Some might say I had better luck than someone born in the inner city. He does not stand a chance compared to me, to make it as far as I can, given our starting resources. That is completely untrue. Based on statistics, that may be true. To those who were born with less, do you want to be a statistic? Or do you want to rise above and create a better environment for your future, your children’s future? We create our own luck. We can work hard to help ourselves and help others, in turn creating a better environment for everyone. We should strive to thrive instead of striving to survive. In the process, do not screw over your fellow Americans while pursuing life, liberty, and equality–unless you want to perpetuate the society we live in. Kennedy asked what we could do for our country. It’s about time we answered.

            Though the topics of gun control and mental illness sparked this insight into American society, and thy shed light on a larger issue. That issue is that we as a society are not doing enough for each other. Firearms are not going away. We need to change the way we view them, to not only show the younger generations, but also ourselves how they can be used for sport and for good as a deterrent against evil. We need to remove the stigma around mental illness and accept it as an issue that affects a wide range of people. Ask a stranger how they’re doing. Be that guy in the middle of Times Square with the “free hugs” sign. That’s all it takes, a little compassion and an effort towards showing each other that we are equal and that life is worth living. Even people with schizophrenia can become highly functioning members of society with the right treatment. The problem lies within us. The problem lies within the murderers, thieves, rapists, and other criminals that give in to their own selfish desires for their own benefit. If we can look inside and deny our own selfish desires, we can stop producing these types of people. A few will slip through the cracks; this is inevitable. Nothing will change in our lifetime. If you want real change in your own community, change for the future, there is a way. Follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you expect to be treated. Be a man for others. While these are Christian values, it is not necessarily part of being Christian. It is part of being human.

            Surprisingly, my final thought to leave you with comes from Frank Costello, Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed(2006).


            “I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.”


            So America, do you want to be a product of your environment, or do you want your environment to be a product of you?