Louis Aiello

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Louis Aiello is a biology major and has been diagnosed with Autism and converted to Judaism. With a passion for writing, he has great enthusiasm in talking about life with others.

OP-ED: Everyone has a story to tell

On Jan. 23, 1952, just outside of Oxford in England, a burglar broke into a home finding two men in a homosexual act. The investigation was swift and instead of prosecuting the burglar, the two men were prosecuted for indecency because homosexuality was a crime at that time.

They were convicted on March 31 of that year and were sentenced to chemical castration. On June 8, 1954, one of the men was found dead by suicide.

The media was quick to throw this certain individual under the bus, but at the same time, they knew so little about him.

No one knew this person. He was a man living in solitude, working on his passions. When he was found, the investigators got a chance to look at his talents. As they were taking his lifeless body away, staring them in the face was the very first digital computer.

The story of Alan Turing is one of greatness, and at the same time, terrible tragedy.

When he was young, words of wisdom from his childhood friend Chris kept him going. He told him, “Those who are different have the ability to make all the difference.” We are so willing to follow the masses that we don’t ever take the time to follow our own hearts.

Nothing has changed today. I can think of two individuals and an entire group of people the media have thrown under the bus: former Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison, former Chairmen of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and porn stars.

But I submit to you that have I met all three, and how they are portrayed does not accurately represent who they are.

Morrison I first met at temple. I talked to him for five minutes and explained to him what I felt needed to be done. I told him it’s so very important that we teach our children how to think, not what to think. He looked at me, smiled and said, “That is exactly what I mean to do.” He was sincere and loved his new job. He wasn’t the man the media made him out to be.

Coverage of Ben Bernanke is just one example of how the media spins stories.  Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Coverage of Ben Bernanke is just one example of how the media spins stories. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

The very next day I got a chance to meet Bernanke. I wanted to approach him and congratulate him on his granddaughter’s bat mitzvah, but as got closer, I saw his face; he was tired and didn’t want to talk to anyone.

He soon retired and fell out of the limelight, but he also lost his father around the same time. There was more to this man than just being a banker for the largest bank in the world. He was a man as well as a grandfather.

Another time, I got a chance to meet a girl. She immediately stuck out to me because she was different, and I liked different. I approached her like I would anyone else, with the understanding that she was a human being, and as human beings, we are each unique and have a story to tell. I explained to her that I felt I could be closer to her than anyone at this school because she had the mind to come to temple. She laughed and said, “That is the sweetest thing I have heard.”

I wanted to spend more time with her and get to know her, but it wasn’t meant to be. One day she stopped coming, and it broke my heart. It didn’t matter who she was or who she had been – to me, she was a friend.

In the eyes of God, we all have a story to tell. None of us are strangers, and we are all his children. This is what I sincerely believe, and I am willing to commit my own life to it.

OP-ED: The seeds of the modern crusade

The very idea of a modern crusade seems to be contradictory because modernity is considered to be a time of progressivism and social justice, whereas a crusade is a product of medieval thinking. It was around 1099, after years of plague and famine, when the church launched a holy war to reclaim the holy land that they lost. This was the birth of the First Crusade.

A similar ideology exists today, but instead of Christianity, Islam has been hijacked. The reason of the modern crusade is to claim territory belonging to God, which means each and every place on this Earth. The modern technology the West uses to further its agenda is also used by Islamic extremists to further their medieval way of thinking.

The West is on the precipice, and if it wants to survive, it must wake up to the fact that this is no longer the 20th century. With every new century, new ideologies develop. Humans are no different biologically today than they were the day they began hunting mammoths. We still require the same nourishment and, on a deep level, we still think the same way.

A defensive Kurdish Peshmerga base that is frequently under attack by Islamic State forces. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
A defensive Kurdish Peshmerga base that is frequently under attack by Islamic State forces. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

The 21st century has seen the rise of radical Islam on a scale never seen before. The West feels they can calm down the squabble by appeasement, but they forget they are pawns to the Islamic extremists, just like they were to the Nazis. No state has posed as great a danger since the rise of Nazi Germany.

In many ways, they are fighting for the same thing. The Nazis fought for Hitler, while the Islamic extremists fight for God. Nazi Germany was a nation and therefore localized to a certain region of the world – mainly Europe. But Islamism isn’t a state; rather, several different Middle Eastern countries sponsor it. Therefore, the ramifications have the potential to supersede Nazi Germany.

The war to come will go beyond Europe – it will be one of many players. This war will be between the Middle East, the entirety of Europe and beyond.

OP-ED: Perspectives on gun control

Louis Aiello, staff writer

Guns are terrible weapons, but words are even deadlier. What motivates one to pull the trigger is far more of an issue than simply owning a firearm. A weapon isn’t just a firearm or bomb – it’s anything that promotes harm, from a pencil to bare hands. There is no way to eradicate a threat entirely, but there are ways of decreasing it.

The majority of people who own firearms under the law are good citizens with the intention of using their guns for protection. Even if a law is proposed to promote firearms, it will not eliminate the threat because there will always be people who keep their weapons concealed. The concern is placing arms into the hands of those who disregard the law and who seek to drag society down. Meanwhile, there are those who simply wish to live in a peaceful environment and are far more worried about taxes and job stability than being arrested for the possession of illegal firearms.

With crime and gang violence growing in big cities like Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, the potential of it spilling into nearby regions is a formidable threat. If we are to eliminate the threat of violence, we first have to recognize we already live in a violent world.

 

Mia Shelton, intern

To bear arms or not to bear arms, that is the question. One of the most debated controversial topics in today’s society is gun control. One side believes gun control legislation will strip people of their legal rights granted to them by the second amendment.

For instance, freshman AJ Radcliffe said, “Gun control is a fundamental right. Making guns illegal will not prevent crime or protect people. It will only take away a person’s right to protect themself.”

On the other hand, there are those that believe gun control protects us by keeping weapons out of the wrong hands. “I believe people should be able to have guns,” said freshman Jamie Hash. “However, I feel there should be more restrictions on who can have one.”

Not everyone should be allowed to have a gun, which is why I believe stricter gun control laws are a good idea. It gives me the comfort of knowing the people who own guns have gone through basic checks to confirm they are responsible enough to have them.

Many people today use the second amendment as their go-to argument when it comes to gun control, but numerous people don’t understand its meaning. The second amendment states that a person has the right to bear arms, but that was in the context of protecting oneself or one’s family from harm and from an oppressive government. It also doesn’t solely focus on guns – it’s a blanket statement referring to many types of weapons: knives, pepper spray, Tasers, etc. We as a society are only focused on guns.

People in today’s society have made gun control necessary. There are too many examples in recent memory of people who don’t value human life shooting other people for minute, idiotic reasons. Laws preventing felons from owning guns obviously aren’t working because determined criminals find any way possible to get their hands on one, so we need a back up plan.

I don’t agree with Radcliffe’s comment that “gun control only takes away a person’s right to protect themself.” Gun control isn’t enacted to eradicate guns altogether. Rather, gun control laws are meant to make sure only those who are responsible enough to use a gun, have one, which brings me to my next point.

People use guns in situations where guns aren’t needed, as we’ve seen in innumerable senseless shootings. For example, a recent deadly shooting at a New York Home Depot saw an employee kill his supervisor and himself. It all happened over a heated conversation between the two. There were no signs of potential harm until, suddenly: shots fired.

If people today could use common sense when it comes to guns and weaponry in general, there would be no need for gun control. However, with the countless examples of people showing terrible judgment when it comes to bearing arms, I feel much safer with gun control in effect.

OP-ED: Peace and forgiveness are the key elements in setting the world on the right track

Almost every Sabbath, I speak to three wise men – two rabbis and another good friend of mine.

One told me, “Remember, Louis, even though we see the good in people, it still pains us when they fail to also see it.”

I asked, “Is it possible for us to show it to them?”

“Yes,” he replied. “But it takes time and a great deal of patience. You will not solve the world’s problems in one day. Also, it’s still important for you to be aware of the situations taking place globally, but don’t lose yourself in it.”

Another wise man said, “I understand that you are scared, Louis, but it’s far more important to live your life for something you believe in than to die for it.”

The last wise man said, “If you make yourself useful, there is no reason for anyone to harm you.”

We live in a growing world of ignorance, and for the longest time I thought it was the same as stupidity. But the wise men showed me that stupidity couldn’t be the explanation if one doesn’t have the information to make the conclusion that another sees. Such an expectation is not feasible and unfair.

Islam is a wonderful faith with great potential. I have also recognized that the word “Islam” is similar to the word “salaam,” which means peace. Salam and shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, I’d like to think go hand in hand, but due to circumstances in the Middle East – like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood – a recognition of that relationship has disappeared.

Remember in the New Testament when Jesus was being nailed to the cross by the Romans, he yelled, “Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I sympathize with those who know not what they do as I do even with those who committed the terrible acts of 9/11. If it took only 19 people to make everyone wake up to the fact that the world wasn’t as it seemed, then why can’t the opposite happen? It takes only one group of people to lead the way to repair the world for the better.

There’s a state where one can go for cancer treatment, to walk again after paralysis or to get a free heart transplant for an infant. It’s a place that researches new energy sources and agricultural irrigation advancements and pursues artistic ideals.

Such a dream sounds farfetched, but I’m not done yet. In times of war, this state treats individuals from a foreign conflict, and it is an avid supporter of women’s rights as well as free speech. This state of existence sounds like a pipedream, but this is the Israel that I have come to know and love.

I understand that I will be heckled and even threatened for stating it, but it’s important for people to understand that Israel has never been our enemy. True, there are incidents of violence against Palestinians, such as the recurring bombing of Gaza, but it’s also important to understand that Palestine was using resources given by Israel for the construction of schools and hospitals to build tunnels to infiltrate the Jewish state. Hospitals and schools are essential for the progression of the Muslim population in the region. Then why would they take such a move?

The answer is that jihadis hate Israel more than they love their children. We Jews value life above all else; jihadis value death. The coming conflict between Israel and the world will be determined by the valuation of life or death. If life is valued more overall, the West will be victorious against jihad and ISIS; if death is valued more, Israel will falter and the West will soon follow.

I am worried about the growing amount of anti-Semitism, but I accept it’s the world we have always lived in. I have great love for the world and everything in it. I find the joy of being Jewish is the ability to express the wonders and mysteries of the universe.

This is why being Jewish is so important to me. I wish my deepest sincerity, compassion and love to all because I agree forgiveness is the most powerful tool. I forgive those who do what they do in the name of God, for they know not what they do.

OP-ED: When people misuse the word ‘Islamophobia,’ it impedes important discussions

Hundreds of refugees wait in hopes to leave part of Iraq under Islamic State control. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Hundreds of refugees wait in hopes to leave part of Iraq under Islamic State control. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Nothing can divide people like a misunderstood or misconstrued word. For example, what does the word “Islamophobia” refer to? It depends who you ask.

For some, it’s used to quickly label and discount those critical of Islam. However, there should be a distinction between those who refer to Muslims in general and those who refer to the actions of jihadi.

In a past paper, I discussed the differences between jihadi and Muslims. Jihad in modern definition means holy war or a crusade – one act of these crusades we now know as 9/11.

But in the Quran, there is another important definition: the struggle of self or self-identity. This isn’t the only time that sort of struggle is mentioned. Even in the Torah, the same meaning is called by a different name: Israel.

Israel stems from its origins in Genesis, when Jacob is about to encounter his brother Esau in battle. But the night before, this imperfect patriarch has a physical struggle with a mysterious being. The being isn’t able to overtake Jacob, and the next morning, he declares that Jacob will now be referred to as Israel.

In the Torah, names are important, like the name “Adam” meaning ground or earth. Therefore, this change in Jacob is very significant. As dawn approaches, the creature goes away, and instead of fighting his brother,  Israel and Esau end up embracing each other. Israel realizes that he wasn’t as innocent as he had always thought; he had a part to play in his brother’s desire for vengeance, and he could no longer solely blame Esau.

As with jihad, there are many definitions for Israel – it all depends on what or who you’re referring to. For example, it could refer to the person Jacob, the people known as the Israelites or the state of Israel.

Each and every definition is different. But jihad as defined in the Quran is the same type of self-struggle that was the key to establishing the state of Israel. However, the definition has been misrepresented and misconstrued to mean nothing more than holy conquest. 

The term “Islamophobe” is itself misleading. It has been used to label another form of racism, and while those people do exist, they are relatively few and far between.

The overall form is far more complicated because the vast majority of individuals killed by the Islamic State (ISIS) are Muslims. Because they disagree with the caliphate, they are cleansed from this plane of existence by a holy barrage of bullets.

Regardless of whether ISIS is recognized internationally as a sovereign state, its very existence is enough to satisfy many jihadi. Many Muslims fear jihadi, but it is seldom discussed because people fear being quickly labeled as an Islamophobe.

Fear in this world is often due to ignorance, but a phobia is considered to be an irrational fear. But is the fear of the Islamic State and its desire for conquest not credible? An attack on Islam is very real, and those who understand the Islamic State best fear it the most.

Therefore, I submit to you that even though a great many individuals are ignorant of Islam, a great many are very knowledgeable of the religion. Their fear of jihad is not a fear of Islam. Instead, it’s those who accuse others of Islamophobia through their own naivety who are the real Islamophobes.

OP-ED: Watch ‘The Interview’ in support of free expression

Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

I was first introduced to the controversial film “The Interview” when I went to see the movie “Interstellar” last November. When the trailer ended, everyone in the theater laughed, but I knew that such a naivety would be short lived. I turned to my friend said to her, “This is dangerous. There will be a form of retaliation, and it will not be pretty.” At the time, I decided I shouldn’t see the film out of principle.

However, two months later, the night before the first day of spring classes, I waited in anticipation to watch it. What was the change? Did I go against my principles? Of course not. Regardless of the potential ramifications of nuclear war, I felt that it was my duty as a citizen of the Western world to watch this form of art, for it was just days later that jihadists enacted a terrorist attack targeting journalists.

It is the job of every Westerner to support forms of expression, even if they are considered immoral, like pornography, for it is the power of expression that gives us immortality. An attack on one of these forms is an attack on all forms. According to the Quran, the killing of one innocent is the killing of all innocents, for God doesn’t love aggressors.

Therefore, it’s important to understand that there are still places where absolutists rule, like North Korea. Some may call Kim Jong-un a president; some may call him a dictator. But more than that, he is the third leader of the Kim dynasty. The great thing about “The Interview” is the truth behind it – an ignorant celebrity is seduced by the charms of the supreme leader. Dennis Rodman, a former NBA player, fell became a puppet of sorts without even realizing it.

If a film like “The Interview” and the satirical newspaper as “Charlie Hebdo” can turn our world on its head, then apparently there are those out there who don’t believe in democracy or progressive ideals. Instead, the world they live in is similar to that of the past church, where any form of improper or immoral expression could be punishable by death or numerous dehumanizing acts.

That’s why I saw “The Interview.” I wasn’t expecting much, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised. I recommend that every person take two hours of their lives to sit down and watch this absolutely historic film, for there’s never been a film in history directly responsible for destabilizing foreign affairs. I plan to buy the film on DVD. I hope you can too.

OP-ED: Violence only leads to more loss

A protester poses in front of a burning building in response to grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
A protester poses in front of a burning building in response to grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

With the failure to indict Officer Wilson, violence has become the result. Even after the Brown family, who has indeed had the greatest tragedy in losing a son, asked for calm, their pleas they haven’t been heard.

The violence that has occurred within our country this week should be a lesson to all: When flames are encouraged, things quickly get out of control. This has been classified as a racist issue, where injustice and distrust in government and establishment is at an all time high.

Discussing matters like this is controversial and problematic, but that is exactly why it must be discussed. Take a look at the history of the world, the history of the Jews, the Irish and American Indians. These individuals have experienced such injustice.

Regardless of how you look at history, a failure to clearly define something leads to misrepresentation, distrust, confusion and ignorance. People aren’t generally stupid but they are ignorant because the media have failed to bring about the importance of not taking sides. When one takes a side, the consequences automatically increase, and even though an individual wants to be the solution, they only augment the problem.

In a previous article I discussed what it takes to have a successful revolution. What is occurring in Ferguson will not be successful. It will tear this country apart, rifting and dividing individuals upon racial boundaries. So far, not only has our justice system failed us, but also our school system, which seems to encourage distrust and ignorance.

Education is the key to a successful revolution, and a successful revolution is the key to a successful future – the best example being the American Revolution.

The Founding Fathers were among the well educated, but they were also innovators and philosophers. Benjamin Franklin never ran for office, but he was an innovator, inventing the Franklin stove and, in science, defining the positive and negative in current. Thomas Jefferson designed his own home and came up with the rotating office chair, but more importantly, he was the writer of the Declaration of Independence.

The Founding Fathers understood if they wanted America to survive and succeed, they had to understand two important things: what they were fighting for and what they were fighting against. This was the reason for the Declaration of Independence. To make sure everyone was on board, they had to take an immense risk. It was treason, and many were reluctant to sign such a radical document.

The Declaration of Independence discusses the injustices of monarchy and the social justice of freedom, independence and democracy. At the time, such an ideal was considered to be an ancient practice of 1,500 years ago. The Founding Fathers understood the ramifications of such an action but they were willing to go ahead. As long as one understood the reasons behind the reasons, the country could not fall apart.

But with an inability to teach our children that violence isn’t the answer, we as a nation have lost our way. Today, many children learn and get their information from the TV – not their parents. The parents are so preoccupied by taking multiple jobs so their child or children can have a better life. The media have failed us; more importantly, they have failed our children. They have an obligation send our children a message of empowerment to think not empowerment of ignorance.

Regardless of what one thinks, this is only the beginning. There will be those who will use violence and racial injustice to further their agenda. The violence is bad now, but if we don’t understand what is happening, riot could turn into a full-blown war, like in Libya and Syria, and we all know how that turned out.

This will not go away. It’s time for President Obama, regardless of what his constituents think, to stand up to those who encourage chaos and enact severe consequences against anyone who commits crime. As I stated, before when a revolution fails, you will lose, and when you do, you will lose everything.

OP-ED: Embracing violence, shaming sex

Extreme violence is prevalent in modern video games but sex remains a touchy subject. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Extreme violence is prevalent in modern video games but sex remains a touchy subject. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

When I took a trip to Calabria, the southern province of Italy, for my father’s bar mitzvah in 2013, it was a momentous occasion. Not only was it the first adult bar mitzvah in all of Calabria in 500 years, but also it was my first experience in Europe.

The environment was fair and the water was tranquil. As a location where you can turn your head to the right and see mountains then turn to your left and see the sea, it was remarkable and unlike any other experience.

Also, the people were very friendly and weren’t afraid to show their affection regardless of if we could speak the same language. In many ways, I felt more at home. People lived their lives with direction and weren’t distracted by phones or other forms of isolation.

Yet one of the most incredible experiences was watching the TV. It wasn’t just an eye opener but a revelation. In our country, the Federal Communications Commission and its guidelines determine what is acceptable to air at prime time. The standards are simple for violence and sex: violence is acceptable, but sex is not.

That’s the way we have been raised in America, but in Calabria, this isn’t the case. At prime time, you will find full-frontal nudity on public programming and advertising.

It appears that being desensitized to violence has been countered by our oversensitivity to sex. Our video games no longer seem to have a limit to violence, but when it comes to sex we consider it unacceptable. Every person on this planet was born because of sex. It’s the beginning of life, whereas violence involves death.

Do we as Americans value death more than life? Our television programing would send a confusing message to our societies. Video games such as “Hatred,” in which the player kills indiscriminately, don’t help in the least bit; rather, they embrace it.

What is it about sex that is so ghastly to us? What is so wrong with watching two people making love if it enhances the story line? What is so wrong in watching the actions of two people enjoying themselves and the pleasures that it entails?

I fail to understand the argument; it seems to be quite contradictory and evangelical. It reminds me of the Roman Empire, which embraced the pleasures of sex, and how when the Church came to power, they stated such pleasures to be a form of devil worship. Therefore, the influence of the Church still has a significant hold on our society, regardless if we, as individuals, are even Christian.

OP-ED: The trouble with seeking support and friendship in a self-centered society

Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

During my second semester at UNC Charlotte, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Immediately following the bad news, those who I lived with asked, “What can I do for you?”

It was reassuring to hear such kind words, and I felt it as an opportunity to get to know my roommates better. The next week, when I required help after seeing my ailing mother, I approached them, but they said they were too busy to help me.

Therefore, they didn’t mean what they said – it was just the traditional thing to say. Regardless, I would be there for them when they needed me at a moment’s notice. The fact that they couldn’t keep their word was insulting.

I spoke to my sister who lives in California on the phone, and explained to her what my roommates said. The fact that they withdrew their promise was hurtful, but she explained that I shouldn’t be surprised – that’s just the way things are done.

This took some time to accept. As my mother continued to deteriorate, I found little solace within the student campus community. Instead, I became angry of the selfishness that others presented to me.

As a human being, I understand that we are designed as a communal species, which requires interaction with the individuals surrounding us. But there seems to be a growing isolation within our society.

As someone who has Asperger syndrome, I understand what it means to be alone. There is a growing trend within our country of not having a close friend to rely on when one needs help.

Instead, one is focused on himself or herself rather than those who surround them. If a friend is in need of assistance, but it isn’t convenient, then they don’t even make the commitment. Indeed, the family and communal structure of our society is rapidly deteriorating.

School shootings and violent interactions seem to be a growing trend in our society. Adam Lanza, who, like me, had Asperger syndrome, couldn’t deal with the current situation in his life. Unlike me, who finds help when in need, there are people who either can’t ask for it or don’t know how.

Therefore, the reason for Columbine and Sandy Hook isn’t going to go away. Gun control isn’t the answer. Instead, there should be a change on how we approach those who are in need – giving the help that they require.

There seems to be a lack of caring within our society. I understand that people are quick to judge because hardly anyone gives me a chance to explain myself.

Those who are under such judgment resort to creating their own realities, such as fantasy, anime and video games. They try to make sense of the universe by creating another that they can understand.

Apparently, there seems to be a sort of disconnect between reality and fantasy. Therefore, anyone who fails to understand the difference falls into the trap of becoming a victim of their own demise, taking innocents along with him or her. The set of rules and ethics have been shattered by failures to uphold our own values.

OP-ED: Hope should overcome fear in the Ebola crisis

There is good news in the Ebola crisis. Regardless of the way the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) handled this viral invasion, there is no concern. Even though the CDC reacted poorly, they quickly began the arduous task of enacting quarantine.

The levels of bureaucracy made it difficult for information within the government to establish threat level assessments and protocol. This is our wakeup call. Ebola was a good way to warn the nation of what happens when procedures aren’t taken. If this was an outbreak of an influenza pandemic, extreme antibiotic resistant tuberculosis or smallpox, that would be concerning.

President Barack Obama hugs Dallas nurse Nina Pham after she was tested free of Ebola. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
President Barack Obama hugs Dallas nurse Nina Pham after she was tested free of Ebola. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Ebola is a ghastly disease, and the horrors that it entails have been used in entertainment as a means to express that horror, like in Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later,” when lab animals were infected with an agent that caused a massive epidemic in England and the movie “Outbreak” in which a California town was rampaged by a disease with a 100 percent mortality rate.

There are a number of things that prevent Ebola from becoming an epidemic in this country. First off, during the incubation period, like HIV, it is not spread by saliva but by bodily fluids. Even when the symptoms begin, the virus is still quite small in number, and therefore, it still resides within the initial core of its host. Yet, as the virus replicates, it begins to make its way to the surface. At this point, the range of infecting others begins to increase as the colonies of the virus rapidly grow.

The tissues within the body break down and as the barriers of tissues collapse, the infection spreads. It eats its host alive from the inside out, but, as with all life forms, it’s not its intention to kill the host – like all of us, it wants to live. Instead, it attempts a process of de-personification, where it attempts to transform the host into the virus itself.

The host undergoes what can be known as pacification, where the individual can ask questions and talk but at the same time fails to show any emotion. Literally, a form of zombification has occurred. The host is already dead – the brain doesn’t understand this yet.

Now for the good news: The family members of Thomas Eric Duncan have been released, showing that the probability of infection is extremely low. Only two others have been infected, and each person was a healthcare worker. If the CDC followed all its standard protocols, there would be none.

In other good news, early detection appears to be the key to a full recovery. Still, only one American has died from the epidemic, and those who have contracted the virus overseas and were sent back to the United States have all recovered.

The notion of hope overcoming fear has been achieved. One who does have hope is far more likely to approach the proper authorities with the expectation that they will survive. In doing so, the virus will be maintained. In many ways, Ebola has strengthened and enhanced our bio-safety and security.

OP-ED: ISIS bringing storm clouds of biblical proportions

Courtesy of Tribune News Service
Courtesy of Tribune News Service

On Sept. 30, 1938, almost an entire year before Germany invaded Poland, Neville Chamberlin, the prime minister of Great Britain, had just got back from speaking to Adolf Hitler. Journalists surrounded him as he got off the plane. He took out of his pocket a piece of paper and waved it confidently in the air. It was a document of assurance signed by Hitler. In his very short speech, he made the infamous quote, “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British prime minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.”

Edmund Burke, a famous philosopher from the 18th century is quoted as saying, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” We are failing just as we did before WWI and WWII. The reason deals with our emphasis and viewpoint on isolationism. The very reason WWII occurred was because we didn’t want to get involved. It also was because of both these wars that the ideals of progressivism were pushed back several decades.

Progressivism is an honorable approach to the world, and I consider myself to be progressive, but there is something else that I consider myself to be: a rationalist. The world is brutal, and it’s because of isolationism that progressivism has failed time and time again. America is a wonderful place regardless of how it came to be, and even though it has its problems, it’s the best there is.

Another famous quote again attributed to Edmund Burke is, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This couldn’t be truer today. America is facing a number of crises, including the continuing spread of ISIS across the holy land, laying waste and destruction to all. They kill individuals indiscriminately, whether they are Christians, Kurds or even Muslims. It doesn’t matter if they are Shiite or Sunni – if they refuse to convert and accept the caliphate, they are killed. Transsexuals, bisexuals, gays and lesbians fare even worse.

The issue is that even if only 1 percent of the Muslim population believes that the caliphate has indeed come, that is still an estimated 14 million people. Therefore, it is a big problem that has begun to metastasize and grow exponentially, becoming more and more out of our control. Therefore, the longer we wait, the more dangerous and deadly the situation becomes. Each passing day of nothing will require the sacrifice of another soldier, if not several.

We have an obligation in this world to help those who can’t help or protect themselves.

Sharia law is the code that is practiced by jihadi. According to Sharia law, a woman is nothing more than property, and if she displeases her man in any way he can kill her. Even our own justice system has begun to encounter these cases of honor killings where a father kills his own daughter because she rebels against him due to western influences or an infidel boyfriend. Females don’t get involved because they have no say in the matter.

Anyone who is overtaken by ISIS falls to their knees, begs for forgiveness and asks the caliphate to be merciful. The only way for them to survive is to join. This is what happened in Nazi Germany; people joined because they knew it was the only way that they could survive. Therefore, by the taking of each city, ISIS recruits new individuals who surrendered in exchange for their lives.

ISIS has taken a great deal of land, and still they are propelling towards Baghdad. American personnel and troops are in the danger zone. If Baghdad is taken, the response will be very different. Baghdad is the home of America’s largest embassy, with well over several thousand personnel. When ISIS finally takes the airport, Baghdad will fall and many citizens, whether they are American, a supporter of Americans, Christians or others will be killed or taken.

If we believe in social justice for all, then why is this happening?

OP-ED: Fear of Ebola grows with the death of first U.S. patient

The death of Thomas Eric Duncan is indeed a tragedy, and it’s something for all of us to be concerned about. On Sept. 24, the 42-year went to an emergency room in Dallas due to a severe headache and fever. Just before examining Duncan, the doctors exited a meeting regarding the precautions of Ebola and its diagnosis.

Duncan was not looking well, but when asked if he had been to West Africa recently, he lied. He was given antibiotics and told to come back if he didn’t feel any better. He went to his family member’s house, having no idea just how sick he was.

Already there was a great deal of exposure, and as he worsened, so did the probability that he would infect other family members. Two days later, he was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors eventually confirmed the very first case of Ebola in the United States.

His condition deteriorated and Oct. 8 he succumbed to the illness. The reason why Ebola is so concerning is that the chance of recovery for this strain is 33 percent – two out of three persons infected by the virus will die.

Ebola is the name of a river that runs through the dense, beautiful wilderness of the Congo and Zaire region.

Similar to HIV, the Ebola virus is said to have originated from this location, and the only way the virus can spread is through blood and bodily fluids.

Ebola is in the family of the hemorrhagic fevers, known by virologists as the filovirus. Under a microscope, they look a great deal like worms. Composed of only seven proteins, they are very primeval and have been hiding in this region for longer than we could ever know.

Each of the filoviruses is named after the location where they were first discovered: Zaire ebolavirus in the rainforest region and Sudan ebolavirus in the Sudanese region.

The most important thing to remember is that the current outbreak, which has broken all records of being the most serious hemorrhagic epidemic in the history of the world, isn’t of the Zaire strain.

Zaire ebolavirus has a fatality rate of 90 percent, meaning of every 100 infected, only 10 will recover. The current strain in the Zaire region isn’t like this. Instead, it takes on the form of the Sudan strain.

At this moment a regional outbreak occurring in these United States is inevitable. Duncan’s death was tragic, but it won’t be the last. There is a great probability that some of his family members will come down with the virus, as well.

This is a wake up call. There will be several more outbreaks and others will die. Twenty people may in the United States die by the end of this year due to this virus. But as we place many more resources into the situation, it will work itself out.

OP-ED: Don’t let the radicals sway you, Islam is a religion of peace

Islam is a religion of peace. Let me emphasize that: Islam is a religion of peace. It’s jihad that is a religion of war and conquest. Jihad is not the Islam of today. Instead, it is a medieval ideology similar to the Crusades that occurred in the Middle East 900 years ago by the taking and retaking of Jerusalem.

Jihad is the only thing preventing our world order from progression and liberal ideals. It’s important to understand that the patterns of history are turning against them and they know it. The world was very different when Islam laid conquest to the world some 1,400 years ago. It was a dangerous place; the brutal and ruthless Church overthrew the last democracy, and education was scarce.

The Arabs had at this point been not a major player in history, but Muhammad the prophet changed all this when he united a people together under one God. Hence, his unification is quite similar to that of Moses. Establishing a religion and civilization to the level of sophistication of ancient Israel and Judah required a whole new way of thinking. It set up a religion of peace and progression where individuals could grow up in an educated environment.

Many discoveries were made by these fellows – one of the major being the discovery of how the eye works. They made great advances in medicine. Also, our number system – the Arabic numerals – is descended from this sophisticated civilization.

Iraqi children welcome Shiite militiamen after Islamic State forces were forced out. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Iraqi children welcome Shiite militiamen after Islamic State forces were forced out. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Times have changed, and the conquests and goals of jihad, which had been embarked upon to protect others from the brutality of other nations – especially the Church – have been successful. Therefore, today jihad is laying the seeds for the utter destruction of everything that ancient jihad stood for. This is why present day jihad and ISIS are a threat to the free people of the world and Islam.

One of the most important things to understand is that jihad has a particular special talent to hijack – literally and figuratively. Upon hijacking Islam due to the lack of education in the Middle East, it was used by those who believed in the message and world of jihad to hijack airplanes. By hijacking airplanes, a message of jihad was spread across the world and in the Middle East that the West was ripe for the picking.

Due to the creation and advancements of the Internet, one learned quite quickly, even in the most isolated regions, of this hijacking. With information being spread at the speed of light with no borders able to confine it, the Middle East was hijacked by jihad and ISIS.

We must understand that once a can of worms like this is opened, it instills fear into the common citizen, eventually laying down the groundwork for people to distrust even someone they might have known for years. Therefore, a sort of holocaust has begun.

Jihad lays the foundations for the eventual and inevitable rise Islamophobia – a frame of mind that profiles all Muslims as jihadi. Such an ideology will only backfire and cause others to join in the jihad due to their distrust of those who are not Muslim.

Therefore, once such a can of worms is opened, it continues to feed and is nurtured by distrust and ignorance. And it spreads exponentially. Therefore, the player with the most to lose in all this conflict is the Muslim community.

Muslims are my friends, and I will stand by them because I know that they are scared. As a Jew, I understand we are all in this together, and we both understand what the power of ignorance is capable of.

OP-ED: Successful education is the key to successful revolution

My understanding of humans when dealing with sociology and psychology as a whole makes me conclude two important things. First, we are far more similar than we are different. And second, we are generally good people.

Instead, it’s the environment that one grows up in that determines what they do with their lives. Therefore, I see no such thing as “good” or “evil.” Rather, they are in the eyes of the beholder and are used to profile a person or people.

One of the most important things that makes us humans so unique is we definitely have the power to control our fates. It was the case during the French Revolution, and still today in Ferguson, Miss., the dynamics haven’t changed.

What exactly is the ultimate goal when it comes to a revolution – whether that revolution is against the police force in Ferguson, big business, big oil enterprises or Gadhafi? The answer seems to be obvious: the overthrow of the current establishment. This was indeed present in our country during the height of the 1960s when American citizens were against any involvement of military operations in Vietnam.

In Syria, this form of political unrest exploded into a full-blown civil war campaign that has become regional. What exactly would the overthrow of Assad promote? Would it promote peace or would it promote a vacuum that could be used as a means of furthering another personal agenda without any remorse for those who are affected by it?

The question becomes what exactly is one fighting for? Are they fighting against the individual within the powerhouse or are they fighting against the powerhouse itself? If they are fighting against the latter, whatever emerges will be a different establishment from the previous one.

If the revolutionary is smart and wants to succeed in his or her endeavors, he or she must also know what they are fighting for. Not who they are fighting for, but what.

If these two questions are not answered, the revolution will most likely fail – or worse, become hijacked by those who are more ruthless but know these answers.

Therefore, the answers to solving issues are through the art of education – teaching the individual who they are and where they come from. If one is to teach, that individual must have compassion for his or her job and love for his or her students, knowing that what he or she is doing is far more impactful than almost every other profession on this Earth.

Those who fail to understand why they are the way they are will become trapped within some ideology that takes advantage of their vulnerabilities, which could eventually lead them to commit criminal or even terrorists acts.

At this point, nothing seems to be preventing this decline in American society. TV shows and other media have not been helping in the least bit. Those in the media streams have a sole priority: to protect their citizens from whatever harm befalls our country. The media is one of the most powerful establishments in our world and is directly responsible for the recent course of our history.

The original idea and purpose behind the establishment of the media was to inform the people about current events and important issues in the public interest. Today, that creed isn’t being met, and it’s shameful.