Staying Cincy Strong

On Thursday at 9am, the city I love so dear had a tragedy that we all knew was inevitable. According to many sources the Fifth Third shooting is not the most tragic shooting that Cincinnati has witnessed in the last five years. Before Thursday it was a shooting that happened in 2016. Officers that responded to the shooting had told the public that the shooter had enough ammunition on him to kill over 100 people, however he only took the lives of three, injuring two.

That morning Brandon had gotten off of work, to pick me up at home and take me to school. Being a night shift worker on Walnut Street, he dropped me off and went to bed. Having no idea what happened, moments after he left his job… which is right next to the Fifth Third building. All of a sudden, I had family and friends blowing up my phone asking if Brandon was alright. For a moment as we sat in class watching as the updates came pouring in, I had forgotten that he was at home, safe, and as mentioned, had no idea that the shooting even occurred. It wasn’t until the sixth or seventh message that I came back to reality and told myself, “he’s fine, he’s fine, we are fine.” However, his coworkers crossed my mind, and what would happen when he would go into work on Sunday also crossed my mind. That Downtown Cincinnati would need time to heal and recover.

Over the weekend, Brandon and I watched the updates that happened. The shooter was able to walk around Fountain Square for an hour, drink coffee, holding a black bag around his shoulders, and nobody questioned it. Nobody stopped to question a man, drinking coffee, holding a gun in a black bag. As a society, are we that oblivious?

It is events like this that we, as a society, bring up gun control. Everyone has an opinion, anyone who says that they don’t is a liar. Many times, when gun control is brought up people hear the same things over and over again, “I’m an American and I want to keep my guns” or “Guns kill people and this is an epidemic”. Both of these are so broad that it then becomes conservative versus liberals. And while this is happening we begin to point fingers, instead of listening to one another and realizing that the overall issue, is that we as a society aren’t educated enough about mental health and actual gun control.

My first argument is that when the constitution was written, the guns or weapons we have now, weren’t what they were. Also, the whole point of owning guns was to protect you from the government. That being said, the guns that were accessible to those when the constitution was written, was not an automatic gun that could harm a mass amount of people.

My second argument is that accessing a gun is way too easy. Anybody with a good fake ID or over the age of 18 can access a gun, by going to a shop that sells them. The background check, is a 24 hour background check (if that) that just makes sure that you aren’t a felon. That’s not enough. I am definitely for better gun control, and no that does not mean I want to take away everyone’s guns and have everyone sit around a friendship circle talking about love. What that means to me, is that I believe that it should be a week’s process in order to get a gun. Step one would be having a doctor verify that you are mentally stable enough to own weapons, next would be a background check that would verify that you do not have any domestic violence charges, no psychiatric ward history, and/or felony charges. On top of that, upon purchasing a gun, you must show that you have gone through the proper training, including a max amount of time in a shooting range. When you finally are able to pass all of that and you purchase your gun, they should give a recommendation list, that includes recommended safes or vaults for you to keep your gun in. That being said, I also believe that if you keep your gun in an unsafe place, and another person uses your gun to harm someone, then you are also responsible for what that person does. A bit over extreme? That’s what we do for getting our license… think about all of the steps you have to go through to get your driver’s license. Getting a gun should be that hard, if not harder.

My third and last argument, is that people do not view mental health as an issue. Did you know that 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition. That’s about forty-three million Americans. On top of that, half of that population has some sort of substance abuse disorder. In almost every mass shooting case in the past three years, it has been linked to some sort of mental illness. Shouldn’t we do more than judge? In this day in age, it’s hard to go the doctors when you have flu symptoms, because it could cost you an arm and a leg… let alone get a referral from a doctor to see a physiatrist. Also, take it from someone who has been in counseling since the age of six, it’s very hard to find a counselor, or physiatrist, who treats you like human being. In the past two years I have been through three different counselors, because each one treated me like I was crazier than I actually was. Finding a counselor that you can trust can be very overwhelming. Luckily for me, I have relatively decent health insurance, but for someone who isn’t like me their insurance company might clear their bank account.

Just something to think about with all of the chaos within this world. As always I want my reader to be able to enlighten me with their opinion. I believe that instead of judging everyone’s opinion, we can find knowledge through it. Please let me know what your mental health or gun control opinions are.

 

-S.B

 

 

 

 

 

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My Career Took an Unexpected Turn

In 2016, I entered college as a criminal justice major and my plans were to be a probation officer. However, after few events and multiple discussions with counselors, friends and family I ended up switching my major the second semester. I went from being a criminal justice major to an English major. Essentially, all of my prior credits were useless and I had to restart my whole college career in that semester.
At this point in my life I was living on my own, and had a lot going on mentally. I was in between jobs, and went from a full-time student to a part time one. I ended my first full year in college with the lowest GPA I had ever received, one failed course, and clueless as to what I really wanted to do with my life. The following school year, 2017-2018, was more about getting my life back on track.
In 2017 alone I had at least seven jobs. Some of which I worked two at a time, but for the most part I was job jumping for the year. At the end of the year a good friend and colleague of mine mentioned that should apply to work at the college. One of the main issues I was having was managers unwilling to work with my school schedule. Although      I was hesitant I applied and was asked to come in for an interview. Unfortunately, I had some life events happen to me (ones that I don’t feel quite at liberty to discuss) and I had missed my first interview. I was lucky enough that about three weeks later, my now supervisor, would meet with me for an interview. So, what is it that I do at my current college? I’m a student service representative – specifically I’m a Peer Mentor.
I never thought that my job, and possible career, would lead me right back to why I wanted a degree in criminal justice. Do I think that I will change majors again? No, I love writing and editing too much to give up that dream. I’m currently trying to get published in a magazine, and be featured in another exhibit. That being said, the reason I had choose a criminal justice degree in the first place is because I wanted to help people. I wanted to be able to impact people in a positive way. Every day that is what I get to do at the college.
Monday thru Thursday I sit at a desk where I answer emails, make phone calls, take walk-ins and even schedule meetings to make sure that students get what they need to succeed while they are in college, and when they graduate. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and blessed that this job has led to other opportunities for me at the college. Upon becoming a Peer Mentor, I ended up running for Student Board Representative for 2018-2019, and ended winning. Overall, I am super happy with my career and the other opportunities that I have been blessed with. I cannot wait for my final year at the college and transfer over to a university.

Remembering: Death of A Bachelor Tour

Exactly a year ago Brandon and I got to experience Panic! At the Disco, live. I remember very vividly that entire weekend, and I know that I will never regret it either. It was the Thursday before the concert when I found out that Panic! At the Disco was playing in Louisville Kentucky. I had exactly three—hundred dollars in my bank account and that was barely enough to in the first set of seats, diagonal from the stage. But I knew that no matter what the seats were, Brandon would enjoy them.

I had ordered the tickets and called him that Friday while I was leaving work, at the time all of us worked at Subway together, which was exactly fifteen / twenty minutes away from where he was living at the time. Now his mom already knew that I was getting the tickets, but he still had zero clue that this was going to happen. I was schedule to work that Sunday, but we worked it out that she would come in early so I would be able to get ready.

While driving to his house that afternoon, I vividly remembering this being our conversation:

Me: “Hey what are you doing on Sunday night?”

Brandon: “Nothing”

Me: “Want to go to Louisville to see Panic! At the Disco?”

** Complete silence **

Me: “I bought the tickets, we are pretty close to the stage.”

Brandon: “Yeah!”

Now, in order to get him to go I had to fib a bit and tell him that I had a family member of mine get me a discount through her works. It would be months later when I would tell him that I paid the full price.

On Sunday around noon we set out on one of our first real adventures. As everyone knows, we would go out spontaneously at midnight to random cities, but this was our first real adventure, that was decently planned and not at 3 AM. This was before Brandon had his fancy Elantra, and before I stopped driving at night, so we set out in my Toyota, the car without shocks. It’s crazy to think that both of my Honda and Toyota could travel such long distances. They never really let me down, but I’m not going to say I miss my 1990’s vehicles… because I would be lying, I love not having a car that’s older than me.

When we got to Louisville we ate dinner at this little pizzeria called Bearno’s, I don’t know if it was because we were starving or if it was simply just that good, but their pizzas were the bomb and not super overpriced! That’s a win-win.

Now, call me sappy, but Brandon and I often talk about the first, real, moments that we realized that we cared for each other more than just friends. That night was so important to me, on the way down, we were both so excited, despite the whiplash we were getting from the Toyota. I think we listened to every Brenden Urie song he’s ever performed. When we got to our seats, which the layout confused the hell out of me, it was the first time in a long while I had been in a large crowd of people. I was so nervous that I was going to have a panic attack, but Brandon made me feel really secure. Needless to say, no panic attacks happened that night, and everything about that night just started to make sense to me.

On our way home, we ended up going over a toll bridge twice getting lost, and we even ended up in a really sketchy part of the neighborhood when my car almost broke down from not having oil in it. Eventually we made it over to Indiana, where we ate at an IHOP. We were so tired by that point, that we were putting syrup in our coffee… listen, I will justify this until I pass, but they didn’t have creamer and nobody likes black coffee. We did what we had to do.

When we finally started heading home, Brandon and I had some intimate conversations about the future and what changes we wanted to make in our lives. It was that night that Brandon and I decided to look for an apartment together, and it wasn’t that long after that I started spending my weekends over at his place. When we finally got back to his place, it was almost 6 AM. We were so tired, I am pretty sure we just slept the next day away. I often think about last April and how much has changed, for the better. Everyone always said that we would end up together, but we never believed them. Our excuse would always be that we were to similar, but as it turns out that’s what makes us so good.

 

So, thanks Panic! At The Disco, if it wasn’t that concert those conversations would have never happened.