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.
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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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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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