Knives, Guns, Forks: All Equally As Dangerous?

Knives, Guns, Forks: All Equally As Dangerous?

How many everyday items do you view as a weapon?
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In 1791, the United States ratified the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In simpler terms, the Second Amendment states that Americans have the right to bear arms. This amendment was passed 315 years ago, but yet it is still highly debated today. With recent mass shootings across the country, gun control and the right to bear arms have become a topic of controversy across the country. Many people believe that gun control needs to be stricter and more regulated, but I believe that there should not be stricter gun control in America.

A gun is defined as, “a weapon incorporating a metal tube from which bullets, shells or other missiles are propelled by explosive force, typically making a characteristic loud, sharp noise.” No where in that definition does it say that a gun is something that kills people, because a gun doesn’t kill, the person behind the gun kills. Any weapon, such as a knife, missile or even a fork, could be used to kill someone, but that is not the sole purpose of the weapon. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to kill someone with my fork when I’m eating my dinner, that just sounds ridiculous. Yes, actually, that is ridiculous, but that is my point, the fork alone doesn’t kill, the person who is behind the fork kills, just like the person behind the gun kills.

Sure, not everyone should be entitled to the use of a gun, but that doesn’t mean that we need to limit the use and regulations of gun. It is a Constitutional right to possess a gun, and as stated, it shouldn’t be infringed upon. Most people in possession of a gun have it for protection, hunting and recreation, or because their job entitles them to have a firearm. These people aren’t carrying guns with the purpose of shooting up a school, killing random people on the street or shooting police officers.

If you were a woman who was assaulted on her way home from work one night, you may be feel the need to protect yourself by carrying a gun. Does that mean that you want to kill every man in sight? It certainly doesn’t, it means that you are first and foremost exercising your right to carry that gun, and it means you are protecting yourself. Carrying that gun may just save your life the next time you were to get attacked, but not carrying that gun because of an infringement on your Second Amendment right, well, that may have just cost you your life.

Likewise, we would never think to take a gun away from a police officer. Police officers come face to face with weapons, and violence quite frequently so of course we would never strip them off a weapon that can potentially save their life. We also would never strip our military of their guns, because they are fighting for our country and keeping the enemy away. If we wouldn’t strip these individuals of their access to a gun, why should we restrict any individuals right to gun access? To answer that question simply, we shouldn’t.

Whether someone be a wanted felon or an older lady on the street, they should be at least given the right to possess a gun under their Constitutional right. A criminal is going to break a law or commit a crime whether he or she has access to a gun or not. Just because a criminal doesn’t have a gun, doesn’t mean they won’t find a knife, or a bomb or some other kind of weapon. There are more deadly weapons than just a gun for a criminal, or anyone to get access to. As a matter of fact, everyone has access to a deadly weapon, just by having a knife in the kitchen. Now no one is going to think to limit access and set strict regulations on having kitchen knives in a house, and it should be no different with a gun. A homicide can occur from a steak knife stabbing; a homicide can occur with basically any object that is sharp or can exhibit force. So, even without a gun in access a deadly crime can still occur. A criminal is still going to be a criminal with or without a gun, and there shouldn’t be limitations on gun access because of that reason alone!

However, I know that that isn’t going to get my point across enough, so let me start with addressing mass shootings that have come into light in today’s society. Many of these shootings have had shooters that have psychological or mental illnesses. The gun itself wasn’t the reason there was a shooting — there was a shooting because the person behind the gun wasn’t given the help they needed. What the government needs to be focusing on is getting people with mental illness the help they need. If the government stopped focusing on restricting the right to bear arms, they would be able to focus on getting those in need the help they need. When a person is given the help they need, a deadly gun crime would never be in the question, because they wouldn’t have the idea or the motive to shoot and kill. The war on guns should be a war on what the underlying factor of mass shootings is…mental illness.

Everyone can remember the mass shooting that occurred at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The cause of this shooting was the mental illness that the shooter had. Innocent lives were lost in this shooting, but they weren’t lost because of a gun — the gun didn’t pull its own trigger — they were lost because the shooter had an untreated mental illness. If the government focused on more efficient mental health counselors and provided more funding for mental health programs, then a significant amount of mass shootings may not have occurred because these shooters would be getting help, and not planning how to kill. More restrictive gun laws would not stop mass shootings, and they will not cure the people with mental illnesses either.

Taking a look at other countries who have limited gun rights are also proof that reducing gun rights do not reduce the rate of violence, crime or shootings. Russia, for example has extremely strict regulations on owning a firearm and had a period of time when they were even banned, but yet they have a higher rate of homicide than the United States. In Russia there were about 21,000 homicides, and in the United States there were about 13,000 in a given year. Russia’s rate is almost twice that of the United States, and they have far less guns and gun access. The homicide rate, as well as the crime rate in the United States, is actually decreased from the past 10 years, and guns haven’t been restricted. With that being said, if crime rates are reducing and guns aren’t restricted, why restrict them now?

So, now that I have you thinking let me also point out the fact that right now under the Second Amendment guns are legal. Each state is allowed to regulate their limits to the Second Amendment, such as age and their policy on concealed carry, etc., but guns are legal. Now what happens when we make gun control stricter, and we start restricting people’s rights to own arms?

We can set all the restrictions we want but that isn’t going to solve the problem, guns are still going to be brought in illegally, and they are still going to be used. When a policy is changed after hundreds of years, people don’t take it lightly, and end up finding loopholes anyway. Look back at Prohibition — the government tried to place restrictions on alcohol for various reasons, but yet people still consumed alcohol, they just found the loopholes in the law. It would end up being the same thing with guns. Why waste all the time, resources and energy over a policy that would be corrupt in the eyes of millions of citizens? There are more important policies that need change and regulation than gun control.

There are already enough regulations set on guns in the United States. There are background checks and logs that have to be obtained when obtaining a gun. In New York, you are required to take a safety course and have a permit for the different types of guns that are sold in New York State. The gun regulations in the country are restricted enough, and more restriction is not needed. Not to mention, restrictions on hunting and game place restrictions on guns themselves.

In most states, you have to obtain a hunting license, and that license entitles you to be able to shoot, but aren’t you technically allowed to shoot with the Second Amendment right to bear arms? Going back hundreds of years ago, hunting was a prime source for food and survival. If we limit and restrict guns even more than they already are, we are also restricting hunting. Hunting is seen as a recreational activity, and even a sport in some regions. Hunting provided our ancestors with food and survival, and ultimately built many countries, why should we have to lose hunting because of a restriction on gun control?

At the end of the day, everyone is going to have their opinion on gun control, but my view stands strong, and I am against gun control. Guns keep millions of Americans safe every day. Our police force and military keep us safe daily, and their lives are protected and ensured by the right to access guns. We wouldn’t take away their access to guns, and we shouldn’t take away the rights to gun access to others either, especially not when they are being carried for protection more than anything. The right to bear arms is a Second Amendment right, and it should be upheld. Guns are not what kill, people are what kill. A gun is nothing more than an object.

Guns are controlled and regulated enough in America, and there is no need for them to be restricted even more. Even with restrictions, people are going to find loopholes in the policy and guns will be present in the country still. A criminal is a criminal with or without a gun, and a homicide can occur with any weapon, or any object for that matter, not just a gun. The government should be more concerned with the underlying factors of shootings, such as mental illness, and less concerned with restricting guns. The right to bear arms is a Constitutional right in this country, and I stand behind it!

Cover Image Credit: PhotoPin

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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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5 Thoughts You've Probably Had About The Government Shutdown If You, Like Cardi B, Are Paying Attention

I'm not sure if Trump thinks he's playing a real-life game of "The Sims," but I can assure you that a wall will not keep out those that are truly determined to get in.

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2019 — what a time to be alive, am I right? Normally I would use that phrase sarcastically, but each day I am more and more confused, transfixed, and curious (with just a dash of anticipation) about our current state as a society and the direction we're going. Even though most of the time the world seems like sh*t, you've got to admit that out of all the times in history, the current one we're in has a lot of cool perks. I mean, 70 years ago, who would've guessed that there'd be computers and a world wide web filled with endless information and apps that allow 125 million people to see cute pictures of Kim Kardashian's baby. And compared to life in the 1600s, an airplane seems just as extraordinary as the second coming of Jesus.

We're making a lot of wonderful and exciting progress, like our advancements in medicine, but for some reason, we've hit an impasse in terms of social improvement. Not even three years ago would I have guessed that the U.S. would elect an unqualified, most likely racist, reality TV star as president, but alas, here we are, which brings me to his latest antics.

The government shutdown.

Despite how bleak the future seems, a little part of me is just a tad grateful that I'm alive to see this all go down. Like everyone else, however, I've had quite a few thoughts about it all over the past few weeks...

1. So we're screwed, right?

We briefly had a government shutdown in 2013, but for some reason, I have absolutely no recollection of it (my 14-year-old self was probably too preoccupied with who was posted on my high school's Instagram "thot page." Spoiler alert: I was), so this is like my first experience dealing with one. There have been more than a dozen in U.S. history, but the current shutdown is the longest out of the list. My first thought when hearing about the news was "what the hell does THIS mean?" I immediately jumped to the conclusion that we were in a total state of anarchy, but of course, that isn't even partially true. According to The Balance, a government shutdown is "when non-essential discretionary federal programs close." The shutdown doesn't affect state social services, like the Department of Public Safety, and thankfully for us broke college students, funding for financial aid was approved last September, meaning there's no current effect on student financial aid programs.

However, federal services and agencies like the IRS (don't get too excited... you still have to pay taxes), Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Institute of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration are completely shut down while the budget process is in limbo. With no current end in sight, this is bound to get very bad, very soon.

Already, hundreds of thousands of government employees have been sent home without pay and will continue to not be paid as long as the shutdown is in effect. People living in low-income housing may be evicted as HUD freezes funds for programs. Without funding, all of these services very well may close. Not only that, but the shut down is costing us money: approximately $1.2 billion every week. I wouldn't normally be worried, but Trump is the exact type of immature and petty to where he'll keep this going until he gets his way (or he's impeached, whichever comes first). His attitude firmly suggests that he's not backing down, and if services do close, there will be terrible effects on affected departments and citizen well-being.

Should we just drink the kool-aid now?

2. All of this over... a wall?

Out of all of the things that a president could request funding for, the one we currently have wants $5 billion for a damn steel wall? I'm not sure if he thinks he's playing a real-life game of The Sims, but I can assure you that real humans are much more crafty than we give each other credit for and that a wall will not keep out those that are truly determined to get in. Trump has said that the wall is the "only solution for a growing security and humanitarian crisis at the border," yet common sense and many politicians/organizations can tell you that that's complete and utter bullsh*t. Not only that, but Trump's whole presidency has revolved around quelling illegal immigration, but no one has stopped to ask why he's only focusing on the border.

How would a wall decrease the number of people who overstay their visas? How would it decrease the number of illegal immigrants who aren't even crossing the border?!

While I am not well-versed in how much of a threat illegal immigration presents to the U.S. people and government, I still am convinced that there are way more important issues that the president should be concerned with. F*** global warming and renewable energy, let's build a wall, right?!?

Trump's obsession with his wall is a pathetic attempt to flex his self-professed prowess and a way to appease his hate-filled fanatics who only voted for him because he promised he could get it done.

What happened to Mexico paying for it? Oh right, that was just more bullsh*t.

3. People actually donated to this sh*t?

I just... People's stupidity and callousness never cease to amaze me. Before GoFundMe rightfully shut this fundraiser down, over 345,000 people actually donated $20 million dollars for a (wait for it) steel wall. Why is this the thing that people feel their money is worthy of being spent on? Imagine if we all banded together to raise $20 million dollars to help end homelessness or food insecurity. Or better yet, pay the federal employees who are getting screwed over by this whole ordeal.

4. How do Trump supporters feel about all of this?

I know that die-hard fans can take a lot of sh"t from their idols, but I think that after a while it's only natural for them to get fed up. Out of the 62 million people who voted for Trump, there's probably a good portion of them who are significantly affected by the shutdown. The ones who are government employees are feeling the brunt of it now, but if this continues on for months or even years like Trump is threatening, then we're all going to feel it and I can't think of any good excuses that someone could come up with in order to justify such a foolish and reckless decision made by the president. To a federally-employed Trump supporter, I can't imagine how it feels to go 26 days without a paycheck because the president you voted for is desperately trying to propose funding for a wall that you want to be built. It's got to be a catch-22, but hell, I feel like almost all Trump supporters are delusional anyway, so they're probably thinking they're undergoing some grand act of martyrdom.

5. Even Cardi B is worried... Now you know we're screwed.

Cardi B took to Instagram recently to post a video of her addressing her worries about the government shutdown. While not eloquently put, the rap princess is really only just voicing the thoughts and opinions of a lot of us out here. If Cardi B is taking the time out of her day to stop popping off at her haters and fantasizing about Offset's peen, then you know that this issue is a pretty big deal. The self-proclaimed gang member and boss bit** has admitted that she's scared. I think that warrants us to all be.

Well, there you have it, folks. Five of my most pressing thoughts about the government shutdown. As it continues, I'm sure they'll be thousands more that pop into all of our heads. But hey, let's look on the bright side -- we've made history; now's the only time we can say the government has been shut down all year.

Hopefully, we won't be able to say it for much longer.

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