JaydenChin, Staff Reporter
On the morning of April 13th the United States joined forces with Britain and France to launch a joint missile strike on three chemical research and storage facilities in both Damascus and Homs, Syria. The strike was coordinated in response to a chemical weapon attack by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Syrian civilians on April 7th in the city of Douma. The Russian military reported that the Syrian chemical facilities only suffered minor damage, which claimed that Syria’s air defense systems shot down 71 of the 103 missiles before they hit their targets. A director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon has denied Russia’s claim, saying that no missiles launched by the U.S. and its allies were shot down. Although no civilian casualties have been reported following the attacks, the target sites were all located in residential areas, hinting that American news sources may be lying.
Many are asking what the purpose of the airstrikes were and what the aftermath will entail. The attack was suddenly carried out that morning with the purpose of destroying Syria’s known chemical weapon facilities which have held a major role in chemical research nationwide for years. The Syrian army will undoubtedly get the message regarding their use of such heinous weapons, but the airstrikes will have no major effect on the trajectory of the conflict. President Trump’s abrupt decision to strike was by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who is responsible for Russia’s strong alliance with Syria. Putin warned Trump that launching the missiles on Syria will have a destructive effect on international relations and will cause instability for the whole global system. Putin even informed Trump that, “Russian forces will intercept and shoot down any missiles that the U.S. launches at Syria.” Trump then responded by posting one of his humorous tweets that said, “Get ready Russia, missiles are coming,”.
The people of the United States expected nothing less from Trump. You would think that the leader of the free world should listen to the crucial advice given by the most powerful man in the world but knowing Trump it was almost certain that he would carry out with his plans. Many find it extremely ironic how Trump,is also extremely ironic how Trump, who has done immeasurable damage to American democratic norms, is standing up for international norms. Around 70 Syrian civilians were killed in the Douma chemical attacks, but roughly half a million civilians have been killed during the past seven years of civil war in Syria. The 107 tomahawk missiles launched by the U.S. and its allies, which cost around 1.4 million dollars each, ultimately changed nothing for the sake of the Syrian people. Although Russian officials stated that the destruction of Assad’s chemical weapon infrastructure won’t upset them too much, they will continue to protest any further attacks on Syria by the United States. The attacks were simply Trump’s way of telling Russia and Putin that despite their war and political victories, the United States will always remain in the game.
TaisFerreira, Staff Reporter
With almost 2,000 students, Chattahoochee High School has a massive amount of students who excel in their field of interests. Chattahoochee also has a large hard working staff that goes above and beyond to help their students learn. And because of these high achieving students, Chattahoochee aims to give them the recognition they deserve.
First off, Chattahoochee dedicates their main hallway televisions to display a slideshow of those students with the highest standardized testing scores. For graduating seniors, they award their overall four-year average with a cord. There are three different types of cords that a senior can receive. Summa Cum Laude is the highest ranking cord which is given to a student with an average of 96 or higher. The Magna Cum Laude is granted to those with a 92 or above, and lastly the Cum Laude is for those with an 88 or above.
In order to honor the staff and students of their achievements, Chattahoochee dedicates a whole night for it. The Night of Excellence awards acknowledge many different accomplishments. Book awards, scholarships, academic achievements and even recognition of the National Merit Scholars are recognized. Teachers even pick the student who held the highest grade in their course and showed the most hard work. Every year the awards nights are very similar to each other. One of the awards presented to the staff was Ms. Martin, who won NELC Teacher of the year 2018. Overall, A Night of Excellence was a huge success once again and served its purpose of giving students recognition for all of their hard work.
KimaraSmith, Staff Reporter
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of a Philadelphia Starbucks following a racial discrimination issue that occurred on April 12 only days before. Two black men arrived at the Starbucks to conduct a simple business meeting, but things went downhill quickly after the two men were arrested for allegedly “trespassing.” Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, both 23, had no idea they were about to be arrested while they were waiting for their meeting. When one of the men asked to use the restroom, an employee told him that it was “only for paying customers. “ Countless non-paying customers come to Starbucks, yet are still able to use the bathroom.
Confused, the men ignored the comments and continued on with their business meeting. The employee persisted, stating that they must purchase something to stay and conduct their meeting. Oddly, only two minutes after arriving, the police had already been called by the store manager. When the police arrived, the two men were unjustly escorted out of the restaurant and arrested. Following the situation, the CEO of Starbucks released a statement saying “Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling.”
After many days of protesters lining the streets and boycotting, the company later announced that they will be closing over one thousand stores on May 29, 2018 to conduct racial bias training for their employees. The closing of Starbucks for the training sparked outrage among many customers; however, this type of action is needed to educate and shine a light on the discrimination that happens all too often in America.
Summer movies are an integral part of the vacation experience. Movies that have been anticipated by fans for months, even years, are finally released by executives in the summer. The summer of 2018 is no exception, with sequels being released from franchises like “Star Wars,” “Jurassic World” and “The Incredibles.”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (May 25) The second Star Wars anthology film, following “Rogue One,” this movie follows the younger years of one of the most famous characters in American film: Han Solo. Described as an “American Western” by the director, “Solo” is expected to draw long-time fans and new viewers alike.
“Ocean’s 8” (June 8) A comedic spin off of Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy, “Ocean’s 8” follows Debbie Ocean as she assembles an all-female crew to pull off a heist at New York’s Met Gala. The predominantly female cast is reflective of an attempt at the broader trend of inclusivity in Hollywood.
“The Incredibles 2” (June 15) A film 14 years in the making, “Incredibles 2” is the most anticipated animated movie of the year. Made by the same director of such classics as “The Iron Giant” and “Ratatouille,” “Incredibles 2” is expected to impress.
“The First Purge” (July 4) The Purge series was an unexpected success in Hollywood. The franchise was able to produce three big-budget successes and developed a strong, dedicated fanbase. “The First Purge” details the origin of the series’ obscure tradition where all crime is legal for twelve hours to cleanse or “purge” the aggression and anger of the nation.
“Ant Man and the Wasp” (July 6) The twentieth film in the Marvel universe and a sequel to 2015’s “Ant Man,” “Ant Man and the Wasp” takes place after “Captain America: Civil War” when the protagonist Scott Lang works to balance his life as a father and as a superhero.
CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter
On April 17, the “Speculator” staff went to the University of Georgia in Athens for this year’s Georgia Scholastic Press Association (GSPA) banquet. The banquet is a luncheon where members of school publications from across Georgia come together to celebrate and acknowledge their accomplishments.
The banquet was held at the Continuing Education Center and Hotel at UGA. There were over 100 publication students from about 15 schools across the state of Georgia. Lunch was served, and the awards ceremony followed. The GSPA representatives informed us that over 700 entries were submitted, making it difficult to decide on winners.
The individual awards were distributed first. A member of the staff, Ethan Benn (SO) won two awards for individual articles: “Were You Listening, America?” in the critical review category and “Keeping Civics Civil” in the column writing category. Rithik Doddla (JR) won for his sports game coverage article, “Cougars Dominate Dunwoody on Homecoming.” Awards were also given for collaborative articles. Ethan Benn and Nadia Dowlatkhah (SR) won for their article, “Reverse Racism” in the opposing viewpoints category. Additionally, Matt Kohn (JR) and Rithik Doddla were given an award for their collaborative sports feature piece, “Fall Into the New Season.”
After the GSPA announced the awards and handed out certificates, we were able to view our evaluation by GSPA. Overall, the newsmagazine was rated as superior, and the news site was rated as excellent. While there are still improvements to be made, this has proved to be a great year for “The Speculator,” and there is hope that Chattahoochee’s trusted news site and magazine will continue to get stronger and gain a loyal readership.
With the midterm elections approaching, the President and his administration have been keen on creating policies and portraying an image that could translate to more Republicans in Congress after the midterm elections. Yet, district and Senate special elections that have occurred before the midterm elections anticipate that this hope may be out of reach for the administration. Though, on the surface, Trump’s bragging of a 5-0 record when it comes to special elections may seem true, the closeness of these elections may hint at a different narrative.
In our own district, for example, Ossoff lost the election by the margin of one percentage point in a district that had been safely Republican for decades. And in Texas, where a primary election for the 2018 midterms was held, Democrats turned out in record numbers to vote. However, the most clear sign that Democrats may have good news approaching in the upcoming midterms is Democrat Conor Lamb winning Pennsylvania District 18, a district that voted Trump into office by over 20 percentage points.
The implications of that election are significant. In counties where special elections were held in the past, Democrats have usually left disappointed in the subsequent win of a Republican despite ardent campaigning and pundit speculations of a party flip. Emotions of helplessness and failure ran high, for example, in Georgia’s sixth Congressional district, where a Republican won despite a record number of democratic donations and volunteers. Recent news, however, provides insight on these special elections. Those slim wins in once dominantly Republican regions may have demonstrated fissures in the Trump constituency. And, now, the Pennsylvania election seems to show an outright collapse in the president’s support system, one that may be detrimental come November 2018.
BrendanHuet, Staff Reporter
On Feb. 14, 2018, there was another mass shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old, walked into Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 and killed 17 innocent children. This event created backlash on the weak gun control laws in the United States. It also led to some companies banning their sales of assault rifles or changing their rules for buying a gun in their stores. The two most popular stores that are involved in these changes are Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart.
Dick’s Sporting Goods is a store that sells all sports equipment, athletic clothing and outdoors essentials. A big portion of their profit came from the sales of all guns, including assault rifles. In fact, although it was not the gun used in the Parkland shooting, Dick’s had previously sold an assault rifle to Nikolas Cruz. This resulted in the company being one of the first major stores to enact a change in their sales of assault rifles. Just a few days after Cruz attacked Stoneman Douglas High School, Dick’s ended all sales of assault rifles in its stores. The company also revised their policies so that a person would have to be at least 21 years of age to buy any other gun from Dick’s. The CEO, Edward Stack, realizes the financial consequences of this move but feels it is the right thing to do., “We concluded if these kids are brave enough to organized and do what they’re doing, we should be brave enough to take this stand.”
Walmart, the nation’s biggest gun seller, also has taken action after the Parkland shooting. The company announced that its stores would no longer sell any gun to anyone younger than 21 years of age. Walmart will also no longer sell items resembling assault rifles, including toy and airsoft guns. This will result in a significant loss in profit, but the company is not worried about it. As the nation’s biggest gun seller, it is “seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms.” Walmart is confident that this is the type of change that our country needs.
The Parkland shooting has brought awareness to the American eye and has caused big corporations to take a stand on gun regulations. This is seen in the fact that the nation’s two largest gun sellers have restricted their sales of guns. Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer sell assault rifles in its stores and will not sell to anyone under the age of 21. Walmart has also taken precautionary measures and will not sell any gun to anyone under 21. These changes will result in a loss of money for both companies, but in return will help our country stay safe from any more mass shootings.