President Roosevelt’s idea began as a pure, valiant initiative; help struggling farmer’s suffering from the oversupply of crops around the Great Depression by paying them not to produce. The goal was to raise the value of crops, help the farmers, and return America to the way its former prosperity. Unfortunately, laws such as these, such as the Farm Bill, have done more harm than good in recent years: the government has started footing the bill for the tons junk food that’s manufactured each year. There is no feasible explanation as to why our very own government is subsidizing obesity.
Originally, subsidies were meant to assist small farms struggling from competition and an over supply of specific types of crops, but currently a majority of the money is being unfairly funneled to large corporations. In fact, a whopping 75% of subsidies go to just 3.8% of farmers! More than half of farmers haven’t even received subsidies, published Huffington Post. Less than a quarter of farms making $10,000- 249,999 get subsidies.
Most of the crops being subsidized by the government aren’t even healthy; since 1995 roughly $80 billion has been spent subsidizing corn while $20 billion has been used to subsidize soybeans. Compare those numbers to the amount being spent on subsidizing apples and vegetables- $637 million. Though the government recommends making “half of your plate fruits and vegetables”, between 1995 and 2005 a mere 0.37% of federal subsidies actually went to vegetables and fruits, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Every year, drunk driving kills roughly 10,00 people, and every year some new law is passed to keep people safe on the road. Politicians are active in imposing stricter fines and harsher punishments to drunk drivers, yet in 2008 alone, guns killed 12,000 people in America, and our government is hesitant to act. We are hesitant to protect our people from the danger of firearms, yet we have no problem imposing fines and punishments for those driving under the influence. Why? Both our huge, horrible problems in our society, and we must address them as such.
To say that currently, in America, the gun laws and restrictions are adequate would be wrong. First, let’s look at murders. The FBI reported that 66.9% of killings in 2008 were done with firearms, and their 2010 ‘Crime Clock’ indicates a violent crime will occur every 25.3 seconds. If over half of murders are occurring with firearms, it’s safe to assume that the absence of these weapons would reduce the number of murders. The deaths of 26 children and adults in Newtown earlier this year should’ve been enough to spur change, yet the momentum has worn off, and public opinion is swaying again. Is it really been so easy to forget the 14 killed during the Binghamton shooting? What about the Fort Hood Massacre, where 13 died? And even more recently, the shooting in the Sikh temple? Society should not need another massacre to remind us the importance of our people. If we allow this horrible pattern to continue by ignoring guns until dozens are dead, there is no doubt a tragedy like the Aurora shooting- where 12 people died and 58 were wounded- will repeat.
It’s easy to write the problem off as an issue with enforcing the law rather than the laws themselves, but acquiring a gun legally doesn’t mean the recipient won’t hurt people. In the 10 years between 1998 and 2008, and only 1% of background checks caused the requests to be denied. Out of mass shootings, a more than three-quarters of the guns used were obtained legally. If one needs an example, one needs only to look back at the Newtown tragedy. Those guns were legal. Think of Jared Loughner when he opened fire on a crowd of people there to see Rep. Gabby Giffords. The gun he used to kill six people was entirely legal. Clearly, we need to work on making it tougher for ordinary people to buy guns; it’s all too easy for them to fall into the wrong hands.
There’s a common myth going around that the harsher laws and practices of states and countries with stricter gun control laws don’t actually have an effect, but this is flat-out wrong. Let’s look at Japan, for instance, where guns are incredibly difficult for citizens to obtain. In 2006, only 2 people were murdered with a firearm!
To look for closer examples of stricter gun laws in America, let’s compare Louisiana , one of places with looser laws, and Massachusetts, which has the most gun restrictions of any state in the USA. Between 2007 and 2010, Louisiana had averaged 17.9 gun-related deaths for every 100,000 people, in contrast with Massachusetts’s 3.4 fatalities for every 100,000 people. Clearly, stricter policies led to safer states, so why haven’t we embraced these numbers and introduced better, more efficient restrictions?
Authors often end novels with cliff-hangers if they are in the middle of a series. But when the last book in a series is ended with a cliff-hanger, it leaves the reader agitated and upset. Leaving the reader without knowledge on the character's experiences after the resolution of the story is not only annoying, but hard to cope with. Many people become obsessed with certain series' and become attatched to character's and their stories throughout the series. By the last novel in the series, we expect to have a perfect idea of how everything will be summed up. A happy ending! Everyone loves one of those! Even if it's a not-so-happy ending it still satisfies the reader, leaving them with knowledge on what has happened afterwards. When I read the last book of my favorite series, i was astonished at the ending. There were so many problems unresolved and so many mysteries untouched. This left me disapointed with what i've been waiting for for months. The reader wants to be satisfied with what the characters they have come so accustomed to. They want to be 'okay' with what happens to them. Now this author had a reason for ending it that way. She said she ended it with a mystery so the fans could write their own fan-fiction about what they think will happen to the characters. This is creative, yet hard. Not all the fans might be able to write, or let alone, have the creativity to think at all about what will happen! Authors are very creative, yet very clueless.
There is nothing that bothers me more than people without opinions. I think here, in the opinion page, we should be able to express our opinions. Our opinions, which define us, which describe us; our opinions, which are us. I think that in life, there are two important things, to have opinions and to be able to express them. I am not saying that you need to be passionate about everything, I am saying that you need to be passionate about something; that in order to have your life count, to have a goal, to have direction, you need to believe in something. I don't care if it is God or that the Lunar Landing was a hoax, anything. The problem with opinionless people is that they cannot have a drive because they have nothing that drives them. I don't believe in apathy (as previously mentioned), but I do believe that the lack of opinions means a lack of critical thinking. It is human nature to hear something and have a thought about it. It is human to have opinions despite all the proof.
I think that humans need to be able to move outside of themselves; to think bigger. People should not say, "I don't care. It doesn't affect me." Because it affects someone. People need to stand up, but to do that, they need to have something to stand up about.
But that is just my opinion.
Everyone has a different definition of a hero as well as a different person they idolize and a different set of characteristics that they strive for. According to dictionary.com, a hero is a person with exemplary courage and ability who is revered for their good deeds and noble actions. According to Bob Dylan, “a hero is a person who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” If you were to ask me, I would tell you that a hero is someone who is able to be selfless and act for the good of others. A hero must also be brave and/or hardworking. Not all situations require extreme courage, making extreme fearlessness a silly requirement. However, being hardworking and determined is an important attribute; dedication is vital- a hero does not stop halfway. This is not to say that these attributes must be incorporated in a hero’s life 24/7. I don’t believe that a hero needs to be someone who is always courageous and unselfish; what matters is that a they are able to be. In a time of need, it is characteristics like these that separate heroism from cowardice.
When I was researching for this project, I found the name of Razia Jan, a woman in Afghanistan fighting for girls’ right to education. Her school, the Zabuli Education Center, provides over 350 girls between kindergarten and eighth grade a chance to learn. Despite threats to her personal wellbeing from the Taliban, she has kept moving forward, improving the future of many people who wouldn’t have a chance without her. Conditions are so dangerous that she’s had to build a wall around the school as well as have the guards test the water to make sure the girls will be safe drinking it. To advance the future of the underprivileged around her, Ms. Jan is putting her life in danger. She is inspirational for this; her courage, compassion, and above all, selflessness, is what drove her in 2001 to help those affected by September 11 and what compelled her in 2005 to begin fundraising for the school’s construction after seeing the shocking atrocities going on in her homeland, Afghanistan. Her ability to put her own safety on the line for other people is undeniably inspirational. It influences anyone reading her story to stand up and support what they believe in. Before these valiant efforts, Ms. Jan lived peacefully in Massachusetts. In most regards, she wasn’t particularly special; she ran a tailoring business and was the mother of one son. However, she still did remarkable things. Her amazing endeavors, accomplished by her compassion and hard work, show a hero doesn’t need to be someone with remarkable strength from distinguished backgrounds. Everyone has the power to boost the quality of life for those around them. Ms. Jan began by shipping care packages to American soldiers, and this amazing service grew into providing education for hundreds of girls.
Heroism is not about being muscular and herculean; it’s about being compassionate and unselfish. Even if you’re not a larger than life hero or a fictional character built to be amazing, there’s potential in all of us to be. Ms. Jan was fairly ordinary, but she has managed to make a prominent, incredible difference in the world thanks to her hard work and selflessness, and that is why she is a hero. If a person possesses any of these qualities, they have an opportunity to change the future of those around them.
Have you ever been through that awkward moment when your grandmother disapproves of something you've done? For example, "Oh dear! Is that "in" now?" or, "Now why would you do something like that? In my day, gals would die to have that blonde hair." And I would just shift uncomfortably and say, "Yeeeeaaahhh." I went through this hard time when I decided to dye (not a lot) of my hair blue. Dying your hair doesn't necessarily mean your uncomfortable with your natural color, and it doesn't mean your "punk" or "emo". Actually it can be very feminine and mean just the opposite. For instance, I dyed my hair not to cover up my hair, but to do something as an experiment and because I wanted to stand out and be noticed. Though yeah it wasn't a huge change, it made me feel special! I might not do it again (I might) but good old Grams has finally gotten used to it, and the hilarity of her reaction was totally worth it.