Tag Archives: rights

Everyone has the right to their opinion

Last week, I received a comment on an article about racism, more specifically, about Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl. I stated how I thought that white people didn’t understand the importance of inequality regarding race, how I enjoyed Beyoncé’s performance because of her message, in her video as well as her Super Bowl performance, of police brutality against black people, and the idea of people of color coming together to stand up against racism in the United States.

Graphic from draytontribune.com
Don’t let what other people tell you what your opinion should be. Graphic from draytontribune.com

The comment that was left on that article consisted of a person stating that oppressing any race is wrong, that I was implying that white people should be less than black people, that my article was “propagating hate.”

When I read this comment, I became upset because that interpretation is the exact opposite of what I meant to convey. In the article, I was expressing my frustration with white people, of course not all white people, and their mentality of feeling superior, thinking that Beyoncé’s performance was an attack at all police officers, which is a perception that I didn’t observe.

I was simply expressing my opinion on what white people have said on social media such as Twitter, on Beyoncé’s performance.

I never meant to imply that I thought white people should be oppressed or discriminated against. It’s unfortunate that this person who left the comment believed that was my intention.

This experience has allowed me to understand that not everyone is going to agree with what I write, nor are they going to interpret my writing in the way I intend them to. Not everyone who reads articles is going to understand the intentions of the writer simply because when reading something, you can’t hear the writer’s tone of voice, especially sarcasm.

If the reader is confused or misunderstanding the writer’s article, the reader can’t ask questions because they’re not face-to-face. I’ve discovered that talking about controversial issues, such as race, will cause conflict and some people are going to disagree with you, but you can’t let that discourage you from talking about things that are important to you as well as the world we live in.

Important topics need to be discussed and, with that necessity comes conflict and anger. All you can do is understand that people in this world have different opinions, have different views, but that shouldn’t stop you from expressing yourself or your opinion. All opinions matter, whether or not you think they are right or wrong.

Read before you accept Snapchat’s new terms and conditions

Snapchat reserved the right to store and use all selfies taken through the app, so if you think that picture you’re about to send is temporary? Think again.

Now if you use the app, you’re submitting to the app doing whatever it wants with your photographs. What’s more, you are also granting Snapchat permission to use your name, likeness, and voice anywhere in the world, with no restrictions, permanently.

This means that the photos people take, thinking they are temporary and private, could appear on Snapchat’s promotional material, or even on their social media accounts.

Snapchat's logo isn't the only thing that's new. Graphic from The Binary Trend
Snapchat’s logo isn’t the only thing that’s new. Graphic from The Binary Trend

If you don’t know what Snapchat is, it is a video messaging app created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. Kind of sounds like a nice barbershop trio.

Using the app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of friends. These are known as ‘Snaps’. They’re supposed to delete automatically after a set amount of time, from one second to 10 seconds; this is unless the other user chooses to screenshot the ‘Snap’.

Snapchat is also used as a news platform by media companies, including Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, People, and more.

According to Snapchat, in May 2014, the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day.

In the beginning, Snapchat claimed that all the photos sent on their app were automatically deleted from its servers. The appeal of that was that the photos only lasted for 10 seconds or less, unless the person you sent them to decided to screenshot them.

If they did screenshot it, you got a notification, telling you who took a screenshot of the “private” sometimes self-destructing photo.

Now Snapchat has changed its terms and conditions so it owns every photo taken through the app.

Snapchat told the FTC that the images are never actually deleted from a user’s device, and it’s possible to recover the images.

The app hasn’t suffered from the scandals, it’s currently reported to be valued at 16 billion dollars.

Evan Spiegel, the co-founder and chief executive of Snapchat, has spoken about what the purpose of the app is. He said: “Historically photographs have been used to save really important memories, major life moments, but today, with the advent of the mobile phone and the connected camera, pictures are being used for talking. Now photographs are really used for talking, that’s why people are taking and sending so many photos on Snapchat.”

Will you choose to continue using Snapchat, or will you delete like many others have?


Representatives in North Carolina want official state religion

This week, two North Carolina Republican representatives submitted a resolution to make Christianity the official religion of the state. Their argument is that North Carolina doesn’t respect Federal court rulings regarding the establishment of religion in state, public schools or other governmental functions. They want to protect people like the county commissioners in Rowan who end their public meetings with “In Jesus’ name, amen” from the scrutiny and lawsuits of non-Christians. They claim they are “… not starting a religion. We’re supporting … freedom of speech … ”

I personally don’t care if the county commissioners of Rowan, North Carolina, chose to end their meetings with a reference to Jesus. However, one of their residents took issue with it and decided to file

The state of North Carolina on a map. Image from Greenwich Mean Time.
The state of North Carolina on a map. Image from Greenwich Mean Time.

a lawsuit. Continue reading Representatives in North Carolina want official state religion

Contemporary tyranny

A report issued by the Open Society Justice Initiative revealed that more than 50 countries have participated in a program where the CIA sends suspected terrorist subjects to other countries to be interrogated and sometimes tortured. Some of these suspects reportedly ended up at CIA “black sites,” which are secret prisons operated by the CIA in foreign countries. There’s even an account of a suspected terrorist being held aboard a Navy ship for over two months. In total more than 130 specific suspects have been interrogated through this process known as “rendition.”

I’m torn between the principle of the matter and my gut reaction. The utilitarian in me can appreciate the pressing need to obtain information to prevent another terrorist attack. Torturing one to save hundreds is easy math. However, after considering the implications of these actions, I conclude that abducting/exporting suspected terrorists to far away countries like Kazakhstan, Romania or Zimbabwe to torture them is not a good thing for our country or our world. Continue reading Contemporary tyranny

Boy Scouts consider changing ban on homosexuality

Last semester I wrote an article about a young man named Ryan Andresen who was denied his Eagle Scout Award after he came forward about his homosexuality. The Boy Scouts of America have a long standing policy of excluding openly homosexual boys and male leaders from participating in scouting.

That policy may now be changing. After six months of public pressure from inside and outside the organization, the national office is meeting to discuss abandoning its exclusionary policy toward homosexuality. It seems the conclusion is foregone and the official announcement is expected soon. It’s expected that the national office will be abandoning the explicit exclusion of gay boys and leaders from troops. Continue reading Boy Scouts consider changing ban on homosexuality

Pursuit of happiness: Love for all

If you could, would you allow two people to be purely happy? Or would you stop them because of society’s values? Same-sex marriage has been a largely debated issue for our generation. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there are an estimated 9 million Americans that identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in 2011. Continue reading Pursuit of happiness: Love for all

Pro-gun advocates might visit RU campus

Pro-gun advocates from the Virginia Citizens Defense League are planning to speak at several universities next month to promote the legal carrying of concealed weapons on campus, according to the organization’s website. Campuses they plan to visit include James Madison University, Virginia Tech and Radford University.

Virginia Citizens Defense League. Photo by Creative Commons.

VCDL is a non-profit, grassroots organization that was formed in Northern Virginia in October 1994. The organization encourages our constitutional right to bear arms, as stated in the Second Amendment.

Their campaign, Operation Campus Safety, will discourage the banning of firearms in places such as parks, public businesses and college campuses.

While a ban is intended to promote safety among the students and faculty, VCDL believes that any citizen with a license to carry a concealed weapon should be allowed to exercise their right to defend themselves anywhere.

According to a press release from VCDL President Philip Van Cleave, the plans for the campaign are to target campus funds. The statement encourages alumni, parents and students to refuse any donations to a campus that does not allow concealed carry on premises.

“When a university or college asks for money, tell them: No guns? No funds!” Van Cleave said.

Van Cleave used the April 16 Virginia Tech shootings as an example, faulting the campus gun bans for leaving the victims unprotected.

“Just one armed permit holder in one of those classrooms under attack at Virginia Tech on that fateful day in 2007 could have stopped Cho,” he said.

VCDL will advocate at Virginia Tech on Nov. 17. The group is hosted by Libertarians at Virginia Tech and the event will take place from 11:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. This is before the last home football game of the season for the Hokies, so advocates will present to both students and visitors in town for the game.

The Defender, VCDL's newsletter. Photo by Creative Commons.

Reaction from Radford University students has been mixed. Many students feel negatively about the idea, saying that the dangers of guns on campus far outweigh any positives that are proposed.

Student Kimberly Gerard immediately shook her head when she heard the idea.

“People are just too irresponsible,” she said.

Elizabeth Dreher believes that local violence is already out of control.

“Two people were jumped outside of Madison [Hall] at 3 in the morning,” Dreher said. “If people were allowed to carry guns, it would just make things worse.”

“It’s too easy to lose your temper,” Laura Strickland said in agreement. “We don’t want too many people out there with guns. It just creates too much opportunity.”

A few students did acknowledge the positive side of carrying concealed weapons, within legal reasoning.

“If someone is able to go through the legal system to carry a concealed weapon, then they are responsible enough to carry it,” said Evan Walters.

Another student who wishes to remain anonymous agreed with the proposal, claiming his Constitutional rights. “You should be able to carry them anywhere!” he said.

Many of these students have a strong belief about this issue, but there are a few who are still on the fence.

Radford University has not yet scheduled an event for VCDL. According to the press release, campus visits will be announced on VA ALERT one week prior to the event.