The Hardest Puzzle In The World

So I know what ya’ll were probably thinking when you first heard the title, “What’s so important if there’s a hard game that tests knowledge?” Except this post is about something totally different and more serious. I’m talking about Autism, a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. Also about special needs, a  particular educational requirements resulting from learning difficulties, physical disability, or emotional and behavioral difficulties. Yes, you’ve probably heard before, “Every kid is special in their own way,” but what does it actually mean when people refer to special needs children. “This means any kid who might need extra help because of a medical, emotional, or learning problem. These kids have special needs because they might need medicine, therapy, or extra help in school — stuff other kids don’t typically need or only need once in awhile.” You may be thinking, “So what? I know what that is, but what more should I know?” Yes, you may know what is is, but no one I’ve ever met has ever had a full understanding of it unless they have a connection with someone who has it. However, whenever I touch this sensitive subject it’s as if people want to avoid it or just leave it out of the picture, but the truth is you can’t.

Again I know some of you reading this know not to tease or think less of the special needs, which means you were taught right. On the other hand, some are less fortunate to not have. So, when they see someone talking differently or having a helping teacher they point and laugh, but once they find out what they have they immediately stop. That’s the problem no matter if they have specials needs or not they’re human. They’re just like us and all they’ve ever wanted is to be treated the same way as everyone else. I know it may seem like I’m ranting on and on about a subject you may not care about, but I do. Why do I seem to care a lot about this matter? Is it because I want a good grade, or is it because my parents forced me to? The reason I care so much about this matter because all my life I’ve lived around special needs.

So what’s the point of this ongoing blog post? Well it’s me telling all of you to become friends with a special need. Please don’t let them wander the halls, eat alone at a lunch table, or to find that all the people they thought were their friends made nasty jokes about them behind their back. All I want is for you to open your heart to someone who needs it truly. Now is that too much to ask? I’m not asking you to dis all your friends, but to simply to make them feel accepted or hang with them with your original friends. If you think it’s too much of a risk because you might be judged by your friends,  then I guess you gotta ask yourself this question, are you hanging around the right kind of people? Another question you might want to ask yourself if you would get embarrassed being seen with a special needs kid is, what kind of person does that make you?


Control the People; Not the Guns

One of the most debated and most controversial topics that is talked about right now is gun control. This topic is debated on so heavily, because of the hazards that guns provide. Ever since the 10 amendments were created, the second amendment has stated “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This opens up the door for discussion, because on one hand, guns are dangerous, while on the other hand, guns are necessary for self defense. Many people resort to the second amendment and say that it contains the supreme laws of the United States, and that the right to bear arms cannot be touched upon. Others argue that the second amendment is outdated and that guns are more dangerous than ever before. No matter what side you are on, the doors are always open for debate.


From a safety standpoint, guns should totally be eradicated. Unmonitored firearms have been the cause behind horrific events, such as Sandy Hook. America also has one of the highest death rates involving firearms. In 2014 alone, there has been 10,945 murders involving firearms. This number only includes homicides. However, suicides take up about 62% of all gun related deaths. When put into perspective, suicides involving firearms take up 49% of all suicides. From hearing this evidence, most people want guns to be banned, or have some form of restriction on them. On the other hand, guns are a form of self defense. Guns put your mind at peace, knowing that you have the means to protect yourself. If this basic right that takes the form of our second amendment is infringed upon, how would the people have the means to protect themselves? In 2012, there were 1.2 million criminal cases that involved murder, burglary, and more. In other terms, there were 1.2 million opportunities for a victim to use a gun as a form of self defense.

Personally, I believe that the power to purchase, use, and own a gun should continue to be a right. With rising criminal threats in America, many people need a form of protection, which also provides mental tranquility. A gun is just that. Of course, not everybody should be able to purchase a gun. Background checks should be required, to ensure that the gun is going to a safe location. Additionally, guns should be protected by something such as a safe. This will reduce the chances of someone using a gun in a harmful way to others. Another factor in owning a gun that I believe to be important is the education behind it. I compare this to obtaining a driving license. Nobody can drive a car without proper education. This should apply to guns to prevent accidental injuries. The education should entail how a gun works, how to implement safety features, and how to use a gun. While the second amendment may be outdated, the need for a gun is stronger than ever. Guns provide self defense for almost anyone, and could prevent many criminal invasions from being successful. With criminal activities being more frequent than in the past, the average citizen needs the means to stay safe in their personal belongings.

I have come to the conclusion that the guns themselves are not the problem. It is the people who choose to use guns against others. This relates to why I believe that a background check is necessary. Does the person requesting for a firearm have any mental disabilities? Do they live with anyone dangerous that could obtain a gun? Do they have any criminal activity on their record? These questions are supplemental when determining if someone can own a gun. Guns alone do not hurt others. Guns provide the opportunity for people who want to use physical assaulting and violence on others. As long as people are responsibly using guns for self defense, or even recreational activities, they should be permitted.


Death to the Death Penalty

Death is the one thing that cannot be undone. Whether the death was from intentional killing, natural causes, or a fatal injury, once someone’s life has been ended, that’s it. So, where does capital punishment stand? Many states have abolished it, but not all. Why is it okay to put someone to death for killing someone else? This was first conceptualized in the eighteenth century, as part of Hammurabi’s Code. His philosophy was “an eye for an eye”, and there were 25 crimes punishable by death. This hypocritical thinking was not brought to America by the Babylonians, but rather European colonists. The first recorded execution was a Captain from Virginia in 1608, for being an alleged spy for Spain. Capital punishment only first started becoming controversial in the 1980’s, when DNA testing became a factor in determining who committed a crime; when it would be known for sure who committed a crime, even if it was after the execution.


In my opinion, capital punishment needs to be abolished in all states. One reason is because it is inhumane. There have been many instances of “botched-executions”. This means that something went wrong and that the death became long and painful, which violated the eighth amendment. Also, death penalty trials are known to be very expensive. A single trial can cost over a million dollars, and take years before a verdict is reached. This tax money should be used to reform the criminal justice system, and keep the crime rate low. Thus, the death penalty needs to be abolished in all states.


Are School Uniforms Beneficial?

Currently there is an ongoing debate in our nation on whether or not schools should have a uniform policy. Schools that require students to wear school uniforms want to promote unity in students clothes. These policies have generated an argument between parents, students, and schools. Parents and students say that uniforms take away the students’ freedom of expression and individuality. Between the school years of 2003-04 and 2011-12, the percentage of public schools that require students to wear uniforms have increased from 13 to 19 percent. Schools declare that uniforms help students to focus on school work. So is taking away student’s individuality worth the reward of decreased behavioral problems and increased test scores? To resolve this argument, research done by David L. Brunsma, University of Alabama and Kerry A. Rockquemore of Notre Dame proved that uniforms did not lead to an improvement in any of the school performances. According to their conclusion, “Student uniform use was not significantly correlated with any of the school commitment variables such as absenteeism, behavior, or substance use (drugs). In addition, students wearing uniforms did not appear to have any significantly different academic preparedness, proschool attitudes, or peer group structures with proschool attitudes than other students”.

Should schools force students to follow the uniform policy? In my opinion, schools shouldn’t make students wear uniforms. I believe that uniforms decrease student’s creativity and self-expression. Schools should create an environment that encourages students individuality and which inspires students to gain self-confidence. The only way that this can be achieved, is if students get to choose what they wear.


Sand Pits not Glitz

Child beauty pageants are defined as contests featuring children under the age of 16 that make them think they are all princesses and that they can have anything they want, including the winning position in every situation in their lives. Some different segments of child beauty pageants can include the skimpy bathing suit portion, the choreographed dance section that took 10 hours and 20 tantrums to master, reciting the interview answers that parents hardwired into their children’s brains, parading around in dresses bedazzled to an unnecessary level, and many other fun events. Although most of these children would rather be playing in their backyard or interacting with their peers in a healthy way, their parents drag them to these events so that they can experience what they would have liked to do 30 years ago through their children. These sweet 5-year-olds are turned into competitive demons by their parents. These pageants focus way too much on appearance, making for a very tedious regimen the weeks leading up to the pageant. Glitz pageants are the worst kind, allowing spray tans, flippers (fake teeth), and cellulite cream. These children are forced to compete in these competitions. making tantrums a recurring routine. The contestants are usually introduced to the game as toddlers or even earlier, and not knowing any better, continue to comply as they grow older. Beauty pageants for children were a horrible idea.

One reason why beauty pageants are horrible is because of the focus on appearance the competitions generate. The point of the competition is to be the most beautiful barbie doll there, an attribute that is definitely not necessary in life. Academics surely fall behind when a child participates in these provocative events. Hours every day are devoted to learning 5 minute routines during time that should be for homework. No studies have been conducted, but watch an episode of TLC’s Toddlers in Tiaras and you will find it obvious how devoted some of these people are to this pointless competition.

These beauty pageants can also lower self esteem in children that carries on into their teen and adult years. “The Princess Syndrome” is an unofficial term to describe the effects of beauty pageants on children. Unrealistic expectations to be thin, physically beautiful, and perfect are the effects that mothers and judges enforce on contestants. Some disordered eating behaviors and body dissatisfaction can be caused solely by this. A small study published in 2005 showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction than normal children.

We all played with Barbie dolls as kids, and we all probably knew the Barbie song. “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world, Life is plastic, it’s fantastic!” For pageant girls, life is probably mostly plastic. Fake teeth, fake hair, fake tan, and fake nails are only a few of the “improvements” that are made on children. Many kids do not want to get a complete makeover including botox injections, but the parents are very excited to subject their child to this much pain and discomfort. Toddlers in Tiaras highlights these moments of pain during the process of getting ready, as seen in this picture.

In the article “Toddlers, Tiaras — and Debts: the Costs of Child Beauty Pageants”, Erica Sandberg says that costs for glitz pageants can range from $400 to $3,000+. This price range is so large because some pageant parents are crazy and go for $800 dresses and $100/hr dance instructors, while others stay simple. No matter how complicated the routine before a pageant is, kids don’t enjoy it.

Pageant parents shove their dreams down their children’s throats at a young age. The competitors don’t know that it doesn’t have to be this way because this all they know. They may even learn to love it. This ensures that bribery will not have to be used to make sure the kids comply. The smarter ones have tantrums as a last protest to this inhumane act. Parents discipline with bribery, which teaches children that there is a reward for bad behavior.

What ever happened to catching frogs? Robinson Crusoe? Scuffed knees? Stains from a grape popsicle from the ice cream man? I know that when I have a kid, I would rather have to clean the dirt out from under her fingernails then peel off artificial nails.



I’m Not Pro-Crastinating

We all have those things that we don’t want to do, and sometimes we avoid until we can’t. Even then, some of us go that extra mile and keep procrastinating. We’ve all heard it before and we’ve all done it, some more than others. When you procrastinate, you know you have something to do and you have plenty of time to do it. But somehow, every free moment you have seems like a perfect time to do something else! How will I find the time to write that essay when it’s so nice outside and all I want to do is go for a run, sit outside, walk the dog- speaking of the dog, I think I forgot to feed her. I’ll go look. Okay she has food, but I have no apples left! Man, I really want an apple. I guess I’ll add that to my grocery list. Hey look, there’s no more room on the page! I guess I’ll have to go to the store. Okay I’m back, but guess who I saw at the store. My 5th grade teacher! I wonder where my old yearbook is. I’ll go look. Well I couldn’t find the yearbook, but I found my old essay from 6th grade! Hey speaking of essay, I still have to write that. But look, it’s 7:50! My favorite TV show is on in 10 minutes! I guess I’ll write it after. Wow, that was a great episode. I think I’ll go take a shower. What? 10:00 already? I should probably get to sleep because I have to get up early tomorrow. And write that essay.

You see, procrastinators are perfectly aware of the task at hand, and have the time to do it. But when they have a week to do that project, why start now? Pretty soon, one week turns into one day, which turns into one night, which flies by until you finish with an hour to spare. Some very simple reasons that people procrastinate is because they seem too hard, too time-consuming, you don’t think you know what you’re doing, and you’re scared of failure. Who wants to write some big long hard essay when you could simply watch a movie? And who wants to spend hours preparing a speech when you can go out to dinner? And no one wants to try and do a presentation on something they know nothing about, and that can play into the fear factor too. Everyone’s going to know if you mess up, so let’s do this a little later. These are good reasons for procrastinating, and it’s not really hurting anyone, is it? They might seem like good reasons, but they actually aren’t. If the assignment is so hard, then you should do it now while you can get help from a teacher and ask questions. Something tells me they won’t be as helpful the night before it’s due. Too time-consuming? Maybe if you do it all in one sitting it is, but if you chunk it out in the time you have, it’ll be a piece of cake. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then you have the time to learn what you should, even if you just haven’t been paying attention in class. As for failure, things done in three hours are going to be a lot more sloppy than something done in three days, or more. If you put more time and effort into it, there’s a higher chance for success.

As for me personally, I’m an avid procrastinator. I think it’s fun to see how long it’ll actually take, especially when the teacher says “this isn’t a project you can do in one night”. Now this of course is a horrible mindset, but it’s a hard one to shake. If you haven’t started or aren’t in too deep, I would, without a doubt, advise you to stop procrastinating and never do it again. I think it’s addictive and not good, but I just can’t stop doing it. It’s usually more with projects, and I underestimate the amount of work and time I need to put into it. Of course, this is nothing that can’t be solved by a few hours of hard, frantic work. So even though procrastination is a horrible habit, I’d say that I’m pretty good at it.


Flight 93

Flight 93

On September 11th, 2001, a tragic event happened.  By the use of four planes, terrorists planned to attack and possibly destroy the World Trade Centers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C, and the White House, also in Washington D.C.  The flight planning to crash into the White House was flight 93 flown by United Airlines.  The passengers on this flight were planning to go to San Fransisco, California but little did they know they were flying with three hijackers trying to take down the White House.  The two other planes already had crashed into the World Trade Centers when the hijackers began to take down the flight at 9:28.  They took over the cockpit and began to fly the plane around to head to Washington D.C. The new pilots flying the plane made an announcement to remain seated and threatened them that they have a bomb and they weren’t afraid to use it. Many of the passengers had called loved ones or the police to inform them what was going on.  At 9:39, the third plane had crashed into the Pentagon.  The passengers knew they were being hijacked and began to plan a revolt to stop the plane.  At 9:45, Todd Beamer said two words that signaled the passenger revolt and would change many people’s lives: “Let’s roll”. The passengers took over the cockpit and stopped the hijackers from crashing into the White House but, unfortunately, the plane was seen plunging from the sky at a steep angle and no passengers survived. Nobody was hurt on the ground, and the plane landed at a field near a coal strip mine in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  The strange thing is 22 out of the 44 people on flight 93 weren’t originally supposed to be on that flight.

In my opinion, all the passengers on the plane were exceptionally brave for stopping the hijackers from crashing into the White House.  Because of them, the White House, and thousands of people, were saved.  I also think that there probably are some reasons that some of the people on that plane weren’t scheduled to be on it.  For example Todd Beamer could have left Tuesday night for his work meeting, but decided to spend more time with his family.  He was one of the passengers that took part of the passenger revolt to save the White House.  Adding to this, the plane could have held 200 passengers but, luckily only 44 seats were taken.  I think there was a reason for this small number of people.  For example, if there were more people on the plane, the passenger revolt might not have went so well, and if the plane crashed with more people, more lives would have been lost. It is tragic what happened to the passengers, however, they probably saved thousand of lives and a historical structure.


Soup Kitchen

In 1981, hunger became a common issue in Waterbury’s downtown area. To help stop people hunger, Father Cascia established a soup kitchen in Waterbury’s downtown Hispanic area. Every day people from local organizations and churches come to volunteer and help feed the hungry citizens of Waterbury.  This soup kitchen is dedicated to helping people in any way possible, they even offer referral services in the time of need for a job. People are open to financially support the soup kitchen or even give food donations. Over one hundred people come to eat there everyday for breakfast and lunch.

About a month ago, my cousins and I volunteered to help out at the soup kitchen through our local church. We arrived there at about 8:00am and people were already waiting outside in a massive line. Once my cousins and I got into the kitchen we started cutting chicken and potatoes. I was surprised how industrial the kitchen looked and that so much food was being cooked. All of the people were very nice, and extremely thankful. It felt good to help people. Working at the Soup Kitchen put my life and what I should be thankful for into so much perspective. I realized that I should be happy to get new clothes, or have a bed to sleep in. It made me think of how much my friends and family have, like to be able to go to school, or even have a phone. I mean, we all take things for granted sometimes, but it feels good to take a step back and realize what we all have. Going to the soup kitchen was a great experience to realize how much more thankful everyone should be.





On August 9th, a black teenager named Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO.  There are many different views of what happened on that night.  One side claims that unarmed Brown had his hands in the air to surrender but the officer shot him several times anyways.  A witness (the friend that was with Brown) claimed that Michael Brown and him were walking down the middle of the road unarmed when a police officer confronted them and said to move.  They said they would move in a minute but then the police officer pulled Brown into his car through the window.  After they struggled, the police officer shot Brown.  Then, Brown put his hands in the air to surrender but the officer shot him several more times anyways.

Another side claimed that Brown attacked the officer in his car and tried to take his gun.  It was claimed that the officer only shot Brown for self-defense.  Social media is playing a huge part on how the public is forming opinions about the case.  A new hashtag is circling around sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter called #iftheygunnedmedown. People are using this hashtag to gain support for Brown after media created a negative image of him to change people’s opinions about the case.

I believe that Michael Brown was innocent.  I believe this because there were many witnesses that said he put his hands up in surrender and also everyone interviewed that knew him said that he was a “gentle giant” and a good kid.  Also, I believe this because there were several cases before him where a white police officer killed a black man that was giving no harm.


Our Nation Should Be “Under God”

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Ever since 1954, the Pledge of Allegiance has been written with the words “under God”. For the past several years, people have been trying to take these words out of our nation’s pledge. In the year 2002, “A federal appeals court here declared today that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because the phrase ‘one nation under God’ violates the separation of church and state” (Nieves). A country used to be a Christian nation, but now that more people have immigrated here, it has changed. Multiple schools have banned their students from saying our patriotic pledge. For example, one principal,  Pat Jones, banned the students of Alliance High School in Nebraska from reciting the pledge without the school board knowing about it. Many parents were amazed and outraged that the principal would do this, especially without the school board knowing. This debate has been going on for the past ten years and, still, has not been resolved.

I believe that the full pledge should still be recited in schools and at other public events. ”’We will soon find ourselves prohibited from using our album of patriotic songs in many public settings,’ wrote Judge Fernandez, 63, who was appointed in 1980 by President Bush’s father” (Nieves). Once the pledge is taken away, so will everything patriotic and having to do with God the country has to offer. America used to be a country built on it’s faith in Christ Jesus. Now that more immigrants are coming into America that are not Christian,  they expect the country to change it’s ways because of their religion. They are welcomed into the country and have much more freedom than in other countries. I don’t believe they should respond to this by asking the country to change it’s national pledge. I know that other people who are not immigrants want to change the pledge, but that is usually because they know others don’t believe in God. Our nation was built on the foundation of the bible and I don’t think that our nation’s history and artifacts should be altered. In conclusion, I believe the Pledge of Allegiance should not be banned from schools and should remain exactly the same.