Saturday, November 14, 2009

Growing Up in Prison

At what age do boys become men and girls become women? Is there an exact age that children become adults- when they are held fully responsible for their actions and choices? I do not believe that one can answer this. Why, then, are thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen year old children being sentenced to life in prison? Is this constitutional?
The Eighth Amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
This issue was recently discussed in New York Times. Two major examples mentioned were about two boys named Joe Sullivan and Terrance Graham.
Sullivan, now 33 years old, was sentenced to die in prison at the age of 13 for a crime that did not even involve murder. He, an African American boy, and two older boys allegedly sexually assaulted a white girl while she was blindfolded. It has been said that Joe was a mentally disabled child who grew up in a home where he was sexually and physically abused. The boy, not even out of the adolescent stage, was sentenced to life in an adult prison. The two older accomplices received short –term juvenile detention. Was this legit?
Graham was also born into a bad family with crack-addicted parents and he had a learning disability. He had been on probation for a previous crime when he and older buddies participated in a home invasion. Graham was never actually convicted of the crime, but because he violated his curfew portion of probation, he was sentenced to life as a 16 year old African American boy. Was it coincidental that both boys were African American and had mental problems?
Regardless of the race of the boys and the situation that actually occurred, there is a problem whenever children are forced to grow up in prison. Yes, teenagers can make their own decisions; however, there is so much peer pressure going on in the adolescent stage that is hard to fight off if the child has not been taught well. Both of the boys mentioned had troubled home lives- does that play a role in the crimes committed? Could the parents be the ones to blame?
All children grow up differently and mature at different ages in life. The punishments that are being brought upon some teenagers are too harsh and unconstitutional. Each of these boys had no hope to better their life or prepare for the future. They were never given a chance as children, but were treated as adults. Sullivan and Graham have been and will continue growing up in prison. Hopefully no other innocent children will have to.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Analyzing the Awakening

Look at the cool map I made! Click on the bubbles on the photo to read my analyses. If the map won't load, you can view it at Umapper.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Banned from Church

Arkansas is not a very large state; however, it houses over 4000 sex offenders. These villains are not only in Arkansas. They are in every state and, most likely, every city. These offenders roam the grocery stores, city parks, post offices, hospitals, gas stations, car washes, and even the churches. Yes, that is right. Churches.

Should the government be able to ban sex offenders from church? Time Magazine has recently posed this question in one of its articles. The safety of children is clearly a major concern, but the focus should also be on the rights of the offender as a person. Although it may seem like a secure route to take by removing any harmful person from church, the government does not have the right to control who enters the religious realm. Taking away these so-called “bad people” eliminates the sole purpose of the church, which is to strengthen the moral character and values of an individual.

A church is a place that people should feel free to come and worship without being under the judgment of others. The United States Constitution gives everyone the freedom to practice his or her own religion. It does not exclude those that have taken a wrong path or made a few mistakes in life. If the government allows these delinquents to be anywhere, it should be church. The chances of altering the heart and lifestyle of that type of person appear to be much higher in a religious setting than a jail cell or the person’s home.

The laws that keep offenders away from schools and childcare centers are justifiably legit. It is understood that parents should be concerned for the well being of their children whenever these criminals are around; therefore, churches should be prepared in case the situation should arise, but should not take away right of someone because of his or her past mistakes. Sex offenders have no place being alone with children, but there is no guarantee that anything bad will happen. There are dangerous people all over the world that could cause equal or more harm to children or anyone for that matter- not just sex offenders. Is there a law banning murderers from church? Is the government considering removing drug abusers from church? Is the government asking the drunken parents who beat their children to leave service- in fear of them being intoxicated and possibly endangering another member’s child? Has someone counted the number of sex offenders that are not yet registered? Will they attend still? These questions remain unanswered.

The hope of our nation should be to convert these convicts from a sinful lifestyle onto a new and rehabilitated way of living, but banning someone from church is not the solution to bettering an individual or the country.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sentence Twelve

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

My sentence: Tonight for a little while in the bright hall folks were almost free, almost free of dust, almost free of debt, almost free of fields of withered wheat.

My thoughts: The author used repetition to bring more meaning to the sentence and to further make the statement more memorable. She seemed to build upon the first phrase to continue to add more description. She also used asyndeton to make the list seem to continue on.

My sentence: Now the lady felt ashamed, ashamed of the mistakes, ashamed of her past, ashamed of the reputation she had made for herself.

Sentence Eleven

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Her sentence: Now he smells of dust and coffe, tobacco and cows.

My thoughts: I think the author used asyndeton to make the list seem unfinished, as if he smelled of a variety of things. Also, he placed random things that don't resemble beside eachother, maybe to create juxtaposition.

My sentence: She tasted eggs and corn, dirt and soap.

Sentence Ten

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Her sentence: I think I should just let them rest, let the dust rest, let the world rest.

My thoughts: Hesse used repetition and parallelism to show similarity and further draw attention to the point of the sentence. She also uses asyndeton to make it seem that the list is incomplete.

My sentence: I will simply make a plan, make a change, make a stand.