The Douglas Times

A Teen Ran Newspaper

The Death Penalty

The death penalty is a matter of active controversy in various countries and states. Also known as capital punishment, the death penalty is the legal process where a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime that the person committed. Some serious criminal offenses are punishable by death, most often violent homicides where it is determined by the jury that the convicted offender lacks any remorse, or regret. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes, also called capital offenses. The first recognized death penalty laws date far back to eighteenth century B.C. The 1960s brought many challenges to the presumed legality of the death penalty. Before then, the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments were interpreted as permitting the death penalty. However, during the early 1960s, it was suggested that the death penalty was a "cruel and unusual" punishment and unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Nevertheless, fifty eight nations in the world currently practice the death penalty. Although there are many nations that have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world's population lives in countries where executions take place. 1,188 people in the United States alone were executed from 1977 through 2009, primarily by means of lethal injection. Most death penalty cases involve the execution of murderers. However, capital punishment can also be applied for treason, espionage, and other crimes. Those in favor of the death penalty argue that it is an important tool for preserving law and order and is much more cost effective than life imprisonment. They also argue that capital punishment honors the victim(s) of the crime, helps console families in grief, and ensures that the person who committed the crime never has a chance to cause future tragedy and commit that crime again. Those in opposition of the death penalty say it has no preventive effect on crime, wrongly gives the government the power to take away human life, and can target people who cannot afford a good attorney. They also say that a lifetime jail sentence is more severe than death and that it is a less expensive punishment.

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Cyber Bullying

With the growth of technology use, the infamous cyberbullying has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers. Cyberbullying is defined as the use of information technology to harm or harass other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. It can be limited to posting rumors about someone via the internet, but it can also go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing things relating to them that are severely damaging and humiliating. Some examples of cyberbullying include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, discredit, or humiliate the recipient. The actions are deliberate, repeated, hostile, and are intended to harm someone. A cyberbully may be a person whom the target knows, or may be a random online stranger. A cyberbully may be anonymous, and may solicit involvement of other people online who don’t even know the target personally. This is commonly known as a digital pile-on. A majority of states have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws. Most law enforcement agencies have cyber-crime units and often Internet stalking is treated with more seriousness than reports of physical stalking.

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Texting and Driving

Texting while driving is the act of composing, sending, reading text messages, email, or making other similar use of the web on a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle. The practice has been viewed by many people and authorities as dangerous, and in some places has been outlawed or restricted. Texting while driving leads to increased distraction behind the wheel. In 2006, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group conducted a survey of more than 90 teens from more than 26 high schools nationwide. The results showed that 37% of students consider texting to be "very" or "extremely" distracting. A study by the American Automobile Association discovered that 47% of teens admitted to being distracted behind the wheel because of texting. This distraction is alarming, because 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. A study involving commercial vehicle operators conducted in September of 2009 concluded that though incidence of texting within their data set was low, texting while driving increased the risk of accident significantly.

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Legalizing Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is marriage between two persons of the same sex and/or gender. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage or the possibility to perform a same-sex marriage is sometimes referred to as marriage equality or equal marriage, particularly by supporters. The legalization of same-sex marriage is characterized as redefining marriage by many opponents. The first laws in modern times enabling same-sex marriage were enacted during the first decade of the 21st century. As of 19 August 2013, fifteen countries allow same-sex couples to marry. Polls in various countries show that there is rising support for legally recognizing same-sex marriage across race, ethnicity, age, religion, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status. The recognition of same-sex marriage is a political, social, human rights and civil rights issue, as well as a religious issue in many nations and around the world, and debates continue to arise over whether same-sex couples should be allowed marriage, or instead be allowed to hold a different status (a civil union), or be denied for such rights.

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Opinion on Custody Battles

Ellie Young, a senior at Greenwood High School, has strong opinions on the topic of underage drinking. Her cousin is an alcoholic. Ellie thinks underage drinking is wrong and should be put to a stop.