A Pro-Gun Liberal Is Not An Oxymoron

A Pro-Gun Liberal Is Not An Oxymoron

Believing in our second amendment rights does not make me a hypocrite.

At a club in Orlando Florida, nearly 100 people were killed or injured at a club in shooting involving a terrorist whose name will not be mentioned. In light of this massacre and many before the rights of gun owners have been a topic of discussion and deep contention. The far-left demand a ban on weapons, while the far right scream a breach of their constitutional rights.

As someone who is in support of “liberal” ideas, like a universal healthcare system and free education, it bothers me that I can not support our second amendment without coming off to people as a hypocrite. I do not expect someone who believes in the conservative idea of stricter immigration laws to be homophobic. So why is the same expected of me?

I am certainly someone who leans left, but that does not mean I am not able to have beliefs that differ from the leftist mentality. I have no problem stating that I am for gun rights. This is because it is impossible to find a party that captures all of the ideals I support.

"the United States has been at war for 222 of our 239 years as a nation"

I believe that we as citizens have the right to a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, and the right of people to keep and bear Arms as stated in under our second amendment rights. This means I am in full support of conceal-and-carry and other handgun, shotgun and rifle rights. However, the shall not be infringed upon is one aspect I am not too sure of.

It is frustrating to me to hear from individuals who believe the simple answer is the barring of weapons. This mentality, to me, is immensely naive. We are a country, whether some like it or not, that gun culture is deeply ingrained into. Since 1776 the United States has been at war for 222 of our 239 years as a nation. We were founded through a revolution that began with local militias, we then overcame a southern revolution through the Civil War, and participated in many more after. To think that it is even possible to ban something that is so deeply ingrained in who we are with ease is ignorant.

However, the most common conversation I have about gun rights is the need for semi or fully automatic rifles. This is one aspect of gun rights that I have always been up in the air for. I do question the need for semi or fully-automatic weapons. I do understand and sympathize for those who are gun enthusiasts or simply want to covet their constitutional rights.

Personally, I do not see the need to have a fully functional semi or fully automatic gun if your intent is just to collect. Since a firearm can only be classified as a weapon by the lower receiver. In layman’s terms, this is the trigger system. I have no issue if a gun enthusiast wants a certain gun for their collection. Until the lower receiver is attached to the upper, it can not be considered a weapon, therefore, does not need to be registered.

"It also barred various weapons that were previously banned in past expired legislation like semi-automatic firearms, modern sporting rifles/assault weapons"

I also want to state that just because I personally don't see the need to own a semi- or fully-automatic weapon does not mean I believe that no one should. This means I am in full support of owning a fully functional semi/automatic rifle so long as there are background checks, regulations, and safety precautions that are followed prior to ownership of the weapon. This is because I support our right to keep a regulated Militia to protect our right as a Free State against any acts of oppression or tyranny. I am aware that this is a slippery slope. So this aspect may change but as for now this is what I believe.

However, I am deeply frustrated at the NRA’s contention against safety procedures for the fear that it is an act of “taking people’s guns”. The NRA showed strong opposition to a proposed federal legislation piece titled Assault Weapons Ban of 2015. This legislation stated the use of background checks and the barring of pistol grips, certain types of firearm stocks, such as collapsing and telescoping stocks. It also barred various weapons that were previously banned in past expired legislation like semi-automatic firearms, modern sporting rifles/assault weapons, semi-automatic pistols, semi-automatic shotguns, and high-capacity magazines. There is no need for an untrained civilian to own any of these items. If these are to be sought there must be strict requirements for ownership that include training, safety courses, background checks and potentially psychological exams.

"Clearly there is a larger problem than one particular religion"

I do not believe that I am morally superior to anyone in the far-left or far-right. I really do not know what the solution to gun violence is, but what I do know is that simply stronger gun control is not the answer. Considering some states do have strict regulations on “assault rifles” many of which include fixed smaller magazines that can not be removed, the barring of features (pistol grip, certain stocks, etc..) which greatly reduce the abilities of even owning an “assault rifle” yet crimes of this nature do occur.

I am a firm believer that is the person that is the root of the problem, not the gun itself.

When we consider the high rate of deinstitutionalization that has occurred in this country it is hard for me to support the robbery of our constitutional rights. By closing down mental institutions and reducing funding we caused a lack of care and strengthened the stigma towards those with mental illness.

It is also important to keep in mind that radical Islamists, radical white supremacists, mentally ill people, plain psychopaths, anti-government fanatics, ex-military lunatics have committed massacres across the US. Clearly there is a larger problem than one particular religion.

We must not paint a group of people, whether it be by a political party or a religion, with the same brush. Life is much more complex than a checked box on a survey sheet. I, as a person who supports liberal ideas, can also support ideas claimed by another party. This is one of the most important points I wish to get across because that is how we will progress as a nation.

Cover Image Credit: RedLetterChristians

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Listening To Vic Mensa

A social commentary through music.


In the fall of my junior year, I acquired an aversion to elephants and the color red. The red elephants on my television screen were revolting: come January 2017, an openly sexist, racist bigot—the antithesis of the American spirit—would hold our country's highest office. My calculus homework was long-forgotten on the kitchen table as I sat next to my mother in silence. I envisioned repealed civil liberties for minorities, eradicated universal healthcare, and an ominous wall that separated us from the rest of the world. I felt helpless—but, I was not alone. 2,140 miles away in an Atlanta hotel room, the face of social hip-hop, Vic Mensa, fielded phone calls from his dejected sisters and dealt with his own incurable disgust.

Mensa grew up in Chicago's South Side. His parents (both educators) taught Mensa the importance of politics, literature, and mathematics, while the rest of the South Side exposed Mensa to humanity's unsettling realities: gun violence, drugs, and police brutality. Following the murder of his childhood friend, Mensa decided to create music that inspires political and social change. Mensa writes and performs powerful songs packed with an effective combination of both rhetoric and personal experience. To him, the 2016 Election results were not disheartening; instead, Trump's win only strengthened his vision. "I realized that [Trump] had to happen because we've been pacified by having Barack [Obama] in office. That pacification would have only continued by having Hillary elected," Mensa stated in an interview with CNN the day after the election, "My fight doesn't end here no matter the outcome".

Mensa's debut album, There's a Lot Going On, was released a few months prior to the presidential election. On the seven-part album, track six, "Shades of Blue", is the most politically-charged song included in the collection. The first time that I heard the song during the summer of 2016, I focused solely on the appealing beat and pretty harmonies. I understood the obvious reference to the Flint water crisis; however, I overlooked the lyrics' full significance. Listening to the song post-election was a drastically different experience. As Mensa predicted, Trump's hateful rhetoric and racist remarks pushed social justice issues towards the forefront of my mind. This elevated awareness made me conscious of "Shades of Blue"'s allusions to social justice, and Mensa's intricate lyrical tools reinforced my sense of purpose: taking a firm stance against injustice to spur political change.

As I later discovered in "Shades of Blue", Flint is a segue to other social justice themes. Race, socioeconomic status, government inefficiency, and white-centric media coverage are all problems that are exacerbated by the Flint crisis. Mensa utilizes potent images, the "color of morning pee coming out of the sink" and "lead in the water gun," to highlight the severity and transparency of the crisis. Mensa further articulates his point on race and class disparity by comparing the Flint crisis to a sinking boat: if the boat contained white people, the government would intervene and help; yet, since the boat contains minorities (both racial and socioeconomic), the government will allow it to sink. Mensa's lyrics also explain the government's inability to aid poverty-stricken areas. Our representatives allow inner-city areas to flounder under mounting violence while allowing media sources to emphasize the stagnant stalemate between the U.S. and Russia. Rather than confronting the rising crime rates in places like Mensa's native South Side Chicago, the government chooses to work on "true" American problems like Russia and to leave the "black problem" to fester and deteriorate. For me, these verses highlighted the government's incompetence and failed attempts to provide tangible assistance for specific minority groups which amplified my frustration with the inequality in America.

Trump has forced America to recognize some of its ugliest truths. His supporters no longer have to hide their racist opinions; the enemies are clearly targeted, and the lines have been erased—anything is fair game. For years our nation has suppressed underlying marginalization, and now that these sentiments are public, our generation can identify, confront, and combat racism. I have followed politics from a young age, but Mensa's music inspires myself and my peers to actively participate in politics. With the Trump administration bearing down on valued American institutions, the public must unify and stand as an ally for groups who have been ignored and suppressed throughout history. Our strength and influence is derived from passion, large numbers, and ceaseless agitation. "Change gon' come," Vic Mensa promises in "Shades of Blue", but "it's all on you."

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