Media, society and transgender people


At a time when transgender issues have become more accepting, from Laverne Cox on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” and Caitlin Jenner, the movie released on Nov. 27,  “The Danish Girl,” is bound to get a lot of public attention.

Director Tom Hooper and Producer Anne Harrison tackle a subject matter that hasn’t fully been explored in mainstream movies. The film tells the true story of Einar, a painter who struggles with his identity in Copenhagen, 1926. Over time Einar transforms into his female alter ego, Lili Elbe, a woman who he and his wife dreamed up. Einar learns that he prefers to be in her body and struggles to find a doctor to have her cured.

Lili Elbe is one of the first-known trans women to undergo gender confirmation surgery. Viewers see her transformation and the consequences that come with it. The audience will get a grasp on the realities and politics of the early 20th century, when transgender people were considered abnormal or to have a medical condition.

Eddie Redmayne, the main character, had much difficulty getting into Lili’s role, as he wasn’t initially aware of the struggles of transgender people. The Los Angeles Times stated that he said, “In 31 states, you can still be fired for being transgender. The violence to trans women of color is confounding.”

In 2012, 53 percent of LGBT homicide victims were transgender women. The majority were transgender women of color, according to GLAAD, an organization that promotes cultural change. As Redmayne learned more about his role with the help of the transgender community, he realized the importance for the issue to be on the big-screen.

Critics in the LGBTQ community have complained about the lack of courage in having Lili’s role go to an actor who identifies with the gender assigned at birth. The Hollywood Reporter also complained by saying that people would have preferred a more adventurous approach to the story, especially since the “transgender representation has taken over from gay rights as the next equality frontier.”

Although some might argue the movie is coming out a little too late, I believe that it is the perfect time since the recent legalization of gay marriage and Jenner’s high-profile gender transition. The film will bring people an understanding of what the transgender transition process is like.

While the movie may be one step forward for the public to gain insight, I also believe that there should be other methods that people can learn about the community. If it weren’t for taking University of Miami’s gender studies course, I would not understand LGBTQ because I would only know about it from what I see on social media. The media mostly displays the physical transformation that people go through, causing viewers to misunderstand what happens psychologically.

The New Yorker stated that in a survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 41 percent of transgender respondents said they had attempted suicide. It is facts like these that should be brought to the public spotlight so people can learn from places other than celebrities and movies about the difficulties of being transgender.

UCLA’s Williams Institute estimates there are 700,000 transgender people in the United States. Yet according to a GLAAD’s poll, only 8 percent of Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender. As movies and media presence of trans people is advancing, it is time that policies and acceptance towards them are, too.

Hoverboard grows in popularity


Hoverboards, Rideables, Swagways, no matter the name, they are a new rising fame.

The hands-free, two-wheel model is No. 1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list. Most boards can be bought online for a cost ranging from $400 to $1,800.

Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Jamie Foxx promote the boards on their social media. It’s the latest must-have gadget and people are riding them in malls, to classes and even on public roads.

The futuristic transportation device is favored by the younger generation, but as parents and retirees begin to show interest, more and more property owners are banning them. Now they are also becoming illegal in certain areas of the world.

The state of New York does not consider them motor vehicles so they cannot be registered. They are illegal, according to the New York City Police Department and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. People riding them in public can receive a fine that is up to $500.

The New York Times stated that the police department at the University of California, Los Angeles does not allow Hoverboards on walkways and hallways because people have complained about collisions.

California will have a new law effective on Jan. 1 The electric-powered boards will only be allowed on bike lanes and pathways. The law requires riders to be at least 15 and wear the same protection that is mandatory when riding a bike.

Customs and patrol officers at Los Angeles International Airport handcuffed the American rapper, Wiz Khalifa when he was riding his Hoverboard. On Twitter, he claimed that he was handcuffed because he refused to get off his transporter when zooming around in the airport.

British authorities also declared the boards illegal to ride in public. Legislation considers them vehicles that cannot be driven on sidewalks and the road. The BBC says that they are banned under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 for use on public pavements and roads in the UK. The only place they are legal is on private property with the owner’s consent.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, Target is reducing the price of the Hoverboard by $100. However, as more places ban where they can be ridden, will consumers continue to purchase this Christmas list must have?

Generalizing galore in Paris aftermath


I, like most people, have been deeply saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and saddened even more by the reaction from the news media and my friends.

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter were buzzing with everyone adding their two cents to the situation. In the past few days everyone has heard the sentiment, Americans need to calm down, be mature, level headed and stop generalizing all Muslims based on the actions of an extreme minority.

I agree with the sentiment of the statement, but the irony is palpable. The statement at its core conflicts with itself. It has turned into: Do not generalize Muslims based on the actions of a few, you giant collective of dumb Americans.

The United States has had an admirable reaction to the terrorist attacks. An outpouring of support for France and Beirut, and a constant reminder of how to appropriately react to the tragic events that have come to pass. While the media is focusing on the angrier, more visceral reactions, the majority of people are not generalizing or making bigoted remarks.

It is obvious that ISIS is attempting to splinter Europe and create a Muslims versus everyone else mentality. This is the only way they can make moderate Muslims feel alienated enough that they would want to join ISIS’ cause. Now more than ever it is important to stay unified and show solidarity among one another because that is truly more powerful than any weapon.

The ugly truth about the conflict


On a recent PBS Frontline, the impending chaos of ISIS was shown. While the current situation is grim, a new longstanding threat is being made. Children as young as three years old are being taught jihad and the violence that comes with “defending the faith,” like how to shoot guns, throw grenades, and behead “infidels.” The documentary gave viewers a firsthand look at the crisis that is being passed onto another generation.

With the recent Paris attacks and the hinted threat to Washington D.C., ISIS has generated the momentum that they want in terms of media fame. They want to be recognized as a threat, and are proving just that with these terrorist attacks.

Journalists live dangerously, as Najibullah Quraishi risked his life to give us this story. Journalists must have a wide variety of adaptable skills, as shown by Najibullah’s determination to get this story to us. Camped out in an ISIS controlled community, he narrates the story of these young children being exposed to all of the violence so early on.

The news media have the power of unleashing the ugly truth, but it is what we need to see in order to realize what is going on. Many people may be unaware of the whole situation and only recently heard of this threat when the Paris attacks occurred. This is why the media needs to show the hard truth in order to illicit a response that can multiply into awareness and eventually bring on change.

The Frontline documentary, in which a journalist went on site into an ISIS dominated community and saw how jihadists were teaching young children how to use weapons and fight, provided a look into the future, as the passing of this ideology makes one think: will this terrorism ever stop?

Outrage for the rest of the world?


Last week, late Friday night, reports of terrorist attacks in France killing more than 100 people. Every local, national and international news network covered the story from the moment the attacks happened and every update that has taken place since then.

It seemed as though all of my Facebook friends changed their profile pictures with the semi-transparent overlay of the French flag. Almost four million people, gathered to march in support of France. Several world leaders flew to France to show their support and speak on the issue and express their nation’s solidarity with France.

Support for France and the outcry against the attacks was expressed worldwide via social media, news coverage, and public marches. Many people raised the question: Where is the outcry for the attacks in Nigeria? Where is the support for the people of Syria? Where is the outcry for Lebanon?

In Nigeria, it is believed that Boko Haram orchestrated a terrorist attack killing 32 people and injuring more. Thousands of Syrians are fleeing from their own country in fear of ISIS. In Lebanon, 40 people were killed and left more than 200 wounded victims of bombs at the hands of ISIS.

Where are the flags for these countries on people’s Facebook profile photos? Where is the international outcry for the victims of these attacks?

People on social media have called out several Western news networks for the biased coverage of terrorist attacks happening all around the world. In response to the claims presented on social media, CNN responded during a segment of their morning show “New Day.”

Michaela Pereira, a “New Day” co-host, raised the question if the West should be doing more to fight Boko Haram. One of the show’s guest speaker, James Marks (a military analyst and executive dean of the University of Phoenix), stated that the reason the West isn’t doing more or showing support to countries such as Nigeria or Lebanon is simply because, “they are not a priority.”

Marks also stated that, “The United States, unilaterally, could do anything it needed to do to root out Boko Haram. It would be a long-term effort, but it could be done. The U.S. has the capability…but it is not a priority—that’s the problem.

Marks went on to say, “‘Black’ West Africa is not a priority. If we were to see Boko Haram appear in ‘White Africa’, which is North Africa, we would be alarmed.”

But is the mass coverage of Paris in comparison to other countries simply a race issue? The Washington Post thinks so, but they also think several other factors are a part of the issue as indicated in their recent article, “This is why the Paris attacks have gotten more news coverage than other terrorist attacks.”

The Washington Post lists the following reasons contributing to why the attacks in Paris received mass coverage as opposed to other terrorist attacks.

  1. France is an unusual target.
  2. Paris is a top global tourist destination
  3. Random civilians were targeted using shocking tactics
  4. Are we seeing a new battleground for the Islamic State?
  5. This was a complex, coordinated attack. And that’s worrisome.

The Washington Post wrote, “The Paris attack shocked the world for many reasons. It’s true that terrorism in less-developed countries is worth our attention as well. Crises, such as the Syrian civil war, deserve much more media coverage and policy focus.”

To conclude, I agree with The Washington Post. There are several other reasons that contributed to the mass media coverage that the Paris attacks received, other than race and urbanization. However, I do believe that because France is not a Third World country, they received more coverage. The prioritization of what is considered to be news to the West is problematic, because one could conclude that the amount of coverage a nation receives indicates their level of importance and whether or not they, and their lives, matter.

Media coverage of ISIS stokes fear


Terrorists live among us? According to CBS12, U.S. National Security officials said there are more than 900 active ISIS investigations in 50 states — including Florida. After the terrorist incident happened last week, news coverage was full of  ISIS’ s recent status, they said that they were in South Florid, in the Washington, D.C., in the Massachusetts.

“They are amongst us. Believe me, they are amongst us here in South Florida,” Chad Jenkins told CBS12. Jenkins is a former counterterrorism agent with the FBI and a former US Army Ranger who served in Iraq. He also said that the reason terrorists chose South Florida were the weather and international makeup.

Moreover, Emily Miller, the chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C.’s Fox 5 publicized an internal police document about the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) seeking information on four men who appear to be Middle Eastern engaged in “suspicious activity” on D.C.’s rapid transit system on Nov. 18.

The news quickly spread and is drawn attention on internet about danger in the Washington, D.C., area. After then, the Metro Transit Police proved the police just did a routine check and the news sparked unnecessary concerns about danger.

“The kind of document is shared internally with law enforcement every day and that doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything of concern for the public and caution any reporter that the individuals here are not suspected of any criminal activity,” said Dan Stessel, chief spokesman for Washington’s Metro Transit Police.

The latest news from CNN said that new ISIS video warns of attack on United States and makes threats against New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio responded promptly that NYPD was prepared to respond to up to 24 incidents simultaneously and the people will not live in the fear. However, social media spread the attack and raised fear about an Islamist terror attack in D.C. and New York, and even made derogatory comments about Syrian refugees.

Stoking fear is the goal of terrorist organizations, however, some media coverage just abet it.

Worst European terrorism in a decade


At least 129 people have died from an ISIS attack, according to Paris city officials.

Terrorists staged attacks at six locations throughout Paris late Friday. These places consisted of the Bataclan concert venue, the Stade de France, Petit Cambodge Cambodian restaurant, the Le Carillon bar, Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, and La Belle Equipe bar.

At least 368 people were injured in the attacks, leaving seven terrorists killed. The dead attackers who have been identified by officials are 28-year-old Samy Animour, 20-year-old Bilal Hadfi, 25-year-old Ahmad Almohammad, Omar Ismail Mostefair, Brahim Abdeslam, and Salah Abdeslam. Abdelhamid Abaaoud who organized the attacks was announced dead early Wednesday. Authorities have said that they believe at least one suspect is still on the loose.

French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency across France. People’s movements are now limited, there are imposed zones of security and border controls are tightened. Hollande said that he would like the state of emergency in place for three months.

The aftermath of Friday’s attack led to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve saying that Paris mobilized 115,000 security forces. There have also been multiple raids and airstrikes over Raqaa, the Ismalic State’s de facto capital.

On Tuesday, France also sought a clause in the Treaty on European Union that obliges other member states to provide it with aid and assistance. All of the 28 member states agreed.

Nations find themselves frightened as ISIS released a video promising more attacks. Law enforcement officials in the U.S. capital are increasing security as the terrorist group mentioned targeting Washington.

George Washington University student Sarah Albright says, “I’m scared to see what will happen next. It’s hard for people to just continue their every lives when there is so much fear inside of us.”

Governors refuse Syrian refugees


According to ABC News, at least half of the country’s governors are refusing to take in Syrian refugees in their states amid heightened security concerns following last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Paris terrorist attacks, in which 129 people were killed. Since Friday’s attacks, ISIS has threatened to attack Washington, D.C., and New York.

This chilling effect has influenced several United States governors to refuse Syrian refugees. Ultimately the federal government decides on matters of immigration, not the states.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas has taken to Twitter to express his opposition to allowing refugees.

This tweet caused a mostly negative reaction from his followers and media consumers alike.

An individual with the twitter handle @jonvox responded to Hutchinson’s tweet saying, “ You are a horrible man and make me embarrassed to be an Arkansan.”

Likewise, Facebook and YouTube have been flooded with political comics and videos that compare the current refugee crisis to World War II.

Those who support the relocation of refugees in the United States have compared the current government opposition specifically to the opposition towards Jewish refugees.

The dissenting opinion of the U.S. governors is less likely to be accepted by media consumers on social media because of the chilling effect of terrorism.

Barbie breaking gender stereotypes


I recently saw the new Moschino Barbie commercial, which totally shattered gender stereotypes. The commercial featured a boy in the Barbie commercial for the first time ever. They selected three children to be in the ad two of which were young girls and the other the young boy.

The boy is seen giggling and smiling with the two friends for the new limited edition Moschino Barbie doll. He says, “Moschino Barbie is so fierce,” as he holds Barbie’s purse. This commercial is truly breaking boundaries.

For years Barbie has been an icon for young girls but Barbie has finally broken down the gender specific toy and is now targeting a male demographic. I think it is a highly positive message. Target recently decided to stop labeling their toys for boys or girls, to simply using the term kids.

Numerous people have been responding positively towards the new ad star, with comments like “Thank you for this! Boys like dolls too!” and “This is a wonderful ad, very nice to see gender race and sexual orientation equality in this ad.” Barbie is finally making a brand change and introducing more progressive dolls rather than the traditional doll.

Newsworthy or racism?


It was heartbreaking to hear the news that terrorists bombed a concert in Paris last Friday and killed more than a hundred people.

News media coverage instantaneously responded to the tragedy. The criticism of the terrorism, condolences from international leaders and follow-ups on Paris keeps popping up on different media. Soon many people on Facebook added a French flag on their Facebook profile as a way to demonstrate that they expressed their sorrow to France.

At the same time, many people criticized that news media are biased and racism because at around the same time Japan experienced a 7.0 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami but received almost zero media attention.

I think news media have their own standard of evaluating whether a piece of information is newsworthy or not. Audiences have heard about a lot of outrageous terrorist activities in the Middle East and are conditioned to associate the region with terrorism and get used to receiving this terrorism news from those places.

But in France, in Paris, which people fantasize as a place of romance and fashion not terrorism, was actually under attack of terrorists. The unexpectedness and rareness would attract more attention.

Japan is an island country that constantly under threats of earthquake and tsunami. It is reported that Japan would go through more than 10 earthquakes a year, ranging from some earthquake people may never feel about to some big ones that may trigger tsunami. Considering no casualty has been reported, the Japanese earthquake might not be equally newsworthy as the bombing in Paris.

So what happened to MDC?


At the end of last month, Miami’s Dade Medical College closed the doors of its six campuses that ran from South Florida all the way to Jacksonville, leaving thousands of students with anger and questions. However, the only answers that were given to students was that the school was struggling financially and with the poor performance of the students on the certification exams. Really?

Management of the college stated: “Today it is with great sadness that I must announce that Dade Medical College and the University of Southernmost Florida will be closing effective October 30, 2015, across all of our campuses and our corporate offices.

“So my friends, I want to thank each and every one of you for believing in us every time we may have faltered and for being a part of this journey.” (Source: MSNBC).

So what do the students do now? How do they get their transcripts? What is DMC or the Department of Education doing now? Did everyone forget about the students who threw time, money and dreams away?

Well, on Thursday a town hall-style meeting was held at Shenandoah Middle School in Miami to give answers to the students regarding their education and their future. However, according to The Miami Herald report, it seems like the students left with more questions and no hope.

But first, let’s talk about why did it close in the first place? Well, according to an investigation conducted by The Herald, it was revealed how DMC was using political connections to fuel its growth through for-profit strategies.

Ernesto Perez, the owner and a high school drop out, was the very own guilty person behind this horrendous business. He pleaded guilty Monday for making illegal campaign contributions. The contributions won’t hurt his pocket and reputation, but have damaged many students’ dreams because, unfortunately, Dade Medical College doesn’t fulfill all academic requirements to transfer to other universities.



For the first time since 1944, the city of Paris in France is under state of emergency after the city was under terrorists attacks. Several explosions were heard near the largest stadium of the city where France was playing a soccer match against Germany.  Not only that, but the police launched an assault on the Bataclan concert hall where around 100 people were held hostage and two men were reportedly armed. 140 people have been killed in Paris terror attacks. Also, other attacks have been held at central Les Halles shopping mall and restaurants.

President Francois Hollande said that everyone should stay home tonight, the borders will be closed and no one leaves nether enters France.

Throughout all social media, the people are asking and some demanding that the military service should take control of the country because they are scared.



‘Baby Hitler’ goes viral on social media


Reuters reported on Tuesday that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said if he had the opportunity to kill Adolf Hitler when the German autocrat was an infant, he would. The White House later tweeted the article featuring his answer with a comment, “Gotta do it.”

In an interview with the Huffington Post series that covers the campaign trail with the candidates running for president, this former Florida governor’s responded “Hell yeah, I would!” to the question: if given the opportunity, would you go back in time to kill baby Adolf Hitler?

“The problem with going back in history and doing that, as we know from the series — what’s the name of the Michael Fox movies? It could have a dangerous effect on everything else. But I’d do it, Hitler,”said Bush.

This odd question was picked via the e-mail address that Bush distributes widely to public audiences, and in fact, it had already become a controversial question when The New York Times Magazine ran a poll over the weekend last month asking readers if they would go back in time and kill baby Hitler. The result showed that 42 percent of respondents said they would, 30 percent said they would not and the left respondents were not sure about it.

The response on social media to Bush’s comments and The New York Times Magazine went viral. Most of them were comical, but it is still a sensitive question involved an adult kill an infant. Therefore, on Wednesday, when Ben Carson was asked the similar question, but there was a slight difference. The question was whether or not he would “abort” a baby Hitler and he responded that he was not in favor of aborting anybody.

In that case, whatever the respond to that question is, it will lead a new roar on the internet.

Give us chance to make it right


Over the past few weeks, the longstanding built-up pressure for racial equality and justice at the University of Missouri came to an explosive point. Through protests, hunger strikes, and a boycott by the football team, students are unifying to end the hurtful racial slurs at their educational home. Their president and chancellor resigned. Students from campuses across the country are teaming up with them, posting messages with the hashtag: #ConcernedStudent1950.

The Washington Post sent Tim Tai, a photographer, on campus to photograph the students’ safe space event. However, Tai was sent away by the students and not allowed on site. The Post’s article about this offense to Tai’s journalistic right provides the story of a journalist who was unjustly shunned from Mizzou’s campus because of the past, where journalists have earned a reputation of unfairly covering racial issues.

This is completely understandable, as black students have been pushed to such a brink that they had to create a safe space and anyone who feels like an intruder probably should not be there. Also, some past coverage of race issues, such as that of Ferguson, were shown to have bias against blacks and the pain that they feel. Even though the media has a bad reputation for covering race and having a lack of empathy for black issues, the only way for there to be change is to give journalists a chance to make it right.

Denying Tai access is yet another setback in the issue of the First Amendment and free speech on campuses. The First Amendment is there for a reason, and is undeniably important. Students need to respect the law that allows Tai to cover this issue, and change their focus from punishing those who are uneducated in racial equality to one that will give these ignorant people the knowledge to realize how backwards their actions are is and how hurtful it can be.

While racial slurs and inequality of any kind should not be continued, anywhere, there has to be another way to tackle this. There will always be people who lack the knowledge to understand how detrimental racism is to society, but there will also always be people who have the knowledge to understand that racism is wrong and hurtful. Perhaps if there were more unbiased coverage of black issues and a greater understanding altogether of the well established pain that blacks feel, this issue with Tai would not have occurred.

Yik Yak gets wrong kind of use


Founded by two college grads in 2013, Yik Yak is an app commonly used by college students to post anonymous jokes and gossip that wouldn’t be shared otherwise. However, what was seen as a fun way to interact, actually turned out to be a mean of verbal abuse and threat to many.

This Tuesday, a student from the University of Missouri was arrested after posting threats and racist commentary on Yik Yak.

Nineteen-year-old Hunter M. Park said he was going to “stand (his) ground and shoot every black person he saw.” Consequentially University of Missouri was able to identify him through his device’s IP address and arrest him on the next day.

This is not the first time Yik Yak faces problems with threats and harassment.

Similar posts happened in the following universities:

  • Charleston Southern University – threats of mass shooting – November 2015
  • Emory University – threats of mass shooting – October 2015
  • American University – racist commentary – October 2015
  • Florida Atlantic University – threats of shooting – September 2015
  • Clemson University – racist commentary – January 2015
  • Kenyon College – threats of violence and sexual assault – October 2014

Whether the app is good or bad, lies on each person’s opinion, however something has to be done about the students that post such comments and what causes them to behave in such manner.

Removing the app from the market or banning from school areas will not decrease harassment, racism and threats. The problem is much greater and concerning than a mere phone app.

Something is wrong, and as bad as it may seem, Yik Yak actually help us realize that something has to be done. Be it good or not, Yik Yak will remain the same, what has to change are the users themselves.

Rice murder ‘objectively reasonable’


In November 2014, Tamir Rice, who was at a local park playing with a BB gun, was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer after the officers assumed his toy gun was threatening. On Thursday afternoon, his murder was deemed “objectively reasonable” according to the third report from a Cuyahoga County prosecutor.

Newsweek, CNN, and other major news media outlets have since reported this issue.

What baffles me is that whenever someone is murdered by a civilian, that civilian is often found guilty after trial. However, when an innocent, young, black boy is murdered by government workers, society questions whether the boy’s actions warranted his murder and often times, the police officer(s) aren’t reprimanded for their behaviors.

How many Tamir Rices must die before we step in an admit that there is a problem with our justice system? How many incarcerated men need to protest before we actually do something about it?

The news media’s portrayal of black men in America doesn’t make this task any easier. The media is the reason why we assume the black man is the aggressor in any criminal case. Refer to the portrayal of recent high school graduate Mike Brown for instance, or the images of Trayvon Martin as a thug when he was murdered.

The media must stop painting negative images of black men and maybe, just maybe, we can begin to assess the real problem, the cold blooded murders of innocent people.

FAU students support guns on campus


I read a brief story on the NBC6 Miami website this morning that spiked a concern that has been resonating with American citizens for a long time, especially this past year. It relates back to the age-old issue of this nation’s gun laws.

Just last month, nine people were killed in a shooting at an Oregon community college. That incident was just one out of many tragic school shootings that have occurred in this country in the past decades, and it brought more attention to an already controversial issue.

This morning, I read that a bill is making its way through Florida state legislature that could legalize the carrying of guns on the campuses of public colleges. It is currently against the law, but the bill recently passed a Senate committee. I was shocked to see that Florida Atlantic University students are actually pushing in support of the bill, especially in the aftermath of the Oregon shooting.

Evidently, the mindset of those who are in support of legalizing the carrying of firearms is aligned with the idea that it will not impact the likelihood of another school shooting. Some students were saying that all the law would do is allow students who already have a concealed carry permit outside of campus to legally carry their guns on campus – and if one were to act violently with their weapons, it would happen regardless of the legality of the situation.

What I don’t understand is why it is necessary to have a firearm on campus in the first place. I do agree that the legality of having a gun on campus wouldn’t alone be a motivating cause for a school shooting – such incidents are completely and utterly senseless, and they occur regardless of what state legislature says.

My concern here can be reduced to one word: access. Having firearms present on a place like a college campus – in classroom buildings, dormitories, or fraternity and sorority houses – adds an immediate element of danger to the environment. We all know how easily things can be stolen or fall into the wrong hands and a college campus is a high-pressure environment. As unfortunate as it is, it’s not rare to see many students at any university struggle with mental health issues or develop violent behavior for whatever reason, and it can never be predicted what any one person is capable of.

Obviously, if a killer is set on shooting students or others on campus for whatever sick reason, they will find a way to make it happen regardless of whether or not guns may already be present on campus. I just think that it is completely unnecessary to approve a law that really has no benefits, yet has the potential to be extremely lethal.

Especially after the shooting in Oregon this year, and the shooting at FSU last year where three were shot, I find it absurd that students are pushing in favor of this law. I try not to be close-minded to anything, but I must say at this point in time I have a very firm position against the possibility of this bill being passed.

Students arrested for threats in Missouri


According to USA Today, police arrested two college students in Missouri on Wednesday for making threats to black students that heightened tensions as the state’s flagship University of Missouri-Columbia campus.

Connor Stolettlemyre, 19, was arrested “on suspicion of making a terrorist threat after he allegedly posted a threat on Yik Yak that read ‘I’m going to shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready’. He is a student at Northwest Missouri State University.

Another student, Hunter Park, of Lake St. Louis, Mo., was charged with “making the alleged terrorist threat on Yik Yak.”


Yik Yak, the anonymous social media app, does more harm than good. It allows individuals to post on an open platform based on one’s location, creating an open forum where individuals can interact in their environment without their identity.

I think that Yik Yak is irresponsible, cowardly and dangerous. In situations like this, Yik Yak is perpetuating the racism across college campuses. Every individual that has the app is exposed to the feed, which has the potential to desensitize students to harmful content and hate speech.

If Yik Yak made users take ownership of their identity, there would be less harmful speech. I suggest that the University of Missouri closely monitor Yik Yak for more potential danger.

Starbucks’ cup sparks outrage


This past Saturday, Starbucks unveiled its new cup design for the holiday season—and it was met with hostile response from Starbucks drinkers.

CNN History of Starbucks CupsSocial media erupted in anger upon the release of the “minimalist” red cup, claiming that Starbucks (in addition to other large companies and corporations) was attacking Christmas and Christians by not celebrating the Christmas spirit on their cups.

In previous years, Starbucks’ cups have featured designs with snowflakes, reindeer and other seasonal symbols on its cups during the holiday season.

Many people are upset because they believe that Starbucks has become more “politically correct” and instead of changing the cups design in response to consumer demand, the change was made for political correctness.

There a large group of people on social media calling for the boycott of the company and they are gaining momentum. Even Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump spoke on the controversial issue, comically being known as “Cupgate.”

“No more ‘Merry Christmas’ on Starbucks. No more,” Trump said at a speaking event in Springfield, Ill., this past Monday. “I wouldn’t buy … maybe we should boycott Starbucks — I don’t know.”

Honestly, I don’t think many people are surprised that Donald Trump would comment on this issue during a speaking event; bringing up “Cupgate” provided Trump with a moment of comedic relief and an opportunity to implicitly express his support of Christianity and the celebration of Christmas.

However, I am surprised by the amount of coverage that this story is getting from national news networks. CNN did a story today (and I’m guessing they’ve been covering it since “Cupgate” emerged), in which they actually went through the history of Starbucks’ holiday cups for the past 5 years.

CNN news anchor, Carol Costello, had to hold back moments of laughter as they covered the story—mirroring my exact sentiments. How is this newsworthy? Why is the design on a cup of coffee national news?

The triviality of the coverage was made strikingly clear, because as soon as the coverage of the coffee cup was over, CNN’s next segment was regarding a battle taking place in Iraq to reclaim a key city from ISIS. Yet we are discussing a coffee cup’s design.

And now, the story has gained even more momentum as Dunkin’ Donuts has come into play with the release of their more “festive” holiday cup featuring the word “Joy” in red script surrounded by green pine branches.

It goes without saying that ratings are important for any news organization—it is how they make money. But at what cost? I’m sure the coverage of the Starbucks “Cupgate” provided news networks with a bump in ratings, but was it worth it when there are so many other important topics and events the news should be covering? I think that the cup design is something worth talking about, but it should not be covered as national news.

News reports on a red coffee cup


A big discussion over this past week has been the controversy of Starbucks holiday cup.

On Sunday, Starbucks released its annual holiday cup, but this year left out snowflakes and vintage ornaments and inspirational quotes leaving a plain red cup. Rather than just accept the minimalist design, people became outraged. Many people were offended over Starbucks’ new design.

I was highly surprised when I visited numerous news media sites, only to see headlined stories of this issue on the front page. Rather than focus on major issues going on all over the world, news organizations are covering a story about a red cup. We live in a society where the color of a coffee cup can lead to a boycott.

I find this story unnecessary in the bigger scheme of things. I find it interesting, however, that news organizations are writing on how this controversy is stupid and that they still blast numerous articles on the front of their websites. We in the news business need to start refocusing our attention on bigger problems rather than the color of a coffee cup.