The Safety of the People in the Hands of the People

The Safety of the People in the Hands of the People

A Essay About Gun Control
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America is notoriously known for their struggle over gun control. With an amendment that states that citizens are able to “keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” citizens of America have gone over the line of using these weapons as a way to “protect themselves.” However, this need to carry a firearm has caused great harm as many seek to amend the Second Amendment or dismantle it entirely, and thus create a safer America for all.

Over the last decade, America has experienced a rising number of fatalities regarding firearms. John Paul Stevens, a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, addresses the controversial ideology in “The Five Extra Words That Can Fix the Second Amendment,” of whether or not it’s worth the need for protection when risking the safety of innocents; “Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns”(Stevens). Stevens brings about the common argument of whether one's freedom is more important than the greater society’s public safety. Handguns are easily obtained by simply applying online and then waiting a period of 1-3 months, and with this accessibility, it allows more firearm-related incidents to occur. Often times these tragedies occur within the home as “89% of accidental shooting deaths among children occur in the home and that most of these deaths occur when children are playing with an unsecured loaded gun in their parents’ absence” (“Statistics on Guns in the Home & Safe Storage”). Had the parents of these children taken into consideration that their children’s safety was in jeopardy by simply having a gun in the house, these incidents would have a less probability of occurring.

Although guns are often associated with death, these weapons can still be beneficial to have handy. Suzanna Hupp’s experience as a victim of a mass shooting helps curb thoughts of banning citizens from the security of their guns. Gun-rights advocate Hupp:

...tells the story about a horrendous mass shooting in Killeen, Texas, that she witnessed in 1991 in which twenty-three people were murdered, including her parents. Even though it was illegal at the time to carry a gun, she often did… except on this day. “Having a gun is never a guarantee,” she says. “But it changes the odds” (Atwan 244).

If Hupp had a gun that day it is not particularly certain whether that day would have had the same outcome as it did. The incentive that even if one of the twenty-three may have been alive today helps support the fact that guns should not be banned outright because, by doing so, it conflicts with the law-abiding citizen’s rights for security that is written in the amendments by the forefathers.

Even if Hupp had her handgun on her, the situation could have ended up the same or with additional casualties. Thus this brings about the question of whether or not the Second Amendment should be amended and to what extent. If the people were to demand for this Amendment to be changed, this would go through the course of the legislators. These legislators have seen the bloodshed that occurred in the presence of guns, yet these political leaders have not made enough of a significant change to the gun laws that have helped the states have less gun related incidents. Stevens has written that change can be made, however, it is up to the morals of those who hold power in the government, “It is those legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used” (Stevens). Whereas The New York Times Editorial Board wrote, “America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing,”(Atwan 248). Although one can place all the blame on politicians, it is the American people who vote for them, and by voting, the government and the citizens create an bystander effect by watching on the sidelines as their fellow people are massacred because of the laxation and often misinterpretation of gun laws. Therefore these misinterpretations allow citizens to believe they are above the law, since it is considered their “right” to bear arms, thus fire at will and cause casualties. If legislators were to take the much needed time to reform this amendment there would be less excuses as to why one person were to harm another due to the clarification of the Second Amendment and gun laws.

Notwithstanding, having the ability to carry arms in the open is a scary idea, but real and true. Campus shootings in recent years have made students and faculty nervous as they push for the ability to carry their own weapons to protect themselves. However, John A. Fry, the president of Philadelphia’s Drexel University opposed such a policy. Fry explained in “Allowing Guns Won’t Make Campus Safer,” that allowing guns on campus wouldn’t keep the students safe, but would more than likely jeopardize their safety as there would be more concealed weapons unbeknown to the population. Fry questions as to why only in America people would respond to gun violence by using more guns, “Arming college campuses will do little to reduce mass attacks, and will likely lead to more shooting deaths. There are already 300 million civilian firearms in the United States. That’s more than one for every adult” (Atwan 225). Is it right to risk the safety of others for the paranoia of oneself? Although, guns may seem as the safer option it can still cause mass casualties, such as the recent Las Vegas massacre, Mandalay Bay Shooting. The shooter Steven Paddock was a resident of Nevada, which allows concealed carry (Hensley and Silverstein). If the state had restrictions against guns, the fifty people and hundreds injured would not have been injured. If someone attending the music festival had taken action by shooting in the air to stop Paddock, who was shooting from above, they could have caused more harm than good as they would not know where Paddock was located at the time.

The need to carry arms, as granted by the Second Amendment, can cause not only harm to one’s self, but others as well. The mere suggestion that there should be a laxation upon gun laws should be abolished, as evidence shows the current “strict” gun laws have not caused great effect for the people of America. There needs to be change in this amendment to provide safety for all Americans.


Works Cited

Atwan, Robert, Valerie Duff-Strautmann, and Greg Atwan. America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2017. Print.

“Gun Violence Archive.” Gun Violence Archive. 2017. Web.

Hensley, Nicole, and Jason Silverstein. “Mass Shooting at Mandalay Bay Concert in Las Vegas Kills 50.” NY Daily News, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 2017. 2 Oct. 2017. Web.

"Statistics on Guns in the Home & Safe Storage." Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Web.

Stevens, John Paul. "The Five Extra Words That Can Fix the Second Amendment." The Washington Post. WP Company, 11 Apr. 2014. Web.

Cover Image Credit: http://sgworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Ben-Gun-Show.jpg

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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14 Young Adults Speak On Abortions And Abortion Bans

"Would I ever get one personally? Probably not"

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Abortion has been a hot topic recently with the recent rise in abortion restrictions and bans being signed in differing states. The more I read on Facebook about these bills, the more I started to wonder how people my age felt about these bans, and abortion itself. So I decided to ask them.

1. Morgan, 21

"I think abortion is horrible. It should be illegal. The only reason you should get one is for medical reasons."

2. Justin, 26

“I don't like abortions, but it's not my choice. Excluding for medical reasons, birth control can fail at any time without warning. Even if you're using everything, a pill, patch, male and female condoms, they all still contain a small chance to become pregnant. I think the bigger issue is that sex education is not as strong as it should be. We're just taught, "Hey, don't have sex or you'll either get a kid or an STD." Even though some student were already engaging in sexual activities. Take the path you want, but nobody should be forced to something they don't want.”

3. Brynn, 23

“I have never had an abortion, but I'm pro-choice. One of the reasons why I'm pro-choice is because I had a friend whose pregnancy was literally killing her. She wanted to keep her baby more than anything but in the 9 weeks that she was pregnant, she lost 20 lbs, couldn't take care of her children, constantly passing out, and in constant pain. Her dr even said she wouldn't be able to live if she tried to bring the baby to term. Another reason I am pro-choice, I went to my nephew's music show (he's in the 5th grade) and there's a girl in his class who was raped but her parents forced her to carry her rapists baby. She was on stage for maybe 10 minutes before this tiny, little (very pregnant) girl walked off stage in tears. I'm pro-choice because no girl/woman should have to be a living incubator because someone else has a problem with abortion. And no, adoption is not an option, do a quick google search and find out how many children in each of the abortion banned states are STILL WAITING TO BE ADOPTED!"

4. Julia, 21

“It's all fucking bullshit. Getting an abortion should be as easy to get as an appendectomy. For any reason. Always. But only in the first trimester. 2nd trimester and beyond, medical reasons."

5. Audrey, 19

“Abortions should be accessible for everyone. Without safe abortions, death rates will rise and women will be put in danger. I don't think anyone should be forced to carry or abort a fetus. Being pro-life for yourself is one thing but taking the choice away from other people is another."

6. Abby, 21

I grew up in a super religious family. I was taught that abortion was murder and until I was probably 16 or 17 I was also super active in the pro-life community. I was even going to go on the radio and talk about it. The thing that really changed my mind, was studying history. Learning about the past really helped shape my political or moral beliefs. At that point, I decided the government's only purpose should be to protect a person's right to life, liberty, and property. I realized it is not the government's right to tell a woman what she can and can't do with her body. I started looking at real scientific research instead of fanatical articles written by old, Christian men. At that point, I was still pro-choice but still would never have done it personally.

Then I started having sex with boyfriend at 18. I was taking birth control, but with horribly untreated anxiety and OCD, I was constantly terrified of getting pregnant. There was one point where I had a real pregnant scare. Before I even knew for sure if I was or wasn't, I had already decided my only choice would be an abortion.
Since then, I have really had my eyes opened to the misogyny of US legislation. I have been screamed at by "Christians" for going into planned parenthood when I just needed to get prescriptions and check-ups there."

7. Isaiah, 21 

“So politically, I believe it's not my body I have no say unless I contributed to the conception of the child. Personally, I don't believe it should be an option save for in medically necessary cases. Or in extreme circumstances. I believe this because there is a plan in place and call it what you will I believe that an abortion without very good cause only hinders that plan."

8. Shayla, 23

“My opinion on abortion is that I think it's murder IN SOME CASES. If a woman doesn't want the baby, or she can't take care of it, or doesn't think she's ready to be a mom, and decides on abortion, that's where I consider it murder because there are woman all over the world who would be great mothers, but can't have kids. I do believe it's murder because once there is a heartbeat, it's officially another human. Therefore, another person. In cases where I don't believe it's murder is when the baby or the mother's life is at stake and either one, the other, or both won't make it. That's where it becomes a major health issue for both lefts unchecks or not handled properly. One abortion ban I don't agree with is imprisoning the doctors for performing the procedure. They're doing their job and what they're paid to do. There are things I don't like doing at my job, but I have to do it because I need to make money for my child and bills. It's unfortunate, but that's how the world works."

9. Sidney, 19

“I'm pro-choice. Would I ever have one personally? Probably not, but I definitely think people should have that as an option. I often think about how people are against banning guns and their argument is always "well if someone really wants a gun they'll find out a way to get ahold of one", I think it's the same thing with abortions. If someone really wants to get an abortion they will and I'd much rather someone get one by a professional, safely, rather than doing something drastic and ending up really hurting themselves. I get why it makes people uncomfortable and I personally don't think that abortion is something anyone really WANTS to do but if a woman feels that's what's best than that's their right."

10. Noel, 22

“Well you know I'm pro-life. That being said I think the law takes the ideal too far and is actually infringing on the rights of women. And this is a clear example of how political extremes are ripping the country apart"

11. Madison, 22

“I think it's worth pointing out that the bill seems to have taken into account only the feelings of a few Evangelical cishet white men (no shade, I mean, I'm a Christian as well) without examining the scientific and medical perspectives at all. I've even heard they want to force women to go through with ectopic pregnancies?? Which is where the egg is fertilized inside the Fallopian tube and cannot survive but can kill the person carrying it if it's not removed quickly enough. I saw a headline about how one of the state bills proposes removing the embryo and reimplanting it in the uterus, which isn't remotely feasible. Plus this stuff will, as always, hurt people of lower socioeconomic standing who are unable to go to other states or countries. There also aren't exceptions for rape OR incest, meaning if a child is raped by a family member, she has to deliver that baby and be a mother. Which is super messed up in my opinion."

12. Sarah, 22

“Personally I find it very upsetting and a step backward for our country. Although I would never get an abortion myself, I believe everyone should have the right to make their own decisions for themselves and if abortion is what they want, so be it. I think making abortion illegal will just mean that individuals who want to have an abortion will take other, riskier methods towards ending the pregnancy"

13. Hayden, 21

“It's bullshit. Men should not have control over what a women does with her body.”

14. Neriah, 21

“It's great to see some states recognizing babies in the womb as fully alive and fully human and it's wonderful to see people all for that!”

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