I Don't Care That You Have A Gun, I Care That It's Easier To Buy A Gun Than A Car

I Don't Care That You Have A Gun, I Care That It's Easier To Buy A Gun Than A Car

The US needs to model its gun safety laws from Japan's where gun violence hardly exists.
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Keep your guns. I don't care. Go to all the target practices that you want to secure your own protection and enjoy your 2nd Amendment right. Just because I choose to not practice that right doesn't mean you should have to do the same.

What I care about is that in many states, it's easier to buy a gun than a car. In Tennessee, you don't need a permit to purchase a gun. You don't need to register your firearms. Owners don't need to be licensed and the only need a permit to carry handguns, not rifles or shotguns. There is NO WAITING PERIOD to purchase a gun in Tennessee. How does this make any sense? Oh, and one more thing. Tennessee only charges $10 with the purchase of a gun to conduct a background check. Because we're talking about Tennessee here, it costs $77 to license and register your car in this state so basically, it's easier and cheaper to buy a gun than a car in Tennessee. One's basically a modern necessity while the other is not. I can type which one is which for you here but I'll let you figure that out.

I understand not many of you are from Tennessee, but I want you to see my point. I understand that many states have stricter gun regulations than others and that it's the local governments that make the decisions. But you push your local governments to make those changes. You can be heard if you demand it.

For those of you who are gun owners – fine, good for you. You're practicing your right to bear arms and I'm practicing my right to free speech. We have our equality, so please don't attack me and I won't attack you. It's as simple as that.

What boils my blood is that high ranking officials have done nothing in response to 17 deaths at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018.

Yes, Trump said he told Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make regulations that would result in bump-stocks (additives for guns to make rounds fire quicker) illegal. But I don't buy into it for shit. Until I see that it becomes legitimized and I see the changes happening, I don't believe in it.

Look at the Assault Weapons Ban situation for instance. It was created in Nov. 2017, but it's basically a glorified placeholder, because it will never be passed. It's not bipartisan, so Democrats and Republicans will need to work on it together for it to be passed. I have a greater chance of getting shot than for this to be passed...

All we see is thoughts and prayers coming from those in the high seats in government, but those only go so far. I'm not going to make this religious, but God can only work so hard. He will give strength to those who need it. He will heal the wounded, and He will grace comfort on those begging for it. But He can't change laws. He can't strip those of evil and make them realize their faults. If He was capable of everything, there wouldn't be cancer. There wouldn't be mental illness or death caused by the hands of another person. But it isn't always up to Him so we need to work for Him.

If you aren't religious, once again that's fine, but then stop with the prayers and do something about your empathy. March up to the steps of Congress and demand a change. Show support for those fighting for it by the use of words and standing next to them arm in arm. Stop standing back, watching this country go up in flames while you sit far enough away that you can't be touched. Because when it comes to the gun in another person's hands, there is no guarantee you will make it out alive.

What I propose it to create stricter gun laws and regulations so the hardest thing you can purchase is a gun. Look at Japan! One of the biggest arguments nowadays is that even with stricter laws, the guns won't be taken off the streets, especially with those who already own them illegally. But the thing is, I'm not proposing we get rid of guns, it should just be harder to obtain them and keep them.

In Japan, the only gun a civilian may have is a shotgun and in order to get one, you must first attend classes and pass a written test, which is only held once a month and takes a full day, meaning you wouldn't be able to go to work and that is highly against Japanese culture. Then you must attend shooting range classes and follow the training with a shooting test, which about 95% of people pass. After these tests, you then have to head to your local hospital for a mental evaluation test to "ensure an application is not suffering from a readily detectable mental illness." In addition, a person cannot be addicted to drugs – something seemingly so obsolete yet so important.

In addition to you passing a personal background test, if any relative of yours has a criminal record, you will not be allowed to have a gun. If you are a member of an aggressive political or activist group, you will not be allowed to have a gun. If the police feel your are unfit at all, you will not be allowed to have a gun.

If you pass every single test and evaluation and are given a gun, it doesn't stop there.

"Gun owners are required to store their weapons in a locker, and give the police a map of the apartment showing the location of the locker. Ammunition must be kept in a separate locked safe. The licenses also allow the holder to buy a few thousand rounds of ammunition, with each transaction being registered," according to Guncite.

An annual gun inspection is also required and is scheduled for the convenience of police, which also requires you take time off work. Your license must be renewed every 3 years and you also have to attend an all-day safety lecture and pass an exam.

No civilian is allowed to own a handgun for any reason, including protection in immediate danger. If you do obtain a gun illegally and are caught, you may be sentenced up to 10 years in prison and may be forced to pay up to a million yen fine.

If you're wondering whether it works or not, Guncite also states that Tokyo is the safest major city in the world, with only 40 reported muggings a year. New York City has 11,000 on average. It also states that robbery is almost as rare as murder with a rate of 1.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. America's is 220.9 per 100,000.

Don't believe me? You can also find all this same information at Gunpolicy.org. Here's some more information from BBC. This article talks about how Japan doesn't have more than 10 deaths per year caused by guns. Even Japanese news stations talk about their success with gun control. Now here they are again, but this time they are questioning America's gun system. The Washington Post even wrote about how gun enthusiasts encourage gun control.

Now why can't Americans be like that?

Why can't we implement laws to ensure citizen safety? Is it because we're free?

I don't know how free I am when I fear walking down the street at night because someone may pull a gun on me in an attempted robbery, or even just a drive-by shooting. I know it sounds dramatic, but is it really? These 17 people were shot in a school just several years after 20 first-graders were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I'm tired of it, and I hope you are too. Whether you own a gun or hate them. Whether you think marching will help solve the problem or if you think it's stupid. We need to demand change to secure the lives of children, now and forever.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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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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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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