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The Most Premeditated of Murders

Way back in my freshmen year of college, I had to write a ten page paper against the death penalty. If I had to do it now, ten pages would have seemed nowhere near enough. I could go on and on. Fittingly, I chose to title it: “The Most Premeditated of Murders”.

Evidence aside, in the court of law what usually happens is this: whichever side of the case has the better lawyer wins. Because let’s face it, besides the victim and assailant, typically no one else knows the 100% truth. It’s a whole lot of speculation. You can never with 100 percent conviction and without a shadow of a doubt fully prove a person’s intent.

But what happened tonight in Oklahoma? That’s a [premeditated] murder in every sense of the word. Murder is, after all, the deliberate act of killing someone. If you aren’t familiar with what happened, here’s the short of it: a man was being put to death via lethal injection in Oklahoma using a new combination of drugs, and his execution was “botched”. End result? The man ultimately died of a heart attack forty minutes later.

Never mind the fact that the inmates, lawyers and advocates had argued that this new and untried [and untested] protocols could cause “levels of suffering” that would violate the prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the Eighth Amendment.

Never mind the fact the states were in this limbo because the traditional drugs were no longer being sold to the US on the basis of humanitarian grounds.

Never mind the fact that states have developed secrecy laws that basically allow them to keep hidden the source of their supplies and the content/combination of drugs being used… which is fishy enough to raise red flags.

The following is an excerpt from my aforementioned college paper, and I still believe it to be completely true:

Capital punishment is essentially a murder committed by the state. In a society that condemns killing, it is ironic that this country executes people as a punishment, which is without a doubt just an official murder. In no civilized society can society punish an act by participating in the very act that the condemned is being put to death for. Moreover, it definitely sends the wrong message because there is no logic to killing people who kill people to show that killing is wrong.

I am not saying the guilty shouldn’t be punished. What I am saying is this: a) you can never be 100% sure of guilt and you can’t undo death. With the number of stories you hear of the guilty being proven otherwise decades later, I can’t even fathom how many people have been put to death wrongly for crimes they didn’t commit; you can release them from jail, but certainly not bring them back to life, b) the system is racist. Let’s not kid ourselves and actually believe that the system treats each of them equally: the disparity between those who are given harsher treatments for similar crimes amongst Caucasians and those of color is ridiculous, and to tie into today’s unfortunate events c) the constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment” which definitely played a role in today’s execution without a doubt.
Every time we take one step forward as a nation, we seem two take two steps backwards in the wrong direction.

Domestic Violence Transcends All Racial Boundaries

Domestic violence transcends all racial boundaries.

It’s proven time and again.

I haven’t been able to get the unfortunate news out of my mind all week. A fellow Pakistani female murdered. At the hands of her husband. Right here in New Jersey!

Not just because I, too, was born in Pakistan. Or that I am a female. But as a human.

Nazish Noorani, a young mom of two small children, was killed after her husband meticulously planned her murder with another woman.

There are so many disgusting aspects of this story —

  • the husband has been living a life of a lie (lying about his educational history, for example, while carrying on numerous affairs)
  • to murder a woman in front of her child
  • to meticulously PLAN this murder… down to the expected police response time.
  • to make up a story and try to blame it as a hate crime.

It’s absolutely heart-wrenching.

According to Futures Without Violence, on average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. Yet, according to National Coalition Againts Domestic Violence, domestic violence is one of the most chronically under-reported crimes. Most cases aren’t ever reported to the police!

WHEN, as a society, are we going to stand up for the matters that matter? HOW does someone decide to take away someone else’s life? WHO gives them such a right?

How many domestic violence cases is it going for us to say enough is enough?  Too many, in my opinion.

Soon enough, the media attention on this case will diminish. But these young children, like many others, will still be left motherless.

If you see something, say something! You could be saving a life!

Friends and family of Nazish have set up a memorial fund for her two children, and if you are interested you can click here.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Facebook: Cartoon Default Photo

If you are actively using Facebook, by now you have certainly seen some (if not many) of your friends change their default pictures to an image of a cartoon.

If it wasn’t explained why, and you were curious – I’m sure you inquired and found out. But a lot of people still don’t understand why — which is one of the reasons I question it in the first place.

The explanation attached to the profile picture change is something to the likes of “Change your picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on Facebook until Monday, December 6th. Join the fight against child abuse & copy & paste to your status to invite your friends to do the same.

In the early stages of all of this happening, I would get annoyed each time I saw it — but not really think too much about it. But when I saw my brother Faraz post “If you know a child is being abused, please call 1-800-4-A-CHILD instead of just changing your profile picture to a cartoon” I immediately smiled and thought THIS is something I could go along with and promote. Instead of belittling what is a serious problem in the United States and across the globe, this was good information that should be passed along.

My number one question or problem with the cartoon scenario is: does the problem or at least the severity of the problem that is child abuse suddenly disappear after December 6th?

I’m sure many of the people who changed their Facebook profile photo thought that by doing so, they were promoting a good cause… but most didn’t even bother explaining the reason they were changing their photo in the first place. Instead of passively participating, we should all take an active stance.

Over the last twelve hours or so, I’m pleased to see several of my Facebook “friends” change their statuses to what my brother wrote and I urge you to do the same.

This whole thing reminded me of a little while back when females posted on their Facebook statuses where they “liked it” in order to promote breast cancer. It was supposed to imply where they liked to leave their purses, but it became so racy and provocative and I don’t think it raised any awareness at all. Breast Cancer is the number one cause of death for females, and to undermine its severity just baffles me each time.

What cause will be next?

Instead, why not provide people with information? Or provide links to where people can donate to for further research and prevention. Wouldn’t it be amazing if both of these problems became a thing of the past?

There are many pros and cons to social media. You can use them to promote great causes like child abuse and cancer amongst many others, but there is a way to do it. The growing trend unfortunately is that social media just desensitizes us more and more.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on Trapped Miners in Chile, Part Two

All of the 33 miners were rescued and brought to safety!

What an amazing story! With so many odds against them, and so many potential risks along the way – it is an absolute miracle. An absolute fairy tale ending for what could have been a horrendous tragedy.

What started off as 17 days without contact with the outside world, starting August 5th, with little to no food for that duration… ended in a miraculous way. After spending 70 days 2000+ feet underground, they were finally rescued! The rescue efforts went great and without any major hitches – you couldn’t ask for anything more… especially considering the fact it took about half the time than what was originally predicted.

I’ve been glued to to the TV and my phone for the past twenty four hours watching all the latest developments and watching each miner being ascended to safety – with a smile plastered on my face and emotions running high. I’m an emotional person, I know that, but you just can’t help it. The tears of joy and the chills as each miner was reunited with the outside world and their families, reminded you each time how differently this could have ended. Thinking about how I was feeling, I can’t even imagine what the miners, their families, and the rescuers were feeling.

As I read somewhere online earlier, these miners were the luckiest ‘unlucky’ men alive. Well said.

There were so many inspirational stories told throughout this ordeal, but one of my favorites was when Jimmy Sanchez, the 19 year old miner (the youngest one trapped), said that there weren’t 33 of us down there, there were always 34 of us – because god never left our side (i’m paraphrasing).

For the past 10 weeks, but especially for the last 24 hours, people throughout the world were praying and hoping for the best possible outcome, and that’s exactly what we got. The rescuers involved did an amazing job and they deserve much thanks for their efforts. I can’t imagine how they are feeling after finally being able to breath a sigh of relief.

What an amazing 24 hours. What a miracle.

Counting my blessings,

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Videos of the Rescues of Chilean Miners

Here’s a video of the last minor rescued:

Here’s the video of the first miner rescued:

I’m trying to find a video for each separate rescue. If you have any links, let me know.

 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on Trapped Miners in Chile

Anyone with a heart has to have been disheartened following the story of the 33 miners trapped underground since August 5th (68 days!) in Chile. How can you not?

I’ve read many stories on the whole incident every day for the last ten weeks. Each time I did so, I got chills and thought about what they were going through – physically and mentally.

Knowing the rescue mission was to go underway tonight, all day today it was on my mind. I can’t think of anyone who isn’t rooting for a safe rescue of all of the miners later today and in the next few days. As a psychology student, I have been thinking a lot about how not only are the next few days important, but more importantly so are the next few weeks and months as each miner settles back into their “routine” and their psychological state.

It was so admirable and inspirational when I was reading earlier today that all of the miners are keep insisting to stay on the mine site until all of their fellow trapped miners have been rescued (instead of being transported to the hospital as they are rescued). Their strength, solidarity and endurance throughout this ordeal has been amazing.

 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

My Thoughts on the Rutgers Tragedy

As a society, when are we going to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH against bullying?

I would hope that if Rutgers ever received so much attention, it would be for a positive thing. As a very recent alumni of Rutgers it was quite dissappointing that they, instead, made headlines locally and nationally because one of the freshmen committed suicide as a direct result of cyber bullying.

Our generation, growing up, has seen so many technological advances – and like with most things – each comes with its positives negatives. At eighteen years of age and as a college freshmen, however, you are no longer children and are deemed responsible for your actions – and those responsible MUST be held responsible for their actions. I’ve read so many comments on articles in this case that defend those responsible and say ‘it was just a joke’. How can bullying ever be just a joke? The simple answer is, it can’t!

When are we as a society going to start accepting each person for who they are and leave gender, orientation, ethnicities, race, and disabilities amongst other things as barriers behind? It seems every time we take one step forward as a nation, we also take two steps right back – leading us further behind from where we even started.

I’m not naive – I don’t think it’s know it’s not going to happen over night, but it’s something we need to work on individually to bring that change on a collective level.

My condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased. Such a young life, with a promising future, cut so short.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Tag, You are It.

As I was leaving from the last day of class of “Current, Moral, and Social Issues” earlier today, (which is a class I was quite interested in taking but turned out to be quite disappointing), the professor said something profound.

He ended the class talking about how important the issues we discussed in this class were and that the debate and the conversation on such topics should never end and then said: “this is the most important game of tag you will ever play… and YOU are it.”

While I didn’t enjoy the class altogether, the quote did make me smile and has had me thinking of its validity. There are so many issues we are each passionate about, but how many of us actually speak up for them?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

International Women’s Day

When you think about it,

it wasn’t too long ago when women couldn’t vote.
it wasn’t too long ago when women didn’t have the opportunity to be educated.
it wasn’t too long ago when women couldn’t work (and when they did, it was under horrible conditions).
it wasn’t long ago when there were unfair hiring practices, and NO paid maternity leave and affordable child care available.
it wasn’t long ago when it was legal for employers to pay a women less than a man for the same work.

BUT, we still have a long way to go!

These issues are just a few issues from a LARGE spectrum of issues women continue to face everyday.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on Earthquake in Haiti

I’m sure, by now, everyone has heard of the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti earlier this week on Tuesday that has caused so much destruction, left so many people homeless and without food, injured countless people, and killed over 45 thousand people (and counting; the number is expected to sky rocket tremendously). Not to mention the amount of ‘missing’ people that are still unaccounted for.

I keep reading in the news and through twitter that government officials in Haiti are pleading for basic essentials like water and food, and aid to treat the injured. That they don’t have the capacity to treat the injured. That they lack the technology in so many aspects, such as being able to locate people and notify their families elsewhere that they have been accounted for in one sense or another.

At the same time, technology has gone so far in our part of the world through the White House blog people learned that they can donate ten dollars at a time by simply texting ‘HAITI’ to ‘90999’ and confirming their donations when prompted. The ten dollar donation will appear on your next cell phone bill and a 100% of it will go to Red Cross to help those effected by this earthquake.

It gets you thinking about how much you take for granted on a daily basis and how much we have to be thankful for. It also got me thinking about the fact that it takes a catastrophe like an earthquake for people to really count their blessings.

But you know what – I also thought about the fact that it was once again proved that when we really need to… we can rally together as one collective group of people for a worthy cause. A couple of hours ago I was reading on twitter that through cell phone donations alone the Red Cross and Yele organizations have received donations of over six million dollars combined! Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.