BLOG: I’m Actually Pro-Life

KATIE PICKRELL

I abhor death and support life more than anything else.

I oppose the death penalty at the current rate of execution in the United States.

Eight executions were planned in the month of November. Four are coming this December.

I believe that even most guilty have a right to life, though there are times when I may state otherwise out of emotion. I don’t believe that the amount of people who receive the death penalty often deserve it and those that do would likely be better suited to live out a life more miserable than death behind bars.

I support increased gun control.

Last Friday, three individuals died in an attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

Today, two mass shootings occurred.

One in Savannah, Ga. killed one and injured three.

One in San Bernardino, Calif. claimed the lives of at least 14 innocent individuals and injured 17 others at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. Two suspects were shot and killed by police.

The California shooting was the 355th shooting of the year, meaning that there is a shooting, killing or injuring four or more people more than once a day. At the rate the media covers violence in this country, there will be another shooting within days that will headline news stations nationwide.

Odds are: the weapon will be obtained due to a flaw in the current legislation regarding gun control; more will defend their right to their weapons over the lives of innocent people; the rhetoric of “good-guy” gun ownership trumping “bad-guy” gun ownership will come about; some will claim mental health is the issue without acting upon it in any way, shape or form; and it will only be hours before it happens again.

I agree with the platform of black lives matter.

Black men aged 18-24 years are the only demographic to have a statistically represented amount of deaths accounted directly to legal intervention.

One in four black individuals will spend time in jail throughout their lives.

Black people face unemployment rates that are twice as high compared to white individuals.

There is white privilege– as hard as that may be to realize– and it is responsible for the continuation of systematic racism in this country in regards to education, employment, policing, housing and overall quality of life.

I think privatized prisons should be abolished.

When a company or an individual owns a correctional facility for profit, something is seriously flawed in the justice system. Considering that 16 percent of all prisons in the United States are privately run, it’s obvious that there is an issue.

What’s even worse is the amount of funding political candidates receive from these institutions. The GEO Group, one of the largest privatized prison sects, has contributed more than $6 million to various political candidates over the past 13 years. This money that is going to men and women who are running to support public ideologies is based upon a flawed justice system that is responsible for many wrongdoings.

For starters, private prisons throughout our country have allowed for mass incarceration to continue at an unthinkable rate. Institutions involved in private imprisonment have been the focal point of court cases regarding racism, mistreatment of inmates, corruption and inhumane living spaces.

I promote social programs that allow for education and food stamps and child support.

Part of claiming life is sacred is making life viable for those who are already living.

The United States is not Highlands Ranch. The average income in the Douglas County area is more than $100,000. The average income in the entire United States is just over $26,000. More than fifteen percent of Americans are living under the poverty line at just over $11,000 for a single individual.

Some people genuinely need help to make a living– not everyone can help falling into poverty or being unable to sustain themselves.

For too long, many have argued, “If you can’t eat, you’re at fault,” without recognizing that the underlying message is, “Starve.” Our fellow U.S. citizens, or for that matter, our fellow human beings cannot be forced to continue living a life of hunger because the public doesn’t feel they have a moral obligation to help.

A lot of poverty prevention starts with public funds as well. Education rates consistently coincide with unemployment rates. Nevada, for example, is ranked 44 out of 51 in education spending, faces the lowest graduation rates in the country and is tied with Mississippi for the highest unemployment rate in the United States at 7.8 percent.

With the majority of career choices requiring a college level degree, one of two outlets is presented to individuals in my generation: get an education, or try to live without a stable career.

The problem here is that there isn’t actually much of an option for many. College is expensive and students are typically suspended into massive amounts of debt while the U.S. is already facing the highest childhood poverty rates of any developed nation.

As someone who lives beyond comfortably in one of the richest counties in the country, I can attest that college is hard to pay for. For someone who lives on a shoestring budget, the cost is unimaginable.

I want the war on drugs to end.

Drug arrests account for the largest number of inmates in the United States.

There is no single state in the U.S. that spends more on education than it does on prison.

People aside, the education system is the hardest hit victim of the war on drugs.

If states and governments could redirect spending from keeping people behind bars to encouraging thought and knowledge, the country would be a better place and drugs would be less of an issue.

I despise hate crimes and acts of brutality from police.

In my eyes, these two issues often coincide. Black and brown individuals are relatively more likely to fall victim to violence when faced with the justice system.

There are good cops, but there is a terrible system. Many hide behind the defense of the good cops benefit outweighing the bad cops detriment by ignoring the fallout the bad cops leave in their tracks.

Just because most cops can pull over an individual without leaving the traffic stop as a crime scene doesn’t mean that the dead individuals weigh no importance on the predicament.

As a society, the U.S. continually fails to recognize this for one reason or another. The issue does need to be addressed, and it is far from impossible to do so.

I don’t think enough is done for laws on human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the second worse offense that restricts the right to life second only to murder.

For some reason, the issue is never seen as the deal it truly is. It gets pushed to the backburner in light of other causes of death and degradation of life.

Individuals who are trafficked are often forced into some type of labor, whether that means sex work, domestic slavery, agriculture or factory work.

In the U.S. particularly, a trafficker can make more than $100,000 for trafficking only four individuals. Three-hundred thousand children fall victim to the crime each year in the country, making the total revenue for the business come in at more than $9.5 billion.

I encourage the U.S. to increase its acceptance of refugees.

The Syrian refugee crisis is now worse in light of recent terrorist attacks.

ISIL has presented the face of the refugee crisis in a negative manner. The United States now fears those who are most in need of help.

For fear of promoting terrorism, countries who refuse to accept refugees allow acts of terror to be committed against innocent people.

And, yes, I believe that a woman should have full medical rights to her own body.

Medical reasons in or out of the picture, a woman should be able to choose whether or not she has a child.

In regards to my own personal beliefs, abortion is not murder. If life begins at conception, when does death occur? Medical professionals account time of death to occur when a brain stops sending pulse signals to the body. A fetus is unable to do this until it is further developed, so why is it a belief that the organism is a living, functioning human?

Forcing someone to carry through with a pregnancy, however, is inhumane and can cause death in some circumstances. The United Nations even legally deems forced pregnancy as torture.

Abolishing abortion, I might add, would significantly increase abortion-related death rates. Before abortion was legal, women resorted to some of the most gruesome procedures when they could not carry out a pregnancy. The death toll was often taken out on women of lower incomes as well, suggesting obvious societal implications behind the lack of allowance for the procedure.

Currently, only 60 percent of women of reproductive age live in countries with access to abortion procedures. Ninety-seven percent of Latin-American women live under strict anti-abortion laws, as do 92 percent of African women.

Bottom line, life is life– refugees, women, minorities, criminals, students, impoverished individuals and humans alike all have a right to it.

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