Gun Violence Continues to Kill Our Children

Today, a shooter went into a high school in Santa Fe, TX and killed at least 8 students. There may be more casualties. This is breaking news. What? You’re not shocked. If not, maybe it’s because since Sandy Hook, in the U.S. a gun has been fired on school grounds at least once a week. Maybe it’s because it has become almost commonplace for us to think a shooter *may* at some point show up at our children’s school. Maybe it’s because we know that all the pro-gun advocates have to offer up is more thoughts and prayers without a solution to this problem. We think it’s normal to tell our children to make sure they know where their safe place is. We think it’s normal to tell them to look out for children who may be carrying guns. I have news for you: this is not normal.

Some pro-gun people will tout that gun laws strip them of their second amendment rights. If you say something like the forefathers did not foresee these type of guns, they will laugh in your face. Their solution is to give guns to teachers. Their solution is to train teachers how to shoot an intruder. Since when is this a teacher’s duty? Don’t teachers already do enough? What are the psychological effects of a teacher killing a previous student, even if they previous student is doing harm to someone in the classroom? Can these questions even be answered? One school district even gave teachers tiny baseball bats to fend off intruders. That would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

The problem is, as soon as anyone brings up gun control, the pro-gun people go nuts.

“They want to take away our guns. What if the government goes berserk and I need them to create my own militia?”

I’m telling you–the government is already berserk. As soon at they shot down reasonable gun control laws after Sandy Hook they had betrayed the trust of the American people. They’re continuing to allow children to DIE because of money they’ve received from the NRA. Money and profits are more important to your government than putting their citizens first with reasonable gun control laws. No one wants to take away all the guns (well, I’m sure someone does, but that’s not what I’m advocating).

How many times do I have to blog about this? How many kids have to die before someone will do something to change the way things are? . This is not working for our U.S. Do we really want to send our kids to school in fear that their life could be snuffed out in a place where they are supposed to feel safe?

If you want to be shocked read this article on the LA Times and scroll down through the list of gun activity at schools:

Since Sandy Hook, a gun has been fired on school grounds nearly once a week

Or this article on Vox:

After Sandy Hook we said never again. And then we let 1,650 mass shootings happen.*

*It should be noted that the Vox article exaggerates. They consider a mass shooting an incident in which 4 or more people are killed. These could be any type of murders, not just in the school. Also, if the definition of 4 or more people is used as a mass shooting, then the mass shooting in Benton, KY would not count (2 killed, 18 injured). This is all semantics, and of course VOX is trying to get views by throwing that large number out there, but there is truth to the number out there just not in an apples to apples sort of way.

Anyway, my point is something needs to be done. We need better gun control laws. We need to figure out what’s going on with the white boys and why they feel like they need to go shoot up schools. Are we failing them? Probably. We need to make things right for our children by enacting commonsense gun control laws.

Every time I hear one of these stories it saddens me, but it also disgusts me that the U.S. continues to turn a blind eye. That ain’t justice or freedom. American children are living their lives in fear.

Here’s Three Commonsense Gun Laws we can fight for:

  1. National permit-to-purchase: policy requiring permits and background check before allowing someone to buy a firearm.
  2. No guns to violent offenders/domestic violence perpetrators: This law explains itself.
  3. Banning certain assault weapons, bumper stocks: What is the intent of these weapons? It’s not to go hunting. This is the law the pro-gun people have the hardest thing when. They don’t want anyone taking their guns. But after the Parkland shooting, the police stations saw people readily giving up their AR-15 and other assault-style weapons.

These are just three laws that would be well worth fighting for the reduce the number of casualties from gun violence every year. This type of gun control has been shown to work in other countries.

It’s time to make a change, America.

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The Rambler

Welcome back. Oh wait, I mean, you’ve been here so I am really just welcoming myself back. Life happened, and I realized this AM I had not blogged in a month. The strange thing is, I’ve been writing–well, at least a little bit. I have been working on my novel again. Mainly, I need to finish and then edit. This is what I’m very bad at doing. Editing seems like the dregs to me, and where is the time? It takes me a good three hours to be invested in editing my work, and there are no three-hour time slots open any where in my life.

But life is good, mostly. Good but stressful. I’ve made some great friends lately, and I’ve put myself out there. This is good, because I was having a near constant desire to sit in the blue easy chair, drink a Truly or two or three, and watch Netflix. I find leaving the house is the hardest before you actually do it. Like, it takes a lot of motivation to get off my butt and actually go out and be with people, but once I do it I love it.

I wanted to write about the Parkland shooting, because it’s never too soon to talk about common sense gun control. Last week, I blogged about it in my head. But then I thought, this is never going to change anything. My goal is to become involved in Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. This, I know, is the right thing to do. I have three kids, and I don’t want their right to life to be trumped by someone else’s right to own an AR-15. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I think the high school students speaking up for themselves, staging walk-outs and protests, is truly amazing. Folks, this is how democracy works.

And mental health? Why can’t it be both? I want our country to take mental health issues more seriously. It’s hard to get adequate care in this country. But so many people need it. I can’t tell you how much I’ve paid out of pocket to see therapists in my lifetime. And you know what–it helped me! And there’s nothing shameful about that. Get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health. That would be a nice place to start. Our boys (because those are usually the perpetrators of these crimes) need to learn self-control and self-regulation. I don’t think every violent crime is done by someone with mental health problems. I think ANGER is a huge issue in our society. Anger leads to domestic violence situations, mass shootings, as well as homicides. I think our boys have a lot of anger because they’ve been taught their whole lives to swallow their feelings. Well, that’s not doing anyone any good. Anger management needed, yes! Therapy or someone to talk to needed, yes. Let’s change society for the better. What’s wrong with doing that?

I promise, I’ll blog more. I have finished Waking Up White and need to blog about some of the ideas from reading and pondering over that book. I also am planning on writing a flash fiction piece and getting it posted. Here’s to more words more often.

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An Ode to Mom

I have about 7,000 things to write about, and my series on race will continue after this break post.

Relationships with your parents are complicated to say the least. There’s this sense of gratefulness they gave you life. Then everyone’s had those feelings of, “Oh, I’m this way because my parents screwed me up with the way they raised me!” My parents did a good job, but like all parents they had their flaws. I’m sure my kids will say the same thing about me. Being a parent is a thankless job in a lot of ways. There’s a lot of pain and guilt (maybe that’s because I’m Catholic Lite). But being a parent is also amazingly wonderful. It’s great to see a child you raise grow and flourish.

My mom told my dad to read my blogs on race. “It’s wonderful,” she said, “and all about you. Like Lauren didn’t even have a mom.” Thanks for the guilt-trip, Mom.

I’m sorry, Mom, that I didn’t mention you. You were a constant in my life. Always there. Making delicious dinners–except that nasty chipped ham, talking to me about the birds and bees, and guiding me throughout my life. I remember when I’d come home from nights out you would come up to my room just to talk to me. Those are some of my best memories, of just the two of us. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without your guidance and influence.

And I just really wanted to give you props, because on December 12th, I saw all your hard work for Doug Jones come to fruition. You worked so hard on that campaign. I’m impressed by your persistence, faithfulness, and your ability to push yourself and work hard for something/someone you believe in. You taught me persistence and follow-through pays off. You taught me how to “just do,” even though I’m still working on that. You’re a strong woman and an inspirational person in my life.

I love you Mom.

Mom

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The Four Letter Word: Politics

I don’t always get political on this blog. I have from time to time. Someone left me a nasty comment when I said I was a Nasty Woman. I guess that’s what this snowflake, libtard, gets when she’s honest about who she is. Especially in the Deep South.

I’ve been deeply upset about the events in Charlottesville that happened last week. I waited to hear the president condemn the white supremacists for killing Heather Heyer.with a car.and injuring 19 hours. I listened as the president fumbled with words, as he so often does. I listened as he said, “there’s blame on both sides.” Then as he was criticized finally calling out the KKK, white supremacists, and other hate groups. But then yesterday, he did an about face and called out the alt-left.  Wait, is he talking about the peaceful protesters?

https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000005365876

*By the way, I’ve tried to embed this video a million times and WordPress won’t let me. It’s the News Conference where Trump states the Alt-Left is also to blame.

He cites at the end of this clip that the “Alt-Left” came at the other side with clubs. If you read accounts from that day, it seems, rather, that the Alt-Right came in ready for violence. They had guns and torches. They surrounded the peaceful protesters. Then one domestic terrorist ran over the protesters with his car at a high rate of speed. There are many accounts of this. However, I wasn’t there. And there are conflicting stories. So no one can be certain exactly what happened.

There is one thing I’m certain about, and that it’s NEVER OKAY to blame the victim which is exactly what Trump is trying to do in this video. Why? Because he knows that a huge base of his support are Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, KKK members–basically domestic terrorists. He knows if he alienates them he loses support. And honestly, this man wouldn’t know a value or moral if it hit him in the face. He’s struggling. That’s why he always goes to Twitter and writes one-off comments. Heck, when I’m mad I write some of the most divisive things too. He hates having “low ratings,” and he sees his number in the polls as such.

There is, and has been for a long time, a problem with racism in the United States. Our president, our leader, could have condemned these horrible groups but decided instead to support his base. Over equality. Over taking a stand against hate. What does that say about him? The man has no moral convictions. He’s not someone I could ever support.

I pray for the victims of Charlottesville. I pray for our country, that we may become stronger and more united against the evils of racism. I pray that we stop being divided and realize that every person who is born deserves a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I pray that we can say we’ve given that to them instead of just offering lip service.

And meanwhile in Alabama, I’m sitting back to watch a run-off between Roy Moore, the 10 Commandments guy, who has been removed from office twice and Luther Strange, the man who shut down Victory Land, basically killing a county during America’s Great Recession and supported our “resigned” Governor Bentley even after his ethics crisis. I will be crossing my fingers that Doug Jones can pull out a win for the Senate.

In the meantime, I’m raising my children to be loving and accepting people. I’m raising them to know that differences are what makes people unique and that in turn helps our community. I teach them that we all just want the same thing: a roof over our head, food in our belly, love, joy, and happiness. But that some groups have a harder time achieving that because of all the hate and divisiveness thrown their way. I’m hoping to raise intelligent accepting children who don’t judge people by the color of their skin.

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I’m a Nasty Woman

Yesterday, I was proud to be a woman and an American. I watched as women all over the world protested, marched, and came together in solidarity for woman and equal rights all over the world. I don’t generally write about politics. In fact, I live in Montgomery, Alabama where most liberals are looked at like some scourge on the surface of the earth. But I’m tired of being quiet about my position and what I think is right and wrong. I think the only way to make change is to be vocal about it. Great change happens when we take action, not when we sit silently by.

Women marched together non-violently yesterday. And why did they march? They marched for all sorts of reasons: health care, abortion, diversity, and climate change. Women marched because they’re tired of being objects. Women marched because they believe that it’s the first step toward a united front in the face of hatred. They marched together in love. They’re tired of working hard only to earn a whopping 20% less than a man in the same position with the same qualifications as them. 

I was slayed by the people who said: Why are they marching? Women already have equal rights. This is absolutely not true. There is income disparity. Women are still sexually harassed daily. Women are raped. Men get off from charges so they don’t miss “the college experiment.” Since when is that fair?

But the march was about much more than that. It was a protest against hate, racism, bigotry. It was a reminder that Muslims are people too, and they’re not all terrorists, and they shouldn’t be registered. It was a reminder that we are all human beings and we are all guaranteed certain human rights. It was a reminder that we are capable of change, because there are a great number of us who want it. Power in numbers.

CNN, yes, yes, the liberal news outlet, posted an article entitled Moment or a Movement. I think it’s important for women and men all over the world not to let this moment pass us by. We need to make it a movement. We need to use the energy from the marches yesterday to get involved and initiate change. Show your daughters they have power by becoming politically involved. Call your senator. Get involved at Planned Parenthood or another nonprofit of your choice. Donate to a nonprofit (like Mercy Corps, NRDC , or SPLC, just to name a few) monthly. Start writing letters to your senators, even if you live in Alabama and they send you a letter back saying that they basically will never agree with you or take you seriously. Get involved in education that helps minorities and poverty-stricken students RISE UP and rise above their circumstances. The more people who get involved the more change we can make.We can do it at the grassroots level. It takes one person to make change.

Let’s make this a movement, not just a moment like in Hamilton’s My Shot:

 

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Love, Not Hate

Enough Gun Violence

I debated blogging about Orlando. More because I couldn’t face having to blog about another senseless tragedy yet again. My children are growing up in a world where anyone can purchase guns with the intent of committing mass murder. Nothing is stopping them from doing this. They’re able to get a hold of guns easily. They’re able to take innocent human lives. The brothers, sisters, sons, daughters of someone.

The news media is blaming ISIS. An American who had been twice-investigated by the FBI purchased two guns to commit this horrible hate crime. He pledged allegiance to ISIS. But if he hadn’t have been able to purchase those guns in the first place, because of a background check then the violence on this scale would never have happened.  The US lacks a system that can stop the scale of gun-related violence and death. In 2015, 12,942 people were killed in gun homicide (*Statistic from The Trace).  We need gun control reform, pure and simple. And while that’s a hot issue, it needs to be addressed. Innocent people will keep being killed if there aren’t reforms put into place to monitor who guns are sold to and what types of guns are sold. Why do assault weapons need to be sold to the general public when their whole intention is to kill other human beings? Americans throw up their hands and mourn, but we fail to do anything to fix the problem.

I can tell you that hate is never going to be eradicated. Terrorists are never going to cease to exist. They’ve existed from the beginning of time. It’s human nature to fight, be aggressive, and to hate. The way to get to the route of this problem is to institute a fair system for purchasing guns. I’m all for hunting rifles. And yes, there will still be accidents and killings with hunting rifles, but I can tell you if guns are harder to get the level of mass shootings that take place will drop dramatically.

I have a lot of friends who are part of the LGBTQ community. And I can tell you, their hearts are breaking. I’m not gay, but I can’t even imagine having to live with the level of discrimination they receive every day. Some people defend their discrimination as Christian, but do you think Jesus Christ would really be happy with you spreading hate instead of acceptance?

Religion Hate

I know this post is rambling and not cohesive, but I’m just so mad. The LGBTQ community has fought so hard for legislation to become accepted in this country. I’m hoping this coward’s action will solidify the love for the LGBTQ community instead of spur more hate. I’m hoping it will spur gun reform, but I know that’s not realistic because of all the money the NRA has in politicians’ hands.

As a regular citizen, we’re capable of doing a few things:

  • Show outrage that people were killed.
  • Vote in politicians who want gun control reform.
  • Write to your senators, or anyone in politics who might listen.
  • Throw Your Support Behind Gun Control
  • Teach your children to be accepting of people, even if they’re different from you.
  • Hate starts at home. Treat your children and others the way you’d want to be treated to eliminate hate.
  • Put yourself in another person’s shoes. Think about how you’d feel if you were always called derogatory names, targeted for hate crimes, and excluded from churches based on who you loved.

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