Enough is Enough

“I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts, I want gun control. And I hope to God nobody sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns” Susan Orfanos pleaded.
A year before the shooting in Thousand Oaks, her son, Telemachus Orfanos, was at the shooting in Las Vegas. Telemachus survived the deadly attack and saved others as well.
Brendan Hoolihan, another Las Vegas Survivor stated “he easily saved hundreds of lives.”
The twenty-seven-year-old military veteran was shot and killed November 7th, 2018 at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.
Just twelve days later, four were killed in a hospital shooting in Chicago.
There have been 62 mass shootings so far in President Trump’s term.
Trump has tweeted about getting free tickets, how the White House is decorating for Christmas, how people from Pakistan are fools, how he has “never seen thin people drinking Diet Coke,” how Robert Pattison can do much better than going back to Kristen Stewart, and countless other pointless things.
Trump has tweeted seven tweets about how Pattison should move on from his Twilight costar, yet of these 62 shootings, he has only tweeted about three.  Dear Trump, just because you think Robert Pattison going back to Kristen Stewart is far more important than the gun control crisis taking place in America, the remaining sane people in our country disagree.
Trump’s tweets on the shootings include:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families”
“School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!”
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.”
Dear Trump, dear America, thank you for thoughts and prayers, but thoughts and prayers are no where close to what we need. We need change. We need gun control.
Photo Credit: MSNBC.com

 

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Open Your Eyes

Open your eyes.

Is this what you wanted all along?

Four score and seven years ago,

you thought you’d forever be free.

Is this liberty to you?

Open your eyes

and tell me what you see is just.

Dead children in school hallways,

cartridge cases underneath bar stools,

mothers too exhausted to cry

because they had to outlive their children.

Photo Credit: upload.wikimedia.org

Open your eyes

and tell me again

that this is just for us all.

We are not primitive,

we need no weapons to defend our honor,

no death to feel alive and safe.

Your thoughts and prayers are with us

and your gun is pointed at our chests.

Think and pray if you think that helps.

To amend means to change,

not to rely on for eternity

disregarding how many lives must go.

Open your eyes

and tell me

the blood in the hallways isn’t on your hands,

the cartridge cases aren’t yours.

Change must happen, if only you’d see.

Please, for the people,

open your eyes.

 

Is This Democracy?

In North Dakota, a voter ID law was passed that states: in order to vote one must have a street address. If the mail man does not deliver to your home, it is not considered an address. No street address=no vote.

In North Dakota, thirty-five percent of the population does not have an “acceptable” address. A large part of this thirty-five percent are the Native Americans who can trace their lineage to North Dakota dating back to the 1830’s.

Over sixty percent of the Native Americans live on reservations and use P.O. boxes to receive their mail.

Over sixty percent of the Native Americans in North Dakota are refused a right that they were born with: the right to be a part this so-called “democracy.”

In Florida, many polling places in the towns of minorities were locked and closed, despite the fact that they were supposed to be opened on voting days.

Piles of ballots were also left uncounted. In the 2000 presidential election, 179,855 ballots were “invalidated” and uncounted. 53% percent of these ballots came from black or Democratic voters.

In Alabama, a law was passed that, in order to vote, one must have a photo ID taken at the D.M.V. Alabama has closed 31 of 67 D.M.V. locations. Almost all of these of these 31 closings are in counties that are home to poor and black people.

There are 250,000 registered voters who are now unable to vote due to the ID law. The majority of these 250,000 are impoverished, African-Americans, or both.

Selma took place over fifty years ago, but it seems like some things in Alabama will never change.

These are few of the many injustices taking place in our country today. The list of minorities being targeted and denied the right to vote goes on and on…

Ask yourself: Is this democracy?

Photo from worldatlas.com

 

Don’t believe me or want to read more? Check the cold, hard facts:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/voting-rights/voting-rights-act/alabamas-dmv-shutdown-has-everything-do-race

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/07/black-voter-suppression-rights-america-trump

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/north-dakotas-native-americans-law-blocks-populations-vote/story?id=58912062

Stargazing

A couple days ago, on a camping trip in the Alabama Hills, we all sat in silence in the pitch-black and looked at the stars. Seeing the hundreds of shining dots of light scattered in the sky was breathtaking; yet, some part of me felt a morsel of sadness. In order to see these stars, it was a four-hour drive from the small town I live in and a seven-hour drive from the nearest large city.  In Las Vegas, LA, or even just in my backyard, I can look up and see no stars and no moon, just black.

There are 40 billion stars in the Triangular Galaxy, 100 billion stars in the Whirlpool Galaxy, 250 billion stars in the Milky Way, and 1 trillion starts in the Andromeda galaxy. In the universe, there is an estimated 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars; yet, due to human-caused factors, such as light pollution, only 5,000 stars are visible to the human eye across the world.

The average star is 109.1 times larger than Earth and the largest star is 32,730 times larger than the planet we live on. It’s also ten million times brighter than our sun.

These stars are so much larger than our earth; yet, in America alone, over 80% of the population is unable to see them.

You may wonder, so what? Why does this matter?

Here’s why it matters to me:

Every star I see reminds me of how small I am, how small you are, and how small the human population is. Nowadays, so many people view themselves as giant. Humans kill other animals, destroy the wilderness, and essentially destroy our elves with how we treat our planet (climate change, over population, the list goes on).

I should stop saying how we treat our planet; it’s how we treat the planet. Humans don’t own it; it is not something that we can claim as ours or threaten until it gives in. No, Earth is a powerful force of nature being affected by the billions of small, ant-like creatures called humans who live on it. It is not ours; it is not ours to destroy. So, humanity, please stop fucking acting like it is.

Humans are not the biggest force to be reckoned with; we aren’t gods. Our current superiority does not give us the right to kill everything in our path. One day, a meteor will hit; a black hole will swallow the earth;  countries will fire nuclear bombs and wipe out all life; the global warming we caused will result in an atmosphere unsustainable for all life; or, just like the dinosaurs, an astroid will hit. Even if all life on Earth just magically disappeared, the planets would keep spinning, the suns would keep burning, and the stars would keep shining.

Whenever you can, look at the sky and stars. Remember we are small, but, even though we are small, we have the power to protect this planet we call Earth.

Photo Credit: davemorrowphotography.com

 

 

Breaking News

Photo Credit: foodandwine.com

The icecaps are melting. Human green house gas emissions have grown 80% since 1970. On average, annually, a women makes eleven thousand dollars and men make twenty-one thousand. A headless chicken named Mike lived for eighteen months after its head was cut off. Toilet paper kills 27,000 trees daily.  By 2050, one million species of animals will be extinct.  But, the problem dominating the internet (not), bringing major social uprising (sarcasm), and (said ironically) causing riots around the world: non-dairy drinks being called milk. *GASP*

Dairy farms protest dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, cashew, and coconut being called milk.  This issue has been taken to congress and brought up with the FDA. It is rumored that the FDA will ban the use of “milk” in the title of non-dairy beverages.

Let’s be real here. There are MUCH bigger problems facing our earth today. People, sit down, pour a nice big glass of almond milk, and email congress or the FDA to say “START DOING SOMETHING NECESSARY WITH YOUR AUTHORITY!”

A Letter to Past Generations

Dear people of the past,

I am one person out of millions. I may be small, but my voice will not be silenced. We will no longer be silenced by beliefs made centuries ago.

We will not be silenced by beliefs that are killing innocent lives, or by the beliefs that are discriminating against the people who are finally becoming proud of who they are.

We are the new generation. We are the millennials, the Gen. Z kids, and the generations to come, and we are proud of ourselves for the world we’re determined to create.

We may be young, and we may not know everything about the world, but we are still learning, still improving, and we are definitely still fighting.

We are strong

We are resilient.

And we are powerful.

But we aren’t defined by adjectives; we are the future. In just a few years, most of us will be given the power to vote, and we will remember when you ignored our pleas.

Photo Credit: ABC News.

You ignored our pleas for equal rights, our pleas to not feel afraid to walk into our schools, our pleas for an equal opportunity you pride your country over yet fail to fulfill.

We will remember what you refused to give us, and we will take it ourselves.

The years will come, and the world will become ours. Not just for one percent of us, but for everyone.

A world where students can walk into their schools without the fear that they’d never walk out.

A world where people are free to love who they wish to.

A world where people are judged by their personality or by what they bring to the world. Not by the color of their skin, or their preference of who they love.

So remember this

We may be young,

But we are angry.

And you can try silence us, but we will rise, and we will scream louder than ever.

Opinions, likes, and school walkouts

To begin,
For all of my peers who participated in the national school walkout today, I want to thank you for standing up for what you believe in and being catalysts for the change that our country so desperately needs. We know what kind of world we deserve to live in, and we are making it a reality.

Credit: TruthRevolt.org

Growing up in an age of technology, social media and internet access can be a double-edged sword of sorts. We can use our technology as a platform for positive things, like spreading awareness and voicing our opinions on all sorts of matters. But, that can also result in a nearly obsessive need to receive validation for our experiences. This validation comes from documenting and posting about almost anything that occurs and is worthy of being noticed.

This dichotomy poses a question: If you don’t post about it does it even really matter?

I’m not trying to be cynical, I’m just genuinely curious if that is a justifiable way of life. I’m not saying I am immune to it, but I would also like to think that I’m not dependent on my social media, nor do I find validation solely through it.

Something I noticed throughout the protesting that took place today is a lot of people seemed to have no idea why they were a part of it. Sure, they knew that it was in honor of the seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting, but they were mostly participating just to follow along with everyone else.

Credit: Polkscan.com

I received several messages, posts, etc. talking about the protests and ways to be involved, which I appreciate, but in lots of ways they all seemed so disingenuous. I am fully supportive of young people’s activism. But when you send me snapchats of yourself wearing an orange t-shirt to “show ur support!” I can’t help but think that you really have no idea what you care about, you just want me to know that you “protested.”

When asked what you believe, you can give a coherent reply. But when asked why you believe it, you have no idea.

It’s almost as if you don’t even care about the victims of all of the past shootings, you don’t even know why people are fighting for stricter gun control/laws. You only care about how many likes you got or how many people viewed your story.

Being a part of a protest itself (actually being an active activist) should be validation enough, it shouldn’t need to be found on instagram. But maybe that’s just the way I look at it.

So, yes, I understand and agree with the fact that social media can be used to spread awareness and to generate change. I also realize that these walkouts were fueled by social media, and that without it we wouldn’t have accomplished such a large-scale and widespread protest. But when half of the people I see posting have no idea what the significance of it is, it just makes them seem ignorant and it takes away from the importance of today’s events.

It is inspiring to see so many young people who already have such strong opinions. But if you have no idea why you have certain beliefs, if your beliefs don’t have a purpose or a foundation, then you might as well not believe in anything.

In order to be effective you must first be informed.