For The Love Of Pitbulls

For The Love Of Pitbulls

Shining light on the stereotypes and biases against pitbulls

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When I first heard the rumor that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was joining the fight against pitbulls I was infuriated. How could they aide with those wishing to outlaw the biggest snuggle babies in the world? They used to be nicknamed "Nanny dogs" for crying out loud. Was PETA not the ones who were supposed to fight for animals' rights?

I knew there had to be some sort of mistake. In an effort to seek clarity regarding PETA'S stance on pitbulls I researched their website where I found the following statement:

"Some pit bull fanciers out there seem to think that PETA is "against" pit bulls because we don't oppose breed-specific measures to address what is obviously a breed-specific crisis. Au contraire. If someone proposed a ban on breeding Labrador retrievers or Chihuahuas or poodles (you get the picture – any dog), we'd be for those too. That's because we don't think any dogs should be brought into the world as long as millions are dying for lack of homes in animal shelters and on the streets every year."

PETA goes on to indicate that pitbulls are only singled out because they are involved in "so many attacks on humans and other dogs" which any pitbull owner will tell you is a lie. According to the American Temperament Testing Society's (ATTS) 2017 report, pitbulls have an 86.4% pass rate which is significantly greater than other breeds such as golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, cocker spaniels, Shih Tzus, and even Yorkshire terriers. These kinds of slanderous statements by PETA make me question their reliability entirely. If they could miss such a vital piece of research regarding pitbulls, who knows what else is being forgotten. While it is evident by the 3.3 million dogs currently living in shelters across the United States that we should all be participating in the #AdoptDontShop movement, banning the breeding of dogs of any kind would not be a plausible solution. Much like a band-aid, legislation that banned breeding of dogs would encourage more shelters dogs to be adopted rather than euthanized but would have some serious potential risks. One such risk would be the endangerment of breeds going extinct. Typically, shelter dogs are mixed breeds which if they were left to be the only dogs available could wipe out thousands of pure breeds. Just like the animals of the wild, pure breed dog species should also be protected. Some may believe that having a shortage of specific breeds, like the pitbull, for example, would not be so bad. But I am here to explain why such an event would be so heartbreakingly tragic. I and thousands of others have taken to social media to raise awareness of the true facts about owning a pitbull. For example, videos can now be found all over the internet about the true danger of pitbulls and Instagram accounts such as the one for my pitbull Luca that open up the day-to-day lives of those that own these types of dogs. This act of transparency will hopefully open the eyes and hearts of those seeking to ban pitbulls and the breeding of them.

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.

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When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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