Politicians Use Your Suffering As Ammunition For Their Gun Right Agendas

Politicians Use Your Suffering As Ammunition For Their Gun Right Agendas

Why mass shootings are not given as much importance as they should.
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Thousands of people in America are shot in murders, assaults or by police intervention each year. And in recent years, this figure has skyrocketed, making gun violence a serious issue, and this is why it has been addressed in party platforms of major politicians and political parties. On their platform, the GOP writes they believe that the second amendment right to bear arms should not be infringed, but higher levels of security and armed personnel in public areas may be beneficial. On the other hand, the Democrats believe that laws and policies should be enacted to restrict some gun freedoms to prevent mass shootings. But what have these parties said to address the victims of these shootings? That's just it: nothing.

The people involved in these violent events are forgotten or dehumanized. Instead, these events as a whole promote certain politicians, parties or policies — especially during elections. All you see after a mass shooting are politicians fighting to pass their own reforms while the victims of the shooting are left to the side. If you think about it, there is no political testament in the Constitution to stop gun violence. Politicians use these events as justification to gain authority over matters that are not under their jurisdiction. For example, where in the Constitution does it mention the gun background checks that the Democrat Brady Bill advocates for? Nowhere, but the Democrats are able to push for it in light of the recent shootings, gaining support from citizens who are eager to take action to prevent future violence. Using these tactics to gain support turns victims and their families into stepping stones used to advocate for their policies.

This isn't one sided. In regard to the Sandy Hook shooting, Republican lobbyist and Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne Lapierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He proposed armed personnel at every school or other public areas with their full second amendment gun rights, because he believes that this extra security is what will prevent those bad shooters, rather than background checks.

These shootings and others happening across the country give politicians more authority because people are vulnerable and feel lost. Politicians take advantage of this feelings and wield them to their advantage, pitching policies that seem like they would work, and the people who are desperate to prevent these occurrences quickly jump on board with the politicians policies.

In this way, we also kind of encourage this dehumanization. When a politician makes general statements about these shootings, they may garner support, which encourages them to keep making these statements and sharing their views. The reason why most politicians and we, too, can overlook the individual victims of these tragic mass shootings is simply because we don’t personally know these people and their stories. They are lumped together as just more ammunition politicians can use to back up their policies, and for us, they seem to be justification or reasons of why we should or shouldn't support certain gun policies or politicians, but this is morally wrong. Who are we to belittle the suffering of others?

Hopefully, with more involvement of politicians and insightful information into the minds of the people, we can take into account the victims and their families of these shootings so that they are more than just ammunition for policies; they are humans with real-life struggles and deserve to be treated as such.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Sebastián León Prado

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Message To High School Seniors

It's going to be alright.

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Dear High School Seniors,

You've made it! In just a few months you will be getting ready to put on your cap and gown and walk across the stage to get your diploma. Soon, you're gonna say goodbye to the life you've known for the past four years and start a new life somewhere else. At this point, your senioritis has most likely already kicked in and you're probably dreading waking up at 7 a.m. more and more each day. The second semester of senior year is annoying but cherish every moment of it.

Everything is about to change. As you walk down the hallways look around. Take a second to look at your classmates and ask them how their day is going. Learn about them and the stories they have to share with the world. Everybody has some advice to give and you never know what you're going to learn. Before you know it, you won't be seeing their faces anymore. The only form of connection you'll have with most of them is through social media which will eventually fade as well. You don't want your only memories of those you graduated with to be just seeing their face in the hall.

Go to the places you love the most. Whether it's your favorite hometown restaurant or your favorite place to hang out with your friends, go. Go until you're sick of it. Take a second to acknowledge the sights and smells around you. You're going to miss them. In a few months, you won't be able to jump in your car and drive five minutes to get there. The places that make your home your home are about to be a long car ride or flight away.

Spend time with your family. This is one thing I wish I realized earlier more than anything. Your parents are most likely going to soon become visibly upset or scared at the fact that you're leaving them. After all, you are their little girl or boy. This time is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But don't make fun of them, hang out with them. You're going to miss the once dreaded trips to the grocery store with your mom and the annoying car rides with your little brother. You really don't realize how important your family is to you until they're not a few footsteps away anymore. Unfortunately, no amount of facetime calls will ever compare to being with them in person. Don't leave home wishing you had spent more time with them.

Be involved in the things happening at your school. Go to prom. Buy a yearbook and get as many people as you can to sign it. Go to the football, basketball, baseball and soccer games you have left. These activities may seem boring at times but they are what you're going to miss. When you get to a big university it isn't going to be as easy to get involved.

Get excited about for the future. Even if you're not going to your dream school, it's going to be ok. The second semester of my senior year I spent upset over the fact I was going to stay at an in-state school. The school I'm at now was the last place I had thought about attending. I almost didn't even apply. However, I am so lucky that I did. I truly can not imagine there being a school that could have been a better choice for me. The people I have met and the opportunities I have been given would have never been put in front of me if I had attended another school. Try to keep an open mind. Everything really does happen for a reason. If you aren't going to the school you originally were hoping to, don't stress. You're going to end up at the place right for you, at least I know I did.

College is amazing but there will always be something special about your home. Make sure you make these last few months your best months. These next few months will be filled with a whole lot of lasts and followed by a whole lot of firsts. Good luck!

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