A typical day by M. Kaz

What to like on Instagram
Kennedy woke up early. She didn’t really have a reason to, being the most utterly boring person in her grade with few after school activities. Naturally, she changed out of her pajamas and put on her jeans and oversized sweater before brushing her teeth and hair. She prepared some oatmeal with strawberries, bananas, peanut butter powder, and chocolate sauce. It was a really unhealthy combination and defeated the purpose of the oats, but it was still pleased her to eat it. As the porridge cooked, she scrolled through her Instagram feed, stopping every once in awhile to like a picture. She remembered that her older sister had once told her to “like every single picture in order to get more likes”when she saw her social media usage habits. Yet she still only liked the pictures she actually liked. Kennedy didn’t believe in showing appreciation to people who had ugly feeds.

Practice
She had to admit, but practice was, like, extremely hard today. Her legs burned from the continuous kicking and her arms felt like jelly slapping the surface of the water. Looking at the set was frightening enough, 4×400 IMs on the seven minute, but doing it was something else. She knew that there was probably billions of swimmers working harder and just swimming much faster than her, but what could she do to make herself faster? Swimming was just like thrashing arms and legs in the water, in order to, miraculously, move at a faster pace than others. Even Ally Howe had said that she broke a record by just “swimming fast.” Really. Fast swimmers weren’t experts at giving advice.

Programming
Her dad had forced her into it. He was sitting at his computer, intently staring down at her as she sat across the table. It took her only about 15 minutes to write the program. However, there were too many errors in it, or so said the computer. Each time she compiled the file, the screen just spewed out a page of errors. It was too dizzying to like at the blur of white and black font. And whenever she fixed one error, it just seemed like the errors would multiply. When she was finally able to run the program successfully, with no mistakes whatever, she was too exhausted to cheer. Instead, she celebrated her victory by slumping her head on the keyboard.

YouTube & Buzzfeed
Dark circles were already engraved under her eyes, but she still stared motionless at the screen as she watched the human on the screen progress into the realm of the digital world. She was in her favorite position for watching videos, comfortably nested under the layers of her comforter as she lay on her side staring at the tiny screen. The video stopped, so she looked away from the screen for a second. To rest her eyes, was her explanation. But it was really because half of her conscience had already died inside of her. A clip on the edge of her screen read, “we don’t talk anymore by JK”. She tapped the small icon, which brought her to a black screen. It was the most beautiful black screen she had ever watched. That night, it was Jungkook who sung her to sleep.

Grilled Cheese
The cheese had to be the cheap type, or then the grilled cheese wouldn’t be good and oily anymore. She was trying to explain this concept to her mom, who had insisted on getting a different type of cheese, “to enhance the taste”, as so she said. But Kennedy hated change. She hated not being able to know what to expect. And worst of all, she hated fancy cheeses and the snobby people who actually went to Europe to buy these. Really, she just wanted to stick to eating Colby Jack cheese.

Child Soldiers by Jason H. Curcio

Dear Reader,

You may be familiar with child soldiers being notorious for having been drafted, or volunteering, at a very young age. Their actions will depend on their childhood, depending on whether or not they had a hard time when they were young. As you may know, child soldiers are often seen as perpetrators. While that may be true for some cases, it is unfair for all of them to be seen as perpetrators even if some are innocent. It is really hard to generalize what child soldiers should be seen as, which is why it is good to have a middle ground. I am aware of your leadership in this country, which is why I want to request that a law is made for child soldiers which states that they should be given amnesty as long as they show remorse, and/or are under the age of 13. These two requirements create a middle ground and a fair trial for these children.

The parameters I’ve given should be enforced during the process of deciding whether or not a child is a perpetrator or innocent. Showing remorse is a good way reason to give a child amnesty because it shows that they know what they did was not good, and could be put through. a rehabilitation process. Some may think that showing remorse isn’t the right way of deciding because the children could easily lie, and get out of being prosecuted. This argument is illogical because lie detectors can be easily used to show the real truth behind a child’s words. If the child is not lying then they should be given amnesty and taken through a rehabilitation process. On the other hand, if they are lying then they should be prosecuted and given consequences. This method will ensure that the decisions made by the trial aren’t falsified. One case of a child not showing regret is when they enjoy killing. Emmanuel Jal is a child soldier, and has grown up knowing that killing is the right thing to do. He once said, “…In five years as a fighting boy, what was in my heart was to kill as many Muslims as possible.” This is obvious that he doesn’t mind killing at all, and shows little to no regret in his actions.

Another point of view that one could make would be that child soldiers are being forced into this war. An article on child soldiers uses a quote that talks about these children being pushed into fighting without their consent. The reporter says, “…and are pushed by their adult commanders into perpetrating atrocities.” A good point was made on this quote which was that these children aren’t looking at the bigger picture when committing these crimes. They aren’t thinking about the victims of their actions. If they are not prosecuted, then they will be standing right by more potential victims. It is important to acknowledge that child soldiers have to be looked at individually, or else the guidelines of prosecution could be too general for the individual case. Looking at each case will extend the amount of time needed to make a decision, and can drag out the process. This is inefficient and time consuming which is not the right choice assuming there are a lot of child soldiers cases.

A child’s age can directly affect their actions, especially if they are young. One of the reasons being that they are very easily manipulated, and controlled when it comes to receiving orders. This makes them the perfect target for commanders because they know that the children will follow their orders. Ultimately these children have been taken away from their childhood which makes it easier to understand why they may be willing to fight. They are angry that their parents were left them or were killed, which makes it so that they can use that anger to kill other people.

To sum it up, I think child soldiers should be given amnesty, only under certain circumstances. It doesn’t make sense to prosecute a child that is 9 years old and was grown up knowing that killing should be rewarded. It simply isn’t the child’s fault if they don’t know the consequences of their actions. In every way, child soldiers are wrong to recruit, which is why it is so important that they are given a fair chance of showing they can function as a member of society. Being a citizen and knowing that there are potentially dangerous child soldiers all around you, is a scary thought.

Sincerely,

Jason H. Curcio

Child Soldiers Should Not Receive Amnesty by Seb

Dear General Public:

Child soldiers are being used more and more in recent wars. In many war-stricken, third-world countries, children volunteer to fight in deadly wars, often choosing to kill their own family to be accepted. It is my position that child soldiers captured by the U.S. should not be given amnesty, official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offense for the crimes they commit.
First of all, child soldiers are the same thing as child criminals. Child criminals are never given amnesty for the crimes they commit, so child soldiers shouldn’t be given amnesty either. To add on to that, child soldiers often commit crimes far worse than those committed by child criminals. Some may think that child soldiers should receive total amnesty because of their young age, but it turns out many soldiers know what they are doing when they go to the military looking to be signed. Child soldiers take lives, including the lives of people in their own family, and should be punished for it.
Giving child soldiers pardon would also be denying victims and their families justice. As stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) in Article 3 “[e]veryone has the right to… security of person.” This means anyone that violates someone’s security of person is considered a criminal under law, and should be prosecuted. Later in the UDHR, in Article 6, it states “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere before the law,” meaning that no matter who they were hurt or killed by, a victim still has the right to try anyone who committed a crime against them no matter who they are.
Finally, child soldiers should not be given amnesty before the law because if they are pardoned, will then begin to participate in worse crimes. When child soldiers begin to be not punished by the law for the crimes they commit, the military commanders will begin using them for the worst and most dangerous missions because the children won’t get punished. As stated by Stephen Leahy in the article “Prosecuting Child Soldiers For Their Own Safety,” not “prosecuting child perpetrators could indirectly expose child soldiers to greater risks, since military commanders might delegate the “dirtiest” orders to children because of their immunity from prosecution”. This will force children into positions that are worse than the ones many are currently kill, and will likely result in more deaths of both enemy troops and children, something that is negative.
All of this information proves that child soldiers should not be given amnesty for their own safety. If they aren’t they will be forced into positions that are worse than the ones they are already being put into. Giving captured child soldiers amnesty would also mean putting them out into the U.S., which could lead to terror attacks or the radicalization of other residents. It will also deny victims of the child soldiers justice, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Child soldiers must not be given amnesty in order to protect them, and protect the american people. Thank you for reading my essay on this highly controversial topic.

Sincerely,

Sebastian Solòrzano

Sebastian Solòrzano