Gun Control: Not An Issue Until It Directly Affects You

Gun Control: Not An Issue Until It Directly Affects You

Not my shooting, not my problem
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Not even a full week into the new year and the nation is stuck by another tragedy due to gun violence. Friday afternoon, Estaban Santiago began firing his weapons at the baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; killing five and injuring eight. Santiago had originally declared his firearms and had them transported through the baggage claim on his flight from Alaska to Florida. Witnesses say that Santiago brought his carrying case with him into a bathroom and exited firing into the crowd. The FBI is currently looking into his motive.

Gun Control was a large topic during the presidential election. While gun control supporters fought for laws denying the purchase of guns to members of the terrorist watch list and banning the sales of automatic assault weapons, many people were opposed to these laws as they feared that it would put restrictions on the Second Amendment. In fact, gun sales reached record highs in 2016 alone than in any other year.

So while the number of gun sales on the market progressively climb and politicians clash over seemingly common sense issues, innocent people are continuing to be killed by guns every day. And although critics claim that it isn't the guns that are killing people, rather than the person who fires it; it does not disregard the fact that guns are still an issue in this country.

When compared to the rest of the developed nations, the United States has extremely loose laws concerning gun purchases. In America, it is much easier for an adult to obtain a gun than it is for them to receive financial aid for a college education. So when tragedies like Fort Lauderdale and Sandy Hook occur, the entire nation mourns over the innocent lives that have been taken from us; then in the following day rally with the NRA not to let the government take our guns away. That is because no one really understands the consequences of gun violence until it directly happens to them.

While news stories of senseless acts of violence do get some attention to their audience, they are quickly forgotten about and are replaced with a dumb pop culture bit. It is much easier to ignore a problem when it does not affect your daily life. But the fact is this, gun control affects all of us; including those who own guns and those who do not. So why are we allowing the gun violence continue to destroy lives and refuse to believe that it will never happen to any of us? The victims of Fort Lauderdale did not plan on being attacked while grabbing their luggage after a long flight to their vacations. The parents of the Sandy Hook victims did not intend on having their children be murdered at school right before their holiday break. So stop thinking that you're above the dangers of guns and let's end the debate over protecting our people.

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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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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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value

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There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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