Many people believe the death penalty is a way of getting rid of society’s most dangerous criminals. Others believe it is a form of revenge for the families of victims and that it deters other murders. These feelings often come out after high-profile cases. However, sentencing offenders to death is not the answer. They know they are not going to spend the rest of their lives in a nasty jailhouse, which is worse. To them, death can be an easy way out. That is why many who go on shooting rampages kill themselves before the police get to them. Many people would argue that a mass murderer like accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, who is set to go on trial in November and faces the death penalty if convicted, should confront his demise because that is the kind of eye-for-an-eye punishment he deserves. But that would be granting him his wish because he was willing to put his life on the line for his cause. Life in prison would be a better sentence because then he has to live to pay for the pain and suffering he caused other people. I believe that killing killers is murder disguised as punishment. If murder is wrong, then why does the federal government kill people who commit murder? What is the difference between someone who commits murder and someone who punishes that person by killing that person? Another argument people make for the death penalty is that it eradicates the danger murderers pose to society. However, rapists and armed robbers also pose a threat to the public. A rapist could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and then go back to the streets, where he might again rape and possibly kill -- so his victim can’t identify him. Same reason armed robbers transform into murderers. The death penalty is too inhumane to be considered the shortcut to keeping our streets safe. Instead of sentencing people to death, the government should sentence dangerous criminals to life imprisonment with hard labor so that they are working to support the economy -- not taking away from it -- and at the same time paying for their crimes.
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Past generations have envisioned what our world would look like today. References to futuristic families like the Jetsons would come to mind, and many had figured that global serenity would have been achieved by now. This is not the case, as history repeats itself -- as with the ongoing violence against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) individuals that was exposed during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In a modern twist, perpetrators of these crimes would record their deeds on smartphones and share the images to further increase the victims’ humiliation. Assault, harassment, and discrimination are not surprising in Russia, as even the authorities have accepted this to be a social norm. The condemning of so-called “homosexual propaganda” that could be accessible to minors makes being gay even more difficult in that region, led by Russian President Vladimir Putin. A poll in April 2013 found that 47 percent of Russians believed that gays and lesbians should not have the same rights as heterosexuals. By contrast, America is generally more open to gay rights. I was raised to treat people the same way I would like to be treated. As such, I do not see this problem as a complex conundrum; I see it simply as treating one another with humanity. As English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon once said: “Knowledge is power.” The better informed people are about the brutality, prejudice, and hardships faced by the LGBT community, the more likely global equality can be achieved.
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“I’m sorry that I can’t always live up to your expectations. I’m sorry for what I say and think.” These are everyday things we tell ourselves in relationships when things aren’t going right. We let our partners dominate us into becoming something we’re not -- just because we aren’t whom they want us to be. But you have to know when someone is expecting more than you can give. I wish everyone didn’t have such high expectations of me, because it’s bad enough when I let myself down. I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes we get so caught up in trying to please others that we totally lose ourselves. You should never feel like you have to meet anyone’s standard to keep them satisfied because that means they don’t value you. The best thing to do is set an expectation for yourself and accomplish it.
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“Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men -- the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”

-- Horace Mann

In a society that has seen a major advancement in technology, education has become so important that even people with college educations find it difficult to get their dream jobs -- not to mention people with only high school diplomas. Education, they say, is the key to success and the equalizer of social classes, giving all the same opportunity to pursue their dreams. But how does education level the playing field when a good percentage of Americans cannot afford a college education and the rich get the best shot at going to the best schools? How does education even things up if it involves money, the same thing that divides people into different social classes in the first place? Education has always separated people, from the time of segregation until now. Unlike whites, black people in the South did not have access to quality learning. The same kind of thing is happening now. Some states perform higher than others because of the money invested in their educational systems. Students in some schools do not have the same access to technology -- like laptops -- that others do. Education can never be the equalizer until a high school senior from a low-income family will not be stopped from going to his or her desired college because of the amount of money involved. Furthermore, college has become a business to some academic institutions. They don’t care if low-income families can afford it or not, as long as they make their profit. Education is not the great equalizer. Having the determination, ambition, and will to succeed is what balances the social machinery.
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Are some people born smarter than others? How you answer this question makes a big difference in your motivation. As Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck has stated, those who feel that you either have intelligence or you don’t tend to avoid challenges and don’t rebound well from failure. Others believe that they can develop their abilities and rise to the test. They learn from mistakes and keep the faith. I find that things are easier if you force yourself to confront them. Passion and perseverance are important traits. Failure does not have to be a permanent condition. Dweck recommends teaching children how to generate strategies when faced with setbacks. This way, she said, they will maintain self-esteem as they take on new demands.
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