This article originally appeared on 09.06.17
Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"
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As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where people living their lives are referred to as 'soft targets.'
On the Fourth of July, a gunman opened fire at a parade in quaint Highland Park, Illinois, killing at least six people, injuring dozens and traumatizing (once again) an entire nation.
My family member who was at the parade was able to flee to safety, but the trauma of what she experienced will linger. For the toddler with the blood-soaked sock, carried to safety by a stranger after being pulled from under his father's bullet-torn body, life will never be the same.
There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:
"Way to create more soft targets."
Soft targets. That phrase gets me every time.
As far as I know, there are only two places in the world where children in school or people gathering for enjoyment are referred to as "soft targets"—active war zones and the United States of America.
Never in a million years would I think to use the words "soft targets" to refer to schoolchildren—or parade-goers, or people enjoying a live concert, or grocery shoppers or people in a bible study. I wouldn't even use the term "unarmed civilians" unless I were in the military and actively involved in a military operation.
They're not targets, they're people. People just living life.
That's what freedom is supposed to be, isn't it? The ability to just live life?
Instead, we are being held hostage by a militarized monster of our own making, one that says the answer to America's gun violence is more guns. (The irony, of course, being the fact that we already have more guns than people.) We see it in the weird worshipping of weapons, the Christmas cards with the whole family carrying, the bizarre fetish with one interpretation of one constitutional amendment to the exclusion of all others. It's in the language being used not only in reference to guns, but in reference to people just going about their daily lives—that is, "soft targets."
The truth is we should be "soft targets." No, really. That's what freedom is. We should be able to go to school and the store and our houses of worship without fear of being shot. We should be able to peaceably assemble per our First Amendment right without being scattered and shattered by gunfire.
We shouldn't feel the need to arm ourselves simply to go about our daily lives. Feeling compelled to carry a gun at all times isn't freedom. Living like we're living right now, with mass shootings on the regular, isn't freedom. And adding more guns won't make us more free. It won't. It hasn't.
If the Highland Park parade shooting proved anything, it's that even an event with a police presence in an idyllic, upscale, objectively "safe" suburb isn't safe from mass gun violence. There were good guys with guns there. There were good guys with guns in Uvalde, too. There were good guys with guns in Buffalo. So many good guys with guns. And yet, here we are.
It's time to look in the mirror and recognize how ridiculous we've become. Other civilized nations don't refer to children as "soft targets." They just don't. While we're debating whether the U.S. is a gun violence outlier because of doors or video games or mental illness, which the rest of the world has as well, our peers in other developed countries live their daily lives with freedom that we do not have—the freedom to gather without worrying that a whack job with a weapon of war is going to open fire, the freedom to go to school without rehearsing for a mass shooting event, the freedom to not ever think about carrying a gun to defend themselves against other guns.
Gun violence can happen anywhere, yes. But it happens far, far more often here than in other developed nations. There's a reason for that. Perhaps when we finally accept that our culture's dysfunctional relationship with guns is the problem, the idea of referring to people simply living their lives as "soft targets" will be as disturbing here as it is everywhere else.
Lynch is part of a growing crowd of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.
At first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.
Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
The bride-to-be’s video quickly went viral, racking up 2.6 million views. People were floored that Lynch was able to find such a huge deal on a dress that seemed to be made just for her.
so happy with all these finds 🤍♬ original sound - Jillian
“Honestly, brides pay 1000s of dollars to look that good in a white slip dress like that, I think you’re rocking it & it’s perfect,” complimented one person.
OK, maybe it did cost her a little more than $3.75. In an interview with Insider, Lynch disclosed that she did make some customizations based on suggestions from the comments—”elevating” the gown with nonadjustable shoulder straps, taking in the waist and adding a “demure” bit of lace to the front slit.
Altogether, those alterations totaled out to $110. Add to that some $8 shoes (also thrifted, of course) and Lynch still created an entire wedding look for only $113.75. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a steal.
Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money. And she might be better off for it. Research has shown that when it comes to creating happy long-lasting marriages, frugality oftens beats extravagance. With the average wedding cost at around $19,000, and the average wedding dress costing $1800, it certainly makes sense. Weddings are supposed to be fun, celebratory and joyous. It can be hard to feel any of those things when financial stress is involved. Who would want to start off a (hopefully) lifelong partnership that way? Save that money for the honeymoon, I say! Or the gas station!
Still, Lynch didn’t say no to every wedding tradition. As she walked down the aisle in her gorgeous discounted gown, looking like a Grecian goddess, her father walked right alongside her. "I could see how much it meant to him, and it actually ended up meaning a lot to me," she told Insider.
And perhaps most important of all—Lynch felt good in her own skin on her big day. "I don't think I've ever felt that great in something. That's what brides should feel on their wedding day, like they're at their peak beautiful self. That's exactly how I felt when I put it on."
It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to make lasting memories. And when you are able to show up for life’s big moments authentically, that feeling is priceless.