March 19,2011

The Shepard’s Lamb is an interesting story about a traveling preacher named Brother Jed, and his daughter Martha. Brother Jed travels the countries college campuses and conducts sermons discussing many controversial subjects such as premarital sex, something many college students feel passionately about.

The story of Jimmy Wilson was particularly touching. In the beginning, Jimmy was excited for all of his new college experiences, and triumphs on the football field. An all-american candidate turned murder suspect? I didn’t think this was typical.

At the end of his last dinner at home, Jimmy rushed to the defense of his aunt who was a victim of domestic violence. Does this sound like a murderer? Unfortunately, Jimmy accidentally killed Kevin Smoot. He then drove off to

Like any other young girl, Martha looks up to her father. She passionately believes in everything he says. She views him as a loving father who would never steer her in the wrong direction. The students view her father as a crazy, sexist pig who is going to hell.

Martha was often criticized and teased for being the daughter of a crazy preacher. This article made me feel bad for her. Being ostracized because of your beliefs is horrible. The students made her feel like she was no where near normal compared to them.

I feel bad for her because feeling like the “odd man out” is the worst possible feeling. Towards the end of the article I felt relief because the crowed goes from looking her like a weird, christian, jesus freak to a normal girl who plays halo, and goes on facebook, just like them. Often times approval from peers is what people need most. I was happy to see that in the end, Martha got the approval that she wanted.

Jimmy Wilson’s story was particularly shocking. This story was about a football player at the University of Montana. An all-american football candidate, also murderer? Not a very typical combination

Jimmy Wilson was a excited for all of his future college experiences, and triumphs on the football field. On his last night at home, after his last home cooked meal, Jimmy got word that his aunt was a victim of domestic violence.

Jimmy rushed to her defense. His heroic acts will later change his life forever. When he arrived at his aunt’s house, Jimmy encountered Kevin Smoot. Kevin was pointing an AK-47 right at Jimmy’s chest. In a fight for survival, Jimmy accidentally killed Kevin. Immediately after, Jimmy drove off to Montana.

The guilt got to Jimmy, causing him to turn himself in. This gave way to years of sleepless nights in a jail cell, and countless trials. This was shocking because I could never see an all-american football player killing someone. I thought he had a bright future ahead of him. Turning himself in turned his entire life upside down.

I enjoyed this story because of the way Roman Stubbs wrote it. He was very descriptive in the way he described Jimmy’s daily jail activities, and his rituals. Then, when his jail cell got flooded, Jimmy broke his ritual and stayed up all night cleaning the urine and feces. Hours later he was a free man after sweating it out through many trials.

I thought this story was extremely well written and compelling.

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Women of Troy

A once thriving, and industrial city is now a place of famine, and poverty. Troy, New York is a place where young women and their children go from house to house with no stability. 1/5 of the population of Troy lives below the poverty line. This is a way of life in Troy, everyone is on the same boat.

Men are not a common sight in Troy, but their presence is everywhere. Teen pregnancy runs ramped. Billy Jean had three children, each with different fathers. She went to the annual flag day parade with her children in hopes of snagging her ex boyfriend back from his new girlfriend. She even went as far as to say “If I had a gun I’d shoot that bitch.”

Personally, things like this make me sick to my stomach. Listening to their stories was hard, but seeing the average household in Troy was even more difficult. Seeing what these girls wear, and the example they set for their children was appalling. To have to go as far as to “shoot a bitch” for a man is disgusting. Billy Jean probably feels as if she needs a man for support. Women of Troy live off food stamps and temporary assistance. Their bedrooms are un-finished basements equipped with broken mattress on the floor. This mattress often times sleeps four or more people.

The most troubling thing to see was the living situation the children. They are crammed into small houses, or even basements. They breathe in clouds of cigarette smoke constantly. In my opinion, that’s not healthy. I feel as if the women just don’t care. Billy Jean was more concerned with posing for a picture for a stranger than getting her kids the juice that they were promised. I think it is morally wrong to put a child in such an unhealthy living condition. I understand that all of the women may not have the means to provide for their children, but the pictures make the girls look like they don’t even care about their kids at all.

The situation in Troy seems to be generational. This is sad because in society, women have come so far. Women have the capability of obtaining, and holding down a good job. I feel as if the women of Troy believe that is not possible for them. How are they supposed to better themselves if they don’t even try?

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This American Life- Notable Narrative March 21

For this week’s notable narrative, I chose a piece that was on the website thisamericanlife.org. Article number 420 is called “Neighborhood Watch.” It is all about neighbors and how the interact with each other. The stories embedded in this radio broadcast have a common theme; the kindness of those who surround us.

The first story was about a mail carrier. Personally, I never take the time to notice, or make conversation with my mail carrier. Surprisingly, mail carriers notice a lot more than you think. Oftentimes, they are put in terrible positions. This particular mail carrier was put in a position that questioned his morals. He was the witness of a fight gone almost fatal. He witnessed a pizza shop owner fighting his formal employee. He called 911. He later realized that the owner of the pizza shop had been stabbed during the fight. Because of his valiant effort, the mail carrier was named “Hero of the year” in 2008 in the mail carriers magazine.

This brings an interesting question to my mind. Would I do the same thing? If I were in that situation would someone help me? I really hope so. I like to think that I would get the same treatment that I give other people. I personally relate to the mail carrier because I have called 911 for someone before. At home, development is on both sides of the street, it strattles a major road. Due to the high traffic volume, there are many car accidents at the intersection of my street and the main road. My backyard is on the corner, so I can often hear traffic from the intersection. While I was home for spring break, I had a “mail carrier experience.” I had just gotten home from getting my ashes with my cousin and brother. We were eating our sicilian pizza, laughing, and in the middle of a conversation when all of a sudden we heard a LOUD crash! We ran out of my back door towards the intersection. We heard a woman scream. After seeing a three car accident we immediately raced  back into the house to call 911. I related to the mailman in this case because the victims in the accident clearly needed help. I didn’t have to run outside or call 911, but I did. I could only hope that someone else would do the same thing for me.

To listen to this radio cast go to http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/420/neighborhood-watch

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StoryCorp Blog Post

The site Storycorps.com has hundreds of amazing stories. After reading through countless stories, a select few stuck out to me. I gravitated towards stories pertaining to 9/11/01. I attribute this gravitation to my personal connection with 9/11. Growing up in a suburb of NYC, many of my friends, family, and even my parents worked in Manhattan at the time.

I think it is safe to say that anyone who was alive during 9/11 can vividly recall where they were, who they were with and what was going on when they became aware of the two plans that crashed into the World Trade Center.  For me, it was a beautiful, warm sunny, almost summer-like day. I was sitting in Mrs Colao’s 5th grade classroom and after the clock struck 10:00 many my fellow classmates began to leave school early. One by one the seats were vacated, and the classroom began to empty. Every time I asked why my friends were leaving, they said, “I don’t know, or I’m not sure.”

The hardest part of September 11th came after school. I got off the bus to find both of my parents home sitting in front of the TV crying. The entire country was feeling pain and sorrow. I can’t imagine the pain that Antonia Landraf and Matthew Gambale were feeling in the late night hours of 9/11. The two were waiting for their sister Giovanna, affectionately known as “Gennie” to come home from work. Gennie was working for Cantor Fitzgerald at the time. She was located on the 105th floor in Tower One. Antonia was at the World Trade Center that day as well. Fortunately for her, she was on the 5th floor of 4 World Trade Center and got out safely. “Like a lot of families, we had the missing posters up.” They just kept waiting for Gennie to come home.

“We pretty much canvased the city, hanging up those posers everywhere,” said Matthew Gamble, brother of Genna Gamble. The posters brought a little light to a very dark, and solemn time. People just kept calling the Gamble family home, not with information, but with thoughts and prayers. “There were candlelight vigils in front of our stoop, police would come and block off the street. Everyone would just come and pray, and I think that moved me the most.” Antonia found comfort in the community coming together to love and support her family at such a hard time in their lives.

A story with a happy ending was especially refreshing in my opinion because nine years later, I personally returned to ground zero on September 11th 2010. Even though time went on and people returned to their daily routines, many were still grieving. It was a sunny but chilly morning. Cops were present on every street corner, and on near by rooftops. Hundreds of people lined the streets with pictures, signs, and flowers for their loved ones. Many even wore tee shirts with the faces of 9/11 victims printed on them. I went with my boyfriend and his family to support him as he read the names of those who had fallen during the attacks on 9/11. Joe lost his father who was working for Canter Fitzgerald as well. Although he does not like to talk about it, I believe that he was feeling many of the same emotions that the Gamble family was feeling. What happened to them was a horrible tragedy and I greatly respect them for finding comfort in their community.

To listen to the Gamble’s story go to http://storycorps.org/listen/stories/antonia-landgraf-and-matthew-gambale/

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Intended Consequences

http://mediastorm.com/publication/intended-consequences

The video previously viewed in class entitled “Intended Consequences” was a story of the suffering of the Tutsi women in Rwanda, Africa. Beginning on April 7, 1994, 800,000 people were killed over a span of one hundred days. After the first week, the Hutu began to broadcast the message “All Tutsi will perish.” They launched a genocide campaign that would change the lives of thousands forever. The scars still remain.

The purpose of this video, is not to shed light on the number of dead people, but to tell the stories of those who survived. On the third day of the genocide campaign, the Hutu did not kill any Tutsis; all of the women were raped that day.

One particularly shocking story was Olivia’s story. She survived because she found a sanctuary in a church. The church was raided on the third day. All of the women who were hiding out in the church were raped. Olivia’s story is appalling because five different men raped her in front of her children.

The Hutu use the word “marry” instead of using the word rape.

Another story that stuck out to me was Marie’s story. Not only was she raped, but she was beaten as well. After she got “married” she was left there unconscious. After finding refuge in her uncle’s home, she found out that she was pregnant. Not only did she have to endure the brutal beating and rape, but also she had to live with the consequences forever.

I believe that this video is a cry for help. It was meant to show how brutal the genocide campaign was. It is shocking that the international community was essentially unresponsive. It is baffling that human beings could be so cruel and do such horrible things to other based on their ethnicity.

 

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Up in Smoke

Up in Smoke is the story of a woman battling lung cancer. Helen was a people pleaser who was always laughing and loved to dance. She surrounded herself with beautiful flowers, and was always happy. She lived a happy, and fulfilled life until she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

 

Helen tried her first cigarette in 1945 at the age of 15. Sixty-five years later, she was still smoking on a daily basis. “Her face was a road map to a long time smoker.” As time went on she said that she quit, but never really did. Helen used to hide her cigarettes under her tee shirts in her drawer.

 

The lies did not stop there with Helen. Even when she was at the doctor, she lied. She told the doctor that she had never smoked in her entire life. Her doctor could tell she was a smoker just by looking at her, but Helen insisted on lying.

 

Helen also brought her son into her lies. After getting the call from the doctor, her son confirmed Helen’s lie with the doctor. He said his mother had never smoked in her life.

 

The author of the story was Helen’s daughter in law. In the article, she expressed her feelings towards Helen’s situation. She was especially distraught over the lies that were told to the doctor. She wrote in the article how a balance between honesty and dignity is hard to find in a terminal illness.

 

The author starts the article off with resentment towards Helen’s lies, but in the end she had hoped that Helen was in a good place, no longer feeling scared and unprotected. She hoped that Helen was in a garden somewhere, finally at peace.

After reading this article I felt like it was written from the heart. A terminal illness like lung cancer is extremely hard to deal with.

 

Also, I realized the importance of the patient’s desire to fight cancer. I believe that Helen always wanted to smoke cigarettes, even though she knew that they could kill her. I do not believe that she wanted help. In the end, Helen lied to live life the way she wanted to.

 

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Why we couldn’t Save Nicole

“Why we couldn’t save Nicole” was an insightful story told through the eyes of the struggling parent of an addict. Addiction is a serious disease that many are effected by, more people than you think. Addiction changes the entire personality of the diseased person. Her mother described Nicole, one of her four children as “a fun loving daughter.”

Nicole was battling her heroin addiction for a long-time, later seeking help from her parents. Unfortunately, their help had little effect on Nicole.

Her Mom wrote this article in hopes of helping other families who are dealing with addicts. This article sheds light on the challenge of getting professional help. Nicole’s family was told, “An addict can get help faster if he commits a crime than if he just asks for help.” It is extremely difficult to find affordable treatment centers, especially with out insurance. Unfortunately, Nicole did not have insurance. Even a trip to the emergency room did not get Nicole into the type of treatment centers she needed.

Contrary to popular belief, “detox is viewed separately from the treatment system.” Many treatment centers, and hospitals do not offer detox. Often times, addicts do not get the right type of attention because emergency rooms usually do not have addiction experts.

Ultimately Nicole lost her fight with heroin addiction. She was found dead on the beach. Alcohol, cocaine and methadone were found in Nicole’s system. Frederick County police officers told Nicole’s mother that she had been dead for two days before being found.

This is one of the saddest articles that I have ever read. Personally, I was unaware of the difficulty faced when seeking an addiction treatment center.

I felt a personal connection to this article; my childhood best friend was an addict. She suffered addictions to marijuana, oxycodone, and Xanax. Brooke and I grew up together. As little girls we had dreams going to college, and eventually being the hosts of E! News.

As high school approached, Brooke began to change. She became secretive and never wanted to spend time together, her entire personality changed. She began to drastically thin out; this was a result of anorexia, bulimia, and the drugs. Brooke was constantly in and out of therapy, addiction programs, and out patient rehab. This vicious cycle went on for three years.

Brooke clearly exhibited all of the characteristics of an addict. Never having dealt with addict before, her parents were uncertain on what to do, this is very similar to Nicole’s story.

The summer before our senior year, Brooke’s life changed forever. She got into a head on collision while driving under the influence. Brooke and the other parties involved survived the collision with a few injuries.

Almost immediately after the accident, Brooke was shipped off to a detox center in Texas; from there she was referred to another center in Florida where she is currently residing. She is scheduled to move into a half way with other recovering addicts in the near future.

Reading this article made me realize how lucky Brooke is to be alive. Both stories stress the importance of getting treated for addiction.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2008/10/06/VI2008100602323.html

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