I'm Not Asking You To Give Up Your Guns Entirely, I'm Just Asking You To Remember Parkland

I'm Not Asking You To Give Up Your Guns Entirely, I'm Just Asking You To Remember Parkland

No parent should have to bury their child.

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This week surrounding the one year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has had my heart and my thoughts in a complete mess. I can't even begin to imagine how this week, this horrific anniversary, feels for the students and families whose lives were torn apart in a matter of six minutes, some 365 days ago.

In case you've forgotten, as our country sometimes does with tragedies surrounding gun violence, 14 students and 3 teachers were killed in the halls of their own school. 17 families now have an irreparable hole where a cherished son, daughter, father, or mother used to reside. On Valentine's Day, of all days.

My heart breaks thinking about what those 17 universes, those 17 lives, would look like today if one human being hadn't been able to access a firearm so easily. It breaks for those left behind after that day. Those left to plan funerals. Those left to figure out how life goes on when you've experienced something so painful and so deeply rooted in hate.

The parents and friends of the 17 people killed have turned their grief and anger into voices screaming for change.

Demanding justice. Pleading with aching hearts, realizing that time does not heal all wounds, and asking lawmakers to listen and reform the way our country handles firearms.

Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg lost their 14-year-old daughter Jaime that day. They founded Orange Ribbons for Jaime, an organization that supports the programs and charities that their daughter loved. They use the platform that emerged as a result of Jaime's murder to bring awareness to gun violence and advocate for common sense gun control.

Manuel and Patricia Oliver's son Joaquin (Guac) was also one of the students killed during the shooting. They too began their own organization to honor their son, called Change the Ref, that focuses on empowering youth and future leaders to advocate for change, to give families and victims a disruptive voice in the fight for gun reform.

Students of MSD High School created the March for Our Lives initiative have run with it at full speed. They're making waves in every area of politics and activism, and the sheer bravery of these kids inspires me every single day.

Those are only a few examples of the change and action the survivors of the Parkland shooting have brought about in the midst of their grief. These families have banded together, all connected in a way they wish they weren't, and are dedicated to honoring their friends and family members by advocating for change.

Lori Alhadeff, the mother of 14-year-old Alyssa who was killed in Parkland, stood by the side of the governor of New Jersey as he signed "Alyssa's Law," which will require all New Jersey public schools to install silent panic alarms. Lori wrote a letter to her daughter in the wake of this anniversary. Pouring her grief into a letter she can never send, she writes,

"I wish I could take all the bullets for you."

I'm in no way qualified to speak on this issue on any level other than being moved by the story of this shooting and these families, as I'm sure most people are. But I am not a victim of gun violence. I have no expertise in the area of losing a piece of my family to violence. I don't know what that kind of grief, that kind of loss, feels like.

The only things I can offer are my admiration for these survivors and my "what if's." What if this had happened to me? I take that and I push forward, supporting these victims, and wanting no family, mine included, to ever have to experience the reality of losing a loved one, a child, in a shooting.

It's a mystery to me how some people can read the stories like those of Parkland, and not empathize. Not want to help. Not want to do what it takes to keep children in this country safe. While guns are not on my list of hobbies, they are for many people I know. I have family members, people I love, that are passionate about shooting and hunting. I have a little brother whose eyes light up when he gets to go out shooting or tells me the story of the time he shot his first deer. I love that he has a hobby he loves. I love that he does it safely. I love that he's been taught how to handle firearms properly.

Would I ask him to give up his love of shooting, his hobby? Never. But would I hope that he, and other gun owners and proponents, would be able to make that sacrifice if it meant that innocent lives might be saved? Yes. But the reality is, no one is asking anyone to give up firearms completely. No one's asking anyone to give up their hobbies. All that's being asked is better regulation. Laws that make it harder for guns to get into the hands of those who shouldn't have them.

Universal background checks. Extreme-risk protection orders. Eliminate restrictions on funding for gun violence research. Ending legal immunity for gun manufacturers. Renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Closing the gun show loophole. All of these are things can significantly reduce the risk of gun violence without violating anyone's second amendment right. In a world where sending children into school comes with the increased risk that they won't come home, every human being should be willing to make compromises to prevent that from happening.

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I'm An 18-Year-Old Female And I Will Never Be A Feminist

Honestly, I'd rather be caught dead than caught calling myself a modern-day feminist.

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"A man told me to have a good day...I'm triggered." How ludicrous does that sound? Tune in, because that is the extent of modern-day feminism.

Sure, I think boys are stupid and that I'm probably better than 90% of the male population, but that doesn't make me a modern-day feminist. Now I believe that woman should stand up for themselves, and Golding's quote,"I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been," is by far one of my favorite quotes... but modern-day feminism is not something I want to be associated with.

I'm all for "anything you can do I can do better," and "we can do it!" but realistically speaking, in some situations, that isn't feasible. As an 18-year-old woman who works out regularly and is stronger than the average female, I couldn't carry a 190-pound man back to a safe zone after he was shot on the front line of war even if I tried. It is not anatomically possible for a grown woman to be as strong as a fully-developed male.

Reality check: Men and women are not equal.

They are not physically equal, they are not mentally equal. Modern-day feminism is equality between the two genders, but corrupt and on steroids. I support what feminism used to be. I support women who work hard and have goals and ambition... not girls who hate men and stomp around with no shirts on to piss off the public. Feminism has developed into a polluted teaching that young men and women are plunging into.

We are built dissimilarly.

The human brain is literally an organ that is sex-oriented. There is a cognitive difference, that singlehandedly destroys gender equality.

I will not spend my time running a revolution against anyone who likes Donald Trump. I am not going to binge watch Trump's Twitter in an effort to start some leftist gob of drama. I refuse to be part of this head hunt to attack all Republicans on the newest Instagram post made about how feminism is stupid. I do not hate men, and society would crash and burn without the successful men and women who work together to create what we call the United States of America.

Why, you ask? Why are the 15-25-year-olds of our society clinging to feminism? They are hopping on the rapidly growing bandwagon where all the hipsters, feminists and Trump-haters reside. It's "cool" to hate Donald Trump. Twitter is a world of liberalism, hatred, and fake love towards all. Social media is where this generation is living — and modern-day feminism brews there.

We need to keep separation in the household within roles.

We must raise our children to do what they are best at rather than trying to do something they are incapable of just to prove an irrelevant point.

Women must stand up for what they believe in and be strong in their shoes, while not getting so caught up in what your modern-day feminist says she thinks is right.

We cannot let this briskly changing society sway us away from what is going to keep the world working precisely.

Cover Image Credit: Macey Joe Mullins

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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