Stop Saying Hannah Baker Overreacted

Stop Saying Hannah Baker Overreacted

Because that is not your call to make.

Bryce raped two people, Alex wrote a list. Sheri's actions killed somebody, Ryan published a poem. Justin allowed an assault to occur, Zach stole some notes. There are differences in magnitude which make people believe that there are differences in whether or not each action was "suicide-worthy". But regardless, every one of the actions played into Hannah Baker's decision to end her life.

Speaking objectively, assaulting two people is worse than ranking a woman on her body parts. Speaking objectively, being the reason somebody died is worse than publishing a personal poem. Speaking objectively, allowing a rape to occur is worse than stealing some notes. But you can't minimize somebody's pain because it doesn't seem that bad comparably. We don't live in the minds of others and we do not have the capacity to say what isn't "that bad" for somebody else.

Because for Hannah Baker, the list wasn't just a list. Being voted "Best Ass in the Freshman Class" may be something that you would have been able to brush off at your high school, or even a title you may have been excited to have. It wasn't that way for Hannah. She was a new student who had just been labeled the class slut for an out-of-context photo by a man she really liked. Her only friend abruptly ended their friendship because of the list. She was objectified, harassed and ridiculed because of it.

For Hannah Baker, a published poem wasn't just a published poem. It was her deepest, darkest thoughts broadcast for the whole school to see. And even though it was anonymous, the safe space that the poetry group gave her was obliterated. The trust in her new friend Ryan was gone. And either because her classmates actually thought it was her, or because in her declining mental state she believed they did, she felt embarrassed and vulnerable.

For Hannah Baker, some stolen notes weren't just stolen notes. They were her lifeline. They were the only source of kindness in a world that seemed to be entirely against her. They were a guaranteed smile in a day filled with sadness. And they were further proof that even the people who seemed kind and genuine were not.

Maybe if you were on that list, you could brush it off. Maybe if it was your poem, it wouldn't affect you. Maybe you wouldn't even notice your notes being gone. But seeing those things as "not that bad" is a luxury, a luxury Hannah did not have.

To pit Hannah's reasons against each other is to determine which things that happen to a person are worthy of them committing suicide. To say that she is overreacting on some of the tapes is to deny the fact that things can be more than they are on the surface. To let some of the characters off the hook by saying, "what they did wasn't as bad as someone else" is to say that lying and objectifying and destroying trust are okay, so long as someone else does something worse.

Alex wrote a list. Ryan published a poem. Zach stole some notes. But to Hannah, Alex wrote a list that ended a friendship and made her subject to harassment for the rest of her life. To Hannah, Ryan took away the only source of safety she had and destroyed the trust and vulnerability she finally had with somebody. To Hannah, Zach stole her safety net and let her continue spiraling into a depression.

To perpetuate the idea that Hannah overreacted is to perpetuate the idea that suicide is simple and there is a rational reason behind it. To tell others that their pain and suffering isn't valid because you don't believe the cause is "that bad". To essentially blame somebody taking their life on the inability to get over little things, when in reality they are so much larger and more complex than what they are on the surface. You do not get to determine how somebody should react to the things that happen in their life.

Hannah's life could not be saved, but fortunately she is just a character. Mental health and depression are scary and complex and sometimes there is nothing you can do. However, you can be kind to one another. You can be a good human. A few kind words, a helping hand or genuine concern could have saved Hannah's life, so use them to try and save someone else's.

If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: HerCampus

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10 Scenarios That Will Arise By Arming Teachers With Guns

We can't fight fire with fire.

Arming teachers with guns as a defense tactic during school shootings is NOT an effective solution. Arming teachers with guns can be defined as the opposite of a solution.

Arming teachers with guns would continue to feed the thought that school shootings are being accepted as a new "norm" and our only solution for survival is to fight like the enemy, gun to gun. This is not our only solution. This is not a norm that students want to accept. More problems than solutions will arise by assigning guns to teachers. One can not fight fire with fire - a greater explosion will arise.

These are just a couple, out of a billion and one, scenarios that will lead to that explosion.

1. A shooter cannot be easily identified by the police/law enforcement.

2. A "He said she said" situation will arise on who shot the initial bullet. What's the problem? Every shooting will now have more variables to evaluate and more deaths to count.

3. Physical fights among students are already dangerous, now an angry student can reach for his/her teacher's gun and win the fight.

4. Angry students WILL find a way to get a hold of their teacher’s guns if they really wanted to.

5. Aim. If teachers are under pressure, they may not be emotionally capable of accurately handling a gun.

Most teachers are passionate about teaching, they are not passionate shooters, hunters, or gunman. They do not want to go through gun handling courses just to go to work every day. By implementing gun handling courses, fewer people will work towards becoming teachers affecting the education in the United States.

6. “If my teacher can have a gun, I want to have a gun” mindset among students will eventually develop.

7. If that mindset develops, a new trend will arise and competition over which student has the "cooler gun" will develop as well.

In school, it’s all about who has what, who has the cooler version, etc. The more students begin to flash their guns, brag about them and play with them, accidental shootings will defiantly begin to occur.

8. The number of accidental shootings by both teachers and students will rise.

9. Guns equal easy, quick solutions for unfavorable situations.

If demands aren’t met, threats will be raised to higher and more dangerous levels.

10. Guns make people nervous.

We are human. Our minds don't make the greatest judgment decisions when under pressure or stress. With guns in teachers possession, teachers who already do not get paid enough will be taking on the jobs of law enforcement, politicians, and police. Not only will they feel the pressure to educate us, they will feel the constant pressure of protecting our lives, defending us and being aware of where their gun is at all times.

Cover Image Credit: School

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How The UK Finally Lost Its 70 Year Membership In The International Court Of Justice

It is a step in the right direction for the international community, as it reflects a shift in power at the UN away from the Security Council.

The United Kingdom has had a judge in the International Court of Justice since the ICJ was founded in 1945. This long-running membership ended with the 2017 ICJ elections, where the UK lost its International Court of Justice place to India. As of February 6th, 2018, this is the first time the International Court of Justice has been in session without a British member. The change has ended more than 70 years of British input. Five judges were up for re-election last year.

Britain’s judge, Sir Christopher Greenwood, was one of them, hoping to win re-election for his second 9-year term and he expected to win. The issue was created when Lebanon’s former ambassador decided to run unexpectedly and gained enough support that he took one of the seats that were reserved for Asia. This left 5 judges fighting for 4 seats. Since the Asian seat had already been taken, the Indian candidate, Dalveer Bhandari, challenged the UK and decided to run for the seat normally reserved for Europeans. The issue was that while the United Kingdom had the support of the Security Council, India had the support of the General Assembly. In order to secure a seat, a candidate must have majority support in both the Security Council and the General Assembly.

After a number of votes, there was a deadlock. The UK eventually backed away from the seat, fearing the competition would become too bitter and potentially disrupt the UK’s economic relations with India. The UK is viewing this as a foreign policy and diplomatic failure. In a report released by the cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee, it is stated that this will damage the UK’s international influence and future foreign policy strategy.

According to The National:

“'The committee has heard a number of possible reasons why the UK’s election campaign ended in failure. The most concerning was that it was an indication that the international standing of the UK was diminished, and specifically that there had been a fall in what Lord Hannay, former UK Permanent Representative to the UN, called the ‘trepidation index’- the extent to which countries worry about trampling on the UK’s toes.' Turning to Theresa May’s Brexit vision of 'Global Britain,' it says this 'must emphasize its commitment to the international rule of law, one of the UK’s strengths as a global player,' adding: 'This makes the loss of the UK judge particularly damaging, and worrying. It is bad enough that the UK will not have a judge for this term; a longer absence from the ICJ would be seriously damaging to UK interests.'”

Not only is this significant for the UK itself, but I believe it is a step in the right direction for the international community, as it reflects a shift in power at the UN away from the Security Council. Many members of the General Assembly resent the way the Security Council has so much power, particularly the five permanent members. The Group of 77, which represents a coalition of mostly developing nations, has long been pushing for greater influence. The victory of India over the United Kingdom in the ICJ election shows a shift in power that the G-77 are sure to be exceedingly happy with.

Cover Image Credit: Chris Brignola / Unsplash

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