July 3, 2018

Eye for an Eye

Criminals that commit crimes are taken into court where they face trial of either innocence or guilt. What about those criminals that are held in maximum lockdown? Death penalty is usually sentenced to prisoners that are either found guilty of murder, treason, espionage, or genocide. There’s lots of controversy that death penalty also known as capital punishment, either brings justice or is considered inhumane. Currently in the U.S, 31 states allow the death penalty and 19 states banned the death penalty. Prisons currently uses lethal injection, gas chambers, electrocution, firing squad, and hanging to execute. As you read through this essay, I will address both the pros and cons of capital punishment in the U.S.

“Proponents of the death penalty say it is an important tool for preserving law and order, deters crime, and costs less than life imprisonment. They argue that retribution or “an eye for an eye” honors the victim, helps console grieving families, and ensures that the perpetrators of heinous crimes never have an opportunity to cause future tragedy”. My readers, put yourself in the victim’s shoes; if someone were to murder a loved one, would capital punishment bring peace to your loss? It’s second nature on getting revenge is a way to “make it even”. But will that take away the pain? You have to consider many people believe in “if you take a life, we take yours”. Capital punishment appeases the victim’s families, as retribution is not the same as revenge. “Retribution is a necessary part of the punishment process— without it, the friends and family of the victims as well as the public in general would not feel that justice had been served. The death penalty can provide families of victims with some closure, in aide for mourning families.

“Opponents of capital punishment say it has no deterrent effect on crime, wrongly gives governments the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices by disproportionately targeting people of color (racist) and people who cannot afford good attorneys (classist). They say lifetime jail sentences are a more severe and less expensive punishment than death”. A lot of opponents say it’s a violation of our human rights, however, when a criminal commits a crime, their rights are basically taken away from if found guilty upon the court of law. Unlike prison sentences, the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable. Executing an inmate for capital punishment prevents their chance of changing their lives and becoming a better person. Just like suicide, once death penalty happens, there’s no turning back; it’s a one-time thing. For those who oppose capital punishment, for moral and religious reasons such as “it’s wrong to take a life”, see it as we (the people) are just as bad as the criminal to take away a life. Like where do we draw the line? The murderer takes a life, so to get back we take his/her life. Activists debate that it’s a never-ending circle, taking a life because someone else took a life.  there’s lots of blood shed making us (the people) just as bad as the criminal.

I believe that mental health could have a part with extreme crimes too. Although they’re consciously aware of their actions, maybe criminals receive some kind of adrenaline or “high” from their crimes? I mean there has to be some sort of reason for them to be repeat offenders. From a normal person standpoint, we would find their crimes sick and cruel, however, they could possibly find it fun or amusing. These criminals that have no control, specifically need to be put into a mental hospital and have themselves evaluated, as opposed than just receiving capital punishment.

It seems like common sense that it’s cheaper to execute someone than to house, feed, and take care of them for the rest of their life. But there are a lot of unavoidable costs that make a death sentence far more expensive than a sentence of life without parole. Most of these costs result from the unique status of the death penalty within the US justice system. Because it’s the only truly irreversible form of punishment, the Constitution requires a long and complex judicial process for capital cases, including several levels of mandatory review after a death sentence is issued. Cases without the death penalty cost $740,000, while cases where the death penalty is sought cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. There are 714 inmates on California’s death row. The costs for a non-death penalty murder case is $1.1 million ($870,000 in imprisonment, $250,000 in trial), while the costs for a death penalty case are $3 million ($1.3 million in imprisonment, $1.7 million in trial). The appeals process takes decades to complete. Studies of the California death penalty system, the largest in the US, have revealed that a death sentence costs at least 18 times as much as a sentence of life without parole would cost. A total estimated death penalty costs $1,028,700 for court, $606,928, and $97,815 for execution; which totals $1,733,443. On the other hand, a life sentence costs $467,000 for trial attorneys, $70,000 for court costs, $100,800 for appeals, $152,90 for petition, and habeas corpus petition $238,000; which totals $1,028,700. This is a $704,743 difference that life sentence is cheaper than capital punishment. The trials, court durations, and attorneys all contribute to a long process to ensure they have the correct criminal that is pleaded guilty.

On a side note, since I currently live in Hawaii, I’m going to discuss about the judiciary system in Honolulu, Hawaii. Currently, Hawaii does not have the capital punishment law. KHON2 got a rare look inside the medium security prison on Thursday, which houses inmates serving sentences longer than a year. The prison has 1,124 beds and officials say every one of them is filled. To help with the overflow, the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona houses around 1,500 inmates from Hawaii. If capital punishment was legal in Hawaii, do you think crimes in Hawaii would decrease since people would be more aware that their lives would be at stake? According to the State of Hawaii, the penalties for first degree of murder is a felony offense that can be punished by life in prison. In some states, first—degree murder is punishable by death; however, Hawaii has abolished the death penalty. There was a local story that occurred in Haleiwa last year where two suspects beat and killed a mother to death. They tied the mother’s daughter to a chair and let her watch her mom get beaten. How sad and sick is that? Both suspects were charged with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, and kidnapping. What if this happened to your mom? Or your daughter? Revenge and justice is the first thing that comes to mind. Surprisingly, the husband/father, stated he forgave them and stated it was the act of the devil which made them sin.

Personally, I am a firm believer of capital punishment because the recurrent criminals that take advantage and challenge the law, deserves to be in hell. It’s taunting for a victim’s family knowing that a prisoner has a free cell, free meals, and clothes for life. Metaphorically speaking, in my opinion getting sent to prison for life, is like getting a hotel room with room service. Where’s the justice and punishment in that? We see a lot of prisoners in documentary videos playing cards, lifting weights, getting tattoos, and etc. If I were to put myself in a family’s position that loss their loved one from murder, I would hate to see that prisoner having fun in jail for something he or she did that was unforgivable. I would rather see their life end immediately because they don’t deserve to live not having any remorse for their action(s).

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July 2, 2018

Reviews: An Un-Winnable Popularity Contest

No matter how good or bad a movie is, it seems that a majority of time their fate has already been decided two weeks before even hitting theaters and the public. We live in a day and age where reviews and opinions from complete strangers are what we whole heartedly and blindly rely on to make decisions for us. Some people believe that reviews can easily be unbiased and only written from a very factual and statement-oriented perspective. However, no matter how hard they try, reviews always end up being influenced by the author’s personal biases. Continue reading

July 2, 2018

Mass Shootings and Their Effect On Us

On April 20th, 1999 the most shocking and horrific event in a modern high school took place. Twelve students, one teacher dead. Twenty-four injured. The Columbine High School Massacre was a school shooting that ten years ago we never would’ve forgotten. Continue reading

June 30, 2018

An Obstruction of views

Disclaimer *I’m well aware of the fact that the money and scheming behind this project may now be far out of the hands of anything our little governor can do, but a girl can dream, ok?*

Image result for the honolulu rail transit project

Dear Mr. Governor,

I would like you to know, before I proceed in writing this blog post, that you are making a very large mistake. As the governor, you must be highly educated. You must have at least one masters degree, and graduated somewhere near the top of your class. You must have spent years climbing the congressional ladders, observing right from wrong as you went along. You must have grown some sense of intuition when it comes to your job. Assuming the aforementioned to be true, you should be able to understand why I am completely befuddled over the fact that the Honolulu Rail Transit project (otherwise known as the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project) is still being built.  Continue reading

June 30, 2018

Amazon facial recognition, yes or no?

Back in November 2016, Amazon had invented this tech product called Rekognition. This product is known for facial recognition which has an ability to identify up to 100 people in just a single picture (Coberly 2018). The Police Department in Orlando and Washington states have been using Rekognition to help with criminal investigations.

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June 30, 2018

Plastic Pollution is a Major Problem

I researched plastic pollution to write a paper about how it affects the environment, when I was a freshman in highschool. Then again as a senior in highschool. 5 years later and I’m writing about it again. I realize all the information is the same, yet the situation seems to be getting worse. Plastic pollution continues to grow throughout the entire world, even to places where no humans being have ever been. Plastic does so much damage to our environment, there needs to be more of an effort to fix this crisis.  Continue reading

June 30, 2018

The Last Stand of The Not so Big, Not so Bad Wolf

afterglow-animal-backlit-247583By Kāʻai Fernandez

So, you’re an endangered Red Wolf. First off, congratulations on that; secondly, you’ve got some problems. Okay, “some” is an understatement, but I’m sure you’re not worried… right? You’re an endangered species; that’s a bummer. And even though you used to live throughout America, from Texas to Pennsylvania, you only live in North Carolina now, and there are less than a 100 of you left in the wild. You’ve been hunted, shot, starved and butchered; life’s been difficult.

And life is about to get a whole lot worse.

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June 29, 2018

The Supreme Court Supports Lying and Deception

close-up-court-courthouse-534204When I see a doctor, I don’t question their character. I go in and I listen to them because they tell you the truth. They give you all the necessary information that you need, and they let you make a decision. They may make recommendations, but ultimately, they give you all of the required information in an unbiased manner and they leave the decision making in your hands. This is how it has been for me, and this is how it certainly should be for pregnant women. Across the United States there are about 2,700 anti-abortion crisis centers. Some of these centers are medically license, and other are not. These centers are religiously motivated places that strongly encourage women to seek all other options besides abortion. There are actually three times as much anti-abortion crisis centers than clinics that provide abortions. These centers are government funded in 14 states. From 2001 to 2006, these centers received about $30 million.These centers have built a reputation for being deceptive and taking advantage of the vulnerability of pregnant women in order to push their political agenda.

In 2015, California passed the Reproductive FACT Act. This act had 2 provisions. First, “The FACT Act requires unlicensed crisis pregnancy centers to post a sign or otherwise disclose to their clients in writing that the center is not a licensed medical facility and has no licensed medical provider who supervises the provision of services.”. The second provision requires licensed centers “to post a sign that says the state provides free or low-cost access to prenatal care, birth control and other reproductive care, including abortions”. This act was recently appealed and upheld unanimously by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court reversed this decision and no longer requires anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to more fully disclose what they are. Continue reading

June 29, 2018

The Next Gold Rush Won’t Be For Gold

The year was 1848. It was the Monday of January 24th. Anyone familiar with that date? Anyone? Well, it is not an entirely well-known date in American history, or history at all for that matter, unless you are one of the lucky people with an incredible memory for dates. Everyone knows those people. It’s the people who never forget your birthday even though you haven’t talked with them since freshman year of high school, fourteen years ago. It’s the people who know exactly when Memorial Day is versus Labor Day, because let’s be honest, most of us tend to mix the two up. Back to the point however, unless you have an incredibly sharp memory with history, you probably do not recall January 24th, 1848, so allow me to clue you in. January 24th, 1848 was the day Foreman James W. Marshall was working for Pioneer John Sutter up in Coloma, a town about an hour away from California’s capital, Sacramento. While working at Sutter’s Mill, Marshall found a shiny metal in the tailrace of the mill that he was building for Sutter on the American River. Is the memory coming back to you now? No? Well, fear not, I will continue. That shiny metal piece that good ole’ James W. Marshall had found ended up being the beginning of a hunt, of a quest, of a pursuit. For that shiny piece of metal was a man’s ticket to a life full of riches. That shiny piece of metal was gold, and it began what was called the California Gold Rush.  Continue reading

June 29, 2018

How Environmental Stewardship Saves Our Coral Reefs

diving-1808717_1920By Eve Berlinsky

Our current geological age has notably been titled the Anthropocene period. Anthropocene means “human caused,” and refers to humanity’s often detrimental influence on the planet that we all call home. This ranges from our impacts on the ocean to the rainforests to the atmosphere to anything else on this planet. There is little to no place on this earth that has not been affected by people in some way. For now, I will focus on the biggest and oldest thing humans have put at risk- the coral reefs. Continue reading

June 29, 2018

Suicide: the World’s Silent Killer

addiction-adult-capsule-271171.jpgBy Brenna Hoonan-Amby

One of the greatest death rates in the world today is suicide. As well as this form of death is known, it is just as silent as it is deadly. While people seem to be forcibly preventing problems such as car accidents or disabling of weaponry, many lack the empathy to acknowledge the struggles of those who need mental help. Believe it or not, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. and is one of just three leading causes that have been increasing, along with drug overdoses and Alzheimer’s disease .The US government should invest more into funding towards mental health in order to provide options for those who are suffering from mental issues. By doing so, this could decrease the amount of suicide and encourage a healthier community by greater communication, support from communities, and decrease in violence.
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June 29, 2018

The Pro-Choice

life-7-to-12-weeks-1316897.jpgBy Brenna Hoonan-Amby 

America- the “land of the free, and the home of the brave”. These significant lyrics in our national anthem ring out louder than all other lines throughout the whole song.

Why might you ask? Simply because it gives hopes of freedom- freedom of action, freedom of voice, and freedom of choice. But before America seems like one whole united nation that encourages liberation, it is important that you read between the lines and into the fine print. Continue reading

June 29, 2018

The Gun Violence Epidemic

The Gun Violence Epidemic

 

By Cory Gleason

 

handgunThere is no denying that the United States of America has a gun violence problem. It seems that every week to every month we here of a new shooting in our country. On June, 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland, 5 people were shot and killed at the Capital Gazette newsroom. The victims were writers and editors who were just trying to do their jobs and their life was taken away from them from a man with a gun. Donald Trump of course tweeted his condolences giving his “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the victims but, what is actually being done about the violence? We too often receive notifications on our phones informing us of yet another shooting in our country and our government refuses to make a change. “Thoughts and prayers” can only go so far and it is about time the United States of America makes a change. This country needs stricter gun laws so we never have to log into our phones and read about another shooting again.  Continue reading

June 29, 2018

Superheroes or Supervillains?

 

police

For numerous years, our world has relied on our police force to maintain peace and order within our respective regions. They have been given the power to keep criminals off the street, in order to keep us free from harm. But have you ever thought of a policeman being the actual criminal? Continue reading

June 27, 2018

Keeping Families Together Makes America Great

By Eve Berlinskyposters-2590766_1920

As our country attempts to tackle the topic of immigration, there is heated debate from both opponents and proponents of it. On one side, we see those who believe that immigration should be reduced in order to provide jobs for American citizens. On the other side, we see those who believe that immigrants help better our country by diversifying it, among other reasons. However, it seems that the recently implemented “zero-tolerance” policy has gained the attention of those on both sides. Many people have seen the heartbreaking photos and read the saddening reports of children, as young as two years old, being taken away from their parents as a deterrent to those crossing the United States border. From these accounts, it is evident that this policy is a cruel, barbaric one. Separating children from their parents in a foreign country where many of them do not even speak the language is wrong, and America stands for so much more than that. Continue reading

June 27, 2018

Will Canada’s new legalization spark change U.S. laws?

 

Image result for legalize weed

America’s archaic and failed marijuana prohibition laws result in the arrest of over 650,000 citizens annually. Laws surrounding cannabis usage around the world differ from place to place. In some countries like the United Arab Emirates, one could receive the death penalty for its usage, possession, or distribution. In other countries, it’s currently being celebrated. A big topic involving the subject right now is Canada becoming the second nation in the world, behind Uruguay, to legalize marijuana recreationally. Tim Dickinson specifically states, “Canadians 18 years and older (19-plus in select provinces) will now be able to possess an ounce of weed in public and up to four plants at home.” Continue reading

June 27, 2018

The Beauty of Life

The real world is not like a video game where if you die, you have three more lives left to spare. You have one life and one life only. Being alive is so precious; your mother and father brought you into this world for a reason. Why waste it?  “Life doesn’t come with a rewind, fast-forward, or pause button. Once it starts, it plays until it ends or until you press the stop button. Never press the stop button, just enjoy it while it plays” (Parker). Everyone goes through difficult obstacles, pain, and struggles; they are all part of life. How do you know when enough is enough? Of course, people have limitations based on how much they are able to handle before calling it quits. But how do we gauge that before it’s too late? It is important to seek out for help whether if it’s with a professional or from friends and family.  Continue reading

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June 27, 2018

HE ‘OHANA KĀKOU

Living in paradise is so beautiful yet, it unfortunately comes with a price. What’s the catch? According to Hawaii News Now, Westfall says “renters actually need to earn $20 more an hour — $36.13 to be exact — to afford a two-bedroom, modest rental in the state” Rent. This means employees that work full time earning minimum wage won’t be able to afford to rent. They will need to find a higher paying job or work two full time jobs which are unattainable & impossible to sustain. “An Oahu family of four bringing in $93,300 or less this year is considered “low income” under newly-released U.S. Housing and Urban Development guidelines, which are used to determine who can qualify for affordable and subsidized housing programs.” Income. Let’s break it down and do some math. $93,000 divided by 4, which equals $23,250. This means that each person that brings in at least $23,250 a year to contribute to the $93,000, is considered to be lower class in Oahu. “Meanwhile, the guidelines consider a single person earning $65,350 a year low income compared to $58,300 in 2017. And a single person bringing in $40,850 or less is considered “very low income.” Income. According to google, the minimum wage in Hawaii is $10.10 per hour , it’s obvious an employee makes way less than the category just mentioned above (“very low income”). By looking at these numbers, it shows people can’t get by with minimum wage jobs, therefore end up on the streets. Continue reading

June 27, 2018

A Pledge to Humanity

immmigration-rally-1437946BY BRENNA HOONAN-AMBY

Currently, thousands of illegal immigrants from Mexico encounter conflicts upon their attempts to come across the border with a big percentage of them being children. When illegal immigrants are discovered, they immediately are separated amongst each other to get evaluated by the Customs and Border Protection Facility. Some of these immigrants go days and even weeks without seeing each other again as they get relocated into temporary shelters, but for many, the chances of being reunited are little to none.  Continue reading

June 27, 2018

Here’s Why We Should Legalize Marijuana

I read an article about a mom who had her cannabis oils confiscated at an airport in the UK, because marijuana is illegal there. However, the purpose of the oils were for her son’s epilepsy. The family has been using the cannabis oils to help calm the natures of the young boy’s seizures. The article says that after having the oils confiscated “he ended up in the hospital after his seizures intensified.” The cannabis oils were later returned on the grounds that this situation was a “medical emergency.” It’s scary to think that without the use of medical marijuana, people in these types of situations don’t have that kind of medication. This is why the use of medical marijuana should be legalized across the US. Don’t you think that if cigarettes are legal, then so should marijuana. Marijuana is illegal, yet is widely known for its health benefits. While cigarettes, which actually deteriorates health is legal. Does that makes sense? No it doesn’t. I believe that all people should have the right to all the types of medication they need. I know a few people who heavily rely on medical marijuana due to pain and mental health. I also have friends who use marijuana to stay away from their addiction to cigarettes and opioids. Knowing this, marijuana should be legal so that people at least have it as a use for medication. It provides many benefits that outweigh the consequences of legalizing it. We need to give a voice to the legalization of marijuana, so that those who are in need of its medicinal properties can have it.  Continue reading

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