The Responses to Las Vegas: Just As Divisive

The Responses to Las Vegas: Just As Divisive

The reactions to the shooting in Las Vegas has started discussions, but they often are just as angry and heated as anything else.
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After the shooting in Las Vegas, which has become the deadliest in modern American history, the discussions of how it could have been prevented have sprung up, with everything from gun control to mental wellness help to even hotel security. But it's far too late for fixing the problem, because, let's be real, nothing has been done about it after any shooting, no matter how deadly the attack was. This time was different – the shooter was a white man in his sixties, religion and political beliefs unknown as of the time of writing this. No note was found, and family has decided to stay out of the spotlight, and for good reason. But we need to look at the reactions from the government agencies taking care of the investigation, the news media (specifically the right-wing news), and the people of this nation to see what the larger impact will be going forward after an attack that leaves close to six hundred people dead or injured, all by one man with weapons.

The FBI has come out and said there is not enough evidence to consider this a domestic terrorist attack, as “terrorism” requires political or economic gain. However, we cannot deny that if the shooter was from the Middle East or otherwise nonwhite, he would already be considered a terrorist no matter where he was born or what his political beliefs were. In most other countries, an attack of this scale would immediately be considered terrorism and the proper authorities would be involved to find out if there is a larger cell planning more attacks like this – but this is not most other countries. ISIS took credit for the shooting as well, but that was quickly pushed aside by investigators, as ISIS basically will claim they did anything that caused injury or death to Americans (if they could report themselves to OSHA over causing accidents in the workplace, they would). But that didn't stop many sources from automatically assuming he was Muslim, because nobody wants to admit that terrorists can come up from American soil as well.

Fox News' coverage of the event has generated enough controversy, with hosts questioning whether or not we can “hate him yet” because we don't know his background (seriously, they said that, look it up), or trying to tie in the NFL protests into the shooting by saying that law enforcement saved all these people and protesting law enforcement is protesting America which is wrong. On the first point – as The Daily Show so perfectly captured – Fox News and their hosts just could not deal with the fact that the shooter looked just like one of their target audience, and questioned whether or not to hate him without knowing the motive. They also tried to turn it back on “the left” for disrespecting Trump, and that this was a reactionary attack. Yes, an “antifa” group did claim responsibility – but that group was proven to be a fake troll page months ago, and no actual group has spoken up in support of the shooting, so there goes Fox's usual point. And he was a white, older, middle class American citizen, which as I just said, they couldn't understand that the people who watch their programs could snap just like he did.

Lastly, and on a much better note, the help flooding in after the violence shows us what it truly means to be American. It's not respecting the flag or the president or even taking a side on an issue. Rather, as with hurricanes and other tragedies, people came out in droves to donate blood, help with victims, or donate to local charities. At the festival where the shooting occurred, even as bullets rained down on the crowd, people were helping each other escape, some even transporting the injured to hospitals in their own vehicles. We all come together in times of horror and violence, and unity is what makes us win over those who wish to cause us harm. From first responders to hotel staff to concert goers to the people providing first aid, we put aside our differences because everybody needs help to survive. Together we are one country, one people, no matter our race, creed, religion, music tastes, or political party. And nobody can take that from us, because once that happens, then we have become lost as a nation.

In tragedy comes the usual calls on who's to blame, what we can do, and stories of people helping each other become rampant. However, we cannot let the only times we have discussions on gun control or mental health, or the only times we all join together, be only when violence or other disasters strike. Rather, we must always stand united, so that the next, because it's only a matter of time before there is a next, won't be able to strike fear of leaving your home – no matter what, we are all humans living in the same country, and nobody can stop that, not even a crazed gunman. The Las Vegas shooting will forever be a tragic event, but as with 9/11 before it, the stories of America rising back up will be just as important. Finding a group to blame only makes the situation worse, and instead, focus on what we can all do better to prevent more loss of life and fear.

Cover Image Credit: People

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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