Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Taking a stand by taking a knee
Oct26

Taking a stand by taking a knee

As the NFL season enters its seventh week of play, no storyline is more controversial and emotionally charged than players’ pregame protests. Over the course of the season, some players have used the time during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutailty by taking a knee or raising a fist. This collective outcry of players has divided the nation. One side asserts that the NFL or team owners must discipline players for disrespecting the anthem and the flag of their country. The other camp praises the players for using their presence on national television to increase awareness of the issues at hand. I find the entire situation perplexing. I understand the players’ desire to see change in their country, and acknowledge and fully support their right to lobby for that change however they see fit. If they wish to act in a manner that many believe disrespects the flag, they are exercising the very right to free speech guaranteed to them by the First Amendment, protected by our military, and represented by the flag. The idea that the powers that be should prevent players from protesting in this manner is unconstitutional, and defies what the flag represents more than the protests themselves. Although players can protest in this manner, they should not for two reasons. First, and most importantly, kneeling during the national anthem polarizes their audience. The group that ardently supports what the players stand (or rather, kneel) for generally will approve of their method of protest. On the other hand, those who disagree with the players’ pregame demonstrations of discontent will accuse them of disrespecting the flag. This effectively closes the minds of the group of people the players strive to impact before they are able to convey their message. Second, kneeling for the anthem is so controversial that it distracts from the issues the players are attempting to address. The entire uproar in the media has been with regard to the protests themselves, with next to no coverage devoted to police brutality and racial inequality. The protesting players drown out their own voices when they choose to demonstrate in such a controversial manner. NFL players have a large fan base and can speak at events, organize city council meetings and encourage others to raise awareness on social media, all without removing the public’s attention from their cause entirely. That way, many Americans would not have to choose between supporting a vital awareness campaign and respecting their country. The two must not be mutually exclusive in order for change to occur....

Read More
What to do in the event that a car crash hits you out of nowhere
Oct26

What to do in the event that a car crash hits you out of nowhere

Being in a car accident is scary and not something that should be taken lightly. It is somehing that can happen to anyone, and is something I went through recently. In September, I was in a minor accident that involved another driver. I had no clue what to do, and I did the best I could to remember the basic guidelines. Carinsurance.com states that if someone is an average driver and got their license when they were 16 years old, it is highly likely that they will experience some kind of crash by the time they’re 34. The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicles crashes in 2016, and an estimated 4.6 million were seriously injured in accidents. Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues a Motor Vehicle Crash Overview containing statistics on reported crashes during one year and compares it to prior years. They found that by averaging the car accident data from 2005 to 2015, they estimate that more than 5 million car accidents occur every year in the U.S. This amounts to around 15,913 accidents per day. However, this represents the number of collisions between vehicles or vehicles with fixed objects – not the number of vehicles involved total. If it is your first accident, it is difficult to understand what to do and you could be taken advantage of. Whether you are in a fender bender or a major accident, there are guidelines to what you should do after a car accident. First and foremost, move to a safe area if possible and do not leave the scene. Leaving can result in legal consequences, like fines or additional violations. If you’re on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It’s dangerous for passengers to stand along a freeway or other road with lots of traffic. It is also vital that you make sure passengers are okay and that there are no injuries. If you collided with another car, check on them as well. It is important to check just in case you need to call an ambulance. Try to be cautious and polite, but do not admit fault. The next step is to call the police. While the accident might not appear to be serious, the police should be called if any damage is done to either vehicle or if there are injuries. It helps to call the police because they can file a report that will impact the insurance company’s decisions when you make a claim. When they arrive, try to copy down the officer’s name,...

Read More
Give without prejudice
Oct13

Give without prejudice

“Hey man, you got some change? It’s a real hot day, and I could use a drink.” Expectant eyes look into mine as I reach for my wallet. My conviction to be generous wrestles with my doubt: could I be helping quench this man’s thirst for Dr. Pepper, or for something far more destructive? How am I to know how this stranger will spend my three dollars? As he disappears around the corner, I consider the situation, which reminds me of a Kendrick Lamar song. In “How Much a Dollar Cost,” Lamar describes a scene nearly identical to what I had just experienced, but different in one important detail: Lamar denies the homeless man a single dollar. After a brief conversation with Lamar, the man reveals himself to be Jesus Christ, telling Lamar that the price of the dollar was his place in heaven. As a commentary on greed, “How Much a Dollar Cost” encourages listeners to think not of panhandler’s plans for their money, but rather of the bigger picture: their duties as human beings to take care of each other. By extension, Lamar appeals to Christians to be Christ-like in our treatment of others, to give without hesitation. In a train station, I find myself able to, although unsure of his motives, do my best to make a positive impact on the man’s life in the only way I can. I do not believe that we should always assume the best, but to make a positive impact on others; it is necessary to suspend disbelief and listen to God. How unfortunate would it be to deny a brother or sister in Christ a few dollars out of distrust or a lack of understanding? Using common sense is still important. We can trust God to use our money for His good, while keeping an eye out for obvious warning signs that something is not right. Certainly there are situations where a handout will perpetuate a problem instead of alleviating it. At the end of the day, I believe it is always best to give to the needy, unless I see overwhelming evidence that I will do more harm than good. When on the fence about it, I find it best to trust God and let Him use my pocket change to touch another’s life. The homeless man returns and sits down a few minutes later, change from the vending machine in one hand, and a Dr Pepper in the...

Read More
Are we doing enough to prevent head injuries in football?
Oct13

Are we doing enough to prevent head injuries in football?

It’s no secret that football is a tradition that has been a part of America for over a hundred years. No other sport can compare to the heated rivalries, the tradition of Thanksgiving football games, and the Super Bowl games that draw millions of viewers from across the world every year. It’s also no secret, however, that football is one of the most dangerous sports to play. Across the high school, collegiate, and professional level, football-related injuries are not uncommon, with head traumas accounting for a large percentage of those injuries. Last year, in the NFL alone, there were over 200 concussions reported. A study done by the American Academy of Neurology also found that “more than 40 percent of retired National Football League players had signs of traumatic brain injury based on sensitive MRI scans” (www.washingtonpost.com). This begs the question: should the NFL be doing more to protect players from head trauma injuries? While head injuries in the NFL have always been a topic of discussion, the news of Aaron Hernandez, former star tight end for the New England Patriots, was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. This event sparked national controversy on the safety of players. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative disorder believed to be caused by repeated trauma to the head. Unfortunately, this disease is not diagnosable until an autopsy in the deceased. Hernandez, unfortunately, was not the only one. A recent study done on over 200 deceased brains of former football players across all levels found a substantial percent of CTE. In former NFL players included in this study, 110 out of 111, a whopping 99%, were diagnosed with CTE. With more and more evidence coming out that multiple concussions are the most prominent risk factor for developing CTE, it is clear that NFL players are at a huge risk for developing this life-threatening disease. While concussion protocol in the NFL has come a long way in recent years, it is clear that these efforts can only go so far in protecting players from the risk of traumatic brain injuries. The NFL now allows a neurologist on the sidelines at each game that can assess and prevent any player from going back out on to the field if they believe they have been subject to some kind of brain trauma. The NFL also has implemented a strict protocol for players who are assessed and confirmed to have a concussion that does not allow them to go back out on the field the same day. While this was implemented years ago, it wasn’t until the 2016 season that the NFL enforced disciplinary actions...

Read More
Why I believe that it is important to stand by the American flag
Oct13

Why I believe that it is important to stand by the American flag

I stand for the flag because the world is a better place with America, and I believe that is worth honoring. The NFL 2017 season has been defined by players taking a knee during the National Anthem, which has led to controversy, intense media coverage, and even social media hashtags. These players are taking a knee to protest racially-targeted police brutality and general racial inequality in America. While their points are valid, kneeling before the anthem not only harms their message, but is insensitive to the meaning of our flag. Over the years, America has achieved many things. In 1776, thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring America free from British rule. In 1863, President Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation that eventually freed more than four million slaves. In 1920, women were granted the right to vote. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act declared segregation illegal. In 1969, the first man walked on the moon. In 2008, the American people elected the first African-American president. Because of these accomplishments and so many more, I am going to continue standing for the flag. I like how USA Today writer, Martin Dempsey, states it. “We do so not because we agree with everything America has done, or everything that has been done in America’s name, but because despite all of that the world is a better place because America exists.” America has various moments that she’s not proud of, but there are many moments to be proud of. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, there are 1.3 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. military and an additional 800,000 in reserves. The military is a volunteer program. That means that 1.3 million Americans volunteered to be a part of an organization, where they risk their lives for their country. They are not denying America’s mistakes and wrongs with blind patriotism. Instead, they have chosen to defend the rights. These rights are worth honoring. Growing up in a military town, I’ve seen firsthand the struggles that soldiers and their families endure. The military lifestyle is not for everyone. I’ve grown close with church friends, only for them to leave when their mom or dad is reassigned to another base. Recently, the cousin of a friend from high school disappeared while actively serving his country, and I watched my friend and his family honor his sacrifice and heroism. When I see the flag, I think of my family members who have served, I think of my friends, and I think of veterans who served in World War II and subsequent wars. And I think of America’s rights and future rights. America’s wrongs can’t be fixed...

Read More
Should certain books be censored in schools?
Sep28

Should certain books be censored in schools?

The Great Gatsby. Lord of the Flies. The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin. When you hear these titles, what do you think of? Chances are you either recognize these titles as classic literature or you read these books in some sort of English class. These books really helped shape our society However, these books, along with many others, are most frequently added to the banned books lists at schools. Most classic American literature was written during a significant time in history in the United States. For example, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was written during the Jim Crow era. This era was by no means a proud moment of America, but it was significant to our history. However, this book is commonly banned by schools. Yes, there is language that might be considered offensive. Yes, there are racial slurs. This is by no means excused, but it was the language of the author’s surroundings.. If that language was taken out, it could change the depiction of America from that era. If the racial slurs were taken out, the book would no longer be historically accurate. When a book like this is banned, it’s like administrations are trying to shelter students from the harsh reality that is America’s history. According to an article from USA Today by Heather Wines regarding challenged books, the main reason that books are challenged is because of sexually explicit content. While this makes sense, most classic novels do not have explicit sex scenes. Most of the time things such as prostitutes are mentioned but it doesn’t go into great detail about what really happens. In Wines’ article, violence, racism, and vulgar language were also mentioned as common reasons that books are banned. Although these are good reasons, you have to look at the big picture. These students should be old enough to understand that vulgar language does exist. They should also be able to recognize that sometimes this an author’s use of vulgar language is necessary to maintain some realistic accuracy in the book. These students also need to realize that racism was a huge part of our history, and arguably still is. Violent acts are often necessary to the plot of the novel or aren’t offensive enough to cause concern. Am I saying that a second-grade should read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck? No, I am not. I am saying that this novel should be acceptable for high school students to read and understand. Classic literature should not be allowed on the banned books list. This literature helped shape America. This literature portrays fictional accounts about real historical events. These are the...

Read More
Page 4 of 64« First...23456...102030...Last »