The Use Of Tear Gas On Immigrants Crossing The Border Is Inhumane and Indefensible

The Use Of Tear Gas On Immigrants Crossing The Border Is Inhumane and Indefensible

"They use their children as shields. Disgusting." - Said by my dad to my horror while watching the news report this morning


If you missed the subheadline, this quote was thoughtlessly tossed out by my dad while we were watching the CBS news report on that viral image of a mother and her three children getting tear-gassed. This act of inhumanity by United States' authority figures is repugnant of the 1963 Birmingham protest, where African American teenagers who were peacefully protesting in Birmingham, Alabama were shot with high-pressure water hoses. In that instance, official's reaction to the Birmingham Protest was so deplorable, that the rest of the world stepped in to shame the United States. The intensity of that global pressure caused U.S. president John F. Kennedy to address the violence in his statement that "[t]he events in Birmingham... have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them" in tandem with his quick abolition of the state's Jim Crow Laws.

Yet, half a century later, my father dropped this awful line. I looked to my mom, to share a look of common understanding of how vile this comment was, but she just glanced at me from the corner of her eye and pretended not to notice.

Although this initial line struck a sharp shiver of surprise through me, it would prove to be the first of many I'd encounter today. In good taste, my friend had posted the Washington Post's article on the incident and I made the mistake of scrolling through the comments. Here are just a few:

screenshot by Shannon Solley

screenshot by Shannon Solley

screenshot by Shannon Solley

Cruel, cowardly and close-minded are just some of the words which come to mind while reading these absurdly hateful comments. Suddenly, after reading these statements, President Trump's supporters and their selfish mindsets are made clear. Each comment exhibits a similar theme: "It's not my problem." Yet, these individuals were so passionate that they went so far as to comment. Why not go on with their day? Trump is president, they will get their way— so why bother? Perhaps their estranged adult children refuse to speak to them, so in the dusty, stale air of their empty single houses they sit on their retirement money and lurk in the comment sections of popular articles they don't agree with; but I could be wrong— their children may very well call them once a month.

Luckily, U.S. society as a whole is not in agreement with this blatant child abuse. Like a breath of fresh air, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) put out several statements which condemned the retraumatization of children who tried to escape from the traumatic circumstances of their home country. Of most importance is the AAP's explanation of the dangers which face children exposed to tear gas:

"[c]hildren are uniquely vulnerable to physiological effects of chemical agents. A child's smaller size, more frequent number of breaths per minute and limited cardiovascular stress response compared to adults magnifies the harm of agents such as tear gas."

Unfortunately, only time will tell if the 60s era United States will be more proactive than our modern-day America. President Trump and his followers have walked us several steps back, so it's going to take some intense social pressure to walk us forward. It seems, however, that the world is maintaining the same indifference as my mother did this morning while bearing witness to this abuse of children and its supporters.

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10 Things You Should Know About The Jayme Closs Case

After 88 days in captivity, Jayme Closs, 13, has returned home.


On October 15, 2018, Jayme Closs' life was forever changed when Jake Patterson, 21, killed her father and mother and took Jayme from her home. Sparking national attention, the entire nation was on the lookout for the young girl, but it was not until January 10th, 2019 that Jayme was finally found. With nothing less than sheer bravery, Jayme managed to free herself from Patterson's home in Gordon, Wisconsin, nearly 70 miles from her home in Barron, Wisconsin. Patterson now faces double homicide, kidnapping, and burglary charges, adding up to more than a life sentence in prison. This case will now be written into our history books and Jayme will be forever known as an incredibly courageous and resilient young lady.

1. Jake Patterson, 21, singled out Jayme as "the girl he was going to take"

On the way to his new job at Saputo Cheese Factory in Almena, Wisconsin, Patterson found himself behind a school bus that stopped in front of the home of an unknown red-haired girl. He did not know this girl's name nor who else lived in the home, but he did determine one thing immediately, this was "the girl he was going to take."

2. Patterson killed both of Jayme's parents before kidnapping her

On October 15th, Patterson decided to carry out his plan to kidnap Jayme. Walking up the front door with the intention to force entry into the Closs' home, Patterson shot her father, James Closs when he answered the door. Jayme and her mother, Denise Closs, locked themselves in the bathroom after hearing the gunshots. After locating them inside the house, Patterson broke down the bathroom door where he found Denise holding Jayme in a bear hug. Patterson demanded that Denise put tape over her daughter's mouth, and after this demand was fulfilled, Patterson shot Denise Closs and took Jayme from her home.

3. Jake Patterson tried to kidnap Jayme two times previously

A week prior to October 15th, Patterson arrived at the Closs' home, but was scared off by seeing multiple cars in their driveway. A few days later, he visited the home again, but decided against carrying out his plan in that instance after seeing lights on and people walking around inside the home.

4. Jayme was trapped underneath a bed

Patterson tied Jayme's hands and ankles together and placed her in the trunk of her car. He then drove 70 miles before arriving at his home in Gordon, where he made Jayme hide under his bed and then proceeded to stack weighted laundry bins and totes around the bed so Jayme would be unable to escape. On several occasions, Patterson would force Jayme to stay under the bed for 12 hours straight without any food, water or bathroom breaks.

5. Jayme managed to free herself on January 10th, after 88 days in captivity

On January 10th, Patterson informed Jayme that he was going to be gone for around 5 hours. Jayme decided that this was her chance at freedom. She managed to push herself out from underneath the bed and escape the household. Luckily, Jeanne Nutter, a neighbor of Patterson, happened to be out walking her dog when Jayme escaped. Nutter, immediately putting the pieces together in her head, recognized Jayme and brought her to the home of Kristen and Peter Kasinskas while they called the police. Nutter decided against bringing Jayme to her own home because it was too close to Patterson's.

6. Patterson abused Jayme both physically and verbally

Patterson, a short-tempered man, constantly reminded Jayme that she was not to move out from underneath the bed without his permission. On one occasion, Patterson hit Jayme with a handle used to clean blinds and told her that the punishment would be much worse if she angered him again or tried to escape. Patterson would hit his fist against a wall and scream at Jayme when she tried to get out from underneath the bed "to the point where he knew she was scared and she knew that she better never try that again."

7. Patterson thought he had gotten away with it

After two weeks without being caught, Patterson determined that he had gotten away with the kidnapping and the double homicide. When Patterson returned home on January 10th to find that Jayme had escaped, he spent several minutes driving around looking for her. However, upon his arrival home, he was met by the police and he knew that he had been caught.

8. According to a high school friend, "there were no red flags"

Dylan Fisher, a high school friend of Patterson, stated that there was nothing overtly "off" about Patterson. He was on the quiz bowl team in high school and he loved his parents and his dog, much like other students. However, upon graduation, Patterson stated that he did not wish to keep in contact anymore and had no social media presence, but beyond that, Patterson created no cause for concern.

9. Patterson will face double homicide, kidnapping, and burglary charges

Patterson faces a mandatory life sentence in prison if convicted on either homicide charge along with a 40-year and 15-year sentence for kidnapping and burglary, respectively. His bail has been set at $5 million. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 6th.

10. Closs is now reunited with her family who will "give her all the love she needs"

Jayme Closs been reunited with her cousin Lindsey Smith and two of her aunts, Sue Allard and Lynn Closs who are beyond thrilled by her arrival home. It should come as no surprise that Jayme's recovery will not be easy. She is returning home to find her life completely changed, but Allard stated that they are "surrounding her with love and making sure she feels safe."

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5 Things We Could Fund Instead Of Funding The Wall

In case you missed it Mr. President and others who are pro-wall, you don't have to have tanned skin to be an illegal immigrant.


In case you've been living under a rock, a Florida man created a go-fund-me to help raise one billion dollars for the building of the wall on the United States and Mexico border. In regards to the border wall, there are plenty of arguments that go into the possible pros of the wall such as the wall will help decrease illegal immigration, help protect private property, and possibly save lives.

However, there are plenty of counter-arguments as to why the border wall is the worst idea in the world. One, there are plenty of other things that need fixing and funding before worrying about a dumb wall. If illegal immigration is such a concern, shouldn't we be fixing the system of becoming a citizen of the United States? Maybe we should be looking into reform rather than wasting tax-payer money on a wall that is only going to possibly help decrease illegal immigration from one country. In case you missed it Mr. President and others who are pro-wall, you don't have to have tanned skin to be an illegal immigrant.

In fact, there are plenty of other more pressing matters in the United States that could be fixed or on the road to being fixed if the government used the one billion dollars towards other causes. Here is a list of a few things we could fund instead and though this list is short, just let it be a way to spark ideas as to how your money can actually be used to benefit society instead of tearing it apart.

1. Flint Michigan's water.

The border wall go-fund-me is wanting to fund one billion dollars towards the wall. Estimated costs to fix Flint, Michigan's lead pipes an estimated $55 million. With the one billion dollars, we could fund Flint's pipes eight-teen times. To read more on Flint's water situation click here.

2. Planting 2,000,000 trees.

It costs roughly $500 to plant one tree, with one billion dollars we could plant 2,000,000 trees. Mmmm oxygen. Let's make America green again...literally.

3. Eradicate polio for good.

Since 1998 polio has decreased by 99% and can be eradicated by a $1.3 billion dollar investment. Which the go-fund-me can easily make a big dent in helping meet that goal to help eradicate a curable disease. For more information click here..

4. Give public school teachers a $320 bonus check.

This past fall of 2018, there was an estimated 3.2 million public school teachers in the United States. Evenly divided up the one billion dollars could give each public school teacher a $320 bonus check for all of their hard work they do every single day.

5. 12,500 taco trucks.

Forbes magazine estimates that it takes around $80,000 to start up a taco food truck...which means with one billion dollars we could start up 12,500 taco trucks. With there being 50 states this means we could supply 250 taco trucks per state. We the people in order to form a more perfect taco...

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