If I Die In A Mass Shooting, Here's What I Want You To Know

If I Die In A Mass Shooting, Here's What I Want You To Know

I never thought it would happen to me.


If I die in a mass shooting, here's what I want you to know.

I want you to know I don't know a time when I've been alive that there hasn't been inexplicable gun violence in our country. I grew up watching shooting after shooting on the news. I read about it. I cried over it.

But I never thought it would happen to me.

I want you to know I felt shocked when I first heard of the Virginia Tech shootings. I was 12-years-old. I didn't understand how anything that evil could have happened. 32 people were dead. I prayed. My 7th grade class signed cards to send to the families of the victims. I remember my history teacher talking about the 2nd amendment and how we have the right to bear arms. Some of the people in my class said they loved the 2nd amendment because they hunted with guns and without it, they couldn't.

But I never thought it would happen to me.

I want you to know I felt extreme grief and sadness when I saw the Sandy Hook shootings on the news. I was in high school. How could anyone shoot 20 innocent elementary students? Young, innocent humans who were only 6, 7-years-old. What could they have done to trigger the wrath of a monster so terrible, he killed them and six others? Why didn't anyone notice he was violent? I cried. I prayed. I asked God, why? And how?

But I never thought it would happen to me.

I want you to know I couldn't breathe when someone told me 49 people died in Orlando, Florida. And over 50 people were injured at Pulse Night Club. I was in college. This time, I looked at the assault rifle and the gun the shooter used. My stomach twisted. How could anyone think of slaughtering so many people? Let alone at the same time? I prayed... but it didn't feel like enough. So, I decided to research why and how someone like this could even buy a gun like this to begin with.

But I never thought it would happen to me.

I want you to know that I felt a mix of anger and pain when nearly 60 people lost their lives in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire from his hotel room. They were at a concert. They were in Vegas. They should have had a lovely vacation and made it home safe to their loved ones. At this point, I had graduated from college. I had moved to New York City, another bustling metropolis where tourists often visited and concerts happened daily. I prayed. And then I called my Senators.

Because at this point, I realized, this could happen to me.

If I die in a mass shooting, I want you to know that I was a person who tried to put an end to mass shootings in the United States. I called my representatives. I marched in marches. I spoke out against gun violence. I explained to those who disagreed with me, I didn't want the 2nd amendment to go away. That according to our Constitution, it is our right to have guns, bear arms. All of that. I just wanted stricter gun control. I wanted background checks. I wanted to limit the guns we could own.

I could not process why anyone would oppose reasonable measures to prevent someone with the intention to kill hundreds of people from getting a firearm. Could they not see what I see?

If I die in a mass shooting, I want you to know that dying in a mass shooting was one of my biggest fears.

On days when my anxiety roared its ugliest head, I would frequently, without realizing, think of how I would escape a building in case shots started firing. I want you to know that if you look at my Google search history, you'll find phrases like "how to protect yourself during an open fire" and "how common is it to die in a mass shooting in the United States?" I want you to know that it crosses my mind, even just for a split second, every time I leave my house to go to work, the gym, my Pilates studio, or church.

So if I die in a mass shooting, I hope it's the last mass shooting there is. Although, if our country's history is any indication, I doubt it will be.

If you care about gun reform in our country, call your representatives. You can find who represents you, and their contact information here. To learn more, head to https://ceasefireusa.org/.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.

Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.


A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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