Editorial Blog
12/12/2018
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     Since it has taken office, the Trump administration has been in crisis mode, either self-induced or brought on by the terrible side-effects of a volatile climate which has produced some of the most severe natural disasters we have seen. The task of leading and healing a country after crisis strikes is never easy. The task becomes even more difficult when the rate and scale of crises have become too many to hold on to and deal with. Recently, we have been constantly bombarded with news about situations that seem to require our full attention. As a country, most of us live full lives that cannot be dedicated to the many issues that affect the country. We look toward our leaders to take care of the issues and bring us back from the edge. The reason why people are now feeling angry and distraught is because of that lack of rational response to complex issues from the leader of our country. President Trump does not perform well in one of his most important duties as President, to protect and heal the nation, in a world which continues to show it is without a stable direction.

     There is one thing that is going for Trump, which is that the economy is doing well. Now, we have the lowest unemployment rate we have seen in 50 years. This is not disputable. However, Trump is not president of just the economy; he is the president of our country and all that comes with it. Even with Trump becoming the face of the high note that the economy is holding, he still holds dismal approval ratings and for good reason. Trump lacks thought-out, rational responses to situations like the opioid epidemic, the migrants from Central America, mass shootings and even Hurricane Maria. The responses, or sometimes lack thereof, to these situations has made some Americans unhappy with Trump’s overall job.

     The migrants, who have traveled thousands of miles to come to the United States, have been severely mistreated. I am not going to debate whether or not the best solution for them or our country is to just completely open our border without supervision. I am going to say, however, that we should be treating them as people and with a respect and understanding of the issues that have plagued them. The US military at the border shot tear gas at the migrants after they tried going around the barricaded port-of-entry, which included women and children. This type of response shows that President Trump is not thinking about the blowback of his actions. This lack of calculation is a severe danger to the country and will continue to grow as he continues to mistreat the migrants.

     The mass shootings that are tearing at the fabric of our minds are not Trump’s fault. They are, however, his responsibility to try to help prevent. For two years, he has had control over both of houses of Congress. In those two years, the Las Vegas Massacre, the Stoneman Douglas shooting and the Santa Fe High School shooting have occurred. There have been multiple calls to address the issue. To most of these calls, Trump has remained silent in front of an angry, tired people who do not want to keep reliving the same tragedy. Trump could be the one, if he works with the newly Democratic House of Representatives, to do something meaningful when it comes to mass shootings. However, the odds are slim due to his lack of interest so far and his disdain for bipartisanship.

     Hurricane Maria is his most egregious ignorance of power that Trump has demonstrated. Hurricane Maria, which leveled much of the Caribbean and battered Florida, was the third hurricane to cause problems during Trump’s administration. The first storm was Hurricane Harvey, which submerged Texas. The second storm was Hurricane Irma, which devastated parts of Florida. The response we saw in face of the destruction in Texas and Florida was much better than the response to the destruction we saw in Puerto Rico. In fact, the amount of aid workers in Puerto Rico, ten thousand, nine days after the storm was only a third of the workers in Houston, thirty thousand. Tarps, a vital part of post-hurricane damage control, were also lacking in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico received 5,000 in the first nine days, Florida received 98,000 and Texas received 20,000. This lack of support and meeting the resources that Puerto Rico needed was the reason for a morbidly high death toll. According to George Washington University, the death toll was near three thousand. Trump, however, instead of accepting this death toll and trying to make up for the terrible logistics of moving aid to an island and the past issues his administration has caused, has repeatedly thrown the death toll into doubt and praised himself. This is ignorance at the highest level. A president should know when to admit to his own when he is wrong and to make right what he did wrong.

     Trump, as well as his entire administration, have made an art of responding to situations inhumanely and ignorantly. This truly is not about the policy or the fact that Trump is a self-proclaimed conservative. Trump, unlike many of his conservative and liberal predecessors alike, has thrown the whole role of the President’s office out the window. He has not responded with class to situations that require it. A president’s response to dire situations like natural disasters or to emotionally heavy ones like mass shootings and immigration make all the difference. Trump’s responses have made a difference, but a negative one. President Trump must learn to respond to these challenging situations in order to better protect and heal the nation.

12/12/2018
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All too many people prefer to ignore the serious issues when the holiday season comes around. For the most part, they are able to, with most of the topics that are mainstays in our news cycles fading away when we enjoy the holidays with our families. One issue that cannot seem to fade away though, no matter how far we try to push it of our minds, is gun control. The reason why gun control cannot seem to leave the American conscience is because the argument for gun control is growing stronger and stronger.

      This past November alone, 55 people died in mass shooting events. These events, which are much smaller, usually only account for two or three people dead, with more injured. However, major mass shootings, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, which killed 49 people, or the Parkland school shooting on February 14, 2018, which ended in 17 deaths, still contribute to this number and are way too common to be able to sit idly. According to Vox on Dec. 3, small or big, there have been 1,913 mass shootings since the mass shooting in Sandy Hook on Dec. 14, 2012.

      As a country, we have some of the most lax gun laws in the world. We make up only five percent of the world’s population, yet control forty-five percent of the world’s privately owned firearms. Out of the 251,000 gun deaths per year, six individual countries, including ours, make up 50.5 percent of the violence, with the United States accounting for a hefty 14.8 percent. The other five countries, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala and Mexico, have recently had weak governments and economies that let cartel and gang behavior flourish. The United States is the strongest economy in the world and suffers less severe gang behavior than the other countries on the list. So, why are we on it? One of the reasons that we account for so much of the world’s gun deaths is due to our population size, but compare our rate to the rate of a similar country and the math just does not add up. Our rate of 10.6 gun deaths per 100,000 people is astronomical compared to Canada’s 2.1, Germany’s .9 or Japan’s 0.2.

      There is a problem with this. We recognize it. Yet, we do not do anything about it. As former President Barack Obama said at the memorial for Sandy Hook in 2012, “We cannot tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.” That statement, especially on  the sixth anniversary of Sandy Hook, is still as true now as it was then. As a nation, we have done little to none in the face of constant tragedy besides console victims. These victims would rather be the last victims instead of the continuation of a deadly, unnecessary trend.

      Another hard truth to face is that tragedies have been happening more frequently and with greater death tolls as the monsters that perpetrate them feel emboldened by a lack of accountability. The deadliest mass shooting in our history, the Las Vegas massacre, happened on October 2017, with 58 dead and over 400 injured. The second most deadly shooting, the Pulse nightclub massacre, happened little over a year earlier in June 2016, killing 49 people. In addition to it being the six-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, it is also the ten month anniversary of Parkland, which happened on Feb. 14, when a former student shot and killed 17 people.

      The call to act has been ringing for six years now, and we owe it to the victims to respond.

      We can look to other nations similar to ours for solutions. Australia, after a terrible massacre in 1996 where thirty-five people were killed and twenty-three left injured, acted to try and prevent tragedy from happening again. The government banned the ownership of certain firearms like semi-automatic rifles and shotguns within two weeks of the shooting. They also instituted a mandatory buyback program, where the Australian government bought back banned firearms from people who owned them under legal threat. After these quick measures, Australia went from having 11 mass shootings within 10 years of the 1996 massacre to just one in 2014 with a family of five falling victim to murder-suicide. This is a sharp decrease in a country which was headed down a similar path to the United States. As a country that has had over a thousand mass shootings since 2012 that have ranged from huge losses of life like Australia’s 1996 shooting to the smaller ones like Australia’s 2014 mass shooting, we need to get on board quickly. According to Quartz, Americans privately own 89 to 100 guns per 100 people, the highest in the world. It is no coincidence that we also have the highest share of mass shooters in the world.

      Australia, a little over two decades ago, said enough is enough. They greatly reduced the amount of tragedies that they have to face as a country by using gun control. Did it come at a cost of the personal initiative to own certain types of guns? Did it come at a cost of a person’s right to “bear arms?” Definitely, but Australia saved having to go through constant, devastating tragedies like the United States has. They knew what was more important. It is time to go back to that call from former President Barack Obama to change. It is time to honor the victims of Sandy Hook as it passes its six year anniversary. In the nine months since Parkland, we have done nothing yet again. We must honor them as well. Time is up to pray for it to stop. We have to make it stop; we must force our legislators to listen to our call for gun control. The time is now.

12/12/2018
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    Throughout my entire high school career, I have heard the same advice from Mr. Shepler what seems like a thousand times, “don’t be a 7:20 to 2:45 student.” And he is absolutely right. A lot of people I know either go home and play video games or go to a job that they do not like, while I spend most of my time at school. Participation in after school activities has been critical to who I am today because of the valuable time management skills that I have developed through my involvement in co curricular and extra curricular activities.

    Between my time doing sports, working with my TV class and Boy Scouts, I am always busy. I feel that a lot of people do not take advantage of the opportunities available here at the school. We have so many clubs and sports that people can join and gain valuable experiences from. Not only that, but it is also a great way to socialize and make new friends.

    You do not want to be the person at the 20-year high school reunion who people cannot recall a single thing that they did outside of the classroom during high school. Find something that you might like: take your interests from your home life and see if there is a club for it. For example, I liked to make home movies, so I signed up for the TV class. BOOM! After School activity. I thought bowling was fun, so I tried out for the bowling team. BOOM! After School activity.

    Get out there, people! These four years are supposed to be the most exciting years of your lives, enjoy them! To all of you 7:20 to 2:45 students, shake it up a little bit.
 

12/12/2018
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It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the injustices black people in America face. Black Americans feel that they are targets for aggression because of the way that they are perceived. The stigma surrounding black Americans is that they are violent and dangerous to be around.

This stereotype has been around for centuries, since black men and women were originally brought to this country for the sole purpose of serving its residence as slaves 300 years ago. The Emancipation Proclamation, which was supposed to end slavery, was put into effect 155 years ago. After the Emancipation Proclamation, southerners needed a new way to cripple black Americans. They did so with movies and other propaganda branding the black American as a savage criminal. That was 155 years ago, and we still cannot shake free of the shackles that they placed on us then.

The way in which they labeled us then has put black Americans at risk to be shot first and questioned later in critical situations. In the month of November alone, two innocent black Americans were shot and killed by police during situations of an active shooter when neither of them were the shooter and both were actually trying to help.

Jemel Roberson, a security guard working the night shift at a bar in Chicago, was shot and killed when police mistook him for the active shooter that they were responding to. Roberson had pinned the shooter to the ground and was holding him for the police when the police arrived to the scene and shot Roberson instead. It was reported that Roberson was working the shift to get extra money for his 9-month-old son’s first Christmas, but the police did not see him as someone who could have been a father, but as someone who was a suspect.

On Thanksgiving night, Emantic Bradford, a former Army recruit, was shot and killed after an altercation broke out in the mall and police were called. Bradford was reported to have been trying to help get bystanders safely out of the situation. The police did not see him as a former Army recruit or a son, but as a potential suspect. In both of these instances, it had been revealed that neither man was given a verbal warning to stop what they were doing before being shot. The police saw a black man in the situation and assumed they had their man. They did not think there could be a good black man with a gun. Both of these situations could have been resolved by taking both men in for questioning so they could set the record straight and be set free.

Although police brutality is part of the issue, it is not the only issue. We live in a country where there is a law in Florida known as the “stand your ground” law that openly allows one person to kill another if they “feared for their life” and can prove it. This law allowed George Zimmerman to take the life of a 17-year-old boy named Trayvon Martin simply because Zimmerman “feared for his life” against Martin. On Feb. 26th, 2012 Zimmerman thought Martin was committing a crime, so Zimmerman pursued Trayvon, despite being told not to by the police dispatch. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon. Despite having no proof that Trayvon was committing a crime or carrying a weapon, Zimmerman was acquitted of the crime. In August, the law came back into the limelight when Markies McGlockton, a black resident of Florida, was shot and killed by Michael Drejka. Drejka approached McGlockton’s vehicle, with his wife and kids in the car, and argued with them about them parking in the wrong location. McGlockton shoved Drejka to the ground and began to back up afterwards, but Drejka still pulled out his firearm and shot and killed McGlockton.

These two instances brought up the discussion if this law is racially different. The statistics of the law show that when the crime is white-on-white, courts see it as justifiable 11 percent of the time and when the crime is black-on-black, the crime was seen as justifiable 8 percent of the time. When the crime was a white shooter and black victim, it was seen as justifiable 34 percent of the time, and when the shooter is black and the victim is white, it is seen as justifiable 3 percent of the time. What one could take from that is that the courts are saying is that it is more believable that a black person could be more threatening to a life than a white person. Former Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum said in a tweet, “We all know that, based on the color of my skin, I present a certain threat. A certain level of threat that might cause someone to have the power to snuff out my life or my children’s life.” Gillum was trying to show how absurd it is that someone could think that they can judge if another person is a threat based on the pigment of their skin.

Black Americans are often seen as a threat or as criminals. What really happens, according to the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), is that black people are incarcerated five times more often than white people convicted of the same crime. And of those people incarcerated, they are sentenced to 20 percent more time in jail than white people who are incarcerated for the same crime. In fact, 47 percent of the people, who have been proven to be wrongly convicted of a crime are black.

A lot of people at fault for making these mistakes do not realize they are labeling or stereotyping others. From a young age, Americans see black Americans being criminalized. This creates a subconscious thought in people that makes them see black Americans in a certain way. It is a cycle that has been going on for years that we, as a nation, need to look at and do something about. We need to begin showing black Americans in a more positive light for all the good that they do. Black Americans are not criminals, despite how they are portrayed. They are well involved with their community, they are mothers and fathers, they are doctors, they are lawyers. They are much more than what they are shown as. We can make the next generation less bias.

10/4/2018
By:

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     On Sep. 8, 2018, the final match of the Women’s Single division in the US open took place between famed United States tennis star, Serena Williams, and up and coming Japanese newcomer, Naomi Osaka. This match was an intense game with both players playing well, but Osaka taking the lead, in terms of points, against Williams. During the match, Carlos Ramos, the referee for the game, gave Williams a warning after seeing Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, attempt to coach Williams during a game. While coaching during a game is against the rules, penalties are seldom given out for it.  This caused Williams to start to get upset. After disputing the warning, Williams threw her tennis racket to the ground during an argument with Ramos and called the referee a “thief.” This resulted in Williams getting a second and third warning, causing a game to be taken away from her, destroying her hopes of winning.

      After this event, controversy arose as to if Williams was in the right or the wrong. A few days after the match, Mark Knight, an Australian artist, drew a comic for the Herald Sun about the Serena Williams debate. Immediately after being published, this comic received heavy backlash because of its racist depiction of Williams. Williams was drawn as a stereotypical large black woman, reminiscent of racist black caricatures commonly seen in the early to mid 1900’s. This was not the only part of the comic criticized. In the background of Knight’s comic, Osaka is portrayed as a white woman with blonde hair, despite Osaka being half Haitian and half Japanese.

      In this issue’s Picture This, I have drawn a comic that attempts to more accurately represent not only the events of the match, but also the people involved.