demand answers for change.

The outspoken teens of Parkland reminded me greatly of those from Columbine. In Michael Moore’s 2002 documentary, Bowling for Columbine, two survivors from the Columbine shooting travelled from Colorado to Michigan with the sole purpose of demanding that Kmart - the retailer who sold ammunition to the Columbine gunmen - to cease their ammunition sales in their nationwide stores. With the help of Michael Moore and the press, the survivors got the justice they wanted: Kmart ceased their sales of handgun ammunition and phased out their sales within 90 days of the announcement.

The reason why I’m bothering to bring up Bowling for Columbine is because in the wake of the Parkland shooting, corporate response to Parkland has been adding to the gun debate. Multiple companies have severed ties with the NRA by removing their discounts with the quote-unquote “non-profit” organization. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart have changed their gun policies, stating that they are not selling guns to anyone under the age of 21.

While this response is all well and good, and that it’s corporate America’s choice to decide who they do business with, I frankly think that we can do better than just relying on corporations to make a true difference.

If you, like me, are tired of hearing “There has been another school shooting…” on the news, if you are tired of listening to the BS politicians say “I hear you” and claim to mean it from the heart, if you are tired of seeing towns across America experience the unfortunate power of guns against innocent citizens, then I have one solution to the gun debate that I know will sound cheesy and overused by now, but makes the most outright sense:


Vote for who agrees on your stances in gun control. Vote for politicians who you think stand to make a difference in the gun debate. While the solution to gun control may not immediately be in sight, we have to consider who we put into office who will help shape future discussions on guns. Politicians, despite how much they are ridiculed nowadays (*ahem*, #45), politicians have the power to make a change to the current state of gun use in this country.

Make a difference in the debate about guns this November in the midterm elections.

Go out and vote.

I know I will.

Will you?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.


Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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