Mother Drops Son in Cheetah Exhibit

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Cheetah observing deck at the Cleveland Metropark Zoo

A 2-year-old boy was recently dropped by his mother into the cheetah exhibit at the Cleveland Metropark Zoo. I’ve been to the zoo numerous times, since it’s fairly close to where I live. I’m guessing it was my public relations senses tingling when I heard this story, but I immediately wondered how the zoo was going to handle this incident. It’s not every day you hear of a child being dropped into a cheetah pit. Witnesses stated that the boy’s mother was dangling him over the railing and he must have slipped from her arms and fell about 10 feet into the exhibit.

Right after he fell, both parents went down to retrieve him and the cheetahs seemed to not even care the boy or his parents were down there (thank God). I think the family and the zoo are incredibly lucky that the cheetahs didn’t attack. This situation could have been a public relations nightmare if one of the family members had been injured or killed.

cleveland-cheetahIn capstone, we are discussing image repair and and crises. I would bet the zoo has various crisis plans for incidents such as this since they do have dangerous animals and I think they handled it appropriately. They kept the cheetah exhibit open, but closed the observation deck just to be safe. I would have most likely done the same thing. They also issued a statement stating that they are committed to the safety of their guests and workers and that’s why they closed the deck. If the cheetahs would have attacked, then more serious measures would have been taken such as closing the exhibit all together and figuring out what might have triggered the aggression.

The witnesses also added a great deal of reassurance that it was not the zoos fault at all. And because of that, the mother has been charged with child endangerment and the father, although present, has not been charged.

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Witness Captures Murder on Cell Phone

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la-na-nn-michael-slager-south-carolina-bio-201-001I was on Facebook the other day, just scrolling through my news feed and came upon a video of a police officer shooting an African American man running away from him. I wasn’t too interested because I feel that’s all we see on social media now: police brutality. And to be honest, I didn’t want to watch someone get shot. As I continued to scroll, I noticed the same story and video at least five more times, so I decided to finally give in and click on it.

Apparently, officer Michael Slager pulled over victim Walter Scott for a broken taillight and for some reason (not specified) Scott fled from the scene. Feidin Santana recorded the entire thing once Slager and Scott were on the ground in what looked like a park area or a yard. Santana recalled in an interview with MSNBC that the officer had complete control of Scott.

Police had stated that Slager had used a taser on Scott and Slager said later that Scott had grabbed the taser as well. If you watch the video, you never see Scott with possession of the taser. Slager shot at Scott eight times before he went down. The video that I watched highlighted a small object being dropped by Scott’s body (taser) and he moved it closer to the body.

Santana went back and fourth between coming forward with the video or deleting it. He said he felt that his life was in danger with this kind of information. If I just saw someone get shot and caught it on camera, I would have felt the same way. If this police officer could shoot this man after he had complete control over him, what would stop him from shooting me since I have the evidence? If you were Santana, would you have done the same thing? I’ve seen so many videos of witnesses capturing acts of police brutality. If you ask me, that’s pretty risky.

What Does It Mean to Be “Like A Girl?”

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For my senior capstone class at Westminster, each of us has to choose a topic for our final research project. One of my classmates is doing the Always “Like A Girl” campaign. It’s about time I chime in on this topic of what it means to be “like a girl.”

I have been playing sports since I could walk basically. They have been a major part of my life and I honestly can’t imagine my life without athletics. When someone uses the phrase “like a girl,” I automatically get mad. Not every boy or girl is athletic, but even boys can be titled as doing something “like a girl.” A great example would be two brothers fighting about something and one saying to the other that they “hit like a girl.”

I don’t think there is any way to really get around it. Of course, women professional athletes aren’t seen as weak or doing something “like a girl,” but even I have been told I have done something like a girl would. You know what? I am a girl and girls in my opinio0049285001339146465n can do tougher than some guys. Look at UFC Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey. If that’s hitting like a girl then sign me up! She could beat up any guy with one hand tied behind her back.

There are a few different Always commercials in the campaign, but the one above I think is the best one. I love the contrast between the older children and the younger ones. I think it’s fantastic that the younger children ran like themselves, threw like themselves and fought like themselves. I worry though, that after puberty and when society tells them that doing something “like a girl” is bad, their thoughts might change. What does that say about our society? How poorly we shape these young minds. They go from pure to corrupted in a blink of an eye. How can we change that? If we can even change that.

 

 

Varsity Letter Taken Away From Special Needs Athlete

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I recently read an article on CNN about an athlete at East High School in Kansas who has Down Syndrome and Autism. It had recently been voted by the school board that he can no longer wear a varsity basketball letter on his jacket. Special needs student and athlete Michael Kelley regularly competes in extracurricular special needs basketball instead of varsity basketball for his high school.

ff31e849b31446978557d77df8dd8afb1-e1427407968839School principal Ken Thiessen stated that “teachers told the parents they would prefer he not wear the letter on his jacket.” Kelley had obtained the letter because his parents had bought it for him after he was recognized for being on the team, so technically he never earned it. I understand why the school is not allowing him to wear it because if you think about it, it’s like giving any student at the school a varsity letter and allowing him or her to wear it.

I also understand that schools are required to abide by particular policies, but I think they should make an exception for this boy. Regardless of his physical capabilities, he should be able to have the satisfaction of wearing the letter. He obviously loves the game and tried to be a part of it in any way possible.

In the news, we hear more about people helping students and athletes with special needs and not so much about people putting them down. I think that’s why this story shocked me a little bit. When I saw the picture, I was expecting a story about a special needs boy getting in the varsity game on his senior night or something. Definitely not about the school voting to take his letter away.

I believe this can be considered unfair treatment. It seems to me from reading different articles that these special needs students, at this high school anyway, have almost no chance to earn a varsity letter. The family had met with the former Athletic Director of Northwest High School, and he said that their policy clearly stated that special needs athletes can earn varsity letters, and that’s how it should be. What would your decision be if you were on the school board? Keep in mind the school policies. Would you motion to change the policies to allow special needs athletes to earn varsity letters?

The CNN article contains a little information on the incident. To read more about it, the local news station published a longer story with more details. Click here >

 

 

Dance the Dance

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This evening, I attended Westminster’s opening night of Dance Theater, which is an organization on campus where students come together and dance. The students are the choreographers and the students are in charge of putting on an amazing show in the spring each year. Every year, I am just amazed by how talented these young women are.

I started dancing when I was four-years-old with your typical gymnastics, tap and ballet classes. Once I got older, I tried more and more things. Dance to me was my outlet. If I had a bad day at school, going to dance class later that day would wipe away whatever I was worrying about in my life. Obviously, the life of a four-year-old wasn’t hard, but in middle school and high school, it was my chance to get away; to find myself. It gave me a great appreciation for all types of music because the different ways you could move your body to them.

3193100_origI wish I never would have stopped dancing. Some days I think about going into the dance studio on campus and just dance my problems and stress away like I used to. That might have worked when I was 12, but now in the adult world I’ve come to realize it’s not that simple. Sometimes the stress doesn’t go away, or it might leave for a day or two, then come right back, slapping you in the face.

Graduation is closing in and it’s safe to say that my stress might be at an all-time high. I may need to explore some new outlets for channeling my stress like dancing used to. Many people workout or go running, but it’s almost the calmness of dance movements that put me in the clouds. All I can say is that I’m incredibly thankful for the 14 years I was able to dance and express myself through the music.

Whether it’s in your basement or living room, or on a stage in front of tons of people, I think everyone should dance. You don’t have to be great at it. Heck, you don’t even have to have a lick of rhythm in you. Just dance. This is extremely cheesy, but dance to free your soul. That’s exactly what it feels like to get lost in the music. That’s what I miss most. That adrenaline of standing on stage with everyone’s eyes on you, then the music starts and their faces fade away and you almost forget you’re being watched.

After writing this post, I may have to take up dancing again!!

 

How Can I Have It All?

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I recently read a memo posted on the 10th of this month by Google CFO Patrick Pichette discussing his retirement. I found it interesting because he didn’t simply say “oh I’m retiring because I don’t feel like working anymore” or something. He’s 52-years-old and decided that the best way to create a great work/life balance was to retire from Google and travel the world (if we could all be so lucky).

Before I read it, I thought I was going to be presented with the secret to creating a work/life balance, but instead the message that I received was: “quit my job and I’ll be happy.”

Pichette can make his own choices obviously, and I think it’s incredible that he has the opportunity to retire at this point in his life and spend time with his wife traveling the globe. At the same time, it makes me wonder what I will have to do to create that balance in my life. I can’t simply quit my job when I’m 30 because I want have a better social life. So what can we do when we reach a certain point in our careers to still make time to live our lives outside of the office?

At the end of Pichette’s memo he wrote “Carpe Diem.” In one of my all-time favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams lectures his class on seizing the day and living life to the fullest. He’s 100% right! We may have demanding jobs and forced to work more than ever imagined, but we need to remember that we were not placed on this earth to work our lives away. Yes, working is an important part of our lives, but another important part is to truly live. I want to find the secret to creating that ultimate balance so I can say I LIVED my life. I seized the day, everyday.

Dead Poets Society – Carpe Diem

Same-Sex Marriage Updates

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On February 9th, I posted about Alabama being added to the list of states allowing same-sex marriages.

Yesterday morning however, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Judges now have five business days to respond to the order.

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Personally, I don’t think it’s right to pass the law allowing same-sex marriages, then take it away just like that. All of these couples get their hopes up and are finally able to tie the knot, then in a blink of an eye their dreams are crushed.

Nebraska was also just added to the list of states allowing same-sex marriages.

The photo to the right was tweeted on Monday, March 2nd by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska congratulating the state for it’s progression.

There are now only 12 states that do not allow same-sex marriages (not including the recent ban in Alabama):

  1. ArkansasB_GX5_vVAAAdBGZ.jpg_large
  2. Georgia
  3. Louisiana
  4. Kentucky
  5. Michigan
  6. Missouri
  7. Mississippi
  8. North Dakota
  9. South Dakota
  10. Texas
  11. Ohio
  12. Tennessee

According the article linked in the above paragraph, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee should be deciding sometime in June whether to lift the ban or not. I think it’s great that more and more states are lifting the ban on same-sex marriages. I understand that in the Bible, it is stated that the bond of marriage is between a man and a woman and nothing else.

Genesis 2:23-24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. God created man and then made woman to complement him.”

What I really think everyone needs to realize is that people have changed. Our society has changed. We might not like or want to accept the changes, but it’s going to happen regardless.

Social Media Is Our Friend

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Social media is a huge and important part of our society now and most companies are pretty active on it whether it’s for a product, service or cause. Many public relations campaigns are carried out on social media because the company knows it will be seen. There are many successful and unsuccessful campaigns just in the last year. What I want to know is, why do some work and some don’t?

0818_ice_bucket_challenge_970-630x420Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example. It started with a baseball player nominating some friends and it grew into this worldwide campaign for raising money for ALS. It took a while to really make its mark on social media, but once it did it spread like wild fire. It got people talking; news stations, talk shows, celebrities and athletes everywhere were talking about the Ice Bucket Challenge. Just from these viral videos, the ALS Foundation received $31.5 million between July 29 and August 30. That is an insane amount of money in such a short period of time. All together, the challenge gave the foundation over $115 million! Although I do realize that it was not created for PR efforts, but I still see it as one of the most successful campaigns of 2014.

dog-on-tinder-profile1Another PR stunt worth mentioning was one that I didn’t actually hear much about while it was happening, but more after the fact, was Tinder. Tinder the famous dating app partnered with animal rescue groups and created profiles for puppies in need of homes. Whoever thought of that is a genius! First off, everyone loves dogs and secondly, I think it was time for Tinder to have more of a positive reputation. I have never used Tinder and I think it sounds a bit weird. I’ve heard the stories and I don’t want any part of it. If I am ever looking for a dog, I might go on Tinder and see if I can find a match!

really-cosby-memeI mentioned Bill Cosby in one of my previous posts about Eddie Murphy. After the rape allegations came to light, Cosby’s marketing team thought it would be a great idea to tweet “Go ahead, meme me!” with a picture of him. There was an online generator people were using to create these memes, but was soon shut down due to the language people were using. Then the hashtag #Cosbymeme became popular.

 

So…What Color Is It?

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536676_1280x720Last night I was on my way back to campus from my PAC Track and Field Indoor Championship, when someone hands me their phone and asks “what color is this dress?” I immediately said “well, white and gold of course!” The five people around me were stunned because they said the dress was black and blue.

At first, I thought they were messing with me, and for a second, I started to think I was going insane and didn’t know my colors. They thought the same when I gave my answer. We continued to pass the phone around the bus to see what everyone else had to say. It was a pretty entertaining bus ride to say the least.

As I was getting ready for class this morning, I hopped on social media and saw nothing but this dress and people talking about it. I saw a few articles containing facts and explanations from scientists telling us why some people see white and gold and some see black and blue.

My boyfriend looked at the picture this morning and saw white and gold. I just showed it to him again and he saw it as black and blue. Needless to say, he’s a little freaked out!

Which_ColourThe photograph above was taken from the site linked in the paragraph above. The middle photograph is the original and the right and left pictures have had white balance adjustments added. Some articles argue that the dress is actually white and gold, while others are 100% certain that the white is indeed blue. Maybe we will never find out….

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‘American Sniper’ Trial Reaches Verdict

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ctm0210american-sniper342773640x360 A book and now a very successful film, American Sniper has captured the attention of many. Chris Kyle, a former NAVY Seal author of the book and who the film is based on, is said to be the most deadly sniper in U.S. history. The family and friends of Kyle have been in the media for some time now for another reason: the trial for the murder of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.

chris_chadOn February 2, 2013, Kyle and friend Chad Littlefield were shot and killed at a Texas gun range by Eddie Ray Routh, a former Marine. He first pleaded not-guilty, but the night of the murder he had confessed to shooting the two men. Something is definitely mentally wrong with this man. He was convinced that he was in danger and that the two men were not even human.

The families of Kyle and Littlefield are relieved that finally the murderer was brought to justice. It’s a shame that a man such as Kyle went through everything that he did in Iraq and died the way he did.

Routh is said to be suffering from several mental disorders including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A story done by CNN reviewed several statements made by Routh and they all reveal that there are perplexing things going on in this man’s mind.

Routh had three options as far as verdicts go: guilty, not guilty, or guilty by reason of insanity. Some say he knew right from wrong and that he was completely sane when he committed the crime. Others believe him to be insane.

In the end, the Jury wasn’t buying the insanity card; they found him guilty of capital murder. I think the jury was right to make the decision they did. He might have had voices in his head or some strange, preconceived notions about what the men were actually doing, but he knew exactly what he was doing. The reasons why he did it were extremely odd, but he knew he wanted to shoot and kill them.

Should Routh have been convicted guilty by reason of insanity? He definitely has some problems based on the evidence.