Christina Grimmie's Death Is Not About Gun Control

Christina Grimmie's Death Is Not About Gun Control

Remembering the talent the world tragically lost.
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A little after 2 a.m. on June 11, 2016, tragic news broke. Former contestant on "The Voice" and up and coming singer, Christina Grimmie, had died. She was shot while signing autographs at a venue in Orlando, Florida after performing Friday night. Many people were commenting on the news articles detailing the event about how guns need to be eliminated or how America is so stupid because of our guns. Someone even said that the guy who shot her had to be insane because he killed himself. But how does the guy who shot her killing himself prove anything? Sane or not, if you shoot any celebrity, regardless how known they are, you know you aren't going to have much of a life afterward. That doesn't prove anything except that he was a scared coward. He knew he more than likely wasn't leaving that venue alive.

Have you ever shot a gun? Have you ever really felt that scary power it offers? No sane person wants to pull the trigger with the intent of killing someone. Has it been noted anywhere that the gun was legally his? Should America have stricter laws when it comes to people obtaining guns? Absolutely, even though it probably wouldn't make much of a difference. Drugs like meth and cocaine are illegal, but people still have access to them. However, to say guns are the problem is ludicrous.

If you wanted to kill someone, you could kill them without a gun. Knives, water, bare hands, car accidents and many more intentionally harmless ways to die are possible. No one says blame those things. I mean, we blamed Adolf Hitler, not the gas chambers. We blamed Al Queda and Osama Bin Laden, not the planes. But somehow, when someone dies from a gun, suddenly the weapon is the problem.

Perhaps because guns are the only thing out of that list that people are truly afraid of, probably because they don't understand them. We don't offer gun safety classes in schools, but we do focus on drugs, gangs and even CO2 poisoning. Just about every kid in America completes the D.A.R.E. program before finishing the fifth grade. Never were guns a part of learning other than that they are dangerous and to leave them alone. Guns should never be taken lightly because it truly is a serious issue, but to blame shootings on guns seems crazy.

Before a post I commented on regarding Christina's death was deleted, someone asked me what I would tell her parents since I don't think guns are the problem. I would tell them that they had one of the greatest gifts in the world and I would thank them for sharing her and letting her share her gift with the world. She really was someone special. Her loyal fans made it possible to get her to the top and she died doing what she loved.

I would tell them that through it all, she always stayed humble, thanked her fans and made videos showing her appreciation. You could always see the excitement in her eyes when she talked about her fans. I would thank them for instilling all of that in her. I can only hope and pray, that even in the midst of this grave tragedy, that people learn from her. They help instill these values into their children and help to show the same kind of humble behavior even in the shadow of something of scary.

I would tell them that I am so incredibly sorry for their loss. I would tell them that I am praying for them, not just for what they're going through now, but in the coming weeks, years and for the rest of their lives. The issue isn't really that a gun killed her. The issue is that a talented artist died. Everyone is wanting something to blame. Sometimes, people make the object to blame their focus point in order to overcome the actual issue at hand.

What we all should be focusing on is Christina. The music world lost an amazing, young, talented artist who was just starting out. She died doing what she loved. Her actions will always be remembered and her loyalty to her fans will always be one of the best things she offered the world. Be humble and kind, be a Christina.

Cover Image Credit: Justin Higuchi

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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