Keep America Alive

Keep America Alive

How many mass shootings do we need to have before some gun control measures get instituted?

On October 1st, 2017, the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With extreme certainty, I am writing that we will see this headline at least twice more in the next decade, given that, before this week, the deadliest mass shooting in American history was last year (Orlando). And, before that, was in 2007 (Virginia Tech).

Based on a definition of "mass shootings" that includes an incident in which 4+ people were shot - regardless of the number of deaths - data show that as of today, October 4th, 2017, there have been 340 mass shootings this year in America alone. In October alone - FOUR DAYS INTO THIS MONTH - there have been 538 people injured and 65 killed by gun violence.

It is worth noting that definitions of "mass shootings" can vary and give us different numbers. For example, by not counting the shooter's death as one of the incident's deaths, we can cite that 273 mass murders have occurred in America in 2017, a number that is still concerning given that today is the 275th day of the year. By narrowing the definition to needing an "indiscriminate rampage", one can even rationalize it down to 7 mass murders this year. And about half of the shootings yearly with 4+ victims are family incidents.

There have been 46,958 gun-related incidents this year with 11,747 deaths and 23,839 injuries. 2,451 of these deaths were teenagers, and 551 of them were children under the age of 11. And the roughly 22,000 yearly suicides by gun are not included anywhere in these statistics because they are not "mass shootings" by any rate.

But either way, using any definition, it is clear - America has a problem with gun violence.

Can someone please explain why we cannot have stricter gun control, allowing for the second amendment freedoms but also keeping our population alive? Why there are stores in rural areas that sell military-grade, class 4 weaponry to the general public? And I understand there's some paperwork you need to fill out and a few hoops to jump through that really only give pause to the harmless people. But, if that is such a deterrent, can somebody please explain why it is the fourth day of the month and 538 people are already in the hospital with gunshot wounds?

And it's nice of you to want everyone to have a gun to protect their families. It's noble. Very sacrificial. But it is not a solution to any problem - it is a way of ending the problem more quickly. Why would you not prefer to avoid the solution altogether, limiting people's access to dangerous weaponry and reducing the number of incidents (and, by association, the numbers of injuries and deaths) instead of constantly being prepared to deal with the situation and reduce only the number of deaths? Shouldn't we plug the leaking spout instead of placing a bucket underneath to collect the water?

How many Las Vegas-type shootings do we need to have? How many concerts, shopping malls and leisure parks need to be shot up? How many Sandy Hooks, Columbines and San Bernardinos have to occur? How many nationwide moments of silence, how many lowered flags for kids, citizens and ordinary people who were enjoying music and having fun only to be killed by somebody who found it only too easy to get their hands on something that would allow them to catharsize their internal angst on the world?

I've heard plenty of people citing terror attacks that have used cars to ram into crowds, homemade explosives and plane hijackings, saying that people will find weapons no matter what, and that is true. But why are we making this easy on them? Why do we have huge billboards on the sides of the road advertising that these killing machines are not only buyable but are on CLEARANCE, just a few exits up the road?

And the fact is that, yes, there will always be isolated incidents; events like Las Vegas, tragic and heartbreaking though they are, are not entirely avoidable. Yet we need to limit both the availability of weaponry and who has access to it. Automatic and semi-automatic guns aren't necessary in our daily lives; a handgun will suffice for personal protection and a rifle is all that is really needed to hunt. Anyone with a violent criminal history such as sex offenses, domestic abuse and/or any forms of assault should be kept from purchasing weapons for obvious reasons, and people need to go through a mental health screening ahead of any purchases. An overwhelming number of mass murders (as defined by the "indiscriminate rampage" definition explained above) were committed by people who both 1. purchased their guns legally and 2. had significant previous mental health problems OR a violent criminal history.

Please contact your Congressmen. Ask them to require mental health screenings for people prior to any purchase of a deadly weapon, both for their own protection and for everyone else's. Ask them to ban sales of automatic and semi-automatic weaponry to the general public and to better install security measures to background check potential buyers.

Because, while moments of silence and social media hashtags are important and respectful, it is much, much better to take a stance and make an action to seal the flooding hole instead of just collecting all of the drops - tears - after they've already been wasted.

Cover Image Credit: Wallpaper Mania

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.


Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.


Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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