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Reading Reflection

Envirometal issue 8/26/14

1893 slash and burn practice Eno, Finland

Have you ever seen or heard about a forest fire? Well, Slash and burn is a deliberate forest fire. Slash and burn happens in grasslands as well as forests. Slash and burn is when making room for farm land forests or grasslands are set aflame and hacked at with sickles, axes, etc. This has been happening since the dawn of agriculture. Some civilizations could easily plant in open areas but others had forests blocking the area. To this day slash and burn occurs Sumatra, Madagascar, Santa Cruz and Chang Mai. In Madagascar it's also endangering the lemurs. Today most people slash and burn to plant crops and get food. You can help by donating money to various organizations to stop this. Help the forests and lemurs and donate to stop the slash and burn.
Rio Xingu Slash and burn.
Rio Xingu Slash and burn.

To U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of DeKalb County, the images from Ferguson, Mo., of cops in military gear quelling protests served as striking confirmation that the transfer of Pentagon surplus to local police should be reined in.
To Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway, the media overhyped Ferguson, and he knows from experience how valuable his armored troop carrier can be against an active shooter.

Police militarization will be a major topic as Congress returns from its summer break next week, when Johnson plans to introduce a high-profile bill to ban local law enforcement from picking up mine-resistant vehicles and heavy weapons from the Pentagon’s “1033” program.
Congress first authorized the Department of Defense to transfer excess items to local law enforcement in the early 1990s. In all, 600 Georgia law enforcement agencies have brought home $200 million worth of equipment. The items range from helicopters to first-aid kits.
President Barack Obama ordered a review of the program in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, but the White House won’t say how long it will take.
police photo
police photo
A Gwinnett Sheriff Department's SWAT Light Armored Vehicle or LAV, for short at the Gwinnett County Jail, Wednesday, September 3, 2014.

Johnson, a liberal Democrat, is joining forces with U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, a conservative Republican from Idaho, to push the issue along in the House. There will be action in the Senate as well, though chances are slim of passing a law soon.
“I do think that the visuals that came out of Ferguson will linger for a long time,” Johnson said.
“There are people who are now attuned to the militarization of police departments throughout the country,” he said. “And they realize there need to be some restrictions on the ability of a department to get free surplus weaponry without regard to whether or not they actually are trained and capable of using it.”
police photo
police photo
The interior of a Gwinnett Sheriff Department's SWAT Light Armored Vehicle or LAV, for short at the Gwinnett County Jail, Wednesday, ... Read More

Limiting heavy equipment
In the days after a Ferguson policeman killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, police clashes with demonstrators dominated the news. Johnson sent a timely letter to his House colleagues asking for support for a yet-to-be-filed bill.
The bill would ban the Pentagon from transferring tactical vehicles, automatic weapons, drones, combat aircraft, grenades, silencers and sound cannons to local law enforcement under the 1033 program. It also would require local police to be trained on the equipment they do get, and it would put in place other accountability measures.
Johnson said if a police department wants that kind of heavy equipment, it can go through a normal budget process — and justify it to local elected leaders and the public.
Conway thinks the proposal goes too far.
“They’re talking about throwing a baby out with the bathwater,” Conway said. “If there’s any abuse of the program, then certainly they need to address that. But for the agencies that are utilizing the equipment like it’s meant to be utilized, it’s a very valuable asset.”
As for buying his own troop carrier, Conway added: “If they’re not going to pass this equipment down to law enforcement, are they going to scrap it and totally waste taxpayers’ money?”
The light-armored vehicle was put to use Thursday night, when the Gwinnett SWAT team sought the suspect in a killing who barricaded himself in his Duluth home with children inside. SWAT team members used the vehicle to safely approach the house and then used its loudspeaker to communicate with Devon Jenkins after his cellphone died.
Jenkins surrendered peacefully.
Conway called to invite Johnson to come to Gwinnett to see the vehicle in action — after the two had sparred over the militarization issue in the media. Deputy Shannon Volkodav, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, reported that the two were not able to connect.
Tough road in Congress
The legislative effort is generating a lot of national buzz but will face a long road.
As of this week, Johnson had garnered 13 co-sponsors for the effort, including two Republicans. Labrador, a tea party favorite who ran unsuccessfully for House majority leader this past summer, plans to take a leadership role in recruiting fellow Republicans.
“Americans across the political spectrum are troubled by this issue, and I’m hopeful that we’ll have strong bipartisan support,” Labrador said through a spokesman.
“Our country was founded on the principle of a clear line between the military and civilian policing,” he added. “The Pentagon’s surplus property program blurs that line by introducing a military model of overwhelming force in our cities and towns. Our bill would restore the focus of local law enforcement on protecting citizens and providing due process for the accused.”
The debate will play out on both sides of the Capitol. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., plans to hold a hearing on the issue, while U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., lent his support to the effort in a Time magazine op-ed.
In a recent interview with WABE-FM 90.1 radio, Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said there should be safeguards to make sure local police are trained to use the surplus, but lawmakers should not get involved.
“Congress tends to sort of mess things up when we get involved in the weeds and in the details of something like that,” Chambliss said.
“And I don’t mean to be dodging it,” he said, “but I just think the right kind of relationship between the Department of Defense, the National Guard and local law enforcement agencies can solve this problem.”
What did the Pentagon give local police in your county?
A few examples from the 1033 program that sends surplus equipment from the Defense Department to law enforcement agencies:
Clayton: Four observation helicopters, eight pairs of night-vision goggles, 22 pairs of combat boots
Cobb: 33 5.56mm rifles, one armored truck, 20 binoculars
DeKalb: One mine-resistant vehicle, 16 12-gauge shotguns, six bayonets
Fulton: Two fixed-wing aircraft, 62 utility trucks, 20 duffel bags
Gwinnett: Two armored trucks, 40 infrared illuminators, 51 incandescent lamps
Source: Department of Defense and AJC

The protest shown here is petitioning and trying to get a bill passed to stop the 1033 program. We are fortunate first of all, to have a Republic so a bill can become a law. Next, in some countries that don't have a very strong republic, petitioning congress to sign a bill can get you prosecuted and even executed. Also, we have the ability talk about it in the paper. Some countries might not even have a paper and if they do it's probably just garbage! In conclusion, I think the right to protest is very important.

Long walk to water chapter 15 10/01/2014

Both of the lost boys have many similarities. They wander through life looking for opportunities. They both don't truly have a roof under their head, and look for love and care. They both take life one step at a time and look for answers. They are orphans and make the huge decision to move from where they're from to look for families. In conclusion, the Lost Boys is an appropriate name for Salva and the other boys because of they're many similarities.

Wonder 1/13/15

The incident was out of the ordinary. Not many people have Treacher Collins Syndrome. I think that RJ Palacio could have taken control of the situation in a better way, but she didn't. I think that maybe if she had tried to be kind then everything could have ended better. Treacher Collins Syndrome means that one diagnosed has facial deformities such as absent cheekbones, so I can only imagine how the small children could have felt. I can also only imagine how the girl could have felt. In the end, I think that RJ Palacio could have been kinder and not indirectly make the girl and her family leave.

Wonder 1/20/14

"How will I treat this kid?" would be my first thought. My next thought would probably be "How will I react when I meet him?" Also it would take some time to sink in. I would feel a mix of emotions happy because I have been selected to do this and I could make a new friend, scared because I do not want to blow my chance and I don't want him to feel bad, and finally excited because I am given the opportunity to make a new friend and give him a tour. I would be feeling something extremely hard to describe. All in all, I would feel a mix of emotions.

Wonder 2/3/15

Via's life is affected by Auggie because Auggie has first priority. Everything soccer games and plays come second, Auggie comes first. At a few of her schools she is known as "the girl that has a deformed brother." She has to make many sacrifices with her parents such as accepting the fact her parents have to go back on their promises. There is no true meaning of normal. Therefore, I think that Via can lead a normal life. It may not be the same as Miranda's or Ella's, but it will be normal to her and that's all that matters.