Students React to Summer News Events

Brady Humphrey, Staff Writer

Over the three and a half months that students were on summer vacation, there were many news stories that made headlines, at both the local and national level. In the age of digital media, these stories have become more accessible. What could be overlooked, however, are people’s reactions to these various events.

While catching up with students at the beginning of semester, The Tangerine asked what news events stuck out to them during the summer break.

One event of local importance took place on Aug. 13 when President Donald Trump visited Utica to help Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) raise funds towards her re-election campaign. His arrival was met by both supporters and protestors.

“Honestly, I was kind of indifferent,” senior Mary Elizabeth Boswell said. “I heard he was coming and immediately assumed people were going to come out to protest, but that was it. In my opinion, being annoyed or mad about it would be a waste of breath.”

While Boswell did make a sign for the protests, she said she did it just because her mom asked her to.

“She wanted me to go to the rally with her, and a bunch of my friends were trying to talk me into it, but it’s just not really my thing,” Boswell said.

Boswell acknowledges that her views of the event are rather jaded, but thinks it was good to see how many people in the area came out to stand with each other.

“I’ll admit, I’m not the most well educated on political events,” Boswell said. “To me, it just seemed like people were coming out for the sole purpose to express dissatisfaction. It wasn’t a Black Lives Matter rally or a Women’s March; there was no direct goal of raising awareness for anything. People already have their minds made up on these kinds of topics and are so resistant to change because of it. Both sides are just as guilty of it.”

A similar scenario took place in Portland, Oregon when right-wing demonstrators and anti-fascist protesters clashed at a rally on August 5. John Blashke, a junior, felt that this interaction raises the question of freedom of speech in 2018.

“I think it’s strange how everybody is arguing over free speech, but their ideologies keep them from actually accomplishing anything,” Blashke said. “It’s not as simple as one side being completely right and the other has no merit, but these groups have adopted a mentality and it’s caused nothing but more animosity between them, even though they’re both fighting for their First Amendment rights.”

Blashke explained how many have different opinions on what free speech is and what it pertains to.

“These two group’s ideologies try to make it simpler than it actually is,” Blashke continues. “Since they can’t truly grasp the concept of it they have skewed opinions that leads to the clashes like the one in Oregon.”

In other national news, an event that is still fresh in the minds of most news junkies is the Chris Watts story. Watts is the Colorado man who allegedly killed his pregnant wife after she supposedly strangled their two daughters.

Sam Atkins, a junior, described watching the initial interviews of Watts. Atkins said he was curious about why this happened and wanted to know more about his motive.

Based on those interviews, there had been an emotional conversation in the preceding days which resulted in his wife, Shanann, apparently leaving without most of her personal belongings.

“After seeing [his interviews], my gut feeling was that he murdered them,” Atkins said. “Then a few days later, I saw that he was accused of their murder.”

Atkins wonders about what his psychological condition is from going to work that day like nothing had happened, then days later confessing that he only killed his wife.

“Being told this pregnant women and her two kids had vanished seemed crazy,” he said. “Trying to pull this over would be very hard since there was no evidence of any kidnapping, breaking and entering, no weapons or blood and no real motive for his wife to strangle her own kids. So much for living the ‘perfect’ life like their neighbors say.”

In international news, Prince Harry of England and Meghan Markle were married at Windsor Castle on May 19. Alana Wielgosz, a senior and self-proclaimed wedding enthusiast, was nearly as excited for the royal wedding as the people that were actually getting married.

“I actually cried at a few points,” Wielgosz said. “The entire ceremony was just so beautiful and well planned.”

For Wielgosz, the thing she found most moving about the entire event was the inclusive nature of the wedding, with the minister, the soul choir and the cellist all being black, as well as incorporating elements of Markle’s religion into the ceremony. Besides seeing the royal couple looking happy together, she greatly enjoyed the cellist’s performance and found the queen’s lack of enthusiasm to be equally entertaining.

“Even a week after, there were still so much memorabilia around England,” said Wielgosz, whose cousin had gotten married in England a week following the royal wedding.

“There were pictures posted everywhere, the line of tourists trying to get into Windsor Castle was over three hours long, and there were royal flags hung on almost every street,” she said.

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