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It has taken me six months to realize I am back in the USA. From my touch down in Atlanta, I have been called shallow, self-absorbed, insane, the worst kind of person–and those are just what I am called to my face. And everyone criticizes that I miss my exchange life, my Swiss life, because there I did not feel like I was any of the above adjectives. I was a bright student with a scholarship from an American university who only used the word “I” in a personal diary. I had friends from all over the world that I had intelligent conversations with about heated issues in the world without anyone claiming that Obama is the anti-christ.

I miss it. With every chord in my heart. I miss kitchen parties and catching trains at 4am. I miss the connection I had with people who sometimes I could not communicate with. People who don’t learn this kind of love for other people, you have not felt a joy that makes every day an adventure. I miss my students in Leysin. And in the most non-religious way possible, I pray for all my students’ and friends’ safety, no matter what tragedy dims their nation. This empathy I learned for my friends made news stories less numbing and more tragic.

I think about the students of Sandy Hook Elementary school and how they had their whole lives ahead of them. They died in the most gruesome way possible and way before they learned about proper English grammar or even how to tell time properly. The tears and grief of the entire world are not enough to ever make amends.

These tragedies have happened in America way too often. What is it? Some say bullying. Or lack of gun control. Lack of empathy for others. Media.

And now the whole world turns to Obama to see what he says about gun control laws. (Which, by the way, is sick of the media to turn this tragedy into a political uproar.)

Concerning guns, as a Southerner, I have known two things:

A) The second amendment: The right to bear arms. (The reason being to have a state militia to defend ourselves against the national government…if they decided to do the Hunger Games or something.)

B) People love their guns.

When I was in Switzerland, my Australian friend noticed that every time she asked an American why they would need a gun, we would automatically respond with: “What if we need to defend ourselves?” And we criticize China for brainwashing their nation, you all know we are just as brainwashed (NOT by the president, but by media.)

As I travelled through countries that did not have “a right to bear arms,” I realized it wasn’t so bad. In Spain, I talked with a Spaniard who was concerned about Spain passing a law to allow guns to be owned by civilians–he did not feel safe with the idea of someone just carrying a gun around. He felt safe knowing that the police would handle whatever situation.

Throughout my travels, I found that people in other countries are fine without their own guns. They’re safer, actually. And they trust each other and are kind to each other. Think about it from a sociological perspective, would you be more trusting with others in your nation without being wary of what might be hidden in their jacket?

And people argue that people will have guns anyway, but crooks would have guns anyway, not the mentally ill. It’s scary how easily people can buy weapons.

Call me self-absorbed, but I want to be safe. And I want my future elementary school students to be safe when they come to school and not have to live on edge or keep a lethal weapon in a classroom of children.

Call me shallow, but my current purpose in life is to learn enough to teach our future generations, and this is my opinion.

Lay down your arms. There comes a time when every good soldier knows how to surrender. Every life is so valuable, every person has a story. Don’t take it from them.

 

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