I Will Never Forget Samantha Josephson's Name

I Pledge: We Will Never Forget Samantha Josephson's Name

"Don't ever forget her name." You will not. We will make sure of it.

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After a long week of classes, my friends and I just want to go out, see some friends, and have fun. A time to catch up and de-stress. We have fears sometimes about going out. Whether people will become too intoxicated around us, fights in bars, people making us uncomfortable... it is always in the back of our mind.

There is always the uncertainty of what is going to happen that night. We just know we want to have a good one.

Columbia, South Carolina, like any big city, has parts that are better and worse than others. With a huge state school right in the middle of the city, the diversity is vast amongst age and gender. On any day, there is a mix of college students with locals that are out and about in the city.

I love my university and the home it has become. I miss it more than ever now that I am abroad for a semester.

I am 4,565 miles away from Columbia, South Carolina. From more than four thousand miles away I can feel the pain, the love, the support, and the sense of community at my second home, the University of South Carolina, after a tragic event occurred involving the kidnapping and murder of a fellow Gamecock.

Too many nights I can recount myself or one of my friends taking a rideshare home alone. I thought nothing of it. Too many nights my friends and I were in the same area, standing on the same corner, coming out of the same bar unaware of the endless possibilities of events that could have occurred.

Unfortunately, it took the passing of a young girl to open my eyes to one of the many dangers around the world we have to face.

The time of me letting my friends' rideshare home alone is over. The time of "I'm fine, so it's fine that I go home" is over. Anyone can be nearly 100% OK, yet this can still happen.

Social media over the past few days has blown up with this story. On a national level, attention has been brought to this situation so that something like this never occurs again. We do not blame her friends for her going home alone. We do not blame her for choosing to leave alone. I know far too many people that have left that bar alone, and as someone said on Twitter, "by this logic, I deserve to be dead too."

As a female student at the University of South Carolina, I am scared. I am scared for my safety and my friends' safety. This could happen in any other city too. Columbia, SC, is not the only big college city in the world. We need to look out for ourselves and others.

I have talked to my mom every day since the incident regarding updates. She told me, "Don't obsess. it is horrible but continue to be safe and look out for your friends." My parents are devastated for this family.

We need not to be scared but more aware than we ever have been before. I wish it did not take a horrific incident like this to truly open my eyes to the evil in the world.

To the family and friends of Samantha Josephson, you will forever be in my thoughts.

To the sisters of the Alpha Gamma Delta chapter at USC, I am sending you all of the Panhellenic love possible during this time.

I pledge to make sure my friends and I are the safest we can be when out at night.

I pledge to always ask "WHAT IS MY NAME" to any rideshare we order.

I pledge to help never let this happen again.

I pledge, Samantha, to never let anyone forget your story.

I pledge to never let anyone forget your name.

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US Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Finds Camaraderie At Texas A&M

"At my alum, we were taught not to lie cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. Then I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses!"

- Mike Pompeo

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On Monday, April 15, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, visited Texas A&M; University in College Station. I was fortunate enough to attend and ask him (preselected and edited) questions in front of the audience.

Fair warning, this article may not be your typical journalistic article that reports on political figures. There are plenty of those out there that you can and should read! But for this article, let's spice things up; I want to paint a picture of my first time communicating with a globally authoritative entity, including how Pompeo presented himself and how that presentation was received by my home.

Tone-wise, the situation felt like it had a self-conscious sense of esteem to it - likely stemming from the fact that Pompeo graduated from a military academy and was currently speaking to a few hundred people at a school with similar ties to the military.

Despite the rigid stuffiness and the irrational feeling that I was going to get sniped by the Secret Service if I even looked at the Secretary wrong, I was still excited to get in there and shake things up. Bug-eyed and buzzing with the anticipation that politics gives me, I checked in with the press and media. I was ready to absorb the experience.

Here's a breakdown of all things Pompeo-town.

First impression: as Pompeo, a sizable and stoic former CIA Director, stomped out to the podium, I couldn't help but compare him to other politicians. You see, Pompeo is not known for his glamour or his magnetism. But this seemingly unpolitical quality actually worked for this particular audience.

A strong aspect of the culture at TAMU is our laud of the useful, plain, forthright things, stripped of the glitz and straight to the point. Henceforth, I came to the conclusion that Texas A&M; is the perfect place for the relatively uncharismatic Secretary of State to directly explain diplomacy. Moreover, he urged the mini-versions of him in the crowd to pursue diplomacy and "learn how to shut up" as he did.

Relating to the presence of the Corps of Cadets on our campus, Pompeo contends, "diplomacy and military strike go hand in hand." He furthers his pitch, "the State Department has a long history of hiring people with a military background. And Texas A&M;, with its great military history, could provide many great public service leaders just as West Point has done through the years."

As questions from the audience permitted, he discussed foreign policy. Everywhere from "the crisis in Venezuela" to "coalitions in Turkey" to "sanctions in North Korea" was brought up. For the most part, the audience seemed to be tracking with him, listening intently (with the exception of a couple of folks in the audience who tried to interrupt his lecture in order to inquire about immigration reform and the Muslim ban). A straight-shooter, Pompeo was received well by the university with only a few personal anecdotes and jokes.

He did, however, get some laughs for popping any bubbles of political idealism when he said, "At my alum, we were taught not to lie cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." (Fun fact: this phrase is also shared by Aggies!) He continues, "Then I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses!"

I don't mean to downplay Secretary Pompeo's charm. He made eye contact with me and every other interviewer, he greeted his listeners well, he skillfully subverted complex topics, and he spoke eloquently. But if today's political commentators argue that modern public servants prioritize style at the expense of substance - he would likely stand as the model antithesis to that statement, valuing substance over style in all matters.

As his time winded down, Pompeo stated that the reason why he does what he does, a laborer in the public sector, is to help the people of the United States, culturally and economically. The State Department currently justifies its existence with its diplomatic mission to aid developing countries in their journeys to becoming stable and democratic players in both the global village and the world market.

His parting words to us were, "I know that you all have a tremendous sense of duty, a tremendous sense of service. I hope that today that you can see that America's State Department is committed to living up to those standards."

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'House Of Horrors' Parents Sentenced To 25 To Life

The Turpin's were sentenced for their horrific crimes of child abuse.

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The house of David and Louse Turpin has been called "The House of Horrors" for a very good reason.

They plead guilty to the 14 counts of abuse and torture of their 12 children, ranging in age from 2 to 29. All of the children were reported to be seriously malnourished, except for the 2-year-old who seems to have been spared the abuse that their older siblings were enduring.

The horrific 911 call that sent police to their house was played in court, detailing the severity of their horrific living conditions, including being beaten, living in filth, starved, and never being allowed out of the house.

It was a blessing for the children that their parents plead guilty, as it spared them the difficulty of having to testify in court and relive the abuse. However, they were present at the courtroom during the sentencing and requested that police comfort dog Raider stays by their sides for the ordeal.

They were seen petting the dog throughout the day as the Judge and audience were regaled with all of the horrible details, including partial audio from the 911 call mentioned above. The eldest sibling did make a witness impact statement while staring down her parents who were just across the room.

The parents claimed that their homeschooling and "discipline" had the best intentions. The Judge, Bernard Schwartz called them "cruel and inhumane" for shackling, starving, and depriving their children of showers.

As they go to face a punishment that is fitting of their crime, the children begin for the first time to live normal lives and learn about themselves. While they have not spoken to their parents since their arrest about a year ago, and have said that they still suffer nightmares, they are doing their best to be survivors, not victims. Two of the children are said to be college, one for software engineering. They are going to movies and concerts, and one sibling has apparently become extremely good at Scrabble.

Their attorney, Jack Osborn, seems to be proud of his clients and speaks of their resilience.

I wish the Turpin children happiness as they begin their new life and am glad to see their parents jailed for their crimes.

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