Colorblind

Mark Kilroy.

The room spins around him; noises from the left and right grasp his attention, but he can’t understand their words. He tries to move, but can’t, looking down at his arms and legs it is clear as to why: he is tied down. Panic is setting in; that dizzy, hot, lightheaded feeling is finding its way into the last moments of Kilroy’s life. Before this realization Mark was hoping his friends were playing a bad joke on him, but now it is real. The voices go silent; a small sliver of a shaft of light falls on Mark’s face, and a breeze comes through the now opened door. Maybe they’re letting him leave? Maybe he’ll escape? haha, no. Constanzo would never let that happen. But this hope was just what he was looking for. Now the door to Kilroy’s own personal hell had been opened, and after a man who could be the devil himself walked through, again shut.

Nothing is familiar to the poor American boy awaiting his fate, trying desperately to make sense of where he is. All he can remember is the last night, the buzz from a night on the town in Matamoros, and then nothing. When he woke up it was black, sticky, hot. There is a heaviness to the air, and he can sense the multitude of people around him, though the darkness of the room would not allow even a hand an inch from the face to be seen. Their voices are driving him to the brink of sanity; the minions are doing their jobs rather well- rambling on in words Kilroy can’t comprehend, making the boy lose any hope of reconciliation. And random raucous laughter; laughter that could make Alexander the Great soil his pants. Though he didn’t feel them before, the ropes around him now consume Kilroy’s every thought. How can I get them off? How can I get out of here? Oh honey, I’m afraid you never will. His vision is going in and out. Darkness of reality and the fuzzy black of the unconscious world. Light will come again soon, coupled with the end of his suffering.

This man carries an air of power and authority through the darkness. He is somehow different from the other voices in the cacophony of noise that has tortured Kilroy in the last half hour. He is the one that will take Kilroy’s life. No question there. The light mood of the room is gone now; the leader of a violent cult can often do that. Soon his blood will be poured among the others in the nganga, his brain will soon be harvested – ripe with sacrificial magic- and4 his body buried among the other sacrifices in the graveyard of this homicidal ranch. The limpia is now starting. Anyone with any false hope that Kilroy will make it out alive: let go of it now.

Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo

Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo

Everything must be cleansed.  The words so familiar on his tongue. The ceremony; the focus of his life for many years is always on the top of his mind.  Taking a deep breath, savoring the moment, Constanzo begins the sacrifice of Mark Kilroy. He watches his new prey- tired, confused and fearful- just as it should be. In the background, the sound of the nganga beginning to boil urged the ceremony onward.

In a moment’s time the restraints are cut off Kilroy’s wrists. Constanzo looks deep into his eyes and sees the spark of hope within them, that he knew will soon enough go out like the rolling blackouts of blazing summers year after year. Kilroy’s eyes dart back and forth across the room. Quickly he jumps up and makes a break for it- it is really quite amusing, though, his determination to live– but Constanzo and his men see it coming, hacking him down with a machete before he can make it a footstep into the fresh evening air. Constanzo always gives his prey a chance; loving to see the last fight or a human’s life; their last moment of courage.

Now the painful reality sets in for Kilroy: There is no way I’m making it out of this room alive; I will die tonight. The weight and sorrow of his lost life carries heavy on his chest and shoulders. All of the experiences that he will never have come to mind in his last hours. He will never get married, never have kids, never feel the priceless kind of love from watching his own children walk for the first time. He will never become a doctor, never let all of the work he’d done in premed pay itself off by treating that first patient. He is crying, screaming, begging for his life.

Yes this is just what I wanted: a man begging for mercy he will never get. The nganga is waiting for your blood my friend, and now it is time!

 

The cauldron boiling with the blood of the men of the cult, and bones stolen from the graveyard is the choice drink of the evening; it gives Constanzo the power of palo mayombe. The ritual begins, like that of any other sacrifice, with bloodletting of the prey and adding such blood to the nganga to strengthen Constanzo’s powers. While the ceremony drags on, Kilroy gives up; nothing left but death which has been waiting for him since his first breath taken in the shack at this homicidal ranch.

  

 Matamoros, Mexico Case Sheet

Head Detective: Chief Deputy Carlos Tapia                                                                                                                                                Case Number: H375 :

              Area of crime : Matamoros, MX                                                        Name of Person who committed crime: Adolfo de Jesus ConstanzoBirthday: 11/01/1962Place of birth: Miami, FL, USA

Prior arrests: Minor shoplifting and petty theft in his youth                           

          

Crime in question: Kidnapping, torture, and murder of Mark Kilroy.

Description: One of the men in the cult- Serafin Hernandez Garcia –refused to stop at one of our police checkpoints. My men then followed him to Rancho Elena where my men found narcotics, and brought Garcia and another drug dealer, Valdez, in. In custody both promptly admitted their parts in the murder of Mark Kilroy, showing little remorse. They then went on to describe at least 14 other murders that they had helped within the last nine months as part of Constanzo’s cult. Adolfo Constanzo. But we couldn’t find the suspect. We ended up arresting various members of his cult.

When we interrogated them they confessed to the murders of many Mexican citizens and wondered why if the murders of the Mexican citizens didn’t seem to matter to the police why the why did the murder of one American boy disrupt the entire police force.

Unidentified prostitutes. Unidentified barmen. Guillermo Calzada Sanchez. Raul Paz Esquivel. Jorge Montez. Jorge Valente. Fierro Gomez. Ezequiel Rodriguez Luna. Ruben Vela Garza. Ernesto Riva Diaz. Jose Garcia. Unidentified victim.

Mark Kilroy.

Death is colorblind. It took Mark Kilroy in the same painful embrace as it took a number of Mexican victims.  If police and government throughout the world can be as colorblind as death, then people will be able to forget about racism. For eternity, governments have approved of the discrimination and mistreatment of certain races, including the predominant one in their country as seen with Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo. The police and government let Constanzo have free reign over the lives of Mexican citizens, but when it got to the murder of an American boy, somehow he had stepped over some sort of imaginary line. If the murder of one race turns no heads, why should the government care about the murder of any other race. Here is where the problem lies. We need officials to be colorblind.

In the colonial era, royal governors and local assemblies found the Native Americans to be an inferior race, and encouraged colonists to take part in their mistreatment. This progressed to the long period of slavery in the United States and throughout Europe. Next “Nativists” in America disfavored the influx of emigration from states such as China and Japan to the United States. Hitler tried his luck exterminating Jews from existence (and scarily enough had a pretty hearty following). The Hutu majority with government backed militias picked off Tutsi one by one in Rwanda. Internment of American citizens of Japanese descent on American soil. Experimentation done on black soldiers by the United States government during WWII.

Mistreatment of minority groups has always seemed to be the norm, but today it must come to an end. People everywhere must stop seeing the color of each other’s skin. Stop describing individuals based on their cultural background. Stop persecuting each other for their differences. Not a single person can stop the prejudices set up by governments and social norms. Instead as a society we must work to make new norms. People of the world: we must be colorblind.

 

 

 

My Journey To Becoming a Reader

At the start of this school year I made a goal to read 20 books before the end of the school year.

Books I read from easiest to hardest to read:

  • Wonderstruck
  • King Lear
  • Fault In Our Stars
  • Mexican Whiteboy
  • Divergent
  • Insurgent
  • Allegiant
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
  • Elite
  • Better Off Friends
  • Dear John
  • True Believer
  • At First Sight
  • Room
  • Little Bee
  • Ella Minnow Pea
  • One Day
  • Outliers
  • What The Dog Saw
  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Dark Room
  • The Sex Lives of Cannibals
  • Headhunters On My Doorstep
  • Let the Great World Spin
  • Pride and Prejudice

Though Let the Great World Spinis more complex in syntax and the web of interlocking stories, Pride and Prejudicewas more difficult for me to read because of the old language and the tedious set up of the characters and setting before the plot set in. King Lear was one of the easiest books I read this year because it was not the original script, which when eliminated makes  Shakespeare stories a very quick read.

The book I enjoyed reading the most this year would have to be Divergent, in fact I would definitely have to spread out my love to the whole series, including Insurgent and AllegiantThese books won my heart with their striking character development and the whole concept occurring in the plot. In a few pages I was engrossed; everything else in my life became irrelevant. Family? Uninteresting. Friends? Tris and Tobias were now my friends. School? Umm do you mean reading time? The first book went down in a day and a half, and then I felt lost. I needed to read the next book; I called my friends asking around for Insurgent but I could not find it anywhere. The next day, my English teacher solved the biggest catastrophe of my life by offering me Insurgent and Allegiant from her bookshelf. In the last 20 pages of Allegiant, the final book of the series, tears came quickly.  On Sunday afternoon, at a girl scout event, I was crying like a two year old whose mother wouldn’t let have a cookie. I was a blubbering fool; no one could comprehend my words, only saw the book in my hand and nod in understanding. These books are so amazing because they connect on a highly emotional level with the reader.

Before abandoning books I like to give them a chance to round out their story, or somehow magically become interesting to me by reading 100 pages. When reading Dune, however, the beginning was so difficult for me to get through that I gave up a little more quickly. Another abandoned book of this year was The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell. After reading a few of his other books, I knew his writing style, and was ready to learn some interesting tidbits while being amused by Gladwell’s very noticeable voice in his writings. However, soon after starting this book, I began reading Little Bee for a book project and forgot altogether about Gladwell’s book. Maybe when doing some fun reading this summer I can pick it back up again.

In my English course this year, we have had projects in small groups where we read novels and analyze each author’s craft; we call these craft studies. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttimeby Mark Haddon, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffertus to really go into the details of the author and analyze for meaning. From each book I have picked up something that I can utilize in my writing. From The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime, I picked up on how small graphics can illustrate points more easily.  From Little Bee I learned on how to make a dramatic ending subtle, and how that leaves the audience in an emotional state. Lastly from The Dark Room I learned about the importance of brevity, and how details are more impactful when they aren’t rambling, but short and strong. I enjoyed the book club where we studied The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert the most, because I felt that I learned the most out of that craft study and also really prepared for the AP Exam. Also, the presentations from other groups were very helpful in my writing and in preparation for the exam.

“We read to learn about and appreciate the human condition, grow in empathy, and expand our knowledge of the world in which we live.”

My reading this year has helped me to grow as a person by showing me to be more accepting of others, and to see more clearly that everyone is going through something- no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to me- that consumes their thoughts and actions on a day to day basis. Because of this, I try to be kind to everyone: give compliments randomly, ask people how they are, make sure they are okay,  love my enemies. The book that most helped me realize these things was Let The Great World Spin.  It made me empathize with prostitutes and drug addicts and a circus performer taking his talents to the stage above the Twin Towers. The way Colum McCann made people normally seen in negative connotations the heroes and heroines of his novel, and detailed their lives and struggles made me see that these people aren’t always bad and aren’t always given a choice in life.

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Some of the books I read this school year

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Quote that describes how I view reading.

 

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My favorite reads of this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courage in a Young Girl’s Hands

Amanat Singh shows that courage can come in a vessel any color or size.

She is a Sikh, a religion which is compared to that of terrorist groups, ostracized because of misunderstandings of Americans, taught to keep heads down at school.

She, living through this for her 9 years grew with substantial courage to help her community. On August 5th of 2012 a very drastic event tested that courage that she had been growing inside of her like a beautiful Protea flower. Gun shots sounded. After a few seconds of fear, courage overtook this small 9 year old girl and the thought of saving her fellow worshippers flew into her mind. Though 6 of her community died that day Amanat succeeded in saving the rest of the temple before the perpetrator committed suicide.

We can see the courage of many famous young girls in her: Anne Frank and Malala Yousafzai just to name two. Though the nine year old never wrote a memoir depicting her troubles in society as a young child of a less welcomed minority, the greatness of her character still shines through.

“I remember yelling ‘Hide! Hide! Hide!'” at the people in temple,” said Amanat Singh recalling the day that the threat of malevolent bullets consumed her thoughts and actions.

In America, everyone is mostly seen as equal, but there are always a few people who look at certain groups a different way; People who aren’t worthy of the honor to be an American. One of those people attacked Singh’s family and community on the day of August 5th, but the courage seen through such a small girl continues to bridge the gap between racism and social inequality, that is getting smaller and smaller each day.

Responsibility

Responsibility begins to take over many lives during high school. Maybe even before then. However many kids reaching this age cringe from everything being piled upon them in these years.
Personally, this year has piled responsibility after responsibility on me and I feel like it is all starting to fall apart. There is no time to sleep. If this is preparation for the “adult world”, well to quote Taylor Swift “I don’t want to grow up” 
Responsibility can equal stress for many people, which is why vacations are seen as such a getaway: a place where nobody could be counting on you, no responsibilities,  just stress free relaxation.
Though however much responsibility is unwanted, people still fight over the honor to have more of it everyday; often in the form of jobs, and sometimes  even in the form of volunteer positions!  This is because responsibility no matter how stressful gives us as a human race a sense of fulfillment that is unparalleled in anything else.

Humanity

The ability to be human is the ability to find humor in everything. Key and Peele, two comedians with a hit show on Comedy Central recently wrote an article in Time Magazine on the importance of humor in life. They talked about the necessity of making fun of everyone despite conditions,  races,  genders,  because all of these different things makes each different person human.
  Singling out a certain group from ridicule is discriminatory against that group.  It leaves the impression that they are too weak to not see the humor in their problems: to not see their own humanity.
Key and Peele also try to slow their audiences the humor in events that are seem today as tragic. They have had enormously popular sketches on slavery,  the Nazis, and various wars and dictatorships. This shows the world that things aren’t supposed to be politically correct,  and that people don’t always have to keep tape covering their mouth. They just have to make fun of everyone and everything equally and recognize the humanity in everyone and everything equally.
Humanity is the ability to find humor in everything.

Civility

Why do people in this day and age feel that if their hatred and slander is hidden by a computer screen and an anonymous username that their actions are null?
Various forms of social media in this technology grounded generation have provided masks for bullies to terrorize people online: Facebook, Instagram,  Tumblr,  Twitter,  Snapchat, the
comments section on YouTube. I could go on, but alas my point is made. The places where people can now anonymously bully others is seemingly infinite and growing everyday.
Bullies operate on their victims insecurities, and search for people’s most obvious flaws to pick on. Their victims could be short, fat, have acne problems. Maybe their hair is too blah, or their arms aren’t proportionate to their body, or maybe they just feel overall ugly. People- when feeling down – should have fellow humans who are there for the sole purpose of lifting them up and making them feel great about themselves not tearing them down. There are countless YouTube comments that I have read in my years picking on every aspect of the performers appearance and performance that make me disappointed with the human race.
Demi Lovato was one celebrity who listened to all of those YouTube comments calling her fat or highlighting her butt chin and it broke her down. She went over the edge; giving in to eating disorders and violence. But who made those comments? Someone so self righteous that he had to hide behind an anonymous username. People who can’t even stand up for their own twisted beliefs and take responsibility for their corrupt actions are people that no one should ever listen to. Especially about personal image.