"Thoughts and prayers." Those are the two main things doled out immediately in the wake of a mass shooting in the United States.
Let's face it. While platitudes are all well and good, they are merely a contrivance to fill the silence that has stunned devastated communities.
As many American citizens call for stricter gun legislation, there are just as many who advocate for their right to the Second Amendment.
How has this become the polarizing issue in the country while many other parts of the world maintain peace–presumably due to citizens not having the right to bear arms?
Genuinely curious to hear from a specific demographic, Redditor Wonderful-Wash-2145 asked:
"To the Americans who don’t agree with changing the gun laws? Why?"
People shared their informed opinions in great detail.
When Gun Advocates Lack Common Sense Or Knowledge
"I live in a state, California, which has all of the gun laws that people are asking for and then some. While our gun violence isn't as high as a lot of other states, it was already rapidly trending downward before our biggest laws, like our 'Assault Weapons' ban passed. And we've still had our share of mass shootings. With the laws in place it's easy to see why they're ineffective."
"Assault Weapons ban? Because the only thing separating an AR-15 from any other semi-automatic rifle are ergonomic features like the stock and grip, AR-15s and similar rifles are still sold here, just with those features swapped out for less comfortable alternatives."
"'Universal' Background Checks? What people don't realize is that every gun store around the country has to run background checks on buyers already, 'Universal' means that private sellers have to do that too. How is that accomplished? The buyer and seller have to meet at a gun shop so the gun shop can run the background check. The problem is, there's nothing to stop someone from just NOT doing that. If you want to sell a gun to your best friend, there's nothing stopping you from doing it in the comfort of your own home, no paperwork required. So universal background checks aren't universal, they're voluntary but if people called them voluntary background checks, it would be too self-evident that they're not much of a solution."
"Before people say 'Well one state having those laws is ineffective because people can just buy from another state.' No, that's not legal. You can only legally buy a gun in the state in which you reside. Do people still do it? Yes, people break the law by buying from private sellers, which more laws wouldn't prevent."
"Americans buy 15 Million guns a year from dealers, who knows how many are purchased from private sellers. Countries like Australia where gun control has been effective only had a few million guns in their whole country, much less the hundreds of millions that the US has."
"The reason gun nuts oppose 'common sense' gun control is that a prerequisite for common sense is common knowledge, and it's rare for gun control advocates to have knowledge of both firearms and the laws that currently regulate them in pro gun control states like California."
In The Absence Of Enforcement
"And, a lot of the existing laws aren't enforced. Domestic abusers are supposed to surrender their arms are rarely do and the police rarely follow up, for example. I saw a thread yesterday where someone cited 27,000 known firearms holders that were illegal that law enforcement didn't do anything about."
Weak arguments were also presented.
"So why not make guns have to be registered the way cars are? If I want to sell my car to my friend, I have to fill out paperwork to tell the state that the title for that car is being transferred to my friend. Can’t we do the same for guns?"
A Salesman's Statistic
"I sell auto insurance. Do you know how often someone comes in to insure a vehicle they purchased but never put into their name? Literally like 5 times a weeks if not more."
"A big problem with anything regulatory is how ripe it is to be exploited for the person doing the regulations. A lot of gun control measures have to be enforced by someone and if that person is racist, guess who gets the regulations enforced against them more often? It's still a policing issue when at the core a large group of people simply can't trust the police, and now this is putting both parties in an even more dangerous position."
The thread continued sparking a lengthy discussion about gun culture.
A Slippery Slope
"I think one of the concerns that people are thinking about is that the 'gun reform' movement is a stomach that can't ever be satisfied, meaning, they are always going to ask for more ways to reform guns until eventually people won't get to have any. And I think people who are against gun reform know that 'gun reform' is a slippy slope to banning guns outright and overturning the 2nd Amendment."
What's The Point?
"Governments do not care about their people. Look at selling drugs to the black community, poisoning alcohol during prohibition, anti-privacy laws, I could go on but there's no need to fill paragraphs of these things. And we're supposed to hand over our tools of self-defense and expect the government to protect us? The same government that just sat there outside the Uvalde school?"
"And how are they going to get guns out of the hands of criminals anyway? A good chunk of these shooters are already using guns they can't legally own. If they try to completely get rid of firearms through a 'war on guns' in the same way they've waged a 'war on drugs' for decades, then the amount of illegal, untraceable firearms is only going to go up with every passing decade."
The Challenge Of Regulating Culture
"I think people are dancing around a core point here as well: you cannot legislate culture."
"Say we do implement just the most severe of gun laws and, miracle beyond miracles, they are 100% effective. Alright, so if I want to hurt a bunch of people en masse and guns are out of the question what do I do? What about just running a van through a crowd? What about some improvised explosive devices? Knives?"
"People think guns are the problem, but they are just a very convenient tool by which the problem expresses itself. I’ve lived in many of the so-called 'safe countries' with strong gun laws. In some respects, they are indeed safer, but it’s because the laws reflect a pre-existing cultural sentiment. This also doesn’t mean random mass violence doesn’t happen. I’m going to use Japan here because that’s a country I spent a long time in: there were the famous sarin gas attacks in 1994, also a murderer who drove a vehicle through a crowd in Akihabara (early 2000’s, I believe), and a lot more public stabbing sprees than you’d expect. One even happened a few stations down from me while living there and three little girls on their way to school died. It’s more of historical crime now, but there was also an early 1900’s mass shooting where a man, rejected by local women, decided to cut off power in his local village and systematically execute everyone in their sleep before blowing his own head off at dawn."
"The effort needs to be put into why we seem to have so many disaffected people who are so far gone that mass shootings seem like a reasonable consideration. Gun laws are ultimately just a bandaid fix and, because a good portion of the U.S. is culturally attuned to firearms in a positive way, it’s a bandaid fix that one would have to fight tooth and nail for."
"It would be an inefficient fight and even absolute victory would just result in a half measure. I oppose gun laws for precisely the same reason I oppose the war on drugs; it’s a fight that will never end just by slapping on new policies. Generations of legislators and activists will commit to it and unfathomable amounts of tax dollars will be dumped into it and in 30 years we will still be asking ourselves the same fundamental questions about our safety."
"The uncomfortable reality, at least from where I sit, is that a lasting solution is going to have to be proactive, play the long game, and be willing to figure out what has gone so wrong in our social makeup as to push people to random acts of mass violence."
"And even then, there will still just be psychopaths beyond salvaging and reincorporating into functional society."
"I also know people will want to just say 'no, more just gun laws' or 'this is all the fault of capitalism' etc. etc. but I think those who hold these simplistic, one-note positions are fooling themselves into thinking that this is as easy as identifying the sole 'big bad thing' and then destroying it. As a historian, I can guarantee you that it’s never just one factor at play.'
"I couldn’t agree more that Americans need a more proactive and preventative approach to this issue. But I think guns are just the patsy boogeyman that is simple and comfortable to place blame on. If Americans choose to fight that fight, then so be it, but I maintain that it will be long and ineffectual. In the mean time, more will die and we can all happily believe we are doing something about it."
What Is It About America?
"I get 'gun culture'. But why is the US more violent?"
I think madmen and people that commit acts of random violence are basically the same % in every country. Difference is that if a mad men in my country comes at a supermarket with a knife, he might kill one or two people but he will get tackled."
"Taking a car trough a crowd, been there. That's a different animal, is terrorism."
The thread was full of debates with pro-gun activists presenting their case and anti-gun advocates responding with arguments.
It's an endless discussion that has no resolve in sight.
So now what? What are your thoughts and suggestions that would promote a compromise or solution about gun control?
Everyone has a breaking point.
Even the person who seems to be the calmest has that moment when their patience has run thin, and all it takes is a little more prodding and antagonizing to set them off.
Curious to hear examples of when strangers online were surprised by what they witnessed, Redditor Specktakles88 asked:
"Have you ever seen a normally calm person completely lose their sh*t? What happened?"
A triggering moment unleashed wild behavior.
The Dude Who Had It Coming
"I was chilling at a friend’s house as a kid. His dad was the chillest, nicest guy. That day, my friend’s mom (also super nice) was across the street talking to the neighbor about something that I can no longer recall. Neighbor was one of those guys who never respected common etiquette: music blaring, parking his sh**ty boat in front of other people’s house, cars parked on the lawn. The neighbor started screaming at the mom and we all went out on the stoop to see what was happening. As soon as we got outside, the guy called my friend’s mom a c*nt. Well, my friend’s dad heard that and went full Hulk mode. He ran SCREAMING across the street and just f'king decked the guy and crouched over him shouting warnings and threats. Took a while for his wife to calm him down. I don’t think any of them had ever seen him react to something in that way, maybe even the dad himself."
"I worked as a line cook with a chef who I became really good friends with. Really chill dude, easy going, and actually super fun to cook with. He taught me most of what I know about cooking and I owe him a lot for my success. Never really saw him get mad until one day, we were getting slammed during busy night and one of the servers said something that really ticked him off, not sure if I ever heard what it was, but next thing I knew he had sent the deep fryer basket flying at Mach 1 across the kitchen, nearly missing the dish kid and shattering a light bulb. He stormed off and 5 minutes later after a smoke break, came back and casually continued cooking as if nothing had happened."
"He apologized about it the next day and we never talked about it again. The restaurant industry is a stressful place."
Thing About Grandpa
"When I was in my late teens I was financially irresponsible and borrowed money from my grandparents to move out of my mom's house. We made a plan on how I would pay it back in installments and I only missed two payments, with each one I called my granddad and asked if it was okay. He was always cool about it. One day I got a call from him and he was LIVID. Screaming at me on the phone and I could hear my grandmother crying in the background. He was the angriest I’ve ever heard anyone in my life and I was terrified. He wanted to know why I hadn’t made the payment that month, but I was sure I had. It turns out I had accidentally set the automated payment to be drawn from the wrong account and it hadn’t done it. It was an honest mistake on my part, and I explained that to him. I transferred the money immediately and he instantly calmed down. I later found out he had become an alcoholic after he quit smoking, and he would talk to my grandmother like that regularly when no one was around."
Awakening The Beast
"This is not my story but my dads. Growing up his best friend Leif was a quiet, shy guy that was a bit socially awkward. In school he wasn't physically bullied but this one kid teased him constantly. This would have been late 50's, early 60's so kids were expected to just tough it out. My dad would usually confront the kid but one day a girl runs up to him and says that Leif and the kid are fighting."
"My dad runs over to save Leif but when he breaks through the circle he finds the bully flat on his back, Leif sitting on his chest, holding him by the ears and smashing his head into the pavement over and over. My dad tackles him, wrestles him to the ground and screams at him, asking what he's doing. The thing that stayed with me from that story was how he described it, 'it was like there was nothing in there, I felt like I could see the back of his skull through his eyes.'"
"Luckily they were kids so the damage was serious but limited, the bully escaped with stitches and a concussion and Leif had to talk to the school psychologist. My dad and Leif stayed best friends and when I met him as an adult he was still quiet but less shy and awkward."
Work-related stresses really brought out the fury in these people.
"I had a friend who was in his 60's, a functioning alcoholic but he was the most calm and composed guy I have ever known. He never used to raise his voice or swear. Everything was done with meticulous precision."
"He once explained to me that if you use vulgar language and shout all the time, then you will have nowhere to go when you really do get angry."
"I had worked with him for about 3 years, never heard him raise his voice or swear before. The week before he had been shafted on his pay and the manager promised to get it sorted by Friday. Friday rolled around and it had not been sorted. So when my friend walked up to the manager in the open office and declared loudly 'Where the f'k is my money? You promised this would be resolved.' The whole office went silent and the look of dread on the manager's face was haunting. The money was in his account by the end of the day."
"That was him losing his sh*t."
"I used to see this woman in my building every day. Very friendly. We always checked on each other’s lives. We had lunch a few times over the years. It was friendly to a certain degree. A couple years passed. She was much older than me. One day, riding the elevator, she told me that she was saying goodbye. I said I was sorry to see her go and asked why. She said she was retiring that day. I asked if her office was throwing a party or if she was celebrated. She turned to me and her face contorted into an image of rage. She clenched her teeth and said she didn’t tell anyone in her office, including her bosses. She only told the HR person last week. This was her last day and she was never returning to see or talk to anyone in her office again."
The Gentle Giant
"I used to do seasonal work sorting tax returns. Like, 500 people in a warehouse size room sorting through returns, stacking them in boxes, etc. This one guy on my team, huge dude, a gentle giant, really nice. Suddenly one day he smashes the table he's working at, then flips a big box full of paperwork. It flew over my head and twenty feet away. He threw the table out of his way them stormed out. Turns out he was getting his paycheck garnished for something or other."
Rambunctious behavior really set these people off, but it also restored peace.
The Teacher Who Had Enough
"One of my teachers in high school was THE calmest dude. Never yelled, never told kids off, would just laugh and smile and wait for us all to calm down and then continue with his teaching. One day we must have been particularly rowdy and we weren’t calming down like we usually did. He couldn’t get a word in edge ways. I could see him getting increasingly frustrated and eventually he just bellowed SHUUUUTTT UPPPPP And the entire class was shocked into silence. He never had to do it again lmao"
Too Angry To Hold A Knife
"It takes a lot to make my mom yell. On the rare occasion she did yell, it still felt like she had self control. Like she yelled on purpose, because there was a reason to yell (like she needed to be that loud for us to hear us, or one of the kids needed to learn to never run into traffic again.)"
"But one morning when we were teenagers, my brother was being really, really difficult."
"And my very sweet, soft-spoken mother yelled 'GOD DAMN IT SHAWN' and threw a butter knife down so hard it stuck, 1/4 inch deep, in oak hardwood floor. Against the grain. I can still hear the noise it made."
"We were all very, very well behaved for the rest of the day."
"I did eventually ask my mom why she did that. Her explanation was that she felt she was too angry to hold a knife, even a butter knife, and was trying to get it out of her hand before she did something stupid."
Granny's Mean Streak
"Man my grandma has a similar thing. This boy was a couple years older than she was and he was constantly picking on her. He's riding his bike home from school one day and he rides past her and he's shouting at her and she knocks him right off his bike and beat the sh*t out of him. My sweet lil granny. The neighbor that saw it said he was proud as sh*t that she beat the snot out of this shitty kid lol. I think it was the start of my grandma's bad b*tch streak because not much later, she started street racing. She was allegedly a sweet little girl, but man I think she must have had a mean streak in her."
"Jerry Springer Christmas"
"My mom. We had what we now refer to as the 'Jerry Springer Christmas' when I was 7 or so. One aunt hated her sister in law and started screaming at her, then shoving started, husband's got involved, then it just continued to devolve from there. My mom went straight into mediator mode and tried to calm everyone down but it wasn't working. She decided to come check on us kids and found my cousin and me holding each other and sobbing because we were scared. The next thing I hear is her scary mom voice screaming over everyone 'listen here you motherf'kers. My kid is in there crying on Christmas because her family can't keep their sh*t together for one the one day a year we all see each other. You're gonna march your a**es into that room single file and apologize to each kid individually, then you're going to shut the hell up until I get them out of here. We're going to go find look at lights and this family better be the picture of goddam Christmas joy by the time we get back.' My mom never really cussed in front of me and only ever used gd when things were really bad. That side of the family didn't celebrate Christmas for a few years after that."
"Edit: thank you for the awards and kind words! Ma is tickled pink at all of the comments about how wonderful she is. I tell her every day how lucky I am to have her."
Rage is something that exists in all of us.
Some people are good at letting small things run off their back, while others have no patience for the smallest of grievances.
The lesson to be learned here is, never underestimate the calmest people. They might be the ones to really look out for. You don't want to be the reason for them to break their patience streak and unleash all of their built-up fury on you.
Be kind to others, and just don't be a prick.
Songwriters base many of their songs on love because the relatable emotion makes it easier for artists to connect with their audiences.
Whether that applies or doesn't apply in our own lives, we listen to the songs conveying these experiences to take us back so we may relive these affirmative moments from the past.
Curious to hear what's on the moody playlist of strangers online, Redditor udontknowmegurl asked:
"What is the saddest song you've ever heard?"
These iconic artists really touched the hearts of many people through their music.
Dolly's Love Anthem
"I will Always Love You by Dolly Parton, you can really tell she f'king lived that song."
When Mom Went To Heaven
"The night my mama died, my dad sang Elvis' Can't Help Falling in Love to her in the back seat of the car on the way to the ER. She died of fully metastitized pancreatic cancer 18 days after diagnosis."
It Gets Deeper With Age
“'Landslide' by Fleetwood Mac I find that the older I get, the more meaning this song has."
Leave it to Disney to have us reaching for the tissue box.
"That song from UP makes me cry every time and it doesn’t even have lyrics."
When She Loved Me
"That one Jesse sings in Toy Story 2"
And let's not forget these emotional tunes that resonated with many Redditors.
Irish Folk Song
"‘Danny boy’ at a friends funeral 10 years ago. He, his sister and his gf all passed away in a house fire all in their early 20s. It was an Irish wake and the mix of grief and whiskey joy was something else."
When Love Moves On
"Into Dust by Mazzy Star gets me."
When You Want To "Disappear"
"How to disappear completely by Radiohead. Haunting instrumental, depression dripping through everyline of lyrics 'im not here, this isnt happening.'"
Ray Of Light In The Darkness
"You Are My Sunshine"
"Everything but the chorus is heartbreaking. Few people know anything but the chorus though."
From A Powerful Album
"Sylvia - The Antlers"
"Actually that whole album, Hospice, breaks me but this song in particular just leaves me in a mess every time."
When Love Fades
"The Night We Met by Lord Huron."
"No matter where I am, if I’m happy, who I’m with, etc. I’ll bawl my eyes out if that song plays. It’s so painful and true because one day they’re there and they’re your everything and then they start slipping until they’re gone and you wished you could go back to before you met them so you wouldn’t have to go through the pain of losing them. Just the lyrics 'I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you' hit this. People falling out of love in relationships, growing apart with friends, family members passing, etc. is what this hits for me and it hits hard."
One of the saddest songs I've heard is not connected to a personal experience, but the story being told is heartbreaking.
It's called "The Queen and the Soldier" by Suzanne Vega. The song is basically about a lonely, repressed virgin queen who keeps her heart closely guarded.
When a soldier enters her domain and challenges her internalized emotions, it's too much for her and has the soldier executed.
The song has continued haunting me ever since I first heard it.
An almost guaranteed phase of entering adulthood is unintentionally making it clear how much older you are than some present company.
This could be by the way you dress, talking about seeing a movie in its initial release when the person you're talking to wasn't born yet, or more than likely, by the way you talk.
When you say a slang term or phrase which was common place when you were a child, but today would likely be met by looks of confusion, or even disgust, should you use a term which is not only outdated but now considered offensive.
But then, shaking these old fashioned, or just plain old, terms and phrases might be a difficult task, so engrained are they in our vocabulary.
Redditor InfiniteDrafts was curious to hear what phrases people continue to use, despite knowing how quickly it will date them, leading them to ask:
What slang do you use regularly that is totally outdated?
Maybe rethink alternative words for "awesome"...
"I called a taco 'the Shizznit' a few days ago."
"I instantly felt 90 years old."- fattydad075
Not as "radical" as it once was...
"Righteous and radical."- king_7__Colors Flashing GIFGiphy
Language is eternal!
"None of MY slang is outdated, it's today's youth that are wrong!"- hotasphalt
How long have you got?
"I say things are the bees knees on the regular."
"Is 'on the regular' dated?"
"I also call the ocean 'the drink' for whatever reason."
"Picked that up at some point."- Paradigm6790
"This sub is making me extremely paranoid about my words now bc I say pretty much all of these words still."- jjjjjjj30season 10 friends GIFGiphy
Charming once, vulgar now...
"HAULIN’ A**."- f*ck_korean_air
Nah, come closer.
"Far out."- PaulClifford
A bit off
"Right on."- bombaderogato
Does anyone still even eat popsicles?
"When I'm ready to leave I say 'Let's blow this Popsicle stand."
"To be honest I'm not even sure what a posicle stand is."- B-Sdetector69Popsicle Freezer Pop GIFGiphy
It's hard not to feel self conscious around the younger generations who might laugh at your dated vocabulary.
But one should just remember, in 10 years or so, they'll likely find themselves in the exact same position.
And won't feel as "groovy" as they once did.
Who doesn't love a theme party?
When you not only get to dress up in something completely over the top, but also get to bear witness to everyone else's zany outfits in-keeping with the party's theme.
Be it Regency era, glam rock, or fairy tale villains.
Or what if the challenge is just to be blatantly inappropriate?
"You are going to a party. The theme is dress inappropriately. Who or what do you dress as?"
And not on your foot, one imagines...
"Nothing but a tube sock."- Sanguiniutron
"Dress normally, because if the theme is to dress inappropriately, and you dress appropriately, technically you're the one being inappropriate for the occasion."- GoAwayImHereForMemes
"I've actually been in a completely opposite situation."
"Was invited to a art exhibition, came in well dressed. It was basically porn but the person I went with forgot to mention that."
"I felt very malplace standing around people wearing next to nothing."
"So I would probably do that again because what's more inappropriate than being appropriate at an inappropriate event?"- cccantyousee
"I mean, if dressing inappropriately is the appropriate attire, then dressing appropriately would be inappropriate for the party, thus, making it appropriate."
"Now that I think about it, it's an unsolvable paradox."
"You could never appropriately dress inappropriately."- MUNKIESSGetting Ready Jimmy Fallon GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonGiphy
It's all in the details
"With the pants cuffs rolled up, wearing tevas with gym socks."- BitPoet
And they say you can only wear it once...
"Bridal gown."- fromhelley
Depends on your surroundings...
"Imma wear a parka."
"In South Texas."
"In August."- Ahshalon_TeniskParka GIF by moodmanGiphy
The question is, what aren't you wearing...
"Nothing I'd just show up in lingerie."- cloboehobo
Wrong on so many levels...
"A two sizes to small wrestling singlet, and crocs."- thirdtimer_2020I Like Swimsuit GIF by MOODMANGiphy
There's little more fun than facing the challenge of dressing to impress.
Or, in this instance, un-dressing to impress.
And if you are greeted by a round of shocked expressions, you know your choice of outfit was a success.