The Aqua Box
The Death Penalty
Capital punishment, or the death penalty, violates the Constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment. Cruel and unusual punishments are punishments considered unacceptable due to the pain suffering or humiliation it inflicts on the person subject to it. Capital punishment humiliates and causes the victim a great deal of pain and suffering. More than half of the U.S. public prefers other alternatives over the death penalty as the best punishment for crime or murder. One alternative to capital punishment is life imprisonment which sparks controversy as we are paying for these people to live. There are five methods used to execute people: Lethal injection which is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs (typically a barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution) for the express purpose of causing immediate death. Electrocution which is an execution method originating in the United States in which the condemned person is strapped to a specially built wooden chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the bod. Death by firing squad is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war. The last forms of commonly used capital punishment are hanging and the gas chamber, all of which violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The main method still used today is lethal injection which remains very controversial as whether it violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Today there are thirty-two states with the death penalty and eighteen without. Hundreds of people have been released from death row after being found innocent. For others, the doubt of their guilt didn’t come to light until it was too late, executing an innocent person. For example, Todd Willingham, executed for the 1991 arson murder of his three young daughters in Corsicana, was wrongly convicted. In 2010, Judge Charlie Baird wrote an order that “This Court orders the exoneration of Cameron Todd Willingham for murdering his three daughters. In light of the overwhelming, credible, and reliable evidence presented by the Petitioners, this Court holds that the State of Texas wrongfully executed Cameron Todd Willingham.”
Teens and Drunk Driving
Young people are often over-represented in driving accidents involving alcohol because they seem to be relatively inexperienced drivers, inexperienced consumers of alcohol, more likely to use illegal drugs and have a false sense of invincibility and immortality. In recent years, drivers aged 16 to 24 were involved in only 28 percent of all alcohol-related driving accidents, which is a lot less than what we make it out to be. The deaths associated with young drinking drivers (those 16 to 24 years of age) are down dramatically, having dropped 47%. All around drinking is not only down among high school seniors but is also down among college students. When students find out that most others do not drink near as much as they incorrectly believed, they feel as if they can drink less, or not even at all. Being honest about these habits instead of exaggerating is the most effective way to reduce alcohol abuse and the problems often associated with it. Research also shows that factors that help to keep teens safe include parental involvement, minimum legal drinking age and zero tolerance laws, and graduated driver licensing systems.
Bullying on the Web
Bullying and violence normally makes you think of talking behind someone’s back or a fight between two people, that is, until you get on the internet. Cyberbullying is when a teen is targeted by another over the internet to the point where they are tormented, threatened, harassed, or embarrassed. There is not a way to stop this as it can be accessed by any interactive digital technologies such as cell phones, and can only be limited by someone’s imagination. Many accidents result for cyberbullying such as suicide and homicide as these kids feel like they’re being pushed to their limits. Although parents often try to pursue criminal charges, usually the bullying will only rise to the level of a misdemeanor charge, or juvenile delinquency if the child if young enough. Schools try their best to put an end to the many forms of bullying whether it through education on the matter, or create an assembly with a guest who has had experience with cyberbullying.
Video Game Violence?
Video gaming is a multibillion dollar industry bringing in more money than DVDs. Parents are wondering whether the violent combat and destruction that are the staples of today's video games are a little too close to reality for their children. Many of their questions are based on whether playing violent games helps kids vent their fear and anger or just makes them feel worse. Many of the most popular games promote things such as: the killing of people or animals, use of drugs and alcohol, sexual exploitation, foul language, and criminal behavior. Some of the video games also allow children to stalk and kill bad guys on the screen, and even fly a plane into an image of the World Trade Center. A new game that can be downloaded off the Internet allows users to take virtual whacks at a cartoon figure of Osama bin Laden. Spending large amounts of time playing these games can lead to problems such as poor social skills, lower grades, weight gain, and aggressive thoughts or behaviors.
Opinion: Texting and Driving
I interviewed Alexander Smith, a senior at Greenwood High school. He had a very interesting opinion on the subject of texting and driving. He said “I regularly text and drive. I don’t see the problem with it as long as I don’t kill anyone or get in a wreck. No harm, no fowl right?” I didn’t understand his way of thinking so I continued to question his opinion and inquired as to why he may believe that way. When I asked him, he said that as long as no one gets hurt, it shouldn’t matter what I do in my own car. Just like it shouldn’t matter what I do in my own house as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.