Twice as many American children die from gun violence as police officers and soldiers combined.

If someone can make these statistics makes sense, please do so. Because damn, America.

A study out of Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine has revealed a sobering truth about America and guns. Gun deaths among children rose dramatically between 2013 and 2017, in what researchers are calling an epidemic. In the U.S., children are killed by gunfire at rates six to nine times higher than in other developed nations.

As terrible as those stats are, this is the one that should give us all pause: In 2017, 144 American police officers and about 1,000 active duty U.S. military personnel were killed in the line of duty worldwide. In the same year, 2,462 American schoolchildren were killed by guns.


In other words, twice as many of our children were killed by gunfire than our police officers and soldiers in 2017. Twice as many innocent kids were shot and killed in the U.S. than the people whose professions are defined by willingly standing in the line of fire.

The only way to swallow those stats is to point out that there are a lot more children in the U.S. than police officers and soldiers. But we're talking about children being shot here. Every sworn protector signs up for that danger. Not a single child does.

This is the kind of statistic that makes the rest of the world look at America like we’re out of our everlovin’ minds.

How on Earth can the U.S. try to claim greatness when we don't live in a war zone and yet lose thousands of our children a year to gunfire? Because make no mistake—the U.S. is a complete outlier in this way. Children in other developed nations don't do regular active shooter drills. They don't have toddlers shooting people on a weekly basis. They don't have more children being shot and killed than police officers and soldiers in a year. They just don't.

There’s no way to make this statistic make sense other than to admit that there’s something very, very wrong with our country’s relationship with guns.

Seriously, America. This is not normal.

Finding solutions to our gun problem is not simple, but the first step is admitting we actually have a problem.

Having engaged in countless discussions on this topic, I'm well aware of the complexity of finding solutions to our gun violence problem. But what strikes me most in these conversations is how many people don't seem to feel that we even have a problem.

Perhaps we've become so accustomed to gun deaths that we think it's somewhat normal. But the lifetime risk for Americans to die from gun violence is greater than drowning, fire and smoke, stabbing, choking on food, airplane crashes, animal attacks, and natural disasters combined. That's not normal.

Or rather, that's only normal in America. And our understanding of this fact is super skewed. Our government has tried to scare us into believing that terrorists from the Middle East are a huge threat to our safety and security, even banning all travelers from certain countries in the name of that threat. And yet our chances of being killed by an accidental gunshot—not murder, not suicide, but being shot by accident—is almost five times greater than being killed by a foreign-born terrorist.

We are willing to ban entire groups of people, but God forbid we place any restrictions on inanimate objects that statistically pose a much greater threat to our safety and security. How does that even make sense?

We can't keep doing nothing unless we're willing to accept dead children as collateral damage.

It is entirely possible to respect Americans' constitutional right to own guns and also support reasonable gun legislation. Most gun owners I know support legislative measures to at least attempt to mitigate our gun death numbers. In a country with as many guns as people, figuring out what those measures should be is a serious challenge, but it's not impossible.

There are many countries around the world where people own guns without anywhere near our gun death rates. We can figure this out, as long as we're all in agreement that something has to give. Because the alternative—pretending all of this is normal and doing nothing—is unacceptable in the face of these statistics. Our children deserve to live in a country that undeniably values them more than guns. And right now, that is not the message we're sending.

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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.

Planet

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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