Category Archives: White House

Tougher Gun Laws Now: Stop the Violence


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by Sana Saeed

About a week or two ago, my mom had a close friend whose only child died. She was so depressed and her child was only 18 years old. He was going home after a party when he got shot near his own house. His mother said that he was a good boy and innocent.

Guns were once meant to protect  but now all they do is take away innocent lives.  The Newtown Massacre, Taft High School Shooting, Colorado Theater Massacre,  the list goes on…

Violent and often mentally unstable people, aided by weapons obtained legally or illegally, kill others over a stare, religion, physical appearance, or for no reason whatsoever. Instead of getting into fist fights, they have upgraded to gun fights or shoot outs. During gun wars, innocent people can simply be on the streets, walking: Hiram Lawrence would vouch  for that.

Everyone should care about enacting tougher gun control laws. Why? Because you never know who might get killed next. It could be you or someone you love. Gun control is never an issue until someone you know gets killed.

When a tragedy hits home, in a small, “safe” community in Connecticut, everyone starts talking about working together to make a positive, loving, safe community for all of us. Even the president.

As the days and years go by, these massacres are taking more and more lives and leaving behind scars that may never heal.   As a 15-year-old, I have witnessed many deaths and shoot outs over stupid reasons. That is why I care so much that a person only acquire a gun legally, with a license and through tough licensing procedures.

Most of the authors of the mass shootings and massacres are mentally unstable (Newtown) or  gang rivals (Oakland, or so says the police chief).  It shouldn’t matter if 20 kids die in one day or if one single  kid is murdered in front of his house.  Lives are lost and will never be returned.

Or maybe the problem is that obtaining a gun permit is too easy.  In fact, most of the mass shootings in 2012 were made by legally obtained ammunition and weapons, some including high caliber rifles.

On December 14, mentally ill Adam Lanza drove to school in Newtown, Connecticut, and shot and killed  20 children ( 12 girls and 8 boys between the ages of 6 and 7) plus six adults, his mother and himself.

The mentally ill shouldn’t roam the streets: they need constant medical attention  and should not be free to practice shooting at a rifle range, to buy weapons and to target their victims. Put them on a short leash, please.

Don’t let just anyone take advantage of the second amendment (the right to bear arms). It’s just another excuse to own a gun and to kill.


By Miles Mitchell McClymonds freshman Nicholas Sanford knew how to use a shovel  only because he had once dug a hole in his backyard to bury a dead puppy.  So when he handled “the very delicate roots” of the tomato … Continue reading

Bill Russell Speaks From the Heart at Oakland Gala

By Lateefah Edmondson

He’s tall, lanky, and modest. He avoided gangs in West Oakland and refuses to sign autographs.  Last night, like a true star, he stood tall, really tall: William “Bill” Russell was recognized in Oakland for the very first time for his accomplishments.

As the gala kicked off at the Convention Center, over 150 people took their seats.  Many well-known people lauded Russell, including ex-NFL player Jim Brown, Oakland mayor Jean Quan, and baseball hall of famer Joe L. Morgan.

Most memorable was when Bill Russell himself finally rose to speak.

With dignity and without notes, Russell recounted how he approached his counselor at McClymonds to ask why he wasn’t enrolled in any college prep classes. She told him, “Why do YOU need college prep classes. YOU’RE not going to COLLEGE.” So he made his own schedule and learned at his own pace.

Russell addressed gangs and violence, vowing to help change Oakland’s culture of violence. He then told the story of his first interaction with gang members. When a gang approached him, Russell admitted that he was afraid. But one gang member confronted the others, “Leave him alone. He’s playing basketball and trying to go somewhere with his life.”

Junior varsity cut him at McClymonds. When he looked at the sheet announcing who made the team, his name wasn’t on the list. Then he learned that the varsity coach at McClymonds High School wanted him to play on the team.  The coach showed him how to act, speak, and not be nervous around very important people.

It was clear to me that having a great role model had an impact on Russell, who went on to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom last month.

Russell went beyond becoming the best NBA player of his time and great alumnus from McClymonds. He contributes quietly: he established a scholarship for which only McClymonds students can apply, but that does not bear his name.

“ It was a great experience how history came back to help the future generation,” said senior Taylor Murray, 18, who attended the event. “ I learned that Bill Russell is hard working, respectful, and very well respected”.

Mack students apply for Obama to speak at graduation

by Pamela Tapia

“Obama at graduation!”

That cry rang through the hallway. Enthusiasm. Excitement, Hope.

“That’s what we need to keep us motivated as young Black men,” said Josh Walters, a senior at McClymonds.

Last Friday, McClymonds students worked hard on deadline to submit their official application to the White House to have President Barack Obama speak at the graduation for the class  of 2011 on June 16.

Students were literally speechless and astonished when a group of students announced that they had applied for President Obama to speak at graduation.

There is no official count, but at least 464 other high schools across the nation have applied. No other Oakland high school is believed to have applied.

The essays included a section on how teachers prepare you in academics, why your school deserves to win and how McClymonds prepares students for college and careers.

Students focused on their involvement in the community, which is predominantly Black and low-income, especially its advocacy for environmental justice. The school was featured in Newsweek Magazine and recently won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Senior Terranisha Nathaniel won the Princeton Prize in Race Relations in 2010 and McClymonds sent its top debater to nationals last year.

In the essays, students also mentioned the school’s consistently winning basketball and football teams. It noted that it is the only high school in the country with two living Presidential Medal of Freedom winners, Bill Russell and Frank Robinson.

“We don’t have the same funding as other schools in the district because of our small size,” the students wrote. “Yet we are the movers and shakers.”

Miami Dade College in Florida has already announced that it will host President Obama as one of their 2011 graduation speakers. Miami Dade’s press release about snagging the nation’s top official doesn’t tell how they did it, but states it is the largest higher education facility in the U.S., with more than 180 countries represented in their student body