Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crossed Lines

By: Sydney Janeiro

Just a few short weeks ago I was watching CNN in the comfort of my living room, when the report of the gas attack in Syria aired. Images of children, including babies, were writhing in pain on my television screen. I clicked through the channels to find out more and discovered footage of people struggling to take a single breath and babies with oxygen masks instead of pacifiers. The journalist said it was a suspected chemical attack. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed rebels for the catastrophe, but many felt immediately that he was responsible. The screen flashed to Senator John McCain who was clearly sending a message that America would not stand for such brutality. In an interview with CNN, he stated, “The United States of America is going to be on the side of people who fight for freedom, and we will not sit by and watch chemical weapons being used to slaughter innocent women and children.” President Trump ordered a military strike on the airfield where the chemical attack took place. We saw a different side of Trump, when he was moved by the the pictures he saw of suffering children and decided to shift his past position on refraining from striking Syria.
Fast forward to April 13. In a call for action against ISIS presence, the United States dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in U.S. military’s arsenal, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, on a remote village in eastern Afghanistan. With the acronym, MOAB, the weapon has come to be known as The Mother of All Bombs. The bomb weighs in at 21,600 pounds and was built to pulverize bunkers and underground systems and subsequently vaporize anyone at the blast site. It was dropped from a plane and guided by GPS, so it is also being referred to as a smart bomb. The target was an old tunnel system being occupied by Islamic state fighters. It is still unclear if any civilians were killed.
War is not a new concept to the people of Syria or Afghanistan. There has been fighting for decades. It has become a way of life, and it is far from over. The children of these regions know nothing else. What must life be like for the children of Syria? For the children of Afghanistan?  
The children in the war-torn societies of Syria and Afghanistan have almost become numb to the living hell around them. In a New York Times article, Ali M. Latifi writes about a conversation he had with two children, 11-year-old Safiullah and 13-year-old Wajed, in Afghanistan. “They described the explosion as ‘very loud’ but insisted that it did not scare them. Safiullah held on to his unruly goat that he was walking home. ‘I am used to it,’ he said. ‘I have heard so many bombings.’” In Syria, children were stripped of their clothes and hosed down to wash away the nerve agent, Sarin, that was permeating into their bodies. These desperate prevention methods were unable to reach many children, and those children died a cruel and painfully slow death. According to a NBC article, “100 people, including 25 children, were killed and another 400 were injured.” These innocent children’s lives and childhoods were so cruelly ripped away on this day of war. American news reports suggest that the United States intervention in Syria and targeted bombing of an ISIS camp, are a message that brutally murdering the innocent will not be tolerated.
They say children are resilient, but there are some things that can’t be overcome. Grown men and women return from war emotionally scarred. Imagine being a young child in the midst of constant chaos and destruction. Not knowing whether you or your family would have enough to eat or even live through the day. Journalist, Lyse Doucet, says she spent many years reporting on the war in Syria and heard the most captivating stories from children. She explains, “One girl, freshly escaped from the besieged city of Homs, told how she ate rats and cats because residents couldn't find food.” This is their reality.
President Trump surprised many of us with his changed attitude toward Syria. "When you kill innocent children -- innocent babies -- babies -- little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines. Beyond a red line, many, many lines," Trump said. When it comes to the lives of innocent children, we need to be united in the cause. Sometimes you have to put politics aside, and do the right thing.

The Syrian Update

By: Tommy Baran

         For the past few years, chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s Civil War. In 2013 there was a massive sarin gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus, the capital of Syria. Barack Obama talked about how this is “an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel.” This explains why Obama threatened to use force on Syria if they still had chemical weapons.
The United Nations then required Syria to assume responsibility for and follow a timeline for the destruction of its chemical weapons and its chemical weapon production facilities. The key destruction operations were performed by a team of US Army civilians and contractors, that destroyed 600 metric tonnes of chemical agents in just 42 days. However, this is a minor setback for Syria, and they are using their chemical weapons again.

The matter is now in President Trump’s hands. He recently launched an attack of 59 tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat Airfield; hitting aircrafts, reinforced shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, defense systems, and radars. Trump is trying to send a message, that we support our allies, and that we aren’t afraid to fight for what we believe in.

The Syrians who have been affected by these chemical attacks have little aid or ability to defend themselves. Sarin, a deadly gas, is colorless and odorless, a nerve agent that is classified as a weapon of mass destruction. In America, we have the resources to ensure a large-scale deployment of aid and continued care for those who are affected by a nerve agent like this.

In Syria, doctors are in underfunded and hospitals undersupplied and can do little for many of their patients. While many arguments can be made about whether Trump bombing Syria is a good thing or not, the real importance is that now the Syrian people can finally feel safer, even if just by a bit; that there is someone finally looking out for them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Recent Rise of In-Flight Confrontations

By: Arianna Grewal

     In recent weeks, most have heard about the incident which occurred on a United flight making its way from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. David Dao, 69, was one of the four passengers picked to exit the flight to allow room for airplane employees. Dao claimed he had patients to tend to that weekend, and refused to leave the plane.

     Chicago Aviation officers were then called to remove him and were taped dragging him off the plane. Passengers watched in shock and the video shows one woman disgusted, exclaiming, “This is wrong, look at what you did to him!” The doctor ended up with a bloody nose, a concussion, and two missing teeth.

     United was later condemned for their statement which they released following the incident, for many people felt it not only sided with their employees, but also blamed the passenger. Dao and United Airlines did reach a settlement of an undisclosed amount. In addition, the airline said it would “create a new check-in process that would allow passengers to volunteer to give up their seats for compensation, and increased the limit of that compensation to $10,000 from $1,350.” Many were outraged by what happened to Dao and set out to expose all unacceptable behavior demonstrated by airline staff. Hence, there have been other reports and recordings of similar incidents in recent news.
     A confrontation between an American airlines flight attendant and a mother with a baby was taped by another passenger two weeks following the United incident. Although the video does not show what happened beforehand, Surain Adyanthaya (the woman who recorded and posted the video) mentioned that moments before she began recording, the flight attendant “violently” took away the mother’s stroller before hitting her, and barely missing her baby.

      Another woman, Olivia Morgan, was waiting to board the flight when this event occurred. She said, “The flight attendant wrestled the stroller away from the woman, who was sobbing, holding one baby with the second baby in a car seat on the ground next to her.” The video starts when the mother is seen crying and says, “Just give me back the stroller, please.” Morgan spoke with the mother following the incident, and the mother explained how a female flight attendant said she could look for space to keep the stroller, but she would need to check it in at the gate if there was no space. According to the American Airlines website, “Only small, collapsible and light strollers (up to 20lbs/9kgs) can be checked at the gate. Fully collapsible strollers may be carried on board with the passenger as long as they fit in an overhead bin,” and this mother’s stroller was collapsible, according to Morgan.

     Another passenger, Tony Fierro, can be heard saying he is “not going to sit here and watch this.” Fierro, clearly upset because of how this situation was handled, stands up and says to the flight attendant, “Hey bud, hey bud. You do that to me, and I'll knock you flat.” The flight attendant tells him to stay out of it, before repeatedly saying to the passenger, “Hit me. Hit me.” The mother was escorted off the plane and the flight attendant was let back on the plane shortly after this incident. Fierro spoke about the event later, and explained his actions: “A baby almost got hurt," he said. "That's what just fired me up, so that was it. I don't want to make a big deal about it.”

     Following the episode, the woman opted for another flight, and was upgraded to first class for the rest of her trip. The flight attendant was immediately suspended as the airline “investigated.” American Airlines released a statement which says, “We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts. What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers...We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident."

     Lastly, the most recent incident involves a Delta pilot and two women who were seen brawling on the floor of a jet bridge. In the recorded video, the pilot is seen grabbing one of the woman’s hands, and smacking her in the face before stepping back. Upon the video’s release, the pilot was immediately suspended but returned back to work shortly after the airline said, “his actions de-escalated an altercation between passengers.”

     Any act of violence or striking at a customer/passenger should be considered unacceptable except in a life threatening situation. However, circumstances similar to Dr. Dao’s and the mother’s with the stroller, were completely unnecessary, cruel, and unprofessional. Although the Delta pilot’s actions may have “de-escalated the altercation,” it does not make it okay to hit a passenger. With all the recent news of events like this taking place, it's hard not to wonder if these episodes are newly occurring, or if episodes like this always happened on airlines and because of Dr. Dao’s incident, we’re becoming more aware of it now.

NWR’s Courtyard Space

By: Nick Scialla, Ray Keoghan, Blake Quick 

     For the upcoming 2017-18 school year, NWR created another space for students to have lunch; tables and benches were built by custodians and generously donated to the courtyard in our brand new fenced in area. They were donated in order to open up more space and to accommodate the whole school in the same lunch, due to next year’s rotating drop schedule.

     Personally we, the student body, think this is a great idea; but it is not not without its inherent flaws. The seating will not work out during the winter due to snow and cold temperatures; however, in the beginning and end of the year this will be a wonderful place to eat.

     After asking a few students, we concluded most share similar views such as: “It will be great when the weather is nice, but when the winter and the cold weather comes it is not going to be used.”
Another student said “I think it will work well with the new schedule that is being put into place. I was very surprised at how much space there was during the run through of the new schedule during the unit lunch.”

     Some students even think it is a great idea to be able to go out during their study halls and maybe throw around a frisbee, or just enjoy the fresh air. One student shared his thoughts on the work put into the courtyard: “I really noticed and appreciated all the hard work that went into the construction of the new courtyard. It looks amazing and everyone who put time into helping with it should be proud of themselves and should know that the students are very appreciative of all the work they have done to get it to where it is.” 

     Over 20 hours of hard work and dedication were put into building the outdoor eating area. The entire custodial staff at North Warren worked hard to make this area safe for our students.

     The students are expected to help maintain the courtyard throughout the day. Roughly, 160 students will be allowed to enjoy the outdoor eating area at one time. The area will be monitored by teachers, which means that more teachers will be needed on lunch duty. Enjoying this space is not a right, it is a privilege. If students are misbehaving in the eating area they will be swiftly dealt with.

     So what are your views on the outdoor eating area?  Please leave a comment and share your opinion with the Patriot Press.