There's An Interesting Connection Between Police And Guns

There's An Interesting Connection Between Police And Guns

Policing guns, and police selling guns?
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It makes sense that one of the tasks police often have to do is remove guns from the street. You might not know though that sometimes those guns found on the street were once held by police officers. In this Reveal Podcast (from the Center for Investigative Reporting) 21 police departments in Texas had sold back some of their weapons in the last decade, which added up to more than 10,000 guns back in circulation.

Now there are some rules, and there are some reasons behind this (as they talk about in the above podcast). For one thing, police officers need to be armed with weapons in tip-top shape. no one is disputing that. This leads to having weapons that are no longer usable by the police department but are still usable in general. So what happens when guns reach this point? They are sold back to a distributor, i.e. a gun store. Police departments don't sell directly to the people, the gun stores do.

This leads to the tragic potential of police officers possibly being killed by ex-police weapons.

Now many of the police departments that sell their weapons say that it comes down to a business decision. The department needs the money, and this is a way to get it. Also, there is a pretty good argument for saying that the police department shouldn't concern themselves too much with this, if someone should decide who sells guns, and to whom, then that decision should be made by Congress, but still, the idea that police officers might be trying to get guns off the street, that are there because they sold them, should give us some pause, and should merit some kind of discussion.

Now, speaking of the police, and Congress passing gun laws, how do police officers feel about gun laws?

Well, it isn't unanimous, there seem to be two different groups. In this Guardian article they say "police chiefs and major city forces tend to favor more stringent gun laws, elected sheriffs and smaller departments are likely to lean the other way. "

This is an issue that seems to have divided police officers just as much as it has the rest of the country. One question we would need to answer is, does the presence of guns make policing more dangerous? One study talked about in this NBC article sought to answer that question, saying: “In states where firearms are more prevalent, officers responding to reports of domestic violence are more often entering potentially lethal situations compared to officers responding to such calls in states with lower firearm prevalence."

So where does that leave us? In the same article talking about the study, the author of the study put it best saying "If people in the United States are concerned about the lives of police officers, think about the laws in your state regarding firearms."

Cover Image Credit: just_pistols

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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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Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

SEE ALSO: Dear Trump, Thanks For Transforming Me Into A Responsible, Educated Citizen

Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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