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People parading guns through grocery stores does not make them, or America, great

Last summer, my husband and I went to a grocery store in Sandpoint, Idaho to pick up some ice cream. As we started walking down the frozen foods aisle, my husband grabbed my arm to stop me. He gestured to the couple ahead of us, and I saw what he saw—a handgun sticking out of the back of the man's pants.

Sandpoint is an idyllic, small mountain town on a pristine lake, where people come to stay for water sports in summer and skiing in the winter. It's also not far from the Wal-mart where a two-year-old had pulled a handgun out of his mom's purse and killed her with it several years ago.

We turned around and left the ice cream aisle, choosing to wait until the openly armed shopper left. And we were irritated. Seeing a man with a gun in a grocery aisle feels like living in a war zone—meanwhile, Sandpoint's violent crime rate is half the national average.

Twitter user "Cacky" shared a similar encounter in an Oklahoma Trader Joe's, with a photo of a man with a handgun in a holster on his hip at the salad display.


"I have no idea if this guy is stable or mentally ill," she wrote. "Is he bothered by the heat and have a short fuse today? What if someone makes him mad and he has poor impulse control? I'm not willing to risk my life for groceries, so I just left Trader Joe's."

I had the same thoughts in the ice cream aisle in Idaho. Not only do we not know this person's mental state, but with a gun so openly broadcast, what's to stop another unstable shopper from grabbing the gun from them? I'm sure these guys think they'd be quick to stop someone from doing so, but there are dozens of scenarios where that confrontation ends very badly for them, as well as for the innocent bystanders who just want to buy some freaking lettuce.

State laws vary when it comes to open or concealed carry, but this isn't an issue of legality. It's an issue of morality, responsibility, and sensibility. "Because I can" or "Because it's my right" is not a good enough reason to do something—not when you live in a community with other human beings. You might have a right to carry a gun in a grocery store, but that doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.

Your fellow citizens matter. And I would guess that most people feel less safe, not more, when they see someone with a gun sticking out of their pants at the grocery store. You might argue that you carry for your protection or even the protection of those around you, but the "good guy with a gun" idea has been outed as a myth over and over again. That myth and the fairly consistent mass shootings in the U.S. are why most of us see a random person with a gun as a threat, not protection.

I would say, "We aren't living in the Wild West," but even in the West of the 1880s, guns being carried where lots of people gathered was known to be an issue. That's why Wyatt Earp prohibited people from carrying guns in Tombstone, making visitors turn in their guns when they came into town. Other Old West towns had similar laws, so it's not like grocery shopping with a gun is some longstanding, untouchable American tradition.

All I see when I see someone wearing a gun while running errands is fear and paranoia, which is a bad combination when mixed with a deadly weapon. Imagine if someone had a machete sticking out the back of their pants everywhere they went. How insane would that look? How is a loaded handgun any different, other than being able to kill more people more quickly and efficiently with it?

This element of American culture causes people in other developed nations to look at us in utter bafflement. Heck, it baffles me, and I grew up here. We have a gun problem in the U.S. That fact is indisputable. And it's not just because criminals have guns. States with higher gun ownership rates have higher gun death rates. States with stricter gun laws have lower gun death rates. Ideology aside, the math favors fewer guns and stricter laws, not the free-for-all gun culture gripping a decent portion of the country.

Additionally, how can we truly say we're a great nation if people feel like they can't leave the house unarmed? I can't wrap my brain around the mindset. What kind of warped version of "freedom" is that?

I've lived in rural, urban, and suburban areas, in all different regions of the country, and not once in my 46 years of life have I ever felt the need to carry a gun. Pepper spray? Sure, just in case. Self-defense knowledge? Absolutely. A loaded handgun? No. A loaded handgun sticking out of my pants so everyone knows I have it? Crimony, no.

And now we have states like Texas making it legal for people to carry guns without even having to have a license or permit. That means no background checks. No gun safety education. No training to assure that a person knows how to handle a firearm or screening to make sure that they aren't a homicidal maniac. It's pure madness.

People say that the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution are what make America great, and that's true for the most part. But I would argue that the way some Americans choose to exercise their second amendment right does just the opposite. Imagine someone touting their first amendment right while standing on a street corner yelling, "I think every person I see might be out to kill me, and I don't care about the safety or comfort of other people! Yay, America!" Seems pretty kooky, right? I see no difference between that and a person packing heat to pick up some Ben & Jerry's.

Freedom that feels like fear isn't true freedom, and wearing a gun in a grocery store feels like nothing but fear to me. If you have to carry a gun everywhere you go, you're not free, no matter how much you talk about your constitutional rights.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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