May 31, 2008

The Dangers of Fluoride

The last century has seen a number of scientific miracles in the field of human health, but often at a cost. No longer do advertisements sporting quotes from doctors proclaiming the benefits of smoking this or that brand of cigarette dot the pages of popular magazines. Gas pumps are fitted with a stickers reading “unleaded” due to over sixty years of poisoning drivers with the leaded fumes. It is easy to dismiss these cases by claiming that the country has come a long way and such deception is not possible today, but this idea has serious flaws. Every day people are surrounded by permitted dangers. One of these is fluoride.

What is it and where is it found?
Since the 1940s, fluoride has been hailed as the chemical that would save the mouths of America from cavities and rot. While it is not essential to the perpetual workings of the human body, it was supposed to increase the strength of the tooth and fight plaque. As dental health improved over time, the success was deemed to be that of the fluoride. Nothing else, such as the increasing importance of oral hygiene and increasingly balanced diets, was included in the equation. Soon, countries all over the modernized world began to give fluoridated water a try but ceased and began a process of scientific scrutiny after they saw the negative effects. Nearly every European country has rejected the chemical from hygienic products as well.
While it occurs naturally in the earth’s crust, the real damage is rooted in its acceptance into the American home. Virtually everyone in the United States encounters fluoride on a daily basis whether it be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, water or processed foods. 66% of people in the United States drink from a fluoridated water source. Because this water is generally found in large cities, it is commonly used in factories or refineries, especially those handling food, soda and alcoholic beverages. Because the Environmental Protection Agency claims that fluoride does not hurt humans or the environment, farms use the toxin in pesticide mixes resulting further contamination.

Health Risks
With so many conflicting viewpoints between the government and scientists, doctors and naturopaths it can be difficult to find information that has not been twisted. There have been a number of supposed scandals about the origins of fluoride use by both governments and corporations, even some associated with the Nazis of World War II and alleged use in concentration camps. Because of these extreme statements, anti-fluoride activists have been dismissed as insane. However, there is a good deal of scientific research that is commonly overlooked. Among these are two proven ailments, dental and skeletal fluorosis, and numerous links to thyroid malfunction, depression, and lower IQ levels.
Dental fluorosis is caused when fluoride damages the ameloblasts, cells that give teeth their enamel protection. When a child ingests too much fluoride while their teeth are forming, these cells are destroyed and while the tooth may be rid of cavities, the teeth become weak and unattractive. Because they are so easily damaged, many children will need to receive extra dental care in the form of fillings and repairs. Aside from being weak, the teeth will appear to be stained with spots of color ranging from something of a neon white to coffee brown. This is primarily caused by fluoride ingestion, especially of prescribed medications for those living without fluoridated tap water. 30 to 45% of children who have received these supplements have problems with dental fluorosis.
An even more serious disease is skeletal fluorosis. Similar to its counterpart in the mouth, it is caused when fluoride builds up in the bones from being ingested. This causes the bones to become weak while it hardens ligaments near the area of accumulation. While restricting levels of fluoride, even after diagnosis, will allow the body to recover, the disease is rarely diagnosed properly. The symptoms of skeletal fluorosis are so similar to rheumatism and arthritis that the disease is often wrongfully and unsuccessfully treated as such.
Brain damage in the forms of depression, attention deficit disorder, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have all been linked to low levels of fluoride intake in numerous cases. Fluoride accumulates in the brain, throwing off regular functions of both voluntary and involuntary occurrences as it develops into beta-amyloid plaques. Results of tests run on industrial workers and children have shown decreased mental ability to store memory and the incapacity of the brain to conduct regular patterns of disease defense and growth.

Fixing the Problem
The most important aspect in the fight against fluoride is building upon the information that has been obtained and furthering research and open discussion about the topic. As of now, both the “green movement” and the United States government outright disagree with the idea that low levels of fluoride intake pose any risk at all to the population. While they claim that the lack of scientific evidence is enough to make this assumption, it should be noted that many men and women who devoted their time to studying the effects of fluoride were disenfranchised and blacklisted from the United States science community. While the cities desiring to add fluoride to their water must gain permission from the ballot, citizens commonly lack the information needed to make adequate judgments about the idea. Should this information become open it could lead to a revolution similar to that faced by the gasoline and tobacco companies decades ago, bettering the overall health of those in the United States, or at the very least giving people the conscious choice to put yet another harmful chemical into their bodies.

For more information, visit:

http://www.fluoridealert.org/

http://www.fluorideresearch.org/

March 6, 2008

The Next Hitler?

With the Day of Silence coming up (maybe) at my school, there has been significant talk about Lawrence King, the gay 15 year old that was killed at school last month by his 14 year old schoolmate, Brandon McInerney. Brandon now is being charged as an adult and faces 50 years to life in prison.
I believe the first question here is: Should any child spend virtually the rest of their life in prison? My answer, no. True, it was a violent, pre-meditated crime and he should be adequately punished, but locking him in jail for the rest of his life is not the answer. I don’t just say this because King was gay either. If his killer had been an adult, I would support the death penlaty (or a life sentence if that is the best they can do). But a 14 year old is not an 18 or 30 year old.
While I’m sure McInerney is old enough to know that killing is a bad thing, we do not know much about him from the articles and reports. We seem to get enough information about King and his situation, but reports about McInerney’s personality and family life are difficult to find. As a child, is he truly responsible for the murder in its entirety? After all, he had a gun that surely was not sold to him.
Another thing that really bothers me about this case is how so many people have turned a 14 year old boy who is caught up in the sad social situation that is the modern world, into a crazed killer. He has come to embody gay hate for supporters of homosexuality.
Can’t they find another victim? Perhaps, not a little boy? McInerney deserves some sort of jail time, (not 50 years!) couseling and programs to halp him develop and to keep an eye on him for a while before he is free of the police.


On a side note:
In a letter to the editor in my school’s paper, a boy wrote that suggesting a cancelation of the Day of Silence is supporting Hitler.
Um…okay.
So by you being socialist, you’re supporting all of the socialist/communist activists who supported killing millions of people in Russian and Europe.
Cute.

March 4, 2008

Re: Coalition calls for an end to the Day of Silence at Mount Si High School

Re: Coalition calls for an end to the Day of Silence at Mount Si High School

I just read this on the “
Mt Si Parents” blog. I don’t really know how I came across it but I think anyone who goes to Mt Si should give it a look. It’s helpful to me to see what people are saying since I cannot attend the Thursday night board meetings.

One interesting article I read was a copy of a letter from CoDE. It is very well written and makes a lot of sense. It cannot be denied that people who do not participate in Day of Silence for various reasons (i.e. it goes against their beliefs, they don’t care, or it is a waste of time) are labeled as anti-gay homophobes. It’s a joke to see the adults in the community believe it is any different. While I believe that the school needs to crack down on harassment, it does not need to support one group over another. There are not special days for Mexicans or Jews, why do homosexual students deserve one? They do not. In fact, in the posted response to the CoDE letter, the writer suggests that nobody else in the school faces harassment for their beliefs, a statement far from the truth.

The most amusing part was the comments that had been left on the article. People saying that those who ask for a cancellation of the Day of Silence hate gays, people offering that other groups of people are the ones to be hated. The comments most offensive to me were not the ones containing slurs and hate speech specifically about Mormons (after all we are used to that because we have been facing it as a group of people for a couple hundred years now) but the ones suggesting that if the Day of Silence if not held, Mt Si will face its own murder case like the one of Lawrence King. I won’t say what I think about that case in this post because it would make this one too long, but I will say that the proposed idea is absurd. The Day of Silence only fuels more hate. It has not solved problems, only made them worse.

I will close with what one anonymous commenter wrote:

“Discrimination comes from disagreements. This day creates a lot of disagreements. Thus, more discrimination for everyone.”

Well said. Well said indeed.

To me it is also a day not wasted…a rare thing at Mt Si.

Article:
http://mtsiparents.blogspot.com/2008/02/open-letter-to-gaystraight-alliance-at.html

CoDE Website:
http://www.defendeducation.org/

February 21, 2008

Montage: Au Revoir Les Enfants

I used clips from the award winning, French film, "Au Revoir Les Enfants." The movie, directed by Louis Malle in 1987, is about a boy attending a catholic boys' school in German occupied France during World War II. The story follows him as he befriends a young Jewish boy.

I recommend it to everyone. You can get it from NetFlicks as well as many other online shops. I actually got mine at Frys a few days ago.

The music is "Any Other World" by Mika, from his album "Life In Cartoon Motion."


February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Lincoln

I posted this video on Tuesday. It's about Abraham Lincoln's birthday and how I chose to celebrate.

February 10, 2008

The Videos I Have Not Yet Posted

So I know I've posted a few of my videos, but I have a lot more and will be continuing to release more. To keep everyone updated (and to get more views *winkwink*) I am going to post them here. If you like them and want to subscribe…then do it. If you want to leave a comment, then go to the original page of YouTube to do so.


1. Melissa June
This is an animation (more specifically an animutation) that I made in Windows Movie Maker and Photoshop (the tough way to do it, I know). It uses the song “Melissa June” by Logan Whitehurst. I used my friend Melissa’s face for the deer along with some other figures you may recognize.




2. Oops I Did It Again: The Retributical?
Another animutation animation, this time featuring a dictionaroke song from m-sli©k da ninja. Yes, it’s Brittany Spears’ “Ooops I Did It Again.” The animation is only very short because I got bored with it and wanted to move onto another project. It features the face of a boy I know >_> as well as Mario (his body anyway) and some iTunes guys.




3. The Slinky
This is my first short. It was made with a classic metal slinky (that was already broken) and lots of patients. My acting isn’t that great, mostly because it was my first real try at it.




4. Swinging At The Park
An 8 second clip of Arianne and Austin swinging at the park with a funny change of events. There is no sound because it was with my family’s nice digital camera that doesn’t take sound. It’s totally by chance that I was able to capture this moment and I love it.




5. Hygiene and Comfort
I know, the title is lame, but I’m not pro at titles anyway. This is my second short in which I skipped talking entirely. It uses the song “Pink Champaign” by Venus Hum and features a walk on roll by my sister. I also got to sport the Sea World shirt I got in Orlando last summer.




6. Fight! Fight! Fight!
A really short, soundless video of my friends Lindsey and Luke fighting in my backyard at a party a few years ago. It started as a conversation about The Legend of Zelda but quickly elevated to ...violence? :D




7. You Get Me
A very old music video that I directed, starring my sister, Arianne. It’s the song “You Get Me” by Michelle Branch. It’s from back when we made movies under the name HFS (Home From School) without any computer editing. Because this made the music difficult to hear, this version has been put with the music track on the computer. Because of this, some parts of the song will sound cut up because I had to do that to make it work. It’s cute though.




8. A Day At Target
My friends Luke, Connie, Marie, Bryce and I went to the Target in Issaquah and the boys put on a little fashion show for us.




9. Service Queen
For “New Beginnings” in our ward, the MIA Maids (a group of girls from our church’s youth group) wrote a parody of “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, called Service Queen. They even made up a dance to go with it. If you would like to see the lyrics, please visit the original YouTube page for it.




10. Backwards Hands
After we went ice skating for Jordan’s birthday, Arianne started getting a little crazy and put her gloves on backwards. Because of the way the gloves were it looked like her hands were backwards. I don’t know if that comes across in the video, but who wouldn’t post a crazy video of their sister?




11. Fidelity
My favorite music video I’ve done so far. I filmed, directed and starred in it and Arianne edited it. I used the song “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor. It’s cute. Thanks to my 11 year old sister for letting me borrow her dress too.




12. Melvis and Hillary…Outside?
While working on our Loches project for French class, Melissa and I decided to warm up by running around outside. I’m the one in the red wig. It was lots of fun.




13. Paisley’s Music and Men
A VERY long video. It basically a montage of pictures of a bunch of different rather handsome and attractive men in showbiz (and some from the music biz, and nerd biz) mixed with some songs I like. I made it in Photostory, so not that difficult.




14. Hippy Hillary
The last video today also comes from working on the French project, which was a song and music video to a parody that we had written of YMCA.


February 5, 2008

A Word From Our Sponsers

Just a few quick things.

1. My friend joined a website called My Mini City. Every time someone visits her town, her population grows. So just out of the kindness of your heart, check it out (in a new window, of course).
2. If you are in love with Jane Austen then take a look at my Mom's blog. She reads all of the books every year, watches all of the movies, goes to conferences, makes the dresses and is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She'd love to read your comments and talk about it all with you.
3. I made a new YouTube video. This one features my sister (ariannekp on YouTube) and my almost 1 year old cavachon. Check it out:

January 21, 2008

Adopting a Flat Tax: Reforming America by Reforming Taxes

By Hillary Pulsipher
4 May 2007

Civilizations have long sought answers to their economic needs. Whether the money collected was for the benefit of the governors, or those being governed, it has indeed become a staple of modern societies. In the United States the results of tax institution and collection have ranged from mediocre to appalling, rarely mirroring the democratic spirit proposed by her founding fathers. For a nation that revolted at the idea of paying a mere two percent of their income to an overseas nation, the American people have become resigned to the idea that high taxes are an unchangeable aspect of life. To rejuvenate both business and personal economy, large scale tax reform must take place, and to reap full benefits, a flat tax should replace the current system.

Taxes at Present
To understand why a new tax system is in order, one must understand, or at least attempt to understand, how Americans are currently taxed, particularly when it comes to income taxation. The particular method used to acquire money from American citizens is commonly referred to as a progressive or graduated tax. Within this theory, the more income that is acquired, via working, social security, interest, inheritance, et cetera, the higher percentage of taxes the person pays. The idea is that the rich have more money and can therefore afford to give more money to the government. Also, that because the government is protecting their assets to a greater extent, they almost owe it to them (Jurinski). The poor, who require a larger percentage of their money to go toward basic necessities, pay less. In addition, the middle class pays a variety of percentages based on their earnings. Amounts paid are based on filing status as well. A person who is single will receive a different rate than a married couple filing jointly. There are six brackets, or percentages to be paid, ranging from ten percent to thirty-five percent (“Tax Brackets”).
Based on that, the tax system sounds simple, and if the calculation of taxes stopped at income, it would be. However, ever since the introduction of the income tax, it has been subject to numerous changes. Deductions are the most complicated part of paying taxes. Deductions are now offered for having children, giving to charity, purchasing work related material, and dozens upon dozens of other payments and investments. Such complicated procedure requires an extensive branch of law to process the money and forms as well as hunt down and prosecute those who do not pay enough. The IRS has long been the most despised of all government branches since its institution. With both the number of deductions and the size of the IRS rapidly expanding, it is clear why calculating an income tax has become a stressful and difficult process for many Americans.

The Reason for a New System
The most prominent reason why the American progressive tax should be scrapped is the sheer complication of it all. Every year the code is revised, often adding more deductions. Because of the constant changes, forms, computer programs and other tools must be updated from year to year. To help all of the citizens who cannot keep up with these changes, professional accountants can be hired. However, this costs money. A booming industry has been created as a by product of a tax system run amok. Naturally, companies similar to these would disappear with the introduction of a simpler method. A simpler method of tax collection would also reduce tax evasion (Maital, 32). Paying taxes takes time and money, gratifying the payee with headaches and economical turmoil. If the tax system was not so complicated that people had to hire outside help to pay taxes, tax evasion would decrease. Of course nobody wants to pay taxes, but for an extensive democratic government such as this, it is a necessity for everyone to pay. In trying to add deductions to make people feel like they are not paying as many taxes, the government only makes the tax code more complicated, creating the opposite effect and increasing evasion.
Many politicians argue that the answer to reducing the federal deficit lies in increasing taxes on the upper class. Such alterations, however, would only give the government more leeway in their own inefficiency. While many Americans connect their tax payments to presidents and governors, they do not always relate them to the numerous politicians behind closed doors who rewrite the tax code simply to give themselves a well paying job. A more straightforward tax code would reduce the need for these workers, taking them off of government payroll and saving money. The IRS is in a similar position. Millions of dollars are spent every year providing the workers with a paycheck and the means to track down evaders. Again, a more direct form of taxation would not require as much work from the IRS to process forms and payments, as fewer people would be needed. Less tax evasion means a direct reduction in the money spent of searching for people who do not pay their taxes. The money saved through these measures would be used in other branches of government to better the nation, rather than one man’s circumstance.
A more controversial aspect of changing the tax system is the idea of not only getting rid of reductions, but getting rid of the progressive system as a whole. Some say that the graduated system creates equality by bringing people closer to the same level economically. However, this is not true equality. By punishing the middle and upper class for taking economic risks via investments and savings, the government is subjugating their desire to work hard. This in turn reduces innovation. Why should anyone feel compelled to introduce new ideas if a lot of their earnings will be taken by the government? On the other hand the poorer class must depend on a greater majority of their earnings to survive. They cannot be expected to pay as much dollar wise as the rich do, however, as it is now, many citizens of the lower class get off without paying any taxes, or even receiving more in a tax refund than they initially paid. Every person’s life is slightly different, complicating the idea of fair taxes. While the writers of the tax code may have good intentions, they have obviously gotten muddled along the way creating an unjust system.

A Remedy for Modern Taxation
The answer to a call for a more simplistic method of taxing income is the proposal of a federal flat tax. The flat tax, formally known as a regressive tax, not because it causes society to regress, is most commonly supported by conservatives. While it is not currently the system used for income tax, many states have integrated consumption, or sales, tax on most purchased goods. Understanding the sales tax is understanding the flat tax plan. When one purchases an object they pay an extra percentage of the price as a tax. When applied to income tax, a person pays a set percentage, usually between fifteen and twenty percent, of their earnings to the IRS. So far, this sounds similar to a progressive tax. The main difference is that the rate is exactly the same for everyone. For instance, the rich and the poor would all pay seventeen percent of their income. No matter what their personal circumstance, no matter how much they earn they would pay the same percentage of the money they earn through working. While all of the other deductions that apply now, would disappear, one based on family size would remain (McTague, 21). Also in this system, money earned due to receiving inheritance, interest and dividends are not taxed, reducing the amount of taxable income for everyone (Jurinski). All in all, the flat tax grants a return to simple taxing, with far less figuring. Flat tax supporters such as former presidential candidate, Stephen Forbes, and Texas state representative, Dick Armey, even say that the method used to determine how much one will pay is so simple that it will require only one piece of paper, the size of a postcard, to figure and file one’s taxes.
There are many reasons to support a flat tax, aside from the sheer simplicity of the process. This method of taxation is fair, works well and increases efficiency within the government. The flat tax does have its critics, who claim that it is unfair (Dunn). They claim that the poor would be hurt economically and that the rich would pay barely any taxes. While plans to appease these critics have been set forth, by saying that anyone earning under a certain income would not be required to pay taxes, if every money earning person paid taxes it would be the most fair of any system. To say that the rich owe more to society is to say that they are unequally exalted above the lower and middle classes. While they are obviously unequal in an economical sense, their rights to property must be equally protected by the government. By saying that everyone pays the same percentage of their income, equality is insured. Of course the millionaires will still end up paying more than the people of the working class, but they will all have the same percentage left over. Those who need to hire an accountant to help with their taxes and are crunched for the money to do so will no longer be faced with such a problem. Without complicated deductions, workers will be able to figure their own taxes. The lack of deductions also ensures that a member of the upper class will not receive a tax cut simply for owning a certain type of car, while a member of the working class cannot afford a car at all. All of these create a fair tax system, which leads to more fairness in government and societal progression.
In addition to creating a balanced America, these simple taxes would make the government more efficient. Worthless politicians would no longer earn a living from tinkering with the tax laws. The IRS would shrink along with their budget (Mitchell, “Reasons”). Election time would no longer be muddled with money issues. All classes would be able to come together to solve real problems, not just elect someone who will keep them from paying taxes, or punishing the rich by making them pay more. The American people would be able to take full advantage of the democratic system of government and the government would be able to protect the people in justice.
The flat tax is the true democratic system of taxation for a free capitalist country. It takes needed money for the government, while still awarding the citizens for their hard work and investments. Being a fair system, the flat tax has been chosen as the method of taxation in many Eastern European nations that once lived under communist rule (Mitchell, “Flat-Out,” par. 7). In Estonia, it helped them achieve a six percent growth in gross domestic product (Maital, 32). Since the beginning of the millennium, and the institution of their flat tax, these countries, including Georgia, Latvia and Romania, these countries have experienced rapid economic growth. While it can be assumed that results in a society such as this would differ slightly, more growth could be expected from the willingness to take risks and become innovative (Mitchell, par. 24).
Even though the flat tax does not have the ability to solve all economic problems in the United States, it would solve many. All people would be brought to fair terms of taxation, the rich and middle class would be able to invest, spend and support banks. The middle and lower class would have more incentive to work hard and look for that next opportunity that will put them in a better place, without constantly leaning on the government. The best part for the common American, come April, would be its beautiful simplicity. The ability to file one’s taxes on a postcard sized document would reduce the amount of time, money and stress wasted every year by millions of Americans on taxes. Benjamin Franklin put it well when he said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” (Saplinsley). We will always have to pay taxes to support our country, but there is no excuse to have a corruptive, wasteful and disastrous tax system like that of the United States of America.
Works Cited

Dunn, Doug. “Flat Tax Fiasco.” World Wizards. 2006. 15 Mar. 2007 http://www.worldwiz72.com/flattax.html.

Jurinski, James J. Tax Reform. Contemporary World Issues. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2000.
Maital, Shlomo. “Wonderland.” The Jerusalem Report. 5 Mar. 2007: 32. ProQuest. 16 Mar. 2007 http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=122777160&sid=1&Fmt=clientId=23138&RQT=309&VName=PQD.

McTague, Jim. “Trashing The Tax Code.” Barron’s. 14 Feb 2005. 21. eLibrary. Proquest. 2 Apr. 2007 http://elibrary.bigchalk.com.

Mitchell, Daniel J. “577,951,692,634 Reasons...And Counting: Why a Flat Tax is Needed to Reform the IRS.” The Heritage Foundation 2 Apr. 1997. 22 Mar. 2007 http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/BG1107.cfm.

Mitchell, Daniel J. “A Brief Guide to the Flat Tax.” The Heritage Foundation. 7 July 2005. 15 Mar. 2007 http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/gb1866.cfm.

Mitchell, Daniel J. “A Flat-Out Case for Tax Reform.” Capitalism Magazine. 15 Apr. 2005. 23 Mar. 2007 http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=41947.

Saplinsley, Barbara. Taxes. Issues In American History. New York: Franklin Watts, 1986.
“Tax Brackets.” MoneyChimp 25 Apr. 2007. 3 May 2007 http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm.

Music Video: A Daxflame Tribute

I haven't posted in so long. I need to get back in the habit. I've just been so busy lately, with school, work and other projects.

I don't know how into YouTube you all are, but if you watch a lot you may be familiar with DaxFlame. He's been posting for about a year now, acting as a high school boy with a mental handicap. Some people find it offensive but I think it's funny. The thing to remember is that it's fake. I recommend you head over to his YouTube page and have a look. It's great.
Anyway, at one point he said that he was going to stop posting because of all of the mean comments he had been receiving. I made the following video as a response.

Note: I don't sing...and this is why. Also, when I uploaded the video to YouTube the karaoke track disappeared for a reason I don't yet know of.

January 18, 2008

Snoqualmie, Washington's Martin Luther King Day Assembly

School disgusted me today. The one assembly of the year where Mount Si withholds their immaturity in order to honor a man that gave his life in the name of racial equality and it was brought to a disturbing end. Not by freshman giggles or that boy that always seems to be texting, not even by students holding a white supremacist viewpoint. No, they all listened, reverently and respectfully to the national acclaimed speaker, Ken Hutcherson who in turn delivered a thoughtful representation of his childhood in the racially divided south. Following his speech, we shared in a celebration of unique cultures, especially those of the Pacific Islands, with our peers. When Quinn gave his closing statements, we were all fulfilled. We did not get to see some of our star athletes catch random foods in their mouths, or shave balloons, but we were content nonetheless. We all knew what Quinn was talking about when he briefly approached the delicate issue of the planning that went into the assembly and did not, and would have not pursued the unspoken issue in the fashion that nobody knew would follow that meeting. Instead of just being dismissed as usual, a teacher, in no way involved in the planning of the assembly (at least to my knowledge) felt the necessity to interrupt the peace by giving a spiel about her association to Mount Si's Gay-Straight Alliance and asking Doctor Hutcherson a specific question about his views on Gay Rights. It was in no way applicable to the situation or a statement that would have enlightened a group of students quickly growing uneasy. It was the wrong place at the very wrong time. Her single inappropriately placed question was understandably denied an answer. Her actions disgusted even those that agree with her viewpoint, and I was personally embarrassed by her behavior and knew the worst was to come.


As any student or faculty member will tell you, Gay Rights is one of the most disputed issues at the school. Far beyond issues of abortion and the Iraq War, Gay Rights are only discussed when they must be (which is often when teachers feel they should) due to the verbally violent form the debaters take on. It becomes the issue that tears friends apart and turns complete strangers against one another. It destroys the fragile learning environment and takes a strong willed supervisor to return the students to their proper courses of learning. Why would anyone purposefully do something to create something as disturbing as the discord we saw today? If you cared at all about the learning and safety of students, why would you use the classroom to further your amoral agenda?


What I saw today made me upset. While I participated in only a few discussions of that nature, as I have more important things to be doing at school, the atmosphere around me made me sad. To see people on both sides so upset that they were calling their parents, going home early, yelling red-faced at their peers was horrifying. You read in the Bible that the last days will be full of hate and anger and while I am sure greater hate must exist elsewhere, I believe that today a few English teachers created the type of drama that must mirror the fear inducing hate that we will see in years to come. The thing that may surprise whoever may find and read this (or possibly only support an already growing opinion) is that the most venomous comments were coming from those who believed that the other side was full of haters and bigots. I do not say that to be biased in any way. Never have I seen those against the Gay Rights movement "make the first move", so to speak, when defending their beliefs. They are not the ones who disrupt school with their Day of Silence. They are not the ones who defile the name of Reverend Martin Luther King with their flamboyant obsession. However, that is not to say that we are going to watch defenselessly as our beautiful nation is torn apart from within.


There have been many views of what happened today. To close, all I will say is that I saw hate. Not from those who want to preserve the classical family unit, but from those that are trying to overthrow it. I am thankful that I have friends with whom I can disagree and openly examine the issues with, but who will still respect me and my beliefs, no matter how different. It is something that I wish everyone could try. I also thank the teachers who let those of us who felt the need, briefly discuss and release our problems then steadfastly directing us to get to work. They were forced to step up in a situation created by their coworkers and should be praised for that. As for what will happen to the teachers who both created and furthered the issue, we can only hope that the administration will feel of the fear and disruption that were created today.