Hurricane Katrina

Source: Weekly Links

It’s the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which has had a long-term impact on primarily black, low-income New Orleans residents.

Talk of a “solution”, be it one state or two states, in Israel and Palestine presupposes that change is imminent. The continuation of the status quo, in which Israel becomes decreasingly democratic, is most likely. The New York Times also hasan interactive feature inviting you to “walk” through parts of Gaza and Southern Israel and meet the people that live there.

ISIS isn’t all that mysterious after all.

How should social movements balance broadcasting their message with winning allies? Who gets to speak for the movement? A debate on Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders. Relatedly, how particular ideologies can be used by opposing groups with troubling results.

US-made bombs are killing civilians in Yemen.

The guidelines for use of lethal force in American police departments varies, and interestingly, the Supreme Court gives officers more leeway than they often give themselves. How can changing these guidelines reduce police killings?

Journalism in Mexico is a dangerous job, not only because of cartels, but also due to police neglect.

The American army recently quietly shuttered its Human Terrain Program, which provides a dilemma: the army needs social scientists to fight wars more humanely, but many social scientists reject using their skill sets for warfare.

The Story of Kyle

I heard this story not to long ago and it really touched me. It showed me that you don’t have to be someone famous to touch someone’s life. I own none of the credits to this story. 

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend plan (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a couple of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So I jogged over to him, as he crawled around looking for him glasses, I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him the glasses, I said, “those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick his books up and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to a private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before, but we talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cook kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football with me and my friends on Saturday. He said yes. We hung out all weekend and, the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with a huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He laughed and handed me half of his books. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me that had to get up there and speak. On graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech, so I smacked him on his back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks and smiled “Thanks”, he said. As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time that thank those that helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, you siblings, maybe even your coach—but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift that you can give them. I am going to tell you at story.” I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from do the unspeakable.” I heard a gasp go through the crowd, as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling the same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize the depth. 

He goes on to say, never underestimate the power of your actions and one small gesture can change someone’s life completely. So never be afraid to talk to someone new because they don’t seem cool or they’re not like you because you never know what that person is going through. 

Love Yourself 

I could go on for days on the things that I wish I was. I mean we all wish we were skinnier, prettier, richer, had more friends, had that perfect boyfriend, etc…. But let me tell you that all of those things don’t matter. God made you perfect the way you are. In life there is no reason to stress about these silly things because stressing isn’t going to get you anywhere. All it will get you is more wrinkles and an unhappy life. So of course the thing we have to do is learn to accept ourselves and every thing that we were born with. 

Learning to love ourselves is simple. There is just one rule: Don’t worry what others think! Yeah easier said than done right! We live in a society where everyone judges based on looks. We think that if someone dresses differently than us then they are weird or “lame” but, really everyone likes different things. Some people don’t enjoy getting dressed up all the time like others. Not everyone you meet in your life is going to be the same as you. Don’t think that you have to dress a certain way to please other people. Do what makes you happy and you’ll learn to love your self and the life God has blessed you with. Do you really think that ten years later it’s going to matter what your wore to school yesterday or what you wore to that party the other night? Well I’ll answer that for you…. The answer is no. The only thing you’ll look back and regret is why did you try and please everyone but yourself. Also, your Instagram or Twitter follower numbers don’t matter. Whether you have 10,000 followers or 10 followers God loves everyone the same. Just because someone may have more than you doesn’t make them any better than you. To me who cares about likes or followers because sometimes the people with the most likes can be the unhappiest of people.  None of this stuff matter. Do what makes you happy because in the end it’s the only thing you’re going to have left.