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Assault Rifles: To Ban or Not to Ban

Someone once said that in order to conquer a nation, one must first disarm its citizens. I don’t know exactly who said it because there isn’t solidification anywhere, but nonetheless the quote holds true still today.

This brings into play the proposed gun legislation that President Obama would like to put in to effect.

I feel for the president because I most certainly would not want to be in his position. I feel whether or not he made this decision would have been a lose-lose situation for him. However, nonetheless I will say that I do not agree with his ban on the selling of assault weapons.

America is a land of opportunity. We love our second amendment like we love Old Glory. Many people feel like their rights are being infringed upon by this proposed ban. Some of these people include prior military personnel and gun enthusiasts. They feel that they should not be held responsible for the actions of a few other people, especially when those people were mentally disturbed.

Let’s look at the facts: America has the most gun murders of every country in the world. However (sources for the following come from Wikipedia and can be viewed here. It also appeared on other sites, but cumulatively came from Wikipedia):

 

The US had 14,738 total homicides last year. With that statistic, we had the most violent gun crime rate.

Brazil had 40,974 homicides last year
India had 40,752 homicides last year
Mexico had 25,757 homicides last year
Ethiopia had 20,239 homicides last year
Indonesia had 18,963 homicides last year
Nigeria had 18,422 homicides last year
South Africa had 15,940 homicides last year

So, we have the highest amount of gun killings, but we are still killing less that the rest of the world. Africa as a continent had 169,000 homicides last year. Central and South America had 130,000 homicides last year.

And there sits the USA, with 14,738

The common denominator here is people, not access to an AR-15 or AK47. That homicide rate listed above fails to even compare to the brutal murders in other parts of the world. And that statistic includes our “Most Violent Gun Country” title. The problem is a lack of humanity, not access to weaponry. Say of those nearly 41,000 Brazilians that 10,000 of them were killed by guns. That still leaves 31,000 other people killed in other ways. I can think of a few weapons to kill someone: knife, rope, poison, rock, vine.

30,000 people

The United States crime rate also has been steadily declining over the years as well, despite the gun issue. The crime rate in Honduras is 91.6, the crime rate in the United States is 4.8. People say that guns need to be taken off the streets as soon as possible to ensure safety. When is the last time any criminal has cared about laws and rules? I’m pretty sure that they don’t. Criminals will still be able to get assault rifles on the black market; that much you can be sure of. And then no self-respecting citizen will be able to protect themselves from someone who does have and assault rifle.

There is no correct solution for this, but in order to be fair, I feel that if the average American citizen cannot have access to an assault rifle, no one should; that includes the secret service, CIA, FBI and various other government bureaus. This includes the president and his family. I feel that the president should not be protected by bodyguards with assault rifles if he feels they are so detrimental to society. His secret service that protects him and his family should not be afforded a privilege of being protected by an assault rifle if all of America isn’t either. That is the only way I feel that law would ever be truly fair. The only people who would then be allowed to use those weapons are those in the military that are currently serving. The mass shooting that have happened are truly terrible, but this is not the solution for the problems. I could list many more viable options:

a) Arm the teachers in schools, or at least have the school guarded by an armed police person. If a killer would happen to get in, someone should be armed and ready to take that person down.
b) Perform psych evaluations on people who are trying to buy guns that seem like they could be a threat
c) Make gun safes essential in homes, perhaps lower the price of them so that guns can be locked up more easily
d) Parents need to teach their kids gun safety if they have guns around. Teach them that guns are not toys

These are just a few options. However, one thing cannot be denied: If someone wants to kill another person, they will find a means of doing it. The same week the Sandy Hook Massacre happened, a man entered a school in China and stabbed 20 people. Yes, a knife.

People need help, and they need it fast. And taking away a responsible person’s weapon isn’t going to help anyone.

Focus on mental health, focus on people.

Because the day an AR-15 can hop over a fence on its own and shoot a bunch of children is day that I do not want to be alive for.

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The Hardest Question

“It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”-Albus Dumbledore.

As I sit writing this, I know that my grandpa is fighting a battle in the Intensive Care Unit in the hospital in Florida, approximately 1100 miles or so away. That means that if God calls him home, the blog I wrote a few days ago about him and my grandma will be one of the single, most precious pieces I have ever written in my entire life. You can read it HERE.  Nestled in his hospital bed, he sleeps and fights, and this could possibly be his last showdown. At his home in Sebring, Fl., his wife lays in the twin sized bed that is in their room, the bed that was soon to be replaced with a king sized bed so they both could sleep beside each other. Out in the living room is a new set of furniture, and an empty space where a chair he purchased a few days ago to aid him in getting up and down will be going. And my grandma, through all of her thoughts, wonders if he will ever get to see or use the things he just purchased. She wonders if he will make it back home so that she can change the bandages on his legs. She wants to be able to cook him dinner and hear him call her “Buddy.”

She wants her husband, and her best friend to come home.

That’s the part that makes me so sad.

I made peace with the fact that he would be dying about four months ago when these rounds of hospital calls began. What I haven’t made peace with is the woman he is leaving behind. And it scares the crap out of me.

My grandparents have been married 57 1/2 years and the dated for two years before they got married. That means that my grandma has been staring at my grandpa’s face every morning for most of her life. She has been making him dinner every night. She has helped him run businesses. She took care of him when he was sick, to the point where he nicknamed her Florence Nightingale. She had my mom and my uncle with him and instituted Sunday dinners. The Sunday dinners are still in effect, except when they are in Florida because we reside in Pennsylvania. Her whole life has essentially been devoted to loving one man and the family she created with him.

And now, she may be on the brink of losing everything.

The hardest question I have had to ask myself throughout this whole ordeal is a simple question: Why do we fall in love when we will ultimately be separated from that person? I fell in love almost two years ago. And I will be perfectly honest and say that the idea of getting married scares me. If he asked, I would say yes. However, I’m not scared of the marriage; I’m scared of him not being there someday. I’m scared of watching him fall apart right before my very eyes. I’m scared that I will devote my whole life to this person and that old age and diseases will separate us anyway.

So why do we do it?

If you believe in soul mates, then you believe that there is someone out there with the other part of your soul. You believe that you must then find that part of your soul and make it one with yours. I believe that my grandparents are soul mates, despite the fact that they have the single most dysfunctional relationship that I have ever seen. They are polar opposites. But, I guess that is what makes them compatible. I also have learned throughout this whole ordeal that everything kids are taught about fairy tale love is mostly inaccurate. Sometimes love isn’t about thinking the other person is dreamy and getting bit by this mystical love bug. Sometimes, love is more than that. If you’re lucky, love is about respect and security.

Maybe we are only meant to have our soul whole for a little while, but I don’t think it’s very fair. I don’t think its fair that my grandma will have to go on with half of her soul missing. This will happen sooner rather than later, but it still is something I haven’t made peace with. I’m scared for her. I’m scared knowing she will have half of her soul in heaven and that she has to carry on alone. I’m not looking forward to when that happens. It makes all superficial relationships you’ve ever had seem rather stupid for crying over.

Here’s my lesson: Your stupid minor relationships won’t break your heart when you break up with that person. You want heartbreak? Date the same person for 60 years and watch them deteriorate. Date someone for 60 years, and then have to carry on without them. That’s heartbreak. Don’t let minor setbacks seem like heartbreak. You will prevail.

I don’t know if it’s going to be easy to let myself continue to be in love forever because it’s scary.

But I will probably do it anyway.

And I can only hope that when the day comes where I have to go on, that I will be able to. And that maybe, just maybe, I will understand this when I die.  Because quite frankly, I’m not sure that being alive is enough to understand the powers at be with this sort of tragedy. Love is hard and complicated.

I just hope when the time comes I can be strong, thankful and understanding.

Love, here’s to you.