If you’re not a danger to society, then stricter gun policies shouldn’t scare you.

As we are all aware by now, our country has experienced yet another instance of mass violence in the form of a school shooting. This is a vague post reflecting on all school shootings and occurrences of mass gun violence, as what I am about to say is relevant to all school shootings.

I am not going to attempt to bore you with numbers or yell big words in your face.

Rather, I intend to use but one word of significance: EMPATHY.

Today, I had an encounter where someone literally said, and I quote: “My empathy is stored away for the proper moments, I need to defend myself from the government should it become the Nazi dystopia the left keeps saying Trump is trying to turn it into…” followed by me saying, “Proper…moments…. people are dead.”

To which they again replied: “Yes. People are dead. But public policy is not the place for empathy. It is the place for cold facts and evidence.”

DA DAAAAAAAAH. (Here’s where the word empathy comes into play!)

POLITICS IS FUELED BY EMPATHY, OR RATHER, THE LACK OF IT!

Now, I’m well aware that the person I was talking to likely didn’t have a background in sociology or psychology (not that my background is extensive, but I’ve taken some relevant courses), so I quickly stopped replying to the person who feels no empathy for innocent dead teenagers or their families (they really said that). I gave them a quick F you and bid them goodbye. To which, they told me that this is why the liberals always lose. Go figure.

But my point–

If politicians were to hear the stories of the families of victims, the stories of survivors, the stories of the millions of Americans who have lived through these horror stories (even if it’s just on their TV’s), then they would finally feel the compassion that they’ve been lacking.

THERE IS A REASON PRO-GUN POLITICIANS DON’T LISTEN TO THESE TYPES OF STORIES. THERE IS A REASON THEY STICK TO THEIR ALTERNATIVE FACTS.

Their alternative facts can put the blame on someone else (rather than themselves). Their alternative facts protect them from feeling.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of arguments. There’s a reason for that.

EMPATHY WORKS.

I’m not talking pity parties. I’m not talking feeling bad for the people who lost loved ones.

I’m talking about empathy– taking on the experiences that these people have dealt with and reflecting on what it could be like to handle this situation themselves.

If a politician listened to these stories, they’d recognize that we need stricter gun laws. That the shooter shouldn’t have been able to access a gun in the first place. That stricter gun laws lead to a safer country– proven over and over again.

They refuse to listen because they are being rewarded by not caring about the lives of America’s children. Rather, the lives of all Americans.

These are the types of people who are safe in their homes and receive endorsements in the mail from the NRA. These are the types of people whose families will never be directly affected by gun violence. These are the types of people who claim that mass shootings are an anomaly.

We are but a month and a half into this year and have experienced more than enough gun violence. I don’t need to give you hard statistics for you to recognize this. We’re adults here, we’ve read the news.

To those who support stricter gun laws, thank you for using your empathy. Thank you for recognizing that we need policy and change, not thoughts and prayers.

To those who are still not convinced, and are upset that tighter gun policies may restrict your access to guns: who do you need protecting from? What are you so afraid of that you need a killing device with you at all times? Aren’t these the people, the ones you’re afraid of, that we should be taking guns away from?

I don’t want to infringe on your rights. People should be allowed to own guns– it’s an amendment, that’s fine, I’m not trying to argue that you shouldn’t have a gun.

But if you’re afraid of others hurting you with a gun, then perhaps they should be the ones who need to go through more hoops before gaining access to one– if they even do.

Again, TLDR: If you’re not a danger to society, then stricter gun policies shouldn’t scare you.

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dichotomies

Apparently, you’re not supposed to post on social media when you’re depressed, angry or lonely. Today I am all of these things.

I am depressed because I am alone, and I am depressed because I feel as though my anger will simply be absorbed into the world without generating a blink from anyone. I am alone because I feel friendless, with only my cat to keep me company on cold January nights while my partner sleeps in Texas.

I know that the truth is, I am not friendless, and that I have a strong support system in my partner, in my best friend Erin, in my friends from work. But on days like this, I simply feel isolated.

Today, I am angry. I am angry with myself for taking on this woe-is-me persona.

As though my problems are meaningful. As though my problems are not meaningful.

This is the duality of being borderline.

I’m upset with myself for avoiding feeling, I’m upset with myself for thinking I matter. I’m upset with myself for having the audacity to imagine I don’t matter, and I’m upset with myself for indulging in feeling.

I’m well aware that these dichotomies don’t make sense. That doesn’t stop me from living them.

I can’t seem to shake the depression off my back. Being alone in upstate New York can be terribly, terribly cold.

13 Reasons Why: Media’s responsibility toward mental health

Netflix’s newest series, 13 Reasons Why, follows Clay Jensen as he listens to 13 sides of his friend Hannah Baker’s suicide tapes. The series attempts to bring light to suicide among teenagers by sending the message to ask for help when you need it and be kinder to others because you never know what someone is going through. Instead of teaching these positive skills, the series comes across as insensitive, ineffective and grossly misinformed. This results in a poor representation of the mental health community on a major streaming service, which is bad news for at-risk individuals and the community as a whole.

Continue reading 13 Reasons Why: Media’s responsibility toward mental health