We Need Gun Control Now

We Need Gun Control Now

After Sandy Hook, we said never again, and yet here we are anyway
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The evening after the Las Vegas tragedy, I was talking to another editor on the Ohio State Odyssey team. Everyone around us was filled with sadness, with hope for the future, and prayers. We were also filled with those feelings, but we were also filled with anger. I read the news that morning full of fury, shaking, and with angry tears streaming down my face because this was preventable. This didn't have to happen. Those people could have lived long, happy, beautiful lives if we had gun control laws.

After Columbine, we said never again. After Aurora, Colorado, we said never again. After Sandy Hook, we said never again. After the Pulse nightclub shooting, we said never again.

And yet, here we are anyway. Since Sandy Hook, there have been 1,518 mass shootings.

Let me reiterate that number again: 1,518 mass shootings since December 2012.

There have been 1,715 people killed in mass shootings, and 6,089 people injured. This has all been tracked by the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks gun events at which 4 or more people are shot. This database isn't complete, and probably never will be. Some events aren't reported, others are missing details. That's still a horrifyingly high number. And, gun violence is increasing. More scarily, mass shootings are increasing.

How much are they increasing? On average, there is one mass shooting for every day in the calendar year. A common argument in gun legislation debate is that you shouldn't cheapen a tragedy by bringing politics into it. However, as there is a mass shooting for every day of the year, there is never a good time to talk about the gun debate.

And you know what would stop mass shootings? Gun control.

Closing the gun show loophole. Imposing mandatory background checks when attempting to purchase a gun. Waiting periods. Limits on the number of bullets you can buy at one time.

How many people have to die before we close loopholes, before we impose tighter restrictions on guns, before we stop letting innocent men, women, and children die in senseless acts of terror? How many CHILDREN are we going to let die before we stop satisfying the right and the NRA who owns their asses? After Sandy Hook, we said never again. And yet here we are anyway.

We decided that pieces of metal were more important than our children. We decided that it should be easier to get a gun in this country than to protect your family from getting murdered in cold blood. We decided to let the NRA dictate our legislation on gun control, rather than allowing statistics to dictate legislation. We decided that the lives of our citizens, our neighbors, and our families were worth less than our ability to obtain machine guns.

After Sandy Hook, we said never again. And yet here we are anyway.

Cover Image Credit: Jonathan Metzl

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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The Kavanaugh Case Isn't Just About Sexual Assault, It's About The Systemic Oppression Of Women For Years And Years

When will we hold sexual offenders accountable?

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The nation's eyes have been fixed on Brett Kavanaugh since he was nominated for the vacant Supreme Court seat in July. Unsurprisingly, the nomination caused a stir on the political left. An impending Republican majority on the Supreme Court provoked anxiety as to whether previous court decisions, particularly those involving marriage equality and reproductive freedom, would continue to be upheld.

Any scrutiny that had not previously been on Kavanaugh was attracted when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forth with allegations of sexual assault. She requested anonymity in her initial account of the experience, which she detailed in a letter to Senator Diane Feinstein, but her identity was soon revealed and the investigation kick into high gear.

It hasn't taken long for the case to settle in the political hot seat. Proponents of Kavanaugh seem to diverge two ways: either denying Ford's claims entirely or excusing Kavanaugh's behavior as typical of a high school boy, both with the goal of pushing him through to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the opposition is all too eager to use Ford as a catalyst to keep Kavanaugh out of the courtroom. Both sides clearly have ulterior motives, but the heart of the issue lies with the case's implications on women and victims of sexual violence.

Many of Kavanaugh's supporters began with what is often the immediate response to claims of sexual assault — outright denial. They cited the allegations as being politically motivated and went on to question why Ford hadn't reported the attack right away. It may seem that it boils down to her word against his, but as of now, the facts seem to be on Ford's side. Beyond the fact that Dr. Ford recounted her story under a polygraph test and passed, the chances of a false sexual assault report are minuscule, about 2%. Furthermore, the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported entirely. It is not rare for survivors to come forth years or even decades after an attack, and with what backlash Ford and countless other women in her situation have endured, it's no wonder that this is the case. Either way, it's extremely disconcerting for women and girls to see sexual predators slide through the cracks of punishment and go on to attain success.

From the perspective of many women, Dr. Ford's case is yet another in a constant stream of sexual violence, and for many of us, it hits too close to home. If we ourselves haven't been assaulted, we know someone who has, and we rarely (if ever) see the assailant brought to justice. Of all rapes reported (a small number among all that take place), only about 20% are prosecuted, and of those, about one-third face jail time.

We consistently see public figures and celebrities accused of sexual misconduct, who nevertheless go on to thrive in their careers. Comedian Louis CK faced such allegations and was welcomed back by audiences after only a brief hiatus. Donald Trump himself was elected president despite his confirmed history of harassment and assault, amid a slew of disparaging remarks about women.

In the wake of numerous public figures being identified as rapists and sexual predators, women took to social media with the #MeToo movement. Countless former victims chimed in with their experiences of harassment and violence. However, despite the show of solidarity and momentary empowerment, little to no action was taken against perpetrators as a result. When victims of predatory behavior see these men being rewarded, how can we believe that the world is on our side? Assault survivors begin to reconsider reporting attacks, and transgressors continue to see their behavior as permissible. "Rape culture" is often disregarded as a feminist buzzword, but how can we deny it in the face of such damning evidence?

When it comes to Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, we can hope that the truth will surface in due time. But even if the truth resides with Ford's allegations, it's impossible to know whether Kavanaugh will even have to answer for his behavior. It's disheartening for women to look at the future of the Supreme Court and face what we are seeing: a man accused of assault, nominated by a known sexual offender, potentially deciding on policies that affect women directly. The voices of victims are continually silenced in these matters. Even if we battle the social, legal and cultural barriers to reporting an assault, we are denied and slandered on the other side and we often end up seeing assailants walk free after all. It is perpetually exhausting to see sexual offenders and rapists continuously pardoned for their crimes and placed in positions of power. It's time we realize that we deserve better.

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