We need to put the death penalty to rest…again

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Art by Sam Haney

For many countries world wide the death penalty is not something inmates fear anymore. In the last 16 years the death penalty has been a true rarity. But now those numbers are going to see a tremendous rise.

President Donald Trump reinstated the federal level of capital punishment just a few days ago. In reversing the death penalty hiatus Trump has caused people to line up already to face their end. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) 62 people are on federal death role and approximately 2,600 for state death penalty. Although some see this as an eye for an eye, it appears to be more of an improper solution.

In seeing this punishment as an eye for an eye many forget a crucial part. The inmate’s backstory. In many cases details of abusive childhoods or other factors are thrown out the window and forgotten in a trial. For example, in 1994 a man named Scotty Morrow murdered his ex-girlfriend and other women. To no surprise he was sentenced to death row, but there are, of course, always complexities.

In Morrow’s case he was violently treated as a child and never received therapy or any form of mental health booster, leaving him unstable. In the 20 or so years he spent in prison he became a rehabilitated man and would have been released back into the world had it not been for his lethal injection. Many officers in the prison said he was the best behaved inmate and was one of the kindest people they had ever met.

Of course, Morrow is just an example of many other prisoners in the states. Had it not been for his death penalty he would have been free to go back into the world a changed person. In using these lethal punishments second chances of life are completely squandered.

In revamping the death penalty we are stooping to the level of serial killers or murderers. We are no longer fighting for justice and in the end doing exactly what the accused are. What makes us so much better than them?

Many supporters of the death penalty, like Trump, claim to be pro-life. If pro-lifers are fighting for an unborn life, then why are they trying to end one that is well on its way? Sure this life commited a crime but is one life not as precious as another? If an unborn life is worth as much as people draw it out to be then why is an inmate’s worth less? The simple answer is if the unborn life is precious, then so is the inmate’s.

As a society we should condemn this distasteful penalty and work towards better solutions. We in no way have authority to take the life of someone even though they took someone else’s. Rather than ending their lives we should try to turn their lives in the right direction. Morrow corrected himself but never saw the light of day again much like others charged with the death penalty. So what exactly stopping us from amending these prisoners’ lives? Nothing but our own laws.

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Confronting biases in schools

Written with the help of Greta Reel and Macey Staley

Despite the fact that it is 2019 and approximately 65 years after America’s Civil Rights movement, bias against people of color is still prevalent. This bias can occur in the workplace, on the streets and even in schools.

As the editors of the Bagpiper, the Hyphen, and Breaking Blue, we come from schools that vary in diversity. Yet racial bias that is both intentional and implicit happens daily at school. Racial bias can come in all forms. It can range from intentionally ignoring a student of color when working on a school project to the subconscious distrust of a person of color when walking down the street.   

Implicit bias occurs when the mind subconsciously discriminates against groups of people. Implicit bias is not always with malicious intent. This bias is often unintentional but is viewed in a derogatory way. Comments due to these conditions often lead to finger-pointing and hateful speech in return. 

Instead of fighting fire with fire, we should be utilizing tactics to inform and understand those impacted by their implicit bias. In a perfect world, these biases would not exist and we would not fear others who are different from us whether it be skin color, religion, or other key aspects of life.   

As the student body, we are in schools to learn and grow as people. With racism and other implicit biases, our growing minds come to a halt. Although it seems hopeless to combat these biases it isn’t. We need to acknowledge it. In understanding that our subconscious wrongs are in fact unhealthy, we can work towards a more collaborative future. 

For example, at Floyd Central High School in Floyd Knobs, Indiana, their student body has a diversity council ensuring people from each race in the school are heard. These students voice their concerns monthly to the principal, Rob Willman, and discuss possible racial matters at hand. In having councils like this in schools, administrations are opening doors to a more accepting and student-focused community. 

Another example is Jeffersonville High School (Jeff High,) which is located in Jeffersonville, Indiana. 2,044 students are enrolled in Jeff High, with minorities making up 44-percent of the student body. Jeff High is a fairly inclusive school and has clubs such as For The Culture where students of all races come together to discuss and combat racial issues when bias occurs, students and faculty are quick to acknowledge it and discuss it.

Students are not only the focus in their environments but also the future in our communities. If these implicit biases of racism and other negative factors continue into further generations then these issues will live on and most likely grow worse. We control the next steps to better the upcoming set of young adults. As the current upcoming generation of adults, we are the role models. The up and coming generations deserve a better and less biased world then we live in now. So let’s change the future for the better and educate ourselves on our implicit biases.

Landline

gh“I love you more than I hate everything else.”

Georgie McCool is an LA TV comedy tv show writer who loves her job and has everything she could ever want from it. Except for one thing; to have the show she’s been pitching for years become a reality. After a big-time meeting, it could all be real.

One problem, however. It’s the week of Christmas and Georgie plans to go to Omaha with her family for the holidays. After breaking the news to her husband, Neal, they fight and she is left alone for Christmas.

Throughout the book, Georgie struggles to pull her show together and save her marriage simultaneously. The big question is can she pull it off?

“Landline” was published by Rainbow Rowell in 2014. Rowell is known for her other bestsellers “Eleanor and Park” and “Fangirl” and generally writes young adult fiction. This novel like others of Rowell’s is it’s own little niche and readers can’t help but love it.

In “Landline” Rowell develops diverse characters who readers come to love. A personal favorite for myself throughout the story was Neal. Although Georgie portrays Seth as the hottie with the clothes and everything desirable, she falls for little ol Neal. Neal is the cute little animator for her college paper who she adores and from her description readers will adore him too. Neal is such a hero as he quite literally does everything for Georgie. He even becomes a stay-at-home dad for her and her career choice. Seth is another spectacularly written character. He is the shock of reality Georgie needs and is her best friend. Throughout the novel, Georgie throws so many little tidbits about Seth and as a reader you appreciate him more.

Although Rowell wrote strong characters and interactions, it did get dry at a few points. Mostly it was Georgie’s thought process when she was alone that made it bland. It would drag on for a few pages at a time sometimes and most of the time was verbatim to the last moment she had solitude and shared her thoughts. Although it was annoying it doesn’t shoot down the book as a whole that hard.

“Landline” is definitely a book for young adults who like small scale love stories and humor. After reading almost all of Rowell’s books that is definitely her niche and time after time it never gets old. With Rowell’s unique writing style her books are ones that need to be in readers’ hands or shelves. Be sure to pick up “Landlines” and give it a chance as you won’t be disappointed.

 

Yesterday

downloadThe Beatles. A name known across the world by millions of people of all ages. It’s impossible to imagine forgetting them and their iconic songs. But what if that was the case?

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a small town singer trying to break it into the big time. With the help of his sidekick manager Ellie (Lily James), they intend to get him there.

One normal night, Jack and the world experience a worldwide blackout. During the blackout, he’s hit by a bus and hospitalized. After leaving the hospital he plays “Yesterday” for his friends on his new guitar and they are amazed as if they never heard it. When he finishes they say they his new song was beautiful. Frustrated Jack begins searching for anything showing The Beatles existed. But to no avail, there is no recollection of them.

The film “Yesterday” was released on June 29th and so far has already grossed $24.7 million worldwide. The film is directed by Danny Boyle and rated PG-13 for swears and crude humor at times.

“Yesterday” has many great qualities throughout the film. A great starter is the diversity in the lead role. Many movies are the same few white leads but having more representation for other races and ethnicities is a nice change and great for those communities. Patel also has a lovely singing voice and his covers of these iconic songs are quite good.

The story is also a unique angle for a film with connections to an artist or band. Unlike “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Rocket Man,” “Yesterday” does not follow the life of The Beatles but offers a fresh plot line with the inclusion of the famous band and their tunes.

Although there were many positives there was a negative aspect. In the middle of the movie it really seemed to drag. It felt very slow and had lots of unnecessary footage I feel that the audience could do without or could have been sped up. The dragging in the middle made the movie almost 2 hours long which I felt like this whole film could’ve been just as good or better in an hour and a half.

Overall this film hits it out of the ballpark fairly well. The number or positives definitely outweigh the negatives. “Yesterday” is a great summer movie theater release and a good film to see with friends and family of all ages. So catch “Yesterday” before it leaves theaters near you.

The Handmaid’s Tale~Season 1

A1dohChh0wL._RI_In a new age of what was formally America, there is a different way of life. A chaotic past of civil war and uprising of STDs and sterile women have shaped what is now known as Gilead. For Offred formally known as June in the before life never looked as if it was going to turn this way.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a Hulu Original series that originally aired in 2017 based on the book of the same title by Margaret Atwood. The story takes place in the dystopian future where America has been flipped upside down. Women have lost everything. Their land, bank accounts, any and every right they fought for. After women have been stripped of everything they are divided into classes as well as men.  Handmaids are the gift of God according to their aunts who lead them. It is their duty to provide children for those who are barren as God would like. After learning the ropes and impeccable obedience they are sent off to Commanders and their fruitless wives. Once sent off to a Commander they become theirs.

The main character of the story is June who now belongs to the Waterfords and is to be only referred to as Offred.  As viewers travel through the journey of Offred’s new life they catch glimpses of her past when she was June. Flashbacks in this show are frequently showing her previous marriage and family and the life she lived before. It also shows how life turned to what it is now.

The show definitely has rough content and is not for the weak stomach. It is rated mature and has graphic scenes and hard-hitting topics at times. Although to show is sometimes gruesome it still provides an excellent storyline and character development. This show will give viewers plenty of roller coaster episodes and heavy feelings on characters and the strange happenings in the show.

The Handmaid’s Tale is an excellent Hulu series and definitely like no other I have viewed before. With such a unique storyline it proves to be a top show although it is not covered highly in the media. If you take the time to watch this show you will not regret it as it will always keep you on the edge of your seat.

Detective Pikachu

dbf0dbccc6929d12997cc8169a325550Have you ever wondered what it’d be like if Pokémon were real? What if your favorite childhood companion could really be yours? Well for Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) and others it’s their reality.

As a 21 year old who has been unsuccessful with being a Pokémon trainer, Tim becomes an insurance man. After a call of his father’s death, he heads to Ryme City in order to collect his things. While cleaning his father’s apartment he meets Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) who belonged to his father who was a detective for the city police department. With mysteries circling Tim’s father’s death and weird happenings with pokémon, Tim, Detective Pikachu, reporter Kathryn Newton (Lucy Stevens) and her Psyduck are left to solve the cases.

A positive for this movie is the design and realism of the pokémon themselves. The amount of detail in characteristics like fur are crazy. Some of the pokémon have such real skin it’s kinda scary (Loudred is a good example of this). However, a negative was the lack of diversity of pokémon in the movie. The same 25 or so pokémon are the only ones you see walking throughout the movie. Although this is a let down it is also semi-expected due to it being a money saving factor.

Another positive for the movie was the casting selection. Ryan Reynolds just fit as Detective Pikachu. His personality displayed in Pikachu was phenominal and the use of facial motion capture for Pikachu’s facial expressions was an excellent choice. Justice Smith and Lucy Stevens also proved to be an iconic duo. As soon as they joined forces it was perfect on screen chemistry. Their performances were excellent especially since I have never seen any of their other works (or don’t recall of them in any other works).

Also another aspect on the appreciation list was the use of clips from Pokémon games. It was just a small touch that made it even better. The credits are also in the style of the franchises’ video games and I found that to be a nice touch as well.

This movie is overall very enjoyable especially to Pokémon enthusiasts. If you haven’t caught sight of this movie yet be sure to check it out in theaters or when it is released on DVD.

 

The Color Purple

51u3siLE7hL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgAs we all know discrimination has been alive for as long as we can remember. Every place on this Earth has a social class ranking and each class ranks the people inside it. The Color Purple is a beautifully crafted book that shows just that.

Its the early 1900s and Celie and her younger sister Nettie have already had a rough life as adolescents. As African Americans, their family already has it hard but Celie’s family is in the bottom toll of being poor and as women, she and Nettie are at rock bottom social wise.

When Celie is 14 her father gives her away to Mister, also known as Albert later, for marriage as he is a widow and needs a woman to care for his children. Throughout the years Mister verbal, sexually, and physically assaults and abuses Celie.

After a few years a woman whom Albert has been infatuated with since the get-go comes to stay in their home. Shug Avery stays in their home for months while she is sick and Celie cares for her. Throughout the months Shug calls her ugly and all kinds of mean things. Although she calls her these nasty things, in the end, something unexpected becomes of the two’s friendship.

This book is so revolutionary especially for being published in the 1980s. Filled with things from women empowerment to LGBT+ relationships, this book really tackled hard-hitting topics that are still relevant to an extent nowadays. Alice Walker developed such a wonderfully crafted story that pulls on all the heartstrings. However, at times it does get a bit spicy so it probably a more PG-13 book.

Overall, this book is a wonderful piece of literature and can appeal to many different readers. With great African American representation and pointing out the issues of abuse and discrimination, this book is a wonderful hard hitter. So if you have time add it to your summer reading list.