The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
Horace Mann Review
Up In Arms
The Horace Mann Review
Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI On the cover: Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People (1830) depicts an allegorical female figure inspiring the French people to fight the Revolution of 1830. “Liberty” carries the French revolutionary flag and a bayoneted musket.
Up In Arms
International 11 Tides of Destructon By Katie Dubbs
12 The Bronze Soldier By Daniel Temel
4 Over My Dead Body:
Guns As Constitutional Bodyguards By Rafael Castellanos
6 Deep Space Now By Daniel Shapiro
7 Prime Time Violence:
Is the Media Brainwashing Our Youth? By Nancy DaSilva
16 New Faces Across the Pond: Changes in Europe and America By Rhonda Shafei
Ladies First: Women Leading Nations By Belle Yoeli
20 Dying Languages By Rumur Dowling
8 The Gun Machine:
The Secondary Gun Market Jeopardizes America By Spencer Penn
10 Nuclear Game Theory
18 Star Trekking
14 Guns in HD:
22 New York Goes Green:
By William Kim
By Jarett Bienenstock
How Films Have Made Guns a Symbol of America By Joseph Pomp
Gun Lobby Crossfire: Interviews with the NRA and Brady Campaign By Review Staff Page
Mayor Bloomberg’s Ambitious Environmental Plan By Sonja Perl
Immigration Separation: Immigration Divides Black Community By Nancy DaSilva
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
Letter From the Editor The Horace Mann Review Volume XVI , Issue V For the junior Issue
A Journal of Opinion on Current Events, Politics, Public Policy, and Culture Kunal Malkani Editor-in-Chief
Jake Sloane Jon Katiraei
Josh Parker Rachel Siegel
Dexter Richard Neal Poole Director of Technology
Thomas Hwang Venkat Kausik Alice Kissilenko Zachary Malter Benjamin Mishkin Samuel Shelley Kimya Zahedi Senior Editors
Ted Sumers Director of Photography and Design
Benjamin Jacobson Senior Correspondent
Catherine Hu William Kim Production Assistant
Gopal Das Director of Operations
Associate Editors Benito Fernandez, Venkat Kausik, William Kim, Alice Kissilenko, Zachary Malter, Ben Mishkin, Sam Shelley, Kimya Zahedi
Contributing Writers Jarett Bienenstock, Amanda Cole, Nancy DaSilva, Rumur Dowling, Katie Dubbs, Will Dubbs, Benito Fernandez, Elizabeth Goodstein, Thomas Hwang, Ben Jacobson, Venkat Kausik, Michael Kurtz, Jon Katiraei, William Kim, Alice Kisselenko, Binchan Luo, Zachary Malter, Eliza Montgomery, Ben Mishkin, Sonja Perl, Joseph Pomp, Gaurav Saxena, Sam Shelley, Jason Sunshine, Daniel Temel, Belle Yoeli, Kimya Zahedi The Board of Trustees Bharat Das, Raj Hathiramani, Shaan Hathiramani, David Katz, Daniel S. Levien, Sabeel Rahman, Eric Todrys, Mark Todrys, Maximilian D.C. Thompson Zachary Fryer-Biggs Faculty Advisors Mr. Gregory Donadio, Ms. Sharon Kunde, Dr. Barbara Tischler
Dear Friends, Thank you for picking up the junior issue. All of the work that went into this edition of The Review was done by our junior staff members. They have exceeded all of our expectations. The Review has taken great strides this year. We have released five issues, overhauled our production process, changed our layout, and are currently working towards a new format. Over the course of the year, the quality of The Review has grown exponentially; I expect this trend to continue in the future. My resignation of the position of Editor in Chief of The Review is bittersweet. I need to thank my staff for their dedication and hard work throughout this year. I can now say with complete certainty that I am ready to hand over the reigns of this publication. In particular, I would like to thank Kunal Malkani and Anoushka Vaswani for going above and beyond. I also need to thank Dr. Glenn Wallach, Director of Publications, for his assistance, the Horace Mann security staff for their flexibility, and our advisors Dr. Barbara Tischler and Mr. G.C. Donadio. Of course, you, the reader, deserve the greatest thanks of all for your unwavering support of our efforts. We hope that you will continue to support us next year and in the future. While I will become involved with other aspects of the Horace Mann community next year, I will continue to be an active member of The Review’s Board. It is with great pleasure and pride that I appoint Kunal Malkani The Review’s new Editor in Chief. Kunal has consistently demonstrated excellence in all aspects of Horace Mann life. His work on The Review will be no different. With his exceptional managerial competence and his mastery over content, I believe Kunal will be best our best Editor yet. Signing Off, Charles Stam
TheReview@horacemann.org The Horace Mann Review is printed throughout the academic year. The Review is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the American Scholastic Press Association, and the National Scholastic Press Association. Please contact The Horace Mann Review for information on advertisements at TheReview@horacemann.org. Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board. Opinions expressed in articles or illustrations are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board or of the Horace Mann School. © 2007, The Horace Mann Review
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Over My Dead Body
Guns As Our Constitutional Bodyguards
f everyone knows that the Constitution says, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” why do certain individuals try to take away a right so quintessential to the preservation of liberty and of the Union itself? I am a strong believer in the founding fathers’ foresight to a time when the people might need to rebel again. Popular sovereignty was sneakily incorporated into the Constitution through the Second Amendment. The government cannot trust the people, and the people cannot trust the government. If the government gets out of line, it better watch out. The people will be there, armed and ready to fight. Without the right to bear arms, the people could very easily find themselves in subjugation of an authoritarian police state. With the Second Amendment, the people are always a force to be reckoned with. Back down to urban, call it cosmopolitan if you may, reality for a moment. Something the founding fathers never could have anticipated was a city of nine million people all living on top of each other in tiny dwellings: case and point, New York City. I am tempted to say guns are not the problem; people are. But if people cannot buy guns legally, there is no problem right? Wrong. In 1993, 1500 people died and 5000 people were injured because of guns in New York City alone. That same year, an estimated 2 million illegal guns were circulating around the city. 90% of guns seized in 1993 were purchased illegally out of state.
“I am tempted to say guns are not the problem; people are. But if people can’t buy guns legally, there is no problem, right? Wrong.” Clearly guns were a big problem for New York City. After being ravaged by gun crime for decades, New York had the toughest gun laws in the country. Despite heavy restrictions making it virtually impossible to purchase any type of firearm in the confines of the city, guns were still a major crime-affecting factor. Why? Arrested criminals were often released without being charged or given excessively light sentences. Luckily, a knight in shining armor would come along in 1994 and save the Big Rotting Apple. Mayor Giuliani’s tactics were novel. He got the worms off the streets and into jail by actually enforcing gun laws, increasing the number of NYPD units to can the worms, and strengthening penalties for violating existing laws. Thirteen years ago, Rudolph
By Rafael Castellanos Giuliani was the toughest proponent of gun control anywhere. In 2007, however, he said, “I agree with the Second Amendment. I always have. I think people have an individual right to bear arms.” How do a man’s opinions change so drastically? Is Rudolph William Louis Giuliani III a flip flop, changing his views to suit the populist opinion? He is not. He is a man receptive to new ideas and willing to change his opinion based on individual scenarios. What is good for lowering crime in New York City may not be good for the rest of the country. Each problem deserves an independent analysis; each has dif-
“Without the right to bear arms, the people could easily find themselves in subjugation ... With it, they are always a force to be reckoned with.” ferent variables. Because NYC has a massive influx of illegal guns from out of state, it is in its interest to tighten national gun control laws so guns cannot be bought abroad or smuggled in. Giuliani understood that. The South also understood that such measures were not in its interest. People’s killing each other in New York does not affect South Carolina negatively. Perhaps Giuliani recently read a policy analysis by the Cato Institute showing that civilian gun ownership actually prevented burglary of occupied residences. Therefore, his actions would avoid more dangerous confrontations between armed criminals and unarmed occupants. “While only one in ten American burglaries is committed against an occupied home, half of all Canadian burglaries are...The situation is even worse in Britain, where gun control is stricter, and 59% of burglaries are attempted against occupied residences.” Gun control proponents must remember that most Americans (unlike many desperate New Yorkers during the 1970’s, 80’s, and early 90’s) are law-abiding citizens. Nevertheless, there are criminals, and there will be as long as humans err. Take the Virginia Tech tragedy. Regardless of how CNN portrayed the incident, we must not lose focus and blow it out of proportion. Mr. Lee was violating local gun laws by having weapons in his dorm room. If gun laws are to be useful, as the people of New York learned, they must be enforced. Perhaps, if guns were allowed on campus Mr. Lee could have been put down after he fired his first shot, saving the lives of 31 people. No gun laws
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
are always better than laws partially or ineffectively enforced. Put a hold on polarized politics for a moment. Guns are not universally good or bad; they are always the same. They shoot projectiles at or above the speed of sound and make a lot of noise. It is the people and the circumstances under which they are owned that cause problems. In densely populated urban areas, guns are bad; in sparsely populate rural areas, guns are an important bulwark of American culture and the preservation of liberty. If someone wants to shoot an unsuspecting deer in the back and call it a sport, then let them. Whether you agree with killing defenseless animals or not, hunting and the freedom to do so with a cross bow, a bolt action hunting rifle, or an AR-15, is one of the few things we can (in some states at least) enjoy without Uncle Samâ€™s input. What is liberty to you? What freedoms do you cherish? Freedom of speech and expression, freedom to practice any religion you want, the right for a woman to do what she wants with her body, habeas corpus, or the very fact that I can write this article. What about the right to bear arms? As time marches on, the government only gets bigger, becoming involved with
more aspects of everyday life and wanting more control over its citizens. It knows what you search in Google and what you say to your friends on AIM, and it will soon have the ability to interpret this data and turn it into meaningful predictions and generalizations. Knowledge is power. But what sustains our liberties? People in America care enough about freedom to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. Sometimes, however, the ACLU can be troublesome to government efforts. It could very easily be labeled a terrorist organization and shut down. But the government could not do that; the public outcry would force them to withdraw, right? Yes, but dissidents could be silenced if it were not for one factor: the governmentâ€™ fear of what the people might do. Sic Semper Tyrawnus. The switch from democracy to a police state is easier than one might think. Whether you think the Second Amendment is an archaic remnant of revolutionary fervor or important to the preservation of the Big Rotting Apple, do not let Michael Moore beguile you; the right to bear arms is an essential check and balance that must not be infringed upon.
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Deep Space Now NASA
rom stone daggers to modern day weapons of mass destruction, weapons have always been used to gain a tactical advantage over enemies and as a defense from danger. With the frequent controversies our nation and many others face, updating arms is constantly becoming a necessity that
“The Scramjet can liquefy its own oxygen and attain Mach 7-9 speeds... to travel anywhere on the globe in less than 4 hours.”
design cuts the pollution of a current rocket in half. Therefore, with space technology constantly growing and the desire for space travel still strong, the Scramjet has the potential to transport people to space without destroying the ozone layer. This idea is not expected to pan out for at least fifty to one hundred years, however. The University of Queensland HyShot team in Australia executed the first successful model Scramjet launch on July 30th 2002, proving that the technology is in place to proceed with making the jet large enough for a cockpit. Once the jet is scaled properly, we can predict a person flying a Scramjet in twenty-five years and a Scramjet flying in space within the next hundred. NASA’s Hyper-X program has already committed itself to developing this new invention. In addition to Australia, a slew of nations including France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Britain, and the US have installed active Scramjet programs. These eleven countries are all relatively industrialized, giving nations a tactical advantage over non-state actors when dealing with the Scramjet. Money considerations and the need for a proper launch pad have contributed to such a government-focused development plan. Despite Scramjet’s current physical and scientific limitations, its theoretical abilities are great enough to excite any government. It is a doorway into sophisticated warfare, a better environment, and even space travel. However, financial and moral considerations are proving to be serious obstacles that reduce the Scramjet to yet another technology separating developed from developing nations.
many nations take into consideration. As many countries continue to update arms, certain weapons attain higher priority and receive more attention, such as the recently developed Scramjet. The Scramjet, or “Supersonic Combustion Ramjet,” is a hypersonic jet that uses gaseous oxygen at extreme speeds to propel itself to Mach 5 speeds (five times the speed of sound) and beyond. What makes the Scramjet so important is its ability to run without large amounts of liquid oxygen. A mixture of liquid oxygen and liquid fuel is what gives modern day rockets their ability to hit extreme speeds. However, without the need for liquid oxygen, the Scramjet is faster, more aerodynamic, and more energy efficient than current jets. At Mach 5 speed, the Scramjet can liquefy its own oxygen from the atmosphere and attain Mach 7-9 speeds. Before this marker, it must attach itself to a larger jet in order to be propelled. Theoretically, once a Scramjet has liquidated the oxygen, it is capable of traveling anywhere on the globe in less than four hours. This technology, if perfected, will revolutionize both current and future warfare. Current warfare requires countries to relentlessly develop military bases in all parts of the world. This dependence on the globalization of militia gives numerous powerful countries the ability to strike enemies in different locations far from its home state. This reality makes the Scramjet a definite necessity when fully completed, as it can strike any nation or group around the globe in 4 hours. In theory, a nation such as the United States can strap a nuclear warhead to the bottom of a functioning Scramjet and hit any nation, regardless of its coordinates, without giving the target proper reaction time. Scientists are still debating whether or not the Scramjet will be reusable. Apart from its wartime benefits, the Scramjet’s eco-friendly
By Daniel Shapiro
Queensland HyShot team’s first Scamjet launch was a success.
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
Prime Time Violence:
Is The Media Brainwashing Our Youth?
t is 10:01 pm on a Monday night and your heart is pounding with excitement. You anxiously await to watch the “sneak peak” scenes from next week’s episode while the infuriating beeping sound of the closing of this weeks still rings through your ears. You sit there, amazed at what you have just seen. Extreme stunts, intense shootings and unforeseeable plot twists. This is the heart wrenching feeling people experience after have watched an episode of “24.” Although it makes for great television, the extent of violence shown on prime time television has a greater impact on o u r society than we imagine. Section 551, Part One, of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 states, “Studies have shown that children exposed to violent video programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children not so exposed, and that children exposed to violent video programming are prone to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior.” This information is simply unacceptable. What is most surprising about violence in the media, however, is its targeted age group. According to the 2005 Media Education Foundation hand out, more violent acts are performed on television during Saturday morning cartoons than prime time television. With the studies done and the information given it is safe for one to conjure that the media is, in a sense, brainwashing children at a young age. Violence makes up approximately 66% of children’s programming, and three quarters of the crime and violence depicted on television goes unpunished. This sets a poor example to be followed by children. Hand in hand with the growth in availability and affordability of television, so too came the rise in hours that children and teenagers spend watching television. According to the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, kids spend 123 more hours in front of the television than they do in school. This outrageous number illustrates how television hands the media easy access deep into the minds of children and teenagers. A fine line must be drawn defining in what cases media’s depictions of violence are inappropriate. It is not appropriate to allow children to believe that the violent behavior is acceptable. If every young viewer of “24” wanted to grow up to be as strong, cool, undisciplined and defiant as Jack Bauer, then the crime rate in this country would sky rocket. Even if violence is what can make or break a show, if it is going to give children the message
By Nancy DaSilva that harmful, illegal and violent actions are heroic and easy to get away with, regulations should be proposed and implemented. It may be argued that such regulations would be infringing on freedom of speech and press. However, these regulations would not necessarily censor the content of the show, but could perhaps require one half of the crime in media to result in punishment. One way the government could propose effective legislation blocking some television shows is by using the V-Chip. The V-Chip is a chip that has the ability to read the encoded rating messages in television shows and block shows according to its rating message. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made legislation stating that all televisions with a 13’’ screen or larger must contain a V-Chip. Parents can choose whether or not to activate and use this chip, but it is strongly recommended they do so. Some shows attempt to warn the viewer of what they will be watching with a flimsy message at the beginning of disturbingly violent shows which states, “Viewer digression is advised.” The message should be more informative and tell the viewer that what he or she is about to see is not acceptable in the social realm of everyday life. Although many people don’t read or focus on those messages, for the few who do, if it were to provide information instead of just warning the viewer. It could be made far catchier in its presentation to ensure that it makes a lasting impression on the viewer. It is of vital importance that the media change the message it is currently delivering to its viewers that crime and violence are acceptable in our society. Although it is the responsibility of the viewer to have good judgment, the media also has to keep the well being our society in mind and change what it chooses to show the public. The media cannot continue to perpetuate the glamour of crime and violence. It is not the job of the television networks or the FCC or any governmental body to censor television or to remove all violence from television shows, but it is their duty to clearly warn the American public so it can distinguish between what is right anwhat is wrong. It is not fitting for this nation to allow fictional characters to convince young children that violent behavior is acceptable or deserving of reward. SOUTH PARK
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THE GUN MACHINE How the Secondary Gun Market Jeopardizes America Colt
By Spencer Penn
“If we can save up about $200 real quick…we can go to the next gun show and find a private dealer and buy ourselves some bad-ass AB-10 machine pistols.” - Columbine killer Eric Harris, 17.
here are 20,000 gun control laws currently in effect in the U.S., but not one truly prevents guns from getting into the wrong hands. A fault in the gun control system, commonly known as the “Gun Show Loophole,” is giving guns to criminals and putting public safety in jeopardy. If you were looking to buy a firearm, you could go to a federally licensed dealer. These licensed gun dealers are required to keep records of sales and authenticate the buyers’ permits to purchase and licenses to own. But most importantly, under the provision of the Brady Violence Prevention Act of 1993, these dealers are required to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that the buyers are eligible to possess and purchase firearms. Those ineligible to possess guns include: convicted felons, the committed mentally defective, illegal aliens, and persons under eighteen years old. This governmentally regulated gun market is called the “primary market,” which includes newly made guns being sold to their first owners. But what if someone is unable to buy a gun on the primary market because he is ineligible? As is the case with many convicts, he must turn to the “secondary market.” The secondary market includes any gun that has changed ownership more than once. There is little to no regulation in the secondary market; guns are easily retailed through gun shows or private sales without a background check or any of the aforementioned regulations. At a gun show, which is generally a large convention at which people buy and sell firearms, a convict can buy a gun with no questions asked and without a background check. In addition, after countless shady gun sales, it is very difficult to trace a secondary market gun back to its original owner. According to the Department of the Treasury’s Gun Trace Reports (2000), 89% of guns used in violent crimes have been traced to the secondary market. This statistic definitively shows that most criminals or people looking to commit a crime buy their guns in the secondary market. In addition, people under the age
of eighteen are also able to obtain firearms through the secondary market. Twenty-five percent of L.A. high school students claim to be able to get a gun for under $50. Almost anyone can get a gun from a private sale or at a gun show without a background check or any governmental regulation. The secondary market, by putting guns in the hands of potentially dangerous people, threatens our society’s security and well-being. While some may argue that allowing the secondary gun market to remain unregulated is not detrimental to our wellbeing, there have been myriad instances in which secondary market guns have been used for crimes and murder. Perhaps the most famous incident occurred on April 20, 1999, when two seventeen-year-old students, Eric Harris and Dylan Kle-
“The secondary market, by putting guns in the hands of potentially dangerous people, threatens our society’s security and well-being.” bold, went on a shooting rampage in Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado. In the Columbine High School Massacre, Harris and Klebold killed fifteen people, including themselves, and injured twenty-four. In following weeks, federal agents investigated where the students had obtained the two shotguns, two 9mm pistols, and the rifle they had used. Eventually, it became clear that the two murderers had bought the guns in a “straw purchase” at the Tanner Gun Show in Denver through their friend Robyn Anderson, who was eighteen at the time. A straw purchase refers to an incident in which an eligible person buys a firearm for another, ineligible, person. Because Anderson bought the guns in a “private sale,” she was able to bypass the waiting period, background check, and registration. In addition, she was able to buy automatic weapons that legally were only available to those twenty-one and over. The Columbine massacre, however, is not the only occurrence in which illegal second market firearms were used to harm people. Chevie Kehoe, who is now serving a life sentence in prison for multiple murders, was able to purchase his guns from the secondary market. Charles Branas, Ph.D., a gun violence expert, claims that the increasing number of gun violence and death in Philadelphia is being augmented by an increase in the availability of illegal, secondary market firearms.
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI M&R Photography
Criminals, minors, and others ineligible to purchase guns often bypass federal and state laws by obtaining firearms at gun shows. While there are six states (California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island) that require universal background checks on firearm sales at gun shows, it is easy to bypass this ineffective law by going out of a restricted state to purchase a secondary market weapon. Federal laws regarding the purchase and ownership of guns need to be reformed. The first step in stunting the amount of gun violence
“Federal laws regarding the purchase and ownership of guns need to be reformed. The first step in stunting the amount of gun violence and crimes is to put limitations on the secondary market.” and crimes is to put limitations on the secondary market. There are many ways in which this goal can be attained. The government could, for example, adopt a policy that applies all of the same regulations of the primary market to the secondary market. This way, a governmentally licensed gun dealer would have to conduct gun transactions. Only the dealer would be able to perform a background check and authorize the buyer. The one shortcoming of this law would be that people could still trade guns without making the government or dealers aware of the transaction. While this law is difficult to enforce, another law could be created to work in conjunc-
tion with the first. This second law would create a policy that forces people who have guns registered to their names to periodically “check in” with a licensed dealer to ensure that the gun is still in the original person’s possession. If a former gun owner were to violate either of these laws, he or she would be subject to fines. These two laws working jointly could prevent criminals from being able to easily obtain guns. When looking at this issue, it is important to recognize that law-abiding citizens should be able to easily pass the background check. If a person is law-abiding, he or she should have no reason to fear a registration and a background check. The only people whom these new laws would restrict are criminals and those who are ineligible to purchase guns from the primary market anyway. It is paramount that progressive laws are adopted to prevent criminals and others from illegally obtaining firearms. The secondary market has been shown through numerous instances, including the infamous Columbine shootings, to provide accessibility to unqualified people to guns for use in committing crimes. It is for these reasons that the lack of regulation and legal infrastructure in the secondary market is a threat to public safety. The only way to prevent the replication of these occurrences is to increase gun-control legislation in all facets of the firearms market. Nobody wants another Eric Harris to save up $200 and buy himself a “bad-ass” machine pistol. Limiting the secondary gun market would be a major step in preventing the 30,000 annual gun deaths that occur, and it would undoubtedly increase our safety and security.
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ow can the United States and other free countries prevent countries such as North Korea and Iran from attacking the free world with weapons of mass destruction? Our effort to stop China from aiding these regimes in acquiring weapons of mass destruction demonstrates just how uncertain even our best efforts can be. For these reasons, formulating a workable strategy is difficult. It is apparently hopeless to try to prevent countries from developing nuclear weapons. From time to time there are news articles about web sites, or even high school courses, that teach enough science to enable people to build nuclear weapons. However, efforts have been directed mostly at finding ways to prevent countries from developing systems which deliver their nuclear weapons across borders for detonation inside democratic countries. China wanted to join MTCR (the Missile Technology Control Regime), but the United States has opposed its membership because China’s curtailing the export of delivery systems have been inconsistent. The goal of the thirty-four countries that are currently members of the MTCR (such as the United States, Canada, and France), is to avoid the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, and biological) by preventing the export of missile technology. China has reportedly exported missile components and technology to Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other unfriendly states. It is this information that inhibits China’s entry into the MTCR. Game theory plays a large role in determining how to stop regimes from delivering weapons of mass destruction. For instance, the United States and Russia signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972, which prohibited both countries from building missile defenses. The theory was that if each country was threatened by a nuclear attack, neither country would attack the other because both countries would be wary of provoking a counterattack. Thus, if today the United States deploys a ballistic missile defense, China and other countries will either give up their nuclear weapons programs or will build enough nuclear weapons to overwhelm the United States’ defensive capability. In turn, the United States would have to decide if it would be willing to spend billions of dollars to build more defensive missiles. Knowing the United States’ expenses could result in other countries’ building more nuclear bombs to overwhelm the additional defensive missiles. China and more than a dozen other countries are developing alternative delivery systems for nuclear weapons. They range from land-attack cruise missiles (LACM’s) to anti-ship cruise missiles to unmanned aerial vehicles. China is developing its LACM’s with substantial help from Russia. Currently, China is improving the accuracy, stealth, and fuel efficiency of its rocket systems, partly
By Jarett Bienenstock by using the geographical positioning systems (GPS) we use in cars’ navigation systems. The United States may have inadvertently helped China develop its cruise missiles. At least six U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles have crashed without exploding and some of them may have been recovered by enemies and shipped to China. As China faces economic reform, it has become far harder for the country to control the export of its missile technology. It is known that China, or companies inside China, sold a ballistic missile system to Saudi Arabia in 1988 and to Pakistan in 1992. Since then China has not sold whole systems, but has sold components and technology such as cruise missiles and missile fuel. What can the United States do to stop and prevent China from spreading the missile technology it is developing? The United States has imposed sanctions on China under which it stops exports of supercomputers, satellites, and missile technology to China. When China finally agreed not to proliferate missile technology, the United States sanctioned Chinese companies rather than China when violations occurred. Currently, the United States has passed laws requiring sanctions when the Secretary of State determines a foreign person has materially contributed or attempted to contribute to weapons of mass destruction or missile proliferation. In a similar situation, the United Nations passed a resolution, Number 1695, preventing North Korea from obtaining missiles, missile-related items, materials, goods, and technology from any other country after the North Korean missile tests in July 2006. In 2002 China finally passed its own export control regulations to maintain the proliferation of missile technology in a manner consistent with the MTCR. Passing the regulations, however, does not guaranty adherence to them. China lacks the resources to police all exports and it is unknown whether China has the willpower to enforce the regulations. Interestingly, as China continues to see vast economic reform, private companies are rising who may see profit motives in selling missile technology and China’s intelligence agency can not always detect the sales and stop them. Politically, China has supported Iran and Pakistan, even though it knows the United States will have no problem sanctioning it, as it has 115 times between January 2001 and April 2005. One thing is clear: there is no way to assure that China or any other country will not export their missile delivery technology. Instead, the United States and the United Nations can take steps designed to delay and deter the spread of missile technology. However, delay and deterrence leave the free world exposed to big risks, which create the need for constant military preparedness.
The Huffington Post
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
Tides of Destruction
By Katie Dubbs
n the words of President George W. Bush, “Climate spread ramifications. If more are destroyed the Cayman Islands will change, with its potential to impact every corner of the face financial difficulties. Tourism, which comprises 50% of the isworld, is an issue that must be addressed by the world.” lands’ economies, is founded on the islands’ beautiful reefs. If the This is truly the case with the Islands in the South Pacific reefs were to be destroyed, the economy of the Cayman Islands such as Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, would collapse. The death of coral reefs will also negatively affect the Cook Islands, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. These islands are the environment. “We are at a very critical time in the history of coral all threatened by the rising tide, and their inhabitants fear that with- reefs,” said Ms. Manfrino. If coral reefs disappear, then less enerin the next millennium they will be swallowed by the rising ocean gy will be available for fish in the water. Coral reefs are primarily tides. Without global assistance, this is exactly what will to happen. harvested to provide a stable environment for farming smaller fish. Tuvalu, a 26-square-kilometer island in the South Pacific, is According to the Ministerial Conference on Environment and the first country to be severely affected by global warming. The Development in Asia and the Pacific in 2000, environmentalists, ocean has already submerged land and roads, and in the next fifty meteorologists and the public have been trying to “raise awareness years, its small population of 11,800 may be forced to evacuate. of climate change, monitor research developments, develop methThe climate change has also odologies for vulnerability caused the destruction of assessment, monitor sea cultivated land, the erosion level rise, and strengthen of the coastline, and a food national capacity to underand clean water shortage. stand the science, impacts Fortunately, nearby New and responses to climate Zealand allows a number change and sea level rise” of Tuvalu inhabitants to imsince 1980. Although some migrate each year, and proactions have been taken to vides them some assistance. prevent further damage, but Tuvalu is not the only the adverse effects of globisland feeling the effects of al warming still continue. global warming. The CayThe Alliance of man Islands, located in the Small Island States (AOWest Caribbean, coral reefs SIS) was formed during at the ocean floor have bethe Second World Climate gun to die as a result of Conference in Geneva in global warming. Because 1990. The AOSIS claims of the higher temperathat industrialized countries tures, coral reefs are being packed with cities should bleached white. Bleached pay reparations to countries Rising tides in Tuvalu due to Global Warming have flooded houses. coral will eventually die harmed by their pollution. if the high temperatures are sustained for a long period of time. Also, the AOSIS has requested that these countries initiate programs The coral reefs have had no time to adapt to the changes in tem- to decrease the emission of greenhouse gases into the environment. perature because global warming has occurred so quickly. AcRecently, the United Nations held a conference and drafted cording to the Caymanian Compass, reefs on the west of Grand a document called the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. AmbasCayman are in the worst situation, “damaged by too many nutri- sador Robert Aisi of Papua New Guinea said, “Climate change, ents in the water caused by overdevelopment and urbanization.” climate variability and sea-level rise are, therefore, not just enAlready, the Western Caribbean has lost 50% of its hard coral vironmental concerns, but also economic, social and political reefs in the last ten years. Coral reefs in the world are found in more issues for the Pacific Islands. The Security Council, charged than one hundred countries. 25% of all the coral reefs in the world with protecting human rights and the integrity and security of have been damaged so far. “It is like working with a sick patient,” said states, is the paramount international forum available to us.” President of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute on Little Cayman The South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) Island, Carrie Manfrino. “How well we treat that patient will deter- and the Roundtable for Nature Conservation will meet at the Eighth Pamine if that patient survives. We could potentially see the end of hard cific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas coral reefs in our lifetime.” It is estimated that $375 billion dollars this October, with the motto: “Conservation serving communities, in a would be required to save all of the coral reefs throughout the world. rapidly changing world.” The SPREP has been extremely successful in The destruction of the coral reefs will have even more wide- their three-year Pacific Islands Climate ChangeAssistance Programme.
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The Bronze Soldier
ince the Eighteenth century, the political situation in Estonia has been a complex power struggle between Russia and Germany. From the fall of the Russian monarchy to the invasion of Estonia by Nazi Germany, Estonia has been considered crucial in the Russian as well as German sphere of influence. During the late Nineteenth century Estonia experienced a surge in nationalism and eventually declared independence from Russia during the revolution of 1917. Estonia experienced twenty-two years of independence full of landmark educational and cultural advances, until it was given back to Russia without its consent in the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and Russia at the onset of the Second World War. When Germany advanced on the Eastern Front during World War II, Estonia was invaded and the Russian Army suffered innumerable casualties. Under German occupation, the Estonian population was persecuted; however, this oppression only strengthened Estonians’ collective sense of nationalism. With the help of Estonian soldiers, the Red Army fought off the Germans and secured the Estonian homeland under Russian control. To commemorate the loss of Soviet soldiers’ lives, the Bronze Soldier Monument was placed above a mass grave of Russian soldiers. The Bronze Soldier was created in an attempt to suppress Es-
“Both Russian-speaking Estonians and ethnic Estonians took action, arguing that the statue was a reminder of men and women who sacrificed to stop the ‘onslaught of facism.’”
tonian nationalism and promote Soviet nationalism. Erected during the Soviet occupation, the Bronze Soldier was placed in Liberators’ Square in the Estonian capital Tallinn. It was unveiled in 1947 to commemorate the war dead during World War II and was a symbol of Soviet occupation in Estonia. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia once again declared its sovereignty and began to purge the nation of all Russian monuments. Estonian par-
By Daniel Temel liament approved legislation calling for the elimination of any public monuments glorifying the Soviet occupation or the 50 years of Bolshevism during Russian occupation; this move was considered by many foreign dip- lomats to be an illegal seizure of land. Although the Estonian president vetoed this legislation, both Russian-speaking Estonians and ethnic Estonians took action. Russian war veterans frequently met at the Soldier for reunions and celebrations and were offended by demands to relocate or destroy the Soldier, arguing that the statue was a reminder of the men and women who sacrificed to stop the “onslaught of fascism.” In spite of this protest, the native Estonians’ demands were met, as preparations for the relocation of the monument began in April of 2007. Because Estonia and Russia did not have a War Graves Protection Act between them, the Estonian Constitution technically allowed the movement of mass graves. Subsequently, on April 26th, 2007, enraged Russian war veterans and Russian-speaking Estonians converged on the monument and began to protest both ways. Rioting, looting and chaos controlled Tallinn; only half a week later, the Estonian government reacted strongly by taking power back from the
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
The protest escalated as crowds gathered at the monument.
vandals. Over 1000 rioters had been put in police custody in large holding bays and claims of police brutality soon followed. While the Estonian government officially denies these claims, posted cell phone videos and YouTube clips show the police in their darkest hour. Domestic outcry was soon followed by voiced concerns from international governments and diplomats. While high-ranking officials in the Estonian government such as Prime Minister Andrus Anslip and Toomas Hendrik Lleves remained in favor of moving the monument, Russian leaders demanded sanctions and economic restrictions be levied on Estonia. Many Russian conglomerates followed suit and halted construction of interests and factories in Estonia. Several Estonian officials, although denouncing the violence of the protests, stated that the memory of the soldiers that were lost during the war was not properly respected. Meanwhile, other Baltic states showed an anti-Russian bias, calling Russia “a bully” in interfering in other sovereign nations’ internal affairs. The European Union, the UN and NATO affirmed their support for Estonia on the control of rioters, but steered away from commenting on the Soldier, fearing that such a domestic matter was not worth angering Russia by taking sides. Many human rights groups have also joined the debate, arguing that Estonians have lost their right to free speech in fear of backlash from the Russian government and Russian paramilitary groups, including the notorious Russian secret service, the FSB (successor to the KGB). Although the riots were eventually put down, the conflict over the Bronze Soldier underscores the remaining tension in Eastern European relations; the issue will not fade from diplomatic discussions and embassies. Threatened by an increase in Russian power in the region, Baltic governments have reacted against any emblems of former occupation. Furthermore, because t����������������������� he United States gener������ ally ����������������������������������������������������������� Estonia and its policies, this situation could evolve into a political standoff between United States and Russia. The crisis in Estonia could create tighter alliances between Baltic nations, but will ������������������������������������������ signal only������������������������������� heightened tensions among the Baltic nations and ������������������������������������������ its former occupier, Russia in the future.
Tension remains high in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, as the city struggles to find a balance between new and old.
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GUNS IN HD
How Films Have Made Guns a Symbol of America
s assassins try to shoot Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino) in Brian de Palma’s Scarface (1983), the gangster fearlessly blasts through the door of his office. “SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!” he screams. From his balcony, Montana razes down many of the assassins with an M203 grenade launcher until finally he himself is killed. Scarface is one of the many American movies such as The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and Pulp Fiction that have both exhibited extreme gun violence and become an important part of cinema. While gun violence may be a necessary element of many movie plotlines, the presence of gun violence in American film has negatively influenced our nation’s image in foreign countries. As more American movies like Scarface are produced, foreign countries are beginning to see America as a gun-carrying, violent country, and violence-filled films have started to be seen as emblematic of our culture. Now that international box office sales to U.S. films are greater than ever, the time has come to evaluate the messages we are sending to the rest of the world. Although the current state of the film industry is the product of a long history, the problem at hand arose after the postWWII outbreak of European and Japanese film movements. Explicit violence arguably was first seen by the American masses in the film Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Although critics initially reacted negatively to the movie, in a short time, the movie became accepted by the public. In the next decade, violence in films became mainstrean with movies like The Godfather (1972). Perhaps the first piece of evidence showing international acceptance of violence-driven films was Martin Scorsese’s win of the Palme D’or, the highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival in France, for his film Taxi Driver (1976). By the time the film was released, action films were very common in international marketplaces such as Japan, which had been a long-time importer of American films. However, the real impact was in countries that had previously been unexposed to such films- the influence on France, for example, was immediate, and French films started to showcase violence. From time to time, American filmmakers have revisited the psychology behind the gun. Scorsese, for one, has continued to study violence in a highly sophisticated way, and critically-acclaimed directors such as Quentin Tarantino have become popu-
By Joseph Pomp lar with audiences. Nevertheless, the vast majority of American films (of any genre, but particularly action) are poor representations of our country. While they may reflect a gun-obsessed culture, which certainly exists to a degree, they do not accurately represent the values America holds. Although many in American possess guns, only an extremely small minority of people in America use guns in the manner portrayed in American films. In movies such as Bonnie and Clyde, gun violence was a necessary part of the movie that was utilized to great cinematic
“While gun violence may be a necessary element of many movie plotlines, the presence of gun violence in American film has negatively influenced our nation’s image in foreign countries.” effect. However, a disturbing trend has now arisen in American cinema, as films depart from the Bonnie and Clyde-type gun violence, which was an art, and instead present violence for the sake of violence. What was originally great about movies such as Bonnie and Clyde has faded away, and movies, instead of using violence to make meaningful art, now utilize violence as a crude attraction. The vast majority of American films that were successful internationally last year, grossing over one million dollars, either directly or indirectly dealt with violence. France, a nation that takes cinema as a very serious art form, admired American films for their audacity and boldness. However, guns quickly become sensationalized: weapons began to stand for ruthlessness. Certain violent films provoked a wave of interest in bloodshed, especially in the inner-city youth throughout the world. The increased interest in gun violence is exemplified in the French film La Haine (1995), a fictional account of the escapades of three young men after a riot in Paris in whicih they participate. The protagonist models himself after Travis Bickle, the gun-wielding protagonist of Taxi Driver; he is also a fan of
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
Guns in Film
Guns have played an important role in many movies throughout America’s history. Starting with Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, many prominent and award-winning American films have relied on guns and violence.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) This film, which featured unprecedented violence, was based on the real-life bandits Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Darrow (Warren Beaty). Dirty Harry (1971) This film about inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) and serial killer Scorpio (Andy Robinson) featured many graphic scenes. The Godfather (1972) This iconic mafia film, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as Don Vito and Michael Corleone, respectively, featured guns in a prominent role.
Above: Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino) shoots down a storm of bullets in Scarface. Below: Travis Bickle (played by Robert de Niro) poses with his gun in Taxi Driver. Clint Eastwood’s films, such as Dirty Harry (1971), which also sensationalize guns. Cinema has a tremendous power over its audience. Being the world’s leading exporter of films, the United States has a huge influence on what is prominently featured in films. While guns may sell on film, they should not be associated with the identity of America. The association of guns with American culture has led to, and will continue to lead to, great problems with the United States’ foreign image- it reinforces the widely held foreign belief that the U.S. is a ruthless country not wishing to cooperate with others. Many Americans lament the fact that the U.S is disliked or looked down upon by
the rest of the world. The excessive violence and the sensationalizing of guns is clearly one factor in the degeneration of America’s foreign image. As guns continue to be portrayed in American films, the perception of America as a violent nation continues to be enforced. If our nation’s values are under question, which they appear to be now more than ever, the messages we emit must be analyzed. While old films such as Bonnie and Clyde were very effective, violent American movies today do not create a new film revolution; rather, they reinforce the old stereotype of gun-wielding America. Violence in films has ceased to have meaning or any artistic value, and guns have simply become fashionable props.
Taxi Driver (1976) This film about insomniac taxi driver Travis Bickle (Al Pacino) ends with a murderous rampage by the protagonist. Scarface (1983) This gangster film, starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana, documents a Cuban immigrant’s violent life in America. Pulp Fiction (1994) Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) star in a film about hitmen in which numerous characters are killed. Page 15
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New Faces Across the Pond Sarkozy and Brown Mean Changes for Europe and America
By Rhonda Shafei
s the United States 2008 Presidential race gets In this past year’s bid for French president, Sarkozy continunderway, its counterparts in Europe have al- uously defined his views on foreign policy, immigration, taxation, ready felt resounding national calls for reform the environment, and labor. Sarkozy denounced the nonexistent with the election of President Nicolas Sarkozy work ethic of the French and called for labor reform to invigoof France and the resignation of Prime Minis- rate the economy. While his opponent, Socialist Segolene Royal, ter Tony Blair of the United Kingdom. While taxation, national called upon an enforcement of the 35-hour work-week, Sarkozy security, and immigration have proven to be salient issues which called upon tax exemptions for those who chose to work over 35 have shaped the respective policies of Sarkozy, Blair, and expect- hours. Sarkozy has objected to Turkey’s call for European Union ed Blair-successor Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, membership and has called for reworking the EU constitution his these French and British leaders’ proclaimed allegiances to Amer- nation rejected en masse last year. Sarkozy is known for his strict ica have seemingly stratified the European public in polls this immigration policies, once stating that he would clean rebellious past spring. The election of Sarkozy and acclamation of Brown immigrants off the street with a karcher, an industrial water hose. have created a new path for US European foreign policy that en- Sarkozy has plans to increase taxation on pollutants and promote compasses several possible routes and divergences. To decide nuclear power as a clean source of energy, in an effort to curb pola path, the United States lution and climate change. must analyze the legacy Sarkozy has called of George Bush’s abettor for “a rupture with a certain Blair and the stratagem style of politics,” saying he of Europe’s new leadwants to encourage social ers. Who is the voracious mobility, improve schools Nicolas Sarkozy and and shrink the public sector what will his conservastaff. Analysts have likened tism bring to France and Sarkozy to Britain’s former the United States? Will Prime Minister Margaret Gordon Brown regain the Thatcher, nicknamed the British support lost due to “Iron Lady,” who advocated Blair’s alliance to Ameria free market economy and ca? How will Blair be rethe privatization of statemembered? Is Blair’s resowned industries. Sarkozy ignation a caustic blow has been criticized for folto US foreign policy? lowing American principles The intrepidity of on his views on French laNicolas Sarkozy could bor and the economy. Howbe felt from his youth. ever Sarkozy embraces As British Prime Minister Tony Blair waves goodbye, French President Born the son of a French those criticisms: “Some Nicolas Sarkozy is pointing his country towards the future. mother of Jewish-Greek in France call me Sarkozy origin and a Hungarian father, Sarkozy rose through the ranks the American. I am proud of it, I am a man of action, I of government with determination and conviction. Elected mayor do what I say and I try to be pragmatic. I share a lot of of his hometown Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy suburb of Paris, American values,” he said during a speech in Washington. at the age of 22, Sarkozy’s protectionism won the votes of his However, Sarkozy has vociferously defended the French townspeople later in his bid to join the National Assembly at stance against the War in Iraq, citing a legitimate French hesithe age of 27. A member of the Union for Popular Movement tance to be involved in American military endeavors, using Vietparty (UMP), Sarkozy served as the Minister of Budget between nam, formerly French Indochina, as a historical precedent. It is 1993 and 1995 when he made his Reaganesque economic re- evident that Sarkozy will aim to advance France’s image in the form principles renowned. Sarkozy was appointed Interior Min- Middle East even at the cost of American allegiance. Nonetheister in 2002 and later elected President of the UMP in 2004. less, Sarkozy has proven himself to be a reliable ally to the United
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
The World Bank
Blair has had an admirable and august career of bringing down tyrannical leaders; it was Mr. Blair who helped create the coalition that took down Slobodan Milosevic in the former Yugoslavia and brought him to trial. Blair’s campaign against AIDS and poverty in Africa was a formidable effort of highlighting the developed world’s duty to guide the developing world and its people out of its dismal, famished, and illness-laden state. Gordon Brown, Blair’s successor, is not expected to steer away from Blair’s foreign relations policies or his public sector reform policies for that matter. Blair’s reign has produced low inflation, decreased unemployment, and lowered interest rates, all of which have made Brown’s tenure as Britain’s Chancellor of Exchequer relatively successful. Brown and Blair are known to be Chancellor Gordon Brown is expected to replace Tony Blair as Prime Minister this June. close and have been in power together States who will support US trade interests in the Middle East, since the Conservative party’s reign under Thatcher during the Europe, and Africa. Sarkozy’s criticisms about the way former 1980’s and early 1990’s. In 1994, Blair and Brown entered into President Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de a gentleman agreement to allow Blair, the more rhetorical and Villepin spoke of the US intervention in Iraq show his evident photogenic of the two, to run for Prime Minister first then hand fidelity to the American cause. Sarkozy stated on September the position over to Brown. However, as Blair’s approval ratings 12th, 2006 that his government displayed “French arrogance”, began to sink in his second term, Brown began disassociating and continued on to state that, “It is bad manners to embarrass himself from his political comrade. Brown has done so by aiming one’s allies or sound like one is taking delight in their troubles.” to dispel the “tax-and-spend” characterization of Blair’s Labour “Tony Blair was able to seduce the media, in the way Sarby implementing stringent restrictions on state taxation and fundkozy does. And Sarkozy looks at how Tony Blair was able to sell ing. Despite Brown’s skepticism of Blair’s public service projhis political ideology,” Sarkozy’s biographer, Nicolas Domenach, ects, Brown will continue such endeavors in order to maintain said of Sarkozy’s admiration for the British Prime Minister. InLabour’s base. Blair’s strategic placement at the political centre deed, Blair shares several political philosophies with the French will be sought after by not only Brown, but Conservative Party maestro. Although Blair’s party, the Labour Party, is a socialist (Tory) leaders who have begun to levitate away from the far right. party, he has governed from a proclaimed “radical centre.” Over Leading these newly centrist Conservatives is David Cameron, the course of his ten-year tenure, Blair has raised taxes while the leader of the Conservative Party and thus Leader of the Opalso improving British schools and state-owned hospitals. Blair’s position, who considers himself a “liberal conservative of sorts.” mandatory minimum wage and tax credits have raised the stanBlair was caught off guard on September 11th and when the dard of living for poor working families, lessening the income US entered Iraq and Afghanistan. It was in the best interest of the gap created during Thatcher’s reign. Blair introduced strict British economy for Blair not to oppose US actions. During his secanti-terrorism and immigration reform to a newly dynamic Lonond term the economy was a ripe source of judgement; any hiccup don; he crafted identity card legislation requiring immigrants to would have proved disastrous for Blair. It will continue to be in carry ID stating their status. Blair attempted to reform the pubEngland’s best interest for British troops to withstand the course. lic sector, reaping the gains of Thatcher’s economic policy yet As Mr. Blair closes the door on a decade of national fiincreasing the state’s presence through his public service camnancial reform and increased foreign participation, it does not paigns, which lost momentum after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. seem that Brown will have any room to drastically change the After a decade as Prime Minister, Blair has left his mark legacy of his preceding Prime Minister. The United States has on the United Kingdom and has redefined Anglo-American resuccessfully asserted itself as an important and necessary ally to lations for decades to come. Opinion polls show he has a mere both England and France, a crucial indication of US strength in 26% approval rating, a level which can be attributed to Blair’s the economic and political spheres. Sarkozy and Brown will adalliance with President Bush and Bush’s War on Terror. And equately place the needs of their respective nations at the core while the reasons behind entering the War are disputable, Blair’s of their upcoming policies and programs. The US is and will decision to stay in Iraq and support the democratic administracontinue to be, however, the glue that holds those policies totion he created was wise and correct. One must not forget that gether, regardless of whoever replaces George W. Bush in 2008.
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Star Trekking _b ty ho o
Vacations to the Moon
ith the increasing development of space technologies, many have advocated for the privatization of space to facilitate economic development. Despite concerns for safety, funding, and overall interest there is great potential for transportation and telecommunications. With the recent increase in popularity of the privatization of space, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has taken on the image of an inhibitor for widespread space involvement. Originally created in 1958, NASA served as a tool for US space expansion throughout the ‘50s and ’60s. It was first conceived with the intent of competing with Soviet Russia during the Cold War but in recent years has struggled to maintain its continued space presence while preventing private industry development. Despite NASA’s inhibition, private industry companies have been making large technological advancements in suborbital and orbital vehicles to fuel space tourism and other markets. Funding is still not guaranteed due to the high cost of space venture projects, but recently, past worries about the regulation of private space ventures by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have been resolved, increasing the number of investors. However, private expansion in space is still inhibited by unanswered questions, including the role that NASA will take in space and the classification of suborbital vehicles by the FAA. In the late ‘90s, supporters of space tourism were ridiculed because of the seemingly more “lucrative” space markets of telecommunications using satellites. However, when the telecommunications companies failed to make a profit, many turned back to space tourism. Despite the potential for profit in the industry, safety concerns still take priority. Spaceflight is nowhere near as safe as commercial closer-to-Earth airlines and the increased risk means that commercial space tourism companies must be extremely vigilant. “The first time we hurt somebody on board, we’re done,” warned John Herrington, vice president of Rocketplane Kistler. Moreover, most experts agree that if there were an accident in transportation, it would spell disaster for the space tourism industry as a whole. It has been determined that the risk of death in a shuttle accident is 1 in 400 yet even with no outside regulation, spaceflight companies agree that the chances must be at least 1 in 10,000 for space tourism to be commercially feasible. Recently, new technological advancements have made space tourism a more viable and popular industry. As of 2006, the Russian Space Agency’s transportation is booked until 2009 even though prices are over $20 million dollars. The FAA
By William Kim also granted rights to the Liftport Group on September 9, 2005 to conduct preliminary tests on high altitude lifters in airspace (commonly known as space elevators). These tests have proven helpful in Liftport’s space elevator project. By using a ribbon anchored to Earth at Liftport’s station and tethered to a counterweight satellite in space, a robotic lifter can be used to transport goods and eventually people between Earth and space. The ribbon is kept taut by the Earth’s rotation. However, this project has been around only since 2003, and it is still a work in progress. Space tourism has begun to succeed where previous privatization attempts of space telecommunications have fallen through.
“An accident in transportation would spell disaster for the space industry.” Globalstar is an example of a telecommunications company which has had difficulties. Formed in 1994, the company launched its first satellites and began full commercial use service in 2000. The company had trouble early on and a 60% share drop led to the company’s bankruptcy in 2002. Despite a recent attempt to reestablish the company, technical difficulties once again have led to failure. Privatization of space could help the United States. NASA could boost its image and improve the servicing of the International Space Station (ISS) by making it a priority. By relying on private-industry, instead of on Russian progress and space shuttle missions, NASA could advance space technology at a rapid pace. This would not only decrease the number of shuttle missions and government expenditures but would also allow NASA to open up additional room for construction materials. According to Marco Caceres, a senior analyst and director of space studies for the Teal Group consulting firm, NASA should not promote its space vision as a combination of moon and Mars voyages, but rather as two separate missions. This would sustain the public’s interest for the 30 years needed to achieve practical transportation to Mars. For the space industry, the greatest potential impediments to growth are safety issues, lack of funding, and overall interest. Through the development of new space technologies, an increased interest in space-related efforts due to advertisement, and the increased interest leading to investment by companies and individuals, the space industry can grow and become successful in the coming years. The space industry has the potential to be a powerful economic market for the world. Maybe your next vacation spot will be the international space station.
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI www.bundesregierung.de
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, was the first woman to become president of that country when she was elected in 2000. Previously the Foreign Minister, Halonen was reelected to another six year term in 2006. Her early career was marked by radical left-wing policies; however, in the years before she was elected and during her time as President, Halonen has moved towards the center on most issues, advocating for strict enforcement of human rights, international solidarity and pacifism. Ségolène Royal was the Socialist Party nominee in the 2007 French presidential elections, losing in the runoff to conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. She was the first woman to get that far in a presidential race in France and came the closest any women has ever come to being the official head of state of France, monarch or democratically elected. A socialist, she is a member of the National Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, left, greets President of Finland Tarja Halonen. Assembly and President of the PoitouCharentes region in the west of that counBy Belle Yoeli try. Royal is known for her support of the he political environment of today’s world consists of “Third Way” policies, devolution and participatory democracy. These women come from various places, but they all share a vigorous competition between political parties, conflicting policies, and numerous views on urgent issues common goal. They hope to better their countries through democratsuch as war and genocide. In the midst of confrontation ic means, by being actively involved in political life. Many people and fast paced changes in political climates, a new era question the ability of women to govern effectively because of a longhas begun that could potentially change worldwide politics as a whole. lasting notion of male superiority. However, the rise of women in polThe number of women elected to high positions in govern- itics will hopefully cause a rapid change in the perception of women. In an interview with Angela Merkel, the interviewer noted, ment has been gradually rising for decades. Currently there are twelve female leaders, on every continent except North Amer- “Some elements of the public see you as having a cool persona, perica, who are building a respectful reputation in the political world. haps all the more so because women are generally considered to be Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, is the first woman more emotional.” Merkel responded, “I’m not sure what you mean to lead Germany since it became a nation-state in 1871. A social- by female emotionality. Maybe you adhere to the prejudice that ist democrat, she is also chair of the Group of Eight (G8), just the women talk too much. Indeed, that’s one bias I can’t say I live up to.” While these leaders are women they do not conform to the second woman in history to hold this position after British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She is also the head the European Coun- stereotype of a housewife, loyal to her husband and doting mother. cil for 2007. She is just the third woman ever to serve on the G8. Merkel has divorced once, remarried and has no children. Her husMerkel’s political career had been developing for years, with par- band, a respected chemist, is rarely seen at her side, even sitting out liamentary experience and involvement with the Christian Demo- her inauguration. Bachelet is divorced with children and briefly datcratic Union. Constantly working on the reformation of health care ed a member of an armed Communist group. Royal is the commonand future energy development, Forbes Magazine rated her as the law partner, and thus not married, to the father of her four children. most powerful woman in the world in 2006. Germany arguably has Halonen married her partner of over a decade, Dr. Pentti Arajärvi, one of the top five economies in the world, the largest population only after becoming President, mostly to clarify his role abroad. For others, the role of their family has been significant in their in Europe, and leads the world in exports. All this success makes Merkel arguably one of the most powerful democratically elect- political careers. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philed head-of-state in human history, perhaps behind only Thatcher. ippines, is the daughter of that country’s former president. Royal’s Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, is the first woman common-law husband is Francois Hollande, the leader of the Socialist president in her country’s history. As a moderate socialist elected Party. Hillary Clinton, the first woman to have a serious chance at the in 2006, Bachelet has been working to continue Chilean free mar- American Presidency, is the spouse of former President Bill Clinton. Despite prejudices that women are unfit for the difficult and ket policies while increasing social benefits in order to bridge her country’s rich-poor gap. Bachelet’s father was a victim of the dic- often-cruel political world, women from numerous countries have tatorial regime of General Augusto Pinochet and died after a peri- and will continue to play significant roles in political development. od of torture. Bachelet herself was subject to intense interrogation The recent increase in female world leaders is further indication and some torture. A physician by training, Bachelet previously that women can and firmly intend to contribute to political enserved in the Chilean cabinet as Minister of Defense, the first fe- vironments and accomplish their goals like any other politician. male defense minister in Latin America, and as minister of Health.
Women Leading Nations
The Horace Mann Review
By Rumur Dowling
he United Nations Educational, Scientific, and impact on the mother tongue of the indigenous peoples. The Atlas reCultural Organization (UNESCO) classifies a ports that 40,000 people have forgotten the traditional languages of language as endangered when over 30% of chil- New Caledonia, and as French continues to dominate the airwaves, dren fail to learn or speak it. With this definition, more and more students opt to pick up the French dialect in order to UNESCO currently estimates that about half the communicate and conduct business with a larger group of people. world’s 6,000 existing languages currently face an imminent danAs in Taiwan and New Caledonia, Australia once had a thrivger of extinction. Linguists ing array of indigenous lanpredict that within a century, guages. In the Eighteenth 90% of the world’s languages Century, over 400 dialects will have died out, and leading were used throughout the experts claim this loss of lancountry. However, English guage has been a growing trend has become the de facto for the past three centuries. language in Australia, and Though nearly every rethe number of traditional gion worldwide has some case languages still commonly of language extinction, the Atspoken has dropped to las of the World’s Languages twenty-five. The Laragiya in Danger of Disappearing relanguage, for example, ports that much of the decline was known to be spoken of languages can be attributed by only six individuals to a combination of colonizain the 1980s; today, the tion, globalization, and the Laragiya dialect is one of increasingly widespread use the hundreds of extinct of easy-to learn lingua franAustralian dialects. This ca such as English, French, drastic loss of language Spanish, and Mandarin. can largely be attributed to The Pacific region, the Australian bans on abstretching from Japan to original language until the Oceania, is the most linguis1970s. English was forced tically diverse area in the upon the natives largely world. It contains over 2,000 from the point of colonizaliving languages, nearly half tion, and by the time this of which can be attributed mandate was lifted, Engto Papua New Guinea, and lish had already uprooted is thus the top in linguisthe original languages tic density. Though much of essentially to extinction. the area is not considered Instances of lan“crisis zones” by language guages becoming ousted preservationists, numerous by more prevalent dialects languages in Australia, New are common throughout Caledonia, and Taiwan are the world, according to The Irish Gaelic, once near extinction, has been actively revived. rapidly declining due to more Atlas. Amerindian dialects prosperous languages pushing them out. in South and Latin America are threatened by Spanish and PortuIn Taiwan, the Kuomintang of China oppressed the na- guese, English has largely pushed Native American languages to tive Taiwanese tongues up until the 1980s. Until then, all non- extinction, and Swahili is emerging as a potential chief language Mandarin languages were banned in schools, removed from in Africa, especially as governments in Nigeria, Tanzania, and publications, and censored in the media. Though the ban was much of East Africa have encouraged its use to foster easier comlifted by the 1990s, Mandarin had already taken a foothold in munication. Father Reginald Foster, the papal Latinist, believes the Taiwanese youth. Today, aboriginal languages are offered that even Latin is becoming forgotten due to a loss of interest in in Taiwanese schools, but 14 out of the 23 traditional languag- the language, even among senior members of the papal hierarchy. es are in decline, as students prefer to master the more conveDying languages, even ones that are considered sacred and nient, widespread Mandarin as a method of communication. perhaps unforgettable such as Latin (used in the Roman Catholic In New Caledonia, French colonization has had a profound Church) and Sanskrit (the language of ancient Hindi texts), have
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
Extinct languages can be found on every continent ranging from Australia to North America. been the subject of much time and effort in terms of preservation and documentation. UNESCO has taken measures to promote and fund programs that record endangered languages, but often-
“Though preservationists certainly have noble motives, the race to save endangered languages seems like a battle against the inevitable.”
Liberman UPenn Lecture
times indigenous languages have never been written, and contain sounds that are difficult to transcribe onto paper. Steven Bird, an associate professor at The University of Melbourne’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, is part of a program that hopes to design an open language archives community. However, projects such as the OLAC face major setbacks as well. Often data is deleted through software updates, symbols are changed when new versions of computer programs are released, and everything that is transcribed must be backed up as technology becomes obsolete. Additionally, the OLAC has an element of “racing against time” because linguists predict ten languages die out annually. Nevertheless, Bird has gained over $17 million in grants to fund his project, and the network of the OLAC contains over 30,000 dictionaries, recordings, field notes, and text collections. Though Bird and other preservationists certainly have noble motives in preserving parts of the world’s culture, the race to save endangered languages seems like a battle against the inevitable. With the incredible diversity of language throughout the world, it is only natural that languages spoken by a minority of people and never written down will dwindle, while chief
languages spoken by the masses will evolve and prosper. It is only natural that people will drift towards the languages of the masses because if they do not, they will often be left out of the loop. It is therefore often a matter of necessity that people adapt to the popular languages; it is a matter of self-preservation. Another setback to these programs of preserving language is the cost. Though preserving culture is important, and it is possible that from these languages scientists can learn about the human thought process, the benefits of attempting to preserve dying languages do not justify the exorbitant costs. When entering an impoverished nation, there is no rational justification to recording the language of indigenous people when the money would be better spent to support them and their families.
Many of the world’s languages have relatively few speakers.
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New York Goes Green
Mayor Bloomberg’s Ambitious Environmental Plan
By Sonja Perl
n April 22, while many New Yorkers were tan Authority, along with the Port Authority of New York and New driving around in their cars and running their Jersey, would have to go to the new authority to fund any projects air conditioners, Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the future. Officials hope that this transportation network would presented more than 100 separate proposals improve the transit network while reducing the growing gridlock as part of a 25-year plan to make New York that has plagued the city’s transportation systems. It would also help a cleaner and more environmentally sustainable city for years to to achieve a new standard of mobility in the city, one of Bloomcome. The Earth Day proposals include turning schoolyards into berg’s main goals. As demonstrated by this proposal, PLANYC public playgrounds, convertwill not only set a new precing two-dozen asphalt fields edent for how American cities into turf, creating a public plaapproach environmental chalza in each community, elimilenges, but also will attempt nating the sales tax on hybrids, to redefine the role of public replacing normal light bulbs transportation by making it a with fluorescent light bulbs, bigger part of residents’ lives. and retrofitting older city On the explicitly enbuildings to make them more vironmental side of the energy efficient. Bloomberg’s PLANYC, Bloomberg plans campaign, dubbed PLANYC to plant one million new trees 2030, promises to be one of throughout the city by 2017 in the most comprehensive enorder to reduce air pollution vironmental proposals for an and cool temperatures. The American city and contrasts idea is to plant an average of sharply with the Bush Admin23,000 new trees each year istration’s lax environmenfor the next ten years along tal policy. Although the plan streets, in parks, and on pubcomes with a high price tag and lic property. The new forestry other consequences, PLANYC program is estimated to cost 2030 would yield great ben$37.5 million annually, which efits for New York City. seems high even for such an For more than a year, Bloomberg pioneers an environmental plan to clean up New York. ambitious plan. Although the Bloomberg administration the program has a huge price has been working on these 127 environmentally friendly propos- tag, the benefits of addressing the global warming isals in an attempt to attack the problem of global warming while sue will eventually outweigh the cost of the initiative. simultaneously addressing other challenges. Experts predict that A more controversial proposal presented by Bloomberg was the city will have one million new residents by 2030. This popu- the idea to increase the toll to eight dollars for anyone entering Manlation growth threatens to cripple all five boroughs of the city by hattan south of 86th Street. He argued that the increased congestion causing gridlock, crowded subways, and polluted air and water. in the city is taking a toll on everyone’s life. “The question is not Bloomberg’s population-related initiatives would create afford- whether we want to pay, but how we want to pay,” said Bloomberg. able housing for new residents, especially in areas with strong The increasing toll would encourage people to use mass transit, transit access. At the same time, a different Bloomberg proposal according to Bloomberg, whereas maintaining the status quo will seems to contradict the housing plan in that it aims to increase lead to future health risks due to the release of greenhouse gases the amount of open space within the city and reclaim 7,600 acres and cause lost time and business. The idea of congestion fees is of Brownfield. Bloomberg claimed that the building of affordable based on a similar system implemented in London in 2003, which homes for many people would “ease pressure on land prices.” was proven to be successful there in reducing traffic but stirred Another proposal asked state legislatures to create the controversy among London’s residents. Bloomberg’s proposal SMART Authority, or Sustainable Mobility and Regional Trans- came with a 3-year pilot program, which would begin in 2009 portation Financing Authority. The SMART Authority would be when the improvements made on mass transit would be completed. controlled by both the city and state officials and “would serve as a Opposition to Bloomberg’s proposed initiatives, however, bank for mass transit in the region.” This means that The Metropoli- has quickly arisen from businesses, such as restaurants and park-
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
Congestion fees, part of Bloomberg’s plan, have been in place in London since 2003 but have garnered mixed reviews. ing garages, whose profits would be adversely affected by the decreased number of people coming into the city. Representative Anthony Weiner of Brooklyn and Queens, who has announced his candidacy for mayor in 2009, expressed his concern that the tax is inequitable to city residents, especially those living in surrounding boroughs. “This proposal is not only something that divides us geographically, but it does create class conflict,” he explained in an interview with MSNBC. “There are people who would gladly pay $8 or even $80 to get around town, but for a lot of people I represent, they’re going to be forced to pay this because they don’t have any choice.” Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky concurred saying, “Congestion tax is making class an issue in environmentalism.” Residents of Westchester County who commute into the city would be affected by the fee because of their constant travels into and out of Manhattan. Skepticism about the plan has arisen for other reasons as well. According to Gene Rusianaoff of the Straphanger Campaign, an increase in congestion taxation is inevitable in all growing cities, and residents of the city would not be directly affected by this change. City Council member John Liu wonders whether Bloomberg actually wants to make the city cleaner and healthier in his last term as Mayor or whether this is merely a ploy made up of “fluff” and “empty campaign rhetoric.” On the other hand, support for the congestion proposals has come from the most unlikely of places: the Bush Administration. Mary Peters, Secretary of Transportation, said the proposal was the key to solving the increasing problem of congestion in cities across the nation. It seems contradictory that the Bush Administration
would be supportive of the plan when in the past they’ve done very little to address the global warming issue. In fact, in his withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, Bush demonstrated his opposition to the objective of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, a chief goal of PLANYC. It also seems that the only reason these proposals are necessary is that the federal government has yet to take action itself. In the next budget year, the 127 proposals together will cost city taxpayers a grand total of $250 million, in addition to $1.6 billion in capital funds within the next ten years. Of the 127 proposals Bloomberg made, about 40% will have to be approved by a state legislature. However, many have predicted that the majority of proposals will face stiff resistance from the state legislature, the City Council, the Spitzer Administration, and even future mayors. With PLANYC, Mayor Bloomberg has been courageous enough to do what the federal government has not done: answer the environmental questions that have been swept under the rug for the past couple of years. Because some of the proposals are controversial, such as the congestion fee, it is clear that some compromises will have to be made for substantial change to occur. Although the plan comes with a huge price tag for New York residents, the benefits of the program make this a small price to pay. Furthermore, proposals such as making buildings more energy efficient could save the city thousands of dollars in the future. In the end, PLANYC will better New York’s environment and serve as a precedent for other cities across America suffering with the same problems. In a day when environmental issues have been largely ignored by the national government, Mayor Bloomberg and his 127 proposals, could start the debates and take the action necessary to eradicate this problem.
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Immigration Divides the Black Community
job prospects. The federal government has begun to realize that it is essential to pay attention to issues within the black community, and few are as important as immigration. African Americans, though they may not constitute as large a percentage of the population as whites, have a large influence on the vote. If politicians do not recognize that that African Americans have a vested interest in immigration, it might sway the vote in the impending 2008 elections. Immigration will be a key issue for the next president and for the African-American candidate Barack Obama, who believes in strengthening the legal immigration system while deterring illegals. He wants to take the bureaucracy out of the legalization process and make it easier for illegal immigrants to become legal citizens. Moreover, Obama supports an increase in technology, personnel, and infrastructure concentrated at our borders, and plans to fine employers who are hiring Mexican workers. Obama’s immigration plan is well balanced, but African Americans tend to support more radical positions on both sides of the issue. Some analysts say that Obama’s immigration policies will deter black voters from supporting him. African Americans may feel that Obama is ignoring their positions and forgetting to represent his own community. Regardless of where Obama stands on immigration, he is sure to alienate some black voters. Congress will be discussing immigration in the coming weeks, and it must consider immigration’s effect on African Americans. New legislation should address the hiring of illegal immigrants and the wages employers pay workers. The most rational way to achieve this steady balance is to follow a plan which would encourage legal immigration and reduce illegal immigration. Although illegal immigration is inevitable, reducing the reasons for immigrants to cross United States borders can greatly reduce the number of illegal immigrants. Without change, the divide within the black community will only increase.
llegal immigration has been a hot political topic for the past few years, but it only recently that African Americans have become involved in this debate as unique interest groups. The fact that their views were once restricted makes their opinions all the more important. However, there is not one side of the issue that African Americans generally support in the immigration debate. In fact, this controversy has begun to form a divide among African Americans across the country. While much of the black population empathizes with illegal immigrants because they too face discrimination, many others have become staunch opponents of illegal immigration because they feel that illegal aliens “steal” jobs from African Americans. On one side of the debate is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and some of her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, who have been integral members in the fight to make illegal immigrants legal residents of the United States. Lee supports revising the citizenship process in order to enable more immigrants to immigrate legally with fewer restrictions. In the eyes of black immigration advocates, America has an obligation to aid those who are in need, and they understand as African Americans that their ancestors were once forced to endure similar discrimination by the American government to that which immigrants face today. In response to the economic concerns, the pro-immigration side feels that by increasing the amount of legal immigrants, remittance payments will be reduced and immigrants will fill essential lowlevel jobs that Americans are not willing to take on. The hope is that by filling these jobs, the African-Americans who are currently on the bottom of the job ladder will elevate their status. On the other hand, there exists a strong anti-illegal immigration movement within the African-American community that is worried about jobs, and statistics indicate that they might have legitimate concerns. In Texas, for example, the number of workers dropped by 30%, while 166% more illegal Mexican immigrants took over jobs. Because immigrants are more willing to work for less, they can be hired in low-level positions that blacks currently hold for even lower wages than these positions currently pay. Blacks do not want to lose the jobs they have held for years to immigrants who have just entered the country. Overall, their frustration stems from this loss of work to people of similar skill level who are willing to do the work for less than minimum wage. Bernard Anderson, a black economist, believes that illegal immigrants have taken jobs away from the black community. As more and more blacks are losing jobs, their ability to pay for housing, children’s education, and other basic resources is rapidly declining. Recent studies show that the average black high-school graduate is as smart as the average white eighth grader. The black community can’t afford to lose what few job opportunities it already has, and it is hard enough to have to compete with white Americans who already have better
By Nancy DaSilva
The Congressional Black Caucus is split over immigration.
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI
The Leading Hotels of the World
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GUN LOBBY CROSSFIRE The Review Interviews Representatives of the National Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign 1. Where in your job do you encounter firearms or gun related issues? What is your personal experience with guns? Connie Rucker, Outreach Coordinator, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: I’ve had no personal experience with handling guns or purchasing guns. But I personally am a victim of gun violence having a 25-year-old nephew that was shot to death. I’ve been in this job for over 15 years and it still is a sad situation, especially when I see young persons’ lives taken needlessly through gunplay or suicide or homicide. It still really just pulls at my heart because we’ve lost so many young people to gun violence. Rachel Parsons, Spokesperson, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action: I come from a hunting family. My father is an avid hunter, but I am an advocate of self-defense being a woman in a city. I think that it’s really important that we have the right to protect ourselves if we so choose.
2. What does your organization do exactly? Brady Campaign: What we are here to do is reduce gun injury and death in America. Thirty Thousand Americans lose their lives to firearms each year, and we think that is a tragedy that can be reduced. One of the key things that we’re looking at is suicide in America; there are more suicides than homicides but nobody wants to address it in America. NRA: We are a grassroots organization, and we are run by our 4 million members. And we also have lobbyists that go to our senators and congressmen nationally. But this is
just one aspect of the NRA. We are the oldest civil rights organization. We are the top education and firearms safety organization in the country. So it is important to the NRA that folks who own firearms are educated and know how to use them safely. In the NRA, it’s very important for us to protect the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens to bear arms. That’s the main mission of the NRA: to protect the rights of hunters, people who are out there shooting for sport, and for the right to self-protection.
3. How can tragedies like the Virginia Tech Massacre be averted? Brady Campaign: What the opposition will always say is if somebody wants to kill they will bypass the legal methods, but unfortunately [the perpetrator] did take the legal method and when [law enforcement] obtained his record, his mental health status didn’t get in his file. He was able to purchase a firearm, and that just goes to show that there needs to be more information sharing. Also, this is something we’ve always campaigned for: people with mental illness should not be able to purchase firearms. Somebody with a history of domestic violence shouldn’t be able to purchase a firearm. We keep hearing college campuses saying that all students should have the right to carry guns. I don’t think that is the answer to our current problem. That would be like us telling the fire department to throw gasoline on a fire. More guns, we don’t see that leading to less crime. In actuality, I think that more guns in that situation would have meant more death because one thing people forget is that you are in a split-second decision making situation. In a split-second decision making situation you could shoot a person for defense without really thinking of the
The Horace Mann Review Issue 5, Vol. XVI consequences. So we have to look at other ways to resolve things like this. So many people are dying needlessly, thirty thousand people a year and people forget to address this problem. It’s only when we have a massacre that Americans remember we still have a problem. We are fighting a war abroad, but we are not looking at the war here on our own soil... If more guns equal less crime than what is the problem? NRA: It’s been proven time after time that evil people and criminals commit crimes. By definition, criminals break the law. There are no laws on the books that can prevent criminals from doing evil. However, if we’re really serious about curbing crime we need to enforce the laws that are on the books. There are twenty thousand federal laws on the books right now in the United States. It is the most highly regulated industry in the entire country. For decades the NRA has been on the books saying that those who are adjudicated by a court to be mentally defective, suicidal, or a danger to themselves or others should be prohibited from buying firearms. We have always held the opinion that keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and adjudicated mentally defective people is not gun control. That is common sense. I think it is important to mention that there should be a nationwide dialogue among teachers, parents, law enforcement, and security officials. Those people should discuss what is best for their city, the state, and their schools in protecting our children and our students. I think a dialogue is what needs to come from this tragedy.
4. What campaigns are you currently involved in? Brady Campaign: We are looking to close the loopholes in the law, especially national laws to protect all Americans. We have an illegal gun campaign; we are finding a lot of these illegal gun dealers. (Our government) does not have enough people to cover the thousands upon thousands of licensed gun dealers and gun shops that have been on the books but are breaking the law. We are seeing that assault weapons are back on the street, and we’re looking at certain legislation that’s come up because now it seems that Americans want to be permitted to carry weapons at all times. More and more people think that is the answer to their safety in America. The notion that more guns equal less crime, we don’t see that in America. The NRA motto is “the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Well, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is important also, and we want to ensure that schools and other public institutions are safe havens. With easier accessibility to firearms that is not the case. For our campaigns, the national level has been kind of
slow because the Republican run administrations are in the NRA’s pocket. They’ve said no more gun laws when there are already few national laws. With the Stand Your Ground Laws, you don’t have to think that they’re going to hurt you as long as you expect that they will. Now you can shoot a person and not be prosecuted because you stood your ground. People are getting shot left and right in states such as Florida that are adopting these laws. NRA: We are working on several bills that range across the spectrum from self-defense to preserving hunting land to keeping emergency powers of protection in each state. The NRA is a bipartisan organization. We support candidates on all sides of the spectrum: Republican, Democrat, and Independent. We support pro-gun candidates: people who are with us on the issues. The folks here in our headquarters in Virginia and the lobbyists in our federal office, those people aren’t making the laws, and they’re not responsible for the voting. It’s our four million members that put the pro-gun people into office. They are a savvy and politically intelligent group of people, and they get out and vote. So it’s our grassroots effort. Well of course our lobbyists are in the offices meeting with the congressmen or with the staffers, but the couple of hundred staff members of the NRA are not making the impact. It’s our four million members who are making the impact. [By making the gun registration process more thorough] we are only making it more cumbersome for lawabiding citizens to purchase firearms. Criminals are going to get guns no matter what. If a retailer is illegally selling a gun, that retailer should be punished. Putting more gun laws on the books is only putting the burden on law-abiding citizens when the burden should be on criminals.
5. What would you say to somebody from an organization with the opposing view? Brady Campaign: I would say that I understand where you’re coming from as far as gun ownership and your personal safety and protecting your home and family. For God’s sake, just don’t go encourage people to go buy a gun and think they’re safe. We try to educate the gun owner, and we reach a large number of police departments in the country. We want to teach potential gun owners that these are the things you have to be aware of. I would say know the law, be trained, and be educated. NRA: The 4 million members of the NRA are responsible, law-abiding gun owners…The NRA is not at all tolerant of criminals. If we are really serious about curbing crime, we need to enforce the gun laws that are already on the books. No more reducing of sentences, no more dropping of laws. We’re going to reduce crime and violence on the streets by taking the criminals out of the scenario.
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