In Order For Vicious Cycles To Be Broken, We Must Speak Up

In Order For Vicious Cycles To Be Broken, We Must Speak Up

The rising number of mass shootings is unbearable

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The recent shooting on Sunday at a Madden video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida where two people died and ten people have been injured has left me, once again, devastated. Mass shootings have risen and have become more frequent in the past few years, and the amount of mass shootings can no longer be tolerated. They should've never been tolerated from day one.

In the past decade, the United States has suffered too many mass shootings alone. From the Parkland High School shooting in earlier this year in which 17 students and faculty died, to the 58 concert goers at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in 2017. Then you have the deadly mass shooting that happened at a Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in 2016 that left 49 people dead, and the tragic but not forgotten Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 where 27 innocent students and faculty were murdered. These are just a few of the deadly mass shootings that have occurred in the past decade and they're all heart breaking.

As a college student, I am disgusted how these things continue happening in the United States. I don't understand how after so many shootings, there is still nothing being done. This truly is a vicious cycle. We hear about the breaking news, we grieve and then we always try to remember it as we go about our days. However, grieving and mourning is not enough. In order to break this vicious cycle we need change.

As a nation, we need to relook and examine current gun laws that are set in place. I find the Parkland High School students to be inspiring because they taught me to fight and challenge the rules that are set in place. These students have challenged senators and congressional representatives at the White House and have opened my eyes on what it means to be a responsible citizen. It should give us all the push to call and write our elected officials, because sitting and saying that we need change doesn't initiate an urgent response, and these students have shown this time and time again.

In order to break this vicious cycle, we must speak up and be activists as citizens of the United States. Only then will this vicious cycle be broken. We cannot keep waiting for these violent acts to go away because we cannot afford any more innocent lives to be taken away because someone cannot be trusted with a gun. The main moral of these recent shootings is that in order for change, we need to speak up and fight back, and that is why I praise the students at Parkland High School.

My thoughts and prayers go towards the innocent lives that have been lost at the Madden Tournament and to the people who were injured.

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value

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There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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