Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2nd Amendment

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

That's it. That's the 2nd Amendment. Does it mean that everyone has the freedom to have guns or does it mean that the military is allowed to have guns? What about the part (you know two out of the first three words) about being "well regulated." How can the framers of the Constitution anticipate the type of guns that are now readily available? 

People use those words as the end of any debate. Rational thought? No need when you have the text of the 2nd amendment that ensures the right to "keep and bear Arms. It is hard to have an intelligent conversation about someone when they are stuck on words written 200+ years ago. If you strongly believe in the 2nd amendment then you might just want to stop any and all conversation about the subject. Your mind is made up and nothing can convince you otherwise.

I think that the 2nd Amendment is ambiguous and not something that applies (or should apply) to assault weapons. Also, certain types of gun control (waiting periods, background checks, etc) make sense and still should be able to safely fit the qualifications of the 2nd amendment. Just because one might believe in the the 2nd amendment doesn't mean one can't also believe in some forms of gun control. It is both exciting and depressing to read about how we have technology to make safer guns. Why can't we have that conversation? Why do the words quoted at the beginning of the article mean we can't work on technology that makes sure that only the owner of the gun can fire the gun? Nothing in that article suggests to me that the Federal government is going to be taking away your guns. 

Also, are Conservatives and gun fanatics ok with mentally ill people to have guns? If you aren't against any gun control at all then you could just as easily use some of the same arguments to say that their rights to bear Arms shouldn't be infringed. Where do you draw the line? Should a 5 year old have a gun? It seems like a ridiculous argument, but then again the NRA president thinks that more guns will help solve the problem of gun violence. Of course. The Onion might have framed the debate best by replacing guns with Gorillas in "Gorilla Sales Skyrocket After Latest Gorilla Attack." Does that argument make any less sense then some of the NRA's public statements?

I'm not saying that isn't ok to like guns. You can and you can support the 2nd Amendment. You can support as little regulations as possible. However, if you do you are also supporting gun violence. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. Just like you can't expect less taxes, a strong defense, no changes to Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security and a balanced budget. There isn't a coincidence that the *gun homicide rate per 100,000 in America is 3.2%, while in other countries like Canada (0.1%), Australia (0.1%), Japan (0%) and Norway (0.5%). Americans own more guns and have "no federal regulations banning the semiautomatic assault weapons or large capacity ammo magazines often used in mass shootings."

*Stats are from the January 14th, 2013 Time Magazine.

We have more guns than other countries and we have more gun violence. We have an organization (the NRA) that refuses to have an open conversation about guns and a political party that (Republicans) that will not stand up to them. Also, we have voters that like the access to these type of guns and the very limited regulations. Again, you can think that way, but please stop saying you are "praying for the victims" when something like Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook happens. You are part of the problem. The price to pay to living in a country that is obsessed with protecting the 2nd Amendment are mass murders like this. That doesn't mean we shouldn't look at other ways of preventing mass murders, but to take any gun control off the table means we aren't addressing the main problem. 

I'm tired of all of it. With M being pregnant, I don't like living in country that allows this violence to happen without any solutions even being discussed. I'm planning on donating money to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and will match any contributions (up to a certain amount) that readers of this blog also make. I'm looking for help and hope that people will no longer turn a blind eye to something that is a fixable problem.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to choose a college?

For most of your early life decisions are made for you. As a child you aren't able to pick where you live, go to school, etc. In my case I had loving parents that made the correct decisions (besides giving me a Game Boy or putting a TV in my room) about my life. Now of course there are certain decisions that you can influence, but for the most part they are minor. That all changes when you graduate from high school and choose what college to attend. 

For me, I can remember that decision making process clearly. My parents provided advice when asked, but mostly let me chart my own course with that decision. The autonomy with that decision was something that was extremely motivating. I ended up applying to 7 schools as far north Wabash College in Indiana as far east as the University of Richmond and as far south/west as LSU. Out of all of those I picked Miami University, and I haven't regretting that decision once.

The reasons why I picked Miami was that I wanted a new experience in a new part of the country and Miami fit all my other qualifications: commitment to undergraduate education, college town, mid-sized university. One thing I hadn't considered when looking at schools, but lucked into by choosing Miami  was Miami's strong study abroad program. Like many of my classmates, I took advantage of this program, and I am thankful to have spent a summer in Asia. 

Picking Miami changed my life and could possibly be the biggest, most important decision I made when you consider the butterfly effect. That was the first time my life hit a fork in the road, and if I hadn't gone to Miami there is almost zero chance I would end up in Minneapolis, etc, etc. 

Why am I thinking about this at this current moment? I just read this great article from Frank Bruni on How to Choose a College? When you think about how big of a decision picking a school is shouldn't this article be required reading? The below passage from the article is something that I fully believe is true:

"If you're among the lucky who can factor more than cost and proximity into where you decide to go, college is a ticket to an adventure beyond the parameters of what you've experienced so far. It's a passport to the far side of what you already know. It's a chance to be challenged, not coddled. To be provoked, not pacified."