Category Archives: Personal Story

A personal story that relates to current news or politics.

I’m just Tired of Violence

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I had just witnessed the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays and decided to cool off by taking a shower. When I finished my shower, my phone was ringing; my dad asked “What’s going on in Boston? I heard there were explosions at the Boston Marathon?” As someone trying to get in shape, I was furious that some idiots attempted to hurt runners who had just ran 26 miles. As someone who loves history, I was upset that some idiots tried to ruin a celebration of Massachusetts’ involvement in the Revolutionary War. As a human, I am sad that someone decided to injure and kill innocent people.

I don’t know what’s going on, no one does. There were two explosions around 3 P.M. at the Boston Marathon finish line. Some thought it was a possible chemical leak, but now reports are saying that police have uncovered several other bombs. The police found one bomb under bleachers and purposely set it off when no one was around. John F. Kennedy Library might have a bomb. Three people are reported dead, dozens more injured. At 4:08: the official report is 2 dead, 22 injured in blasts. No terrorist group has come forward yet, so it might just be some loner who did this. Someone who is upset at the world. Someone who hates America. Someone who hates everything…

I’m tired of seeing terrorist attacks. When I was in 7th grade, I saw people fall to their deaths from the World Trade Center. I remember the planes flying into the towers, the Pentagon, and into the field – but seeing a bodies falling to their deaths is an image I’ll never get out of my head. Then the reports of attacks overseas involving America’s allies in Europe made me thankful for the Atlanta Ocean separating America from the Middle East and Africa – terrorists would have to board a plane to get here and security at the airport is very, very strict. But Boston shows that sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent attacks – there is always going to be an upset person trying to bring everyone down to his level.

America has been gun-crazy since the Sandy Hook elementary shooting – one side gather their guns while the other side tries to take the guns. And you know what? Both sides are WRONG. I said months ago that guns aren’t the problem nor are the bombs, it’s the people. The politicians have been spending all their time dealing with guns that they forgot about People – People Kill People. It’s the People who are uneducated that are more likely to be violent, yet the education budgets are always being cut. It’s the People who suffer from mental illness that are more likely to be involved in a mass attack, yet health care doesn’t cover the costs of all the help they need. It’s the People upset that America is involved in international conflicts, yet war continues to wage on (and for what?). Instead of wasting time fighting over guns, abortion, and other controversial laws that don’t do much good for society, how about America comes together to make sure that something like this won’t happen again, to make sure more children don’t grow up to be disgruntled adults pissed at society.

 

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Black History Month: Is it Time for it to Go?

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I remember when I was in seventh grade (year 2002) walking outside the African Studies Club classroom. The Black History Month assignment was to write a short essay about who were the students’ Black role models. On the wall were pictures of Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan. All the students in the club managed to pick the same four people – one is the most famous Civil Rights Icon, one is a billionaire talk-show host, and the other two are athletes. I thought the purpose of Black History Month was to show Black children how Blacks have been contributing to the United States’ history for hundreds of years, not the past decade in sports.

English: Portrait of African-American historia...

Carter Godwin Woodson.  (Wikipedia)

Black History Month began in 1926 when Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced that the second week of February was to be Negro History Week because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Woodson’s purpose was to show the Black youth that they should be proud of their skin color and to show White society that Black people have contributed to American History. Woodson hoped that one day Negro History Week would be eliminated when Black History became fundamental to American History. Instead, Black History week became a whole month; meanwhile Hispanics were granted September/October, Native Americans received November, Asian and Pacific Islanders attained May, Gays and Lesbians acquired June, and Women obtained March. Instead of making sure that minority groups’ History was incorporated into American History in schools, the American government awarded each minority group one whole month to educate society about why its group is important. As a woman, I can say it takes more than one month to celebrate all the women throughout history. I am not the only critic of minority months, each February Black People criticize the month dedicated to them and their history. “Like college honorary degrees conferred on blacks and renaming streets in inner city neighborhoods for African-American heroes, Black History Month, in the opinion of many, is simply a guilt-driven public relations scam to pacify blacks,” says Earl Ofari Hutchinson, President of the National Alliance for Positive Action. “You’re going to relegate my history to a month. I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history,” says actor Morgan Freeman. Instead of creating months for every heritage/gender/sexual orientation in the world, the government should make sure that the public school teachers are teaching all of America’s history.

Growing up, Black History Month to me meant that television channels would show 30-second clip on a famous Black person. Luckily, February was not the only time I learned about famous Black people; I learned about Black History throughout the whole school year. In elementary school I was taught about Civil Rights Heroes Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, and inventor George Washington Carver. In Middle School I was taught about the slave trade, slavery in the South, the Civil War, and Harriet Tubman’s role in the Underground Railroad. In High School English I read literature from W.E.B. Du Bois, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Alex Haley, and Maya Angelou. In High School History, I was taught about the slave Dred Scott vs. Sandford. Today I am still learning about Black History: I saw Maya Angelou speak at my college, I recently read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and last month while visiting Thomas Edison’s Winter Home, I learned about Edison’s Black assistant, Lewis Latimer, who helped him create a better light bulb, later becoming a patent consultant to law firms. Due to my experiences in the public school system, I believe Woodson’s goal of intertwining Black History with American History was successful, a reason why Black History Month is no longer needed.

The four girls killed in the bombing (Clockwis...

The four girls killed in the Church bombing (Clockwise from top left, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair) (Wikipedia)

I learned about History not from a month but from my teachers, my books, my travels, my experiences – by my wanting to learn about it. I went to the same school as the African Studies Club members did, yet I could list more Black role models than their whole club could. The teachers are teaching the students about Black History, but do the students realize how important it is? Children need to realize how important it is to know where they came from, as Marcus Garvey said “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Instead of showing 30 second clips on famous Black people on television every February, society should be talking about how to get the younger generation interested in Black History throughout the whole year. It could be as simple as just suggesting that they read “Roots” or “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings” to learn about Black History. Maybe they need to read old newspaper articles online about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing to see how bad it was in South in the 1960s (victims are shown to the right). Maybe parents just need to sit down and talk to their children about important Black Historical Figures, such as athletes Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson, whom led the way for all the current Black athletes.

Though I was taught about Black History throughout the school year, there are schools out there that do not stress the importance of Blacks in American History. Instead of society letting Black History month teach the students, parents should be contacting the schools about why Black History is not being taught throughout the year or the parents should teach their children themselves. In fact, all parents should be keeping an eye on their children’s school curriculum since there are schools across the country cutting all history classes since several politicians and educators don’t believe history is useful in a math/science world. This means children are not learning about Black History, Native American History, Women History, and even White Men History. At the pace America is heading, even America is going to need its own month to teach children why its history is important…one measly month.

Sources:

“Black History Month: Education or Tokenism?” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 3 (1994): 30-31. Print.

2001 Potential School Shooter Kills Family Instead

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I was in the sixth grade in the year 2001 when rumors went through the school that there was going to be a shooting at the local high school. The high school was only ten minutes away, causing parents to pick up their children from the middle school. Classes were canceled so the students who had parents who worked, like me, stayed at the school to watch movies. No one was really worried and it was nice having classes canceled. Parents were the only ones who worried, probably because Columbine had only happened two years before. Nothing ever happened at the high school but the next day at school, rumors flooded the halls on how a group of high schoolers were going to pull the fire alarms and when the students exit the classrooms, they were going to shoot all the rednecks who teased them.

What I later found out is that a group of students at Lakewood Ranch High School made a suicide pact; they were going to sit around in a circle and use guns to shoot each other. They also talked about pulling the fire alarms and kill all the students (including the rednecks) who teased them in school. Though it was just talk, one student took it seriously – his name was Richard Henderson Jr. On February 28, 2001, he wrote a suicide note and a will. On March 2 (a Friday) he was caught at a McDonald’s with a gun. On March 5, he was going to bring the gun to school and kill students. If the police hadn’t caught him, would he have gone through with the plan? Would it have been another Columbine?

In 2005 I was now a junior at Lakewood Ranch High School. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the news broke about how a young man killed his family with a metal pipe. As new information emerged, I was shocked to find out that the same man who killed his family was the same man who threatened to shoot students four years earlier. Henderson, now a nineteen year-old, was playing videogames with his eleven year-old brother when he grabbed a metal pipe and hit his brother in the head three times, killing him. He then pushed his brother’s body out of the window; afterword, he left his bedroom and killed his grandmother, father, and mother with the metal pipe. That night, he slept in his parents’ bed and the next morning he wrote a note apologizing for murdering them and accepting his punishment. The next few days he stayed with friends and family members before a family member became worried and went to check on the family at their home. Inside the home she found four bodies covered in blood. Henderson was questioned and arrested for murder.

During the trial in 2007, Henderson was painted as a person born with problems. He had bad grades in elementary school and was placed in a dropout prevention program. In middle school, fellow classmates described him as weird. In high school he threatened to shoot students at his high school. He was twice involuntarily committed under the Baker Act. He threatened to stab his ex-wife with a knife and was late on paying child support for his six year-old daughter. It was though Henderson was just evil with the need to kill. The jurors did not buy his insanity plea and instead  found him guilty of murder; he received life in prison. In a world where mass shootings are beginning to be common, I wonder if Lakewood Ranch would have been another mass shooting if Henderson was not caught beforehand at McDonald’s. I wonder if there is anything society can do to save people like Henderson – people born wanting to harm others. Henderson was twice committed, and I assume received help, yet it did not seem to help him at all. Henderson planned to shoot students who teased him and when his plan failed, he woke up years later, killing his loving family instead.