Category Archives: Editorial

Gun control policies leave America vulnerable

HANNAH WILLIAMS / Editor-in-Chief

Let us not continue to cheapen the suffering of the victims of mass shootings by pretending there is nothing we can do about this epidemic, because there is. Having stricter, more universal background checks as ways to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, people on the no-fly list, people on the FBI watch list, and people with dangerous mental illnesses. In addition, to make this crystal clear, this is not just about gun control. There are multiple factors to contribute to this problem that need to change.

The Las Vegas shooter had 47 firearms from three locations, piles of ammunition, and devices that converted assault rifles. Did I mention he obtained all of them legally?

So essentially, if someone wants to build up a collection of rifles the way the Las Vegas shooter did, they could do so without breaking a sweat, so I don’t understand why some people refuse to see this as a problem.

In this country, most gun sales are by federally licensed vendors who must demand background checks for anyone who walks through their door. However, those databases are not always perfect, relying on spotty reporting from the states. The Las Vegas shooter passed the background check, and there were “no signs” but yet he obtained a suspicious amount of guns in a short period of time and that didn’t raise any red flags.

After the Parkland shooting, the President stated the solution is for teachers to be in the possession of a gun. “To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun,” Wayne LaPierre from the NRA stated and was later repeated by our President. In their opinion, a good guy with a gun would have saved those students in Parkland when Nikolas Cruz went on a shooting spree before abandoning his AR-15 rifle and walking out of the building in an effort to blend in with evacuating students. Here’s the problem: there was a good guy with a gun that day. Resource Deputy Scott Peterson was armed on school campus when the shooting started, yet didn’t lift a finger to save those kids. So much for having the “good guy with the gun.” While the Maryland officer stopped the shooter, we can see from Parkland that not everyone is as courageous.

All in all, the President needs a new agenda. Might I suggest the following: enforce the rules already on the books, a better mental health system, more thorough background checks, stronger evaluations before distributing federal licenses to vendors, the extinction of bump stocks and trigger tanks. And not the banishment of all guns but assault weapons. This way, the second amendment is still intact, and citizens can still protect their property and well-being without having an AK-47 lying around the house.

President Trump and Congress, it’s time for you to keep those promises to the kids and the parents of the Parkland massacre and actually take action into keeping them safe. You need to rein in these endless nightmares. It’s time to stop playing games. It’s time to do something. Our children’s lives depend on it. America is waiting on you.

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Poway Needs More Lunch Tables

CHRISTIAN VIERRA / Staff Writer

Lunch at school is a thirty minute period where you can rest your mind, socialize and eat. While many students have lunch tables to eat their food, students especially by the freshmen and sophomore quads, do not have tables to eat from. Most are forced to sit on ledges by the plants and even sit on the floor. Some students eat from their car for the lack of tables.

Eating from your lap is uncomfortable and messy and sitting on the hard, concrete floor for 30 minutes will leave you with a sore behind for all of fourth period. A great fix to this problem is to line the hallways between classes with tables similar to the ones in the senior quad. This could fix the complication with standing and sitting at lunch time.

Sophomore, Tanner Swindall says, “I think it is very unfair that we don’t have tables in our quad at lunch, it sucks having to sit on the floor and eat. Because of the inconvenience, I am forced to eat in class, where we have tables.”

It is unfortunate that students have no choice, but to eat in class and risk getting in trouble with the teachers. As a result, adding new tables at lunch time will improve the overall feeling of lunch time at Poway High School.

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Harmful effects of internet shaming

KIENAN MORRISSEY / Editor-In-Chief

Most teens do not know a world without social media, a world where more people meet for the first time through a screen then face to face. In light of this social media growth, people spend hours a day scrolling through the various sites and apps making these platforms very useful for spreading news like a wild fire across the globe. While the application is very practical and extremely effective, in the wrong hands, it can also be very dangerous.

A growing trend since the birth of Twitter in 2006 has been internet shaming. This is a sort of virtual justice system where ordinary citizens become internet vigilantes through exposing people’s mistakes and posting about them. The main problem: this justice system does not include a defense, a hearing or a trial, only a sentencing, often one for life.

Imagine one time you really screwed up, and no one or only few people know about. Now take that same screw up and have someone post it. Now tens of thousands to millions know, and only know you for what you did. Now you are afraid to show your face, you can’t get a job, you lose friends and are debating on moving and changing your name. These instances are extreme examples, but are not as rare as you think. So the question that remains, do people believe in second chances?

While the trend tends to stick to the younger social media users, it is certainly not restricted to the older generation getting into it. Take Victor Paul Alvarez as an example. The Boston based reporter broke news story, that contained insensitive joke about John Boehner. Preceding the publication of Alvarez’s story the virtual social media mob began rioting. Despite an apology, Alvarez was terminated. Months later he still looks for work. And what about Adam Mark Smith? The guy who was rude to a Chick-Fil-A worker on YouTube, which resulted in him having to sell his house and move away. And how could anyone forget Justine Sacco, the reporter who made a partially racist tweet right before getting on a plane for Africa only to land, turn on her phone and see her life now in shards.

Google any of these names and sadly their internet shaming will be the first thing to pop up. This forces us to ask the question does the punishment of ruining some one’s life really fit the crime? Now I’m not saying people don’t deserve to know they have made a mistake, I just saying it don’t have to be in front of the world so that person has a chance to change their actions instead of ruining their life. For more information on the topic read Todd Leopold’s The Price of Shaming in The Internet Age published by CNN.

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Never Again

HANNAH WILLIAMS / Editor-In-Chief

In Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16, 2007, 33 students and faculty were killed at Virginia Tech. February 14, 2008 in DeKlab, Illinois, six were killed and 21 injured at Northern Illinois University. June 5, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska, 2 were killed and 2 were injured at Millard South High School. In Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012, 26 people were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school. June 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, 2 were killed at UCLA. January 23, 2018 in Benton, Kentucky, two were killed and 17 injured  at Marshall County High School.. February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida, 17 were killed and 14 injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

According to Washington Post, since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, there have been more than 188 school shootings in the United States. More than 200 students have been killed, and at least 200 more have been injured. How many more lives are we expected to lose before we take action?

The United States is suffering from a gun-violence epidemic, one that has been spilling into schools. It was not enough when 26 people were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Or when 49 people died at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Or when 58 country music fans were shot and killed in Las Vegas, Nevada. So when is it enough?

The Academy for Critical Incident Analysis collected data on school violence around the world. Between 2000 and 2010, 57 incidents were recorded in 36 countries. Half of those incidents, approximately 28, occurred in the United States.  Certainly, the United States is not the only country struggling with school violence, but it is the only country with so many guns, and the only one where violence against students is almost routine.

The Florida massacre is now among the deadliest school shootings in US history, and has yet again sparked debate about US gun laws and control. Some survivors of the shooting attended a Gun show in Miami with the idea to further protect themselves, while others protested at a rally in Fort Lauderdale to promote stricter gun laws. During the protest, high school student Emma Gonzalez took the podium and attacked the US president and other politicians for accepting political donations from the National Rifle Association.

In response, the President and many other politicians have blamed the shooter’s mental health, avoiding the real problem: Gun Control. Many held signs that read “Never Again” to call out the US government to take action to prevent future violence. Here we find ourselves still not solving the problem at hand, because we’re too split on opinions about gun laws more than focused on the safety of others to actually accomplish anything.

With the prevailing outburst of gun control supporters every time there is a mass public shooting, they call for more background checks, claiming it would have made the Florida shooting avoidable, when in reality the flaws of this act would do no such thing. The checks have millions of “false positives,” resulting in weapons landing in the wrong hands. Many do not understand how quickly magazines can be changed or how easy they are to make.

All the while, gun control advocates ignore what their opponents suggest: abolishing gun-free zones. The mass shootings that occurred in Florida, such as the Orlando nightclub, the Fort Lauderdale Airport, and Majory Stoneman Douglas High School were places where guns are banned. According to Fox News, over 98 percent of mass shootings attacks since 1950 have been gun- free zones.

We can clearly see our country is at a loss of what to do, the continuation of the bickering between the two sides has proven not to solve anything, and lives will continue to be lost if we do not take action. Both sides, whether they support gun restrictions or not, are refusing the types of policies that could save lives based on their relentless opinions about gun laws. They are claiming that others “have blood on their hands,” when in reality it is them whose hands are stained, because they would rather fight to ‘be right’ rather than save innocent lives.

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School Shooting Awareness Saves Lives

NYIAH MOORE / Staff Writer

School shootings are no longer a surprise. They are becoming more common as the years go by. The trouble is that they are potentially preventable but there is no action being done to stop them.

School shootings are not a joking matter, they need to be taken more seriously, and something needs to be done to actually help put them to an end. If more and more school shootings and/or threats continue, shouldn’t there be a plan of action for more security on campus, drills that are more viable and well thought out, or other precautions like limiting the access to particular weapons?

The first step would be reporting a threat to authorities if it is heard, read, or shown; do not blow off a threat and don’t be afraid to speak out concerns for the safety of others. It is time to stop joking and start speaking up and being serious in situations such as this. The City of Poway, for instance, is now using a 24-hour hotline for students, parents, teachers and community members to report potential threats to schools in Poway. Messages left on the toll-free hotline will be monitored by the Poway Sheriff’s Station.

The recent school shooting in Florida, for example, had many chances to be prevented. There were many indications that Nikolas Cruz was a potential school shooter: he told people online that he is going to be a school shooter, he messaged classmates with death threats, his parents reported that he had “put a gun to others’ heads in past”, and the authorities visited his home 39 times–two of which were FBI tips. Yet Nikolas Cruz got onto campus, putting his reign of terror into action.

It has been suggested to supply and arm the school staff with weapons in case of severe emergencies like school shootings. To prevent a school shooting, or a student having a gun on campus for malicious reasons, our president Donald Trump wants to put more guns on campus. If one does not feel safe with a single student roaming around the campus with the gun, how would one feel more comfortable with a gun in the same classroom as them that their teacher, or anyone potentially, could access?

If guns are the problem, involving more guns will not solve anything. Kids are already afraid enough of going to school at this time due to the risk and fear of school shootings. They will only be more fearful and stressed to come to school if they know that there are weapons on campus. Students may not come to school at all if that were to happen.

Having more security on campus is a better solution than putting more guns on campus. Strengthening gun control laws would be an even greater solution at this point. Again, simply paying attention to the signs of a threat and making others aware of it would be completely beneficial. In addition, if a student is exhibiting such signs, without hesitation they should be expelled because they are violating the safety of everyone at the school.

Our society needs to start looking out for other, not provoking each other as Rancho Bernardo high school students demonstrated through their own threat to shoot up the school shortly after the Florida shooting. The lives of others is a serious matter and it needs to be taught that lashing out violently and threats can no longer be tolerated if we want to stop this epidemic of back to back school shootings and back to back deaths of innocent lives.

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Teachers deserve more respect

YANPEI WANG / Staff Writer

Students should give teachers more respect. Some students should be more aware that teachers are human too, and not everyone can agree with the same thoughts. Since teachers are the most recognizable people at school, more students should have more respect for them. For example, some students can be rude by talking back to a teacher or be rebellious by not doing what the teacher told them to do.

There is not a lot for a teacher can do to discipline a student. For example, students may be defiant, and teachers almost have no way to have authority over them other than give them detention or a referral/call home.

Also, teachers have it hard enough, they are stuck planning tests and new assignments on their breaks, while students can fun and be happy. Teachers deserve more respect because they can help students with their future and  assist them to their learning.

Teachers create a better learning environment and give up a lot for the students. Some teachers don’t get all the respect they deserve and rebellious students can give teachers an even harder time they already have. Also, many parents can quickly accuse teachers for failing their child. Parents usually look at teachers for not teaching correctly for giving a failing grade to their children.

Everyone should give teachers the respect they deserve. They create a great pathway for students to follow to provide a better time to come and work hard to provide the best learning experience for you and try give you the best future. Teachers really appreciate respect from loving and caring students.

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For women undergoing Depression

NYIAH MOORE/ Staff Writer

What does it mean to be depressed? It can make you feel weak, lonely, worthless, hopeless, miserable, and hollow; and that is just to name a few symptoms. Depression is something that takes over the body and makes one feel mentally broken.

Depression is a common type of suffering that most people have struggled with. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America statistics, depression is actually most common in teenage girls or young adult women. Women tend to be captured and chained down by depression because we are ruminative creatures that get lost in thought, we are more affected by failed relationships, and we stress a lot over standards that society has made.

I know firsthand that depression can make you lose confidence in everything you do, yourself, and your future. It has snapped my spirit many times, and I find that getting lost in comforting music helps me escape reality. I also find that I want to literally escape, and daydream about running away from my problems.

That is what depression does to a person–it makes them lose sight of what is really important, and it is hard for them to recognize their potential, self-worth, and overall purpose. A Poway sophomore named Zoe, (who asked to remain anonymous and keep her real identity hidden) has dealt with depression before. She felt the same way in her experience, as she said, “I didn’t care about anything and I felt worthless.”

A way to effectively escape depression’s grip is to talk to someone that will understand and help in any way they can. It is nice to have a friend that constantly reminds you how important you are, listens to you, and consoles you. Zoe agreed and said that “talking to people is what mainly helped.”

It is hard to accept that some things you just cannot do on your own, but it is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with needing help, and you will be amazed just how relieving it is to spill everything out to someone for their advice. That being said, it is comforting to be able to relate to someone; but you cannot do that if you do not speak up.

Student Services Counselor Traci Barker-Ball explains that depression “is different for everybody, as some may need counseling while others may need medication.” Barker-Ball suggests that people should have “a good support system, a balanced diet, exercise, sunshine, and sleep–people who are depressed usually sleep too much or not enough.” The average happy person would have all these aspects.

  1. Morgan Griffin, a full-time freelance writer and editor who wrote 10 Natural Depression Treatments, states that women must “give [themselves] a sense of accomplishment” to be strong and confident in themselves; she too needs to remind herself how important she is. For if she does not believe in herself then how could she possibly move on and free herself from depression?

It cannot be expected to get over the issues and tough it out right away, because it takes time to let go of what is dragging you down. It is hard to accept things and move on when you are not ready to. However, there are a couple of techniques that Griffin gives for a good start.

For instance, besides confiding in your loved ones, Griffin said to start “setting daily goals for yourself”, because when you are depressed you usually feel like you cannot accomplish anything and feel worse about yourself. To avoid this, tell yourself “I can do this,” to get out of bed, or go to work and/or school. Give yourself the strength and faith to succeed, even at the little things. As Zoe said, most times she felt “very heavy, and just can’t get out bed with such low energy.”

This is the hardest part, but Griffin explains that since depression is a mental struggle, you need to “change how you think” to escape that miserable state. You might feel like you are worthless and no one likes you and that you are not important, but ask yourself, is there actually evidence for that? It takes practice, but in time you can block out those negative thoughts before they become a burden.

Authors of Coping with Depression for the Help Guide Organization also give helpful suggestions for overcoming depression. For example, a great way to rise up over the wall of sorrow you have built is to simply do things that make you feel happy, the authors stated that “you have to do things that relax and energize you… [like] scheduling fun activities into your day.” Enjoying life is really the best plan because it is the direction you want to go to leave your misery far behind. While you cannot force yourself to have fun when you are feeling so low, you can still push yourself to do things and try, even when you do not feel like it. You will be surprised at how much better you feel once you forget about you troubles for at least little while. The point of trying to have fun is that you will gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities. Those fun activities could be expressing yourself through writing in a journal, or going out with friends, and going on a trip as a get-away.

Depression is the decline of spirits, but it can also be a good learning experience. It can teach us how to be strong and how to be stronger when the next disaster strikes, it can teach how to be independent, and it teaches how to improve and strengthen our mentality. “It gives a sense of empowerment [to believe] you can do anything,” Barker-Ball added.

Overcoming depression can teach us that there is always hope, and that we can overcome anything.

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Senior Activities

JENNIFER SANCHEZ/ Pop-culture Editor

It’s senior year, and that means senior activities, but Poway is severely lacking in number. Poway needs more activities for upperclassman; trips to amusement parks, senior sunrise, a beach day, a luau. Adding more senior events, will increase our school spirit, as well as unifying seniors as a class.

A top priority would have to be getting Poway High seniors to an amusement park. All the other schools in PUSD attend Disneyland as a senior field trip, or have their gradnite there. According to ASB director Mrs. Pratt the trip to an amusement park like Disneyland relies on a senior class president to organize the trip. Maybe it’s time to put some pressure on ASB.

Senior sunrise is the iconic experience of watching the sunrise sitting on your cars, while having breakfast with friends in the school parking. The whole class wakes up before the sun and hangs out before school. This activity could be simply organized by the students themselves, for an easy senior activity.

Senior beach day could be one of the year’s last senior activities, with everyone meeting at the beach for a barbeque, hanging out, and relaxing. A day in the sun and sand would allow students to take advantage of the lovely California weather, and catch a tan. A beach day would also allow them to relax before the stress of senior year and college apps kick in.

A luau would be a great way for the school to increase attendance on minimum days such as PSAT day. Students could have some food, play some games, listen to music, and enjoy each other’s company on such short days.

Having more senior activities will require more planning and effort by Poway’s ASB, but it will make a more spirited and tight-knit group of Titans. More activities for upperclassmen will have a positive outcome and will definitely be worth the effort.

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Cars: Enemy of Boarders

ALLI GOODBODY/ Staff Writer

Being a skateboarder in a city is a very dangerous thing, especially with cars paying almost no attention. There is already danger being a pedestrian on foot, but if you are on wheels, you are far more at risk. I speak from experience, having been clipped by a car on my board while crossing Poway Road while the crosswalk light was green.

Car drivers tend to be reckless and careless towards pedestrians of all types, even motorcyclists. I have seen multiple bike riders have to either brake hard or swerve and hit the curb due to a driver just not caring enough to look. People just drive without consistently checking mirrors and their blind spots, or even simply looking to the side. Really, how hard is glancing to the side? The driver who clipped me wasn’t even going on a green light. They ran a red light while I was crossing the street.

Stopping on a bike or scooter is far easier than a skateboard because you have actual brakes on your wheels instead of having to use your foot. Newton’s laws dictate that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, so trying to use your foot to stop the momentum of a fast moving board could send you flying. Cars cannot expect boarders to be able to stop on a dime just so they can drive however they please. Our turning radius on a board is also very limited. Most boards can’t even make a forty five degree turn quickly.

Car drivers should learn to drive safely and slowly when confronted with pedestrians on foot and on wheels, to make the world a safer place for all.

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Softball Season Starts off Strong: Samantha Needham Squares Up at the Plate to Swing for the Fences this Season

Courtesy of Steven Silva

MASON KERN/ Sports Editor

From the young age of seven, senior Samantha Needham knew that she wanted to be a softball player. She entered competitive league play at just 11 years old for TNL Athletics, and has not looked back since.

Her noteworthy career has led Needham to maintain a varsity starting spot as both an outfielder and first baseman for all four years of high school. When she was just starting high school as a freshman, Needham went to the varsity softball tryouts with understandable trepidation, unsure how the leap of faith would unfold. It is hard for a freshman to muster up the confidence to appear at a varsity level tryout in the first place, let alone with coaches and an organization at large that is unfamiliar with the player, or their track record.

Having hailed from the Mira Mesa softball program, Titans softball coaches were entirely unfamiliar with Needham prior to the tryout. However, her ability shone through and she successfully made the varsity team as a freshman, and continued to maintain that spot all four years of high school.

“It was nerve-racking at first because none of the coaches knew me, and being a freshman at my first varsity tryout… it was a scary thing,” Needham admits.

In her four year tenure with the team, she has been involved in an accumulated record of 68-25, including the team’s most recent 6-2 victory against San Pasqual High School.

In her game against Santana, in which the team won 6-1, Needham hit a homerun that scored two runs for the team. It was her first homerun since her freshman year.

Other highlights of her high school career include winning an Open Division CIF championship in the 2015 campaign, as well as the team making an appearance in the Open Division Championship the following year. Unfortunately they came just short in the final innings.

“I’m really grateful to have experienced so much success in such a great program,” Needham said. “I think the new talent will step up and we’ll have another great season this year.”

As with all high school sports, athletes come and go. As a result, teams need to compensate for yearly losses by adding new players developed from the junior varsity level, or in Needham’s case, those underclassman ready to jump straight to varsity.

As a payoff for her hard work and dedication, Needham has since committed to Santa Clara University where she will continue to play softball for the Lady Broncos, as well as pursue a career in the field of broadcast journalism.

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