Toilet paper brawls. Hand sanitizer shortages. “Masked” mania.
You should think the world is ending or an apocalypse is happening throughout the country and the world. You should think that we all are in serious danger of dying or being infected by a severe virus that will inflict pain, torture, and eventual death upon us all. You should believe that staying in your home is the only way to survive the CoronaVirus pandemic crippling our world and causing widespread destruction and death.
The media has warned you and now it is your duty to stock up on hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and canned goods, because that is the ONLY WAY you will survive the latest, greatest, and most imminent danger to our homefront and the world.
You should believe it because I told you so!
Rush to the store, fight for the toilet paper, and then lock yourselves in your homes and don’t come out unless you’re prepared to DIE.
Once you do all that you’ll be safe, secure, have plenty of toilet paper, nowhere to go and plenty of spare time. Now it’s time to sit back, take a deep breath and read the rest of this piece.
Currently there are more than 1,000 cases of the CoronaVirus in America with 32 reported deaths nationwide. There are 120,000 cases of the CoronaVirus worldwide and at least 4,300 people have died.
These deaths are tragic and the CoronaVirus pandemic is a national issue that needs to be confronted and handled, but it’s important to put these numbers into perspective.
Currently, nearly 49,000 people have suffered from the flu this season in America, with an estimated 16,000 deaths nationwide. There are 5 million cases of the flu worldwide each year and 650,000 people die annually.
There are 6 million car accidents per year in America with over 90 deaths per day. On average 3,287 people die in the world per day from car accidents and 1.25 million people die per year.
On average there are 123 people in America that commit suicide per day, with an estimated 44,895 deaths by suicide nationwide. One person committs suicide every 40 seconds in the world, with over 800,000 deaths by suicide every year.
These numbers are shocking and upsetting but they provide us with a necessary comparison in order to determine the severity of the CoronaVirus and our individual risk. The flu is killing more people, cars are killing more people, and we are killing ourselves at a higher rate than the CoronaVirus.
With widespread panic and fear over this deadly virus it is important to be clear and precise. It is important to understand the likelihood of death, the likelihood of contracting the virus, and the severity of coming into contact with someone who has already contracted the virus.
First, the United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams made it clear that “If you are a child or young adult, you are more likely to die from the flu, if you get it, than you are to die from coronaVirus.”
Despite the Surgeon General’s report, colleges across the country are preparing to shut down campuses and begin classwork online.
Second, the average age of death for the CoronaVirus is 80 years old, revealing that the majority of people who have died suffered from weaker immune systems and or chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
Further, no one younger than 40 has died from the disease in the U.S. And even the one person in their 40s who did die had an underlying medical condition (Kxan).
Despite these facts, the media has obsessed over the CoronaVirus scare. They’ve covered it nonstop for weeks causing the stock market to crash, Americans to panic, and governments around the world to react.
The CoronaVirus is not as serious as the press wants you to believe. Their obsession over each death, each new case, and the spread of the virus throughout America is disproportionate to the severity of the virus’s risk for our lives.
Imagine if the media each day reported how many people died of a car accident with each accident given in detail with live alerts and body count numbers down to the minute. Imagine if the media covered the seasonal flu the same as they have covered the CoronaVirus. Right now we all would be hiding in our homes fearful to interact or engage in any public activity. We would have sold our cars, purchased hazmat suits and lived as if the world was ending right before our very eyes.
The power of the media to incite fear and cause mass hysteria is very real and has been made evident through the media’s CoronaVirus coverage.
While the virus is without question a significant issue taking place in our world today, it is not by any means a reason to live in fear inside our homes. Each day we take risks that put our life in jeopardy. We drive our cars, we go outside, we interact, we live.
The CoronaVirus is yet another risk we will have to take as we choose to live each day. But let’s be clear the CoronaVirus remains a “low risk” for the average American.
Despite the minimal risk of the CoronaVirus for American’s we still should take necessary precautions just like we do for the seasonal flu and when driving a vehicle.
If your sick stay at home and don’t go to work or school. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. These precautions are simple and shouldn't come as a surprise, yet somehow the media is alerting the public as if these precautions are breaking news.
The majority of individuals that have been diagnosed with the CoronaVirus have recovered quickly and completely, yet most media agencies have not allowed them to come forward and share their experience.
A woman in Singapore who recovered from the CoronaVirus spoke out recently to BBC about her experience fighting the virus. The woman suffered common flu symptoms such as fever and difficulty breathing but in just 9 days she completely recovered and was able to leave the hospital’s isolation room.
When reflecting on the world’s widespread panic and fear over the virus the woman said, “I just think this is a flu that is in the global limelight. And people are worried. Because they know nothing at this point in time, they know very little. And I think when you have fear, whether it is individual or on a large scale, it breeds a lot of ignorance and prejudice.”
This ignorance stems from the media’s horrific coverage of the virus. The media only reports on the deaths and spread of the virus. They have failed to share with the public the minimal likelihood of contracting the virus and the quick recovery of the majority of those who have contracted the virus.
The media has manipulated the public’s emotions and created mass hysteria over an illness that is no more of a risk than driving a vehicle or getting the flu. It’s time to calm down, remember basic sanitary principles, and get on with our lives!!!
BY: RYAN YOUNG
From lotions to soaps, and lip balms to candies, CBD has emerged as a must have consumer product for the modern day. Claiming to have the power to relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and alleviate cancer related symptoms, this marijuana based compound was thrust into the limelight by proponents advocating for the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana use; but it didn't start that way.
In 2018 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., spear-headed the legalization of industrial hemp through the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in order to stimulate farming in his home state after declining tobacco demand.
“At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future,” McConnell said.
While hemp is currently being used to produce consumer products such as paper, plastics, textiles, and fuel, it also has led to the emergence of all things CBD.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of CBD derived solely from hemp with provisions that it must be produced by a licensed grower and contain no more than 0.3% THC.
After the passage of the Farm Bill, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement explaining that, “the FDA requires a cannabis product (hemp-derived or otherwise) that is marketed with a claim of therapeutic benefit, or with any other disease claim, to be approved by the FDA for its intended use before it may be introduced into interstate commerce.”
Currently there is only one CBD product approved by the FDA, a prescription drug claiming to treat severe forms of Epilepsy.
The FDA statement went on to say, “it’s unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.”
Despite the FDA’s clear guidelines, all CBD products but one have failed to follow federal law leaving millions of consumers unaware of the substantial side effects and health risks that could arise from the utilization of unauthorized CBD products.
In a 2017 research report conducted by Dr. Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine found that only 30.95% of CBD products are accurately labeled. The results found that 42.85% are underlabled while 26.19% are over labeled.
Because these products failed to receive approval by the FDA before their release to the public, many consumers are being deceived with false labeling and even worse possibly consuming unknown ingredients that could include pesticides and heavy metals from bad farming practices, high levels of THC that can lead to intoxication and impairment, synthetic cannabinoids and any possible contamination including mold, bacteria, and rancidity. (Foria Wellness)
Many supporters and users of CBD cite The World Health Organization’s 2018 report to undermine these concerns. The report stated that, “there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
It is important however to note that the World Health Organization’s report dealt solely with the use of pure CBD and that reportedly only 30.95% of all CBD products are accurately labeled or considered pure.
In the same report by The World Health Organization they warn that “there are numerous CBD products including purported medicinal products, such as pills and capsules for various diseases/symptoms, and also lotions, oils, foods, drinks, shampoos, cosmetics, etc. that are being manufactured and distributed without regulatory oversight and often with unverified contents.”
Another significant issue was brought forward by the Journal of Clinical Medicine in its 2019 report. The report claims that nearly half of all CBD users have experienced adverse drug events (ADEs) and drug-drug interactions (DDIs).
“Common ADEs include transaminase elevations, sedation, sleep disturbances, infection and anemia.”
The 2019 report went on to explain that many over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen “could lead to significant side effects (e.g., bleeding) with both medical and consumer use of CBD.”
Further, the report discovered similar reactions to CBD as those found in weed such as drowsiness and sedation. The report explains that somnolence occurred in 23% and 25% of patients treated with CBD.
While many CBD products claim to help relieve stress and depression, the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that CBD should be used in caution with persons using other antidepressants, hormones, anxiolytics, respiratory agents etc.
Lastly, the 2019 report explained that infection risk among CBD consumers was 10% higher, especially viral infections such as pneumonia.
Perhaps though the most significant unforeseen consequence of CBD is the widespread condoning of marijuana use.
The Pew Research Center found that since 2008, support for the legalization of marijuana has increased roughly 35% with 67% of Americans now in favor of legalizing the drug.
Currently 33 states have legalized medical marijuana use and 11 of those states have made recreational use legal. It is important to note that all recreationally legal states originally started as proponents of medical marijuana.
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, 14 anti-marijuana states have now legalized the sale of CBD products, leaving only 4 states in opposition to all cannabis products.
The rapid increase in support for marijuana products by state legislatures has been without the necessary experiments and studies done on the adverse effects of both CBD and widespread legalization of pot.
“The FDA has seen only limited data about CBD safety and these data point to real risks that need to be considered before taking CBD for any reason.”
Before jumping onto the culture bandwagon that is eager to legitimize marijuana as a medicinal miracle in order to validate recreational pleasure, stop and assess for yourself the serious risks and health hazards reportedly caused by the unregulated and mass produced CBD industry.
The fear of President Donald Trump’s re-electon is too much for the Democrats to handle. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his party are clinging to their last-ditch effort with this phony impeachment hearing, despite any direct evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor.
In spite of egregious assertions by Democrats that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo, there is simply no evidence.
The impeachment hearings began on Nov. 13, with Schiff’s first two witnesses: William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state. Both discussed what they heard between the chatter of other diplomats and officials, yet both lacked firsthand knowledge and neither were present for the July 25 phone call.
On the second day of the impeachment hearing, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, spent her time discussing how she was fired by Trump. When asked if she had any knowledge of criminal activity committed by the Trump administration, however, she replied no.
During Yovanovitch’s opening statement, she admitted that she had no knowledge about the phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky and no knowledge about the withholding of military funds from Ukraine.
“I’m not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today,” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said. “The ambassador is not a material fact witness to any of the accusations that are being hurled at the president for this impeachment inquiry.”
Schiff’s star witnesses proved to have no firsthand knowledge of collusion, and instead spent their time speculating and complaining about the Trump administration.
On the first day, witness testimonies sounded a lot like a child’s game of telephone. The Washington Post ran an article that said, “Kent didn’t hear this directly from Trump, but rather from other officials who talked to people who talked to Trump.”
Of course the liberal news media served up their testimonies on a silver platter, claiming them to be “damning” and “chilling.”
What should be truly chilling, however, is the fact that neither witness had ever even met or spoken to Trump, yet they are to be considered credible and key witnesses in the process to impeach our president.
On day two, Yavanovitch’s testimony was a desperate appeal to pathos. The former ambassador was given the national platform to share her emotional story about being fired after 33 years at the U.S. State Department.
The press once again couldn’t resist the opportunity to further divide and distract.
NBC News published an op-ed by Mimi Rocah and Karen Schwartz drawing comparisons to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, claiming that “Yovanovitch seems to symbolize any woman who’s ever had a man try to undermine her, demote her or push her out.”
Don’t fall for the diversion.
Schiff has tried every possible tactic in an effort to mislead and distract us from the facts. He lied on television that he had no prior knowledge of the whistleblower, he mischaracterized the phone-call transcript by adding his own conjecture, and now he is continuing his charade by introducing opinion witnesses that offer nothing more than speculation built on hearsay.
Let’s look at the facts.
Trump released the transcript of his conversation with Zelensky long before the start of this impeachment sham.
At no point in the phone call did Trump engage in a quid pro quo. He didn’t demand Zelensky’s assistance or threaten the removal of U.S. aid, thus he has not committed what we should call an impeachable offense.
U.S. aid came up only once in the July 25 phone call: “I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are,” said Trump. “The United States has been very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very good to Ukraine.”
No threat. No demand. No collusion.
Zelensky himself explained that the phone call was “normal,” adding that if “you read it, that nobody pushed me.”
On day four of the impeachment hearing, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland testified that “President Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on the investigation.”
Sondland said that he “never heard those words from the president.” In fact what Trump told Sondland was quite the opposite; “No Quid Pro Quo. I want nothing. I want nothing. I want President Zelensky to do the right thing. Do what he ran on.”
We can choose to believe Schiff and his opinion witnesses caught up in their game of telephone and speculation, we can fall for the emotional distraction perpetrated by the media that has zero connection to the impeachment hearing, or we can read the transcript ourselves and listen to those who were actually part of the conversation.
Even if you choose not to believe that Trump’s phone call was “perfect” or “normal” as both leaders claim, then let’s take a look at what has happened since the phone call.
First, Ukraine received its military aid from the United States. Second, Ukraine never promised to investigate Joe Biden and his corrupt business dealings that landed his son, Hunter on the board of a major oil production company. And third, Trump met with Zelensky in September at the United Nations and there was no announcement of any investigation.
It seems rather hard to prove that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo when the “quo” is non-existent. Zelensky got his military aid, and Trump received yet another malicious attack by the left.
The entire impeachment hearing is a sham and it’s time for us all to see what is taking place and not allow the principles of our constitution and the structure of our democracy to be violated. As Schiff holds supreme power over the impeachment hearing, he has the capability to block any and all witnesses from testifying.
A court of law entitles people to due process and a fair and speedy trial. Mischaracterizations, speculations, and hearsay would all be struck from the record and the jury would be told to disregard the testimonies.
The American people are the jury. In Schiff’s circus, though, the truth doesn’t matter, fairness isn’t valued, and evidence is rejected.
New York mayor Bill De Blasio, who champions himself as a man of the people, failed to acknowledge the presence of 200 fourth grade students on the steps of City Hall fighting for their right to learn. De Blasio’s newest broken promise is yet another example of his poor leadership.
The group of charter school students, who come from primarily black and latino backgrounds, had traveled to City Hall as a class in order to protest De Blasio’s evident neglect of their education.
Rather than stopping to talk to the eager students who were exercising perhaps for the first time their freedom to protest, De Blasio quickly shuffled up the steps proving by his actions that he truly does not care about all the children of his city.
“The mayor claims to represent all kids, but he treats charter school families as second-class citizens,” said Success Academy founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz. “Two years ago, he had no difficulty finding 30,000 new pre-k seats. But when the city’s highest-performing charter school network needs space for existing students to continue their education, the mayor is suddenly unable to accommodate them.”
De Blasio chose to retreat to his comfortable office chair, while the children outside were left standing in confusion still without their own chairs to sit in for class.
The city of New York, however, has the necessary resources to help these children. According to an analysis by the Independent Citizens Budget Commission, “More than 150,000 empty seats are in school buildings citywide.”
De Blasio was unable to look into the faces of the children he has been depriving, so instead he sent out his spokesperson to bloviate for him.
“The Mayor understands the power of grassroots movements and supports the right of New Yorkers to make their voices heard on issues that matter,” Jane Meyer said.
While these young “New Yorkers were making their voices heard,” De Blasio was spending his time providing guidelines for the next Democratic nominee.
“No one should be the Democratic nominee unless they’re willing to stand up to Wall Street and the rich people behind the charter school movement once and for all,” De Blasio said. “Too many Democrats have been cozy with the charter schools.”
Mayor De Blasio’s coldness and cruelty to the children of Success Academy is abhorrent. Despite 76% of Success Academy’s students being from low income families, De Blasio believes he is standing up to the “rich people” by ignoring the children of New York.
An advertisement during the last Democratic debate featuring Ronald Reagan Jr. called for all Americans to support the Freedom from Religion foundation. While the advertisement originally aired in 2014, its re-emergence highlights the ultimate division transpiring throughout our country.
In the current state of political and cultural polarization, the American people are unable to discern the truth from the lies. Since the election of President Trump the mainstream media has perpetrated hoaxes, manufactured phony stories, and misinformed millions.
The liberal media’s manipulation stems from the abandonment of absolute truth. News pundits, commentators, and lifelong politicians on the Left refuse to accept and embrace our country’s Judeo Christian foundation. They have tirelessly worked to whitewash the truth through the rewriting of history, removal of monuments, and denigration of Conservative and Christian leaders. They are moved by their feelings, their pocketbooks, and their unified hatred of God.
The message and placement of the atheist advertisement during the Democratic debate could not have better represented the beliefs currently held by the Left.
Ronald Reagan Jr. began the advertisement explaining his concern with “the intrusions of religion into our secular government.” Then by invoking our Founding Fathers, he asked for your contributions to continue “working to keep state and church separate.” At the end of the advertisement he mocked Christians nationwide by signing off as a “lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”
The advertisement was purposely placed on CNN during a Democratic debate because the Left’s ideals have become more and more antithetical to the message of Christ.
The middle ground between political parties has quickly diminished due to the Left’s abandonment of absolute truth. What was once a difference of political opinion and governmental policy, has turned into a dichotomy of worldviews. The Left and Right are guided by two very different compasses. Without a fundamental agreement on direction, our country will continue to grow further and further apart.
Perhaps Ronald Reagan Jr. would be willing to accept his own father’s warning about the absence of Christ in our country.
“Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
Include hatred for Trump at the top of your resume, and you'll be sure to land a job working in the media. The coordinated attacks on President Trump by the mainstream media have led to the corruption of ethical journalism.
In the past four years, the liberal media has done everything in its power to delegitimize and downplay President Trump’s historic first term. The “fake news” era is a cultural byproduct of a disinterest in separating facts from feelings.
From the manufactured Russian collusion story that dominated national headlines across the country, to the misquoting of President Trump’s comments about illegal aliens, the politically-correct media knowingly misinforms the American people, silences free speech, and prohibits open discourse.
An excellent example is the coverage of President Trump’s tweet about Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. Trump said Baltimore “is a disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” and called the city “filthy.”
After Trump’s tweet, liberal leaders and news pundits labeled President Trump as a racist. Many news channels chose to engage in journalistic dishonesty by paraphrasing and creating headlines that intentionally distorted the truth by omitting “rat and rodent” from Trump’s statement. For days, the liberal media spewed their own political narratives in an attempt to create an emotional stirring and further alienate our president.
If those journalists had actually followed their job description and dug deeper into the facts regarding the city of Baltimore, they could have reported that USA Today ranked Baltimore as the “Most Dangerous Big City” in 2018 and that the city has consistently been ranked one of the top ten most rat-infested cities, by Orkin’s yearly report.
If these reporters were interested in being bipartisan and objective, they could have reported that when visiting Baltimore in 2015, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., compared the district to a third-world country.
“Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think that you are in a wealthy nation,” Sanders said. “You would think that you were in a third-world country.”
Sanders wasn’t labeled a racist for comparing the city to a third-world country. He wasn’t demonized by the press for weeks after pointing out the facts.
The liberal media’s double standard is appalling. Since President Trump’s election, 92 percent of all stories covering his administration have been negative, according to Media Research Center.
Despite negative media coverage of President Trump’s first term, nearly four million jobs have been created and more Americans are employed than ever before. American unemployment is at a 49-year low and the lowest ever in the history of our country for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans, according to the White House.
We, as American people dealing with a dishonest media, have a challenging job before us. We must decipher the truth from the lies and remove our feelings from the facts.
The Society for Professional Journalists said, “Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.”
A journalist’s ethical responsibility is to report the facts regardless of the consequences. They are to cover both the accomplishments and downfalls of an administration while refraining from altering the story to fit their own preconceived beliefs or ideas.
Journalism was once admired and esteemed because of its dedication to reporting the truth and informing the public of both local and national affairs that impact our daily lives. Today, journalism has become a breeding ground for false information and moral outrage.
President Trump continues to call attention to the fake news media that daily sacrifice journalistic integrity in order to satisfy their own agendas. It’s time for journalists to do their job and report the facts rooted in truth.
SHOUTING. NAME-CALLING. EXAGGERATING. BLAMING... Breaking News. An exhausted sigh fills the air as the TV’s volume rapidly decreases until all is silent. The red eyes begin to water as blue tears drip down the cheek of America scorching the skin. The agitation increases and the blisters form. The itching begins. The swelling continues. The scarring remains.
Traditional news outlets and social media platforms are dominated with national and local stories, as well as opinion pieces on the rise in hate crimes. Legal experts, investigators, and educators hold symposiums about hatred, like the one held last month at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe to expose what it termed, “The Face of Hate.”
The FBI defines a hate crime as “a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole, or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
Dr. Eric Kocian, Assistant Professor of Criminology and Law at Saint Vincent College, and former Marine who was later trained by the FBI explains, “All officers should conduct a thorough and complete investigation in all suspected and confirmed hate crime incidents. The mere notion of bias however does not make it a hate crime.”
The most recent report by the FBI reveals that over 7,000 hate crime incidents were reported in 2017, while 58.1% of hate crimes were racially motivated. From the recent Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh to the New Zealand mosque shooting, it is clear that a growing hatred is taking root throughout our society. This hatred is evident in the frequent rush to judgement against people who are perceived as different.
Perhaps a major spark for this increase in discussion regarding hate crimes and freedom of speech relates to two widely-publicized stories about two cases: the controversial case involving Covington Catholic School teenager Nicholas Sandmann and the alleged hate crime “hoax” involving Empire actor Jussie Smollett.
On January 18, 2019 people across the country became aware of a news story involving the apparent mistreatment of a Native American war veteran by a white Catholic school student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. The media, along with countless celebrities and public figures, attacked the teenager and labeled him hateful and even racist. As an edited video of the young teen “smirking” at the Native American Veteran appeared across every major news channel and throughout social media platforms, the student was labeled and accused of being a White Supremacist.
After full footage was later released revealing the Native American man approaching and chanting at the student, people became aware of the consequence of their rush to judgement. Because of Sandmann’s presumed political bias, he was victimized and accused. The American people, led by the media, rushed to judge a young teenager because of individual political narratives and gross misunderstanding.
Currently, Covington student Nicholas Sandmann is suing both The Washington Post for $250 million and CNN for $275 million for defamation with malice. Sandmann’s lawsuits claim that CNN and The Post "wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red 'Make America Great Again' souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C."
The question of free speech and what is protected under the First Amendment is a major issue that will be heavily discussed throughout these cases and future ones. In Brandenburg v. Ohio’s 1969 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held that any inflammatory speech that is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action," is not a protected form of speech held under the First Amendment. So where does that leave us today?
The First Amendment does not give a license to vengeance. The First Amendment gives people the right to express their beliefs and ideas, to protest, to argue, and to defend. It does not allow people to incite violence under the veil of “free speech.”
Another example of an apparent rush to judgement is Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s hate crime “hoax” case. Smollett filed a police report claiming to be a victim of a hate crime in Chicago during the early morning hours of January 29, 2019. Smollett alleged that two men wearing red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats not only yelled racial slurs, but also tied a rope around his neck, poured an unknown substance over his body, and physically assaulted him. Instantly, the mainstream media jumped on the story claiming Smollett was victimized because of his profile as an African American, homosexual minority.
However, shortly after the investigation began, evidence surfaced that alleges Smollett may have orchestrated the incident. Accomplices claim they were paid by Smollett to impersonate Trump supporters and commit acts of violence. Additional corroborative evidence was uncovered to support their claim that Smollett’s attack was bogus. Smollett himself was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for falsifying a police report (a class four felony, with a potential jail sentence of one to three years) and an additional sixteen felony counts. Smollett, who was released on $100,000 bond, continued to deny all charges and remained vehement that he was the victim of racism and homophobia.
Just before the case was headed to trial, it took another dramatic turn. On March 26, 2019, prosecutors dropped all charges in exchange for Smollett’s agreement to perform community service and forfeit ten percent of his bond to the city of Chicago. One day after that, Chicago police, furious over the prosecutor's action, released their full 61 page investigative report on Smollett. Although all charges were dropped, Smollett was not exonerated. At this point it appears the Smollett case may be headed to federal court on charges of mail fraud arising from sending a death threat letter to himself. The FBI and Department of Justice are now investigating the prosecutor's decision to drop the case.
Smollett’s case reveals that prejudice leads to conduct that damages innocent people. Either he is the victim of a terrible hate crime, or a perpetrator of a horrible hoax that vilified a whole class of people based on their race and sexuality. In this situation we see anger churned up even more and the dividing lines drawn even deeper between the American people.
Because of alleged racial and homosexual bias--that likely was manufactured--true victims and alleged attackers were misrepresented and negatively impacted. In the Covington case because of a presumed political bias, a young teen was victimized and accused.
Do you sigh? Are you quick to grab the remote and change the channel or turn down the volume in order to tune out the lies? Or do you rush to judgement without knowing the full story just because it fits your preconceived beliefs or ideas? It is time for us all to rise up, listen to one another without shouting or engaging in name calling, wipe away the tears this country sheds, and unite as Americans. As people. As mothers. As daughters. As fathers. As sons. It’s time to end the hateful rhetoric. Let’s judge others on their character and conduct, not their race, religion, political identity or any other prejudice.
Picture this… The year is 1962 and the Civil Rights Movement is forming as President Kennedy works with leaders across the country to form indeed, “a more perfect union.” With segregation and cruel acts of racism and bigotry still prevalent across America, the true story’s main character is ready to embark on a concert tour in the deep south. As an African-American piano player and intellectual genius, Dr. Don Shirley is eager to earn respect as an equal, and as an accomplished pianist. Searching for a driver that will also provide protection on the harrowing journey, Shirley finds an unlikely match; from the heart of the Bronx, Tony “Lip” an Italian-American tough guy takes on the challenge.
The two very unique individuals from completely different cultures and walks of life form an unforeseeable bond that connects with the hearts of all people. On a two month journey through the south, the two men learn about each other and overcome perceived stereotypes and severe racism.
Filled with humor and authentic conversation of issues that question the heart and character of mankind, the remarkable true story provides valuable life lessons and individual moral self introspection.
Deeply enthralling and pleasantly enjoyable the powerful portrayal of true equality and mutual respect connects with the audience at a poignant time for our nation.
“The Green Book” is a transformational film that should have a lasting impact on its own. Truly Oscar worthy for both the acting, story-telling, and phenomenal cinematography.
A Re-examination on the progression of teen-vaping
A deep inhale absorbed into the body and crippled the lungs as he drew again on the unknown nicotine solution travelling through the core of our most valuable resource-- You. The numbers continue to increase. The students continue to struggle. The community is now becoming aware. The statistics. The research. The outcry. It’s all getting louder.
The next generation of addicts are on the rise while community leaders and concerned citizens are searching for a solution to end this detrimental cycle that has been part of our world since the beginning of mankind-- addiction.
“By the 8th grade, 52% of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 41% have smoked cigarettes and 20% have used marijuana,” according to 2012 research done by the Newport Academy that focuses on teen addiction therapy.
From pipes to cigars and cigarettes to Juuls, America has been confronted with tobacco addiction. When a product is proven to cause horrible side effects a new “solution” is proposed.
“There was a billion dollar settlement with Big Tobacco. That’s where all the warning labels on cigarettes and on chew came from because Big Tobacco marketed it to kids. They lied. They sat in front of Congress and lied for years saying it is not harmful, it doesn't cause cancer, and they continued to lie,” GLSD Resource Officer and former PA State Trooper Robert Daerr explained. “The initial marketing for E-cigarettes was for smokers to stop smoking to give them what they consider a healthy alternative. I truly believe and I think Congress believes that it is an epidemic. I mean it’s all over the news. It has been marketed to kids, and it’s bad. I mean you see the kid’s everywhere.”
Currently the JUUL Lab company based out of San Francisco is facing a class action lawsuit from both parents and Juul users that allege the company illegally marketed their multi-flavored vape product to minors. The Federal Drug Administration has responded by putting restrictions on the flavorings available in stores where minors are present. The FDA’s goal is to limit the number of minors getting addicted to nicotine products by making them less accessible for purchase, but it is unclear if this solution will truly fix the addiction problem.
“If you talk to smokers it’s all a reflexive habit of having something in their hand, taking it to their mouth. That is the habit to break: not having something. Chew is the same way and that's also why people chew gum,” GLSD Resource Officer John Zalich added. “My dad was a smoker until he had a stroke. He would carry around a drinking straw that he pushed paper towels into. If he felt the urge he would pull it out and draw on it and get that negative affect.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of all smokers have tried to quit but find it nearly impossible to stop.
“I was a big time smoker, it’s always something in your hand. That’s hard to break. It’s hard,” GLSD Resource Officer Tom Spallone explained. “You know how hard it is to quit. My dad had cancer. He was a smoker and had throat cancer. He got out of the hospital and he tried to smoke after he had the operation. He actually tried to smoke after he had that operation.”
In an effort to help young smokers and vapers overcome their addiction a new program by the Truth Initiative, a non-profit tobacco control organization, provides a free program that combines positive words of encouragement and powerful statistics sent directly to a user’s phone. This anonymous and free text message program was created by former addicts and teens who have dealt with the struggle of addiction. The idea is to provide daily words of encouragement tailored specifically to age in order to give proper recommendations and special resources. In order to sign up for this very unique program all one has to do is text “QUIT” to (202) 804-9884. The Truth Initiative focuses on informing users about the risks and consequences of different tobacco products.
Similar to the Truth Initiative, the GLSD resource officers all agree that the best solution is a well informed society.
“I think the solution that we all agree on is education. They think they are doing something better by choosing to use that (JUUL) versus the old fashioned smoking. They think they are not inhaling the smoke into their lungs. I think the best solution just like anything else is educating yourself. There really are no pros to it. There aren't many studies out there for long term effects and you really don't know what you're getting. Think about it. Just like everything. When you go to buy a car or you look at shoes or clothes you look at the pros and you look at the cons. There are none to that. There are no pros,” Officer Daerr said.
Another major impact that’s perhaps the biggest cause of teen addiction is peer pressure. According to a study done by USC, a teen is more likely to vape if a friend or relative is already using an e-cigarette.
“I’ve got an older boy that's at Seton Hill and they are passing it around. You don't know what you are getting. You are trusting who knows who sitting next to you, and half the time you don't know who is next to you at these parties and they are passing this and it could have anything in it. I mean you could put anything from fentanyl to regular nicotine or to the juices and flavors they put in there,” explained Officer Daerr.
On Jan. 23, six teenagers at a New Mexico high school were hospitalized after the group of friends became severely ill after vaping marijuana wax. While no permanent injuries were caused, the accident has drawn attention to the serious issue taking place throughout America’s schools. Resource Officer Robert Daerr provided sound advice for all students to consider.
“Stay around positive people. One bad friend in a group of 10 young men or young women can be a poison. One. All you have to do is taint one and two to three to four. Bad decisions. We’ve seen it for how many years as troopers. 25 years of bad decisions. Everybody makes bad decisions, but some are life changing. Even too much of a good thing can be bad,” said Officer Robert Daerr.
With information readily available at the touch of a button, all people should know the serious risks of vaping. It is our responsibility to be informed, to be alert, and to help educate one another. Stand up to addiction.
In the Latrobe Community and across the country more and more teenagers are choosing to tattoo themselves as a form of self-expression. According to a 2017 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more young people are choosing to get tattoos and piercings than ever before. It is important for all consumers to be aware of the regulations, risks, and regrets that may come with any permanent decision.
While state laws vary regarding minors and tattoos, Pennsylvania law requires that a parent be present and give written consent before the tattooing procedure takes place.
“Having a parent or guardian signature for a contract of sale regarding a minor is very common. It makes complete sense that a tattoo shop would require this signature. It ensures that a parent/guardian is aware of the risks, and limits the shop's liability from being sued,” said GLSD law teacher Mrs. Kara Leeper.
Despite PA law that attempts to prevent minors from regretting a lifelong decision, the statistics on tattoo regret are high.
78% of people who have a tattoo end up regretting the decision according to an Advanced Dermatology polling of 600 tattoo consumers. The research done by Advanced Dermatology even breaks down how soon the consumer starts to dislike their tattoo and the results show that 51% of people regret their decision in just a year or less.
The study also analyzes why each consumer has regret. With 40% of consumers disliking the appearance of their tattoo and 31% no longer relating to it’s significance anymore, this permanent decision is not one to rush, yet “three out of four people who suffer from tattoo regret didn't plan for the tattoo beyond a few weeks,” according to Advanced Dermatology's 2019 study.
Despite high numbers of regret among tattoo consumers, the majority of individuals who attribute significant meaning to their tattoo, are less likely to dislike their decision later in life.
“The main reason for the tattoo on my shoulder was because I had a wrestling coach that passed away and he really influenced me in life so I figured I’d get a tattoo for him,” said GLSD junior Brady Johnson.
While there are many instances where tattoo consumers relate personal and touching stories to their tattoos, the majority of tattoo consumers will end up regretting their tattoo in the long run.
GLSD Senior Matthew Hess recently made the decision to purchase a tattoo on his wrist. With a written note from his mother, Hess’s wrist was inscribed with cursive font that reads “Rat Pack” for the famous 1960 band featuring Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
While Hess is adamant that his love for the “Rat Pack” will never grow old, he has a plan in place if regret surfaces.
“If I want to get it removed I will just go get laser tattoo removal one day,” said Hess.
While laser clinics and dermatology centers are becoming less obsolete with a 400% increase over the last decade, the process isn't as simple or painless as one might believe and one should be prepared for a hefty bill with the average revenue generated by laser tattoo removal at $1,400 per patient. (2017 report by Fresh Start Laser Tattoo Removal Clinic)
“Depending on the tattoo design, size and color, it may take 1-10 laser sessions to remove the ink. Some colors of ink are harder to remove than others and may not be able to be completely removed. There should be a six-week time period between each laser session to allow the wounds to heal and the body to absorb as much of the ink as is possible. Many patients describe it as like having a heavy rubber band snapped against the skin repeatedly, ” according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
While getting a tattoo is less painful than having one removed, both processes require the use of needles which introduce possible health concerns and skin irritation.
“I got my tattoo and eventually it started peeling because that's what happens when you get a tattoo, and you're supposed to just leave it alone but I decided to peel it and it ended up scarring. It pulled back a bunch of skin and made a scar on top of this one spot on my tattoo,” said Hess.
While Hess suffered from both skin irritation and scarring, he didn’t experience other serious complications that may occur.
“In anything you do to break your skin there is always a risk of infection, becoming infected with a bloodborne pathogen, Hepatitis, HIV and Aids are a concern of course with blood, but Hepatitis is big and real and that would be my main concern with tattoos,” GLHS Nurse Tami Zezza said.
As a young adult Nurse Zezza was drawn to the appeal of tattoos as a form of rebellion, but in time the appeal faded and her stance on tattoos changed.
“When I was young and in my 20’s I thought about getting a tattoo and even went to a tattoo parlor and picked out the one I wanted. I am so glad I didn't do it. For many reasons I am glad I didn't do it. Honestly the allure for me to get one was because when my mom didn't approve of it--I thought I want to get a tattoo--and then one day she said go ahead and do what you want and then the appeal stopped for me."
After being educated on the risks and pursuing an active career in nursing, her advice for prospective tattoo consumers is not to get one.
“I would say don’t get a tattoo. You have to live with it for life and what you want today at your 18 or 21 year old self, when you became old like me, like the Betty Boop on your wrist isn't going to be your favorite thing and they are hard to remove and they are painful to remove even though you can, and I know it’s a creative form of expression but I would say do lots of research if you are going to definitely get tattooed,” Zezza said.
With tattoos as a popular rising form of self-expression, any prospective consumer should be educated and know the possible risks, regulations, and regrets that can occur when precautions and concerns are unknown or not followed.