Dear American Gun Owners,

 

American Gun Owners
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear American Gun Owners,

I’m writing this in light of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida (February 14, 2018). There are some things I need to say. These are things I’ve wanted to say countless times before but have kept to myself out of fear and hesitation. But I need to say them now. My heart hurts. I’m so angry and sad. These things I need to say aren’t to hate you or to make you or anyone feel bad for owning a gun. This is just to facilitate reflection, a discussion, and hopefully change for the better.

Whether you’re in America, a country with dangerously loose gun laws and heartbreakingly frequent mass shootings, or Australia, where strict gun laws were implemented after one horrible incident with minimal incidents thereafter, it is a fact that guns are weapons that can kill. Whether you own a gun for hunting or self-defence, they are weapons used to, at the very least, maim your target. This is another fact. In all, guns have been and are being used to injure and kill. Another fact.

But “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Perhaps. But it is an undeniable fact and an indisputable truth that guns make it easier for people to kill people. So why not make it harder for people to kill by making it harder to obtain guns?

In America, more than 30,000 people are killed with guns each year, including suicide (Vox, The Guardian). This is an unforgivably high number. This number reflects the innocent lives lost, victims forever scarred, and places that will never be the same. This number is a summation of loss, grief, fear, and even disability that can never be rid off and will forever haunt not only those involved but quite literally the world. Yet there has not been a single change in laws pertaining to guns. This number continues to rise, fuelled by inaction disguised in thoughts and prayers. It continues to rise by the lack of empathy and measurable work from Congress and Government.

But this number needs to change and it needs to change now. Because I shouldn’t be afraid to go to America out of fear that I might get shot. I shouldn’t constantly be worried about my friends and family who are already America because of how easy it is for anyone to get a gun. I shouldn’t have had to stay up in the middle of the night frantically texting my best friend of eighteen years while he was holding a lecture door shut during the University of California, Los Angeles shooting (June 1, 2016).

And it’s not just me. It’s everyone. It’s all of us. There are people who have gone through so much worse than I have because of guns that they shouldn’t have had to. Nobody should have to live with losing a loved to a crime that could’ve been prevented. Nobody should be killed going to a country music concert, their house of worship, school, club, movie theatre, or anywhere else. Nobody should be terrified to live their life.

You may own a gun for a number of reasons but are they so important that you can’t sacrifice a little bit of your ownership to prevent further deaths? Is your hunting hobby more important to you than the innocent children who were killed in Sandy Hook (December 14, 2012)? They were just where they were supposed to be, they were just learning. Do you feel safer knowing that the very weapon you own is the same as the one used for the Charleston church massacre (June 17, 2015) where all the victims were doing was practicing their faith? Are your guns worth more to you than the lives of the LGBTQ+ community who were celebrating their identity and love in Orlando (June 12, 2016)? How about the country music lovers in Las Vegas (October 2, 2017)? All they were doing was having a good time with a shared love of music. Can you tell those who will never see their loved ones, those who were traumatised by the 18 shootings in America that took place just this year so far and the accumulated total in the years before that you support what irrevocably ruined their lives? Is your false sense of safety worth the fear, anxiety, and loss thousands of gun violence victims and their loved ones are sentenced to for the rest of their lives? Does your title as a gun owner mean more to you than being a human being? Will you choose humanity over weapons?

I am calling for you to care for people more than your guns. I am saying stricter gun laws need to be implemented to make it harder for everyone to own them. I need you to reflect. Because if you think the way things are now is okay, you are arming the next mass shooter. You are handing an irreversible answer to someone suicidal. You are lending a hand to domestic abusers. You are increasing the chances of accidental deaths. You are responsible.

You are responsible and that responsibility needs to be taken seriously. I understand that ultimately it is Congress and the governing body that has the power to implement gun control laws. But it is the people who influence and corner those in charge to act.

Lives are more important than guns. People are more important than bullets. We need actions that reflect these truths. Stricter screenings required by law for anyone looking to own a gun are needed. Louder and actioned support from anyone who owns a gun is needed. People in Congress and governments, who have direct power to make positive measurable changes and aren’t afraid to stand up for human life are needed. These things have been in need for a long time in America and it’s about fucking time they happen.

People are more important than your guns.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

 

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Dear No-Voters,

21 No-voters
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear No-Voters (SSM),

Listen, first of all, thank you for reading this. You know, a lot of people who are stuck in their opinions tend to be extremely against reading the other side’s arguments so I really commend and appreciate you for taking the time to read this post. It shows you’re willing to listen and are a little more open-minded than those who share your opinion.

If you’re a yes-voter, well, welcome. Hopefully you agree with what I say, and if you do, please like and share so we get the results this country so desperately needs.

I’ll go back to addressing the No-Voters since that’s whom this letter is dedicated to. I don’t know why you’re against same-sex marriage but put quite bluntly, I honestly don’t need to know for me to tell you it’s not a good enough reason. I hope that my brutal honesty hasn’t made you close this tab. I’ll tell you why your reason, whatever it may be, isn’t good enough to vote no.

Religion

Written with help from my Christian, Muslim, and Jewish friends

Let me begin by making clear that it does not matter to me what religion you practice. Whoever you seek help from, pray to, and worship is none of my business. Whichever religious text you abide by is none of my business. Wherever house of worship you visit is none of my business.

With that said, your religion, your god, your holy text, and your leader at your house of worship may be against same-sex marriage but that does not give you a pass to enforce that belief onto others. I understand that many religious followers believe you are doing God’s work by spreading their ideologies, leading you to think religion is a justifiable reason to vote no. But I need you to understand that what you’re actually doing is not God’s work but in fact, playing God. You are playing God by dictating who can love whom, who can be married to whom, who can live their life the way they want, what is wrong and what is right. These are things that only God, in any given religion, has the power, authority and right to do. It does not matter what your God believes or deems is right because only He/God can dictate and impose that belief onto people.

You might disagree with me but you would be wrong because by voting no to same-sex marriage and citing your God as the reason, you are literally restricting people from expressing themselves, preventing them from living their lives, and condemning them for being who they are. But you, in any religion, do not have the right to do that. Only God does. And regardless of what religion you practice, playing God is a sin. It is extremely disrespectful and offensive. It is wrong and put childishly, you’re going to hell or whatever hell-equivalent you believe in.

Now the question is: is it okay to be and vote against same-sex marriage as long as I don’t push that belief onto others?

I can’t force you to vote yes because ultimately that’s up to you. But I will say that by contributing to a choice that condemns people from living their fullest lives and loving whom they want to love, you are still contributing to a group that is playing God. So in the end, you are still using God as an excuse.

Religion is not an excuse to deny all forms of love and life. Your God and religious text are not free passes to control other people’s lives or dictate what is right or wrong. Believing that is devastatingly demeaning and disrespectful to the religion and God you praise.

A Gay Person Was Mean To You

Why is them being gay the only detail you pick on?

Think about how many straight people you’ve met. How many Caucasians do you know? How many men are currently in your life? Women? How many people with black hair do you know? How about tall people? Are there any football fans in your life? Were all these people nice to you?

If someone with any of the attributes I just listed was mean to you, would you be against them and their entire way of life? If your Caucasian friend cancelled on your plans without an explanation or an apology, would you be against all white-people? If a black haired girl who was a fan of football didn’t help you out with something, would you be against everyone with black hair, all women, and anyone who liked football?

I’m going to assume you said no. (If you answered yes, you’re racist, sexist, and just a very hateful person and I encourage some serious self-reflection. Also, you must be very lonely.). So I return to the main issue, if a gay person was mean to you, why is them being gay the only detail you pick on? Was it a man? Then why are you not against all men? Were they tall? Then why aren’t you advocating for shorter doors? Was that person wearing Nike? Then why aren’t you boycotting Nike?

Really take a moment to think about it. Why do you attribute their rudeness, their mean action, to them being gay? Why are you so certain that their sexual preference led them to be rude that you want to punish them by denying their rights?

If you can’t think of a legitimate reason (hint: there aren’t any), you’re just looking to hate. You’re just projecting your hateful nature onto them being gay. So stop. And seriously, if try to argue that no straight person has ever been mean to you, you’re lying. Stop looking for reasons to hate.

Being Gay Is Unnatural

Who are you to say what’s natural and what isn’t? If you think just because there are more straight people than gay people that the former is natural and latter not, you’re very wrong. With this “majority goes” attitude, it would mean being a woman, being blonde, having blue eyes, and living outside of Asia are all unnatural.

Majority does not, has never, and will never mean natural. Majority changes depending on how you group whatever you’re measuring. So if you think you’re not in the minority of some sort of classification, you’re severely mistaken. Furthermore, homosexuality isn’t something you can accurately measure. A person can identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community without coming out and blatantly saying so. Just like a person can be straight without saying, “Hey all, I’m straight.” Plus, a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community, can’t or are afraid to come out so aren’t included in these inaccurate measurements despite their very certain and important existence.

Also, to put into quick and simple terms, albinism is a rare, minority trait (as far as it’s been measured, and it’s a more accurately measurable trait than homosexuality) in all living things yet any time an albino animal is discovered they’re often seen as adorable, a novelty, and are loved instantaneously. What’s up with that?

I Don’t Want Kids To Be Raised Gay

Straight parents, did your son turn out to be a daughter because he had a mom? Did your daughter turn out to be a son because she had a dad?

Does your sweet baby-girl hate monkeys because she was raised watching The Powerpuff Girls beating up Mojojo every week? Does your strong boy turn into a robot every so often because he grew up watching The Transformers?

Maybe you don’t have kids:

Did you, as a woman, ever wear pants as a kid and see your dad wearing pants too and decide to go after woman just like him? As a man, when you were a kid did see your dad shaking hands with other men as a kid and then go around shaking every boy’s hand because you just couldn’t resist the urge?

Did you, growing up with straight parents, ever get confused as to whether you were supposed to be a woman like your mom or a man like your dad because regardless of your or their gender, they were both human?

Gay people don’t make others gay. Straight people don’t make others straight either. There are plenty of straight parents with gay children, so you can’t argue that those kids were raised one way or another. Gay people might help those who aren’t sure of their identity become surer of it, but they did not determine whatever conclusion they came to. To simplify (to an extreme), it’s kind of like how tall people don’t magically shrink because they hang out with shorter people but often times become aware of how tall they are (but the shorter people did not make them tall).

If you made it this far, thank you. I know how hard it can be to read arguments you don’t agree with so I really respect and appreciate you for taking time to do just that. I hope that maybe I was able to make you reflect on your reasons against same-sex marriage and hopefully, change your mind. If I didn’t address your reasons here, leave it in the comments and I’ll respond with why it’s not a good enough reason to vote no. At the end of the day, voting no, regardless of the reason, is an act that denies another human being’s rights. That is not okay, it never has been and it never will be. I love and stand with the LGBTQ+ community and will always fight for their rights. I hope you will too.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

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Dear Creative Media,

13 Creative Media
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear Creative Media,

Do better. Do better and do it now. We’re at a time when as a society, we are becoming more aware and informed about the current status of the world and what we can do to better it. As a member of society, you are part of this time and you need to keep up. And as a person in the creative media industry, you need to step up and lead.

You have the power to reach millions and you need to use that to help the bettering movement. You can’t afford to be blind to what’s happening and deaf to what people are saying. You’ve seen what happened with Pepsi. That was a catastrophic incident that was 100% preventable had those involved listened to what’s happening around them outside of their pearly white bubbles. Whether you were the director of the commercial or Kendal Jenner herself, you failed to live up to the power and privilege of reaching millions. As a creative, the job description includes consuming media of all kinds and keeping up with news and latest trends. What happened? And as a celebrity, whether model or singer or actress, if you take part in these creative platforms, you need to know what sort of message you’re sending. It doesn’t matter whether you weren’t part of the creative process because you are part of the creative production. You aren’t just a model being told what to do. Your job isn’t just to “show up and look good”; you are someone a lot of people, often young, look up to. Honour that responsibility and step up. What you do in front of the camera matters. Your reputation doesn’t negate your responsibility. Scratch away the fame and you are still a member of society and you have a social responsibility, an obligation to be aware of what’s happening. If you’re going to stand in front of a camera, take the opportunity to stand for something other than yourself.

And sometimes, standing up for something means standing aside. If you’re a Caucasian actor and you’re asked to play an Asian character, say no! If you’re an African American performer cast to play a Hispanic role, say no! It doesn’t matter how big of a celebrity you are. Think about whether there are people better suited for the role, and if you’re damaging or helping the kids who need better representation in the media. Filmmakers need their actors but if you say no and explain why, you can change the way they cast and the way they think.

Whether you’re a YouTuber, small filmmaker, Hollywood director, writer, celebrity, behind-the-scene star, or absolutely anyone else in the creative industry, you need to step up. Think about why the current President of the United States is so against the media. It’s because you have the reach that no world leader could ever have. You have the voice that echoes over any social group. You have the power to inform, shape minds, and even change opinions. Use it for something worthy. Use it to help those who are silenced. Use it to better the world. You need to do better and you need to do it now.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

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Dear Beneficiaries of Nepotism

myinternswap-making-unfair-nepotism-easier-than-ever-theemployable.jpeg
Image from ImageCrow.

Dear Beneficiaries of Nepotism,

This letter may or may not be for you. It can take a while to realise whether you’re someone who benefits from nepotism. It’s a complex topic with many different approaches but there’s one lasting trait through it all: it always involves a person with power.

Nepotism

Now, nepotism isn’t always a bad thing and it can be but is not always corruption. The bad side of nepotism comes when people don’t acknowledge they benefit from it. The best thing you can do as someone who benefits from nepotism is to recognise your privilege and do some good with it. Your privilege is that you know someone powerful enough who likes you and can get what favours you. Not everyone knows someone like that, can get help like that, and is favoured like that.

The second best thing you can do is to recognise the stakes. What does it mean that you, simply by your privilege of knowing and being liked by someone of power, get this particular thing? Should you take it? Should you refuse? If you take it, is it really just nepotism or is it corruption too? Is there someone else more appropriate to get it? How can you use this opportunity to help someone else who might not otherwise never get help like this? If you pass this opportunity and give it to someone else, will you ever get this sort of opportunity again?

Eric Trump’s comments on nepotism earlier this month is exactly why it’s important to assess whether you benefit from it. Nepotism isn’t a “factor of life”. It might be for him and his family but it isn’t for everyone and saying so is ignorant. And this part is just speculation but I doubt his father would “encourage them to go on their own way” if they weren’t competent; just look at the qualifications of the people he put in the White House. If anyone appointed by him recognised their privilege and just how high the stakes are, they should’ve declined.

It’s imperative to recognise the privilege you have, whether that privilege comes from having business-owning parents, your race, or being liked by the right people. But recognising you benefit from nepotism is not enough, you need to use it to help others. If you benefit from nepotism, it is likely you can access it whenever, but there are people out there who don’t have that sort of privilege. So help them out, do some good.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

Dear Trump Supporters

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Image taken from Twitter @hankgreen.

Dear Trump Supporters,

He’s coming for you. You are next.

You are not safe if your neighbours, teachers, friends, colleagues aren’t safe. You are not safe if everyone is not safe.

Right now he is going after Muslims. You might be okay with that.

He will go after immigrants and refugees. You might be okay with that.

He will go after Native Americans. You might be okay with that.

He will go after African Americans. You might be okay with that.

He will go after women. You might be okay with that.

He will go after LGBTQ+ community. You might be okay with that.

He will go after all these people and more. You might be okay with that.

But then he will go after you. You won’t be okay with that.

He may come for your job and income, you health insurance, your human rights, your everything and anything. He will come for you.

If you think you are safe because you support him and you don’t* identify with any of the groups I’ve mentioned earlier, you are severely mistaken.

If you think you are safe because you support him as a white American republican with Christian values in the upper class, you are severely mistaken.

You are not safe just because you voted for him. He doesn’t know that and frankly, even if he did it wouldn’t matter because you don’t matter to him. The only person that matters to him is himself. The only person that isn’t on his target list is himself.

He will come for you. You need to stand up for those being targeted right now. If not for them, then for yourself because you are next. If you don’t stand up for others now, there will be no one to stand up when you are the target. And let me warn you, nobody will be there not because they didn’t want to be but because they couldn’t, because they’ve been stripped of their rights and freedom to do so by the very person you supported.

Your privilege is not a safeguard from him. Your privilege is time, a delay before he turns to you. And with that privilege, you can make sure you and everyone else become and stay safe.

He will come for you.

Stand up now.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

*And let me clarify, even if you support him and identify with these groups you are not safe from his selfish abuse of power:

If you think because you support him as a Muslim you and your loved ones will be able to come and go as you please into/out of America, you are severely mistaken.

If you think because you support him as an immigrant and/or refugee you will have priority in beginning a new life in America, you are severely mistaken.

If you think because you support him as an African American you are safe from hate crimes and racism, you are severely mistaken.

If you think because you support him as a woman you will have total control of your body and have access to legal and safe abortion, you are severely mistaken.

If you think because you support him as a member of the LGBTQ+ community you can legally marry whoever you desire, you are severely mistaken.

 Nobody is safe in “his America”.