Our Past Shapes Our Present

The recent talk about gun control across the nation has sparked an idea about diversity. It made me realize there is a large range of diversity in the experience and such with guns.

Being from Colorado, we have had quite a few memorable tragedies. Columbine was the first big school shooting and the entire nation was tuned in as more updates were being broadcast. Students and teachers were stuck in the school until late at night when first responders were finally able to get to them. This changed the way first responding teams entered school buildings in situations like these. Now schools lock their doors and typically have some type of security among the grounds. Columbine changed protocols for schools across the entire country.

More recently, the Aurora theater shooting shook the states yet again. Midnight premieres are no longer offered and costumes are usually not allowed anymore.

A lesser known event occurred the following year. There was another school shooting in Colorado at Arapahoe High School. One girl died 10 days after being shot during the incident. I remember being in a lock in because of the situation.

There is a slightly different atmosphere surrounding everyday activities in Colorado, at least where I am from. We did not have class on April 20 for many years in fear of copycat attacks. When we scrimmage at Columbine’s field dedicated to Dave Sanders, my mind can’t help but wander to him and the rest of the victims. We held a fundraiser for Claire Davis, the victim in the Arapahoe shooting. I think about her and the tragedy it was every time I put the shirt from the fundraiser on. I remember watching a movie and being paranoid the entire time, simply because it was a Batman movie in a theater near Aurora.

I’m not saying that we are the only people who have experienced terror like this, but there is definitely a difference between those who have gone through something like this and those who have not. April 20 is just another day for most students around the country, but when we began holding classes on that day again, I know I attended each one in fear. Some people have not experienced something like this, just as I have not experienced what students who attend Columbine or Arapahoe have experienced, or those who go out of their way to avoid going to their regular theater since it was attacked.

Everyone has a different experience or exposure to incidents like these, or just to guns in general. Some may have grown up in a hunting family where they are very comfortable in the presence of guns, and others may have grown up in a dangerous city where they are very fearful of guns.

All of us have our reasons for liking or disliking guns, and most of these probably stem from their experience with guns. We should all consider the reason behind their opinions rather than just noticing that they are different and dismissing them. You would want them to listen to your rationale, wouldn’t you?


Recent Events- Black Panther

For this blog post, I want to focus on a recent event that is still going on to this day. I found this event written as a news story through my hometown CBS affiliate’s website. Their specific name is KCCI News, and it serves Des Moines and surrounding areas. They included this article from CNN in their “National News” tab. It describes the upcoming movie Black Panther. Apparently, there has been online criticism of the movie already, before it even releases. Black Panther releases later this month on February 16th. There is a culture and fan base of DC Comic movies that want to “take down Disney”. DC Fans view Disney as this monopoly that does not deserve the fame it gets for a movie studio that they purchased for some large amount of money.


Another important aspect of this article is the fact that DC’s fan-base is trying to recruit other fan-bases. They are even trying to turn Marvel’s fan-base on itself, and telling anyone they can to go ahead and give the film terrible reviews on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes before it even is released!


One point to make about this article is that it tackles the issue of race. If you follow any of the Black Panther story line at all then it would be known that a lot of his story takes place in Wakanda. This place is a fictional nation in Africa, thus an all-black cast. A takeaway from these DC fans that are ranting about the film is that they are anti-black because it is the very first Marvel film to feature a majority black cast. It only tarnishes the DC fan-base if this were true, because it is a milestone for the black community and very important movie for Marvel to push.


Diversity is written all over this story. On one hand you have a movie that is the first superhero movie to be included in a huge universe that has a primarily black cast. The character Black Panther is also the first black Marvel superhero to have his own title movie. On the other hand there is the diverse DC fan-base that wants to exile this movie, while no one else really feels that way, at least until seeing the movie for themselves. Overall, I think no one should condemn films before it’s release. I for one, will plan on seeing Black Panther at some point in my busy college life, and make a decision (good or bad) based solely on the quality of the film.Black-Panther-Meme-Funny-Image-Photo-Joke-04

Whitewashing in 2017

In our day and age we seem to think that our society is, for the most part, very diverse.  Everything from the workplace to schools and even our films are often portrayed as diverse both culturally and racially.   Unfortunately that isn’t always the case.  If we are to focus on the film industry for example, we find that their are often times when certain roles are not convincing enough to maintain the ambiance of the scene based on the actor or actress’  visual appearance or ability.  This however isn’t a big deal if you find someone who fulfills one of these two vital roles, but there are often times when directors pick actors and actresses to fill the box office rather than accurately portray a character.  Furthermore, there have been cases where there are perfect actors to fill roles but are not picked purely because of their race.  An example comes from the recent news about a live action Mulan film produced by Disney.  While in the early stages of development the media found that not only the main heroine in the film but many other lead roles would not be played by those of Asian descent.  How? In what world did they think it would be okay to make a film about Chinese heritage and not include Chinese people.  Continually, the director wanted to add a portion to the film that is not seen in the 1998 original version.  This would include an older European (white male) love interest who inevitably saves Mulan’s homeland for her.  This one instance in the very definition of whitewashing in America, rather than an accurate portrayal of the characters and plot it is changed to allow white people to fill the roles.

Personally, I was outraged because the original film, for some of my childhood friends the first time they could see themselves and be excited to share their heritage with others through the popularity of the film.  And to take it away from today’s youth is criminal.


Enforcing a New Red Line?

The world was shocked when they saw the horrifying images of children and adults writhing on the floor, gasping for breath as they foamed at the mouth. On April 4, 2017, the Red Line was crossed again by the ruthless Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, and his murderous regime. Assad launched yet another chemical weapons attack on his own people in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. This time it was in the form of Sarin gas. Sarin gas is a highly deadly chemical nerve agent that’s banned under international law. The attack killed 89 people and injured dozens more. In retaliation for the attack on civilians, President Donald Trump took much-needed action in America’s first direct military strike against the Assad regime. On his orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase where the aircraft that preformed the chemical attack were being stored. The strike targeted aircraft, aircraft shelters, petroleum, logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, and air defense systems. The strike was successful with 58 of the 59 missiles severely degrading or destroying their intended target. This was a necessary response that should’ve been taken by the Obama administration back in 2013 when Assad used chemical weapons near Damascus killing 1,400 civilians. The United States must continue to enforce the Red Line when it comes to the barbaric use of chemical weapons. It must also work towards a way to unseat Assad and restore order to Syria.

Liberty Still Stands

It has been eighteen days since the 45th president of the United States was sworn in as leader of the free world.  So far, there have been eight signed executive orders and twelve signed presidential memorandums. With the power of the executive branch, it took only three executive orders to effectively alter the policies of our country, turning the nation of immigrants into the laughing stock of the world. Executive orders 13767 and 13768 began the painful and costly task of taking on illegal immigration and building a wall along the southern border. Executive order 13769 bans entry of all people from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspends the refugee program for 120 days.  These executive orders affect the make-up of the United States in culture and diversity in ways that even our national monuments contradict.  At the entrance of the Statue of Liberty, engraved on a bronze plaque, is a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus called The New Colossus. It was first written in 1883 and adopted by the Statue of Liberty in 1903. The adoption of the poem gave the statue the characteristics we associate it with today.

The New Colossus

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she

With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

Millions came to the United States seeing her statue and hearing those words, the “Mother of Exiles.” One by one, they came to the nation that offers “world-wide welcome.” Almost in a mocking cry, she calls out to the countries that drive their citizens away and leave them to fend for themselves. She says, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”  With the coming and going of presidents, our stances have differed from time to time for the better and worse.  At this moment in time, we must remember that a president does not make a country. A country is made by the millions of its citizens and shaped by their common beliefs. If you see injustice, stand up to it and make your voice heard.  Presidents come and go, but Liberty still stands, and it’s time to stand with her.