Demonizing Donald Trump Will Not Fix America's Gun Problem

Demonizing Donald Trump Will Not Fix America's Gun Problem

Blaming each other is NOT the solution to the shooting in Parkland.
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On Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, Parkland, Florida felt the shock wave of a tragedy that spread across the nation when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire in the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

This tragedy left its mark with 17 dead including teachers and students and wounding 14 others. This effect was also seen in the responses after the incident occurred in outrage from parents and students, ignorance of politicians and gun owners, and the negligence and backpedaling of the FBI.

However, the shooting pointed out a glaring issue of our society.

Everyone cares more about being right and finding someone to blame in the aftermath of the shooting that they are doing nothing to try to change the circumstances that led to the incident in the first place.

This is not a new issue either. It is one that has persisted since Columbine and will continue until people can seriously enact permanent change by working with one another, not against. The following is what I feel are the best solutions to this epidemic.

The Need for SERIOUS Gun Control and Responsible Ownership

I know this one seems kind of obvious, but the media is right about one thing, and that is that Nikolas Cruz should not have been able to get access to even a civilian grade AR-15. This is for many reasons. Firstly, gun laws aren't strict enough and need to be nationwide. The drinking age is 21 so people do not destroy the brain prior to its full development.

The further along brain development is, the more solid decision-making skills become, so I feel it would be best to wait for that development to take place before letting individuals have access to more powerful weapons. Parents should teach their children gun responsibility and safety and help them to understand the purpose of the weapon.

However, it should not be easy to get a higher grade gun. You should have to take gun safety and responsibility courses, run a background check and psychological evaluation, evaluation of permanent school records to check for aggression and antisocial behavior that are red flags for future violence and then test out into different ranks. Then you should only be able to buy the weapons in that rank. If you try to buy something out of rank it should add points to your license to carry, like a drivers license.

People with cognitive disabilities such as individuals with Autism, like Cruz, that affects their decision-making abilities, should not have access to a gun.

People in these marches like the one pictured above need to be talking to Congress about what changes they want because marching and assuming the government knows what you want is not going to effect any change.

If you do not go and tell your government what you want you can't complain when it doesn't happen. So take action if you want to see the change. Also, show responsibility as a gun owner by participating and complying with new rules and regulations, and being an active and positive part of the conversation.

Actively Listen to the Victims

You need to hear what the victims are saying, not just have a response ready for every sentence because these individuals lived through that tragedy and their voices and opinions do matter.If you ignore them you are invariably contributing to the problem by showing them you don't care about them or their loss.

Yes, they are children and they may require some education on public policy and politics, but how will they learn if you don't help them to understand in a polite and empathetic manner?

Who knows, those children, who will soon be adults may understand and find new ways to promote the change they want to see in Congress. They just want to be understood and stop becoming statistics, and parents just want their kids home at the end of the day.

Stop Demonizing the People Who Can Help

Okay, so granted Donald Trump is not my favorite guy in the whole wide world, but regardless of whether or not I like it, he is the president of my country.

Effectively, he has the ability to push bills through Congress and fight on our behalf to get something done about the issues we're facing. He is also the one who passes or veto's said bills. A.K.A. he is the guy everyone should be talking to about gun control.

Whether or not you like the government and its policies, government officials are the people we must talk to in order for things to change.

They must also listen to us, as the relationship should go both ways. This also ensures that what we want is within the realm of what is possible to what could be probable or even completely changed.

This also goes for the FBI. We all know they royally screwed up not bringing in Cruz, but arguing among ourselves is not going to make this tragedy any less of a tragedy. It will only further pit people against each other and offer no solutions for the future blinding people from the real problems.

We need to work together to enact a future of change and non-violence for those who are here presently and those who will be here in the future. Our future as Americans is in everyone's hands and we are all responsible for how things go in this country. So if you don't like it, change it for the future of America.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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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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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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