There are 7 states with official guns. But only one scares the hell out of me.

Let's be honest: the entire concept of "Official State Things" is kind of weird and arbitrary.

Don't get me wrong; it's great for bringing publicity to state exports and recognizing cultural contributions, so that's all good and well. Things like state tree and state bird are all pretty commonplace across the 50. 

But then there are a handful of states that have Official Crustaceans, for example. And of the 28 states with an Official State Beverage, 21 of them chose milk. Vermont is the only state with an Official State Flavor (maple, obviously). And in Arkansas, the ripe vine tomato is both the Official State Fruit and Vegetable.


FOR THE LAST TIME, THEY'RE FREAKING FRUITS, OK?! Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images.

There are also U.S. states with ​Official State Firearms.

On February 24, 2016, Tennessee became the latest state to join this gun-happy tradition, following in the illustrious tradition established by Utah, Arizona, Indiana, West Virginia, Alaska, and Pennsylvania before them.

But there's something about Tennessee's Official State Gun doesn't quite fit in with the rest of them...

Let's take a look, and see if you can figure out the difference.

Photo by Karen Bleier/Getty Images.

1. Utah

Utah was the first state to declare an Official Gun, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Browning M1911 pistol, which was originally designed by John Browning of Ogden, Utah — where the gun is still manufactured to this day.

100 years old? Local pride? Probably a little bit of economic stimulation? That's not so different than any other Official State Something. 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

2. Arizona

Arizona joined the Official Gun party one month later in April 2011 with the Colt Single Action Army Revolver. Also known as the Colt .45 or "the gun that won the west," it was favored by frontier heroes like Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Wild Bill Hickok — which also makes it kind of insensitive to the local Native American population. 

But hey, it's been around since 1873 (even though it was invented in New England), so it gets a reluctant pass.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

3. Indiana

Indiana followed one year later in March 2012 with the Grouseland rifle, which dates back to sometime between 1803 and 1812. This gun was invented by John Small, who was the first sheriff of Knox County, Indiana, as well as the designer the official Indiana state seal. Also, there are only six known Grouseland rifles still in existence. (That means no photos, sorry!)

4. West Virginia

The Hall Model 1819 flintlock rifle was named the Official Gun of West Virginia in April 2013. Again, it was invented in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, and had nearly 200 years of pedigree and a lengthy stint in the U.S. Army before it earned Official State Gun status.

Photo from Antique Military Rifles/Flickr.

5. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania made the Pennsylvania long rifle their Official Gun in June 2014, even though it's also known as the Kentucky long rifle, which is a tad confusing. This muzzleloading gun was invented in the 1700s, and was pretty much the first new gun developed in colonial America, which means that when the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment, this is probably the gun they were thinking of. 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

6. Alaska

Alaska named the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 bolt-action sporting rifle as its Official State Gun in July 2014, to commemorate its role in helping Americans "establish a firm foothold" in the Alaskan frontier. Not quite as historic as some of the other Official State Guns on this last, but I'm willing to give it a pass because it's Alaska. (and also because the leftover scrap pieces from the Winchester factory were an integral part of my own childhood, which I swear is less concerning than it sounds.)

Photo from Wikimedia Commons. (Technically this is the post-1964 version, but you get the idea.)

7. And then there's Tennessee...which designated this monstrosity as its Official State Firearm.

"Haha, look at that pathetic woman struggling to handle that massive piece of non-phallic manly artillery, haha." — Those guys, probably. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The Barrett M82 is a .50 caliber semiautomatic sniper rifle that weighs about 30 pounds and can accurately deliver a bullet to a target more than a mile away. (although its maximum effective range is more like four miles. FOUR. MILES.)

It was invented by Tennessee resident (and NRA board member) Ronnie Barrett way way back in 1984, which I guess gives it some state-level relevance but are you serious with that thing?!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

There is literally no reason for a citizen to own a five-and-a-half-foot-long armor-piercing deathcannon like the Barrett M82 that can shoot a golfball-sized bullet through a tank from 50 football fields away.

No reason at all.

Are you really gonna pretend you need that thing to hunt a beaver or a bullfrog? Yeah OK.

Mexican Special Forces marching with M82s. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

That a weapon like this could not only be legal, but also celebrated by elected officials, speaks volumes about our nation's gun problem.

Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images.

The Barrett M82 been used in an average of two major U.S. crimes each year for the past 25 years — and yet remains completely unregulated at the federal level. (although there are some states where it is banned under other existing laws, such as barrel length.) 

So while 85% of the country already supports a ban on civilian sales of the Barrett M82, Tennessee just gave it a big publicity boost with its Official State Gunhood.

I realize that gun enthusiasts and gun control advocates often end up speaking past each other, using different words for the same thing and furthering frustrations on both sides. So while the invention of the Barrett M82 might sound like a victory for the 2nd Amendment, I hope we can all agree that Tennessee's announcement is a massive defeat for common sense.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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