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Derek Shavell

Derek Shavell has 27 articles published.

San Bernardino experiences more misfortune

in News by

  Tragedy struck in San Bernardino, California on Monday when shots were fired inside North Park Elementary School, during what many believe to be a murder-suicide. At approximately 10:30 a.m., Cedric Anderson entered a special-education classroom and shot multiple people, ultimately killing three, including himself.

  The classroom belonged to Karen Elaine Smith, the former wife of Anderson. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said, “I’m told that their marriage was relatively short. They’ve only been married for a few months and they’ve been separated for about the last month, month-and-a-half, roughly, when this incident took place.”

  It was due to this union that Anderson was able to enter the classroom so easily; he apparently knew people throughout the school, and claimed he was just giving something to his former wife when he signed in. He then went into Smith’s room and shot at her. He inadvertently hit two students, as they were adjacent to Smith, killing one, Jonathan Martinez, and hospitalizing the other.

  Martinez was an eight year-old boy with Williams syndrome, “a rare disorder characterized by learning delays, mild intellectual disability and heart problems,” said Dale Marsden, superintendent. A boy who seemed altruistic and jovial, Martinez passed away while at the hospital.

  However, there were more present during the shooting, including two aides and nearly a dozen students. In addition, there were the hundreds of students attending North Park at the time, who were ushered to California State University and Cajon High School, or put on lockdown, to ensure their safety.

  The south California community will be losing a helpful teacher who strived to improve the lives of all she teached.

  According to Marie Cabreras, the parent of a student who worked with Smith, she “had the patience and understanding to handle special-needs students.”

  This shooting, however, is just a sign of the epidemic that has been occurring throughout the city of San Bernardino since it declared bankruptcy in 2012, which was also “the site of a December 2015 terror attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at a meeting of San Bernardino County employees,” said Fox News.

  Although, this has not just become a local problem, but one for the entire United States. These school shootings have been increasing exponentially in the past few years, and it seems that action is necessary before more lives are lost.

 Cedric Anderson was responsible for the death of three people, including a special-ed teacher, an eight year-old boy, and himself. Photo courtesy of
Cedric Anderson was responsible for the death of three people, including a special-ed teacher, an eight year-old boy, and himself. Photo courtesy of

Bettman, NHL break off from Olympics

in Sports by

  In what many fans and athletes have found to be a questionable move, the National Hockey League (NHL) has decided not to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The announcement was released on April 3 and immediately received backlash from analysts and players, which can potentially result in a major issue.

  According to Gary Bettman, the Commissioner of the NHL, the main reason behind the lack of participation in the Olympics is timing. While hockey season officially commences in October and the regular season ends in April, the Olympics takes place in February for nearly three weeks, creating some overlap between the two. In the official statement from the NHL, Bettman said, “I think the overwhelming sentiment of the teams is that it’s very disruptive on the season and there is somewhere between fatigue and negativity on the subject.”

  In addition, the NHL seems to have found issue with the funds for them to play. While the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) offered to pay for the league’s participation in the 2018 Olympics, Bettman and some of the owners feared that the money would take away from starting lower-level hockey organizations that required the funds. There was also argument between the NHL and the International Olympic Committee about possible earnings to the hockey organization.

  Ben Shpigel of the New York Times said, “They [NHL owners and officials] have argued that they deserve a portion of the revenue that the International Olympic Committee receives from the tournament and they do not like the injury risk.”

  Although Bettman and the NHL may see no significance in this refusal to participate, multiple professional hockey players have stepped forward to demonstrate their disgust. Henrik Lundqvist, an integral part of the New York Rangers and the Swedish national team, and one of the most prolific goalies of the century, took to Twitter on Monday immediately after the announcement. The Swedish goaltender’s numerous tweets stated, “Disappointing news, @NHL won’t be part of the Olympics 2018. A huge opportunity to market the game at the biggest stage is wasted. But most of all, disappointing for all the players that can’t be part of the most special adventure in sports.”

  Probably the most well-known dissenter, however, is Alexander Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin said, “It’s my country. You know, I think everyone wants to play there. It’s the biggest opportunity in your life to play in the Olympic Games. So, I don’t know. Somebody going to tell me, ‘Don’t go,’ I don’t care. I just go.”

  He even received agreement from the Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who revealed an unwillingness to stop Ovechkin, among other Washington players. However, there are major issues with this. The Capitals, among other hockey clubs that have players who leave to participate in the Olympics, can be severely punished.

  Frank Seravalli of TSN said, “Bettman can impose a fine on a team owner for as much as $1 million and revoke draft picks…In other words, Bettman could issue a decree that any breach of contract by a player not pursued by his club would be subject to a fine of $10 million.”

  It will be interesting to see what happens to these players, especially since these disagreements have the potential to become a lockout.

  While the league refers to discussions as closed, there is still time to strike up a deal with the International Olympic Committee.  

Henrik Lundqvist, pictured at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, is one of the numerous players upset about Bettman’s decision on the Olympics. Photo courtesy of
Henrik Lundqvist, pictured at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, is one of the numerous players upset about Bettman’s decision on the Olympics. Photo courtesy of

Team USA skates toward equality

in News/Sports by

 After months of negotiating, and nearly two weeks of striking, it appears that the American women’s hockey team succeeded in achieving full and equal wages, an endeavor that garnered support from other athletes and even Congressmen. This started nearly 14 months ago, when the female hockey players began talking with USA Hockey about a possible increasing in earnings and benefit.

  Conflict steadily increased throughout the past month, beginning on March 15, when the members of Team USA, including Meghan Duggan and Jocelyne Lamoreaux-Davidson – cornerstones of the team who have played for years – decided to boycott the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. This created issues for USA Hockey, as the championship starts March 31 and takes place in Michigan; had the players continued to boycott, it would have shone a bad – or worse – light on the organization.

  U.S.A. Hockey had been paying the women a fraction of what the men had been receiving, with barely any benefits. Originally, they refuted this, saying that the women were capable of obtaining a maximum of $85,000, a large amount of which would come from incentives. This was a statement that Lamoreaux-Davidson would later refer to as misleading “because $37,500 of the $85,000 would be earned only if the team won a gold medal, and $24,000 of that figure comes from [United States Olympic Committee], not U.S.A. Hockey,” said Seth Berkman of the New York Times.

  Things looked bleak for the strikers when USA Hockey began to turn towards high school, collegiate, and minor league female players in order to replace them. Ahiza Garcia of CNN said, “On Saturday, two high schoolers, Cayla Barnes and Natalie Snodgrass, tweeted that they’d been approached by USA Hockey and turned down spots on the replacement team.”

  However, the women were finally able to achieve full wages on Monday, after hours of discussion. This new deal, which lasts for four years between the team and the USA Hockey organization, gives the players a monthly salary of $2,000, and includes significant improvements in the quality of their treatment.

  Garcia, in a different article, said, “USA Hockey paid for the disability insurance of players on the men’s team but not for players on the women’s team.” This does not even include the fact that, prior to this new agreement, while the men sat in business class and had the opportunity to bring a guest, which the organization paid for, the women sat in coach and had to share rooms with teammates rather than guests. In addition, the female players also experienced slower and less efficient medical treatment and examination.

  According to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, “This season, the women’s national team could collectively earn anywhere from $850,000-$950,000 depending on their performance the rest of the year, including at the upcoming World Championship in Plymouth, Mich., and $950,000-$1 million in the years that follow.”

  While this has been a huge step for the female Team USA – and gender equality in general – there are still some social miscues. For example, the University of North Dakota, a school renowned for its hockey teams (both male and female), which produced Lamoreaux-Davidson and her sister Monique Lamoureux-Morando, just announced that it will end its women’s team (during recruiting no less). A move that has irritated numerous members of Team U.S.A., including the Lamoreaux sisters, it makes their hunt for equality even more special.  

  The efforts of the team members (which earned support from Congress) have shown extreme courage and promise, but there is more work to be done.

  The IIHF Women’s World Championship begins on March 31, with Team USA playing Team Canada at 7:30 P.M.

After winning their negotiations, Team U.S.A hopes to win the World Championship. Photo courtesy of
After winning their negotiations, Team USA hopes to win the World Championship. Photo courtesy of

Gun control debate rages on

in Opinions/Editorials by

    With the Pulse nightclub shooting in summer 2016, people assumed that there would be some form of hiatus on shootings; they believed with more discussions, it would happen less frequently. However, this proved untrue when, on March 26, a club in Cincinnati experienced true chaos in the form of a gunman, in which he killed one person, hurting 17 others.

  After recent events such as this, it once again forces people to discuss and debate the possibility of having gun control in the U.S, a conversation that has resulted in zero progress in the past few years. While a significant portion of the United States argues against gun control because of personal rights, gun control seems to be a necessary evil, as regulations could be crucial in terms of the protection of life.

  The Second Amendment by itself is one of the most controversial components of the American government at the moment, which does not clarify the gun debate at all. For example, gun supporters disagree with regulation due to the explicit language of the Amendment, and the “right to bear arms.” To them, the idea of governmental regulation on guns translates to an infringement on rights and unconstitutional actions.

  However, the multiple interpretations of the Second Amendment has created a discrepancy. Those in support of gun control assert that this piece of law was created in 1776, with no precedent for the government or the American Revolution, making them unaware of what the future held. As a result, this “right to bear arms” that was proclaimed was only in reference to the creation of a militia. In addition, the musket was the preferred “arm” at the time, as there were no industrially produced guns, such as the assault rifles or semiautomatic weapons that are currently being utilized. Due to this, the “right to bear arms” does not seem just when being used to support a form of weapon that the Forefathers could not foresee.

  Moreover, gun control is vital to this nation’s safety, as the increased presence of firearms throughout the country (especially with this recent debate to arm teachers in schools) has the potential to cause even more death, despite the intention being self-defense. Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times said, “In 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation had more than 33,000 firearms deaths: 70 percent of all homicides (11,208), more than half of all suicides (21,175), and hundreds of accidental and unsolved deaths.”

  The occurrence of mass shootings, although tragic, has been exponentially increasing in the past few years, dating all the way back to Columbine. In some instances, gun control felt like one of the major causes, such as the shooting in San Bernardino. The main argument against this is that gun owners do not want to kill, they simply want to feel safer, and it can be used in order to prevent an attack such as the Pulse or Aurora shootings. In the long-run, relaxed rules on gun ownership will hurt more Americans through shootings and incidental killings.

  Jay Croft, Shawn Nottingham and Joe Sutton of CNN stated, “Police said several people had been able to sneak guns into the club and they believe more than one person was involved in the shooting.”

  Consequently, it seems that the current background check system may not be adequate in preventing attacks on the large scale that the United States has been experiencing. While current background checks prohibit the sale of guns to dishonorably discharged soldiers, mentally disabled people, or felons, it is not sufficient.

  For example, in 2015, controversy struck once again when a man named Dylann Roof shot nine people at a church in South Carolina. While it sparked the discussion of racism, it also caused some to question the effectiveness of background checks. Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times said, “He should have failed a background check…because he had previously admitted to illegal drug possession.” A similar event happened in the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012, in which mental illness came into the picture.

  Although gun supporters say that in the past decade, gun ownership and crime have had an inverse relationship, it still seems that some change needs to occur with gun control. While there are numerous organizations present that have attempted to create legal action, something still needs to happen. Stricter gun control and more stringent background checks – ones that allow people like Roof to slip through the cracks – are necessary to improve this nation’s safety.

This Cincinnati shooting is the latest in a series of incidents. Photo courtesy of
This Cincinnati shooting is the latest in a series of incidents. Photo courtesy of

New footage opens eyes in Ferguson

in News by

  New video footage has launched that can completely alter the events of the Michael Brown case from 2014. This footage, released as a portion of the documentary Stranger Fruit, posits that the Ferguson teenager may not have actually stolen a pack of cigarillos, the crime that was originally reported on Aug. 9, 2014. Instead, the video shows Brown revealing a bag which he gave to the workers of the Ferguson Market & Liquor that he would visit again nearly 12 hours later.

  Some, such as Jason Pollock, the director of Stranger Fruit, which chronicles the truth behind Brown case, believes the bag contained marijuana, and Brown had used it as a way to trade for the cigarillos. He left the pack in the store however, eventually coming back for them later in the day. According to RT News, within the documentary, Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, discussed what she believed happened. “There was some type of exchange, for one thing, for another,” McSpadden said.

  Even before this possibly revolutionary news came out, this was one of the most controversial trials in the past few years, especially since it incited multiple protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. Brown, an 18 year-old from Ferguson, MS, was chased by police officer Darren Wilson in hopes of apprehending the alleged thief.

  Although the exact events of the chase are not known, the chase resulted in Brown being shot and killed. Wilson, on the other hand, did not leave unscathed, as the New York Times said, “A medical examination indicated that Officer Wilson had some swelling and redness on his face.”

  Witnesses had conflicting statements about what happened between Wilson and Brown, but eventually when Wilson went to trial, he was not indicted for killing Brown.

  However, it seems suspicious that during the trial, only the second part of the security footage was included – the part that shows Brown taking the cigarillos moments before the police arrived. Pollock said, “They destroyed Michael’s character with the tape, and they didn’t show us what actually happened. So this shows their intention to make him look bad. And shows suppression of evidence.”

  Despite Pollock’s beliefs and the documentary that he created, it does not help to clarify anything. In fact, it makes the events surrounding Brown more confusing and has created even more arguments. Christopher Brennan of New York Daily News said, “St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said Monday afternoon that release of the video was ‘clearly an attempt to distort this and to turn it into something it isn’t.’”

  While it is unknown what will happen next with regards to Ferguson and the Brown case, this new footage, if anything, has caused more controversy.

This image, showing Brown in the Ferguson Market & Liquor store, comes from the Stranger Fruit documentary Jason Pollock created about Brown’s case. Photo courtesy of
This image, showing Brown in the Ferguson Market & Liquor store, comes from the Stranger Fruit documentary Jason Pollock created about Brown’s case. Photo courtesy of

Philly mob flashes terror in local eyes

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   Nearly 30 teenagers were arrested on Monday, March 6, after a “flash mob” of close to 100 young adults caused havoc among the streets of Philadelphia. At the moment, there is little information about the mob, although it is believed to have been organized beforehand. 

  CBS Philly said, “Police say the group gathered in the area of 15th and Market Streets around 5:30 p.m., and began fighting and running in and out of traffic with no regard for others.”

  Supposedly, the group of teens created panic and trouble, especially with civilians and people trying to stop the violence.  One police officer was even injured after attempting to prevent the mob from hurting anybody.

  However, there were multiple victims, including a group of girls who were cornered into a bank and sprayed with mace.

  Some experts and police officers are under the impression that the flash mob was organized via social media, although they have yet to find proof. They also have not figured out a corroborated reason behind this destructive movement.

  According to 6ABC, “Police say the nice weather, coupled with several area schools dismissing early, only perpetuated the war of words between various students on social media – later playing out on the streets.”

  While multiple participants in the mob have been arrested for disorderly conduct, at least four expect to be charged with aggravated assault for their actions on Monday night. A significant amount of information is missing regarding this event, but Philadelphia officials have not shied away from condemning it.

  Claire Sasko of Philadelphia Magazine said, “SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority) Transit Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III tweeted that the flash mob was ‘definitely the worst’ he’s seen.”

  Although situations similar to this have happened before in Philadelphia, the police are looking for ways to prevent this, whether within the city or society.

 A large fight erupted among the teens participating in the mob on Monday. Photo courtesy of
A large fight erupted among the teens participating in the mob on Monday. Photo courtesy of

Heat avoid fizzling out

in Sports by

  Following a lackluster beginning to the season, the Miami Heat have improved from their piteous 7-17 record, exiting the All-Star break with a 25-32 record, and one of the hottest streaks in the NBA. This marked improvement has allowed the Heat to re-enter the playoff race which few expected the team to be involved in.

  The majority of this success is the result of a confusing 13 game win streak that created what Leonard Kreicas of Hot Hot Hoops termed a “bipolar first half of the season.” The streak began on Jan. 17 against the Houston Rockets, as the Heat won with a score of 109-103. It ended on Feb. 11, as the Miami to the Philadelphia 76ers with a score of 117-109 after playing them for the second time in the month. In the process, the Heat also defeated the Mavericks, the Bucks (twice), the Warriors, the Nets (three times), the Bulls, the Pistons, the Hawks, the 76ers, and the Timberwolves (some consider this to be a weak schedule). Since the end of the streak, the team has gone 1-1 into the All-Star break.

  While this produced questions for the team, their season, and the long-term impact, it just seems baffling that a team with a .439 record could have one of the most electric win streaks. The simplest explanation for this and the disparity between the first two quarters of the season would be injuries.   

  According to Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post, back in early December during the team’s woes, the Heat were “missing three of their best defenders — Justise Winslow (sprained wrist), James Johnson (rotator cuff strain) and Dion Waiters (torn groin muscle) – due to injuries.” However, some of these players returned just in time for the win streak, which is no coincidence; Waiters, who had originally been day-to-day, even scored the game-winning shot twice in a row.

  Despite this, it does not seem that all of Miami’s questions have been answered. While some remain hopeful that this is indicative of another year ending with Miami in the top eight eastern spots, others have likened the 2017 Miami Heat to the 2008 Portland Trail Blazers, another team that attempted to ride into the playoffs due to a 13 win streak, but ended up failing due to an incredibly strong Western Conference.

 Matt Moore of CBS Sports debated the implications of the latest events with the Heat, and while he notes that this demonstrates the above average playing ability of Goran Dragic (according to Kreicas, the Heat lost the majority of games Dragic didn’t play) and the good defense the team has been sporting, he also looks past this season. “This is the real danger with this winning streak. It could wind up getting the team focused on just being OK.”

  While ending the streak may have been inevitable, it is still undetermined what will happen to the Heat in the final stretch of the season.

Dion Waiters played a significant role in the Heat’s 13 consecutive wins. Photo courtesy of
Dion Waiters played a significant role in the Heat’s 13 consecutive wins. Photo courtesy of

Sandusky son repeats familiar mistakes

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  It seems that in the past five years, Sandusky has gone from being a name that draws memories of a strong football team, to one synonymous with abuse. In 2012, after an arduous legal process and heartbreaking stories, Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, was incarcerated for “the sexual abuse of 10 boys” according to Candace Smith, Beth Loyd and Colleen Curry of ABC News.

  After time, many expected the news of Sandusky to dissipate. However, recent events have occurred in which the Sandusky name has been tainted once again by child sexual abuse. This time, however, it is Jeffrey Sandusky, Jerry Sandusky’s adopted son, who is making headlines. Jeffrey, a 40-year old guard at Rockview State Prison, has been charged with child molestation on multiple instances in 2013 and 2016.

  The younger Sandusky “faces 14 counts, including soliciting sex from a child under age 16, and soliciting child pornography,” said Sara Ganim and Eric Levenson of CNN. The first victim, the child of Jeffrey Sandusky’s former girlfriend, said that he requested photographs of the victim naked, and then told her not to tell anyone about the aforementioned text conversations.

  The victim finally told her father and investigators about Sandusky’s actions, and as a result, news arose about a second victim. This incidence, however, occurred in 2013, in which Sandusky allegedly had sexual relations with an underage girl.

  “Both victims say Sandusky tried to use different excuses to try to get them to participate, saying at one point that he “had studied medicine” and another time that he believed that Victim No. 1 had shared a nude photo with her boyfriend, and he wanted to see it,” said Sara Ganim and Eric Levenson of CNN.

  At the moment, there is no real explanation for what Sandusky allegedly did. Months ago, he expressed remorse towards the first victim. However, he would later state that he is being accused incorrectly.

  Possibly the most troubling part of this is the fact that, throughout the multi-year relationship between Sandusky and the mother of the first victim, “Sandusky lived with the woman and her children for five of those years,” said Mike Coppinger of USA Today.

  In what seems like an unexpected, unnecessary, and undesired sequel to the trial of his father, Jeffrey Sandusky has certainly created more drama and turmoil for the already-damaged Sandusky family while investigators search for the truth.

Jeffrey Sandusky currently awaits trial. Photo courtesy of
Jeffrey Sandusky currently awaits trial. Photo courtesy of

Atlantic Artwork

in Arts & Entertainment by

"Literally Me" by Mihir Patel"White Stripes" by Mihir Patel

Picture 1 (above): “Literally Me” by Mihir Patel

Picture 2 (left): “White Stripes” by Mihir Patel

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