As a teenager, I often hear about how reckless and ignorant teenagers are. This stems from the fact that we are not yet adults, but are not given the leniency that is given to children when it comes to world news. We are expected to keep our grades up while doing extra curriculars and have an exciting social life. The busy schedules that come with being a teenager makes some adults think that we have little interest or knowledge about real world issues. This is a common misunderstanding because when given the chance, teens can give a great deal of insight into the world we live in and are more than willing to express their political opinions. Our opinions and thoughts on politics are often dismissed due to "not knowing" anything and "not having lived long enough to have life experience", however, the internet we are seemingly so addicted to gives us the tools we need to make informed decisions about society. Social media is a great way to connect with friends, but it is also a great way to see different points of view on many issues. News articles and information on politics are readily available, and it is almost impossible to go through them without ending up with some knowledge and an opinion. The elections this year have most of the world talking about who will be our next president, and this does not exclude teens. The political decisions made by the generation before us will mostly affect us, and that interests us greatly. Wanting to live in a country that is good for us is something that every person wants, regardless of age.There are, of course, some teenagers that have no clue what is going on in the world around them, but there are also adults like that. Ignorance does not just apply to teenagers, and the idea that we are the only ignorant ones is absolutely absurd. By junior or senior year of high school we are expected to know what we want to do with our lives, we have to know where we will study for our degrees and how we will pay for it. If we are expected to know who we are and what we want, why are our opinions seen as invalid? How come we can't know who we support in politics and what our country needs? Teens are used to learning and are eager to express ideas and help come up with solutions to the world's problems. We are ready to talk about our views and ideas if adults are ready to listen.
Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.
There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?
So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.
If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?
If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.
Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.
Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!
There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.
Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.
I was on my way out the door to work when I got a panicked call from my mother.
"Can you look at the news online?" she said quickly. "There is a mass shooting somewhere nearby."
My heart stopped. For me, Aurora, Illinois is home. I was born there, I grew up around the area and I attended high school there. My siblings go to school close by and my boyfriend works for a neighboring fire department.
How could my beloved hometown become the victim of the latest tragedy?
After calling my boyfriend, who was at the fire station getting ready to deploy ambulances to the scene, I discovered that it had taken place at a factory nearby. My anxiety hit an all-time high as I watched the updates on all of the local city Facebook pages and groups. Officers down. Gunman at large. Mass casualties.
Hours later, all of the facts came out. A former employee of Henry Pratt's Company, a local industrial warehouse, had recently been let go and decided to get revenge. He entered the warehouse with a gun and began to shoot at random, killing five people and wounding many others, including five police officers. He was killed by local SWAT forces.
I am the kind of person who is pro-gun and pro-gun rights because of the second amendment and all of the freedoms I believe we deserve. But that doesn't make what happened okay and it never will.
While this situation doesn't change my mind, it does change my view of the world.
Why would somebody decide that shooting former coworkers was the way to go? Why would anyone want to hurt others? These are the questions that flooded my mind in the hours after the mass shooting. I don't necessarily think we have a gun issue in America, but issues with mental health and valuing life.
We pass bills to kill unborn children. We repeal bills that take away healthcare from million. We devalue life in its most basic form and respect those around us to still have enough respect for each other's lives. We stigmatize those who need psychiatric care and expect things to still be alright.
This is not alright.
Our country, our system, our values, and morals, they are all broken and backward. We have let mass shootings become normal and violence becomes accepted. It needs to be stopped. There needs to be a change.
One of the people killed was an intern from a local college during his first day on the job. Being a college student applying to internships myself, this hit far too close to home. Nobody deserves to die, least of all in their place of work while trying to further their career.
Five people lost their lives due to someone's disrespect of them. Yes, a gun was the weapon, but a mind was the actor. I pray that someday, our country will return to valuing life and respecting others enough to help them instead of pushing them away. This is not the first mass shooting, but it can be the last. If, and only if, we make sure of it.
If you want to help the victim's families in any way, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses