Developments In Syria

Photo courtesy of Fox News.

Photo courtesy of Fox News.

As the Syrian civil war escalates with their use of increasingly dangerous weapons, President Obama, the rest of Washington and the United Nations conflict on how to approach the sovereign country. Syria has been engaged in civil conflict since 2011, but arose to recent scrutiny with an attack on the Damascus suburbs last month, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 people.

With the body count from the Syrian civil war still piling, at 70,000 murdered, death is not new to Syria’s citizens or the onlookers of the world. However, the use of the chemical Sarin, a substance classified as a weapon of mass destruction, is what has drawn the attention of the United States and the United Nations. The details of the Damascus battle as well as the possessions of Syrian President Assad’s weaponry are still under investigation.

U.S. Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, announced to reporters, “Our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent Sarin.”

For this ambiguity, the United Nations have been hesitant to urge action towards a country that has been characterized for its violent internal conflict since the 80’s. However, facing an issue of human rights and plain justice, the United States, Britain and France pushed heavily for the United Nations to approve of a chemical weapons investigation team to gain access to Syria. This team arrived in mid-august, just days before the Damascus attack on August 21.

Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, blames rebels battling to overthrow him, saying it makes no sense for his forces to use chemical weapons when they were gaining the upper hand and while U.N. chemical inspectors were staying in central Damascus.

Opponents of the increased involvement in the Syrian civil war included Russia and China who in 2011 vetoed a European-backed U.N. Security Council resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria if it didn’t immediately halt its military crackdown against civilians, and in 2012 a bill a resolution in the U.N. Security Council that backed an Arab League plan calling for Assad to step down.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin was on questioned on his actions towards Syria, he replied that his handling of the situation was shaped by international law and past experiences. His hesitance to increase involvement in Syria’s on goings is rooted in the evidence surrounding the Damascus incident, which the United States feels to be more conclusive then other members of the United Nations. This evidence, Puttin commented, should be presented, but as long as it is withheld as classified. His support cannot be won on the basis of assumptions.

Puttin also delineated on the results of the Iraq war which are viewed by most analysts as a mistake. The Iraq war had its beginnings in a similar fashion, a search unapproved by the United Nations for weapons of mass destruction that were never found.

 

Leon Sapp, Staff Writer

The Greatest Offense? Murder or Capital Punishment

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

In the United States, capital punishment has been responsible for the deaths of 1,264 people since its reinstatement in 1976. Notable criminals on death row include Scott Peterson for the murder of his daughter, Lemaricus Devall Davidson for the abduction, torture, and rape of a young couple, and Joseph Edward Duncan, III for the rape and murder of a number of young boys. The purpose of capital punishment is to deter crime and long before its reinstatement, it was criticized as a human’s rights issue, a misuse of tax dollars, and a biased consequence.

For years human’s right activists have protested the death penalty, arguing that it is unconstitutional because it is “cruel and unusual” punishment. They feel that the United States should not practice the human right’s ethics of countries like China and Iraq, when over two thirds of the world’s countries have outlawed the death penalty. They also find the practice to be unfair to its victims when, of the 22,000 homicides committed annually, approximately 150 people are sentenced to death.

Human’s right activists propose that a life sentence without parole is a fitting punishment for these crimes, especially when keeping a criminal alive is much cheaper than condemning them to death.

“A 2011 study found that California has spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978 and that death penalty trials are 20 times more expensive than trials seeking a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. California currently spends $184 million on the death penalty each year and is on track to spend $1 billion in the next five years,” reads Death Penalty Focus. 

There is no proof that capital punishment deters crime any more than the possibility of jail and the states who are without the death penalty have far lower murder rates than the states who approve of it. The South accounts for eighty-two percent of executions while hosting the highest regional murder rates.

Many find the death penalty to be biased and almost random in its selections. Almost all criminals targeted in capital punishment cases cannot afford their own attorneys and, in several cases, the attorneys they are provided with are overworked, underpaid, and lack the experience to properly deal with such a serious offense.

These unfortunate circumstances result in the taking of  lives and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has even  commented,“People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty…”

The death penalty is an ambiguous subject, although there is little evidence that show the death penalty to be financially efficient or profitable to the safeguarding of society. Some may find it agreeable and even a just punishment for mass murders, rapists and the like. However, empirically and morally, both sides should be considered.

Leon Sapp, Staff Writer

Reinhardt Forms New Debate Team

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Reinhardt University is now officially home to a newly created debate team, thanks to  Political Science major Jordan Mahan and advisor SimonPeter Gomez. Two weeks ago the duo sent out a mass email to all students inquiring about potential interest in forming a debate team on campus. The response was greater than anyone had expected, with over thirteen students having attended the first meeting.  “We were really surprised, actually,” commented Gomez. “We only thought we’d end up with a handful of people.” There are now seventeen members total.

The president of the organization is Jordan Mahan, the young woman responsible for the formation of the debate team. “There was a need for one,” she said. “It’s a positive asset for the school and it’s also great practice for those of us who want to go to law school.” The vice president of the team is Lashaa Williams and the secretary is Eric Morris. Alex Kaplan is treasurer and Alex Bryant serves as reporter.

The debate team will have its first competition on February 28th at 6:00 pm in the Bannister Glasshouse. It will be an “in-house” debate and will be judged  by professors. This event will serve as a practice for the debaters and will further prepare them for national tournaments that they will be competing at in the near future. “At national tournaments we could end up competing against anyone–Harvard, Yale–you name it. It’s not done like athletic divisions,” Gomez clarified. The in-house debate topics will be centered around the idea of students’ freedom and how much of it they actually have at a private college.

“The debate team promotes competition, emphasizes academic and argumentative skills, and promotes thought of serious public issues,” Gomez said in regard to the positive aspects of having this organization at Reinhardt. Debate team meetings are held on Tuesdays at 5:00 pm in Tarpley 312. Anyone is encouraged to join, regardless of major. For more information contact SimonPeter Gomez at sg1@reinhardt.edu or Jordan Mahan at mahan103146@students.reinhardt.edu.

Meagan Hurley, Editor In Chief

Gun Policies and Mass Murders

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Since 1982, there have been sixty-two documented mass shootings in America. Twenty-five of these occurred after 2006 and seven in 2012. These events served as fuel for heavily scrutinized gun laws and, in response, the NRA and its allies have successfully passed 99 laws reducing gun restrictions. These laws make it easier for a civilian to acquire a gun and protect themselves from criminals like James Holmes, Adam Lanza and Seung-Hui Cho.

Some would blame the increase in violence on the leniency of gun laws; others would say that if the victims had been armed, the shootings could have been prevented or at least diminished in their severity. Some would also argue these atrocities reflect the failure of the mental health care system, for not identifying and treating these killers when most of them displayed signs foretelling their madness. Either way, the real question is does the increased availability of guns to civilians benefit or endanger the public?

Among the sixty-two documented mass shootings, forty-nine of the killers acquired their weapons legally and not one of them was stopped by an armed civilian. This could be because no civilian was properly armed, but imagine the situation of the Colorado movie theatre.
Imagine: It’s opening night. You and a couple of friends rush frantically to the movie theatre to secure a place in line so that you can get a ticket. After doing so, you purchase a drink, popcorn and whatever candy before sitting down to watch the much anticipated Batman movie. You’re excited. Everyone is. Looking around, you see a few people you know, wave at them, and even catch glance of some overzealous fans who dressed for the occasion. An overweight Cat Woman, a frighteningly similar Joker costume, and some guy who looks like War Machine from Iron Man. You chuckle.

The movie starts and the entire room dims black. After a few minutes or so, the War Machine looking guy exits the building. You pay little mind to it. He reenters and turns to face you. Some fan in the front row exclaims he’s being rude and should sit down. You hear a clanging sound like cold metal banging against concrete. A thick gas begins to fill the room. It’s smokescreen. Instinctively, you duck down and grab your friends as well. Your skin itches and you’re coughing. Somebody screams. Gun shots that sound like the bass kick of a drum. You’re scared, panicked, and not sure what to do. You stay low to the floor. You turn your head to the right. A middle aged man with an aggressive look on his face is reaching for something by his hip.

It’s a gun, a pistol of some sort. He’s gripping it tightly and looks like he’s about to do something rash.

“What are your chances of hitting him?”

He looks at you and then at his gun, then at you again. He moves his hand away from the gun and the horror continues.

 

It is true that more lenient gun laws provide citizens better access to protective firearms but as aforementioned, most of the killers involved in these shootings acquired their guns legally. In the past 31 years, there have been few cases of an armed civilian stopping a mass shooter. The Colorado shooter was hidden by a smokescreen deployed from a canister he’d thrown, equipped with a gas mask, load-bearing vest, ballistic helmet, bullet-resistant leggings and a throat protector.

He wielded a 12-gauge Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock 22 handgun. What armed civilian is skilled enough to stop that?

However, banning guns indefinitely doesn’t seem to be the solution either. Even if accomplished, these people are criminals and criminals by definition don’t follow the law, but what are the gun laws doing for the safety of the American public?

In 1995, there were an estimated 200 million guns in private hands; today there are around 300 million. The US population is roughly 311 million.

More than ever, civilians are armed to protect themselves but what is it about this increase in gun sales that hasn’t lessened the occurrence of violence in our society? What changes do you think are necessary to our gun policy to protect yourself and those around you?

Leon Sapp

Campus Election Party

Image from Google Images.

On November 6th, Reinhardt University students met inside of the Bannister Glasshouse to watch the 2012 presidential election together. Hosted by Reinhardt’s Student Activities Council, the gathering was a great success. Armed with drinks, balloons, snacks, and couches, Reinhardt students eagerly awaited the naming of the President of the United States. Many students were vocal about their candidates and opinions, cheering as the votes came rolling in. Towards the end of the night, many students began to participate in a game of United States Trivia. Some of the categories that students were questioned on were past presidents, historical events, and mottos of states. The winner of this game was to receive a fifteen dollar gift certificate to a place of their own choosing. Hosted by Brad Cook and Josh Robinson, the game helped to pass the time as the votes continued to pour in. By the end of the night, many students were fired up about history, current events, and the future of the United States of America. When the votes were tallied and the decision for President Barack Obama to serve another term of office was decided, many opinions were stated. In the end, however, it was a night of learning and politics for Reinhardt students that showed all of us that politics can be interesting – if you let yourself get involved.

Kelcey Caulder

Contemporary Political Issues: Women’s Health

(Photo courtesy of Google Images.)

One of the most controversial and talked about issues affecting the upcoming presidential election is the topic of women’s health. Women’s health issues encompass subjects like Planned Parenthood, abortion, and embryonic stem cell research. These are sensitive topics that will have a large effect on how voters decide to mark their ballet come November.

Abortion is a wide and varied issue regarding the decisions of whether abortions themselves are constitutional, whether parental consent should be required, and whether federal funding should be used to pay for abortions. Barack Obama, current president and democratic presidential nominee, takes a very pro-choice stance on the issue of abortion. However, President Obama does not feel that abortion should be federally funded. He was quoted on July 14, 2010 saying, “Abortions will not be covered in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.” Obama disagrees with required parental consent. He does not believe that young women should be required to inform their parents when, and if, they decide to get an abortion. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney takes a pro-life stance on abortion. His goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and give states the right to create their own abortion laws as they see fit. Candidate Romney also supports the Hyde Amendment which bans federal funding for abortions. Romney agrees with required parental consent. He believes that allowing minors to act without the consent of their parents undermines the rights of parents. Former republican presidential candidate Ron Paul takes a very pro-life stance on the issue of abortion. He was quoted on March 29, 2005 saying, “I believe beyond a doubt that a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection, and that the right to life is the foundation of any moral society.”  He does believe, however, that, should abortions remain legal, parental consent should be required for minors. Paul does not feel that federal funds should aid in covering the cost of abortions.

Planned Parenthood is a national healthcare provider that greatly supports the rights of women everywhere. Planned Parenthood provides individuals with affordable medical care, prevents pregnancy through contraception, provides young people with sexual education, and provides testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. President Barack Obama is in support of Planned Parenthood. “Thanks to all of you at Planned Parenthood for all the work that you are doing for women all across the country and for families all across the country.” (July 17, 2007) Republican candidate Mitt Romney takes the opposite stance on Planned Parenthood. He believes that federal funding for abortion advocates, such as Planned Parenthood, should be ended. Republican Ron Paul is against Planned Parenthood and voted in favor of the Pence Amendment, a bill designed to ban all funding to Planned Parenthood and get rid of the Title X program.

Embryonic stem cell research is a huge ethical dilemma in the U.S. This topic is controversial because it forces one to choose between the value of human life and the duty to create cures for disease. Embryonic stem cells are taken from early-stage human embryos. Many times the result of the removal of these stem cells is the destruction of the fertilized human embryo. The research done on embryonic stem cells is hypothesized to lead to the cures of many diseases such as certain types of cancer, diabetes, and numerous others. President Barack Obama is supportive of embryonic stem cell research. On March 9, 2010, he signed the Executive Order 13505 Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research involving human stem cells. Obama also supports federal funding of embryonic research. Mitt Romney is against embryonic stem cell research. Candidate Romney feels that the desire to provide cures for sickness is wonderful; however, he does not feel that creating life for the purpose of destroying it is reasonable. Mitt Romney believes federal funding should be spent on adult stem cell research and finding alternative methods of obtaining stem cells, such as nuclear transfer. Ron Paul believes that stem cell research is very important to the advancement of medicine, yet embryonic stem cells should not be cultivated just for the purpose of research. Ron Paul is supportive of non-embryonic stem cell research, except in cases where the death of the fetus is unavoidable. He is against federally funding stem cell research and feels that is something that should be left to each state to decide.

In essence, each presidential candidate takes a different stance on the issues of women’s health. Democratic nominee Barack Obama has a very choice-oriented view on most of these issues. He believes it is the woman’s right to make decisions for her body on her own and that decisions should not be forced upon her. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney views women’s health not as an issue of freedom, but as an issue of morals. He upholds very pro-life views regarding abortion and embryonic stem cell research and is not supportive of Planned Parenthood. Republican Ron Paul does not support abortion or Planned Parenthood. Paul does, however, support stem cell research done on adult stem cells. Which candidate supports your views on the issue of women’s health? Make sure that your vote reflects your opinion in the upcoming 2012 presidential election!

 

Kelcey Caulder

Want To Be An Advocate On Campus?

The Advocates for World Health recently contacted the Hiltonian about their cause. They are youth led organization that is looking for new volunteers in the community.

Erica Oliver, a member of the Advocates for World Health, let our editor know about the organization. It reads as followed:

“Advocates for World Health, led as a youth movement, focuses on the utilization of our volunteers and staff in the United States, introducing them to an increasingly unified world, and educating them on the importance of improving health care access. Advocates are proponents of change. They support efforts in communities in the developing world, they raise awareness on the need to improve global health, and they provide medical aid to the under-served.

AWH’s mission is to recover surplus medical supplies in the U.S. and redistribute those supplies to healthcare providers in developing countries that treat under-served patient populations. This mediation of surplus medical supplies reduces global health disparities and curtails the staggering waste otherwise produced, thus benefiting our environment.

AWH is searching for a president to lead a student chapter. We need people who are highly motivated, who are good communicators, and who have previous leadership experience. Once we have identified a suitable candidate for the position, we will send out a Student Organization Packet to peruse through for a complete understanding of the responsibilities.”

If you’re a Reinhardt student who is interested, more information can be found at http://www.awhealth.org.

College Maturity

From birth through 12th grade, growing up has been protected by parents and the community with gradual acceptance of self responsibility. In colleges and universities, this is to time to learn to think for yourself, question ideas presented to you and if it doesn’t sound right, investigate the facts. Essentially when you graduate, you should have learned how to continue your learning throughout your life, think for yourself and take responsibility for your actions.

Whether your specialty is English, Math, Science, History, Arts or Research etc; you should always keep a sharp eye on what is happening in especially the Federal Government. Whenever the Federal government tries to deviate from the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights, be aware that corruption is taking place, your liberties are being threatened and your earnings are being stolen and given away to others who have not earned it. There are many hidden ways that you are can be robbed without immediately noticing it.

The constitution was written to avoid the fallacies that occurred over centuries of collapsed civilizations because those civilizations lost sight of the benefits of capitalism and the importance of money backed by one’s labors. When the government uses fiat money and gives it to others without earning it eventually there are no people left to support the population and the civilization collapses.

Arne R. Jorgensen, Canton Tea Party Patriots

Norwood Remains Ahead as Atlanta Mayoral Race Nears Finish

Atlanta elects a new mayor Nov. 3, as incumbent Shirley Franklin is stepping down after two terms at the post. Atlanta city councilwoman Mary Norwood continues to lead in the hotly contested race, with Lisa Borders and Kasim Reed a close second and third, respectively.

Norwood, a Republican and eight-year veteran of Atlanta politics, has made a name for herself by getting tough on juvenile crime and in Atlanta neighborhoods blowing the whistle on superfluous and unaccounted-for expenditures. She has also reduced traffic on Atlanta’s interstate highways and increased Atlanta City Police’s patrolling of metro areas by working with the state legislature to have Georgia State Patrol officers respond first to accident scenes. Known to inner-city Atlantans as “the lady in the green Buick,” Norwood has spent her tenure on the city council putting 94,000 miles on her 1998 Buick Century, canvassing neighborhoods for public opinion.

Borders, the current president of the Atlanta city council, has taken an active interest in contracting with private enterprise as well as the public sector to keep city services up to standard, keeping MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) funded, and ending inner-city homelessness. A Democrat, Borders has plans to generate more public revenue by commuter, corporate income, and/or parking taxes in order to give Atlanta the ability to tax non-Atlanta residents who rely on the city’s resources.

Reed is Georgia’s youngest Democratic state senator, and the vice chairman of the state senate democratic caucus. Reed has previously found success in Atlanta politics by serving as campaign manager for Shirley Franklin in the 2002 and 2006 races. The “green” candidate, Reed has largely based his platform on modernizing transportation methods and systems in Atlanta in order to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. Reed also plans to make Atlanta a more affordable place to live by upholding the Homestead exemption, reducing the property tax burden on families residing within the city limits.

Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law Graduate Jesse Spikes remains a distant fourth. Interested in the “nuts and bolts” of life in Atlanta, Spikes has pledged to reform basic city services that have, in his view, been mismanaged under the current administration.

For Reinhardt students calling Atlanta home, polls will be open in DeKalb and Fulton counties from 7 a.m. to 8 pm. on Election Day.

Tyler B. Hinson

“Obamacare” Controversy: Getting the Facts Straight

Most Americans have now experienced some facet of the debate over the highly controversial congressional healthcare reform bill, H.R. 3200, known colloquially as “Obamacare.” However, few are decisively informed due to the swamps of literature issued by all factions involved in the race to promote or prevent reform.

Republicans would have the public believe that the passing of H.R. 3200 would mark the onslaught of social democracy in the United States. But suggestions that the bill would create a “national health ID card,” allow the government access to personal bank accounts, provide free healthcare to illegal aliens, prevent doctors from owning or investing in healthcare companies, pressure healthcare facility sizes to stagnate, ration treatments for cancer sufferers, or provide end-of-life assistance to senior citizens are simply false.

What the bill will do is raise by as much as 8 percent taxes on employee healthcare benefits in firms making profits of more than $250,000 per year, create a 2.5 percent tax hike for middle class families not choosing benefits of any kind, penalize hospitals for what the government considers “potentially preventable” re-admissions, allow for the disqualification of poorly performing Medicare HMOs, and automatically enroll those not covered by insurance in Medicaid.

President Obama is interested in the government monitoring the quality of administered healthcare to avoid wasting tax funds, and is placing an emphasis on primary care over specialization in an attempt to avoid what he views as superfluous treatment. The president is also avidly concerned with disease control and prevention, insisting that Americans have the ability to ward off serious illness through better lifestyle choices such as regular exercise.

Reinhardt College political science professor Donna C. Merrell feels that Obama may be a bit cavalier in his highly expedited reform schedule. “The major political parties, Democrats and Republicans, have very strong preferences. Given that polls show that the majority of Americans do not want a major overhaul to our existing health care system, there will need to be a lot of compromise before there is a final version of a health care reform bill,” Merrell said.

Tyler B. Hinson

America is not a Democracy

Let’s get a few things straight here, Jack.

America is not a democracy and it never was. Originally the USA was what we call a constitutionalized republic, which is a democratic form of government. Now what we have is a Chucktatorship. In this new form of government I highly suggest that you refrain from doing things that are against America unless you want to be knocked unconsious by a roundhouse to the face.

In an interview with Fox news personality Glen Beck, Norris talked about how he would govern things in a fair way, consistent with the values of our founding fathers. He said to start, he would take all of Congress and line them up one by one and go down the line with former presidential candidate and strict constitutionalist Ron Paul. He would ask Paul to point out the dishonest polititians and would fire them, and if they would not leave immediately, he would roundhouse them in the face, discarding them in a pile of unconsious polititians. I think it’s a good start towards getting this country on the right track.


Thomas Smith

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