Category Archives: Forum

Video games do not cause teen violence

Art by Jaclyn Refrow

Story by Gracie Vanover

Hi there. I am a teen gamer who has no self-control because I play more violently-rated video games, which leads to “irrational” thoughts.

Video games have been on the rise for generations and have grown widely in content. With a growing fan base companies produce new games yearly with more intense content. Although this content grows harsher, video games are not to blame for things like school shootings and other heinous acts done by teenagers.

Since 2000 there have been approximately 188 school shootings on high school and college campuses. With 97 percent of teens playing video games, it’s easy for people such as politicians to throw the blame towards this form of media. But not is all that it appears to the naked eye when looking at the research or what’s being said about video game violence.

Although gaming has grown more intense and violent in content studies show that video games have no long-term aggression on teenagers. Video games have equal effects than other forms of media like cartoons and movies do. Even though these facts are out there for quite literally anyone to look at and read politicians continue to bash video games as an easy way out and to appeal to other adults with these similar morals.

However, the real underlying contributor to these events are factors like mental health or gang activity. Most politicians and local officials refuse to step into the mental health territory as they don’t want to look like they’re discriminating against the mentally ill. As someone diagnosed with mental illnesses I would rather my government be transparent instead of completely disregarding mental health as a factor.

Blaming video games rather than the actual factors is quite childish .It shows that they do not dig and research the facts enough. When you really look into it it seems politicians are just playing the blame game. For example, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin suggests that these violent games and media throw us into a dangerous loop of aggression and unreasonable thoughts which lead us to these situations. However, that is far from true.

As someone in a school environment and gaming community, its presented to us teen gamers as politicians shrugging us off and saying, “Well you made this mess you better clean it up.”

Video game industries are worth billions of dollars so politicians figure “hey, let’s just throw a little bump in the road their way it won’t hurt right?” Throwing these claims can actually be quite harmful to some. You are throwing tons of graphic artists and animators a hard curveball for all their hard work and possibly causing job shortages due to the decrease in sales.

As an average 16-year-old gamer who plays games on the more violent spectrum, I do not think these games are the issue. The real issue leading to these tragic shooting events and outbursts of violence is simply what is going on inside these teeangers’ heads and how their world around them is treating them. Shying away from the true issues of these matters and putting blame on forms of art and media helps no one.

Nike uses Colin Kaepernick’s ‘Sacrifice’ in newest ad campaign

By J.D. McKay

On Aug. 26, 2016 the 49ers lost to the Packers in what should have been a meaningless preseason game. Two years later the recoil from that game can still be seen in the game and weekly in the news. 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem. Players began to join together in the protest, hitting a crescendo on Sept. 24, 2017. Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva stood outside of the Steelers tunnel alone for the national anthem.

After the 2016 season ended, Kaepernick, who had been riding the bench, opted out of his contract to pursue more money he assumed he would get. However, there were no buyers for a washed up quarterback that would lose his team’s fan support and money. Kaepernick is still unemployed and now is suing the NFL because he believes the owners are colluding to keep him out of the league.

Since then, he has won and been finalists for several Man of the Year awards. He won GQ’s 2017 Man of the Year where he was described as one of the best football players in the world in 2013. Then, in 2017 he was a finalist for Time’s Person of the Year. He also won Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in December of 2017.

Now, his face is a part of the view in San Francisco. Nike posted the first Kaepernick billboard over Union Square. The Billboard is Kaepernick’s face in a close up, so all you can see is his face. In front of his face are the words “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It.”

That statement is incredibly ironic. His net worth is still over 20 million dollars, according to Celebritynetworth.com. He is still alive, and he can still visit his family.

Meanwhile, the men and women who are sacrificing everything do not always have what Kaepernick has. For example, a Private First Class in the Army is making 26,000 dollars a year if he or she has been serving for six years, according to goarmy.com. For that Private First Class to make the equivalent of Kaepernick’s net worth, they would need to work for 769 years. That Private First Class could also be deployed, unable to see his or her family and potential in life threatening situations.

The results of this ad campaign probably will not be completely clear immediately. Americans have be outraged about it recently, their stock has dropped two dollars from $82 to $80, and videos of people burning their Nike gear or cutting the swooshes off of socks and shorts. However, their online sales also increased 31 percent over that time. One of two things could come from this. Americans could forget about this ad and go back to buying their Jordans in just a few months, or Americans could show how they really feel about these protests and stop buying Nike.

Nike and Kaepernick might think that he has sacrificed something. What he sacrificed is unclear to me, but apparently he sacrificed something. If he truly want to see sacrifice, he should go visit with American Soldiers in another country, soldiers that have not seen their families for close to a year and have seen friends and fellow soldiers die, or children who lost their mother or father because they wanted to protect their children, family, and fellow American citizens.

Editor’s Note: What do you think? Feel free to express your thoughts in the comments section and vote on our Twitter poll.

Sports directly influence higher grades

By J.D. McKay

Every year when football season rolls around, it seems like a few kids have quit because their parents did not like where their grades were. To me, that is ridiculous. Sports certainly do not decrease a student’s academic performance.

The most obvious reason is eligibility. To be eligible, an athlete must be passing five classes, which should be achieved regardless by most FC students.

Another reason to work hard in the classroom is college sports. Go listen to any college coach or recruiter talk to a group of athletes or athletes’ parents. Near the beginning of their talk they will say, “When we find an athlete we like, the first thing we look at is grades. If their grades are good, we stay interested.” After hearing this hundreds of times,   athletes have figured out that to play a college sport we need to succeed in school.

Athletes also have to work harder in their sports workouts or practices than most students have to in their normal day. That hard work prepares them for academics. Since athletes have had experience pushing extra hard in those last 400 yards in workouts, they know how they need to push through those last few math problems that have been harder than the rest.

Lastly, according to James Pivarnik’s research at the Michigan State, fitness improves test scores. Pivarnik used 317 students in grades six through eight. He put them through a series of tests that measured fitness like strength, percent of body fat, flexibility, and endurance by doing exercises like push ups and shuttle runs. His results showed that the fittest group did 30 percent better than the most unfit group, and the most unfit group did about 15 percent worse than the average students.

Everyone has heard that athletics teach young men and women important life lessons like teamwork, working through adversity, leadership, and responsibility. People are not just saying those things; sports produce traits that help in the classroom. For some reason, the dumb jock stereotype has gone hand in hand with sports for several decades, but the research certainly does not support it.

Column: Columnist shares her story with eating disorders

By Madi Brown

*Bagpiper sports editor Madi Brown shares her story. Her parents have read this column. For objective coverage on this issue, check out today’s print issue.

I looked in the mirror and I saw my ribs, I saw the deterioration of my muscles under my skin, and my hair fell out in chunks as I tried to brush it. My body was screaming for help, but I could not see what was wrong with me. In my mind I was the skinniest I had ever been, and it still was not enough.

There were multiple factors that led to this, but one of the biggest ones was what I witnessed growing up. My mom is beautiful but for the longest time she did not believe it. She watched her mother hate herself because of her weight and because of that, she learned to do the same. I watched my mom talk down to herself my whole life, and it was instilled in me. What my grandmother passed down to my mom, my mom passed down to me. Our problem was never physical. It was mental.

Growing up, I was always more aware of my body, and I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I became obsessed with wanting to be skinny, so I joined sports and tried to keep myself active.

I started running in grade school, but I was 13 when I realized I could not live without it. Running to me was a way to ensure that I would not get fat, but I was never satisfied. Even though my motives were wrong, I had a healthy lifestyle. It was not until my junior year that I began cutting foods out of my diet, such as meat.   

I did not make dramatic changes to my lifestyle overnight. It was a perfect storm.

It happened so gradually that I did not know I was hurting myself until it was too late.

It started off with me eating smaller portions of meat, which eventually led to me cutting out meat all together. I cut everything from my diet until I was living off of tomatoes and crackers.

I was eating around a thousand calories a day, and on top of that I was exercising two to three hours a night. I had no idea how abusive I was being towards my body because I was blinded by the scale. In December 2016, I weighed 140 pounds By April 2017, I weighed 112 pounds. The problem was it was never enough; I never felt happy with my body.

That summer I decided that I wanted to try waist training, because if it worked for the Kardashians, obviously it was safe for me. I remember putting it on for the first time under my clothes and nearly puking because it was so tight. I was so twisted at the time though, and I actually saw it as a challenge. Over the next few months, I wore the waist trainer and I got to where it was not tight at all. I still was not satisfied with myself. It was like I needed to feel the pain. One day I decided that I was not feeling the effect as much so I would wear it all night while I slept. I continued to do that for three months, while I was still not feeding my body.

After not eating meat for six months, my hair started falling out. When it first started, I was only losing around 50 strands a day, which I was told was completely normal but as it continued it got worse. I was afraid to brush my hair because I got to where I was losing 300 strands a day. I was not the only one who began to notice the changes.

I remember the first time my dad felt concerned for me, we had just went out to dinner and he gave me a hug and said he could feel my bones. After that, my family started making comments about how my clothes were too big and my face was always pale. They looked at me with pity, as if I had this disease that was killing me. I knew I was not healthy, but I refused to believe that it was my eating habits. I did not want to believe that this miracle diet was actually hurting me. As time went on, I started to become so exhausted that I would come home and sleep instead of eat. I remember one time when I actually slept for over two days without eating.

My parents wanted to get me help, but I refused. In the end, I was the only one who could fix my problem. I found support from a friend who I had met at my church, and we began to go to the gym together. This was my turning point, seeing everyone around me striving to be healthy and not skinny. I began to become more educated about nutrition and changed my life. It has been a long recovery, but I have never been healthier or happier. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, but it is not a physical issue, it is a mental one. The problem was people believed this was a physical issue of mine, as if I could stop whenever I wanted to. My body image issues were something I struggled with my entire life, and it look a long time for me to learn how to be okay with me. I was my own worst critic because I never believed I was good enough.

That was the lie I told myself.