Mass Shootings: America’s Fastest Growing Epidemic

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph 

The recent attack on the Route 91 Harvest 3-day country music festival in Las Vegas–the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history–has ignited the hotly contested issue of gun control in the United States.

While the efficacy of strengthened gun control laws acting as a panacea for mass shootings is debated, the one thing that is clear is that mass shootings in the U.S. are an epidemic.

There is no concrete data on mass shootings, because of the ambiguity behind the definition of “mass shooting.” According to a 2013 USA Today investigation, even the FBI’s database is only 57 percent accurate. By the widest parameters, a mass shooting is one where the gunman shoots four or more people at the same general time and location; the narrowest parameters, set by the Congressional Research Service, require that a shooter kills four or more people at random in a…

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Democratic Senators Show Strong Concern for Minority Students in Letter to EdSec Betsy DeVos

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

Last Tuesday, led by Washington Sen. Patty Murray, 33 Democratic senators and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders penned a strongly worded letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos regarding what they feel is her disappointing and alarming lack of dedication to making sure that  “all students, no matter their race, religion, disability, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have a right to receive an education free from discrimination.”

This letter followed shortly behind two directives proposed by DeVos’ right-hand on civil rights, Candice Jackson, were released. Loosened regulations on how civil rights cases are investigated and the reduction of federal monitoring of the department’s regional offices were discussed in one memo.

Another directive seeks to reverse guidelines for transgender students set by President Obama, which DeVos repealed, by not expressly giving transgender students the right to use the school bathroom corresponding to…

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Victims Still in Critical Condition After Wednesday’s Virginia Shooting

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

Wednesday June 14 in Alexandria, Virginia shots rang out and chaos ensued after 66 year old James T. Hodgkinson opened fire during an early morning practice for the annual congressional charity baseball game.

Two firearms — an SKS rifle 7.62 and a 9 mm pistol — were found on the scene and were still being analyzed on Wednesday according to a law enforcement source’s interview with CNN.

Special agent  Tim Slater, who runs the FBI’s Washington field office, says it is too early to determine whether or not the shooting was a targeted attack; however, Rep. Ron DeSantis saw photos of Hodgkinson and believe him to be the same man who had approached DeSantis and Rep. Jeff Duncan to ask whether the people practicing on the field were Democrats or Republicans.

It is believed that Hodgkinson  motive was intense dissatisfaction with the results of the election, though…

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Movies to Look Out For This Summer

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

As the summer rapidly approaches, mark your calendars with the release dates of these fantastic flicks that are sure to leave audiences speechless.

Wonder Woman (PG-13)

JUNE 2 — Glimpse into the past of DC’s heroine Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) as the Amazonian princess trains to become a fearless warrior. Then, follow her on her action-packed journey as she ventures from home for the first time, prompted by meeting an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her of the conflict she is causing beyond her borders.

The Mummy (PG-13)

JUNE 9 — This fantasy/action flick follows Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), a man who seeks valuable artifacts at ancient sites and sells them to the highest bidder, as he attempts to stop Ahmanet, the Egyptian princess who is using her ever-evolving powers to rampage across London, after he accidentally releases her from her millennia-long entombment.

All Eyez on…

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Lowering Your Carbon Emissions

The other day I took a Buzzfeed quiz to estimate the size of my carbon footprint and I was surprised to find out that it is fairly large. I’m aware of the problems our carbon footprints can cause and I liked to think that I was doing fairly well with keeping mine a reasonable size, but as I was taking the quiz I thought, Oh no, this is very bad. So, because it’s Earth Day and because the quiz brought to my attention how large my footprint is and how simple it would be to decrease it, I’ve decided to share some tips on how to decrease your carbon footprint.

  • Avoid personalized motor vehicles. Instead, opt for walking, riding a bike, or public transportation.
  • Turn off lights (when they’re not in use obviously). When you are using them, be sure to use compact fluorescent or LED lightbulbs instead of incandescent ones.
  • Mind your thermostat settings. Make sure not to set it to high or too low and to turn it off when you’re not home.
  • Watch what you eat. Avoid beef and dairy (especially from areas such as Brazil where cows graze on formerly forested areas cleared for agriculture) because it takes a lot of resources to raise cows. Also, purchase locally grown, organic food to reduce fossil fuel emissions from transporting the goods and from certain fertilizers.
  • Recycle! Reusing and recycling reduces the need for the “provision of goods” resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and disposal of consumer goods which accounts for an estimated 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

These are just some tips that I thought would be easiest to fit into my lifestyle, but for more click here.

Who’s Laughing Now: April Fools’ Day Pranks to Get Even with Your Enemies

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

While its origins may suggest that the holiday was intended for innocent fun, these days it is about anything but. April Fools’ Day is not a day for the faint of heart and it is not meant for lighthearted fun.

It is the day when you settle scores and get back at your enemies for ever wronging you.

You will make them rue the day they stole the pencil you lent them in algebra. The time they neglected to tell you that there was something in your teeth before you talked to your crush. Or the day that they made a meme of your somewhat unflattering yearbook picture and sent it to the groupchat.

The most experienced pranksters plan for months, even years, in preparation for their next Fool’s Day strike. They smile every day on the outside, pretending that the betrayal slid right off their backs…

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Outcast Child

The Glass Pavilion

O child, you were born so blessed.

You were so loved, because you were so beautiful.

Shaped in God’s own hand and knit together in your mother’s womb.

You were perfect.

O but child, life isn’t perfect.

Oh no, life doesn’t care about your beauty, your blessings.

Sweet child, you had better learn that life isn’t here to be your friend.

You are no one’s pride and joy

You aren’t the apple of anyone’s eye

You are not the one and only or the first love.

You are simply the extra, the burden.

You can be taken care of and handled, sure,

But child, you can’t pull on anyone’s heart string.

Know that you are the outcast child.

Understand that you are deprived, and you will be until you can fend for yourself.

But, honey, perfection never did last anywhere.

It ain’t your fault.

You can only be who you…

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Everything You Need to Ace the FSA Writing Exam

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

So, the FSA is around the corner and you need some last minute tips to guarantee that you dominate the exam. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s start with the things you need to do that don’t involve cracking open a book and cramming it’s contents into your head. Arguably the two most important things to do before the exam are to get a good night’s sleep and have a nutritious breakfast.

Though you may think that staying up late will guarantee you a passing score, it actually does the opposite. Past a certain time, your brain can no longer comprehend and memorize information, so trying to force it to do so is a moot effort.

Additionally, no matter how much you memorized the night before, it is useless if you’re too tired to focus and do your best on the test.

Breakfast is another…

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since feeling is first

I’m a little late for Valentine’s Day, but it’s still the season of love so I felt it appropriate to share a love poem. This one is a bit sad because the true lovers aren’t together in the end, but it is a love poem nonetheless and one that I love for it’s unorthodox, E.E. Cummigs-esque style.

since feeling is first

By: E. E. Cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
– the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

Super Bowl LI Commercial Recap

I know the title says recap, but if you’re looking for actual talk of sports, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m not a fan of the game so the most I will say is that I was rooting for the Falcons (for their awesome name and the giant lead they had throughout the first three quarters) but I’m not entirely upset that the Patriots won. It made for an interesting end to an otherwise boring game and I’m glad that I was watching as the first overtime Super Bowl in history unfolded.

What I’m really here to talk about is the commercials. While Lady Gaga did an amazing job and it deserves to be talked about, it’s the commercials and their politically charged messages that really captivated me. I felt that most of the commercials were dull and pointless, but there were some that were overflowing with emotion and almost left me in tears.

For their astounding impact, my favorite Super Bowl LI commercials are (in alphabetical order):

84 Lumber

Airbnb

Audi

Budweiser

Coca-Cola

These commercials promoted the message of unity and acceptance. They told immigrant stories and embraced differences in race, religion, and sexual orientation. They make clear statements that the companies are taking a stand and supporting those that many in our nation are trying to persecute and ostracize. This time of intense political division is the perfect time for such politically charged ads, and I am so glad that these companies put the money and effort into creating them.