Tag Archives: politics

I’m just Tired of Violence

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I had just witnessed the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays and decided to cool off by taking a shower. When I finished my shower, my phone was ringing; my dad asked “What’s going on in Boston? I heard there were explosions at the Boston Marathon?” As someone trying to get in shape, I was furious that some idiots attempted to hurt runners who had just ran 26 miles. As someone who loves history, I was upset that some idiots tried to ruin a celebration of Massachusetts’ involvement in the Revolutionary War. As a human, I am sad that someone decided to injure and kill innocent people.

I don’t know what’s going on, no one does. There were two explosions around 3 P.M. at the Boston Marathon finish line. Some thought it was a possible chemical leak, but now reports are saying that police have uncovered several other bombs. The police found one bomb under bleachers and purposely set it off when no one was around. John F. Kennedy Library might have a bomb. Three people are reported dead, dozens more injured. At 4:08: the official report is 2 dead, 22 injured in blasts. No terrorist group has come forward yet, so it might just be some loner who did this. Someone who is upset at the world. Someone who hates America. Someone who hates everything…

I’m tired of seeing terrorist attacks. When I was in 7th grade, I saw people fall to their deaths from the World Trade Center. I remember the planes flying into the towers, the Pentagon, and into the field – but seeing a bodies falling to their deaths is an image I’ll never get out of my head. Then the reports of attacks overseas involving America’s allies in Europe made me thankful for the Atlanta Ocean separating America from the Middle East and Africa – terrorists would have to board a plane to get here and security at the airport is very, very strict. But Boston shows that sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent attacks – there is always going to be an upset person trying to bring everyone down to his level.

America has been gun-crazy since the Sandy Hook elementary shooting – one side gather their guns while the other side tries to take the guns. And you know what? Both sides are WRONG. I said months ago that guns aren’t the problem nor are the bombs, it’s the people. The politicians have been spending all their time dealing with guns that they forgot about People – People Kill People. It’s the People who are uneducated that are more likely to be violent, yet the education budgets are always being cut. It’s the People who suffer from mental illness that are more likely to be involved in a mass attack, yet health care doesn’t cover the costs of all the help they need. It’s the People upset that America is involved in international conflicts, yet war continues to wage on (and for what?). Instead of wasting time fighting over guns, abortion, and other controversial laws that don’t do much good for society, how about America comes together to make sure that something like this won’t happen again, to make sure more children don’t grow up to be disgruntled adults pissed at society.

 

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Stop Punishing the Kids for their Parents’ Choices

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"Every child Needs a Good School Lunch&qu...

“Every child Needs a Good School Lunch”  (Wikipedia)

When I went to school and forgot to bring my money for lunch, I would receive a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich at lunch. But in April 2013, 25 students in a Massachusetts middle school were denied lunch because they could not pay for their lunch. The school was supposed to give the children cheese sandwiches and milk if they forgot their money and not let them go hungry; instead, the students were forced to throw out their food in front of their peers, causing some of them to erupt into tears. As a result, the school fired four employees and will allow all children to eat for free for three days next week. After reading this story, I read some of the readers’ comments how the children should not be given food or reduced-price food if their parents couldn’t afford to pay for lunch – the children should just starve. What happened to caring about the future generation?

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in American schools; it provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to 31 million children each school day. When my parents were between jobs, I was one of those children until my parents both found jobs. If a school participates in the program, it receives cash subsidies and USDA foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since the program began in 1946, more than 224 billion lunches have been served. In 2011, it cost $11.1 billion for the United States to support this program – an amount that means starving children can eat. When I wake up each morning, I knew I had food in the fridge, but 16.7 million children (22% of American children) don’t know if they get to eat each day.This program guarantees that the child gets at least one nutritious meal  a day – that the child will drink milk and not soda, eat fruit instead of candy – a meal not off the dollar menu. And why should the children suffer for their parents’ mistakes? Why should they go hungry because their mother is working two jobs and there is no father around? Why should they go hungry because both their parents decided to have fifteen children even though they live in a two-bedroom apartment? Why should they go hungry because their parents care more about getting high than staying clean to get a job? If these children aren’t taken care of, then they will never have a future and break out of the cycle.

At the end of January 2013, republican senator Stacy Campfield introduced legislation that would slash welfare benefits for parents whose children get bad grades. They claim it will inspire parents to do a better job parenting, while critics say it will hurt the children. Based on my experience, this will only punish the kid. I grew up with parents that were always there for me; they helped me with my math homework, went over my spelling words, and paid for a tutor to help me with reading. Because of my parents’ help early on, I went on to take honors and advanced placement classes in order to increase my chance of getting a scholarship to a good college – which I did. I was lucky. At my high school, there were several students who could not speak proper English – it was so bad, the teacher could not understand them when they asked questions – and no, they weren’t Hispanic immigrants, they were born and raised in the same town as I was, their parents just never bothered to teach them how to speech English so they had to learn from rap music. You know what I’m talking about, the poor kids with bad parents that have no future and are bound to continue the cycle of being a failure, like their parents.They were the kids who had to ride the school bus while everyone else drove cars to school. They were the kids who ate breakfast at the school cafeteria because there was nothing at home for them to eat. They were the kids who wore clothes from the thrift shop and Goodwill.  They were the kids who dropped out of high school because no one was there to push them to graduate and to tell them that they could become someone. So, cutting welfare will suddenly wake up a parent after 16-years of ignoring their child? Will the absent father suddenly appear knowing that his baby’s mama will be losing welfare that she uses to pay rent? Will the homeless parents suddenly be able to buy a computer for the child to finish his homework? The amount of welfare a recipient receives isn’t that much to begin with – this law was proposed in Tennessee where a single mom with two kids receives $185 a month – as any person knows, that is about three tanks of gas.

Then there are the children who have good parents, but because of an unforeseen circumstance, their parents don’t have the money to provide for them. The parents may be immigrants from a foreign country, hoping the move to the United States will be a better environment to raise their children. The parents may be tomato pickers working for dirt money, but they want their children to become lawyers, doctors, teachers, and engineers. And there are the children living on the streets with their parents because both parents lost their jobs because of the bad economy. The parents don’t want their children spending the nights in shelter and worrying about food, they want the children to graduate school and get a stable job. A mother leaving her abusive husband and taking her children to a women’s shelter won’t have the money to spend on her children if the father spent their joint-banking account on beer. She just wants her children to eat low-cost meals at school while she saves money for a new house. These parents are doing their best to provide for their children, but need some help so that their children will live up to their potential. How can Americans turn their backs on these families?

Instead of trying to take away food and welfare from a child because of bad parents or bad life events, the government should be trying to make sure the child doesn’t end up like his parent – that he graduates from high school, goes to college, finds a job, and raises a happy family instead of turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, and crime. Countless studies have shown that children with a low-education or drop out of school are more likely to become teenage parents, commit a crime and go to jail, turn to drugs and alcohol, and end up on welfare – each year the federal government spends $38 billion on teenage pregnancy, $74 billion on jails, $15 billion on the war of drugs, and $193 billion on welfare for a total of $320 billion – numbers that will only increase if children continue to be punished for their parents’ choices. Instead of being furious that government spends $11.1 a year to ensure that 31 million children eat one decent meal a day, they should be furious that they and their government continues to fail millions of children each year. These children, no matter if they have bad, average, or great parents, deserve a chance to receive lunch at school every day. Whenever a budget needs to be cut, the budget that effects the future generation is always the first one to go. That needs to change.

North Carolina wants a State Religion

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Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789

Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789 (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

In the late 1800’s, some Christian groups proposed that the United States create a new state that was only for Christians. This worried feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton who knew traditional Christian values viewed women as second-class citizens – women couldn’t vote, own property, leave unhappy marriages, or do anything without their husband’s permission. Luckily, the Christian State was never created and decades later, women were able to gain equality rights since the United States was created with the idea of separating the church from the government.

On April 1, 2012, North Carolina proposed a bill that would allow an official state religion that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings. The bill was filed on April Fool’s Day, though North Carolina is very serious about this pill. It is back by eleven Republicans and was filed after a lawsuit was filed to stop county commissioners in Rowan County from opening meetings with a Christian prayer. The bill’s main sponsors are Carl Ford and Harry Warren and the co-sponsors are Edgar Starnes and Larry Pittman.

The bill reads:

SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

Past American leaders knew religion should not control the United States. Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers made sure government was split from religion because they knew a country ruled by religion doesn’t allow democracy. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people.”  And she is right, look at the Middle East where all the countries are controlled by religion – the poor are uneducated, the leaders use the Quran to kill Christians and Jews, and women are forced to cover their faces and serve their husbands. Now, you may think “that wouldn’t happen here in a majority Christian country” but some strict Christians still believe men are better than women, that other religions should not be practiced, the homosexuals should be punished, and birth control should disappear – even though Jesus preached “love thy neighbor.”

The United States is supposed to be the country in the world that allows all religions, as long as the religions are not violent and the followers still follow the country’s laws. North Carolina choosing religion over government is a danger for all people. Though the bill will not pass since it 100% goes against the U.S. Constitution, the men behind this bill should not be in office if they care more about THEIR religion than about the people that were voted to represent. Instead of wasting time seeking revenge over the fact that they cannot pray at government meetings, they should be creating laws to help the poor and the weak; after all, that’s what Jesus said to do.

 

Rand Paul Right to call out President

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On Wednesday March 7th at 11:45, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took the senate floor to begin his filibuster blocking Senate confirmation of John Brennan, President Obama’s pick for director of the CIA. Though I usually do not agree with any Tea Party member, Paul pointed out how dangerous drones are to the American public. Though drones are used on the battlefield across the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. government is now talking about using drones in the United States for surveillance or killing an American in extreme circumstances.

In a letter to Paul on March 4th, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the Federal government has not conducted such operations and doesn’t plan to…but it was possible President Obama could be forced by an “extraordinary circumstance” to kill citizens inside the United States, such as similar attacks to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 Attacks. Rand took to the senate floor to point how the U.S. government could abuse its power and use the drones to kill terrorist suspects without first taking the suspects to court. As the 5th Amendment states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Paul was not the only one to question drones, he was joined by several other Republican senators and Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon. The senators questioned the constitutionality of drone strikes on U.S. citizens at home and aboard. As Paul pointed out “No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found guilty of a crime by a court… How can you kill someone without going to a judge, or a jury?” Already American terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike in Yemen. Since he was an American, didn’t al-Awlaki deserve a trial? Would soldiers be criticized for killing an American suspect and not taking him in? And if future al-Aklakis were lying in bed in their American homes, would a drone be used to kill them? Does America’s future involve drones flying in American skies?

Since the War of Terror started, about 95% of killings have been done by drones. Drones have killed 4,700 people, but up to 25% may have be civilians. On September 11, 2012, drones attacked U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. Now I realize that in war, everything goes. Innocent men, women, and children are going to die in wars. But if drones are used in the U.S., doesn’t that mean that innocent people could also be killed. People who are no way near a battlefield could be killed as collateral damage or the U.S. government could be wrong. How many people have died because the SWAT team invaded the wrong house? U.S. Marine Jose Guerena was killed by the SWAT team when he grabbed his gun to protect his family from invaders. The court system is used to make sure a criminal is a criminal.

Not all Republicans agree with Paul ‘s stance on drones (such as Senator John McCain), believing he spent 13 hours scaring Americans. But Americans should continue to question the president, especially since the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed right after 9/11 attacks, grants the presidents to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against any person, organization, or nation connected to the 9/11 attacks. The War on Terror continues to spread throughout the Middle East, entering Africa. And though drones are usually used when the U.S. is 100% positive the suspect is a terrorist, sometimes  the “reasonable man” standard is used. The reasonable man standard means that drones do not need to confirm positive identification of a target before firing, while a soldier would need to know before firing on a suspect.

Paul refused to end his filibuster until he could no longer continue or the president or Attorney General Holder clarified if the president has the power to kill Americans. Paul ended his filibuster finished at 12:45 a.m. Thursday. After 13 hours on the Senate floor, now all of America knows who Paul is and he is now a candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. The U.S. government replied to Paul with the following letter:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.

Sincerely,

Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Paul and American received the answer, but the drone issue has just started. America is starting to realize that the president has too much power.

 

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president… is morally treasonable to the American public.” Theodore Roosevelt

Are Gun-Free Zones Working?

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After the Sandy Brook school shooting left 20 children dead, the American government, media, and public demanded stricter gun laws. Some even demanded the United States banning types of guns and creating more gun-free zones across the country. Though I support stricter gun policies, especially ones focusing on individuals with mental illnesses, I do not believe banning guns and creating more gun-free zones will make the country safer. 

Is the United States becoming more Violent?

English: Clean-up crew at the ruins of Bath Co...

Clean-up crew at the ruins of Bath Consolidated School. (Photo credit: Wikipedia

Due to the media’s ability to focus only on mass-shootings, many Americans believe the country is heading toward a violent future. Inreality, the most mass-killings in the country occurred in the year 1929. Due to the ban of the evil alcohol (sounds familiar) the mafia and other gangs became involved in illegally selling alcohol to the American citizens, resorting to violence during turf wars with other gangs. Though what occurred at Sandy Brook was horrible, the deadliest school-related massacre in America occurred in 1927 when school board member Andrew Kehoe, upset with a property tax, wired the school building with dynamite and set it on fire. After the school building blew up, he drove the scene of the crime in his car where he blew his car up, killing him and a few more adults. A total of 45 people, including 38 children, were killed. And when the town population contained only 300 residents, everyone knew someone that died. According to FSU criminologist Gary Kleck, there are 2 million defensive uses of firearms by law abiding citizens each year, though those stories do not make the news. Though the media has painted a picture of a violent future for the United States, the country saw its worst days when Al Capone called the shots.

How many people die each year from guns?

In 2010, 11,078 people were killed because of a firearm, 26,009 died from an unintentional fall, 33,041 died from positioning, and 33,687 died from a motor vehicle accident.  Though guns play an important role in violence, Americans are more likely to die while driving in their car. According to the FBI, between 2007-2011, 8,967 people were murdered with knives or cutting instruments, 3,918 people were murdered with knives or shotguns, 2,918 murdered with blunt objects (bats and hammers), and 1,874 were murdered with rifles.Even if guns did not exist, thousands of people would still die every year from another weapon. Let’s not forget how the Aurora Movie Theater Shooter had a bomb set to explode if someone entered his apartment; that would of killed a lot more people if he had succeeded. 

Do Strict Gun Laws work?

Western Europe has some of the strictest gun laws, yet three of the worst school shootings in the world took place in either Britain or Germany. In China, a country that bans guns, it is common for a school attack to take place each month; instead of guns, the killers use hammers, knives, and meat cleavers to kill school children. In Kennesaw, Georgia, the law requires that each household (with a few exception) own a firearm. In 2007, Family Circle named it one of the 10 best towns for families. The reason is probably because ever since the law passed in 1982 requiring everyone to own a gun, crime rate has decreased 50% and continues to decrease, having one of the lowest crime rates in the country. The residents believe it is because criminals know that everyone had a gun, thus it is best not to rob someone’s house. Strict gun laws do not guarantee safety since criminals do not obey the laws and will do harm, even in countries where guns are not allowed, the criminal still manages to kill. Meanwhile a town with a lax gun law boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

Do Gun-Free Zones work?

No guns

No guns (Leo Reynolds)

In 1999, John Lott of the University of Maryland and William Landes of the University of Chicago published a study that stated that mass shootings usually occur at places were firearms are banned, such as schools and malls. A shooter does not want to be shot before he finishes his goal of killing. When he goes into a gun-free zone, he knows that no one will be able to fire back at him. The Aurora movie theater killer, who killed 12 people, had 7 theaters to choose within 20 minutes of his house to commit his vicious crime. He did not choose the farthest theater or the closes theater, he chose the only one that banned concealed handguns. In the past, several shootings that occurred on gun-free zones were stopped when a civilian ran back to his car to get a gun out from the glove compartment and then confronted the shooter. Though some people are outraged that President Obama proposed more police officers in schools, the large number of mass shootings that require at gun-free zones show that gun-free zones do not work; to the shooter, he knows he has plenty of time to kill before the police arrive.

Conclusion:

Though people have gone anti-gun crazy since the Sandy Brook shooting, the facts show that the United States is not becoming a more violent society. While the media and politicians call for stricter gun laws, stricter gun laws will not deplete all gun crimes since criminals do not follow the rules; meanwhile Kennesaw is one of the safest towns in the country due to its relax gun laws. Gun-free zones do not work since majority of mass-shootings have occurred in them since the shooters know no one will fire back at them. If the United States government wants to decrease the overall crime rate it should focus on decreasing poverty and assimilating immigrants since gun violence is more likely to occur to minorities and those in poverty. The country should also focus on researching mental illness and making health care more available because majority of mass-shooters were suffering from a mental illness. Also, the country should increase funding for education since countless studies have shown that an educated person is less likely to commit any type of crime. America needs to remember that the whole society needs to work together to address these issues in order to decrease violence in the country.

Media Loves Mass Shootings

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The Media loves mass shootings. After all, it is the public actually turns on the news channels in order to find out why the shooting went on a shooting range. Within hours of the Sandy Brook Massacre several news outlets were interviewing the children who, hours earlier, were climbing out windows so a shooter would not kill them. Weeks later, an interview with the shooter’s hairdresser was on the front page of Aol. While an interview with the shooter’s hairdresser may be interesting, the media “forgot” to mention other news stories that involved an armed civilian shooting a potential mass shooter, injuring him before he could kill more people.

A few days before the Sandy Brook shootings, Jacob Roberts opened fire at Clackamas Town Center Mall in Oregon. Upset over a break-up, Roberts took his anger out on innocent shoppers, killing two. Roberts would have killed more when Nick Meli took out his gun and confronted the shooter. Roberts backed off into a store and pulled the trigger on himself; he was dead by the time the cops arrived. Meli has a concealed weapons permit and when he saw the shooter, he risked his life to save the lives of others and his friend. Meli should be considered a hero, but the media does not mention him. When Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts held a press conference he thanked the police officers but made no mention of Meli.

Two days after Sandy Brook, 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia exited the Chinese restaurant he worked at and started firing at the theater located next door, injuring one person. Before Garcia could enter the theater, where he planned to kill everyone on sight, he was shot four times by an off-duty deputy working at the theater. The off-duty deputy, Sgt. Liza Castellano, should be a nation-wide hero for preventing another movie theater mass murder, but only the local news outlets and bloggers covered her story.

Though Sandy Brook is one of worst mass murders in the United States’ history and is the reason why it was the top news story in December, the media has a history of downplaying civilians’ actions in preventing mass shootings. In 1997, Mississippi high school student Luke Woodham killed two classmates and wounded seven after a breakup with his girlfriend (his x-girlfriend was one of those he killed). An assistant principal retrieved his gun from his car and confronted the shooter until the police arrived. Yet not all media recognized that the assistant principal used a gun, even CNN failed to mention it. As with most news stories, the story focused majority on the villain, not the hero. In 2002, Peter Odighizuwa went on a killing spree at Appalachian School of Law in Virginia after finding out he had failed out of school. He killed three, including a dean, a professor, and a student. Though the media praised the students who tackled the shooter, the media failed to mention how two students used their own guns to stop the shooter. When Tracy Bridges, a county sheriff deputy, and Mikael Gross, a police officer, heard gun shots, each ran to their cars to retrieve their own guns. Each tracked down the shooter and approached him at different angles and got him to drop his gun. Once he dropped the gun, other students tackled the shooter.

Mainstream media has a history of omitting heroes who used guns to saves lives; to them, the better stories are how loners used guns to kill a large number of innocent lives. Though the Texas Movie Theater shooting took place after Sandy Brook shooting, the media thought an interview with the Sandy Brook shooter’s hairdresser was more newsworthy than the heroics of Sgt. Liza Castellano preventing the next movie theater shooting. The media may believe ratings or politics are more important than the news, but to the average person, it is nice to hear about the everyday hero.

Common Sense: One Method of Gun Control

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On December 16, 2012, President Barrack Obama announced to the American public his four suggestions to Congress on how to decrease gun violence in the United States. Though banning military guns, cracking down on illegal gun trafficking, assigning police officers to public schools, and doing research on mental illness will all play an important role in decreasing gun violence, there is one inexpensive object that is free to all that can decrease gun violence: Common Sense. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary common sense is a “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” Everyone has common sense, yet people in general do not always use it as much as they should. In a country where gun violence is resulting in hundreds of deaths each year, it is up to gun owners to use common sense to prevent innocent people from dying.

 

English: Clockwise start at the top left: Gloc...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nancy Lanza, the mother of Adam Lanza, knew something was wrong with her son, something more than just autism. Though he was awkward and lacked social skills, he was known to go into outburst in high school that required the school to contact his mother since she was the only one who could calm him down. Adam avoided social interaction, had zero friends, and was teased; he was the type of person who could become the next Columbine Shooter. My generation went to high school after the Columbine School Shooting, knowing that the loners being picked on could resort to murder in order to take revenge on the school bullies. He was an unemployed 20-years-old, living with his mother after dropping out of Western Connecticut State University. After his parents divorced in 2010, he cut off all contact with his father and older brother, an example on how he was angry about his parents divorce. Adam was also seeing a psychiatrist. Something was wrong with Adam, yet his mother kept several types of guns in the house, including the Glock 10-mm handgun, Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun, and Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle used in the Sandy Brook Elementary School Shooting. When Adam went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase a rifle, he chanted his mind after he was told that there was a waiting period. He knew at home he had the Bushmaster AR-15, the assault-type weapon similar to the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military, capable of firing 45 rounds per minute. Adam also knew how to use the guns since his mother had taken him to the gun range several times over the years… Even though Nancy knew there was something wrong with her son, she kept several guns in the house and taught Adam how to shoot. No parent with a child suffering from a mental illness should own guns in her house, much less teach the child how to use it.

On Christmas Eve 2012, William Spengler, 62, murdered his sister and then set fire to his house in hopes of burning down his neighborhood and killing everyone. When firefighters arrived at the scene, he used a semiautomatic rifle to kill two firefighters. After exchanging gun fire with an off-duty cop, Spengler used a handgun to fatally shoot himself. Spengler was not new to murder, after all, he used a hammer to kill his grandmother years ago when she refused to give him money for drugs.This also meant that Spengler was a convicted felon and not able to buy guns, yet he was able to obtain the two guns used in the attack. Did he purchase the guns from a guy selling guns from the trunk of his car? Did he purchase the guns from a gang member in the shady part of town? Did he steal the guns from a woman who lives alone? No, he asked his 20-year-old neighbor to assist him to a gun shop where he picked out the guns while she made the purchase, a “straw purchase.” Did Dawn Nguyen know Spengler was a former convict? There is a possibility because other neighbors have told police that they knew he killed his grandmother and served time in jail, making it possible that Nguyen knew she was committing a crime by purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. But even if she did not know, why did she not question why a man in his sixties was not able to purchase the guns himself? It is common knowledge that only convicted felons and locked-up mental illness patients cannot purchase guns. No one should purchase guns for someone she barely knows.

On September 12, 2012, a two-year-old boy accidentally shot himself with a handgun and died. He was at home with his parents, one of which is a cop, when he picked up the loaded gun from the table and shot himself. Sadly, this type of gun accident is why 120 people between the ages 1-19 died in 2010, according to Centers for Disease Control. Every year hundreds of children die from guns because their parents did not keep guns away from them. Even a police officer, who knows how to use a gun and how dangerous a gun is, kept a loaded gun on a table in the same house as his toddler lived. Why would parents keep a loaded gun on a table? Did they think their “terrible two” son would not find the gun? As every parent knows, toddlers are magnetically drawn to dangerous objects; but yet some parents still do not keep their guns locked up on a high shelf. If one must own a gun in the same house as where children live, then they need to keep the gun unloaded, the bullets in a separate location, the safety on, and the gun locked up on a high shelf. Too many innocent children die each year because their own parents lack the common sense to keep a loaded gun away from a child.

The United States government can pass all the gun laws it desires but the laws will not work if people lack the common sense to follow the laws. Gun owners should not keep guns in the same house where someone with a mental disability lives or teach a person with a mental illness on how to use a gun. A citizen should not purchase a gun for a stranger/neighbor/friend in any circumstance since there could be a reason why he himself could not purchase the gun; plus, the gun buyer could also face 10 years in prison for purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. Parents should not keep a loaded gun in a spot where children can access the gun. If everyone just had common sense when it came to guns, then there would be less gun violence in the country.

 

Texas Petition Insults Civil War Soldiers’ Memories

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English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of de...

English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of death, Gettysburg, PA. Dead Federal soldiers on battlefield. Negative by Timothy H. O’Sullivan. Positive by Alexander Gardner. Deutsch: Vorkommnisse im Krieg. Die Ernte des Todes. Gettysburg, Juli 1863 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day, November 19th, 149 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most famous speeches in United States history– the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln read his inspiring speech at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The cemetery was where, months earlier, over 50,000 American (Union and Confederacy) soldiers died. The Civil War claimed over 620,000 American lives – a number that is estimated because not all of the bodies were recovered. This war resulted in families being torn apart and cities being burned to the ground; but yet, the talk of Civil War has emerged again… all because President Barack Obama was reelected.

All fifty states have started petitions about having their state seceding from the United States, but the top seven states (Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) are all from the South. Texas boasts of a petition of over 100,000 signatures; though in a state where the population is over 25 million, the petition only represents .0039% of the population. These petitioners actually believe that their state can stand alone, yet it was the original settlers of Texas who chose to be a part of the United States. These petitioners believe that they can protect themselves from other countries, but the Texans needed help from the United States during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s. These people believe they can make a profit, yet six of these seven states account for 23% of aid received from the federal government. Most of these states have tried to leave the United States before and it resulted in a bloody battle; as the philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.” The possibility of the states seceding from the United States is slim as the Civil War showed.

As talk of secession continues, the talk of a possible Civil War has appeared in discussions amongst the social media websites. The people talk as though Civil War is needed in order to demonstrate how corrupt the United States has become…yet do they realize how over 620,000 Americans died in the last war. And in a world of planes, bombs, and drones, that number would only be greater. Are these petitioners willing to risk their lives to fight against their fellow countrymen because President Obama was re-elected? The first Civil War resulted after decades of issues, including: states’ rights, slavery, confusing territory outlines, international trading, and differing economy. The election of a Republican president was the final straw for the South since the states soon seceding after President Lincoln was elected. The fact that the petitioners want their state to leave the United States because someone they didn’t like was chosen as president is insulting to the original Southerners who had more than one reason to want to leave the country. The petitioners also argue that the United States is a corrupt country, even though the American people participated in democracy and chose their leader – a type of government that is uncommon worldwide. There are other countries where the people have no say in electing their countries’ leaders, but here in the United States, the White House has to waste time reviewing these petitions.

When people delightfully talk about a Civil War being probable, it appears as though they have never were taught about the Gettysburg Battle, the bloodiest battle on the American soil that took place during the original Civil War. The Gettysburg Battle took place in three days (July 1-3, 1863) but resulted in over 50,000 soldiers dying. Months later, President Abraham Lincoln was asked to attend and speak at the dedication of the cemetery. The speech was small, but yet it sent a message. President Lincoln said “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here” yet it seems as though people have forgotten how horrible war is. They forgot about the sight of blood, the smell of dead bodies, the tears of family members – they forgot how soldiers risked their lives to bring back the Southern states. “These dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” said President Lincoln, stating how the Civil War was a test on the United States’ strength and that it would survive the war… and he was right.

The United States is a land of freedom where every adult can vote for president. Instead of signing their names on a piece of paper, the petitioners should be productive and focus on what they can do to better the country or if they want, they can leave the United States on their own. But acting as though a possible Civil War is justified through the reelection of President Obama – it is insulting to everyone who fought in the Civil War.