This Is The Reality Of A Campus Lockdown

This Is The Reality Of A Campus Lockdown

All I could think was: Why is this the life we have to live?
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As I sat there, huddled in the back corner of my classroom, squeezing the hand of a girl I had maybe exchanged three conversations with in the past and watching people desperately try to get in contact with their loved ones, all I could think was: Why is this the life we have to live?

This is the reality of a campus lockdown.

It’s strangers rushing into the room as you stroll in for class, carrying with them their books and their backpacks and an anxiety you don’t understand.

It’s everyday small talk escalating, gradually then all-at-once, into a panicked, incomprehensible dissonance of “Wait, what’s going on?” and “Apparently, there’s an active shooter, I don’t know”, “Close the door, close the door!” and “We’re not sure how to lock doors in this building.”

This is the reality of a campus lockdown.

It’s your heart shrinking in its chest and racing as you see people crying hysterically into the phone, crying silently even though you never expected them to.

It’s you, crying, too, at the sight of others’ fear, letting yourself fall apart right beside the people around you and letting them lift you up because they’re somehow stronger than you are.

This is the reality of a campus lockdown.

It’s the Internet immediately knowing the name of the building you’re about to type in because so many people have already done the same.

It’s news accounts on Twitter making you feel voiceless as they report “all-clear” when you’re still cramped in a barricaded room with people praying and sending each other strained smiles, trying to reassure each other—and maybe themselves—that you are fine, that you will be fine, that everything will be okay.

It’s your breath stopping in your airways every time someone bumps their knee into a table leg or mumbles a little too loud. It’s the girl on her phone hearing that two people were shot. It’s a period of uncertainty, of not knowing what to believe.

It’s coming out of it the way you come out of a nightmare, with a heaving chest and the mantra running through your head that you’re all right now, you’re all right.

This is the reality of a campus lockdown.

It’s anger.

It’s anger as you move the chair in front of you, crouch down, and wonder: Why is this the life we have to live? It’s anger that we have been forced to normalize a life in which we fear to live. It’s anger that this has been happening for years and there have been politicians in Washington, simply watching— watching Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando— and letting it happen, over and over and over again.

Yes. I’m making it about politics. How could I not? It’s impossible to resist “politicizing” these events as they come—and they inevitably keep coming—because politics is this.

I am incredibly lucky that the campus lockdown we experienced at the University of Southern California was a false alarm. I am incredibly lucky that this is the extent of my personal connection to this issue because so many people cannot say the same. For those who have loved ones in Las Vegas, or have experienced similar tragedies in the past, my heart is with you. But it’s not enough for me to grieve with you. People in my position cannot send “thoughts and prayers” and expect the news we wake up to in the morning to change.

Yes, we need love. We will always need love. But right now, it is not enough. Right now, we need legislation.

The issue of gun control is not as controversial as we believe it to be. 90% of Americans support increasing background checks to close loopholes for gun purchases. That’s almost the entirety of America that wants, to some extent, stricter gun control.

But what we want doesn't matter in a democracy that is indirect only to its citizens and direct to the interest groups that feed it money in return for loyalty.

In the 2016 election cycle, the NRA collectively contributed over $50 million independent expenditures.

That’s $50 million to Republicans. $4.6 million to Senator Roy Blunt, whose “thoughts are with all of the families affected” by Las Vegas. $1.3 million to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who called the tragedy a "[shock]." $50 million to the politicians who create our policies, who represent our vision of the country we want to live in, who hold our lives in their hands—hands that are stained with blood money.

Our apathy and ignorance put them in these positions of power. Every member of Congress sitting in D.C. today is there because of us. And I want to believe that we can either push them out of those seats in 2018 or demand more from them because they owe us this, because their job is to represent us, because the message we stand for is not students hiding in a corner, calling their loved ones and trying to repress an irrepressible fear, nor is it fatal gunshots fired into an environment meant to celebrate life, because I want to believe that there is a world that is better than this, because I know that there can be.

I don’t want anxious phone calls and barricaded classrooms to be the reality of any campus. I don’t want concerts to become a place of danger when they have always been a place of safety and escapism. But unless we demand that our representatives listen to their constituents before they cater to their lobbyists, I don’t see a future that promises otherwise. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

The information to call your representatives is can be found here.

Cover Image Credit: Toronto Star

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Why Ocasio-Cortez Is Unfit For Office

For many of the same reasons as Donald Trump.

Kentaro
Kentaro
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's meteoric ascension to elected office was as much of an awakening to the Democrats as was the election of Donald Trump. They too were not immune to the American people's frustration with the current status quo. Unfortunately, for both Democrats and Republicans alike, this has led to the election of polarizing figures with little backgrounds in politics and a commitment to alternative truths.

Ocasio-Cortez considers herself a Democratic Socialist and is out of touch with reality as much as her idol Bernie Sanders was. Socialist countries past (USSR, East Germany, Vietnam) and present (China) were/are rife with corruption. The socialist utopia which Ocasio-Cortez envisions will be the death of small American business unable to pay the high taxes required to support her platform, which includes Medicare and housing for all. Furthermore, her platform contains a proposal to tax Wall Street to fund public universities and trade schools (her childish thought process probably consisted of Wall Street = stocks = money = something I can tax), and a proposal to abolish ICE and demilitarize the police — besides being incredibly idiotic, a proposal feeding on the misguided anger some American have for our brave law enforcement officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep us safe. Our government is in 17 trillion dollars of debt because of its inability to manage money, and Ocasio-Cortez is telling us to give them more. It's appalling and scary someone so out of touch with reality was elected.

Ocasio-Cortez apparently loves alternative truths and lies as much as Donald Trump. Her most recent claim was that 66 percent of her Medicare proposal would have covered by the Pentagon's accounting errors, which total somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 trillion dollars. Looking closely at the article which she cited as the basis of her claims, it becomes clear she did not read or comprehend the article in its entirety and is living in her own fantasy land. The 21 trillion dollars is the sum of all the transactions where the same dollar could have been transferred between multiple accounts multiple times. In fact, the Pentagon hasn't even spent 21 trillion dollars in its existence. Ocasio-Cortez has also said ICE has a quota to detain 34,000 people a day, again another case of her living in her own fantasy land and acknowledging a half-truth. ICE is required to maintain — not fill — 34,000 beds by the DHS Appropriations Act of 2016. Ocasio-Cortez has said many more alternative facts, but I have neither the time nor the desire to bore you and analyze them all.

It's incredibly sad honesty and integrity have no place in American politics. Electing officials who have no commitment to the hard truths will destroy our American values and everything we hold dear. May God help this country.

Kentaro
Kentaro

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