Gun Control – Inside the Blue

February 14th, 2018.

Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student (before his expulsion) from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL attacked the school, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others. Cruz was armed with an AR-15.

This tragic event set off a new movement. The survivors of the Parkland shooting began a movement labeled with the hashtag #NeverAgain. These students, most notably Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, led hundreds of marches and walkouts at high schools and cities throughout March to campaign for change in gun regulation and legislation. This movement has been met with resistance, mainly by conservatives.

Conservative points:

-Many guns used in mass shootings have been purchased illegally, so any sort of ban could be ineffective

-The banning of guns would infringe on the Second Amendment 

-Those campaigning for legislation and change are too young to fully grasp the consequences of any sort of ban 

-There are already many existing safeguards in place to restrict the purchase of firemarms

-Bans, in general, are not flawless and people would still obtain firearms illegally with bans

-The best thing to do is enforce existing laws and examine what can be done about mass shooters/mental health

Liberal points:

-Many guns used in mass shootings have been purchased legally, including those used in Parkland and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting

-The Second Amendment did not take into account the power of modern weapons, written at a time where bullet capacity was low and it took a significant amount of time to reload, thus it should be reconsidered 

Age is insignificant in terms of protesting for change

-The existing safeguards have failed, allowing mass shootings to occur, so they should be strengthened to prevent further incidents

-Any sort of ban will not completely end mass shootings, but it will at least make it harder to purchase firearms for mass shootings

-The best thing to do is create a ban on assault weapons or firearms as a whole and require thorough background checks and/or annual evaluations for gun owners

My thoughts:
It is clear that there is a serious issue with mass shootings in America. For every one hundred Americans, we own around one hundred guns, more than double the country with the second highest population/gun ratio (Germany). We have far more mass shootings than any other nation, though we have a lower gun homicide rate than many other nations.

In order to prevent further mass shootings and gun deaths, we need to make a change. Thus, I agree more with the liberal points in regards to gun control.

Here’s what I believe we should do in order to solve this issue:

-Institute a blanket ban on assault weapons for civilians unless they are required for hunting purposes. There is no logical reason to own an assault weapon. Even if it is for home defense, a handgun will suffice.

-Ban the firearm purchase/ownership by minors

-Require a mandatory background check, evaluation by a doctor, and training/safety course for first-time gun owners

-Require a mandatory background check and doctor evaluation every five years for any gun owner

-Continue the enforcement of gun-free zones. The narrative that “good guys with guns kill bad guys with guns” is illogical and only practical in regards to policemen. One may believe that they are capable of incapacitating a shooter, but instincts take over in the moment of danger. The average person, even with training, will falter when faced with someone with the intent to kill them and could be a danger to others.

In addition, mental health is indeed an issue that needs to be spoken of. We must understand why people become mass shooters and deduce how we can go about stopping people from ever becoming shooters, but I lack any specific ways to deal with this issue in regards to gun control, as it is an entirely different and more complex issue in itself.

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions or critiques, feel free to comment them or direct message me on my Instagram, @kashwrites. Make sure to return next week for more of Inside the Blue.

Inside the Blue – A Political Commentary

     We live in a politically diverse and divided world, in nations where politics is constantly at the forefront of our news and media, and, in some cases, our entertainment.

I introduce Inside the Blue, a series of political commentary making sense of the never-ending rush of political news and debate. Every week I will be choosing a topic and writing about said topic, laying out the opposing views and points, my personal input, and a look at the grand scheme of politics and political topics.

I plan to cover a myriad of topics both controversial and relatively unknown but still of great import.

This will begin this weekend with a post on gun violence, the debate surrounding the second amendment, and what can be done to prevent mass shootings.

Stay tuned for more!

2091

The man raised his head to the skies, looking for the noise

The third sound of the day, the thirteenth of the week

Looking back down he turned,

Watching,

Waiting,

Hoping.

Another man approached, elegant,

Composed

The former turned to the later, hopeful

He brought a proposition, that man did.

One of hope, one of plenty.

But the former new the truth that lay behind his eyes. The carefully guarded guise,

The lies and crafted disguise.

He was an imposter.

One of those who spoke devilishly and craftily,

But spoke nothing of truth

So he rose the harbinger in his hand, the item of defense from his side

For this was a world where a word was no longer defense, but attack

And he brought it upon the latter.

One,

Twice,

Three times

And when the latter lay dead,

The man returned to watching the skies

My Favorite Music

     Music is undoubtedly one of the greatest creations of our species. It ties people together through a common interest and is one of the cornerstones of culture and community. Personally, I love music, and if you ask me the greatest genres are jazz, alternative, rap, and EDM. Music means a lot to me. It’s part of the fuel for writing and has a quality of a personality that no other form of entertainment can quite replicate.

Here are some of my favorite artists!

Jazz, the genre of instrumental harmonies and powerful voices:

-Frank Sinatra, one of the most acclaimed jazz singers of all time, a man with a voice of gold and lyrics born of sheer artistic brilliance

-The other Rat Pack Members

-Louis Armstrong, the greatest trumpet player ever

-Billie Holiday

-Dave Brubeck

-Michael Bublé, the best modern jazz artist

Alternative, the meticulously performed vocal spectacles and the new take on music:

-Panic! At The Disco, the one-man band featuring Brendon Urie

-Portugal the Man

-Nirvana, the band every edgy teen listened to 90s

-Coldplay

-OK Go

-Vampire Weekend

-Imagine Dragons

-Fall Out Boy

Rap, lyrical crafting and drums:

-Tupac and Biggie, the original gods

-Eminem, the new god

-Dr. Dre

-Kanye West

-Snoop Dogg, everybody’s favorite guy

-G-Eazy, the up and coming rapper

-Post Malone

-AllttA

EDM, computer music:

-Unlike Pluto

-Daft Punk

-Massive Attack

-Protostar

-Aero Chord

-Stonebank

I have many other favorite artists that did not really fit into these genres: Michael Jackson, The Weekend, Pentatonix, Adele, The Beatles, Queen, Ed Sheeran, Elvis, Beyoncé, John Newman, Matisyahu, and so many more.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of my top fifteen artists, starting at the top left and going down by row. Aero Chord, Frank Sinatra, OK Go, AllttA, Unlike Pluto, Michael Jackson, Portugal the Man, and Tupac.

2017 Wrap-up

     2017 has been a very eventful year for me. I’ve started my second year of high school, traveled to New York and San Francisco, met David Blaine, seen Michaels Steven & Adam Savage at their show “Brain Candy.” I’ve done so much more and experienced so many things that I cannot express in mere words. It has been an extraordinary year.

     This site has made a lot of progress. Over the past year, I have made 32 blog posts. I have connected with many new people through writing.

I ran a contest this year! Don’t worry, I have not forgotten about writing those stories. They will come eventually.

Here are some fun stats:

-The countries I have received the most traffic from this year are as follows:

  1. The USA
  2. The UK
  3. Canada (knocking Germany down to 6th)
  4. India (bumping Canada up to 3rd)
  5. Poland (knocking Brazil down to 9th)

-I got the exact same number of comments on posts this year as I did last year

-The most popular post of the year was The Shortest Horror Stories Ever, making it the second most viewed post of the year

     I’m happy to say that I have gotten a lot of writing work done. I hope to have my short story collection in the editing phase soon(ish)!

     I personally think the biggest writing/blogging achievement of the year has been my writing Instagram. I have made nearly a hundred posts, completing one serial and starting another. The account has amassed a few hundred followers, which may not seem like much, but it is something that I am proud of nevertheless.

Here’s to an excellent year! Happy New Year everyone!

“Heaven and Earth” by Arturo Riojas – Book Review

    Heaven and Earth by Arturo Riojas is a rather interesting addition to the existing debate over the environment and future of our species. The book is set in a futuristic world where cadmium poisoning has become a formidable issue and threat to the future of an alien species. The story follows a Californian researcher at NASA, Olga Ramos. She and her friend Gavilan are approached by an alien named Nivia who claims that his planet Trerertum is in danger. The population of the planet has been invaded by muimdac (cadmium spelled backward) Judaism is a virus species that has been feeding on the aliens. Desperate, Nivia and his friends have turned to Earthlings for help. The humans and aliens ultimately team up to eradicate the poison that is killing them.

PLOT

     The plot overall was decent. I enjoyed the twists and the storyline, but there were a few weak points. The story followed a very interesting path and did have enough twists and shocks to keep the audience interested. Riojas did an excellent job of explaining fairly complex scientific concepts to an audience without any knowledge of science. The majority of people are likely unaware of the dangers of cadmium and cadmium poisoning. Riojas explained this issue in depth and in a fictional end of world scenario to make it more interesting. Every chapter included a page or two of facts about cadmium and cadmium poisoning. Some of the facts are about how cadmium manifests in the environment and the uses of it. Later, many of the facts concern the effects of cadmium. Riojas wrote about ways to treat the effects of cadmium and studies about it. The book itself is more simple, but many of these bonus sections of facts are very in-depth and could be confusing to anyone unfamiliar with the topic.

CHARACTERS

The characterization was good. The characters were very well developed, especially the non-human characters. Characterization of non-humans can be incredibly difficult, but Riojas did an excellent job in this area.

OVERALL

The overall concepts of the book were very interesting. Despite the fact that cadmium receives very little attention from the government, Riojas makes it clear that cadmium poising is a major issue. Instead of writing a book full of studies, statistics, and facts, Riojas turned a real-world issue into a science fiction book about two different species attempting to work together for their survival.

Overall, the book was fairly decent. The biggest issues I had with the book were the writing and grammar. Riojas would write entire pages in Spanish with English translations thrown into the text, making made some of the book difficult to read. In addition, there were many major issues with grammar throughout the book. Many passages had strange wording. Riojas used italics to indicate the thoughts of characters, but italics were found in random sentences as well. I would give this book a rating of 4.5/10. There were some serious issues with the writing, but the plot and characterization were good. I would give this book an age rating of 10+ due to the complexity of the subject matter.

Buy the book here.

Read my other book reviews here.

Writing Prompts #4

More prompts!

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YOUR CHARACTER IS IN A TOWER. A HORDE OF MONSTERS CIRCLE THE TOWER, WAITING TO KILL YOU.

-=-

EVERY YEAR THE GOVERNMENT SENDS TWELVE EOPLE TO JOURNEY TO A DISTANT PLANET IN ORDER TO GATHER RARE RESOURCES. YOU ARE ONE OF THE TWELVE, BUT YOUR SHIP BREAKS DOWN AND YOU ARE STRANDED ON A VAST AND TREACHEROUS WORLD.

-=-

YOU FELL ASLEEP DURING CHEMISTRY CLASS. YOU WAKE UP LATER TO FIND THAT YOU ARE TRAPPED IN THE SCHOOL. THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH A TUNNEL IN THE BASEMENT THAT LEADS TO ANOTHER BUILDING IN THE TOWN. THE TUNNEL IS SAID TO BE HAUNTED BY A VENGEFUL GHOST.

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Writing Prompts 3

Back with a few writing prompts!

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A DARK FIGURE LINGERS AT THE EDGE OF YOUR VISION. AT FIRST IT WAS FAR AWAY, BUT WITH EACH PASSING DAY IT GROWS CLOSER. 

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IN A WORLD OVERRUN BY ZOMBIES, YOU ARE THE SOLE SURVIVOR OF A CAMP THAT HAD FALLEN TO A MASSIVE HORDE. COMPLETELY ALONE, YOU FIND A BOX CONTAINING A MAP THAT POINTS TOWARDS SOME MEANS OF SALVATION.

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THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT IS SEARCHING FOR A WEAPON THAT WOULD SUPPOSEDLY ENABLE THEM TO DEFEAT ANY ENEMY ARMY WITH EASE. YOU ARE IN POSSESSION OF SAID WEAPON: A PERSIAN CAT WITH AN INTERESTING TALENT.

-=-

Enjoying these posts? Have feedback? Let me know with a comment!

My Favorite Podcasts

   Are podcasts incredibly nerdy? Yes. Are they awesome? Also yes!

Here are my favorite podcasts. If you enjoy audiobooks + music and tend to go on long car/bus/train/plane rides, you might enjoy some of these!

Note: Listener’s discretion is advised. Of these podcasts, #5 is the only one I would recommend to all ages. The others may contain darker themes and harsh language. Additionally, all of these can be found on Apple Podcasts.

5. 99% Invisible

An interesting podcast covering everything from baseball stadiums to atomic gardens. 99% gives the interesting histories behind many things that we encounter in our daily lives, but don’t often think about.

Listen if: You are fascinated by history, the development of inventions, sports, architecture, and any of the other Radiotopia podcasts.

4. Myths and Legends

No surprises here. It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Listen if: You like mythology & legends from all nations and peoples

3. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! 

This NPR podcast is a weekly talk/game show hosted by Bill Kurtis and Peter Sagal. Every week they quiz call-in listeners and celebrities on politics, news, and more.

Listen if: You enjoy jokes about the POTUS, game shows, news, and comedy

2. Welcome to Night Vale

Combine the Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Steven King. The result is WTNV, a fictional radio-show hosted by Cecil Baldwin, resident of the fictional town of Night Vale. A town full of secret police, strange governments, angels (although angels do not exist, at least not according to the secret police), five headed-dragons and much, much more, WTNV is possibly the most brilliant comedy/horror podcast out there. The writers also host live shows and have written stand alone books.

Listen if: You like horror, sci-fi, mystery, and original music.

1. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Imagine if instead of having horrid step-parents, Harry went into the care of a scientist and a nicer version of his aunt. Combine that with rationalism, and you get HPMoR.

Listen if: You like Harry Potter 

I hope you enjoyed that top 5 list! Feedback? Lists you want to see? Let me know with a comment!