by megan irwin
“They have hurt you, they have made your loved one suffer…[Muslims] would like nothing more than to do us harm and turn our democracies into Sharia led police states,” reads the hate-filled letter that instilled fear into the Muslims who live in the United Kingdom. The letter titled ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ declared April 3 as the day to punish all Muslims; the letter also offered rewards for different types of attacks on Muslims. No religion should face discrimination due to their beliefs; the letter is a repulsive way of a person sharing their ignorant views on a religion.
The letter made accusations that Muslims cause “pain and heartache”. The letter also accuses those who choose to not take part in ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ of being sheep, just waiting to be herded. The writer then asked the public to take part in punishing Muslims, each action having a different point value. The atrocious actions range from verbally abusing a Muslim to killing a Muslim and even bombing Mecca. The actions increase in point value the more barbaric the actions get. These Muslims now live in a perpetual fear to walk outside; they are scared of the community they once felt safe in, and now they have to fear every person they pass. People should be able to freely walk without fear of restitution. The purpose of the letter was to divide and terrorize the society to outcast Muslims and to have others see Muslims as monsters, when the only difference between them is their religion. To call someone a monster for practicing a religion, just proves the volgar people living in our society today. These comments come from dull minded individuals who unwilling to accept other religions as equals, discriminating against those who practice that religion.
In response to the sickening letter, a counterterrorism probe has formed. Several police forces have joined together to locate the source of the letters. They have confirmed that they were ‘investigating potentially malicious communications sent to individuals across the UK”. They reassure the public that the letters are being taken seriously. Another reaction by an activist was to turn the letter around and make a ‘Love a Muslim Day’. The letter follows the same format as the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letter but instead urges readers to respond to the hateful letter with acts of kindness towards Muslims rather than violent acts against them. The letter rewards actions such as smiling at a Muslim and fasting with them during Ramadan, the point value also increasing the greater the deed. The actions taken by the government and activist have been a step in the right direction but should not be needed to counteract these horrific actions; the actions should not being taking place, yet terrible individual hate on others to make themselves feel superior.
The rude hate-filled words have no place in a society where people have learned to be tolerant of religions. The ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letter is a pathetic excuse for someone to hate on someone’s religion.
by felix sipra
The chemical imbalance of the brain that is attributed to depression, often requires the use of a drug to rewire the brain to a normal function. However, due to these chemical imbalances depression causes, and the soothing aspect antidepressants are known for, dependency is dangerous and likely for users. The unfortunate truth is, that despite the necessary and vital role antidepressants play in patients’ lives, they pose a dire threat to all users. While awareness for addiction to painkillers has been making headlines for quite some time, with President Trump declaring it a national emergency, antidepressants have slipped under the radar, and with that so have the victims.
Victims of addiction are often dismissed because there is a notion that there was a conscious decision to become an abuser of such drugs, thus it is ultimately the user’s fault. Antidepressants are in somewhat of a strange situation, because they are given to individuals who are ultimately more prone to making ill thought decisions. A patient with depression given antidepressants is in a more volatile situation than a patient with pain medication, because in most cases a doctor can predict when such medications can be deemed no longer necessary. With antidepressants however, the track towards exiting a major depression is a bit gray, and up to a patient’s ability to communicate their personal feelings, which is difficult for everyone, and a doctor’s ability to correctly assess a patient’s demeanor and statements. Antidepressants were originally meant for short term use of about six to nine months, and most independent researchers, as well as the federal government did not predict or create regulation for long term use. A syndrome known as discontinuation syndrome that categorizes the withdrawal terms for antidepressants, has become rampant across the globe, as long term users try to quit. Since this problem is so new, whereas addiction to opiates has plagued most of history, researchers struggle to pinpoint users who are most at risk of an addiction and what exactly is the best method of combating said addiction. Becoming dependent on these drugs can be particularly dangerous, as along with many other prescription drugs, the short and long term side effects can sometimes outweigh the benefits of taking the drug.
The crisis brewing among users of antidepressants ought to be treated with the same energy and concern as the opioid crisis. With nearly seven percent of all US adults using antidepressants in the long term, it has the potential to become a crisis at a massive scale. Although doctors and researchers are still trying to figure out what exactly to do with this issue an easy start would be to understand that these drugs are not meant to be taken for years at a time but rather for months. If a major depressive episode persists, doctors should reassess prescribing the drug and perhaps look into researching the creation of antidepressants that can be used in the long term without the discontinuation syndrome. The addicts of these drugs are victims just as any other addict of a drug, and they are deserving of people’s concern and willingness to help combat the crisis of addiction.
By paige crawford
The world recently found that Facebook was taking its users personal information and making it accessible to other businesses in order to make ads suited for each person. The biggest scandal throughout these findings is that user information being sold to Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political data firm that worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The release of these findings has showed the true risk of the companies we let see our personal lives and information.
The personal data of close to 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with the analytics firm to increase the votes given to Trump to win the election. After Trump was elected, many started to be weary of the fake news articles advertised on facebook and worried that they might have swayed the election. It is no secret that many sites and apps sell other companies access to users data in order to show a user specific ads it thinks they are likely to enjoy or click on. There is no harm done to either party in this way, where companies sell more products and services and users see ads that actually interest them. This type of data sharing can go wrong when it becomes a way for campaigners to twist the minds of electors in order to win their party. With this, it gives many voters even more reason to believe that Trump's win on the 2016 election was not accurate and should not have been valid.
The personal data these companies take is not just invading users privacy, but using it to manipulate their minds. While it has been widely known that social media sites use users data to make customized ads, these Facebook allegations show that this company, and probably many others, are taking it too far. Personal data of any user should never be shown to third parties that have shown to have intentions other than promoting a service or product. Cambridge Analytica uses psychology to target and persuade users in order to have them vote for Trump in the 2016 election. These unfair ways of advertising a presidency could have easily changed the opinion of the voters. With this in mind, political campaigns should not be able to gain advertising space if those advertisements can persuade users unethically.
Facebook is under a lot of criticism and hatred ever since this scandal was brought to the public's attention, but advertising like this is still occuring. Continuing to find companies taking advantage of users will start to help make advertisements safer for users.
BY FELIX SIPRA
Amazon is a powerhouse of a company. In the past ten years it has transformed the landscape of the world in the way people shop, eat, and even make decisions. It began as an online shopping mall but has transformed into its own shipping industry and is constantly innovating the way people view the shopping experience. Its far reaching influence has made shopping easier for many, but has left small business distributors in the dust. This trend can either continue or cease, but it is ultimately the consumer’s decision to support their local American, and shop small. Consumers should take a step back, and realize the long term dangers of supporting a single corporation. If consumers begin to advocate for diverse shopping options, the people will have more control over prices, not the company.
Many consumers may go to one’s local shop but not actually buy anything, in the hopes that the same product will be cheaper online, where many distributors can be ranked by price. This has led to a market where the consumer interests are dangerously more important than the seller’s interests, leading to low profits for small businesses and manufacturers. Amazon however, has boomed in this new market. By being the central online market and with no real competition as large as Amazon, distributors buy into the company without having any other options. This trend ultimately hurts small businesses and limits innovations for smaller companies.
Now Amazon has influenced another, much larger field, city economies. In the latter half of 2017 Amazon announced they would be building a second headquarters building in North America, and over 238 cities vied for Amazon’s attention. These pleas to Amazon from these cities came in the forms of state trees, tax cuts, city name changes, and video campaigns. Now that the list of potential cities has been skimmed down to twenty by the company, the competition only got fiercer. Yes, it is common for cities and states to try and outperform their neighbors to bring in large businesses, but never in this fashion. When cities are dedicating their resources to bringing in a single company, the company’s influence should be questioned. Amazon has influence over shipping, technology, books, television, music, food, and just about every other field of industry one can think of. Its teeter towards becoming a monopoly is remarkable as it has not had to buy out an extensive number of other companies, it just drives them out of business or forces them to pay into their services. If Amazon continues with this model, it is no different than the terrible monopolies of the 20th century, which triggered a depression.
Amazon, and its users are at a crossroads; the question has arisen as to whether as a society people are okay with a company having this much power over one’s consumption of goods, or that there ought to be a limit the people as a collective state that a company has gotten too large. Both arguments have valid claims, Amazon has the opportunity to create an unthinkable amount of jobs and give the economy even more security. Its well known brand gives it stability and respect among investors all over the world. Diversification of the industry however, has arguably more benefits and more value to a longstanding economy, it allows smaller businesses to grow and prosper, allowing for competition, natural economic ebb and flow, and for better businesses to innovate and arise independently. The success of Amazon is an American Dream, but its success should never hinder the ability of small business to grow and innovate.
BY PAIGE CRAWFORD
YouTube star, Logan Paul, who outraged the internet after posting a disturbing video of a suicide victim, believes that his career should not be over due to the stunt. “Everyone deserves a second chance, bro,” Paul spoke to a TMZ reporter. The actions made by Paul have proved to the world his immaturity and that he does not deserve the large platform that he has.
With this notorious video, Paul started possibly one of the most talked about Youtube controversies in several years. The footage, which was posted on his vlog channel with over fifteen million subscribers, showed him and friends laughing at a dead body hanging in “Suicide Forest” in Aokigahara, Japan. Many viewers disapproved of this video because of the insensitivity Paul showed towards a serious subject. This footage can only be seen as heartless, especially since most of his audience are young, impressionable children. Paul released a apology video saying that his intentions were to raise suicide awareness, which led people to question why he was laughing in the video. If his intentions were to raise awareness, he would have been more convincing and refrain from laughing and showing the body of the victim. Coverage of these triggering events can put vulnerable viewers at a risk for making the same actions.
Many youtubers and public figures were upset with the video as well and took to social media to write about it. Tyler Posey, Teen Wolf actor, told his fans that Paul should not be defended for his actions just because he is famous. Posey said, “It’s nice to stand by somebody’s side that you admire and look up to, but you can’t stand by our side through everything.” Youtube as a whole has also been criticized greatly for not immediately taking the photo down. Smaller Youtubers have more strict rules and policies against these videos, while Paul gets special treatment because of the money he brings in. Paul’s video was taken down by a member of his team, not Youtube, and the company waited until the end of the controversy to finally cut ties with him. The policies for the site have now been made much stricter, but Paul’ channel has still not been taken down.
With a majority of young subscribers, Paul is expected to set an example for many children throughout the world. The most impressionable age is during the younger ages, where viewers decisions can be largely influenced by others actions. If these children are seeing their role model posting a video about a suicide, while joking about the victim, it is very likely that their behavior and actions can mirror his. Young viewers who are triggered easily by self harm and suicide could become more susceptible to committing the act as well. The possibility of this is even larger after these types of viewers hear the jokes he made and way he acted around the victim. The example being set by him is showing kids that behavior like this is acceptable. The lapse of judgement made by Paul to post this disturbing video shows his level of immaturity, and why he should not be a role model for young people.
After the backlash Paul’s horrifying video received, his career has seemingly ended. The suicide video presented by Paul has showed the world what he truly is, an immature and insensitive teenager. In the future, hopefully people will choose role models more carefully and call out celebrities on their wrong-doing.
BY FELIX SIPRA
As President Donald J. Trump continues to fumble and lose the confidence of leaders within the United States and abroad, “President Pence” is sounding better and better. Leaders of the establishment party within the Democratic Party, Republican Party, and the European Union, are tired of the populist candidate. Vice President Pence is seen as a more reasonable character in the administration who could potentially be both a strong leader for the country as well as an individual willing to compromise when necessary. The truth is, President Trump saved Mike Pence from a failing Governor re-election campaign for the sole purpose of uniting the so called moral majority behind the Trump campaign. Vice President Pence is an overly self righteous conservative who uses his moral compass to hurt minorities.
Mike Pence used his governorship over the state of Indiana as a tool to implement his conservative principles. Throughout his tenure, protections of the environment were rolled back for the sake of promoting business in the state of Indiana, this ultimately failed as Indiana’s economic growth lagged significantly behind the national average. Pence also tried to sign a bill into state law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which was worded in such a way it would have allowed for discrimination against LGBT people. There was fierce backlash by the NCAA, Apple, Angie’s List, and others to the point where Pence was forced to revise the legislature amid all the criticism. Pence also failed to reform abortion rights in Indiana, as the Supreme Court found that his semi ban on abortion was unconstitutional. The failures of his governorship far exceed his successes, and this was also preceded by a short, unproductive, stint as congressman. Many of the economic stimulus bills he voted nay on as congressman were utilized to its full extent under his governorship, which just illustrates his absolute lack of backbone in keeping principle.
From a public speaking perspective, Pence far outperforms Trump in bringing the nostalgic, empathetic tone of a politician that many individuals are keen to. This is where people fall to the delusion that Pence could do a better job than Trump. Pence could say the exact same ridiculous things Trump says, maybe even worse due to his strong conservative views, but not invoke the outrage Trump does. Pence’s smoothness as a politician, along with his frankly startling conservative views, makes him one of the most dangerous officials in the Trump administration. Between his failures as governor, hypocrisy as a congressman, and values that do not seem to align at all with the President, it is rational to wonder how Pence even got to be Vice President. Between Trump’s esoteric campaign that garnered the support of pro business conservatives, Trump needed someone who could get the votes of a larger republican base without becoming a moderate. Pence fit this profile perfectly and mainline republicans who were still not moderates flocked to this odd match up.
The American people and the world needs to realize that Vice President Pence is not the savior of the Trump administration, he is a far right politician, whose failures outnumber successes. He is a placement figure, strategically picked by Trump to further his own chances to win the Presidency. Just by looking at Trump’s record, there is not any indication that Pence is a part of the agenda Trump seeks. Pence serves to cast tie breaking votes in Trump’s favor, he is not, nor will be the redeemer moderates wish for.