“Parents are feeling compelled to send… their first grade children to school with bulletproof backpack plates.”

My girlfriend teaches first grade. And I think on Wednesday she told me about a co-worker, a fellow first grade teacher, who got an email from a parent of a first grade child. The parent was not upset, nothing really, it was a very matter-of-fact email. And she just wanted the first grade teacher to know that she'd sent her child to school with a backpack that had a bulletproof plate inserted in the backpack. And she wrote to the teacher to the tell her that she had spoken with the child, that it's not something you're supposed to talk about much and it's no big deal. It's just like the shield that Captain America uses, and you know, she just wanted the teacher to be aware that's - that it existed. And I just can't piece together and verbalize how many wrong turns we had to have taken as a society to end up in a place where parents are feeling compelled to send their kids to school with - their first grade children to school with bulletproof backpack plates and casually telling their teacher about it as though it's normal, you know, to protect her child in case of the next mass shooting. I don't know.

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“All night, I could just hear the sirens.”

Note: There is language that is excluded in the transcript but not excluded in the audio. Last night was the - last night was the active shooter at MSU campus. I remember last night getting the alert on my phone at 8:30. My boyfriend turned on the police scanner, and we were listening to that until past midnight, so for close to four hours. Three dead, five critically injured. I haven't even, like, processed it, really. I live just down the road from MSU. All night, I could just hear the sirens, and I could hear the helicopters flying overhead. The shooter - I went to work today and the road that I take to work brought me down exactly the road that the shooter took to get away from MSU. I saw where he walked. I can't even imagine what those students are going through. I was so scared that the shooter would come to my apartment. I can't imagine what the students are going through. And obviously every school shooting is bad, but I've never been this close to one. You know, if I probably had my windows open last night, I probably would've been able to hear the shots and some screaming. I was literally on MSU campus like three hours before this happened. When my boyfriend got home from work, he wanted to take a walk, what if we had walked onto MSU campus? My boss's daughter was waiting at the bus station when it all happened. She's okay, but s***'s f***ing scary. And, you know, nothing's gonna happen of this. It's just gonna be another shooting in the books. "Thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers. Everybody needs thoughts and prayers." Well f*** that. We need f***ing change. We need to protect people. I - my family - I have always grown up around guns. You know, whether it was pellet guns or hunting rifles. My dad really likes to shoot skeet, so we shoot skeet every Easter. We go out in the field across from our house that we own and we just shoot skeet for the whole Easter celebration. So I'm not a stranger to guns. I have my CPL. But nobody in this country or any country should be able to buy an assault rifle, AK-47, whatever, nothing that could cause mass death. It should not be allowed to be for sale. They…

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“… It just keeps happening over and over again.”

One of my friends teaches at Oxford. Apparently my minion's brother's friend, little brother, survived both Oxford and now Michigan State. There's not enough therapy to fix that. I was in Virginia when Virginia Tech happened. I worked for the commission that overhauled the mental health laws afterwards. Got mental health parity, all that good stuff. I did that. That got into the ACA because of the work that I helped do. I'm tired. Tired of this. Tired of the insanity. Oxford was just barely a year ago. And I'm sure I have an entry for that somewhere buried in here. Where I remember when someone put into one of the work chats that there was a shooting at Oxford. The first thing I did was text him. And in that - it was the longest three minutes of my life, just waiting for a response, 'cause I just didn't know. And, you know, in those three minutes, I'm looking at the news, I'm looking for what happened. That was a very long three minutes. I don't know how much worse this could've been if it wasn't a handgun. But as the saying goes about gun control in this country, if 26 dead white kindergartners can't get people to do something, nothing will. And that's where we're at. That was the building where the majority of my classes were in. That's the school I graduated from. And that's not something - this is not something that it should be in the spotlight for. Not because of a tragedy. You know, another - more tragedies anyway. This should have never happened. Yet here we are, again. That was three days ago and that was the 63rd mass shooting this country has had this year. We're not even 63 days into the year, and for no reason. Absolutely no reason. And it just keeps happening over and over again, for absolutely no reason. And I don't know what to do. I don't know. What more can we do? After Sandy Hook, after Uvalde, after Columbine, Monterey Park, after all of these. After Virginia Tech, after San Bernardino, Parkland, just nothing. Nothing has changed. It's not getting better.

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“It was just me and her. We were dead silent.”

I’m not that political, but um, with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade on Friday, that really really really hit me hard. When, when I found out, I was in the car with my mom. We were driving to go to a museum only like 15 minutes away. So we were -- we had just gotten in the car and we were on the expressway. We had just gotten breakfast, and she changed the radio station, and it said that it was overturned, and it was dead silent in the car. It was just me and her. We were dead silent. And then she was, like, swearing and yelling at the radio, like she was really really mad, and I was just sitting there, like, I was about to start crying. And we barely talked to each other for the rest of the ride to the museum. And I was just, after that, I was just kinda messed up for the rest of the day. Like I didn’t know what to do or what to say, and it just kinda felt like I was so sad, but like, I didn’t know what to do. And that night, I cried myself to sleep. I mean, cried myself to sleep. I have never cried myself to sleep -- like I probably have, I’m probably just being overdramatic -- but I, I was just laying in my bed, and I was trying to distract myself by doing other things, and I couldn’t. I was just sobbing. And I would go on like TikTok to distract myself, and it wouldn’t distract me because all I’d see on there was protests, and other people crying, and other people being super pissed about what’s happening, and, for me, I’m 15 years old, turning 16 in like a week. There really isn’t anything I can do, and since I don’t have my driver’s license, and most people I’m friends with don’t have driver’s licenses, I can’t really -- it’s not like I can go to protests or anything, so I can’t really do anything. I feel so helpless. And so useless. Like, I can’t vote on it being on the ballot, I can’t do -- I can’t put like signatures so then it can be on the ballot in November, but I mean, I’m getting my whole family to do it. Whenever we see people um…

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“It would take more than a third of my yearly income to just have the kid.”

Just thinking about how many times in my life my period has been six to eight weeks late, even when I was on birth control keeping -- trying to keep it regular. And not to mention, you know, pregnancies that need to be ended because of health issues. Not to mention it's just, you know, a way to keep women and families poor. And just like the cycle of abuse of people that know they shouldn't be moms or can't be moms or can't be dads for whatever reason, if they're just not mature enough or don't have the financial means or, you know, they've had their own trauma that they've never dealt with and then they just pass it along to kids and just create this cycle. And it just, it's just really disappointing. And it just really bums me out that people that like are so pro-life or you know count this as a victory, that they just, like, don't care about women's health services in general, about keeping Planned Parenthood funded, about keeping medical expenses for women at an affordable price, which they absolutely are not. You know, if I got pregnant this year, it would take almost -- it would take more than a third of my yearly income to just have the kid for the one year or nine months, you know, of medical expenses. And, I don't know, it's just, yeah, why are these people that are so pro-life so, like, against sex education and keeping people safe and keeping people informed and giving them the opportunity to make sure that accidents don't happen? I don't know. So it's just -- it really feels like, yeah, it just really feels like an attack on women's freedoms. And it's just sad to see.

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“You’re not a human anymore … you are a potential vessel for a potential baby.”

Note: Some language has been edited out of the transcript that is not edited out in the audio. This week has been kinda hard. The news with you know the Supreme Court unraveling our rights as we sit idly by has been difficult. I am very scared for what comes next. Already I have friends who, like, take medications for, like, rheumatoid arthritis and I think the other one’s for anxiety or something and their doctor says that they have to take them off those medications because those medications can be used as, like, they can induce abortions. And it’s just like, it’s really horrifying, like, my one friend, she uses this medicine to prevent her being in pain all the time, and they’re saying, “Because you have a uterus, and there’s a possibility you could get pregnant, and this medicine would mess with that, you can no longer take this medicine. It’s not a choice.” Like, that’s some disgusting s*** right there, ‘cause I bet you the men taking that medicine aren’t having to go off that medicine, so it’s like, “You’re not a human anymore that has like pain that needs to be managed. You are a potential vessel for a potential baby.” And that person’s not even married, you know like, she has no plans to be pregnant, it’s just, it’s really beyond disturbing, and I’m worried for my -- for my gay friends and I’m worried for me about like not having birth control options, and it’s just. Yeah, I really am almost numb from like I don’t know the shock of it and not knowing what to do with that.

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“There’s scars that can get ignored both ways.”

I guess that brings me to say like you feel like you have to align yourself with one side or the other, and, to be honest, with the abortion issue I really don’t. I would say I for sure lean more towards the side of being pro-life. That would be the sentiment I carry for myself, like for my own self I don’t believe abortion is right. I know if I were put in that position, even regardless of the circumstances, it would be better for me not to have that procedure because I would carry the guilt with me for the rest of my life, and I’m pretty sure it might as, like I might as well, in a sense, be dead myself. I would feel tremendous guilt, so I know for me that would never be the right choice regardless of the circumstances. I also like could not recommend it to a friend or someone that asked my advice explicitly on the issue because I think one thing that they’re maybe not talking about enough is that I think people would leave this procedure having the abortion, I think they could easily leave it with very deep emotional scars, and maybe it’s a healthcare right, maybe not, but I think maybe we’re overlooking like, “What could be the consequences of this?” ‘Cause we’re focused so much on “It’s, it’s my right to do what I want.” And I mean going the other way you could say like, “Oh, we’re so focused on saving the life of the unborn baby,” which I believe that’s important, but then we’re ignoring the scars of like maybe the woman didn’t wanna have the baby. There’s scars that can get ignored both ways. I just feel like lately it’s been we’re favoring like, “It’s too scarring for me not to get to do what I want, so like we should make abortion pretty easily accessible,” and we’re not focusing on like some people could be really affected by this lifelong and they might not ever be the same again. That can be a tremendous scar, in and of itself I think. I can’t say too much ‘cause I’ve never been in that position, but yeah. To be honest I think the court’s decision was a decent compromise, unlike some people I know that are really pro-life, I think it’s best that we do…

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“The right to life does not necessarily outweigh the right to bodily autonomy.”

Note: Some language has been edited out of the transcript that is not edited out in the audio. Most prominently, I guess, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision in Roe versus Wade, and abortion is no longer a guaranteed right. And this seems to me at the very least, like, nothing more than license for the state to control women's bodies. And I mean this one I've at least seen coming for the past couple months, you know, I mean, there was the draft opinion that was leaked. But it is still horrible. I mean, a large portion of the US population -- I shouldn't even have just said women because it's just anyone who can get pregnant -- not to mention that this will, of course, disproportionately impact poor people, black people, any person of color, really. I'm probably missing a few other important marginalized groups who, I mean, members of the LGBT community who are often at much more risk of being victims of sexual violence, right? Like I mean, all of these people are disproportionately, you know, in need of access to abortion care and will be, you know, disproportionately limited in their ability to obtain abortion care, especially members of the trans community who are already fighting and struggling for, um, access to healthcare generally, much less abortion. And like I've always understood the anxiety of like pro-life people. Like, if you take seriously the idea that fetuses are people deserving of moral consideration, then it makes sense to be concerned about the taking of the life of a fetus. But, there is so much more at play than just that. There are health risks to the mother, and I honestly think like no matter if you think the fetus has the right to life, the mother definitely has the right to life as well, as well as the right to bodily autonomy. And, I mean there are a couple essays I read, especially Judas Jarvis Thompson's, the essay in defense of abortion from I think this paper was from like the 70s. But she argues that even with another human being fully developed, the right to life does not necessarily outweigh the right to bodily autonomy because of the physical impacts and the sacrifices you have to make in order to, in order to go through a pregnancy. Thus the right -- or just…

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“It’s just very heavy on our minds right now.”

Rather than just share memes and complain about it, I did go and order, even before this came out but just when it was kind of threatened. Well, we knew ‘cause of the draft, I ordered a petition sheet. And so I've collected some signatures and I'm gonna send that back just to get this on the ballot in Michigan ‘cause at the end of the day if it's our decision as a state, I would like it to be the current people's decision, not people from, you know, 1931 or the 50s or the 60s. Like put it before your current people, where I do feel like in the state it would overwhelmingly pass because I know several people who are super conservative who still believe it should be their right to choose. So I'm very excited that it doesn't appear to be such a partisan issue and that it's more of people are recognizing this is about our rights as women. And maybe I'm sharing this information and the person listening is not happy with that. I'm so sorry. I'm not trying to offend anyone. I just, I don't wanna make any decision for anyone. I would hate to be put in that position. I've never had to be put in that position. The only miscarriage I've ever had didn't require intervention of any kind. But I just don't wanna make a decision for someone else and I want me and my husband to be able to make the right decision for us, and, and we do want a baby. We want one really soon, but who's to say? You know, you just -- there's so many situations that you don't know you'll be put into and I don't want to be relegated to my life being threatened or carrying the life of a baby that, or not carrying the life, carrying a baby who's not going to have a life or is gonna be harmful to deliver because there's something so wrong with their physical structure. I mean, there's just so many situations, and so I'm really -- I'm trying to just be positive that we can mobilize and do exactly what we have the power to do. But it's, it's very heavy on my mind and I'm thankfully married to someone who, he saw it before I did because I was just very busy at work,…

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“The story kind of begins now, right?”

Note: Some language has been edited out of the transcript that is not edited out in the audio. Did end up finding a number of organizations to donate to. ACLU, of course, they're, they're kind of a standby for these types of issues, individual liberty and freedom types of issues. So yeah, put through some money towards the ACLU Charter of Michigan, or ACLU section in Michigan. Found this one called Midwest Access to Abortion. I believe that's what it was called, based out of Chicago, Midwest Access to Abortion. And they, despite being based out of Chicago, they, they had a map on their website that showed all the Midwest states the conventional Midwest states, you know, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and they counted North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois. I'm striking out about whether they covered Nebraska or not. I think they did. It was like the census definition of the Midwest. But anyways, so their goal is to, they don't provide direct financial support to the, for the medical procedure for abortion, but they are logistics people. And so they, I heard, first heard about them like a month or two ago when the memo leaked, and I'm not sure what their training or purpose was before that, but, you know, if someone doesn't have access to, what's it called, plan C? If someone doesn't have access to plan C, travel is gonna be their move. And so that's what this organization exists to do. Threw some money to them based out of Chicago, Midwest Access to Abortion. I might be slightly misremembering the name. I mean it's, the story kind of begins now, right? What's gonna happen in this new version of, of the country, you know, not to make it too grand of a statement, but like this is, this is gonna f*** a lot of things up, I think. A lot of plans that people had, and plans that didn't, people didn't have. The plan A, the plan B, the plan C is one way I heard it, saw it explained today. Oh, that was the other one. It was a “I need an A, dot org” was one of the key websites that I saw these funds pointing people towards when they need help so. “I need an A, dot org.”

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