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Schools should greater prepare students for adult life and responsibilities.

By: Lincoln Log Staff

 

High students go from class to class in their 4-year high school career, taking mandatory courses such as Biology and Pre-Calculus. No sooner than they pass the class, however, do many students find themselves questioning what they learned. For many, remembering anything is an impossibility when high school demands that they cram information into their brains for periodical tests in six different classes.

 

Where has high school gone wrong?

 

Perhaps it’s telling that some high schools are referred to as “college preparatory” schools - ones designed specifically to improve students’ chances of passing college admissions. Over time, high schools have adapted their standards and requirements to prepare students for standardized tests. Therein lies the problem.

 

Students from older generations may recall a class called “Home Economics” offered at their high school that taught cooking and sewing among other domestic skills. For many of us in 2018, it seems incredible that schools would offer a course not designed to fulfill state/federal requirements, look attractive in admissions, or offer additional credits. In accordance with popular sentiment, Home Economics classes are no longer common in high schools today. The result is that large numbers of students today pass high school at 18, attend college to study a degree that they think will net them a job, and realize afterwards that they have no idea what living independently and taking care of oneself entails.

 

“Freshman fifteen” in an infamous term used in college campuses to refer to the common occurrence of college freshmen gaining 15 pounds in their first year due to poor diet and health management. This is evidence of the problem. Students simply do not have the knowledge required to take care of themselves. Perhaps it’s contributing to the fact that the US has both some of the highest obesity rates in the world and the highest number of persons incarcerated per capita.

 

The opposing argument that parents or other personal guardians hold responsibility for teaching young adults how to manage their life is a flawed one. Unfortunately, many parents do not know how to properly make sure their kids know what they need to live an adult life. They say that the majority of parents either leave their kids to themselves, or exercise far too much control in micro-managing their lives. The stereotypical strained relationships between teenagers and their parents exacerbate this issue. The result is that the responsibility for educating students about what responsibilities and skills they need as an adult falls to the education system, joining sexual health and physical education.

 

Our education system as a whole should place more focus on helping students learn financial management, social skills, among other necessities. It will require high schools to change their class offerings, and colleges to realize that a student who decides not to take AP classes does not in any way indicate that they are less qualified to the pursuit of knowledge. Only then can students flourish in society, retaining skills that will improve their lives for years to come.

National gun policy must be guided by pragmatism, not ideology

By: Dimitri Zlatev

 


America has a unique gun problem, having an immensely higher rate of gun related deaths per capita compared to to other developed nations.

 

It is undeniable that the United states has an interesting and occasionally difficult history regarding firearms. Written into the very bedrock of federal law, the right for an individual to own and operate a gun has been an inseparable part of both American politics and culture since this nation’s conception. America has by far the highest amount of guns per capita with approximately 101 guns per 100 people, and is estimated to have anywhere between 35%-50% of the worlds civilian guns despite having less than 5% of the global population.

Last February's shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School was merely the latest in a long series of violent acts targeted at unarmed civilians dating back to Columbine in 1999.

We as a society have fallen into a pattern as predictable as the seasons. Every few months we see yet another large-scale killing where an ever increasing of innocents are killed. Like clockwork, reporters quickly swarm the scene like flies. Helicopter footage of the tragedy, testimony from the victims’ families, and photos of the attacker are broadcasted day-in and day-out on every news outlet for weeks. The attack is politicized as the focus almost instantly shifts away from the wellbeing of the victims to the personal history of the shooter, the type of gun they used, and how they were able to get such a gun. The inevitable ‘debate’ on gun control quickly devolves into a mud slinging fest. Intelligent discussion is thrown out the window in favor of untrue accusations, misinformation, and a litany of personal attacks.

Those who respect gun rights are smugly reminded that Reagan was in favor of gun regulation, and those who are disgusted by the amount of firearms in America are reminded that Bernie Sanders was once supported by the NRA by their self-satisfied opponents across the aisle. The insults masqueraded as discussion continues until the collective consciousness slowly moves on and forgets anything ever happened in the first place. In the end, divisions were widened, falsehoods were spread, and nothing was accomplished.

Repeat ad nauseum until the end of time.

Everyone in America wants to see this stream of senseless violence end. It doesn’t matter if someone is a die-hard hyper-Libertarian or a flower-munching pacifist dove, the one thing that unites public opinion in this country more than anything else is the shared belief that seeing frequent reports about dead kids is horribly depressing. However the “Kumbaya” session immediately ends the moment someone even suggests a way forward to prevent future tragedies. The slightest hint of a proposal is guaranteed to reignite the fight to epic proportions, and the proposer is accused of simultaneously going too far and not far enough by the respective sides. This cycle of wrath and inaction is completely unsustainable, and at some point a solution has to be found. We let ourselves become angry and retreat into our bubbles where our beliefs are constantly reaffirmed by those around us, and all those who dare to go against the grain are instantly expelled by their tribe.

The only way for us to move forward as a society is to pop our bubbles respective bubbles and do the seemingly unthinkable: see the other side and compromise.

As it stands right now most current gun regulations do little to actually prevent the violence we seem to see on a quarterly basis. Requiring gun owners to have permits, extensive background checks, long wait times, etc, can only do so much. Expanding what we have right now will only allow us to pat ourselves on the back while mass shootings continue to happen. It will not matter if the law requires background checks take three or thirty weeks, delaying action is not the same as preventing action. As far as an attacker is concerned, they only have more time to plan. What’s more, background checks as a concept can only go so far. Federal background checks are there primarily to prevent anyone with a substantial criminal record from buying a gun and returning to criminal activity. If someone has no prior record then there is nothing stopping them. The Las Vegas shooter didn’t even have any parking tickets.

If that’s the case, then the sensible solution would be to place restrictions on those with mental health issues. But this has been the case for over 25 years. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, an expansion of the much wider Gun Control Act of 1968, explicitly states that anyone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution” is legally considered a ‘prohibited person’ and thereby barred from purchasing firearms. Additionally, offering wider mental health services only works if an affected individual chooses to seek help.  

So if mental health restrictions have failed, and background checks are only effective to a point, then the only possible solution would be an outright ban of military grade weapons. Many would say that no sensible civilian would ever need something that fires 70+ rounds per second unless they seek to harm as many people as possible. But trying to ban things in this country hasn’t had the best track record. Whenever something is banned it never ceases to go away it just moves away from both the eyes of the public and the authorities. Prohibition during the 1920s only lead to a rise in organized crime while minimally reducing liquor sales. An outright ban of high capacity, rapid fire weapons will not get rid of the demand for them it will only push buyers away from reputable sellers who perform the most basic background checks into the hands of shady back alley dealers and seedy auction websites.  

The most viable way to deal with America’s gun issue may be to look at it from an economic standpoint. As it currently stands, the average assault rifle costs anywhere between $600 and $2,500, certainly not cheap but affordable to most people. If we truly want to lower the amount of military grade weapons in circulation then it might be easiest to artificially raise their cost to the average consumer and thereby drive down demand. By implementing a series of reforms, including high taxes on high capacity magazines, even higher tariffs on imported weaponry, and by tying the amount of industrial subsidies gun manufacturers receive to the type of guns and bullets they produce, the government can make it difficult for dangerous individuals to actually afford what they want while maintaining ordinary citizens 2nd amendment rights.

Now this isn’t a perfect solution, it does not take any action against handguns, which already make up an overwhelming majority of gun violence. It also cannot completely prevent another Stoneman Douglas-style atrocity, only lessen it’s likelihood. But by actually doing something we can prevent even more people from needlessly dying.

Gaming has a positive impact on students minds

By: Nelson Ma

 

Lincoln student shows excitement while gaming.

 

Playing video games have always been a part of my life, it helps me get my mind off of stressful situations or obstacles that I come across at school and home. I’ve played games that varied from phones, consoles, and computers. It inspired me to join a coding class last year, creating new games for the app store. I believe that this will open a new genre in the gaming community. The positive feeling that it gave me each time I sat down on my desk in front of my monitor made me smile with feelings of gratitude towards the creators. Having access to these games improved ability to think more deeply during in class discussions, my attention span, and my ability process information, because they made me more open minded and willing to contribute to conversations with my peers.

Laurenz King, a senior at Lincoln, is a veteran when it comes to the gaming world. He has been playing video games since he was five years old. Gaming gives him new perspective of improving strategy and critical thinking. Also it helped him get through depression and free his mind from all the negativity in his life, and gaming is in go to for happiness and feeling of serenity.

“When you are caught in the moment you need to be able to analyze the situation and think of the play you are going to execute in order to dominate your enemy. Overtime, the plays that you make will become instinct and it will become a routine and it’s the same in real life,” says King.

A commonly played MOBA called League of Legends is a fast paced multiplayer game. The term MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. In this game the objective is to destroy the opposing team’s base. Players can choose  from a variety of roles: mage, assassin, marksman, support, and tank. Every player has their own play style, and strategies that they use in order to win. This is what makes the game so unique and original. League of Legends forces players to think before making certain choices in the game, because there are consequences for crucial mistakes that can be avoided. This relates to real life, because when you think about a specific topic you need to be able to come up with a solution depending on the situation you are in. At times the situation will require serious critical thinking, and others can be simple.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive is a FPS game with two teams: Terrorist, and Counter-Terrorist. FPS stands for First Person Shooter meaning that the camera angle is set to where the player can only see the hands. CS:GO has been around since July of 2007 and has had millions of worldwide players. A common gamemode in CS:GO is competitive and the objective of this is for the Terrorists to plant and explode a bomb on the bombsite without the Counter-Terrorists defusing the bomb. Many players play this game and go professional making it into a career. This game requires many hours of practice, commitment, good eye coordination, quick reaction timing, and good mouse sensitivity control.

Jaden Choi, a senior at Lincoln, has been playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for more than 4 years. He says that CS:GO helps him improve hand-eye coordination when he plays sports such as basketball or football, because he is able to think fast when the ball is thrown at him.

“CS:GO benefits me personally, because it improved my attention span, and enhances my mental rotation abilities in relation to 3D objects. Also it helps me with the ability to multitask,” says Choi.

 

Should teachers have guns?

By: Gordan Liang

 

Arming teachers will make schools safer for students

 

After the shooting in Las Vegas, gun control talks have spread like a fire, but nothing happened. Now after the shooting in Florida, something might happen, but it’s not what most had expected. The state of Alabama proposed a law that would allow teachers to carry guns on campus for self-defense purposes, and school districts in Florida now allow its employees who aren’t exclusively teachers to carry guns. Opinions on the new proposal have been disputed, but I believe that if teachers had guns, they would be better prepared in the case of a school shooter.

 

When a school shooter walks into a school, they instantly have an advantage because they have a weapon. The gun gives the shooter an advantage over everyone who does not have a gun. According to the “Idaho State Journal”, a school shooting lasts three minutes on average. In most cases, the police are unable to react in time. Unlike Lincoln High School, most schools do not have a police station a block away.

 

A gun will only work as well as whoever is using it. I believe that teachers who choose to carry a gun should be given training and go through background checks before are given a permit. Then, they may be able to carry guns.

 

There are many cases in which someone who is legally carrying a gun stops an attack. Late in 2017, there was a shooting at Sutherland Springs Church in Texas. The shooter killed 26 civilians. Many more could have died had Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor who lives close to the church, not intervened by shooting the suspect in the torso. In 1997, school attacker Luke Woodham was detained by Joel Myrick, the assistant principal. A .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol was used to detain the attacker. There was an incident in 2007 where an armed church member shot Matthew Murray, the killer at Colorado Spring Church. In April of 2017, a gunman in Chicago was shot and wounded.  Had the armed citizens not been there, or had they not owned a gun, many more lives could have been lost.

 


 

 

By: Elizah Lopez

 

Arming teachers isn’t going to help

 

        After the tragic incident in Parkland, Florida, Donald Trump has come out in support of the idea of giving teachers bonuses if they agree to carry guns in the classroom. Gun violence has been a very big problem in our world and in our communities. School is supposed to be a safe environment for kids to learn and prosper, not for guns.

        I believe that it’s a terrible idea for our teachers to be armed. If we want to make a change and stop gun violence, then adding more guns to the problem isn’t going to solve anything, it just adds more fuel to the fire.

      I feel like giving a teacher a gun would make them feel like they have more power and some might misuse their authority. Being in a class and knowing that your teacher is armed with a gun would probably affect your learning. We have no way of knowing if a teacher is mentally unstable themselves and wouldn’t snap and use their gun. A teacher's job is to teach, not kill.

     

      “I would not feel safe if our teachers were armed. I wouldn’t even want to come to school at all.” says Safaa Hussein, a senior at Abraham Lincoln.

        

        Where is all the money to train and supply teachers with guns going to come from? The white house indicates that the federal government is going to come up with the money to arm and train as many as 1 million teachers across America, we can use that money for a better cause, and actually help our school community.

Teachers’ and students’ thoughts and opinions should be taken into consideration, because many of them do disagree.

      

       “Teachers having guns on them will only pump fear and anxiety into students in an environment where they're supposed to be learning.” says Sio Laulusa a senior at Abraham Lincoln.

       

        People that oppose would say that only teachers that qualify and have proper training should be armed. Even if that was the case, trained officers have only an                                                                                                                                                                       18% hit rate, imagine what a teacher would have. Say a teacher does fire and misses, then where would the bullet go in a school full of kids? When it comes down to actually holding a gun, a person can go under pressure and get nervous not knowing what to do with it. I believe teachers should be given raises not guns.