Monday, December 14, 2015

Be Yourself

In our society, there is a lot of pressure to fit in with everyone. At New Trier, for example, almost everyone dresses and talks the same everyone else. Although we are told a lot of the times to “Be creative” and “express yourself”, the images put forth by society are the exact opposite. If you want to fit in, you must be the same as everyone else. Many people spend their lives trying to live the same way as everyone else, but this is not really the best way to live.
While I was in my basement the other day, looking for an old soccer ball to use, I came across a pile of old posters. The top one was a thirty-six by thirty-two drawing of nine people, and a quote underneath. Eight out of the nine figures are all wearing the same black clothes, standing in the same position. On the left side, there is one figure doing something completely different. He is wearing a different style of clothes, in a different color, and standing in a different position. The quote underneath them reads, “To believe your own thought--that is genius...” It was written by a thinker by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had a lot of ideas about self-reliance and not conforming to society. I put the picture on the wall, and thought about Emerson’s quote. Everyone is doing the same thing in the picture, except the guy on the left. He is the only one not conforming to the rules of society. In today’s world, people may find that a weird, or just not normal. When someone does something different from typical behavior, most people hear about it and discuss how the person was crazy, or just a little strange. A good example of this is Chris McCandless, a man who left society to adventure in the wild. In a book about his exploits, we are shown multiple letters saying how McCandless is not a good example for other people, and was unprepared and dumb.  Yet Emerson, the man who wrote the quote, might say that McCandless was “genius” to break away from society, and do his own thing.
This is similar to the conversation about conforming we had in English class. At our own school, everyone conforms to things that we just find normal, such as pink shorts or Ugg boots. Because everyone is doing those things, an individual is just transformed into part of a bigger group. This might be considered good for some people; they get to blend in, be a part of a group of people, and not have to think about how they are. But this is not good for people like Emerson, and nonconformists everywhere, who want to do their own thing, and live a life free from the confines of society.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Doing the Right Thing

While many people throughout the world live comfortably, many more people do not. Things we take for granted could really help those in need. So, in Canada, a group of people did their part to help out people who need it. They went around their city, and put out coats on light posts. Now, this seems like a small gesture to us, and also wouldn't be that hard for us to do. But really, its an incredibly thoughtful idea that really means a lot to those who need these coats. I think that we need to do more things like this in our lives, and its really cool how these kids gave back to their town.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What is going on today??

Right now, the world is having a problem. Shootings have increased drastically. In our English class, over half of the blogs contain at least one post about shootings, whether about school shootings or in general. Our blogs talk about shootings everywhere, but lets just focus on the United States right now. A post on pointed out the U.S. has had more school shootings than China, France, Germany, China, and Russia. Combined. The Forbes article also mentioned a study done by Harvard: Between 1982 and 2011, mass shootings happened a little more than once a year, about 1 every 200 days. Now, in the U.S., it averages one shooting every 64 days. It seems difficult to figure out why this is happening, but researchers are trying to figure out why and how they can stop it. There are several ideas for prevention right now, and it's time to start considering some of them. One solution is stricter gun laws. Now, this does not mean getting rid on every gun, and banning them outright. What it does mean, is better screening processes, and better enforcement of that process. Another is screening for risk factors. Usually, people who commit these acts have different views on things than typical people, and sometimes have violent tendencies which go unnoticed. The third solution is less glorification of the shooter. With the media and attention today, shooters are getting a lot of recognition. This inspires many other people to do the same thing, per the article, which leads to more problems.
Overall, the problem of mass shootings is still rising, but hopefully we can do something about it to prevent them in the future.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wage Differences Today

When looking for possible topics for our Social Injustice Paper, I came across a page about the differences of pay between men and woman today. The first stat I noticed was one I knew of, but still shocking. For the past 8 years, women have made around 77 cents for every dollar men made. This changes based on location, race, and age, but men always make significantly more. Obviously this is not fair, but compared to 50 years ago, this is still an improvement. Back then, women made about 60% of what men made. Now if we had made the change over a span of five years or so, that would've been acceptable. But, for it to raise from 60% to about 80% is a very slow rate of change. Today, people have tried to do small things to change this wage gap, but none have been affective. Per, the equal pay act has not been changed since 1963. The equal pay act basically discussed how sex discrimination is not allowed. Though this exists, there is still a difference in pay, which some consider to be not only unfair, but also discriminating against women.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oregon's Hero: Chris Mintz

Last Thursday, another school shooting occurred. Yes, another one. These horrific events are starting to become more and more popular, and make headlines across the United States. The most recent shooting happened at a community college in Oregon. A 26 year old man walked into one of the buildings, and started shooting through another door at those in that specific room, killing nine people. In the midst of the shooting, Chris Mintz, a student and army veteran, attempted to stop the shooter. Mintz repeatedly told him to stop, and put the gun down. He was shot five times, and is now recovering in a hospital. He had gunshot wounds, and two broken legs. I think it is incredible how Mintz reacted to the shooting. He showed great bravery, and deserves to be rewarded for that. Luckily, many people support him through his recovery, and everyone is grateful for his service in the military, and his dedication to protecting those in his country.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Minimum Wage Issues

The minimum wage  has been a topic among many of the states for a very long. People argue that it's not the government's job to interfere with businesses and impose minimum pay per hour. Others argue that is cruel to not pay people enough to live on. Today, the minimum wages in the United States range from $7.25 to $15. Several states do not have them also.
One state, Florida, (minumum wage $7.05), has people who want to raise theirs to benefit a large number of people. The proposed new wage is $15. To call attention to this issue, several lawmakers of Florida decided to live on $17 a day, (the total amount a worker gets after one day of work, factoring in taxes). They will need to do everything with this amount, and see if they can survive. I think this is a great idea. I belive that although the government shouldn't get involvedin a lot of thingd, it should get involve in wages to make sure everyone can live well. I think the people in Florida calling attention to this problem are doing the right thing, and will hopefully make the lives of those who get the minumum wage better.

Monday, September 21, 2015

5 records at 100

Yesterday, in San Diego, 5 world records were set in the sport of Track and Field. All of them by a man who is 100 years old. The New York Times published the article early this morning, which told us about Don Pellmann, the man who achieved all these records. At 100 years old, Don still competes in track meets around the United States, and usually places in his age group. On Sunday, he ran 100 meters under 27 seconds, (faster than any 100 year old ever), cleared a height in the high jump, set a long jump record, and also set throwing records in the shot put and discuss, two throwing events. I think it is really great that someone who is 100 can still compete today in athletics, and perform well. I also think that this will motivate people to start exercising.
Pellmann with several of his gold medals

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Consequential Justice and Categorial Justice

I believe that Joe's actions in The Round House were justified because of what happened to his mother. Joe shot Lark in the stomach and attempted to kill him. Joe personally thought this was the just response to the brutal attack on his mother. Because of this thinking, Joe is a consequential thinker in terms of justice. He does care about what will happen, and it appears that he really does want Lark to pay for what happened. If he was more of a categorical thinker in terms of justice, it is possible he would've thought how this relates to Lark's right to live, and not just killing him based on his own opinion.
I think that I am a more consequentialist thinker. I tend to weigh the consequence against what will happen, not locate morality just in a persons duties or rights. This is the same kind of justice then what Joe believe.  This does not mean that I would kill someone, but I would do something based on the outcome of the situation. This is what Joe did, except his example is very strong.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Homeless Lives

On September 6th, a story was published by the New York Times about the lives of people living on the streets, without homes or money. (View it here.) Not really an article, the piece showed how different people ended up homeless, and why a lot of them chose to stay there, and not move into a city shelter.
The story specifically focused on nine homeless people living in New York City. Sometimes, homeless people are thought of as untalented and lazy, and have a overall negative reputation. But, based on this article, that is not the case. Many of these individuals are actually good people who are just down on their luck, or else grew up in a bad situation. For example,  Jose Morales is one of these people. He grew up in multiple foster homes, and also didn't go to college. Both him and his parents had been involved with drugs too, and both had treatment. This was a mistake he realized he made. Now, he lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend, and is looking for a job. Him, like many of the other homeless people interviewed, had hard childhoods. But this doesn't define who they are today. All of them admit how they made wrong decisions, and are trying hard to change their lives for the better.