How Many Deaths Is Enough For You, Congress?

How Many Deaths Is Enough For You, Congress?

Any and all politicians funded by the NRA should be absolutely ashamed of themselves and should feel guilty once again.
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I remember the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, the total silence through the classrooms when we heard the news. The whispered discussions asking whether others had seen what happened. The usually rambunctious bus instead somber on the way home. It was almost winter break; we should have been rejoicing in our soon-to-be-had freedom.

But most of all, I remember my mom. As soon as I got home, she grabbed me and hugged me and didn't let go. She just kept saying how much she loved me and that she needed to hold me. And she cried.

She said she held me like that because she could, because I was okay. The Sandy Hook shooting instilled terror within parents across the country, or at least within mine. My mom had been an early childhood special education teacher; I imagine she was thinking about her students, too.

I don't know that I had ever seen my mom as torn, as broken, as helpless in my life before that day. And I was okay. I was okay, and everyone I, and we, knew was okay. I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like for the parents of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I don't want to try to imagine what it was like for the family and friends of those we lost.

This week, it happened again. A young man acquired a gun--which, I may remind you, was literally designed to kill other living things--and then he took that gun to a school and he shot it. He shot it seemingly indiscriminately and savagely.

It wasn't six and seven-year-olds this time; it happened at a high school. Which, I guess, is supposed to make it somehow better or, at least, less bad. But that's not how I feel.

There are still parents who sent their kids off to school--a place that is supposed to be safe, a place where kids are supposed to be built up, a place of life--and now will never see them again.

There is no amount of thoughts and prayers--or, for that matter, legislation--that will be able to alleviate their pain or let them see their kid smile or hear them laugh or listen to them complain about chores ever again.

And, everywhere, parents are going to be holding their kids and hoping, praying, wishing, begging that they never have to feel that unfathomable pain or experience that unbelievable grief, that it's not their kid next time. Because there will definitely be a next time.

There will always be a next time because, though those thoughts and prayers will come in droves, that legislation will never materialize; nothing will ever change. It has been like this for decades and there is no reason to believe this high school and these victims will mean anything different.

Politicians either don't care or are too worried about their precious careers, too worried they'll be voted out for trying to stop more people from being senselessly killed each year. They're too worried because the NRA is too big to fail.

There were seventeen innocent lives lost in this week's shooting in Florida. These are the 17 congresspeople who have received the most money from the NRA. Call them, write them, email them, overwhelm them until something changes. Please.

In the Senate:

1. John McCain (R), Arizona

2. Richard Burr (R), North Carolina

3. Roy Blunt (R), Missouri

4. Thom Tillis (R), North Carolina

5. Cory Gardner (R), Colorado

6. Marco Rubio (R), Florida

7. Joni Ernst (R), Iowa

8. Rob Portman (R), Ohio

9. Todd Young (R), Indiana

10. Bill Cassidy (R), Louisiana

In the House:

1. French Hill (R), Arkansas

2. Ken Buck (R), Colorado

3. David Young (R), Iowa

4. Mike Simpson (R), Idaho

5. Greg Gianforte (R), Montana

6. Don Young (R), Alaska

7. Lloyd Smucker (R), Pennsylvania

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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10 Common Spelling And Grammar Mistakes You Need To Stop Making

Your a disappointment. *you're

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As a Professional Writing major, I am greatly disturbed by spelling and grammar mistakes. I admit I sometimes make them, but it's not because I'm too lazy to use the correct word or check my spelling. I do a lot of writing, so I'm bound to mess up when I'm rushed or otherwise distracted. I'd like to help you avoid making those mistakes. Trust me, you'll look, and feel, a lot smarter.

1. To try and go

https://giphy.com/gifs/brett-main-Rt1oTe6GlRAiI

The words 'try' and 'go' can be replaced with any verb. The point is that 'and' is not the correct word. 'To' is. Since 'to' is always followed by a verb, it should be an infinitive (to+verb). For example: I'm going to try to go to the store later.

2. To not go

https://giphy.com/gifs/bunny-grammar-St7UsUGuJU9RS

This is another example of an infinitive. 'To' always needs to come right before the verb. Instead of 'to not,' it should be 'not to.' For example: I don't know how not to think about you. (This is a line from the song How Not To by Dan + Shay, which is featured in another article of mine.)

3. I like it to

https://giphy.com/gifs/theoppositeofhate-sally-kohn-oppositeofhate-55offP4umeJUAvWwHP

If you're meaning to say 'also,' then the correct word is 'too.' When you use 'to,' it is usually followed by a verb. 'Too' is a stand-alone word that expresses agreement or addition. If someone says they like dogs, you could say, 'I like dogs, too.' It could also mean you're adding something. 'He is coming, too.' However, 'to' and 'too' are most often confused in the first case. Keep in mind that 'too' is always preceded by a comma.

4. Your pretty

https://giphy.com/gifs/hd-yLV9y5wb0Qb1m

Can we get this right, once and for all? This is the incorrect use of 'your.' 'Your' is possessive. It indicates that the following noun belongs to you. For example: Your dog; Your house; Your happiness. The correct word to precede 'pretty' is 'you're,' which is technically two words: You are. If you're trying to figure out when to use 'you're,' separate it out into its two words. If you can't use contractions properly, then don't use them.

5. Its a nice day

https://giphy.com/gifs/lz9lPkqddgoec

While it may be a nice day, that's not how you say it. 'Its,' like 'your' is possessive. The proper use would be: Every dog has its day. 'Its' is used when the gender of something is unknown or when referring to a group. In the sentence above, the correct word to use is 'it's,' which is a contraction that expands into 'it is.' Again, if it helps, don't use the contraction.

6. Their taking there vacation they're 

https://giphy.com/gifs/puppets-grammar-hGmKNYHathgJi

While this sentence may sound right, it's actually very wrong. Those three words are homonyms, which means they sound the same but have different meanings. They are not interchangeable. The proper order of the sentence above is 'They're (they are) taking their (belonging to them) vacation there (in that place).'

7. I could care less

https://giphy.com/gifs/weird-al-yankovic-word-crimes-iMrbBXl7F1HJ6

This is a pet peeve of mine. When people say this, they want to convey that they don't care at all. However, they are saying it is possible for them to care less, which means they care at least a little. The proper way to say this is 'I couldn't care less,' which means you care as little as possible.

8. I have less food then him

https://giphy.com/gifs/animography-animated-typography-font-gnDSYE7CLJDk4

'Then' is not the correct word. It should be 'than,' which is used in comparison with something else. Remember math? In x<y, x is less than y. 'Then' indicates time. 'I did this, then I did that,' or 'I was younger then.'

9. I have less than ten water bottles

https://giphy.com/gifs/english-weird-al-yankovic-supermarket-S7eS8P4HTX8K4

This may seem right because a lot of people forget about the other word that's used when 'less' doesn't work. It's 'fewer.' I admit that I, too, make this mistake from time to time. 'Less' is used when referring to mass objects such as water, food, or money. 'Fewer' is used with objects you can count, such as pillows, bottles, or tables.

10. To who

https://giphy.com/gifs/owl-grammar-family-guy-JEIRAmTTfUgYE

I bet you can guess what I'm going to say. It should be 'whom.' No, I'm not just being fancy. There are actually certain times when 'whom' should be used. You can think of 'whom' as going along with 'him' or 'them,' which also end with 'M.' It also goes with 'her.' 'To whom are you referring?' 'To him.'

Now that I've familiarized you with basic grammar and spelling, I'm going to give you a fun video to reference in case you forget. Weird Al Yankovic made a parody of Blurred Lines called Word Crimes. It's entertaining and educational.

Also, here's a moment from the show Psych that involves grammar:

Chief Vick: It goes without saying, Mr. Spencer, that your father is in no way to participate in this investigation. He's no longer on the force, and his meddling could compromise the case in court. Do I make myself clear?

Shawn: Yes, you do, Chief. What isn't clear is why people always say 'goes without saying,' yet still feel compelled to say the thing that was supposed to go without saying. Doesn't that bother you?

Chief Vick: No, and frankly, I could care less.

Gus: Now, that's the one that bothers me. Why do people say, 'I could care less' when they really mean, 'I couldn't care less?'

Chief Vick: Well, why don't you tell me how to properly say this? If you share any official information about this case with your father or let him anywhere near any new evidence, then the two of you will have to find another police department to work for, and I will personally see to it that each of you is charged with obstruction of justice.

Gus: You split an infinitive.

Shawn: Good catch, Gus!

Chief Vick: You two realize I carry a gun, right?

Gus: That was perfectly elocuted.

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