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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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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The Paths We Take

I can control my destiny, but not my fate.
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Have you ever wondered if life would be different in more ways than one, considering the different choices we make? Personally, I’ve always wondered what my life would be like, whether it would still be in the best shape as it is currently. Throughout the majority of my life, I have always wondered, “why do these bad things happen?” I had never really believed in a higher power, so I never had anywhere to turn to for answers. There’s also the case that everything that happens, happens for a reason. To this day, I one hundred percent, believe that.

If I hadn’t gone through the most abusive relationship of my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today. For instance, would I really be living in my own home in Albany to this day, if I hadn’t met my ex? Those two don’t seem to correlate at all, right? The main reason I moved to Albany to begin with, was for my ex.

The original plan wasn’t to move out to Albany; it was never to find someone at college and “claim” to fall in love. My original plan was to stay at home, with my dad, in the small town of Norwich, NY, and become a cop. I knew I wanted to move on to bigger and better things, but there are still many people who say the same thing…

“I need to get out of this town.”

Ironically, they haven’t left, but I did…

The original plan wasn’t to take a semester off and work for the Albany Legislature, that was just a shot in the dark. I had received an email, about a potential internship. Thinking “what the hell” I applied. I applied just to say I did it, never did I imagine I would actually be accepted. Six months later, I’m sitting in the office of Assemblyman Joseph Giglio. Little did I know at the time, this was going to be the turning point of my life. It would define my career choices, and my life in many more ways than one.

In any case, it was the conscious decision that I needed to leave my hometown and branch out to somewhere new. Would I really have met my current boyfriend, if I never made the move to begin with? Even if he did live two hours away from me. These subtle choices make me beg the bigger question, could this be the inner workings of fate?

I catch myself continuously reflecting on where my life is, and how it felt as though I was on a roller-coaster that would twist and turn in directions that I would have never guessed. I was at my lowest point right before I met the most important person in my life-Josh. He lifted me up from the lowest point and continues to do the same to this day. I wonder how my life would be currently if I hadn’t met him, or if he wasn’t as supportive and loving as he is. Where would I be?

I’m not trying to say that I “wouldn’t be here,” but it’s inevitable to question how much in my life would be different if certain things had never happened. I’m forever grateful for the people in my life and the way that fate has taken me. For all the obstacles that I had to overcome, that eventually led me to the climb out of this metaphorical hole that I found myself in. To the people that have come and gone, teaching me valuable lessons to which I have become a bigger and better person. For those bridges that were eventually mended after a big and powerful wreckage. I believe there is a reason for me to be in this world, whether it’d be on the basis of fate or the choices I make for myself.

This gives me a reason to keep going, and keep pushing forward.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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