When Do The Mass Shootings Stop?

When Do The Mass Shootings Stop?

Not another statistic, not another mass shooting to be forgotten about in weeks to come, but a change that needs to end this all.
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More often than it should, we've heard an abundance of situations involving mass shooters and the atrocities they've committed.

Quite frankly, our country has started to become desensitized to the matter and a part of this vicious cycle; The cycle where the outcome is to simply send "thoughts and prayers" and hope that a tragedy like this will never occur again rather than taking the necessary steps to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

On February 14th, Valentine's Day of all days, a former student named Nikolas Cruz walked into his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and killed a total of 17 people while injuring more than 20 people.

Can someone explain to me how its only 45 days into 2018 and there have been 18 school shootings? Can someone explain to me why it was easier for him to obtain an AR-15 than a beer? Can someone explain to me why Congress hasn't already unanimously agreed to make the change in the world?

We don't want your condolences, thoughts, or prayers –– we want change. We want new policies and regulations to be established to prevent this from ever happening again. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp? I'm not saying we should abolish guns entirely, but something needs to change here.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, Florida in Broward County. I grew up in Broward County and anyone from South Florida can tell you that Parkland is a community that you could never fathom the thought of this happening here. In movies where they portray a suburban neighborhood where everything seems a little too nice is how you could imagine Parkland.

Parkland was just voted one of the safest cities last year and yet this event took place here. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is approximately 20 minutes from the high school I attended. I've visited Marjory Stone Douglas for meetings when I was in Student Government. I know people and friends that have graduated from that school. It's a hard concept to wrap my head around that something like this has happened so close to home and my heart weighs heavily for the families, victims, and community.

When you hear about something like this happening on the news, you never imagine the possibility that it can happen in your hometown.

To think that these parents were sending their kids off to school, only for them to not return breaks my heart. These victims who were mercilessly killed was someone's child, friend, or a loved one.

Some of these victims had just begun their journey in high school as well as some who were ready to graduate and embrace what the world had to offer them afterward. Not to mention the selfless teachers who are heroes for doing all they could to make sure the kids were safe first, who will always be remembered as heroes.

I have read almost every article, seen every video that was taken and made public, and I still can't comprehend all that has happened. Will this be the final time we all gather as a nation and mourn the innocent lives lost due to a "mental illness," "troubled childhood," or something along the lines of anything but terrorist and for what they truly were, a killer?

Sure, I'd like to imagine this will be the last time the statistics raise higher. The last time our underpaid teachers have to drill their students for active shooter situations.

The last time there are victims and mourning. But, Congress needs to accept the reality and take the necessary actions to prevent the "next." I'm afraid that until then, what. What happens? I shouldn't be afraid to attend school nor feel that my life is currently being compromised; No student should ever have to feel that way. As a nation, we will come together to continue to fight this fight until something is changed.

May the victim's families find closure and love in their hearts. May the community band together stronger than ever before to overcome this tragedy. May the universe bring nothing but good to the students who had to go through this traumatic experience and watch their classmates die. May the this be the time that there is change.

Cover Image Credit: Gaelle Marcel

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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