3 accurate predictions about guns in America from an 1881 cartoon.

Ahh, guns. As American as apple pie!

Those fancy firearms are right there in the foundational DNA of our dear country. (Or at least, in the Bill of Rights, which was published 15 years after the official Declaration and a few years after the Constitution itself. These things took time, even back then.)

For all our squabbles about the comma placement and the technical and/or historical meanings of the phrase "well-regulated," it's true that firearms have pretty much always been a part of our great nation's rulebook, whether we like it or not.


In fact, you can see America's deep gun history clearly in this comic, which was published in 1881, almost a century after the Bill of Rights was ratified.

"A Dangerous American Institution — The Free and Untrammeled Revolver" first appeared in 1881 in a popular political and humor magazine called Puck and was written and illustrated by American cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper.

Notice anything familiar about it?

Yup: This comic, created around 135 years ago, created a century after the nation's founding (and about 15 years after the Civil War that almost tore it apart), makes the same criticisms about American gun culture that many people still make today.

Let's take a closer look:

1. Check out the "Pistol Emporium for Cranks" in the top left corner, with a man carrying a letter from the "Divine Commission to Kill."

While our larger understanding of mental health and neurological functions has certainly improved since 1881, this moment in the comic illustrates two particular aspects of the gun violence problem that still haven't changed:

First, it shows our often wildly inaccurate ideas about what "crazy" means and looks like.

And second, it shows the fact that, yes, we need to find a way to keep guns out of the hands of "dangerous people" — but we've never been good at defining what "dangerous" means.

There's a lot of talk in our country about guns and mental health. But unfortunately, it's just not the conversation about guns and mental health that we should be having. 100 years ago, mass violence was about a lot more than mental health, and that's still true today.

2. In the opposite corner of the comic, there's a cop shooting wildly: "The One Man who has a Right to Use it, and who Never Knows How."

Up until the 1840s, towns and cities relied more on individual sheriffs or night watchmen than actual organized municipal police forces. These volunteer law enforcers functioned as a kind of local "militia" — which would of course, give them the right to bear arms.

But as the idea of an armed and trained police units caught on and started to spread through the country, they were mostly employed to round up slaves and keep the working class "in line" and to generally punish the poor. By the 1880s, when this comic was made, police brutality was a serious problem.

In 2016, fatal police brutality is still a serious problem. Modern police training regarding firearms has come under question lately, particularly as it relates to de-escalation, discipline, and background checks. In that regard, Opper's observation that these officers "never know how" to use their guns may have been regretfully prescient.

3. Finally, there's the woman right above the police officer with her revolver, "Practicing for the Coming man."

Self-defense is a commonly cited reason for owning a gun. The data is conflicted over whether gun ownership among women is rising or falling, but either way, that romantic, adventurous vision of faux-chivalrous men protecting women and children — or of women taking care of themselves, with the help of a firearm — still persists.

Here's the thing: Men are actually more likely than women to be victims of random crimes. But women are significantly more likely to be killed by guns and are almost always killed by someone they are intimate with. 93% of women murdered by men were familiar with their killers, and 63% of those women were married to or intimate with the men who killed them. While 1 in 5 women believe a gun could keep them safer, some studies have found that abused women are more likely to be murdered by partners who have access to a firearm — even up to 5 times as likely.

There are obviously lots of problems with toxic masculinity that our culture could and should address. But regardless of how "safe" they might make someone feel, guns don't actually protect women most of the time. That was true in the 1880s, and it's true now.

Our country has been struggling with the same gun violence problems for a long, long time. So let's stop talking and start doing something.

It's time we start collecting data on gun violence and use that information to find common-sense solutions to prevent more bloodshed. It's time to start training our police and holding them accountable for their actions. (On that note, it's time to talk about systemic racism, too.) It's time to reform our destructive ideas of gender roles and find new forms of self-defense that don't endanger people's lives even more.

Simply put: It's time to find solutions to the American epidemic of gun violence. Otherwise, I'm afraid we're just going to keep having these exact same conversations over and over and over again, shrugging off each tragedy with thoughts and prayers while we wait 17 minutes for another one to happen. Because I don't want some other writer to find this article on the Internet archives 150 years in the future and say, "See? This has happening so long, and we still haven't fixed it."

Photo courtesy of Yoplait
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When Benny Mendez asked his middle school P.E. students why they wanted to participate in STOKED—his new after school program where kids can learn to skateboard, snowboard, and surf—their answers surprised him.

I want to be able to finally see the beach, students wrote. I want to finally be able to see the snow.

Never having seen snow is understandable for Mendez's students, most who live in Inglewood, CA, just outside of Los Angeles. But never having been to the beach is surprising, since most of them only live 15-20 minutes from the ocean. Mendez discovered many of them don't even know how to swim.

"A lot of the kids shared that they just want to go on adventures," says Mendez. "They love nature, but...they just see it in pictures. They want to be out there."

Mendez is in his third year of teaching physical education at View Park K-8 school, one of seven Inner City Foundation Education schools in the Los Angeles area. While many of his students are athletically gifted, Mendez says, they often face challenges outside of school that limit their opportunities. Some of them live in neighborhoods where it's unsafe to leave their houses at certain times of day due to gang activity, and many students come to his P.E. class with no understanding of why learning about physical health is important.

"There's a lot going on at home [with my students]," says Mendez. "They're coming from either a single parent home, or foster care. There's a lot of trauma behind what's going on at home...that is out of our control."

Photo courtesy of Yoplait

What Mendez can control is what he gives his students when they're in his care, which is understanding, some structure, and the chance to try new things. Mendez wakes up at 4:00 a.m. most days and often doesn't get home until 9:00 p.m. as he works tirelessly to help kids thrive. Not only does he run after school programs, but he coaches youth soccer on the weekends as well. He also works closely with other teachers and guidance counselors at the school to build strong relationships with students, and even serves as a mentor to his former students who are now in high school.

Now Mendez is earning accolades far and wide for his efforts both in and out of the classroom, including a surprise award from Yoplait and Box Tops for Education.

Yoplait and Box Tops are partnering this school year to help students reach their fullest potential, which includes celebrating teachers and programs that support that mission. Yoplait is committed to providing experiences for kids and families to connect through play, so teaming up with Box Tops provided an opportunity to support programs like STOKED.

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Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!