The Worst Bandwagon Of 2015/2016

The Worst Bandwagon Of 2015/2016

Why Martin Shkreli is not evil.

If you have spent much time on the internet at all recently or in the year 2015, then it's very likely you have heard of the pharmaceutical CEO named Martin Shkreli, otherwise known as "The most hated man in America." With Martin's unique looks, prideful poise and high net worth, he became an easy target for Americans when the media announced Shkreli had raised the priced of Daraprim (a drug used for AIDS patients) from $13.50 up to $750 overnight.

Anyone's first reaction would be to see this as a greedy action on Shkreli's part, when he raises a drug price by 5,000 percent in less than 24 hours. The media displayed Martin Shkreli as an evil, rich punk who did this only for his own interest. The internet and social media sites quickly jumped on this story, and before we knew it, the price of Daraprim became a national story with Martin as the main villain.

I too immediately found myself jumping on the bandwagon, with a complete disapproval of the CEO's actions and business decisions. Why would he raise the price so drastically in such little time? Doesn't he care about all the people that are going to have to pay these prices? What if people can no longer afford to buy the drug they need? But what I didn't expect is that all these questions could easily be resolved by simply listening to Martin's side of the story.

Martin Shkreli is actually a pretty good guy. Here's why.

1. Daraprim hasn't been updated since the 1940s.

AIDS patients are still using the same drug as patients were in the mid-20th century. Our pharmaceutical technologies and sciences have evolved quickly, making Daraprim a very outdated medication. It is hard on the body right now and is very harmful to some patients.

2. Martin is using this extra money for research.

Since Daraprim is a drug that could be far less harmful with the right research, Shkreli saw an opportunity to make this drug's performance level much more efficient and less harmful for patients. By raising the extra money he is charging for the drug, more research can be done, improving the drug for its patients.

3. Martin has no salary with this company.

That's right, Shkreli receives zero dollars in income when it comes to Daraprim's profits. So it's easy to realize he is not doing this for the purpose of money.

4. Martin offers the drug for free to anyone who can't afford it.

The many patients who could not afford to buy this drug were at first in a panic, but Shkreli made it clear that his company would offer Daraprim for free to anyone who couldn't come up with the proper cash.

5. Martin's parents were immigrants and janitors.

Martin was not a trust-fund baby and he built everything he owns by himself.

6. This decision negatively affects the real greed.

The only groups that take the hit from this drastic price jump are the insurance companies and large companies like Walmart who have to pay full price. Though this can be ethically debatable, Martin had the intention of charging big companies high prices rather than the little guys.

7. Martin Shkreli pleaded the Fifth for the right reasons.

Another popular video bashing Shkreli that surfaced was the filming of Martin pleading the Fifth amendment in front of Congress. Many saw Shkreli acting in a disrespectful way towards the members of Congress, but in reality Congress was the true force of disrespect. Unlike most cases when they are informed that the defendant is going to take the Fifth, the testimony is usually dropped; but in this case, for political publicity, congress forced Shkreli to be there. Most would be fairly short in response too if put in that situation.

8. Martin has an incredibly positive history.

Whether it is donating to charity, helping his customers with financial needs, his support for LGBT rights, or his appreciation for "Wu-Tang," Shkreli has a history of helping those in need and being quite respectable.

Martin Shkreli is by no means perfect in his decisions or character, but regardless this man should not be hated by anyone. He has made these business decisions for the right reasons. Martin made the mistake of playing the role as the bad guy, because it simply amused him that he became such a hated figure. But Martin also stated his friends know "he is not that guy."

In all reality, Martin is on our side; the media is not.

Cover Image Credit: NY Magazine

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Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Yet another school shooting in America, still nothing done. We are dying.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018: We are all heartbroken to hear about another school shooting.

At Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old male is pronounced dead at the scene after shooting two other students and a school resource officer. Just before their first period started, at 7:55 am, Austin Rollins shot one male and one female student with a handgun before being shot by the school's resource officer. While the 16-year-old female is in critical condition, the 14-year-old male is currently stable. This is the 17th school shooting in 2018. That's 17 days out of the past 80 that parents have gone to bed with their children in body bags as a result of gun violence.

I don't care what political party you associate with, gun violence is completely out of control. I am a registered Republican and completely agree with stricter gun laws. Learn the difference between a gun ban and sales control. Concerned citizens are not trying to take away your guns, but are trying to take away the rights from those that are risks.

Could you imagine legally having to send your child to school but never coming back? You've packed their lunch, maybe with a special note, and gave them a kiss before they left for school, not knowing that it was their last. No matter where we go, we are not safe. We can't go to malls, movie theaters, schools, or even churches without having to worry if it will be our last trip. Our homes, our places of worship, and our schools are supposed to be the places where we feel safest and, instead, our children are filled with fear. Instead of focusing on the political views that divide these groups, why don't we focus on what unites us? Why don't we focus on protecting our kin?

Everyone has had an opinion on the walkouts that have been happening around the country. Everyone has had an opinion on the 17 minutes of silence for the 17 children lost in the Florida shooting. I've seen people disgusted that Nickelodeon had 17 minutes of broadcast cut because it "interrupted the only program [I] let [my] children watch".

If your child was shot at school, you wouldn't have to worry about what programs they watch, but rather where to bury them and how to afford their memorial.

I've seen people saying that it's no wonder that Millenials are dumb. They "find any excuse to cut class". Have you thought about the fact that they are genuinely worried about going to school?

Personally, I've experienced both a shooting scare at my high school and a bomb threat at my college. I shouldn't have to worry about my life ending. I'm legally forced to go to high school and get an education or I'm putting myself into a lifetime of debt to get a degree.

We are all too young to stress about gun violence. Our school years are supposed to be the times our of lives, but they're being wasted on worrying about dying every day.

Rest in peace to all of those who have lost their lives in shootings, not only this year, but always. Hopes, thoughts, and prayers go out to their loved ones. One day, we will unite and find a solution.

We need to work together and forget the labels of parties and cliques in school and look out for one another instead. There is no kind but mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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The Republican Versus Democrat Stigma Needs To Slow Down

We Need To Be Individual Again

We as a society have developed an unnecessary need to place people in a specific party based on what could be a single value out of many. This is a letter for those who do not define themselves as one or the other; for those whose values range between conservative and liberal, for those who feel the unfortunate pressure of society to choose one even though your values do not fit just one.

The political parties at one point generally just meant “these are my basic beliefs, so this is the candidate I will vote for because they most closely represent them.” Party affiliation was harmless. Republicans and Democrats could get along fine, differing opinions not getting in the way of relationships and alignment. More importantly, you did not have to be part of a specific political party to be an active member of society. Your opinions and principles were yours.

Over the years following the last two election races, political parties gained a much more significant and defining meaning in our lives as individuals and as members of society. There is a newly developed stigma behind political opinions. You are almost pressured to feel one way or another about every single topic. If a majority of your values are of the conservative agenda, you must be a heart-and-all Republican. In contrast, if you are more liberal-leaning you are docked as a set Democrat. We as citizens are being labeled according to what may be a few hard-values. And dishearteningly enough, can be ridiculed for what we value. Even if you might not value everything the same as your determined party.

There exists those of us that hold values from both parties. It is possible to value women’s rights and also value a traditional marriage. It is possible to be a gun owner and also active in keeping children safe in school. You do not have to just submit to every belief of one party. You can value aspects of different parties and still be a functioning member of the American society. Do not let the looming obligation to declare yourself as strictly one or the other. You do not have to pretend you agree with everything Democratic or everything Republican; you can have your own values. And you should. Our society is messed up in the way that values are pushed on citizens. We are meant to be free individuals with our private values.

It is not fair to those of us who value different things. Not every American is a to-the-bone Democrat or Republican. It is possible to hold liberal beliefs as a conservative person. And Vice-Versa. We need to stop labeling one another as one or the other, conservative or liberal. We need to stop silencing each other because we have differing views. We need to accept not everyone is perfectly one party, and diversity exists. Open mindedness exists in Americans, despite the seemingly growing generalizations. We need to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics.
Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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