Every patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has died or has been pronounced terminally ill, their life span post diagnosis is estimated between 8 to 10 years. Imagine knowing that eventually everything including family members, friends, and even a significant other will all be forgotten. Lost in the abyss that is the human mind, you lose all sense of self and to the outside world you are near equivalent to a zombie. Unable to communicate with anyone it is unknown if anything is still left of the person that once dwelled with-in the physical body that is still alive. While Alzheimer’s has no current cure that does not justify its victims to be abandoned and left for dead, there are many options to be explored in helping them from digressing further.
Alzheimer’s or AD is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. While AD is now currently gaining more recognition in the medical field we often times we do not see underlying long-term effects AD has on families and society as a whole. By exposing these ugly truths we can gain some support from formerly unaware bystanders. It is not only the disease carrier who is affected by AD, it is the entire familie’s disease. More than 40% of family caregivers report that the emotional stress of their role is high or very high. Imagine the person who raised you from a baby, taught you everything you know, gave you more than anyone now unable to communicate or even feed themselves. That is the ugly truth that plagues more than 15 million Americans on a day to day basis. Alzheimers is a truly despicable disease that takes the very thing that makes us who we are and distorts it until theres nothing left, just a shell of who we once were.
This progressive and incurable disease, like most diseases, comes in varying stages ranging from one to seven in the medical world. During stage one, Alzheimer’s disease is not detectable and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident. Next comes stage two where the senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by physicians or loved ones. After that the friends and family members of the senior may begin to notice memory and cognitive problems. After further investigation and testing physicians will recognize a deficiency in memory skills and cognitive functions, and family members will be able to spot it right away. Some signs of this stage are delayed communications, having trouble remembering new acquaintances, and they may find it hard to plan/organize. Stage 4 is where the disease really begins to affect day to day tasks, things such as managing finances and keeping track of valuables become too difficult for them. In stage 5 they become significantly more dependent upon assistance from others, its at this stage that family members realize just how physically and emotionally draining the constant care is on everyone involved. The next two stages, stages 6 and 7, are the most debilitating of the seven stages where the victim basically becomes numb to the world unable to express the simplest emotion. Blank stares into nothing and not being able to control bowels are a few of the symptoms of the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. At this point in the diseases progression the patient is nearing the end of their life, since the disease is terminal no one has ever survived the tenacity this disease possesses.
Since scientists and doctors have not found the exact cause of AD it is almost impossible to obtain a cure for it. Further research needs to be conducted to evaluate the cause, develop predictors to catch disease in its early stages, and find variables that may play an influential role in the pace the disease accelerates at. This is easier said than done the brain is the single most complicated organ in the human body, it controls everything from feeling the heat of a fire to storing memories from events that happened decades ago.The brain is the most complex organ in a vertebrate’s body. In a typical human, the cere-bral cortex (the largest part) is estimated to contain 15–33 billion neurons, each connected by synapses to several thousand other neurons. No one quite knows how information is encoded in the brain from cell to cell or even if information is encoded differently in different sections of the brain. What this means is we still have years and years of research before we get anywhere near close to finding a cure for this disease. It is not as simple as a vaccination and has nothing to do with bacteria or antibodies. To be truly proactive in reducing the impact the disease has on us we need to look for answers in the here and now, not 20 years from now. The mind is comparable to a tool, and just like any tool it can become dull or rusted, keeping our minds sharp is the quickest and most cost effective method of beating Alzheimer’s. This can be achieved by simple day to day things that some older people do not always keep up with. Simply having a conversation with someone can help keep your wits about you and as common as this may sound some older people do not have that luxury. Cooped up in their house all day or left in a nursing home to wither is the norm for a great number of our elders, they are not treated like the people they are anymore and instead are ignored and ridiculed. It is not clear where or when this mentality of complete apathy for our elders occurred but surely these are not the morals we wish to teach our children less we endure the same fate. There needs to be a government regulated clinic where people of a certain age can retreat if the means are not there for them in their current situation. A place where they can be cared for and talked to like the human beings they are, this would not only supply jobs to thousands of young adults but also create a better environment for everyone to live. No one wants to see an 80 year old abandoned at an emergency room with no place to turn. We can beat this stigma that the elderly have no value, it is beginning to take hold in our younger generation and needs to be eradicated now.
“Learning How Little We Know About the Brain.” The NewYork Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
“Alzheimer’s Statistics.” Alzheimers.net. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
Mayo Clinic Staff Print. “Alzheimer’s Disease.” Treatment – Alzheimer’s Disease. N.p., 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
The American Dream:
Achievable or Legend?
Once upon a time the impressive sight of a shining, glimmering copper Statue of Liberty welcomed millions of immigrants seeking entry to the United States with the plaque containing a quote from Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus”: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” It should be made clear that these words alone do not promise a better life, despite what many may think. Rather it promises only the opportunity for a better life. Such a belief is the root of the American Dream, the idea that anyone can succeed by working hard enough. As such, America has prided itself on being the “land of opportunity,” the place where everyone can become successful by following their dreams and working hard. But is America really the land of opportunity? That is to say, how successful can you really be in the United States when you compare it to other countries?
The American Dream is a vast topic that differs from person to person, and it would be disingenuous to proceed without addressing the many different versions of the American Dream, A New York Times poll found that the three most agreed upon versions of the American Dream are freedom/opportunity at 27%, hard work leads to success at 18% and a secure job at 11%. To look at both opportunity and hard work translating to success, I will look at the US’ social mobility. Social mobility is a person’s ability to overcome their current economic class and move into a higher one. This kind of social mobility is called “relative social mobility.” It’s important to note that it is distinctly different from “absolute social mobility” which measures the wealth of the population as a whole. If a newer generation of a country has higher wages while adjusting for inflation, then that country has a positive absolute social mobility. Relative social mobility takes a look at the individual, absolute mobility looks at the country as a whole.
There is no doubt the USA has a great absolute social mobility. According to a Pew research study, 84% of Americans have higher wages than their parents. However, despite a high absolute mobility, the United States actually has a relatively low relative social mobility.
It is counterintuitive to think that the country that is heralded as “the land of opportunity” is not the country that best allows its citizens the ability to move up in social class nor is it the one that provides it’s citizens the most freedom. Regardless of whether or not the American Dream is dead, the belief in it is surely dying in newer generations. In a 2015 poll conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, 49 percent of people 18-29 years old responded that the dream was indeed alive, while 48 percent that it was dead for them. This belief was split fairly evenly between whites (49 percent believed that the dream was alive,) African-Americans (44 percent believed that the dream was alive) and Hispanics (52 percent believed the dream was alive.) No information on Asian Americans was given. A CNN poll found that nearly 60 percent of Americans said the American Dream was unachievable.
The lack of faith in the so-called “American” is a mirror of the world as it is today. With a weak economy, it’s no surprise that Americans feel disillusioned with the belief that hard work can get a person into a higher social class. The director of the Economic Mobility Project at Pew Charitable Trusts, Erin Currier says that “The pessimism is reflective of the financial realities a lot of families are facing. They are treading water, but their income is not translating into solid financial security.” But while Americans are thinking one thing, the data shows something else entirely. Harvard economics professor Raj Chetty says that “We find that children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution as children born in the 1970s.” Moving up in this sense is relative to the parents of the children in question. This means social mobility hasn’t changed in at least 40 years. So why does it feel so hard to move up in the world in the eyes of many Americans?
The Equality of Opportunity Project ran a study that showed that 90 percent of Americans in 1940 were able to earn more than their parents, dropping to around 50 percent by 1980. The main reason for this they cite is income inequality. The poor remain poor while the rich get richer. By breaking up the US into sections, we see that it is the poorer, rural areas that provide less chance for more earnings. In the worst sections, particularly in the southern states between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi, the chance of earning more than the previous generation is 4.8 percent or lower. The best chance of moving up in terms of income distribution is to move out of those rural areas. This is not always a feasible option however. Many families are stuck in low-income areas. Inside those low-income areas are poorer and therefore more ineffective schools, which leads to a lower average education level. The lower the average education level, the less potential there is for new earnings. Thus the cycle continues, and the poor remain in the same spot, if not becoming poorer.
So domestically we know that the United States hasn’t really had that big of a difference in the percent of people who move on to a higher social class, but how does the US compare internationally? Compared to other rich nations, the US lags behind other countries, specifically European countries. Several different studies show that the US has a .47 intergenerational social elasticity. Very simply, this means that the average person in the US has a 47 percent chance to earn the same amount of money their parents did. The closest countries to the US while having a higher social elasticity are the UK and Italy both at an elasticity of .50. After that, it’s Chile at .52 and Slovenia at .54. Directly below the US is Pakistan at a social elasticity of .45 and France at .42. To recap, that means the average person in Pakistan has a 1 percent higher chance of making more money than their parents did compared to the average US citizen. Other major countries include Japan with a .34, Canada at .19 and Denmark at an astoundingly low elasticity of .15. The other Scandinavian countries, Norway and Finland are close to Denmark at .17 and .18 respectively.
While the US hasn’t changed in terms of social mobility in the past 40 years, it’s altogether no too surprising that it hasn’t. Most rich countries have retained their relative mobility in recent history. An exception to this rule is Canada where elasticity rates, according to University of Ottawa professor Miles Corak, went from a .29 elasticity rate in 2006 to a .25 in 2011 and as low as .19 today. Corak’s data also shows that countries with higher income inequality have lower social elasticities.
The truest American Dream story is one of getting to the highest social class- moving up in social class is nice, but nothing quite beats a “rags-to-riches” story. However, the US seems to lag behind other countries even there. Julia Isaacs at The Brookings Institute compared the poorest fifth of a country’s population and measured their progress. Progress was measured by observing children and what situation they were in, and then finding out what they are in now after becoming full adults. In the US 42 percent of children in the poorest fifth of the population stayed in the lowest fifth into adulthood. 50 percent were able to climb to the earnings of people in the second, third or fourth fifth of the population. That leaves a final 8 percent of the lowest income earners who were able to climb all the way up to the wealthiest fifth of the population.
Looking at the Scandinavian countries that showed the lowest intergenerational social elasticity, we find that their poor have a much higher chance of succeeding. Those countries showed that a child had a 61-63 percent chance of getting out of their parent’s bracket at the lowest fifth by one to three brackets. The amount of people who went from the lowest to the highest bracket was as high as 14 percent (Denmark) with the lowest of the Scandinavian countries (Finland and Sweden) scoring a still impressive 11 percent. Even the United Kingdom, which had a lower intergenerational social elasticity, showed more hopeful rates for their poorest people, with only 30 percent of them staying as the poorest. The UK actually ties with Norway at 12 percent of people who climbed from the lowest to the highest. It’s important to remember that “intergenerational social elasticity” only means that a person makes more money than their parents and is not representative of their social class. A person can make more money than their parents while still retaining the social class of their parents.
Now obviously, the mobility of the lower classes obviously causes others to go down into the poorest 20 percent. The amount of people who remained in the top fifth from childhood to adulthood showed generally a 2 percent spread. With the exception of the UK, the countries mentioned in the last paragraph all had 35-37 percent of their wealthiest people stay as the wealthiest. Only 30 percent of people in the UK retained their status. That is where the similarities end, however, for the US is the only country in which 10 percent of people born into the top fifth dropped into the lowest fifth. The UK trails slightly behind at 11 percent, and the Scandinavian countries all have 15 percent with the exception of Sweden at 16 percent. This is a testament to the income inequality in America. The other countries, much more socialistic than the US, all have a better wealth distribution, which makes going in and out of brackets much easier.
It can be argued that the definition of the American Dream isn’t exactly related to the relative social mobility. It is a fair assessment to say that as again, the topic of the American Dream is broad and varies from person to person. But even if we alter the meaning of the American Dream to mean a stable lifestyle, a house, a car and a disposable income for luxury items. A study taking these variables was done by a group of Canadian researchers with TheRedPin. According to them, no country in the world could support their hypothetical American Dream scenario. Interestingly enough, the two closest countries to achieving this goal were Oman and Saudi Arabia. This is based off the costs of living, buying the items mentioned above, as well as taking the average income earned by a worker in these countries.
Freedom and is the last bit of the American Dream that has not been touched yet. Freedom is the pride and joy of this country, celebrated and heralded by every state, every district and every person. What would America be without freedom? With the freedoms granted by the law, the US ranks 23rd on the Human Freedom Index, and index published by a non-partisan think tank known as The Cato Institute, who collaborated with the Fraser Institute in Canada, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Germany.
“Human freedom is a social concept that recognizes the dignity of the individual,” says Ian Vazquez, who headed the creation of the index. “The declining performance of the United States, once considered the bastion of liberty, is worrisome,” In 2008 the HFI ranked the US as the 16th freest country in the world. Five years later, they were in 19th. According to Vazquez, “We should all be concerned with the impact on liberty of the war on terror, the war on drugs, and the decline in the rule of law and economic liberty in the United States.” These were the main reasons the US is on the decline in the HFI. At the top of the index we have Hong Kong as the freest country, Switzerland at number two, New Zealand in third, Ireland in fourth, Denmark at fifth and Canada, the UK and Australia tied for sixth. It’s important to note that with the exception of the UK all these other countries have a higher social elasticity and higher social mobility than the United States.
With all of this evidence, it is safe to say that the American Dream is no longer uniquely American. Nothing about the American Dream belongs only to America, and in fact, it seems that the idea of the American Dream is an idea survived only by its fame. Younger generations have less and less faith in the American Dream. They do not believe in it. This doubt in something so quintessential to the American way of life is not unnatural given the world economy, but even in better years, the US is not the best country in terms of economic growth. In better years, the US was not even the freest country, and in the current economic situation, it’s hard for people to afford the houses they want. Research has shown that more progressive countries are doing better than the US in terms of economic mobility, owning a house and even in the freedom of its citizens.
The United States does have a course of action, however. To increase social mobility, they need to invest properly in the poorest areas of the country by investing in education. The government needs to take more conclusive steps to fixing the economy so that people can start making more as a whole, providing them with the jobs that pay out enough for their mortgages. The wars on drugs and terror need to be looked at and reviewed closely. If the US cannot do those things, then it truly doesn’t deserve to be known for its freedom. If that should ever happen, the American Dream will be truly just a legend.
Chetty, Raj, and Nathaniel Hendren. “The Equality of Opportunity Project.” The Equality of Opportunity Project. The Equality of Opportunity Project, 1 Aug. 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.
Corak, Miles. “Social Mobility and Social Institutions in Comparison Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States.” Economics for Public Policy. Cato Institute, 21 May 2012. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. .
Gass, Bick. “Poll: Half of Millennials Say the American Dream Is Dead.” POLITICO. POLITICO, 12 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 Dec. 2016. .
Hargreaves, Sean. “America’s Economic Mobility Myth.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 9 Dec. 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2016. .
Isaacs, Julia B. “INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS OF ECONOMIC MOBILITY.” The Brookings Institute. The Brookings Institute, 28 July 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. .
Luhby, Tami. “The American Dream Is out of Reach.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 4 June 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. .
Perez, Esten. “The Institute of Politics at Harvard University.” Harvard IOP Fall 2015 Poll | The Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Harvard Institute of Politics, 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. .
Seelye, Katharine Q. “What Happens to the American Dream in a Recession?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 May 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. .
Vasquez, Ian, and Tanja Porcnik. “The Human Freedom Index.” Cato Institute. Cato Institute, 4 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. .
Venator, Joanna, and Richard V. Reeves. “Mobility: What Are You Talking About?” Brookings. The Brookings Institute, 28 July 2016. Web. 9 Dec. 2016. .
Winship, Scott. “Does the U.S. Have Lower Economic Mobility than Other Countries?” National Review. National Review, 06 July 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. .
- Bandler, Aaron. “5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks.” Daily Wire. N.p., 07 July 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
This article by Aaron Bandler was a very informative article that gave many important statistics on police shootings. It gave numbers such as the number of African-Americans killed by police officers..
I used this article by applying the statistics to both sides of the BLM cause. It provided insight on what is truly going on.
- Craven, Julia. “Here’s How Many Black People Have Been Killed By Police This Year.” Huffingtonpost.com. Huffington Post, n.d. Web.
This article by Julia Craven was an article that was bias in favor of the Black Lives matter movement. It gave an interesting perspective on how strongly some people feel about police officers killing African-Americans.
I used this source sarcastically in a way. I used it to portray how near-sighted people can be without knowing all the facts about a situation.
- @newsone. “Black Police Officer Talks Police Brutality, Racism In Interview.” News One. N.p., 10 May 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
This article was an interview with an anonymous new york city cop. It gave a police officers opinion on the public outcry and call to action on the police force. It showed how upset the police were with being painted as villains.
I used direct quotes from this article in order to show the perspective of cops on the subject at hand.
- “Police News.” Blue Lives Matter. N.p., 09 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016
This article was the bias of the Blue Lives Matter movement that was bias in favor of the police officers. It was basically and agenda for everything the blue lives matter movement was trying to accomplish.
I used this article to gain my own perspective on both sides of the problem. It helped me make an informed decision on what I thought was right.
- Suarez, Alexandra. “Dakota Access Pipeline: What You Need to Know.” International Business Times – Business News, Technology, Politics. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
This article offered even more statistics for both sides and their loses of life. It showed only facts and real statistics.
I used this article the same way as the first. I applied the statistics to supply useful information.
- Ubiñas, Helen. “Ubinas: Ignorance on Both Sides of Black Lives Matter Movement Must Be Called out.” Philly.com. N.p., 11 July 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
This article was an unbiased on that gave note to incidents that occurred that effected both sides. It was a much more balanced opinion on the entire situation.
I used it to further improve upon my own ideas and form my own opinions on the topic.
- Williams, Janice. “Police Shooting Statistics 2016: Are More Black People Killed By Officers Than Other Races?” International Business Times. N.p., 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
This article contained even more statistics and they were even more specific than the others.
I used the numbers in the same way as all of the other ones, to inform and not give my opinion.
Which Lives Matter More
“Black lives matter”, is an arrogant near-sighted quote that only serves to protect half of a population. It is important to consider and take heed to the fact that people are dying at the hands of law enforcement, however “Black” isn’t the only victim in this fight for justice and equality. “Black” is the term used to describe African-Americans, and there is little debate against the fact that their lives matter. However their lives do not matter more than any other human beings lives. There is a problem with a small minority of law enforcement officers who are much to quick to bare arms and draw their weapon. Sometimes a firearm is fatally discharged by a police officer in an altercation, but it isn’t always a mistake. In fact the majority of the time it can be seen as justifiable. The Black Lives Matter campaign has spurred off of the few times when an African-American is unjustifiably killed in a police related incident. These incidents need to see light so that the officer responsible can be properly disciplined, but media coverage can’t be so irresponsible that a war is sparked between two groups of human beings. A story needs to be shown true and the facts need to be put on display, but nothing should be hyperbolized or dramatized just to draw more attention to the situation. No irresponsible assumptions should be made to suggest that there is more to a situation. Americans as a people cannot be so foolish and believe that African-Americans can do no wrong and Law enforcement is evil. There are two sides to every argument, but one side cannot be heard over the roar of drama coming from media. Police officers are being molded into villains and no one should sit idle while they are being buried.
There are important statistics that should be known by all before looking into the Black Lives Matter or BLM movement. The activists of this movement believe that police officers are targeting African-Americans to murder them in cold blood. This couldn’t be further from the truth when in reality only twenty-six percent of fatal police shootings were on African-Americans. Fifty percent of these same shootings were on White-Americans (Bandler). The argument against this stat is that white people make up sixty two percent of the population and black people make up eighteen percent. Another statistic shows, that of all violent crimes such as homicide, assault, and armed robberies, sixty-six percent of them are committed by African Americans (Bandler). It’s strange that even though the majority of the crimes in which force is most frequently required are committed by African-Americans, they are killed the least by police force. In the eyes of the BLM movement activists this means that their protests are working. In reality the movement is being blown up out of proportion by the media and this in turn is hurting police effectiveness.
The media scrutiny along with the activists has created an immense amount of pressure for all police officers when handling a situation. Due to the constant media and BLM activist pressure police officers cannot properly perform their duties without the fear of being thrown at the mercy of the unforgiving world. A world that is influenced heavily by the media is not a fair one to be judged in. If a police officer reacts to a situation and fires his weapon to defuse a situation, in which he felt he had no other option, and an African-American dies, it surely means the end of his career. An officer almost can’t be a hero anymore. The media in today’s world is who should be made out to be the villain, but sadly they have the voice, and they decide who the bad guys are. The media will tell people when African American dying is a hate crime and they will tell people when police officers are wrongly killing unarmed African-Americans. What the media conveniently won’t tell people, is when a police officer saves lives, or when a police officer gives back to his or her community. The media irresponsibly paints a picture of police officers being trigger-happy bringers of wrongful justice. This only applies to the smallest minority of officers. Most police officers sign up for the job because they want to have a positive impact on society. They sign up to protect people who otherwise can’t protect them selves. They want to protect and serve as they are taught to do. The majority of officers has a passion for their job and couldn’t fathom the idea of killing an innocent civilian because of the color of their skin. In an interview with an anonymous officer of the NYPD when asked if he has ever seen racism among his fellow officers he replied, “Never, no officer in the department ever has any racist remarks or comments” he also stated, “Many believe that police officers target people who fit the build of Urban, Hip-hop culture, but there are many officers that when out of uniform fit the very same build. With the sagging pants, cornrows, and fitted hats. It just doesn’t make sense that we would unfairly target these individuals.” (@newsone). Anyone with eyes can see that many of the people who are involved in these police shootings that are blown up over the media do fit the hip-hop culture build. Those same people also need to understand that the culture is a violent one.
Artists of the hip-hop community preach violence, and calls people to action against the police force. What the media fails to show the world is when people take this call to action seriously and act on it. The only times this action can be seen is when the magnitude is too large to be buried under the other side of the equation. For instance most recently the killings of five Dallas police officers was place all over front pages raising the awareness that there is more than one side to this battle for equality. The stat earlier showed that twenty-six percent of people killed by police officers are black. On the other end of the spectrum forty percent of police officers killed, are killed by black men (Bandler). That’s a staggering number nearly twice as high. It’s hard to believe that with this information the people still believe strongly that the police officers are the bad guys.
There is another movement taking place that isn’t as popular, but bares the same acronym of BLM. This movement was formed in direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement and it is known as, Blue Lives Matter. Blue of course refers to the color of a police officers uniform. This cause while just as important receives only a fraction of the media coverage. Fair or not it is the truth. One thing that these activists will never do is declaring justice by way of killing African-Americans. The same cannot be said about the other side. A direct quote from a Black Lives Matter activist is, “No justice until there’s dead fucking police!” (Craven). This is a bold arrogant declaration made by an arrogant person with no knowledge of the true statistics. The same concept was referenced by the anonymous NYPD cop when he said, “Many of the people in the department are mad because the media is so quick to paint us as the bad guys. I suggest people wait for all of the facts to hang out.” (@newsone). It is important that all people wait for all facts to be clear before rushing to judgment. No one has the authority to be the judge jury and executioner of another human unless their job title entitles them to those important decisions. Even when all the facts are presented in the shooting of an African-American, no one can truly know what happened because they weren’t there. All a person can do is speculate as to what might of happened. That’s what makes the whole idea that a police officer maliciously killed a person so ludicrous. Yet another stat shows of the 178 black men killed in 2016 only twelve of them were proven to be unarmed (Bandler). One killing of an unarmed man is too much, however mistakes can be made. Nobody can truly know if a police officer had bad intentions when pulling the trigger, but these men and women have been trained to protect and serve. There are psych evaluations done on every person who tries to be a police officer and they are meticulous. Most of the bad eggs are weeded out and the ones that manage to slip through the cracks are quickly disposed of. There is no room for crooked cops in the world, and steps are taken every day to try and prevent any more of them from making it through.
Every death is a tragedy, whether it is wrongful or not. It makes sense for these deaths of unarmed people at the hands of police officers to be publicized the way that they are. What doesn’t make sense is when a death of an officer making a routine traffic stop isn’t publicized the same way. There is an eerie feeling that almost creates the sense that this is just something that happens and is how things work out. Tell that to the families whom had their mothers and fathers taken away from them because somebody wanted to avoid a speeding ticket. The media should be making the peoples who commit these crimes as the villains, but that’s just not the case. They would much rather see the controversial topic of police officers killing unarmed civilians covered thoroughly. Neither death is any less important than the other, but the magnitude at which one side is hyperbolized more than the other is a crime.
For the violence to stop it would take a great deal of effort from both sides. However so far it has been a one sided fight. With Black Lives Matter activists calling for the death of police officers and police officers living in fear of people who will act on these wishes, it creates a scary situation. It creates a situation that is unfair to officers who just want to do their jobs. The added pressure that is created from them having to walk such a narrow line on what is right and wrong only adds to the tension of the current situation. It makes the two side opposed to each other and this friction leads to chaos, the very same chaos that the police are out trying to suppress. The Black Lives Matter movement has to be the first to go for any progress to be made. They are the group that is calling for action and they are the group that is too arrogant to see the facts all the way through. It is easy to act purely off of emotions. It takes patience and tolerance to see the facts for what they are. Humans are fortunate enough to have critical thinking skills that are beyond comparison and it is time people put those skills to good use to end this nonsense.
The prospect that Black Lives matter isn’t crazy and it isn’t stupid. It is very important and there shouldn’t be any message that says other wise. The idea that police lives matter is just as serious. Something that must be agreed upon is that all lives matter. This is the message that needs to be spread by the media and by all activists. Police officers are not out to get anybody, let alone African-Americans. No officer wants to shoot their weapon ever, and even worse they never wish to shoot an unarmed person. Protect and serve isn’t an idea that is as lost as people think. The media must be more responsible in how they cover police activity. This selective hearing must end and the age of click-bait and controversy must end as well. Coverage needs to be fair an unbiased. All of these things are needed of the media, but no one can wait on their change anytime soon. The media has been consistent ever since there has been news, and in this age of social networking it has never been easier for people to receive the wrong information. Therefore the weight of change rests solely on the shoulders of the people. Everyday mean and women, and especially the activists of each BLM movements must be the ones to change. Both movements must be abolished so that the men and women proven to protect and serve the people may preform their duties to the best of their abilities. No longer can people beckon for death of others, there has to be an attempt at peace no matter how unobtainable it may be. It is important that wrongful deaths are covered by media, but society must also be sure to see all of the facts of a situation before rushing to judgment. There may be no salvation I the near future, but all must learn from mistakes that are currently being made. The world isn’t as horrible as everyone wants it to be, and there aren’t as many villains that there seems to be. Every police officer is not a hunter of
African-Americans they are just being painted in such a manor that such things can be believed. The idea police officers are villains, is not one of fact but one that is manufactured because of its controversy. At the end of the day all lives matter, but for now both sides of the BLM movement must be spoken for. The cries of the police officers are falling on deaf ears that have already labeled them killers. These men and women have chosen to sacrifice their lives to protect and serve the same people they are accused of killing in dead blood. Their lives are just as important and nothing should ever be said against that. There can no longer be questions of whose lives matter, there must only be the understanding that all lives matter.
Gun control laws were constructed to reduce the overall crimes that are involved with guns. The purpose behind gun control laws was to determine who can purchase/sell firearms, carry/store guns and to reduce and prevent gun related deaths. Gun control laws were deemed necessary because some believe perceived enforcing gun control laws would . According to Richard Perez-Pena in his article, “Gun Control” he claims that gun control is broad term that covers any sort of restriction on what kinds of firearms can be sold and bought, who can possess or sell them, where and how they can be stored or carried, what duties a seller has to vet a buyer, and what obligations both the buyer and the seller have to report transactions to the government. I support this definition because it covers a good amount of what gun control is about, however it does not mention another part of gun control which is to limit or decrease crime and violence related to guns.
In Tony Cook’s article, “Indiana to blame for Chicago’s gun violence” he states that Indiana and other states with few gun restrictions are to blame for Chicago’s homicide problem. Cook makes this claim because later in his article he informs the audience that Chicago police have been complaining for a long time that there has been a steady stream of illegal firearms from neighboring states such as Indiana, where gun control laws are much weaker. From this evidence Cook has provided, if neighboring states would work together they could prevent this from occurring and lower Chicago’s homicide problem. It is possible because once neighboring states with fewer gun restrictions prevent people for importing guns into Chicago there would be fewer guns to commit crimes with ultimately lower the homicide problem.
According to S.H. Blannelberry’s article, “New Jersey Slaps Felony Gun Charge on Another Law-Abiding Citizen” he claims ” Sgt. Ray Hughes, a correction officers in Pennsylvania, was headed home after dinner with his wife in Atlantic City when they were hit by a drunk driver. Even though he was the victim, Hughes became a criminal – he’s now facing a felony charge for bringing his gun to New Jersey.” From the encounter that Sgt. Hughes experienced it is all the more reason for neighboring states to work together. In Pennsylvania the gun restrictions are considerably lower compared to New Jersey and this is not the only time where people have been convicted coming from states with fewer gun restrictions into strict gun control law states. In Joshua Rhett Miller’s article, “‘Honest mistake’ leads to Philly mother facing three years on gun charge” he states “Shaneen Allen,27, faces more than three years in prison if convicted after mistakenly entered New Jersey, where she was dropped for a traffic violation and found in possession of a handgun loaded with holly point bullets.” Later in the same article it was revealed Allen was in possession of a permit for her firearm, however the permit was not transferable to New Jersey. From the quote it reveals another incident where someone has been wrongfully convicted. In both occasions the accused has been pulled over for something that is unrelated to gun charges, unfortunately ending with gun charges. In order to prevent this wrongful convicts neighboring states must accept permits from surrounding states even if they have fewer gun control restrictions.
In Pro Con’s article, “Gun Control,” Pro Con claims that five women are murdered with guns every day in the United States. The study later stated a woman’s of being murdered increases 500% if a gun’s present during a domestic dispute. From this evidence it shows how even the present of a gun can alter the outcome of domestic disputes. If gun control is intended to be in control of who are the buyers and sellers of firearms, and who are eligible to possess firearms then it should be emphasis that guns should not be present during disputes between spouses and that guns should be tucked away out of reach to prevent the dispute from getting worse. In addition to domestic disputes the presents of a gun has impacted suicides as well. Pro Con has found that in between 1999 and 2013 there were 270,237 firearm suicides in the United States, accounting for all about 52% of all suicides during those years. From this evidence it reveals how the present of a gun impacts a lot of situations. a suitable alternate solution would be simply to keep these guns away from these occasions because without their presence a person wouldn’t able to use a gun to either murder someone or commit suicide.
Pro Con found that countries who have more restrictive gun laws then the U.S. have a lower gun homicide and suicide rates. From this information it reveals how other countries found a solution by enforcing more restrictive gun laws because with more restrictions there will be less guns and as a result less gun related crime and violence. Furthermore Pro Con revealed that approximately 50% of unintentional fatal shootings were self-inflicted. This evidence continues to support the reasoning for U.S. to follow suite with other countries because within other countries this is less likely to occur. Since other countries have fewer guns and more restrictive gun laws.
Pro Con has revealed that gun control laws can lead to preventing injustices from occurring because when looking into some cases it has been found that legally own guns have been frequently stolen and used by criminals. The solution of this reoccurring problem has been addressed because earlier in my work, I suggested that if guns were tucked away it would alter the outcome of situations. This would fix the solution because if done correctly there would be no guns in site for the criminals to steal. Pro Con has showed that high capacity magazines were used in at least 50% of the 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012. When high capacity magazines were used in mass shootings, the death rate rose 63% and the injury rate rose 156%. From the evidence provided it shows how the average civilian has few reasons to possess high magazine firearms, since most of them result in mass shootings.
People have debated what the root of the problem is behind gun related crimes, wither the gun control laws have been too strict or have they been too loose. In doing some research, I discovered some articles that stated how gun control laws have not been the problem, rather the factors around gun control laws are why gun related crimes still occur. Some of these factors would include the location of the states, as well as the guns that are involved in the crimes that are being committed. Furthermore, there are articles were people make the claim that how the idea that gun control is the problem is considerably appalling because the cause is other factors than gun control itself.
People have proposed that over the years gun homicide has decreased. This comparison was the back bone for Mark J Perry’s article, “Chart of the day: More guns, less gun violence between 1993 and 2013” Perry provides the audience with a graph comparing guns per person and gun homicide rate. As the graph goes from the 90s to the 2000s the guns per person increases while the homicide rate has depleted. Perry uses another graph using the number of total firearms and gun homicide rates to inform the audience that this is not a mere coincidence that there is a correlation between possessing more guns and gun homicide. The reasoning behind this correlation is because states have recognized licenses and permits for firearms. Due to states acknowledging people’s licenses for firearms, it has allowed people to feel more secure and comfortable with possessing a firearm. They are able to feel more secure because now that more and more states are recognizing licenses from other states. Now people won’t have to worry about being charged with possession of firearms or being wrongfully convicted with any gun related charges.
Additional factors that Perry mentions in his article, “Chart of the day: More guns, less gun violence between 1993 and 2013” are that more police officers on the beat better making greater use of computers, a decline in alcohol consumption, less lead exposure and an improving an economy. In terms of the effects of police officers improving and using computers more wisely, it has been revealed that police officers have a good amount of technology targeted to track down crimes and find the criminal. Certain pieces of technology are specifically made for gun related crimes such has whenever a gun shot is fired the police are notified as soon as the shot goes of. The technology they notifies the police because the device is set to a certain frequency to only hear gun shots and once they pick up a gun shot in the area it pin points that area and relays this information back to the police station.
Another technology that helps aid police officers is their mobile digital communicator because it has allowed officers to keep in contact with not only each other but the station as well. This is very useful because it allows officers to call for back up or if an incident should arise the station could contact a nearby officer and inform to get to the crime scene sooner. This would decrease gun homicides because of this technology it reduces the amount of time for homicides to occur because the sooner the police officers can get to the scene and control the situation and prevent anyone from dying the less time there is for a gun homicide to occur. A decline in alcohol impacts the gun homicides as well because if people are intoxicated a variety of things could happen when they are in possession of a firearm such as an accidental shooting or altercations. People tend to much more clumsy and careless when drinking and if someone were to obtain a firearm it is much more possible an accidental shooting would arise then if they were sober because of the clumsy and carelessness people tend to show. Less lead exposure has effected the gun homicide because when looking back at the ammunition the police officers used it was said they tended to use more bullets containing lead. Lead poisoning has killed numerous people and when police officers used bullets with lead in them, even if someone were to survive the bullet shot the wound with lead within it would result in their death. By switching to non lead ammunition there is less lead exposure and as a result less deaths when people are shot by police.
Some consider issuing more guns to the community would increase the gun rate, however similarly to Perry’s article, Jeffery Goldberg supports supplying more guns. In Jeffery Goldberg’s article, “The Case For More Guns (and More Gun Control)” he claims that concealed carry permit holders commit crimes at a lower rate than the general population. Furthermore, Goldberg reveals that in today’s society the number of concealed carry permits is at its highest while the homicide rate is at the lowest it’s ever been in four decades. The reason behind why carrying a firearm impacts the homicide rate is because the chain reaction law abiding citizens hold with carry firearms. The chain reaction is because people can deter criminals by making it riskier for people to commit crimes, and one way to make it riskier is to create the impression among the criminal population that the law abiding citizen they want to target may have a gun. The deeper meaning to the chain reaction is that in order to prevent criminals from being criminals is to make it riskier for them to commit these crimes. By granting citizens to carry firearms, who intend to use them for the right reasons such as stopping a criminal then that would make the criminal reconsider if they want to commit the crime when the citizens who are at the scene of the crime are armed as well. Another reasoning for issuing more guns, at for self defense purposes. In particular situations such as robberies and shootings were guns are commonly used, if the victims were able to carry firearms they would be able to protect themselves. The victims would not be stuck between trying to hide behind a counter or doing whatever the criminal says in order to stay a live. By arming themselves, the victims would be able to defend themselves against the criminals.
Blannelberry, S.H. “New Jersey Slaps Felony Gun Charge on Another Law-Abiding Citizen – GunsAmerica Digest.” GunsAmerica Digest. Fox, 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. <Felony Gun Charge/>.
Dube, Arindrajit. “Cross-Border Spillover: U.S. Gun Laws and Violence in Mexico | American Political Science Review | Cambridge Core.” Cambridge Core. American Political Science Association, 10 July 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. <Cross border Gun Violence between U.S. and Mexico>.
Goldberg, Jeffery. “The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control).” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <More Guns More Gun Control/>.
“Gun Control – ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines. Pro Con, 28 June 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. <Gun Control Pros and Cons/>.
Ludwig, Jens. “Concealed-gun-carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data ☆.” Concealed-gun-carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data. ScienceDirect, 21 Nov. 1998. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. <Concealed carry gun laws>.
Miller, Joshua Rhett. “‘Honest Mistake’ Leads to Philly Mother Facing Three Years on Gun Charge.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 16 July 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. <Honest Mistake Leads Mother to 3 year gun charge>.
Perry, Mark J. “Chart of the Day: More Guns, Less Gun Violence between 1993 and 2013.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 4 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <More Guns Less Violence between 1993 and 2013/>.
PÉrez-peÑa, Richard. “Gun Control Explained.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Oct. 2015. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/07/us/gun-control-explained.html?_r=0>.
Soften, Kim. “To Reduce Suicides, Look at Guns.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 13 July 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. <To Reduce Suicide, Look at Guns>.
Star, Tony Cook The Indianapolis. “Is Indiana to Blame for Chicago’s Gun Violence?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 07 Dec. 2016. <Indiana to Blame for Chicago Gun Violence>.
America Needs to Cut Out the Sugar
Americans in today’s society are living their lives like they never have before. With the advancement of technology and constant access to processed foods and artificially sweetened beverages, the national percentage of overweight people has gone up immensely. This has had a horrible effect on children. Statistics released by the Center for Disease Control state that about 12.7 million children are affected by obesity. As these changes become more and more normal, such as letting children drinking soda, this percentage has grown and childhood obesity has become a nationwide epidemic. In an article published by the American Society for Nutrition, they discuss how obesity comes from a reflection of intense interactions of genetic, metabolic, cultural, environmental, socioeconomic and behavioral factors. All of these factors play a role into the overconsumption of sugary beverages and how it affects weight gain. For years Americans have been unsure how to stop this nationwide problem as there is no one stop cure for all of these problems. Many efforts have been made to educate more people on this matter, unfortunately nothing has worked. The saying “History repeats itself” is nothing but true in this situation. The last time Americans were consuming something bad for them without knowing it was the consumption of tobacco, and now unfortunately it is the consumption of sugary drinks. The consumption of Tobacco and sugary drinks is very similar, therefor the country should put an age restriction on the purchase of these beverages the same way they did for tobacco as it has made a drastic positive impact on society.
The first step in the process of doing this is going to be to inform more Americans, being sure to include all demographics, of what sugary drinks constitute of. Many people really do not know what a sugary drink is. The ones that come to mind are drinks like Coke and Kool-Aid but sugary drinks include more than you would think. According to the National Cancer Center, “sugary drinks consist of fruit drinks, soda, energy drinks, sport drinks, and sweetened waters.” The American Heart Association also gives a list of what is included in a sugary drink, including sweetened teas to the list as well. Some form of sugar is added to almost all drinks making it taste delicious and making the consumer want more. In the Advice for Patients section of the Arch Pediatric Medical Journal they give explicit examples of sugar drinks, including Coke, 7up, Gatorade, Hi-C, Monster, and cranberry juice cocktail. For many Americans they do not know how much sugar is in these drinks and in fact consider some of these drinks listed as healthy.
In an article written by Roderick McKinley he states that the average American consumes 1.6 cans of soda a day, resulting in them consuming more than 500 cans of soda in one year. Think about a one 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola, that can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar. According to an article published by Sugar Science “the average amount of added sugar a child should consume in one day is 18.5 grams, however this may vary based on age, but will should never be more than 25 grams.” If a child consumes just one can of Coca-Cola a day they have already doubled their sugar intake for the day. Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugars in a youth’s diet and also the main source of calorie intake. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend “the total intake of discretional calories, including sugars and fats, should range between 5-15% per day. Yet most American children consume about 16% of their intake from added sugars alone, not including fats or any other foods.” While many Americans are shocked to find out these statistics they also don’t always understand where these added sugars are coming from, and do not seem to realize that they come from the drinks they are consuming.
These sugary drinks are often consumed without much thought. The fact that the person is consuming the drink and is drinking large amounts of sugar as well as drinking a large percentage of calories, not to mention doing so very quickly is something that most Americans don’t thing about or really care. What becomes the problem is that many people consume more of this than their body needs. In an advice column published by the Arch Pediatric Medical Journal they state that these drinks are all consumed before a person’s body can realize they have consumed it which in turn is before the body has time to realize it is full in the same way a body would when eating solid food. The World Health Organization also adds to this by stating “these drinks have little nutritional value and do not provide the same feeling of fullness as solid food does,” making it so they continue to consume more even though their body has had enough. The more people consume sugary drinks, the more sugar they have in their system, which exceeds the amount they need to be able to produce energy. Because of the over consumption, the body breaks down only what it needs for energy and the rest is stored as fat. Over many years of consuming too much sugar and the body gets used to storing the excess as fat, especially after starting at a young age, the fat continues to add up ultimately resulting in the person becoming obese. In a study conducted by the American College of Nutrition they found that “Obese children consume significantly more servings of fats and sugary beverages than non-obese children in a study done between the two groups.” Many other studies have found similar results, assuring the connection between obesity and childhood obesity.
One of the leading reasons why American children are so directly affected by the consumption of sugar drinks is because of the heavy marketing toward children. According to an article published by the Rudd Foundation written by Jennifer Harris states that “In the 2 years between 2008 and 2010 children’s exposure to soda ads on TV alone doubled.” This does not include the advertisements on the internet, on the radio and in stores all around them. Sugary drinks are available everywhere from stores to schools to vending machines, which children have access to at all times. These companies have done a lot of research on what is appealing to children, and find that the best way to sell these products is through product placements and sponsorships. Harris discusses the advertisement through sponsorship by explaining that “63% of soda and energy drink ads on national TV include the sponsorship of an athlete, sports league or team, and in even some cases a sponsorship for an event or cause.” Coca-Cola’s partnership with the Olympic Games is one of the most known partnerships in the world. By this company partnering with the Olympics, a set of games that promotes healthy life styles and is composed of the best athletes in the world, they can hide the fact that their products are packed with added sugars and have no health benefits at all. Other Companies such as Red Bull have endorsed professional athletes, such a Neymar, the professional soccer play from FC Barcelona, to say that they use and love the products. When children see their favorite athletes using, wearing or talking about a product, they want to do the same, so they begin to consume products like Red Bull, having no clue how bad it is for them.
These companies are not just targeting children but they have targeted adults too. Harris also discusses how parents are lead to believe drinks like Capri Sun, Gatorade and Vitamin Water are healthy drinks to serve your children. Harris states “Parents think that nutrient claims about Vitamin C or “real” and “natural” ingredients mean that these are healthy options for children,” however these claims are not always true, and often times are focused on by the company to hid the unhealthy aspects to the beverage.
The company Gatorade is a company that markets to both kids and adults. Their promotions through endorsers, draws in children as those endorsers are athletes that all children idol, such as Serena William. The company also makes health claims, such as “thirst quencher that hydrates better than water.” In an article published by the Livestrong Foundation on the benefits of Sports Drinks, the author Amanda Cespedes says “Americans certainly seem convinced these hydrating drinks offer plenty of benefits.” Cespedes is not wrong Americans are convinced and in fact there are some benefits to drinks like Gatorade. Cespedes then continues to talk about some of the reasons why Gatorade is good for athletes by saying that “drinks like these are great for people who work out in excessive heat, for long periods of time and find themselves becoming dehydrated, as it can replace lost nutrients and energy.” The reason that products like this are great for consumption after these factors is because they are high in sugar and they have burned so many calories their body needs more calories, such as the sugar, to use as energy. Most Americans are lead to believe that articles like this one, that do not provide explicit examples of what a long period of time, ends up leaving the reader to decide how long is a long time, and coming to the conclusion that they need it too. Companies like Gatorade use their marketing to draw in customers and convince them they need their products.
While there is lots of promotions and marketing done by companies about how great their products are, there is also lots of campaigns going on all around the country to educate people on the problems with these sugar drinks. In one study done by the Preventive Medicine Journal, they look in depth at a campaign done in Oregon that focused on educating families on the amount of added sugars they are consuming in sugary drinks and how the extra calories consumed by these drinks are helping the increase of childhood obesity nationwide. The method used in the campaign was to first create awareness of the problem, eventually influencing people’s perception while motivating change, ultimately resulting in behavior changes when it comes to deciding what drinks to choose. In the overall evaluation of this specific campaign it was found that almost 80% of people that were made aware of the campaign said they were going to reduce the amount of sugary drinks they offered to their children. This is just one example of a campaigns positive effects on educating people more on the problem of sugary drinks, however these campaigns are not enough.
This nationwide epidemic cannot be ultimately solved by simply educating people through campaigns about the bad choices they are making when they drink a soda, especially with social media and large companies, like Coca-Cola, who are constantly promoting their products in a positive light to kids. While there have been many campaigns to help spread the word, there has only been one initiate attempted to help with obesity prevention efforts. This initiative included the idea to tax these beverages, in hopes that the rising price will stop people from buying the products however it did not go through. Something more needs to be done to prevent this epidemic from getting worse.
The issue of childhood obesity in American is not the first time people have been consuming something that was not good, with no knowledge of this and doing more harm to their bodies than intended. Tobacco products use to be a large part of the everyday society, similar to the way sugary drinks are today. In an article published by the National Academy of Sciences back in 1994 they discuss the changes that occurred when the Congress passed the Synar Amendment, that focusing on the control of youth access to tobacco. In the Article the author reports that in a survey taken in Illinois, 2 years after the passing of the law the number of seventh and eighth grade students that have experimented with cigarettes went from 46% to 23%. They also found that the number of kids this age who considered themselves as smokers went from 16% to 5%. While there was still a nationwide issue of enforcing these laws perfectly at this time the percentages still went down, as Americans knew if they were to get caught selling tobacco to minors they would get in trouble.
The government should put an age restriction on sugary drinks, similar to the way they added an age restriction to the purchase of cigarettes. With a new age restriction in place on the purchase of sugary drinks and stronger efforts to inform and teach Americans about healthy living and what they are putting in their bodies, the percentage of obese people would go down and hopefully stay down for many years to come, making American healthy again.
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