Red, White, And Blue, What Did You Do?!

Red, White, And Blue, What Did You Do?!

Have you ever been pulled over by the police? Have you ever been on Live PD?! Maybe I've seen you on there!

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For the past week, I have been watching "Live PD" on Youtube and it's actually really interesting. Watching people give tickets and arrested for all kinds of things, high-speed chases, and shootouts... It sounds insane because it is! It is also really real and it happens because of bad choices. I assume that there are hundreds of people, probably, even more, getting pulled over by the police every couple of minutes, maybe even seconds. When driving around from city to city, I see police everywhere; especially pulling people over. Most of the time someone will get pulled over for speeding or for equipment problems. I have only ever been pulled over once in my life, for speeding, which was unfortunate, but I was speeding and now I understand the consequences - EXPENSIVE AND NOT WORTH THE TIME IN COURT.

A lot of scenes from this show are people getting pulled over for something more dangerous. Each episode of the show is police from different places all over the United States. Sometimes it's body footage (which is incredible and very scary), car cam, helicopter cam, or a cameraman. We all know these police officers much rather be pulling people over and giving them speeding tickets, but some people just don't know when to stop.

I am writing this article for all the law enforcement officers out there because I give them so much more respect upon seeing what they deal with almost every day. Not to say that all police officers deserve the same respect because some do not because of horrible mistakes and misjudgment of situations, sorry to say. Some make bad mistakes, but so do all of those people that they have to arrest. Police officers are following the law. They are taking every necessary precaution to protect the public, protect themselves and to potentially save those who could bring harm to themselves.

I searched how much energy one must go through to become a police officer and I found that on average they must spend 880 hours (22 weeks) of academy training which includes having them, "learn state laws, criminal investigations, patrol procedures, firearms training, traffic control, defensive driving, self-defense, first aid and computer skills." Along with those they must take part in, "physical training and fieldwork that demonstrates their comprehension of classroom instruction. Field exercises include investigating mock criminal scenes, directing traffic, operating police vehicles, arrest techniques, using firearms, fingerprinting and interrogation methods." Officers with K-9 units take a couple weeks to be initially placed into a department, then 3-4 weeks for actual training for narcotics or explosives. K-9 units often teach in German so when on the pursuit and they get released that those who are being sought after cannot stop or control the dog in control. Watching countless videos of K-9's responding to their owners by attacking the suspect, usually leave their mark by taking them down by biting their arms or legs. This ensures that the suspect will not go anywhere and it gives the police officers a chance to catch their breath, evaluate the situation, making sure it is safe, then arresting them.

Another show, taken place in the UK ("Nothing To Declare") deals with suspicious travelers in airports going through security (border patrol). They arrest countless people laundering money, and others traveling with (smuggling) hundreds of pounds of cocaine, marijuana, and other miscellaneous substances or objects. Within the show, officers work in tandem with sniffer dogs to detect possible packages of those illegal substances and excessive amounts of money. It is really very fascinating and impressive what the dogs find. They stop hundreds of people and arrest plenty of them. Before watching this show, I had no idea that dogs could detect large amounts of money. When traveling out of the country, one is only allowed to carry up to $10,000; if more then police have the authority to confiscate it from the owner.

People become erratic and make bad decisions. People have to understand that there is a law to follow and if they don't then there are serious consequences. A lot of the videos from Live PD are people that have warrants, illegal substances, DUI's, assault charges, and the list goes on… I'm not going to type out every reason for you to be an advocate to either side; law or injustice, but people have to understand that when police get involved it is for the fear of the safety of the public. The police are here to bring justice and to protect us. Not everybody does their job right. We all do things wrong, sometimes with other peoples lives in our hands. Hear me out- it is easy to avoid mistakes, it is easy to get yourself into dangerous situations. Watch the people who influence you; if they act poorly and have attitudes and behaviors then get away and STAY CLEAN. The world wasn't meant for violence. The reason why we have police is to KEEP THE PEACE.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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