Category Archives: Feature

Teachers Carrying Guns

KimaraSmith, Staff Reporter

Following the Parkland school shooting, the controversy remains as whether teachers should carry guns. It is evident that something needs to be done to make both students and teachers feel safer at school. However, most are unsure about whether having more guns in school is the right thing to do.

Chattahoochee High School teacher Margaret Garth, commented “I don’t think adding more guns is the answer. I definitely would not want to carry a gun in my classroom.” This idea was first suggested by President Trump. “ I believe armed teachers would deter school shootings,” Trump commented in the wake of Parkland. Another Chattahoochee High School teacher, Nicole Hayes, elaborated,“I would not want to carry a gun in school even if I had training.”

There are opposing views to this national question that have made headlines regularly. The concern by many is having more guns inside school itself will not make students and teachers feel safer. Reports show that the armed resource officer at Stoneman Douglas did not respond appropriately by not entering the school, even after being informed there was an active shooter inside the school.

Schools in Riverside, Ohio have begun to take matters into their own hands by placing safes in the schools with semi automatic pistols inside. Teachers and other staff members have volunteered to be trained to use these guns to protect against a school shooter. Emotions are mixed about this solution to combat a school shootings. Nationally, there has been no official plan set to have teachers carry guns; however, the debate continues.


Conservatism in Gen-Z

EthanBenn, Staff Reporter

Generation Z will be the most conservative age group in America since the Baby Boomers, just you wait! The Democrats better watch out – these kids are fiscally responsible and less progressive than Gen X and Millennials!  

Odds are you’ve probably heard something like that in a headline before, or maybe even that exact phrasing. When the media turns its focus from Millennials ruining things, it tends to land on their successors being their political opposites. And so comes the question, how conservative – or liberal – is our generation? With the help of The Speculator team, the results for the CHS student body’s political views are in.

The methodology was fairly simple: have students self-identify their political views by clicking terms which described them and then asking them to vote for a 2016 presidential candidate. Follow that up with an actual test to get some hard data, and the results should speak for themselves. Of sixteen students surveyed, seven identified as “liberal,” six as “moderate,” five as progressive as well as five as Democratic, two for centrist and two for libertarian. No students self identified as conservative or Republican, and with sixteen possible checks for each term, liberal and moderate were by far in the lead. The test, known as “8values,” asked students to strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree (or say they were unsure) to questions about economic, diplomatic, civil and societal questions. Liberal and Social Liberal were once again the most common results.

Even though the sample size for the survey was quite small, the respondents’ results were not surprising and probably represent the beliefs of CHS students in general. However, it is interesting to note that many of them identified as moderates – if Gen-Z is liberal or left-leaning, then it’s certainly not as partisan or hardline as their older Millennial or Gen-X counterparts.

And that’s what so many news outlets and commentators are seizing on when they shout about this generation being the next wave of ultra-conservatives so Republican it would make Ronald Reagan smile: they’re just not as solidly Democratic as their parents or older siblings. Going back to the survey again, fifteen of the sixteen students responded to the question about the 2016 presidential election, with Hillary Clinton getting seven votes (46.7%), Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Joe Biden all receiving two votes each (13.3% per candidate), Bernie Sanders receiving one vote (6.7%) and one student undecided. These results can be interpreted various ways, but I see it as a younger generation rebelling against ineffective political parties and status quo politics – while Clinton had a plurality in this mock election, she lacked a majority due to spoiler candidates (and if you consider Trump, Stein and Sanders outsider candidates, it’s easy to see why).

Judging from these results, perhaps the name should be changed from the Post Millennial generation to the No Business as Usual Generation. Mostly born into a post-9/11 world, having experienced financial crises, domestic terrorism and dramatic social change, this generation is anything but resigned to the usual norms of politics. Look at Emma Gonzales and David Hogg from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, as two no-nonsense go-getters tired with a system which doesn’t work.

This generation isn’t so much blue or red as every political party’s color under the sun – the Republicans and Democrats aren’t going to be able to fully control, or appease, this new generation of soon-to-be voters.

Last Days With the NRA

EthanBenn, Staff Reporter

After the shooting in Parkland, Fla., at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many turned to the National Rifle Organization (NRA) to respond to yet another national tragedy. Interestingly, some members of the NRA and other firearm owners have hurriedly dropped their memberships and surrendered their weapons to the authorities in the hope of avoiding another such tragedy. I

spoke to one former member of the NRA (and full disclosure, my father), Adam Benn, about his own experiences to better understand this complicated issue and the decisions gun owners make in the aftermath. The interview below has been edited for clarity:

Ethan Benn: First off, thank you for taking the time to discuss this issue with me. So, when did you join the NRA?

Adam Benn: It’s my pleasure. About 10 years ago, I think.

Ethan: So, about 2008?

Adam: Yes, although it’s been a year and a half since I stopped renewing my active membership with them.

Ethan: What were the requirements for membership, then?

Adam: Well, it was really whether or not you were willing to pay the fee.

Ethan: So it really is a paid member organization? I’ve seen the NRA as more of a lobbying group than an organization of members.

Adam: Well next to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), to my understanding, it’s the second largest paid member organization in America.

Ethan: Now that we’ve talked about you joining and later leaving the NRA, was there a- or what was the- certain breaking point when you decided to leave the NRA?

Adam: The NRA was vehemently opposed to really allowing any change to what’s been touted as “common sense” gun laws. Even things that were so simple that someone shouldn’t or couldn’t object to; it was like they were going out of their way to object to everything, even things that wouldn’t go against the Second Amendment. Their feeling was carte blanche: you should have the same rights as any other American citizen, even if you were on a No Fly List or something. There was an opposition to anything and everything, but you can’t always be right.

Ethan: I think that’s something that a lot of people who aren’t in the NRA feel, too. Could you elaborate on your carte blanc statement?

Adam: The NRA is fine with you getting guns even when you’re on a No Fly List. These guys aren’t protecting the second amendment. Rather, they are protecting firearm manufacturing companies and munitions companies. They only have the interests of Remington, Winchester and other multi-billion dollar companies in mind, but not the interests of the individual gun owners or American patriots at heart.

Ethan: That’s quite harsh. Normally, the NRA would sent out its spokesperson Dana Loesch or Wayne LaPierre to beat things like that back. So, what about Wayne LaPierre? Why do we always hear about him?

Adam: Part of his position is to be the spokesperson for the NRA- he interviews well, he speaks well, and he’s essentially the poster child of the organization.

Ethan: Do you think any one person, like Wayne LaPierre, might be responsible for the radicalization in the NRA?

Adam: Well, I think what it really came down to was after the end of the Clinton assault weapons ban, the NRA became self-aware that they have a very large ability to lobby- they can bring in a lot of financial support and tons of money to control politicians for themselves and their own financial benefit.

Ethan: Would you say that the NRA conflates being pro-gun control with being anti-Second Amendment? Have their lobbying and large donations blurred the line and forced politicians to toe a line between the two?

Adam: I think they associate anything that bans any and everything related to firearm use as being anti-Second Amendment. My problem is that the Second Amendment needs to be adapted to relative times and relative terms. For example, bump stocks aren’t guns- they’re pieces of plastic which modify the gun. But bump stocks aren’t being accurately reported and people are being misinformed, both by the media, lawmakers and the companies which manufacture them.

Ethan: Speaking of firearms and their modifications, would you support the banning of certain weapons or add-ons?

Adam: I would literally surrender every gun I own and do everything in my power to convey to people the message that giving up your firearms is worth it to save just one life. If someone wants to take a life, though, they’re going to anyway. My instinct is that it’s not going to make a difference. In 1986, the National Firearms Act pulled fully automatic weapons from the shelves to inflate their value and limit their availability. The weapons out there today all do the same thing- you pull the trigger once, one bullet comes out. The difference is that these assault style weapons have larger magazines, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. To some extent the NRA tries to educate the media, but nobody wants to listen to them.

Ethan: If the NRA is trying to educate the public, do you think there’s anything the NRA could do to fix its reputation and image?

Adam: I do- they could stop supporting the multi-million dollar firearm companies. They need to get back to their roots and teach youth how to use sport and hunting rifles safely and responsibly. Things like how to clean and maintain a weapon or hunt humanely and have pride in ownership, and especially self defense, were really their mantra.

Ethan: What are your thoughts on the “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” line? That’s something the NRA seems to promote after mass shootings.

Adam: I agree to some extent, as I own firearms for personal protection and to protect my family, but trying to stop the bad guy from getting guns in the first place is a better idea. I think the NRA’s response is just to sell guns and give guns to everybody, and I think that’s part of the problem I have with this. Selling a gun to an 18-year-old is asinine. At the end of the day, the people we have to be considered about aren’t going to listen to anyone else about limiting firearms- they’re going to steal or buy everything and anything they want for the purpose of doing as much harm and destruction they want. Banning certain weapons or munitions will only negatively affect lawful gun owners: the rules can’t just apply to law-abiding citizens because as long as bad guys have this stuff, there’s no point.

Ethan: That’s certainly one way to look at it. I don’t think that there’s just one solution to this deep-rooted issue, and you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but we’re of the same opinion on that. Hopefully, more conversations like this might push our country closer to a solution. Thank you for your time!

Adam: And thank you for having me.

The Wonderful World of Animals

ChrisRonzoni, Editorials Editor


The Wonderful World of Animals

          Elephants are some of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. With cognitive capabilities rivaling that of other highly intelligent animals, such as dolphins and apes, elephants are incredibly fascinating. They are extremely social and altruistic, meaning that they are greatly concerned with the well-being of others. Nothing makes this more evident than the almost human-like grief and sorrow they display at the death of a herd member — going so far as to cover the deceased with branches, leaves and dirt while remaining by their side for several days. This empathetic behavior even extends beyond their own species as there are countless documented incidents of elephants attempting to aid wounded people or even mourning deceased humans as one of their own.

However, this respectful and intelligent behavior may soon be reduced to a memory. For many decades now, illegal poaching and extensive habitat loss has created an increasingly turbulent environment for all elephant society. So much so that reports of unprovoked and lethal elephant attacks are now commonplace and rapidly increasing all over Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Biologists and other experts believe this abnormal level of aggression to be an unforeseen side-effect caused by humanity’s continued mistreatment of the species. Much like humans, young elephants need guidance and time to learn from their elders. Calves need to learn how to behave, how to communicate, what to eat and what not to eat, what’s dangerous and what’s safe. It should go without saying, but children need their parents. However, due to illegal poaching, a lot of calves become orphans at an early age and, thus, their natural development is interrupted. Not only that but, because of their intelligence and strong familial bonds, seeing their loved ones being brutally massacred and mutilated right in front of their eyes is about as traumatic as it would be for a human. These events can significantly impair normal brain development and cause hyper-aggression and unpredictable behavior similar to that of people suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Not only is humanity slowly driving the species towards extinction, but due to our ruthless means of doing so, we may also be responsible for their mental, social and intellectual decline in the process.

Let’s forget about humanity’s failures for a second; it’s just too depressing. Let’s focus on one of nature’s failures like that of the platypus, an animal that would honestly make a lot more sense if it were inspired by “Pulp Fiction” rather than the other way around. The platypus is one of the only five remaining species of monotremes. Monotremes are mammals that lay eggs, as opposed to giving live-birth. The Platypus was discovered by European explorers in 1798, and a specimen was later examined by zoologist George Shaw. Its strange features made Shaw question whether or not this was a hoax. Again, how can one not. It looks like a reversed beaver. He writes in a scientific journal from 1799 that “Of all the Mammalia yet known it seems the most extraordinary in its conformation; exhibiting the perfect resemblance of the beak of a Duck engrafted on the head of a quadruped.” He also writes, “…it naturally excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means.” In more modern terms, was this just another social experiment by some 18th century YouTube prankster or could the specimen truly be that of a real creature? Evidence for its existence and its supposed egg-laying capabilities remained highly debated topics for almost a century. Of course, we now know this Scrooge-McDuck-looking thing of an animal is more real than it first seemed.

Owls are one of the many creatures of the night that few get to truly behold. What is even more rare of a sight would be a fully functional parliament. As strange as it may seem, a parliament is a collective noun for a group of owls. Besides having a permanent “How the hell did I get here?” facial expression, owls also have a knack for necks. All 200+ owl species can rotate their necks and heads up to 270 degrees, which makes humans and owls the only two species capable of doing this. The only difference is that when humans do it, we die. Owls are able to survive such extreme neck twisting as they have 14 vertebrae while many other vertebrates have a lot fewer. For example, we humans only have a laughable seven. Like many other nocturnal species, owls do not have eyeballs; rather, they have eye-tubes. This peculiar shape allows for exceptional night vision. However, as the eyes are non-spherical they are completely fixed in their sockets which is why owls need such flexible necks.

If you live to be 90 years old you will be older than people who have yet to reach or surpass that age; you will also have spent 32 of those years asleep. Instead of dreaming about your dreams, that’s 32 years you could’ve spent awake going out to achieve those dreams. But if you’re a dolphin or a duck, sleep isn’t half as wasteful. A few select aquatic and avian species have developed what’s known as unihemispheric sleep, which is the ability to sleep with one half of the brain while the other half remains awake. This ability can be quite beneficial for different reasons. In the case of birds capable of unihemispheric sleep, such as chickens and ducks, they literally sleep with one eye open. This allows them to constantly keep an eye out for potential predators. On the other hand, various aquatic animals, such as dolphins, Aquaman and whales use this ability to surface for air even when they are half-asleep. It’s been widely scientifically unproven that if humans had this ability, we would spend this extra time speculating over what we would do if we had more time.

On the softer side of things, male humpback whales can spend more than 24 hours continuously repeating the same 10-20 minute song. So, what you hear when swimming with whales may be one of the hottest mixtapes to hit the blue market. Either that or Chewbacca is in dire need for help. The purpose behind these extensive musical performances largely remains a mystery to scientists. Researchers believe it could be to attract females, to challenge other males or a form of echolocation. What we do know is that these songs often spread amongst humpback whale society much the same way the latest pop-music can spread across the globe in our human society. It begins with a localized population of whales producing a unique string of melodies and after roughly two years’ time, the song has moved between numerous whale populations across the pacific. And the songs are often heavily remixed along the way. Each year, a new viral hit takes form and the underwater music industry continues to thrive.

Overall, our world’s animals are truly one of a kind. Why we decide to drive them to extinction through pollution, poaching or simply over-hunting is beyond the ken of many scientists and researchers. We continue to learn new things every day about our world’s animals; one can only hope they will all still be around for our future generations.

Aaron Feis: A Local Hero

BrettGreenberg, Staff Reporter

Feb. 14, 2018: A day that will go down in history. At approximately 2:21 p.m EST, Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. During the shooting, beloved offensive line football coach and school resource officer, Aaron Feis, risked his life for the safety of the students and threw himself in front of the bullets sprayed out by Cruz.

Coach Aaron Feis was a figure in the whole Douglas County community, always putting others before himself and assuring he was someone that could be depended on for anything whether that be the safety of students, being the resource officer or getting his players to be successful on the football field and help them pursue their dreams of playing college football and taking the next step athletically. Local school spokeswoman, Denise Lehtio, remarked, “He died the same way he lived he put himself second. He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

Feis’s impact was felt outside of the school as well. In a interview two days after this shooting, Chief Sherriff Scott Israel stated that he, “knew [Aaron Feis] personally, coached with him for 2 years and [Scott’s] kid played for him.” Feis has been around this community for as long as anyone can remember, graduating from Douglas High School in 1999 and coming full circle to return  and coach the football team from 2002 to 2018.

Aaron Feis is a man that will live in the hearts of all the students, parents, staff and first responders for the rest of their lives.


RIP Aaron Feis 1980-2018:

A local hero, dedicated worker, caring coach and a man of incredible character.


“Man of the Woods?” Stay in the Woods.

GraceSassaman, Staff Reporter

Justin Timberlake recently released an album for the first time in five years, entitled “Man of the Woods.” Fans have been patiently awaiting this release because of Timberlake’s fame for originality, shown by his earliest hits such as “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body.” These have followed him throughout his career, allowing him to maintain a reputation of individuality.

His new album approaches music in a different way, as he segues from solely pop production and reverts back to his more Southern and natural roots. The album cover art is a graphic design edit of Timberlake wearing a jeans and flannel combo and segmented ripped picture of him in a classy black suit.

Timberlake didn’t sing the album all by himself, though; two of the featured songs, “Morning Light” and “Say Something” feature the pop singer Alicia Keys and country star Chris Stapleton, respectively. Another song, “Young Man,” features the cooing of his toddler, which has been a heart-warming hit among fans as Timberlake offers some fatherly advice and encouragement to his son and admires his wife’s ability to be a loving mother. So far, the biggest hit from the new album is titled “Filthy,” which incorporates his usual pop style.

However, not everyone is pleased with Timberlake’s release. Some claim that he’s overreaching to find a new style which is causing him to look like a poser. Tais Ferreira (SR) says, “This album sucks.” Perhaps Timberlake has maxed out in his success because his older releases were just too good!

Nadia Dowlatkhah (SR) joked, “Justin Timberlake has only been camping once.” Some fans think it’s cheesy for a multimillionaire superstar to claim an earthy lifestyle when he’s truly living lavishly. Others say that this album is another mindless release. Timberlake has been accused in the past of using others for individual profit, so there is a collection of people who are hesitant to nosedive into his work until his motives are fully understood.

Still, his songs are a hit among others. The feature “Flannel” is an acoustic hymn about his love for soft plaid shirts.

Ultimately, though, Timberlake’s release will be hugely successful and he will make millions off of it. Instead of producing his album with the electronic vision of pop music, Justin Timberlake’s album, “Man of the Woods” relies on the sounds and genres of funk, country, soul and even gospel.

How to Recognize a Hypebeast

RithikDoddla, Staff Reporter

From sneakerheads to resellers, the term “hypebeast” has taken the world by storm. Hypebeast is a term used to describe people who wear only “hyped up” or popular fashion for attention. These people ensure they are wearing high-end brands at all times. This new trend of fashion has also provoked great “hype” to brands which were unknown a few years ago. For example, brands such as Supreme, Bathing Ape, and Off-White were almost unheard of until recently. So, how do you know for sure what a hypebeast is? Here are four signs of a hypebeast:


  • No Resale, No “Cop”


Hypebeasts do not buy anything which cannot be flipped. Reselling is a vast part of the hypebeast culture and allows the buyer to purchase more clothes. The idea is for people to purchase hypebeast clothing for a decent price and sell it for more to make a profit. Over time, hypebeasts will have too many clothes, shoes and accessories which they will wear for a while and then sell for a revenue. Reselling is recognized as an art where people will spend hours to see what they can buy to maximize profits.


  • Branded Items Only


Hypebeasts only buy popular brands’ merchandise and which has been posted about on the internet. Anything which is not of a fashionable brand is a strict no. They will even wear ugly, low-quality clothing just because it is made by a trendy brand. This has let brands, like Supreme, compete with top-notch designer brands, like Gucci, even though the product-quality is significantly lower. In other words, brand name is supreme to all.


  • Dress to Impress


Hypebeasts embellish themselves with hype brands primarily to stand out and impress others. Whether it be to school, the grocery store or the mall, hypebeasts desire to outperform others and be the best-dressed wherever they go. Their inspiration primarily comes from celebrities who wear these now-popular brands. For example, Supreme’s sales have skyrocketed ever since figures like Kanye West and Odell Beckham Jr. have been spotted wearing the brand’s clothes.


  • Wardrobe or Museum?


Hypebeasts do not just wear clothes, they collect them. The word “deadstock,” meaning brand new and unworn, is often used to describe the merchandise they compile. They take extreme measures just to prevent a few creases and wrinkles. For example, some plastic wrap their shoes with a special gun to make sure no creases form on the shoes and others will get special boxes to see their items without touching them.