Tag: Opinion

The Fragile State of Human Mortality

Roman King | United States

There comes from time to time a moment when man must contemplate his own mortality, and come face to face with the inordinate truth that, like it or not, we have a limited time on this mortal soil. And it should also come with that knowledge that at any moment, no matter how crude or cruel, we may suffer that terrible fate, stolen from the machine of life, stolen from our loved ones, stolen from humanity. Such crises, God willing, will not happen often in any one person’s life. But time to time, tragedy strikes with the cruel, cold hand of a tyrant, punishing the innocent, and leaving behind a wake of horror. Such is the harsh reality of life; that we are subject to the ultimate truth that we are here for a limited amount of time, often times not nearly long enough.

Continue reading “The Fragile State of Human Mortality”

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All Police Officers Should Wear Body Cams

Francis Folz | United States

On February 6th of this year, it was made public that the NYPD will be making body cams part of the standard uniform for its nearly 40,000 officers. This is good news since the use of body cams holds law enforcement accountable for their actions in uniform. It also largely removes the “my word against yours” aspect of police misconduct claims. 

Claims of criminal conduct by our police are widespread. American police are far more lethal than other developed nations per capita. American police, on average, take over one thousand civilian lives a year. In light of these facts, we must ask ourselves how come all police officers aren’t wearing body cams? 

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This is Not Our War: The Story of Juan Tellez

Cassandra Twining | @cass_twining

I was born in July of 2001, making me 17 years old. Here is a short list of things I currently cannot legally do in the United States: vote, drink alcohol, drive more than one non-family member in my car, get married, rent a car, get a tattoo or pierce my ears without parental permission, you get the idea. There’s a lot that I can’t do. However, I can enlist in the military to fight in the Middle East. Born in November of 2001, (exactly 4 months younger than me) Juan Tellez is one of the newest enlisted Privates of the Marine Corps

Juan Tellez, just like me, has so many legal restrictions on his actions. He could not enlist without his parent’s permission. His parents, unlike him, were actually alive and witnessed the attacks on 9/11. The attacks that started the war, Juan Tellez, is now fighting. 

We have spent over 1 trillion dollars on the war in Afghanistan. Everyone knows that’s a lot of money, but what does it really look like? For starters written out that’s $1,000,000,000,000. That’s a lot of commas. Now to give you some scale to understand the insane amount of money that is, here is what 1 trillion USD in $100 bills looks like next to a person for scale. 

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Children are fighting in wars that they weren’t even alive at the beginning of. This is not our war. This also is not our fight. I write this as a plea to those who are my age watching this happen. This needs to stop. We need to be the generation that puts a stop to it. We can no longer rely on the older generations to enact change. They have failed us time and time again. I fully expect that trend to continue. Change needs to happen, and we need to be the ones to bring it. Before more of our peers are subject to the danger and pain that a war like this brings as well.

Juan Tellez is a 17-year-old kid who has little to no rights as a citizen. He has no voting rights, therefore no say in foreign policy. Within the military, he also has no voice. In an interview, Scott Horton, author of Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, discusses our fear to criticize the military for fear of offending people. For far too long the generations before us have silently and passively allowed the military to unilaterally make decisions with no backlash.  

Our generation needs to stop being silent on these issues and speak up for what is right. We need to be the generation of critical thinkers. The generation that questions authority and demands something better for us as citizens. We need to step up where those before us have failed. I believe with my whole heart that letting a 17-year-old child risk his life for a war that is not his to fight is not right and I refuse to sit back while this is tolerated and even encouraged… And neither should you.


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Civilian Slaughter Is Somehow Legal in Apartheid Israel

Ryan Lau | @agorisms

The apartheid state of Israel has long tried to hide some of their more barbaric practices. Most notably, they adamantly refuse to admit their possession of nuclear weapons, despite possessing up to 400 of them. The country has also stolen weapons-grade uranium from the United States. Moreover, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself is far from an innocent man. He famously asserted that the terror attacks on 9/11 were good for Israel, and has smuggled nuclear triggers for his own program.

Sadly, though, these all pale in comparison to the Jewish state’s latest stroke of immorality. Continue reading “Civilian Slaughter Is Somehow Legal in Apartheid Israel”

LA Teachers Strike: Class Sizes Are Not to Blame

Michael Ottavio | United States

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Teacher’s Union went on strike. In doing so, they turned down the two-year contract that would have given all teachers a roughly 3% raise each year. This led to a roughly 30,000-strong LA teachers strike to demand more funding and, most of all, lower class sizes.

It is no secret that California does not have the best public school system in the nation. As a state, California regularly ranks among the bottom 25. As USA Today reported, only 29.2% of fourth graders in the state of California are proficient in math, and 27.8% in reading. In addition, California has a graduation rate of about 83%, the 21st lowest in the country. However, California also has an average teacher’s salary of $77,000, the third highest in the country. There is some disconnect happening in California, and the students are not to blame.

The LA Teachers Strike

With chants like “Hey hey! Ho ho! We’re fighting to keep class size low,” this teachers strike is mostly about putting a cap on the number of students per class.  The strikers also got a statement from newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in several tweets. One stated that she was “Very proud of L.A. public school teachers today for taking a stand. Teachers are the unsung heroes of American democracy. Today they’re putting everything on the line so our nation’s children can have a better shot.”

Faulty Logic

It is no surprise that progressives in Congress and around the country are supporting the striking teachers. However, the logic doesn’t seem to hold up very well. There is little evidence to support the claims that lower class sizes will lead to better outcomes for students. Other countries such as Japan and Korea have class sizes that greatly outnumber class sizes in the U.S. Coincidentally, those same countries also test into the top ten most educated in the world.

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Class size around the world

The Brookings institute has reported that even though there have been some studies that show a reduction in class size increases student achievement, there have been other studies that show the opposite or no effect at all. These studies list California as a state in which experimenting with lower class sizes yielded mix results. Currently, the evidence does not show a definitive correlation between lower class sizes and better student performance.  Results like that hold questionable relevance to legislative action.

No Improvements to Come

To clarify, people should always have the right to seek out as much money as they can make and the conditions in which they want to work under. However, the cause ceases to be morally justifiable when seeking more funding comes at the expense of the taxpayers you’re failing. These government-funded unions are holding over half a million students and their parents over a barrel.

The state of California has shown us many times that pouring millions into public education does not work. Of course, it is not going to work this time. Our country’s education system is failing. The same teachers who are failing their students by being ineffective are going to continue to do that whether the class size is 30 or 40. Until we see a massive education reform in our country and get rid of the tenure system that prevents the firing of ineffective teachers, public unions are going to continue to take advantage of the taxpayers that fund them. As a result, our students will continue to suffer for it.


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