Opinion Piece

Death penalty sparks debate

By Loran Ashley Rhodes

Reporter

Capital punishment has been a controversial topic for centuries. The death penalty continues to be a source of contention in the 38 states that support the death penalty.

In most states, the death penalty is exercised by administering a lethal injection of drugs. Death penalty offenses include murder, but some states have also applied it to rape of a child. 

The death penalty should be legalized in all 50 states.  

 The state of Texas yields the nation’s highest number of executions. In Texas, capital punishment requires proof of capital murder with one of ten aggravating factors. 

Many people in the United States continue to believe that the death penalty is a type of justice with deterrence being the most utilized argument in favor of it.

The concept proposes that the threat of the death penalty as a punishment will help prevent capital crimes by removing convicts from society, setting an example for offenders and forcefully encouraging them to reconsider their potential crimes.

Since 1964, the United States has prescribed the death penalty only for crimes involving premeditated murder and treason although it is allowed for a wide variety of violent crimes.

In recent years, many lobbyists and politicians have spoken for the use of the death penalty against pedophiles and other sexual offenders who target children.

Also in many cases, capital punishment is handed down as a sentence when a conviction of murder is connected to other related charges, such as rape or kidnapping. 

Those opposing capital punishment as a deterrent believe most people who commit murders either do not expect to be caught or do not carefully weigh the differences between a possible execution and life in prison.

Deterrence is only as effective as the population is capable of rational decision making. If a criminal has no stable conscious to make choices that take consideration of their future and their freedom, then the expectation is that no punishment, including death, is harsh enough to redirect them.

The overwhelming conclusion from years of deterrence studies is that the death penalty is, at best, no more of a deterrent than a sentence of life in prison.

Retribution has its basis in religious values as well, which have maintained that it is proper to take an eye for eye and a life for a life. 

The flip side of imposing retribution for being wronged is that it fails to set a higher standard for seeking revenge upon the offender. 

Opposers to capital punishment believe that our laws and criminal justice system should lead us to higher principles that demonstrate a complete respect for life. 

The premise of not countering a capital crime with the death penalty is held in the idea that society will protect its moral compass and discourage identical retribution.

A risk is taken in every choice that we as a society make daily.  As with our everyday risks that we choose to make, the choice of convicting someone who may be innocent exists.

The difference between the risks that we take every day and the risk that our judicial system takes by convicting an innocent person is intentionality. 

Those who support capital punishment take to heart that mistakes will be made and that a small percentage of innocent people may fall short of the system’s best intentions.

Those who oppose capital punishment feel safe in their support of sentencing criminals to life in prison without parole so that society’s need for punishment and protection are met without the possibility of an erroneous death.

Both advantages and disadvantages are distributed unevenly in our society. We cannot escape the fact that the availability of services to consumers differs greatly between the wealthy and the poor, the educated and the illiterate, and between genders, races and localities.

Not everyone has access to an unlimited amount of time and money or the ability to access the most current technology that science has to offer. 

Therefore, the argument of arbitrariness and discrimination must conclude the controversial topic of capital punishment.

Life is not fair. Both sides of the capital punishment topic understand that the specific element in the argument concerning the fairness binds each of the other elements together. 

No studies, no supreme court ruling and no specific across-the-board decision eliminates the use of capital punishment nationally. Therefore, the death penalty remains a successful tool in the distribution of punishment for our justice system.

We believe the death penalty should be legalized in all 50 states to divert crime, keep repeat offenders off the streets, and to reduce taxpayers’ cost for keeping those found guilty of heinous crimes in prison

The death penalty can also be an extremely useful tool in sentencing criminals who have committed some of the worst crimes known to society. Race or economic status should not matter. 

If found guilty, criminals should receive the appropriate punishment for doing the crime.


What is your favorite movie and why?

“My favorite movie is ‘Aquamarine’ because I have always wanted to be a mermaid.”

Summer Durham
Nursing
Pollok
“I suppose my favorite movie would have to be ‘American Psycho,’ based on the novel by Brett Easton Ellis. I like this movie because it explores themes such as feeling pressured to fit in and hiding who you really are to be presentable to a biased society.”

William Jones
Criminal Justice 
Etoile 
“My favorites are all black movies and black TV shows. Only real original gangsters know what I’m talking about because it’s funny.”

Cerdarian Davis
General curriculum
Grapeland
“My favorites are based on true stories because they are interesting.”

Casondra Bosquez
Nursing
Lufkin

CRITICAL REVIEW

Dial M for Murder ‘very well put together’

By Kendall Cole

Reporter

Angelina College’s theatre department performed the play “Dial M for Murder” at the end of February.

The murder mystery is not a “Who done it?” but more of a “Will he get away with it?” kind of play, which was a 1954 movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The AC production was directed by Kary Raine, a theatre instructor at Angelina College. 

In the play, a woman by the name of Margot Wendice, played by Raquel Rothschild, is caught by her husband, Tony Wendice, played by Cody Carter, in a blackmailing scheme over an affair she had with an old friend named Max Halliday, played by Alex Mize. Tony discovers that his wife is exchanging letters with Max, and he steals one to hold for ransom. 

When Max comes to visit and leaves to go to dinner with Margot, Tony invites to his home an old college friend named Captain Lesgate, played by Dylan Holland, and tells him of his plan to murder Margot. Lesgate agrees; however, when the night comes to put the plan into action, things goes awry and Lesgate is killed instead of Margot. 

That sets into motion a wild journey of figuring out what happened to helping get Margot out of a death sentence for killing Lesgate, which ends with Max and a police investigator finding out what happened and setting Margot free while Tony is taken off to jail.

Each actor in the production showed strong emotions throughout each scene. The audience could easily see how apprehensive Lesgate was about taking up the offer to murder Margot, just as it was noticeable that Tony was very serious about the plan. 

Rothschild showed the audience just how worried Margot was about Tony finding out about the short affair, and how frightened she was about almost being murdered. Mize showed genuine care for wanting to free Margot from death row and for Margot herself, which was nice to see. 

The actors spoke loudly and clearly, except for Mize being a bit quiet at the beginning of the play, but by the middle of the play, the audience could easily understand him. The actors put on a very good show that was both funny and suspenseful with an ending that the audience during Friday night’s production loved.

The set was simple and practical but pleasing to look at. It consisted of the Wendice’s living room, one level of it being complete with a couch, arm chairs, tables, another having a sort of office area for Tony, and the top level being the front door. 

The ‘walls’ on the side were made from sheets, making them almost see-through when a light shined upon them to represent other rooms in the house. The set was designed by Andrew Reed, AC theatre instructor, and hand built just for the play. As the only real setting in the play, it played an important part, and it was used well. Each part had a purpose, and nothing was left unused, aside from decorations. 

The play as a whole, actors and set, was very well put together. Personally, I thought the play was very funny, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next to Margot and if she would be put to death over an accidental murder. 

I had no negative thoughts about the play and would willingly see it again if given the chance. 

Everything from the actors to the set crew changing scenes was nearly perfect, and it almost made me want to watch the original movie. 

“Dial M for Murder” is a spellbinding play, and anyone who did not see it, in my opinion, missed out. 


Walking difficulties

By Craig Reese

Reporter

Walking can sometimes prove challenging and sometimes scary. This is especially true when trying to cross a single road or multiple ones. Normal two-way streets seem to be much easier to walk along without any traffic lights to control the flow of cars.

In my experience, walking has positives as well as negatives. When walking across streets, I have less difficulty, which helps to create relief, especially if I can clearly see both directions that must be crossed. 

While crossing, a road intersection can create some feelings to nervousness. The most difficult part of the intersection is the pedestrian signal. The signal is not always exact for giving little to no time to safely cross without speed-walking or drivers being nice enough to wait for the people to pass. I worry about my safety and the safety of others who use the intersections. To cross, I must have no fear.

Not always is the signal the only difficulty. Also, the cars can cause issues. When it is not the drivers’ turn to go, they can become a secondary problem and cause even more alarm and a need for additional focus to check before crossing even if I have the right of way. This is especially true for drivers who appear at the most frequent hours of 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. With each time, multiple cars drive past, and I worry and stress when waiting at the intersection at Whitehouse Drive and Daniel McCall Drive. When each lane becomes filled, the traffic puts more pressure on me to either allow the lines to go by first or push myself to go across the crosswalk at the intersection. I am taking a risk to go at the busy hours, but it cannot always be avoided.

Sidewalks are also key for people like me who use them often and see that the walking paths are also lacking in many areas surrounding the intersections, especially the side toward the Walmart and North Brentwood Drive, which has no support for anyone walking along the roads.

Moreover, all of the areas do not have any control to the flow, like a properly working pedestrian signal for the Whitehouse Drive and Daniel McCall Drive intersection and the various intersections at Brentwood Drive and Walmart, which makes each of the roads even more dangerous for people who depend on walking. Without the signals, this will keep me or someone else who needs to use a sidewalk from the danger of being injured or worse. Bringing the issue to light is important as it will help slowly make changes and, hopefully, improve the walking path and signal lights for the roads that desperately need them or should be repaired.


Why is diversity important in school and the work place?


What is your most memorable Thanksgiving experience – worst or best?

“One Thanksgiving everyone accidentally brought desserts, so the only food we had was desserts and a turkey.” Blaze Wars Business Lukin, TX
“Going hunting with my family. We do it every year and it is one of my favorite traditions.” Caleb MonasmithRanch ManagementGeorgetown, TX
“The most memorable thing about Thanksgiving when she was still alive was my Mawmaw’s chicken and dumplings. She always made it just right with juicy chicken breast and soft dumplings in creamy chicken broth. Always one of the best parts about my Thanksgivings along with seeing my family every year.” Elora Flowers Graphic Arts Huntington, TX

Do you agree or disagree with the death penalty? Why or why not?

“I do not agree. Most people tend to have so much hate in their lives and want revenge, but that’s what started all of this killing. I believe they should be punished just not with death. Wanting to kill someone is just as bad as killing someone, so should you be punished with the death peanlty as well?” Stephany Lopez Nursing Houston
“I agree. Some people are sick beyond help and need to be put down.” Hugh Campbell Business Fraser, CO
“I disagree because all lives matter, but if someone is seving for life and has more than 20 years and decides that it is time to go, then it’s okay.” Jose Acon Criminal justice San Augustine

What is your most terrifying or memorable experience revolving around Halloween? 

How do you feel about President Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican-American border?


Trump’s famous wall

By Hector Castillo Layout Artist 

The wall along the United States and Mexican border proposed by Donald Trump, president of the United States, continues to be one of the most talked about topics because the president harps on the idea of protecting the border.

Trump wants to build a wall no matter what the consequences. Despite the fact that many people are against it, he does not seem to listen to anyone telling him the wall is not a good idea.

The cost of the wall is estimated at $33 billion. Trump has been looking for different ways to get the money. First, he wanted Mexico to pay for it, but the president of Mexico at the time, Enrique Peña Nieto, told Trump he was crazy. Mexico would not pay for such a thing.

Mexico has its own debts and problems. It cannot pay for a wall that has no benefits for the country. The people of Mexico have been crossing the border for decades in different ways, and a partial wall already exists. A new wall will not stop the illegals from crossing as they always have.

I agree with Trump that we have to stop terrorism and make sure the drug cartels do not reach the United States, but a wall will not stop the illegals from crossing. They have been doing it for years and will find different ways to cross whether we like it or not.

Instead of building a new wall, the president should reinforce the borders. Having more border patrol officers there will be a better protection and will help catch whoever wants to cross the border to commit crimes.

In my opinion, our president should get rid of the absurd idea of the wall because it is a waste of time and money. He should concentrate on other more important things, like the natural disasters or the hurricanes that have devastated parts of the country. He should also focus on school shootings since there have been 23 school shootings so far in 2018, and the year is not over.

With all the millions of dollars that he wants to waste on the construction of the “Great Wall” as he calls it, he could use it to do much better things, like giving more money to the Federal Agency for Emergency Management.

At this moment, our own country needs help, and he must stop concentrating on absurd things like the wall. Donald Trump is not right in the head. He has done so many things that a president has never done before, and we still have to put up with him for two more years. Hopefully, he will not win the presidency again.