So... This Is America?

So... This Is America?

The land of the free? The home of the brave?
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I. Am. Outraged.

I am angry that I live in a country filled with entitled individuals. I am angry I live in a country filled with individuals that openly hate other individuals that are different from them. I am angry that something that this has happened; could happen. I am angry that the country isn't in more of an uproar that this happened. I am angry that people died. I am angry that there are people in this country who feel they need to cleanse it of all people that are non-white. I am angry that there are so many people all over the country that feel this way.

The sound of my own screaming scared me.

I. Am. Terrified.

I am scared because history is beginning to repeat itself. I am scared because I am a woman. I am scared because I am African-American. I am scared for my brothers and sisters who are Jewish, African-American, Gay, or any of the other groups that these terrorists are targeting. I am scared because we have only seen some of the people that feel this way. I am scared because I am literally seeing America divide itself. I am scared because hatred and violence will only breed more hatred and violence... and no one seems to get that. I am scared for America and all it's people.

I sobbed uncontrollably... until my eyes hurt and my head was throbbing.

I. Am. Numb.

This division has been brewing for years. Anyone who doesn't know this or tries to act like it's new is misinformed. I have spent years now crying over senseless violence. I have spent years asking myself why my skin color is a problem when I didn't even chose it. I have spent years asking how you can hate someone for their religion or sexual orientation. I have spent years praying to GOD asking him to heal this country. This country is hurting on both sides and it is weighing on me. I'm tired of being smart enough to know that this country doesn't belong to one group of people. I'm tired of being smart enough to know that racism is wrong and that no group of people is superior to the other. I am tired of wondering what's wrong with me. I am tired of hearing people trying to compare the Black Lives Matter movement to other terrorist groups. I am tired of having to explain why we even say Black Lives Matter. I'll say it once more here: It is not a statement that in anyway is trying to imply that all other lives do not matter, but seeing how Black people can be shot, killed, and nothing happens... it seems to me that our lives aren't valued as high, so we shout a reminder that despite our melanin, we matter too.

I am numb. I've cried way too many tears over people I don't know. Not just Black people, but all people who are discriminated against and oppressed. All people who are made to feel like they are scum or worthless or don't belong in this country just because they are different or unique. Just they don't follow the status quo. I don't want to box in a specific group of people because I know not everyone feels the same way the terrorist feel. Some of these people are fighting along side the minority groups. Some of them have even lost their lives.

I, unlike the people who hate me without knowing me, do not blame one group of people. I blame a mindset. I blame a belief system that causes certain individuals to believe that this country belongs to them. I blame the justice system. I blame a thought process that makes people believe that it is there duty to clear out anyone different from them. Most of all I blame hatred. It is a seed, that if tended t,o can destroy a person. Make them cold and bitter and do terrible. It can make them blind. It can cause wars and division.

I don't hate anyone. I refuse to allow this evil to corrupt me. So instead I'm just angry, terrified and numb. I'm at a loss of words, but thankfully never a loss of hope. I pray that one day this country is able to put itself back together. And I pray it happens before the hatred and evil cause this country to burn.

I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the "United" States of America, and to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philhillphotography

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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