When I Found Out Tilikum Died, I Was Relieved

When I Found Out Tilikum Died, I Was Relieved

Its a lesson to us, as humans, on the capabilities captivity can have on a wild creature.
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When I first found out that Tilikum had died, I was relieved. I was thankful even, that this creature who had been trapped in a tank for 33 years, was finally free. That this animal, who had spent the last few years of his life almost completely alone, was finally liberated. That this whale, who was separated from his pod at the young age of 2, was finally unburdened.

Tilikum was, at first, best known for his impressive size as an orca whale. His life in captivity began at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada in 1983. About a decade later, he was responsible (along with two other female orcas) for the death of one of the trainers, Keltie Byrne. Shortly after that, he was transferred to SeaWorld Orlando, where he unknowingly would spend the rest of his life. He was stuck in a cage for over the next twenty years--breeding over 14 calfs (54% of the SeaWorld family have his DNA (seaworldofhurt.com)) and becoming responsible for two more human deaths. In 1999, Daniel Dukes was found naked, lying over Tilikum's back, and later in 2010, Dawn Brancheau (a star performer) had been drowned by him.

In 2013, "Blackfish", a documentary supporting the aggressive and unnatural behaviors that happen to orcas in captivity and the need to end it, was released (and can be found on Netflix!). As the animal rights demonstrations increased, the attendance and profits for SeaWorld decreased dramatically. In March 2016, a small battle was won when SeaWorld declared to end its orca breeding program and orca shows for entertainment and amusement (or abusement if you would like to call it that). PETA urged for sea pens or coastal sanctuaries, but Tilikum never would experience that .

I'm saddened by the idea that Tilikum lived a depressing, unjustified life behind bars. I'm grieved that he is not the only one who experienced and is experiencing such a hopeless existence. And I'm disheartened to say it may take decades before any orca captivity is completely banned. I can only wish for the best.

But I'm happy that Tilikum's suffering is over, that he isn't cramped head to tail in a small tank, and that he will be remembered as a symbol of abuse to the wild. I think it would have been an unmatched experience to see Tilikum finally released back into his home in the ocean, but at least now he is free from all pain. He didn't deserve the life he had and its a lesson to us, as humans, on the capabilities captivity can have on a wild creature. We essentially are responsible, not only for their actions, but for change in the future. We are what is going to make a difference, no matter how small or how minuscule it may seem. In honor of Tilikum, I hope we have learned our lesson once and for all.

Cover Image Credit: globalanimal

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Hey, Bored Sports Fans, There Are Plenty Of Ways To Keep Yourself Entertained This Season

When sports get boring, you have to create your own fun.

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It's not always easy being a sports fan. We have to deal with the offseason, sports analysts (who consistently think they know more than fans and athletes do), player injuries, and days going by during the season when our team isn't even playing. It's frustrating, to say the least, and sometimes it can get boring, too.

However, if you're a bored sports fan and want to change this, here's an example of what you can do.

First, go on Instagram and find Tom Brady's page. Once you're there go into the comments of a recent post and type in the following: "Aaron Rodgers is the GOAT." Submit your comment, and prepare to be amazed.

I guarantee that the responses you get will be as entertaining as they will be horrifying. Firstly, given that this is Tom Brady's account, many of his fans will relentlessly attack you. They'll call you names, make comments about your family (who they know nothing about), degrade your looks, and characterize you using every available synonym for "stupid" that exists. There are a few good Samaritans who will refrain from using profanity but will still explain to you why you're incorrect based on statistics, intangibles (such as leadership and likeability), and of course, their "expert" opinion.

Now, if you're lucky, a few brave souls who agree with your comment will come to your defense. They will defend both you and Aaron Rodgers as if you are family. A back-and-forth will occur, and an all-out war of words will take place. You should make it out alive, and hopefully much more entertained.

This concept can be applied to virtually any sports team or player, and the result should be relatively similar. Here are some more comments that should help to keep your nights occupied:

1. Lebron James's Instagram

Go to Lebron James's Instagram page and comment either: "Kobe Bryant is the GOAT" or "Michael Jordan is the GOAT." This can be done interchangeably if you go on either Michael or Kobe's account instead.

2. The Yankees' Instagram

Go to the Yankees' Instagram account and comment: "The Red Socks are better." Although I have to warn you, this comment might get you thrown out of New York.

3. Conor McGregor's Instagram

Go to Conor McGregor's Instagram account and comment: "Khabib Nurmagomedov is better."

4. Michigan State's College Football Instagram

Go to Michigan State's College Football Instagram account and comment: "Ohio State is better."

5. The Houston Rockets's Instagram

Go to the Houston Rockets's Instagram account and comment: "The Warriors are Better."

The list goes on.

Now, while this article is suggesting ways that you can start an online sports argument, I am in no way implying that you should actually go do this. Chances are you might get your feelings hurt and unnecessarily make others angry. So do not participate in any of this — unless of course, you are extremely bored.

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