This has been a hectic couple of weeks. Aside from the increasing and accelerating school workload, other events such as the midterm elections, the California Wildfires and Thanksgiving weekend were also very overwhelming. There have been many things happening recently that have truly affected a lot of people, and this time of year is when people notice it the most. Despite these events, unification and lending a helping hand is important, especially with increasing polarization and tragedy.
Most recently, there have been two mall shootings during the Thanksgiving break; one occurred at the Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama and the other in Elizabeth, New Jersey at the Jersey Gardens mall.
According to NBC News, the Alabama mall shooting occurred on Thanksgiving night and the rounds injured an 18-year-old woman and a 12-year old girl. However, a police officer shot and killed the wrong person he suspected to be the gunman, which left the gunman still at large. The Jersey Gardens mall shooting happened at 8 p.m. on Black Friday and left one man injured. The gunman was not found.
With this happening, this puts people in fear, especially in a season dedicated to time with family. When I found out about the mall shootings, I was surprised, especially with the New Jersey Gardens mall shooting, because I frequently go there. It is important to cherish those around you because of things like this.
Sophomore psychology major, Christine Starozytnyk said, “When I first heard about it, I was at work and my coworkers and I began to talk about it. It was upsetting to hear because of the fact that it is one of the many shootings that happened this year.”
I am also not oblivious to the state of the nation currently. There are a lot of factors contributing to the polarization of the nation, especially through politics. The midterm elections were the topic of everyone’s conversations in the past weeks and came as fast as it went. The Democrats took control of the House of Representatives while the Republicans maintained control of the senate. On top of that, the campaign races were especially close and some controversial.
There were many “first” congresswomen from different backgrounds that were elected into the senate, which also should be celebrated. According to NPR, this included the first muslim woman elected to Congress—Democrats Rashida Tlaib from Michigan’s 13th District and Ilhan Omar from Michigan’s 5th district. Also, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York’s 14th district was the youngest elected congresswoman.
“This was a critical time for people our age to vote and I feel it is good [that] there is more diversity,” Starozytnyk said.
The California wildfires were another tragedy that happened recently and was shown on the news frequently. The videos and pictures seen on social media and news sources alike were very catastrophic and horrifying.
According to ABC News, the Camp Fire in Northern California started on Nov. 8 and is now 98 percent contained. It also said, “To date, the Camp Fire has destroyed 13,954 residences, 514 commercial and 4,265 other buildings, according to the latest incident report.” Looking at the pictures of the abandoned town full of torched cars and charred remains, one could only imagine how horrifying the evacuation must have been.
“I found it heartbreaking because of the fact that many had lost their homes as well as family members and now have nowhere to go,” Starozytnyk said. “I feel that these recent events have caused horrible situations as well as living conditions for individuals and families, especially because this is around the time period families come together to celebrate the holidays. The least we can do is start a GoFundMe page or send some things that could help the people affected because what if you or your family were in that situation?”
You can donate through the Red Cross, Salvation Army or Global Giving. It was also noted on ABC News that there is a way to “adopt a family,” in which you can donate through a Facebook group called “Paradise Fire Adopt a Family” and will match a person to a family victim to the fire. With all of those people now homeless, especially during this time of year, it is important to contribute any way you can. Acts of kindness can go a long way no matter how big or small.
With all of this happening, we are all still standing and we should be grateful for what we have; things could always be worse. In spite of these bad things happening, this is a time when it is important to come together despite the tragedies and this polarizing period. This is the holiday season; we should be giving back to our communities and receiving love and joy. I know I sound like I have on rose-colored glasses, but it is not impossible. There are many opportunities to do so even on campus. You can donate non-perishable food, toiletries, winter outerwear, and monetary donations to the Rider Pantry. You can also become involved in volunteer groups like Circle K International or Rider SERVES. Helping in your community not only helps others, it may even help you.
The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by staff memeber, Tatyanna Carman.