The Hawk's Eye

We Are All Students

Anna Commander

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30 bullets in a round: that is the capacity for the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle which was legally purchased by the 19 year old Parkland shooter a full year before it was used to destroy 17 lives, 17 families, 17 groups of friends, 17 sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers, and so many more people than 17. The Smith and Wesson weapon’s uses are quoted as “Competition Shooting, Home Protection, Hunting, and Law Enforcement & Military.” This weapon can fire off continuous rounds of ammunition before reloading; it is described as “easy to accessorize, but hard to put down. [They] are lightweight and rugged embodying the best combination of function and form.” The sale of guns has been commercialized to the level of the sale of a kid’s toy. A weapon with the power to kill should not be described as “hard to put down” as if they were describing the newest Barbie doll.

The shooter was able to purchase the weapon at the age of 18. Three years before he could legally purchase alcohol. He was known to have previous anger-management and mental health issues, yet lackadaisical background checks allowed this teenager to purchase the semi-automatic murder weapon.

A popular argument is “guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” When I first heard that, it seemed logical, but upon reflecting further and listening to Emma Gonzalez, a student at Stoneman Douglas, I realized that this could have been a very different story had the shooter only had access to a knife. Authorities would have been able to detain him sooner. He would not have been able to recklessly sputter out bullets while simultaneously putting money in the NRA’s pockets.

A lot of my close family lives in Texas. In fact, just a few days ago, they emailed my dad a picture of them with a huge hog after a successful hunting trip. I am not against the second amendment and one’s right to bear arms. What I am against, however, is how out of context the American people have taken that amendment for today’s usage. In 1791, there were muskets and pistols that could fire about three effective rounds per minute. Now we are talking 30 [rounds], in a matter of seconds.

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t see how I connect. I go to Head-Royce, a well-protected and safe school, I just don’t see this happening to me.” But the sad truth is, no one could see this coming. If you had asked the students a month before the shooting if they would have to hide away from windows, guard themselves from bullets with thick textbooks, and witness their peers and teachers bleed out in front of them on Valentine’s Day, they would all look at you in disbelief. Yet you still might be thinking, “well California has stricter gun laws than Florida.” While true, strict gun laws do not stop countless shooters every day up and down the West Coast. So for those of you who try to distance yourself from this issue – maybe because if you really thought about it, it would be too painful – I would encourage you to think what we have in common with the kids in Florida: we are all students.

We are all students who wake up early every morning to rush to the bus, who are up way too late working on homework, and who complain about how jam-packed their week is. We are all students who shouldn’t have to question their safety at a sacred space for learning. We are all students who shouldn’t have to have teachers carrying around guns as protection. The brave students of Stoneman Douglas High School have been able to add momentum to the long running gun control conversation, and I’m sure many of us have been a part of history class debates on gun control, but now, more than ever, it can no longer be a conversation.

This is not a one-off. This is not an issue you can talk about in History class and then dismiss until it is brought up again. For me, this feels like a personal attack that does not end today. For me, it does not end until semi-automatic weapons are banned, the gun purchasing age is raised to 21, background checks are re-vamped, and mental health is monitored closer especially during the high school years.

There are so many emotions that I have felt since February 14th: shock, anger, disbelief, denial, frustration, sadness. There are so many more things I wanted to talk about. However, for the sake of being relatively brief and letting other voices speak their opinions, I will end here. I wish I could say more, but mostly I wish the 17 victims could say more. Those 17 lives were not done making their impact: Alyssa, Scott, Martin, Nick, Aaron, Jaime, Chris, Luke, Cara, Gina, Joaquin, Alaina, Meadow, Helena, Alex, Carmen, and Peter. They were silenced.

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First Celebrity Crush Video

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12 Signs You’re a Second Semester Senior

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  1. Seeing underclassmen and being grateful you’re not them
  2. Caring more about BuzzFeed quizzes than actual tests
  3. Realizing the freshmen look like children

      4. Feeling old

                 

       5. Any time a person asks you about college…

      6. Before every Senior Project survey

      7. Increasing irritability towards teachers who actually assign homework

      8. Every Monday feels like:

      9. Trying to focus in class be like:

       10. When teachers say it is up to seniors to be “responsible” “respectful” role models

          11. When teachers say you should start studying for the AP exams

          12. Feeling ready to leave

 

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From Foe to Friend: The Signing of Richard Sherman

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The San Francisco Forty-Niners have been working hard over the off-season. With the releasing of veteran defensive end Elvis Dumervil, fans might ask, who will be leading the defense? Coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch have totally transformed their defense and setting them up for the future, drafting starting players like Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Adrian Colbert in the 2017 draft. The majority of their starting defense has been drafted within the last few years.  The Niners’ impressively young defense is in need of an inspiring and charismatic veteran who knows the ins-and-outs of the league. No one is more suited for the challenge than former Seahawk Richard Sherman. Sherman recently signed a three year max of $39.5 million dollar contract. While this may look like a lot at first sight, most of the money is incentive based ($1 million if he makes the Pro-Bowl, $2 million if he makes All-Pro, etc.).

Some people look at his injury (achilles) and think that he may not be able to return to his All-Pro status. While this may be true for most older cornerbacks, Sherman is one of the most self-motivated players in the league. After being drafted in the fifth round behind many players that did not last through training camp, Sherman has carried a chip on his shoulder and the desire to prove himself to the league. This has been his mentality since the draft and it will be exaggerated in lieu of the ferocious Forty-Niners and Seahawks rivalry. Another reason fans should not be concerned with his injury is that Sherman never relied on his speed to shut down wide-receivers. He has relied on his length, instincts, and quickness. Also, he will be surrounded by the Forty-Niners’ young, speedy defensive backs that will be able to cover down low.

While this may be the signing of the year for most teams, the Forty-Niners have more than enough cap space to sign another big name in the league. They just signed Marquise Goodwin for another three years, but there is still room for a big free-agent or draft pick to help out Jimmy Garoppolo in the slot. Despite the disappointing 2017 season, the Niners are set up to impress in 2018.

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A Head Royce Love Story

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HRS Instagram’s to Watch

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Best Off Campus Lunch Spots

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Here is a compilation of the best off campus lunch spots, according to the Expos upper classmen.

Montclair Egg Shop

Menu: http://www.montclaireggshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Menu-Weekday_2017_x.pdf

Student review: “Super good with really good breakfast. If you’re going, make sure you have a long block before or after lunch so you have enough time!” (Julia B, 11)

Las Comadres Taqueria

Menu: http://www.taquerialascomadres.com/our-menu.html 

Student review: “One word: amazing. Super quick, close, and delicious.” (Claire R, 11)

Flippers

Menu: https://www.allmenus.com/ca/oakland/460071-flippers-gourmet-burgers/menu/

Student review: “Great curly fries! The greek salad is good when you don’t want a burger.” (Kate VR, 11)

Mr. Green Bubble

Menu: https://www.zomato.com/oakland-ca/mr-green-bubble-1-piedmont/menu

Student review: “While they’re known for the boba, the fried chicken is also very good, along with a selection of other good food.” (Sonali P, 11)

 

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QUIZ: What should your prom dress be based on your everyday style?

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Super Bowl Predictions!!

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It’s official guys! The two teams competing for the LII Super Bowl will be the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. After losing their star quarterback late in the season, the Eagles have persevered and pulled out a clutch win against the 10-6 Atlanta Falcons and a nice blow out against the 13-3 Minnesota Vikings. The Patriots started off the playoffs by destroying the young 9-7 Tennessee Titans, then making a tremendous comeback against the 10-6 Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be exciting to see the energetic, young, and power-packed Eagles offense go against the experienced, cool, and collected Patriots offense. If the Patriots want to win, they need to get pressure on Nick Foles, the quarterback who stepped up in Week 13 after Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL. They need to force Foles to make a good pass in a collapsing pocket. The Eagles’ strategy should be to shut down the slot. The Patriots kill teams with Amendola and Cooks catching short passes in the slot so if their offense is forced to look downfield or run, the Patriots offense will turn inconsistent. All things considered, my prediction would be the Patriots. It is hard to imagine a Super Bowl that does not include Tom Brady lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. However, you can never underestimate the power of a young, spirited, and motivated team like the Eagles.

Filed under Opinions, Sports, Spotlight

Roger Goodell

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Though the National Football League is a major source of media attention, there is a lot that goes unnoticed behind the scenes. When you hear about Tom Brady deflating footballs and the infamous Ray Rice tape, you picture the athletes carrying out their suspension on the sidelines. What you don’t see, however, is the man behind all the penalties: Roger Goodell.

When the School community was asked how they felt about Goodell, those who recognized the name had very similar opinions. “Roger Goodell is a useless commissioner,” says sophomore and avid football fan Damilare Aguda. “All he does is say ‘the NFL is working on it. Abuse is not tolerated by the NFL. Oops, another player punched his wife, oh darn,’” comments sophomore Dylan Evans. His opinion is most likely related to the way he handled the domestic abuse charges against Ray Rice. When a tape came out of the Baltimore running back dragging the limp body of his fiancé out of an elevator after viciously beating her unconscious, Goodell ruled to suspend him only two games. However, after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady allegedly deflated balls in the 2014 AFC Championship game against the Colts, Brady, who had not inflicted violence upon anyone, received a suspension twice as long as Rice’s.

Another time Goodell mishandled a domestic abuse case was with Giants kicker Josh Brown. After he privately admitted to repeated abuse of his wife in emails and journal entries, calling himself  “God” and her “his slave”,  they suspended him for just one game in 2015. The person the NFL blamed for this short suspension was his wife, Molly Brown, for not coming forward with the evidence. Why would she after the Ray Rice fiasco? This ruling caused vitriolic responses from analysts and players, but Brown’s suspension was only increased in 2017 after Goodell was criticized for suspending Ezekiel Elliott for six games in the 2017 season on counts of repeated domestic violence. His charges were put on and off hold three times.

While I believe that the NFL does not care about the health and safety of player spouses, they also do not care about the health and safety of their own players! After purposefully and repeatedly neglecting concrete evidence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) which is a dangerous brain disease commonly associated with football players, Goodell tried and failed to hide the evidence from the public. To appease former players, he implemented the useless “concussion protocol,” which allows the medical staff to test for concussions during games. If a player is found to have a concussion, they are prohibited from re-entering the game that day or going to practice the day after. Experts speculate that this protocol will be futile against long term brain damage.

Goodell, a man unpopular amongst fans, players, and coaches, recently signed a five-year $200 million contract on December 6. The contract outraged NFL fans everywhere. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who previously tried to team up with other owners to impeach Goodell, has openly expressed displeasure in this new contract.

Some might ask why a commissioner who gets booed by fans as he walks onto the podium at every NFL Draft would have his contract extended to the 2023 season. The answer is this: Goodell works for the owners and answers to them and them only. With this in mind, consider the 2011 budget reform. Players got crushed as the NFL steered five percent of league revenues away from their income and put a salary cap on rookie contracts. Where does the extra money go? To the very owners that elect him. It is frustrating to see that this is what’s behind the sport that I love and to learn that even on a Sunday morning you cannot escape corruption.

 

 

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Marijuana Legalization

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Ever since marijuana was legalized in California, business has been booming. In November of 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of cannabis for adults, age twenty-one and over. The proposition was put into action on New Year’s Day. The legalization of marijuana is definitely a win for the state. Unlike the five other states that allow legalized marijuana, California has the sheer size to grow the agricultural aspect of the marijuana industry; it also has a larger population than the other five states combined. California’s newly-formed pot industry will attract tourists as well. Michael Gordon, CEO and co-founder of Kush Tourism, claims that 30 percent to 40 percent of his customers are tourists. Opponents to the growing industry have raised concerns regarding a lack of restrictions. However, under the law, people age 21 and over have limits to the amount they can consume: 28.5 grams of marijuana. Additionally, there are new cannabis taxes: a 15 percent excise tax and a cultivation tax. If someone is involved with commercial cannabis activity without a license, they are subject to penalties; each day of unauthorized activity accounts for one violation. With these regulations comes a decrease in gang-related violence. People who encounter injustice of any kind can consult with police and the judicial system without finding alternative ways, such as violent ones. Attorney General of the United States Jeff Sessions has brought up debunked facts regarding marijuana in the past: “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that”. On the contrary, Denver saw a 2.2 percent decrease in violent crime rates after their first year of legalized cannabis. In 2016, the pot industry created more than 18,000 jobs in Colorado. A study from the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, Harvard University, and Western Carolina University has concluded that the implementation of legal cannabis in the United States has neither made a positive or negative impact with drug abuse. Sessions is facing more criticism after releasing a statement virtually rolling back an Obama-era policy. He released the statement in early January: “Today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country”. In other words, under the Obama Administration the federal government “turned a blind eye” towards every state’s view on marijuana. Sessions wants the opposite to happen. Clearly, the taxpayer’s money could be spent elsewhere. California Representative in the House Julia Brownley responded to Sessions in a tweet. She commented, “The state of California has the right to enact its own policies on marijuana, and the voters have spoken. Rather than wasting taxpayer money going after medical and recreational marijuana users, Attorney General Sessions should concentrate on protecting Americans from criminals”. To conclude, California’s young marijuana industry will likely expand to become the nation’s largest. It will benefit the economy, while still having the ideal regulations. It will also decrease gang-related violence and will not have an impact with drug abuse or addiction. Things are looking golden for the Golden State.

 

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Online Censorship

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On January 1st, 2018, popular YouTuber Logan Paul released a video in which he went into Japan’s Aokigahara, commonly known as the ‘Suicide Forest’. In the video, he filmed a dead body, presumed to be a victim of suicide. After seeing the body, Paul did not stop filming, and even made jokes about the victim. As expected, this video drew immediate and strong backlash, and after six million views in less than a day, Paul deleted it. YouTube did not delete the video, even though according to its Community Guidelines, they do not allow “violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or disrespectful”. Though YouTube did publicly criticize Paul after the video, they were not directly responsible for its removal despite the violation of their guidelines. This video, and YouTube’s reaction, have prompted its viewers to wonder whether such content should be censored more strongly.

In my opinion, no content like this should exist on YouTube. To publish content that trivializes suicide, and to portray it sensationally, would only further the already great stigma against suicide and mental health issues. Even though the treatment of suicide as a joke is already rampant in our society, there is no reason YouTube should aim to protect that attitude. Even if the platform does not support this type of content, it is ultimately its job to examine all uploaded videos, especially by channels with many subscribers, and determine whether they are appropriate. Allowing a large channel to publish a video effectively communicates that the website is comfortable with its content. In this case, one of the largest social media platforms in the world is sending a message that it is acceptable to treat suicide in an insensitive way, which it clearly should not.

Despite nearly universal negative reception, there are still some sentiments in support of Logan Paul: mainly “he made a mistake, but everybody makes mistakes”, and “I’m not offended by this content, so I still support him”. While it is incredibly clear that the video was misguided, it was not a mistake: Paul went into the ‘Suicide Forest’ on purpose, he filmed the body on purpose, and he uploaded the video on purpose, not by mistake. While everybody does make mistakes, not everybody chooses to publish footage of a victim of suicide, and not everybody has millions of people seeing their poor choices. Those who have large followings need to be especially aware of the impact their content can make. As for supporters who did not take offense to the video, their support and lack of reaction does not mean everybody will react in the same way. Supporters of Logan Paul are forgetting why a humorous attitude towards suicide is harmful to others. Content that turns suicide into a casual video might not offend viewers who have never contemplated suicide or had a connection to it, but for those who battle suicidal thoughts, depression, or other mental health problems, seeing videos like this could have disastrous repercussions. It is up to YouTube to protect all of its viewers from another “mistake”.

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