We Need To Talk About Mark Salling And Pedophilia

We Need To Talk About Mark Salling And Pedophilia

His crimes are by all accounts horrendous, but he is still a human being, and we need to change the discussion surrounding crimes of this nature if we ever hope to make change.
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This past week, actor Mark Salling, best known for his role as Noah Puckerman in the musical TV show "Glee" –– was found dead from apparent suicide. He had formerly been convicted of several counts of possession of child pornography and had pled guilty to the charges. He was awaiting sentencing, which would likely occur in March.

Many people took to Twitter to voice their grief or outrage at others' grief. Some took it as an opportunity to talk about mental health, while others thought the focus should remain on Sallings' victims and his crimes.

While it makes me uncomfortable to see people tweeting about the loss of Mark Salling –– or Noah Puckerman, as most have been referring to him –– without seemingly any level of awareness of his crimes, it also makes me very uncomfortable seeing people act as though his crimes detract from his humanity. No matter the crime, a human is still a human, and that’s something that we as a society often forget or disregard in discussions of the criminal justice system (especially with prison conditions and the death penalty) with alarming frequency.

Also, while yes this happened right before sentencing, I have to imagine this was an ongoing mental health struggle with which Salling had been dealing well before his crimes were brought to light, especially given the nature of his crime, which is very often coupled with mental health troubles.

Further, and this is more disconnected from his suicide but still connected to the discussion as a whole, we need to provide some sort of resources and counseling to people afflicted with sexual affectations toward children.

It is qualified as a mental health problem by the APA and is not something people can choose. Obviously that in ABSOLUTELY NO WAY excuses his (or anyone’s) crime, nor does it lessen the horrifying effects on his and others’ victims.

But other countries have found substantial levels of success when pedophiles are able to speak to some kind of counselor or therapist about their sexual urges without fear of ostracism or shame. Many of these same countries also offer the (voluntary) option of chemical castration or drug treatment to reduce those sexual urges, which has also shown levels of success.

That’s something the US should look into if we ever hope to actually affect change for potential future victims of this sort of sexual exploitation and abuse, rather than just hoping eventually all of the perpetrators are in prison. Even the seemingly worst among us, such as pedophiles, are still human and are therefore capable, at least potentially, of being rehabilitated.

And when we completely dehumanize them to the point that we often do, it becomes counterproductive because we don’t ever reach any real solutions, and we make it even more likely that the vast majority of pedophiles who never act on their urges will be too frightened to seek help.

Suicide is bad. Pedophilia is bad. Dehumanization is also bad.

These statements don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney
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The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

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A Look at Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express"

A great read for the mystery lover

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Even those who are not avid readers may have heard of Agatha Christie; famous mystery author. Recently I had the pleasure of reading her story "Murder on the Orient Express". I chose this book for two reasons. The first being interest in the movie that came out fairly recently, and the second because I had seen the show "Poirot" and decided I was interested in anything that involved the mustached detective.

While I can't speak for the movie (since I haven't seen it), the book lived up to my expectations. The plot is simple; detective Hercule Poirot ends up headed through Europe when a sudden snowstorm brings it to a halt. The passengers on the train discover the next day that among them, a man has been stabbed to death in his own cabin.

At surface level, this may seem like a typical who-dun-it situation, but, and without giving too much of the mystery away, it becomes clear by the end of the story that it is not quite what you were expecting. By the time the mystery was revealed, I was frantically flipping pages.

While some criticize Agatha Christie for having somewhat formulaic characters, I did not find that to be the case with this story. The characters you are meant to root for are very much likeable and have distinct personalities, while the character the audience is meant to hate, the infamous Edward Ratchet, the murdered man who ironically himself committed the heinous murder of a young child, is easy to dislike.

The final twist to the story definitely does it justice. And while I haven't seen the movie yet, I would recommend reading the book before seeing any film versions of this mystery. It is a story I have found myself reading multiple times, to spot the clues I missed out on the first time around. Any murder mystery, in my opinion, should be an interactive experience, with the reader being able to play detective themselves if they so wished, and this novel was no exception. Upon reading the story again, it was clear that one could solve it on their own if they so wished.

But then again, not everyone has Hercule Poirot's little grey cells.

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