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COVID is a new normal: Time to worry about shootings again

It has been just over two weeks since Denver police arrested 4 people on suspicion of terror at the Maven Hotel. Police were tipped off by a hotel maid that saw excessive amounts of weaponry, body armor, and ammunition while cleaning their hotel room. This was just the latest example of attempted gun violence in the U.S., a chapter that seems to repeat itself incessantly.

It was later discovered that these 4 individuals had 16 guns and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in their room. Perhaps most jarringly, they were staying at a hotel only a block away from Coors Field, where MLB All-Star Game festivities were to be held in the upcoming days.

Guns and baseball, American pastimes

The FBI declared that there was no reason to believe that these individuals were plotting terrorist activities. They also announced there was no ongoing threat to the MLB All-Star Game.

These arrests made some reminisce of the mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas in 2017. We all took a collective sigh of relief, knowing that even if these people were plotting something, it would only be attempted gun violence, not able to be acted upon.

The only problem is, that sigh of relief did not last too long. Just one week after the arrests in Denver, there was another baseball-related gun incident. Except for this time, there actually was a shooting. On July 17th, there was a shooting outside of Nationals Park in D.C. during a Nationals home game. Three people were injured, but, luckily, all will make full recoveries.

Although it was later discovered that the fans inside the stadium were not in any danger, the shooting sent fans and players scrambling for safety. The incident also resulted in the game’s postponement.

It is still unclear what caused the shooting, but it is believed there is a specific reason and it was not a terrorist incident. The suspect(s) have yet to be apprehended.

Pandemic gun violence, both attempted and acted out

Two incidents within a week of each other that both involve baseball. That seems a little bit strange. Could it be something related to baseball? Or is this just a side effect of America’s “return to normal,” “post-pandemic” mentality? More than likely it is the latter of the two.

A mass shooting is defined as any incident with four or more victims either killed or injured from a single incident, not including the perpetrator.

According to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that records American gun violence data, there were around 200 more mass shootings in the United States in 2020 than in 2019.

This is in stark contrast with what we’ve been led to believe, that a “silver lining” of the pandemic was that we had fewer mass shootings. Research has found that there were more mass shootings during the pandemic, and that the shootings that occurred were simply less publicized by the media in light of Covid-related news.

So, what does that have to do with 2021? Well, at this point we are on pace to have even more mass shootings than we did in 2020. From the start of the year until writing this today, July 23rd, 2021, the United States has had 380 mass shootings.

This means we are on track to have more than 150 more mass shootings than we did in 2020, and we are on track to have about 350 more mass shootings in 2021 than we did in 2019.

Why so much gun violence in the past few years?

So, why has there been such a drastic rise in mass shootings over the past two years? That question is complicated, and since no two incidents are the same, it would be irresponsible to say the reason is something it’s not.

However, we do know two things for sure. The first thing is that gun violence makes up a large part of the violence we see in the U.S., both attempted and acted out.

The second thing is, since the advent of the vaccine and the lifting of Covid protocols in 2021, people are together more, and out in public more often. When you couple these factors together, it makes sense that we are on pace for one of our most violent years ever.

Keep your head up

While people everywhere have started the process of “returning to normal,” they must keep something in mind. In this country, mass shootings are normal.

Since legislation for stricter gun laws is on the backburner, it does not seem like there is an end in sight for this carnage. The overwhelming source of pride and happiness that comes with being able to do what you want again, should not also come with the fear associated with the possibility that you may be involved in a tragedy.

Mass shootings are ingrained in American culture. They are a part of our way of life. Duck and cover, America! Because as our lives get back to normal, it is only natural that mass shootings will occur.

My country doesn’t love me because I’m Black. Why?

Why must I turn on the news to see yet another “police kill unarmed Black person” headline? Why must it be on video to demand outrage? Why the hell is this happening again?

Why do we have to sit young ones down for another version of “the talk?” Again, another generation of beautiful Black children learning how not to get killed by police. Meanwhile, their white counterparts play a painfully ironic game of cops and robbers at the playground.

Why do we have to add another name to an ever-growing list of hashtags? A name that unfortunately may be forgotten as we continue to add to the list of Black people who are unjustly murdered.

Why do my brothers and sisters still live in fear? Why do they have to wonder whether they’ll be next?

Why is there another petition to sign? Another protest to attend? Why are we still screaming for justice?

Can anybody hear us?

Why can’t we protest this way? Why can’t we speak out that way? Tell us what works for you, America. We’ll do anything.

Why does it feel like we have done everything? Maybe we have. Why does it feel like nothing has worked? Maybe it hasn’t.

Why are you still silencing us? Where’s our seat at the table? We made the damn table. AND we set it. When will we get the invite to join?

Why are our blood, sweat, and tears not enough?

Why is our blood on the hands of the country we call our home? Why doesn’t that country protect us the way that we have vowed to protect it? Why does my country demand so much respect from me and return not even an ounce of compassion?

Why do I not feel at home in the only home I’ve ever known? Why do I continue to give so much to this home with nothing in return?

Why are we still hurting? Why are we still crying? When does the mourning stop?

Why are we reliving the pain of our past generations? A pain they hoped we’d never have to feel. A pain they fought to eradicate from the world.

Why does my Blackness offend you so much? Damn, does my Blackness offend ME that much?

What if I try to change? Be more like them? Walk like them. Talk like them. Embrace their whiteness?

Nah, it still doesn’t work.

Why did you lie to us? Why did you sell us a bogus dream? You told me we solved all this racism shit so long ago. Why are we still seeing it daily? Scratch that. FEELING IT DAILY.

Why do you want me to shut up and dribble? Or dance around on stage for your entertainment? Why don’t you value my mind?

Why are you afraid of me?

Why do you misunderstand me?

Why do you marginalize me?

Why do you keep me down? Why aren’t you lifting me up?

Why do you not value me?

Why the fuck do you not love me, America? Why doesn’t our country love us?

6ix9ine taught me: Who to look out for in Trump’s impeachment hearings

When it’s “gang-gang,” it’s “NO SNITCHIN’!”

There are some things we’ve already learned from Mr. 6ix9ine when it comes to gang syndicates, courtrooms, and hearings. Politics has been overlapping into pop-culture, as Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West have teamed with Trump on several occasions for justice reform in specific areas and advocating for changes elsewhere.

Even Trump has led to the release of A$AP Rocky during his jail-stretch in Sweden late this summer. More evident now is that the ‘gang’ is America, and GOP (Grand Old Party = Republicans) members have been set trippin’; dropping their ‘Trump’ flags, and raising their red, white, and blue (cuz), star-spangled “(A)Merica” rags.

Those who have been insulating president Trump from critical consequences for some of his ludicrous acts and requests from his position as President of the United States are falling back.

Others adjacent to matters are straight pointing the finger and steering clear of the ‘FEDs.’ Republicans don’t really have a case against all the accusations on the Trump administration as is.

Still, Trump has yet to break, bend, or fold.

Adam Schiff, NY Post

Led by Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, the president of the United States is being investigated for what is being called a “Quid Pro Quo” (Latin phrase in English use: exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is contingent upon the other; “a favour for a favour”).

Simply put, it’s basically extortion or a bribe for personal gain that doesn’t benefit the United States. This impeachment proceeding is the fourth time this is happening in U.S. history, preceded by Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Andrew Johnson after the Civil War.

President Zelensky, President Trump, CNN

But in this case, it was to protect Trump’s personal interest and throw dirt on the name of a strong potential presidential candidate to take him on in 2020, Joe Biden, formerly the Vice President of the United States.

The phone call that took place on June 25, 2019, to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, started this all.

President Trump allegedly sought to gain an advantage in the election by soliciting Zelensky and hung $400 million over his head for military spending to get a public statement denying any “Quid Pro Quo” or extortion.  They also said that they were investigating the Hunter Biden, followed by an invite to the Oval Office.

Specifically, Joe’s son, Hunter Biden, who took a job with a Ukrainian energy company that was once under investigation by the Ukrainian government.

The Guardian

Now that Trump’s henchmen have not only blown-up Hunter’s spot, but traditional republicans are also distancing themselves from the flames at the president’s feet.

And those that continue to fan the flames in attempts to blow them out, continue to look lost in translation as they conjure up angles that skew the context, but fall short with little evidence to support or even convince the witnesses involved; attempts to have elicit semantics from witness to the tune of ‘impeach’ or questions that speak of a lesser evil than that at hand.

Washington Post

So, in case you don’t know who Trump’s real friends are, we’ve identified some associates who are being subject to questioning, whether by a subpoena or willingly, against the president of the United States.

Here’s a list of the witnesses that will be taking the stand in the impeachment inquiry hearings in the next coming weeks as a result of sloppy and illicit moves by the Trump brigade.

We also make some honorable mentions who are resisting on behalf of Trump or their own special reasoning.

The Snitch List

The Whistleblower #1: Filed an August 12 complaint about a July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian pres., Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The claim helped launch the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation of Trump a month ago. A second whistleblower has come forward since.

Washington Post

William Taylor, Top US diplomat in Ukraine: Recounts a conversation a staff aide overheard on July 26 between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, in which Trump direct inquired in whether Ukraine would open an investigation on the Bidens.

Taylor in the first public hearing said conversation had over the phone showed that Trump cared “more about investigations than Ukraine” military aid.


Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the EU: Tells House Democratic Investigators, President Trump had contracted U.S. policy on Ukraine to the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

It was a choice he opposed but was complacent.

Sondland revised his sworn Congressional testimony, acknowledging that he now recalls U.S. military aid to Ukraine was made contingent on Ukraine stating publically to investigate corruption.

An Oct. 17 testimony shows Sondland said he did not know why nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine had been blocked.


George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State: Oversaw Ukraine policy; criticized Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, for waging “a campaign of lies” to discredit the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch

CNN (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Marie Yovanovitch, Former US Ambassador to Ukraine: Said she felt “threatened” by President Trump; feared she would be the subject to an attack after learning Trump told the president of Ukraine (July 25 call) Yovanovitch was “bad news” and would “go through some things.”

She was recalled from Kyiv to Washington unexpectedly in May after being publicly discredited by Rudy Giuliani.


Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council Staffer: Was disturbed by President Trump asking Ukraine’s pres. to investigate his political opponents that he brought the matter to his higher-ups.

Vindman was one in the group of officials who listened in to Trump’s disputable July 25 “perfect (phone) call” with Ukrainian President.


Washington Post

Kurt Volker, Former US Special Representative to Ukraine: Released text messages between U.S. diplomats that signaled Trump and his administration trying to extort military aid to Ukraine for an investigation into the Bidens.

Associated Press

Tim Morrison, National Security Council Staffer: Testifies in the House impeachment investigation of President Trump.

He was expected to explain the reported “sinking feeling” he got when Trump asked Ukraine to investigate political rivals.

NBC News (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Fiona Hill, Former National Security Council Staffer: Tells House investigators she strongly opposed U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch’s removal.

She told investigators former National Security Adviser John Bolton directed her to bring about concerns on efforts to pressure Ukraine with White House lawyers.

NBC News

Laura Cooper, Senior Pentagon Official: Testifies about her struggle to release nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine blocked at President Trump’s direction.

REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah.

David Hale, Highest-Ranking Career Diplomat in the Foreign Service: Expected to tell congress that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as other senior officials, decided that defending Ambassador Yovanovitch would damage the attempt to permit U.S. military assistance to Ukraine.

He also said the State Department was troubled about the reaction from Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was a strong advocate in the removal of the ambassador.

Honorable Mentions:


Mick Mulvaney, Acting White House Chief of Staff: Told reporters President Trump blocked nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to lead an investigation that would benefit Trump’s 2020 election chances.

He repeatedly acknowledged a quid pro quo; later tried to retract his words which caused a tantrum within both parties. “And I have news for everybody. Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.” – [Mick Mulvaney: (23:08)]”


Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s Personal Attorney: Tried to prove that former Obama vice president Biden, was seeking to null the investigation into a Ukrainian natural gas company that hired Hunter Biden as a high-paid board member.

He’s seen as a “central figure” in Trump’s illicit efforts and says attorney general Bill Barr was involved. Giuliani is also under investigation for possible lobbying violations, the Times reports that investigators are examining Giuliani’s efforts to recall former Ambassador Yovanovitch from Kiev, Ukraine.

Washington Post

John Bolton, National Security Advisor: Claims to have new material on Ukraine but refuses to talk also noted for saying that the whole thing was “a drug deal” in reference to Giuliani’s efforts.

Washington Post

Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States / White House: Not cooperating. In denial. “Seriously considering” testifying.

In the past Mueller investigation, Trump answered and submitted questions in writing at the suggestion of his lawyers rather than answer questions in person.

Look out for this article on PAGE magazine .

Will whites get tight? Minorities to become the majority in U.S. by 2045

In 2045 we’ll finally be able to say that America is truly the melting pot of the world. Population trends are showing that within two decades the U.S. as a whole is projected to become majority-minority.

This is good news but we also have to think about the race that is becoming the minority. Whites have run this shit for centuries and some might feel like their livelihoods on top of the racial totem pole are at risk.

The whole perspective of this country will shift. We should expect the best but also be wary of the worst. People get tight during a power struggle, especially a racial one. Still, we could thrive, but history does always repeat itself.

Whites pulled up to the sandy shores of “The Land of Opportunity” and peaced the Native Americans in an attempt to expand their exploits in a new world.

They enslaved the Blacks, broke them mentally, and separated them from their families. Not to mention the assassinations of any leader Blacks looked up to – Malcolm X, MLK,  Fred Hampton, Dr. Newton. All were taken away to eliminate a hope in Blacks that might make them think they are capable of success in America.

Lest we forget, what’s currently going on in Trumps America. Latinos are more worried than ever about either being detained or deported, regardless of their legal status. Although they make a huge contribution to the American economy. Still, some whites see them as a threat. Need I go on?

Line chart showing that the Trump administration has renewed deportation worries among Latinos.
Of course, some people will find this “trend” scary. Don’t think that white-America is unaware. Oh, they know. Research conducted by Yale social psychologist Jennifer Richeson found white Americans often feel threatened by growing diversity.

Additionally, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that 59 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of whites said a majority non-white population will weaken American culture.

Lowkey, if I was a racist white person I would be shook AF. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, since 2010, non-Hispanic white people have become the minority in a total of 372 counties.

More research from William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer and author of “Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America,” predicted that next year the entire under-18 population will be majority non-white.

Although, this is dope it still feels like most people won’t believe it. In fact, just based on how Americans react to things, they’ll probably deny it. Monica Toft, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, told Axios,

“[We] have to come up with a narrative that realizes and accepts that the U.S. is an immigrant nation… We’re denying that.”

From a political perspective, it could work in the minority or the majority’s favor. The American political system’s foundation was built on polarization.

Whether it was encouraging people to declare independence from their sovereign nation, to support slavery, or get immigrants out of the country, most political candidates have surfed on some kind societal wave.

So, you can expect that with this news, some whites or people on the conservative side might go into a panic. Jack Goldstone, Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, told Axios,

“The panic translates into an effective voting block that has high anxiety about immigration, diversity and religious issues.”

Although the entire non-white under-18 population might become the majority next year and younger people tend to vote Democrat, in the long run, Goldstone noted, if the GOP shifts and learns to embrace more Hispanic voters, it could be a source of new energy for the party.

Adding on to the anxiety Richard Alba, a sociologist and professor at the City University of New York, told Axios, as immigrant minorities assimilate, “they may turn out to vote more like whites.”


An outsider’s perspective on TIME Magazine’s issue for ‘Guns in America’

In the wake of the tragedy in Pittsburgh last week, TIME’s releasing of the cover of its November issue titled “Guns In America” could not be more pertinent. The latest issue tackles the debate over gun control in the United States. Within the timeline of just over 5 months, the TIME’s project on guns covered three cities; St. Louis, Washington D.C. and Dallas.

Infamous French street artist JR, who is known for his politicized work across the world, was commissioned to work on the magazine’s new issue. An extensive interview process made up of the distinct views of 245 people across these three U.S. cities, provided the framework for the project.

The testimonials came from a range of individuals across the political spectrum. The project’s participants included gun enthusiasts, teachers, competitive shooters, Black Lives Matter activists, marines, cops, and more. Each participant was photographed.


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OUT TOMORROW ! See the full @time cover and video mural on (link in bio)

A post shared by JR (@jr) on Oct 25, 2018 at 10:53am PDT

After all of the interviews were conducted and all of the testimonials were gathered, JR was tasked with carefully arranging each photograph of the interviewees.

Bearing semblance to the floor of Congress, every individual is positioned around a centered bureau with microphones and the U.S. Constitution unscrolled. The result is a stunning black and white photomontage and visual rendering of the democratic spirit of debate.

The French artist immersed himself within the highly vexed dialogue on guns in America. While he admitted to being somewhat naive on the issue, describing how the project forced him to journey into new territory, his signature shades ultimately do not blind him from seeing what’s really going on in America.

The French artist has an outsider’s perspective on the issue of gun control. Like JR, I am also an outsider looking in on the issue. I was born and grew up in Sydney, Australia.

This factor doesn’t make us omniscient figures. What it does offer, however, is an important perspective.

The 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, Australia is widely known as the event that catalyzed the Australian conservative government’s decision to restrict gun laws. As a result, gun-related deaths have reduced dramatically in the country. The Port Arthur massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in Australian history. But it was also the last.

1996 was also the year I was born. I was fortunate to grow up in a cultural climate where I went to school devoid of the conception that an individual would come onto school grounds and be intent on killing as many people as possible with their military-style arsenal. It wasn’t a thought that crossed my mind.


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How would an artist, one whose body of work explores the world’s most complex social issues, approach the topic of guns in America today? TIME’s Editor-in-Chief, Edward Felsenthal, asked that question in the From the Editor letter in this week’s special report: Guns in America. “If he were @jr, a native of Paris,” writes Felsenthal, “it would be with fresh eyes (behind his trademark sunglasses) and an open mind. His latest work—extraordinary murals that bring together on one canvas people from all points of view and walks of life—is about our common humanity. His message, powerful and regrettably rare at this cultural moment, landed him on this year’s TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people.” @jr’s mural—pasted on the Houston Bowery Wall on Oct. 26, through Nov. 15—envisions the cover of TIME as a table, the kind of setting where we might actually listen to one another. Over five months, he and his team, along with a group of TIME journalists, traveled to three cities—St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; and Dallas—to film, photograph and record, one by one, people who represent the vast range of voices in our gun debate. The final result brought together 245 people from every imaginable vantage point: veterans and teachers, hunters and doctors, people afraid that guns may kill their children and people afraid they won’t have guns to protect their children. The participants in this project “will always be part of the same mural even if they don’t share the same ideas,” says the artist. “I really hope they will actually listen to each other, and I hope that people will join this conversation.” Explore all 245 voices in this @time and @jr project at Photographs by @claramokriphoto for @time

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For me, school was a place of learning. That’s the way it should be.

At the same time, I attended college in the U.S. Situating myself now in the context of what an American student encounters and the fears they carry, I recognize that my experience back home was a fortunate position to uphold but it shouldn’t have to be.

I didn’t have to walk into a classroom feeling unsafe or walk through a metal detector to start the school day. Nor was my class day interrupted by “active shooter” drills. Children and teachers should not have to be equipped with skills or tactics to take down a gunman. Gun violence is a systemic issue.

Importantly, gun violence and the threat of gun violence are one of several ways in which children and youth in the United States are denied access to a complete education.

I am alert to the fact that efforts to solve the issue of gun violence have gained momentum both on and off school/college campus, because it impacts all communities, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, and class.

In other words, the discourse on these mass shootings isn’t racialized in the same way other forms of gun violence in the United States are.

These mass shootings, whether in schools, colleges, malls, cinemas, and nightclubs, are a form of terrorism. They disrupt the routine of daily life in the public sphere and affect how we chose to operate in our quotidian environments. But these events are not discursively positioned as such.

In the wake of these mass shootings, the dialogue is orientated around the shooter; focusing on their mental health as well as pathologizing and reducing the event to an isolated occurrence of a ‘lone wolf’ acting out.

The fact that these events are normalized is astounding to me.

I want to be able to go into a movie theater and not have to pay closer attention to the exit signs or feel my stomach drop when someone leaves in the middle of a movie, prompting me to internally ask myself, “what if that individual comes back into the theater with a gun?”

I am also queer woman. I want to be able to go to a queer bar or club with the sole intent of dancing and having a good time and not have the thought of someone with a semi-automatic rifle entering into space and turn a nightclub into a combat war zone.

I point to the Port Arthur case in Australia earlier as a paradigm as to what a government can and should do in response to such devastating events.

I know Americans who have pro-gun views and/or are hunting enthusiasts are quick to quash this Australian model on the basis of cultural differences.


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When 11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27, in one of the deadliest attacks on Jews in U.S. history, people from all sides condemned the violence. Then the conversation quickly became familiar. The alleged shooter carried an assault-style rifle and three pistols, authorities said. His ability to bring those weapons into the synagogue unchallenged has again elicited questions about who is allowed to own a gun in America. President Trump quickly interjected the role of armed protection into the debate. Different communities view these questions in vastly different ways, discussing them largely in echo chambers of those who share their geography, their political party, their newsfeed. This division is part of what @time sought to address in its “Guns in America” project, published just two days before the Pittsburgh shooting. TIME partnered with the artist @jr to ask 245 Americans about their experiences with guns and invited them to share their stories and perspectives on how to find common ground. The resulting mural, composed of 245 portraits, was pasted on the Houston Bowery Wall in New York City on Oct. 26, and meant as a testament to the goals of hearing one another and searching for understanding. Over the weekend, the mural was spray painted with the number 11 in red—an apparent reference to the individuals slain in Pittsburgh. Flowers were placed at the base of the mural, making it a makeshift memorial. After the weekend’s events, we talked to two of the project’s participants about how it informed their views and what they hope to see in the national gun conversation moving forward. Read more on Photograph by @andreskudacki for TIME

A post shared by TIME (@time) on Oct 29, 2018 at 4:05pm PDT

But is crucial to point out that before the Port Arthur Massacre, there had been 13 shootings in Australia in the 18 years leading up to the horrific massacre in Tasmania. There was a gun culture. Some Australians enjoy hunting, just as some Americans do.

In other words, the Port Arthur massacre was not a single isolated event. It was constitutive of a thread of violent instances linked to the systemic issue of gun violence in Australia.

For that reason, the government accepted that it needed to make reforms to the nation’s gun legislation. Consequently, the Australian government introduced strict gun laws that prohibited military-style assault rifles and weapons, prohibited their import, and provided a nationwide buyback program, funded with a Medicare tax as an incentive for people to relinquish their weapons.

There is no underestimating of the fact that the issue of guns in the United States is complex. I have observed that debates on the second amendment haven’t been particularly productive since the American public’s consciousness is so embedded in the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.

It is for this reason that I concur with the TIME interviewee Jamison Sweet (47, a gun owner in St.Louis), that “guns aren’t going anywhere.” When people and politicians assert the need to make reforms to gun legislation, this shouldn’t be interpreted as an impending sweeping scheme to take every gun away from gun-owner.

Plus, a lot of people aren’t aware that 75% of Americans favor stricter gun laws, 94% are in favor of gun owners requiring background checks and 72% support banning assault-style weapons.

So why hasn’t there been any traction on this issue given that there is a significant amount of common ground shared amongst the American public?

Well, if President no. 45 really wants to talk about actually draining the swamp, let’s rid the NRA from its political machinations and its investment in putting money into the pockets of U.S. political officials.

Nonetheless, I have hope that there will be change.

The history of social justice movements in the United States have come about through student activism. The survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, are spearheading a national movement for gun control. Indeed, their leadership and inspiring initiative have rejuvenated the debate on the gun control.

I strongly hope the organizing taking place right now across the country in the wake of what happened in Parkland and now Pittsburgh, will not just be a moment, but a movement.

New study proves Americans don’t believe the Constitution keeps it 100

“If you could go back in time and grab Thomas Jefferson and bring him to 2018, his first question would be ‘You guys didn’t write any new shit?’ Dude, I wrote that with a feather. I did it by fire! That’s the only way I could see what I was writing. You lazy fucks…” – Joe Rogan, Strange Times

A new study commissioned by James Madison’s Montpelier examined the American perception of the Constitution and found that 80 percent of us are worried about our rights being taken away.

According to the research, another 76 percent of Americans believed that their rights are not as secure and stable as they were in the past. The results from the nationally representative survey of 2,500 Americans prove that the wisdom of the scroll needs to be adjusted.

Let Me Ask You Us Constitution GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In regards to protection and value, 91 percent of Americans believe that the Constitution is important and protects their rights. Still, 73 percent of Americans barely think about their rights unless they’re in an educational setting or confronted with legal issues.

According to Kat Imhoff, president, and CEO of James Madison’s Montpelier, it’s important that “we, as a people, can ensure that everyone in American society can realize the full promise of human freedom outlined in the Constitution.”

During these times of extreme political and societal turmoil, it’s key that we understand our rights as free citizens. Prevalent, hot-button issues like gun control, unlawful police conduct, blatant racism, gender disparities, minority rights, and even athletes protesting the National Anthem prove that there is a problem.

Hip Hop GIF by #1 For Hip Hop, HOT 97 - Find & Share on GIPHY

The right to bear arms is archaic, but Americans believe the Second Amendment is one of the most important issues facing the nation. According to the study, 61 percent of Americans want more restrictions on gun ownership.

Ahead of gun rights, 90 percent of Americans say civil rights, data privacy, voting rights, and freedom of the press are personally important to them.

On an ethnic level, minority groups are shook! Thirty-eight percent of Blacks are more likely than whites (26 percent) to say that they think about their rights frequently or very frequently.

In fact, more than 65 percent of Americans believe that ethnic minorities do not experience the constitutional rights to which they are entitled. Not to mention, that 62 percent of Blacks and 45 percent of Hispanics are far more likely than whites to believe that civil rights are the most important Constitutional issue to the nation.

Hasan Kwame James Jeffries, author and history professor at The Ohio State University threw in his two cents. He said,

“While more people enjoy Constitutional guarantees today than ever before, this research demonstrates that full equality under the law remains elusive, and there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to ensuring all Americans feel secure and protected under the Constitution.”

The proof is in the data. The Montpelier study revealed that most Americans (47%) feel that the Constitution should be amended at least occasionally compared to the 16 percent of Americans who said that the Constitution shouldn’t be amended at all.

When it comes to adjusting the “parchment papers” 61 percent of Americans believe there should be more restrictions on gun ownership, 45 percent say there should be greater gender equality, and 42 percent say there should be more clarity on privacy rights and data privacy protections.

It’s quite embarrassing that Americans live in fear and that they are afraid that their rights might be taken away in 2018, no? It should be one nation under love and not one under panic, ya digg.

You can peep James Madison’s Montpelier complete study here. Learn something, bro!

Follow up to infamous 1968 Kerner Commission finds same issues of race, poverty

In 1967, riots spread across the United States in over 100 cities. Caused by racial disharmony, anxieties over the Vietnam War, and increasing wealth inequality, the riots consumed much of the country.

The Kerner Commission found rampant inequality, characterized mostly by racial resentment and prejudice. The commission infamously concluded that the country was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Now, fifty years later, a similar report is reviewing the findings of the Kerner Commission. Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report, co-edited by Fred Harris, the last living member of the Kerner Commission and Alan Curtis, CEO of the Milton Eisenhower Foundation.

It’d be pretty cool if I could write that Healing Our Divided Society found that we have made massive improvements as a country. Unfortunately that is very much not the case.

The report found that schools have become more segregated than the 80s and poverty threatens our basic democracy. The Washington Post reported on the findings:

“Court decisions that loosened oversight of previously de facto segregated schools resulted in a huge change: In 1988, almost half of all students of color went to majority-white schools. Today that number has plummeted to 20 percent. Poverty is such a problem, the study concluded, that if it is not mitigated, America’s very democracy is threatened.”

From The Post:

“Since the late 1960s, the percentage of American children living in poverty has increased, income inequality and the wealth gap have widened, and segregation has crept back into schools and neighborhoods.”

Fred Harris, the only person on both commissions, told NPR about the frustrations over the lack of progress:

“I was 37 when I served on the (Kerner) Commission. Whoever thought that 50 years later, we’d still be talking about the same things? That’s kinda sad.”

As Vanessa Williams of The Washington Post noted, the results of the Kerner Commission saw improvement, only for the country to settle back into its old, bigoted habits.

“Still, the report states that in the decade after the riots, the country saw marked improvements in the economic and social conditions in communities of color because of federal investments.”

Harris told the Post about what we as a society need:

“We’ve got to redouble our efforts on a broad front, just like the Kerner report recommended all those years ago. Organizing around those kinds of issues and the basic principle of equality and equality of opportunity can and must be done. What’s happening in the country is bad for all of us. Doing something about it is good for all of us.”

As for solutions, the report recommends basically the very opposite of our recent government policy:

“The new report says that supply-side economics, including tax cuts such as those recently enacted, do not lead to trickle-down economic improvements for people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Instead, infrastructure spending to create jobs and programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit have helped lift families out of poverty. The report also calls for increases in the minimum wage, pay equity for women, and providing more work permits and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.”

But there is some good news!

The Brookings Institution published a report on Tuesday titled The middle class is becoming race-plural, just like the rest of America, detailing the diversification of the American middle class.

As America becomes more diverse, naturally the middle class, which had been synonymous with “white people” for decades, will become more diverse:

“In 2017, for the first time, the majority of American children under 10 were black and/or brown. From a purely mathematical perspective, this implies that at some point in the not too distant future, the composition of the American middle class will begin to mirror that of American society as a whole.”

The report also pointed to the fact that many white Americans who were previously solidly in the middle class, have recently fallen out of that bracket with recession and widening income inequality:

“Second, in the context of greater economic inequality in the U.S., a recent recession, and a 2016 Presidential election outcome that highlighted the plight of low-income white Americans, there is a heightened general public awareness that some previously middle-class whites are no longer ‘middle class.'”

Black and brown people will naturally fill the gaps left behind, especially as demographics shift further towards minorities in America.

It’s incredibly discouraging to look at the Kerner Comission and compare the issues faced in 1968 to our modern American plight and realize things are largely the same. Despite the diversification of the middle class, America seems broken.

To solve, or help, the pervasive racial and poverty issues that infect our country, we’ll need progressive policies that spend government money on programs to help low-income Americans.

But at a time when we need revolutionary legislation to help our nation’s poor, the Trump administration wants to zag the opposite direction. This does not bode well.

Death by Internet: The Tide Pod Challenge’ epitomizes the youth of America

There’s a new snack out there that’s grabbing white teens by the taste buds.

The tasty treat that’s flying off of shelves won’t be found next to a bag of pretzels in the grocery store… but next to a handle of bleach.

Looking like something a child might mistake for candy and wrapped in a dissolvable pouch, the new snack that’s lining the average high school students’ pockets these days is Tide Pods.

The craze behind eating portable laundry pouches has taken the internet by storm in 2018. Kids just couldn’t stick to the average cinnamon challenge?

Teenagers are daring one another to take a bite out of toxic laundry detergent pods by participating in the “Tide Pod Challenge,” resulting in hospitalization because of vomiting, breathing difficulties, and loss of consciousness.

So far, in 2018, there have been 37 reported cases of teenagers who have fallen to the temptations of consuming the delectable, sweet smelling, tri-colored, and squishy laundry detergent pods.

To prove this is one of the most stupid internet challenges to surface, last year the American Association of Poison Control reported that nearly 220 teens were exposed to the Tide Pod capsules. Twenty-five percent of those cases were intentional.

This is so WILD and the fact that many teens are participating in this challenge is beyond us.

Tide’s parent company, Proctor & Gamble, had to release a statement warning people to stay away from ingesting liquid laundry packets.

According to the Washington Post, Proctor & Gamble spokeswoman, Petra Renck, said in the statement,

“Laundry pacs are made to clean clothes… They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke. Like all household cleaning products, they must be used properly and stored safely.”

Proctor & Gamble even had to go as far as releasing a PSA video on social media, which featured Patriot’s tight end Rob Gronkowski. In a tweet Tide said,

“What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else. Eating a Tide POD is a BAD IDEA, and we asked our friend @robgronkowski to help explain.”

Think about it lil homies. Is dying to impress your friends by eating a laundry detergent pod really that cool? I didn’t think so. Stay wise.

Why Kendrick Lamar, just like Tupac, is the voice of his generation

24, Tupac was shot and killed in Las Vegas after watching a Mike Tyson fight. The murderer still remains unknown to this day.

But at 25-years-old, Pac already accomplished more than most people can say they have in a lifetime. He had the hits, the movies, the marketing appeal, and one of the brightest futures in the game. But above all that, he was the voice of his generation.

No one kept it more real than Tupac when it came to talking about issues in society and what it really is like to be a black man in America. Every time he spoke you could feel what he was saying and see what he was seeing.

It would’ve been cool to see both Pac and Biggie continue to evolve as artists and actually collab with some of the artists today. Still, their presence is felt even two decades after dying.

While these young ass rappers today like Lil Yachty might not know the legends, there are still other students of the game who know the history of hip-hop and where the genre came from.

One of those emcees is of course Kendrick Lamar but he’s done more than just mastering his craft — he became the voice of his generation, just like Tupac.

Lyrically, they’re pretty different as Tupac spoke from that gangbanging perspective while Kendrick is more on the reporting from the streets/greatest rapper alive type shit.

As a child, Kung Fu Kenny actually witnessed Tupac filming a music video and that was the very moment he knew he wanted to do. For him to be in the position he is today is just a full circle thing.

Just like Tupac, Kendrick is using his talent and fame as a platform to raise awareness about what’s going in the hood. He’s picking his people up and taking it right where Pac left off. Peep the video above to see how Tupac’s influence helped Kendrick Lamar.