Five Things Friday: from special elections to walk outs

Photo provided by European External Action Service on December 5, 2017 , link to original work: , link to license: , Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired by President Donald Trump earlier this week.

03/12/18: Pennsylvania holds special elections

Anticipation rises as it nears Pennsylvania’s 18th District special elections. Pennsylvania’s 18th District, nicknamed the Steel district, voted majority Republican in the 2016 Presidential elections. For these special elections however, Democrat Conor Lamb, a 33-year old former Marine veteran, holds a slight lead over Republican state Representative Rick Saccone according to a survey released by Monmouth University poll on Sunday. This comes as a surprise in a district where President Trump won with more than a 20 percent margin during the 2016 elections. Although a Democrat, Lamb has some ideas that appeal to voters in the area: he opposes abortion, opposes new gun control laws, and he supports President Trump’s steel tariffs. In a statement President Trump said to Rick Saccone: “I hate to put this pressure on you, Rick… They’re all watching because I won this district, like, by 22 points. It’s a lot. That’s why I’m here. Look at all those red hats, Rick.”


03/12/18: Three package bombings in Austin

Since March 2, several residents of Austin have received mysterious packages left on their doorsteps. These packages were not left by postal delivery services. The first package on March 2, killed a 17-year old African American male and 39-year old African American man of the same household. On Monday morning, another mysterious package seriously injured a 75-year old Hispanic women. Police believe these packages left on the residents’ doorsteps are related, but they have not decided if these are hate crimes related to racism in the area. In response to the concerns expressed by the residents of Austin, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley emphasized caution: “If you’ve received a package that has been left on your doorstep or left in your yard or left on your driveway that you were not expecting or that was not from someone you know, then give us a call.”


03/13/18: Secretary of State fired

On Tuesday, President Trump announced that he had fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and will nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take his place. President Trump revealed that the reasoning behind the former Secretary of State’s release was because he believed it was the right time for a change regarding recent North Korean talks and various trade negotiations. President Trump felt that he was not on the same “wavelength” as Tillerson as many issues, with tensions running high between the two men. President Trump announced the news to the public through Twitter: “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become the new Secretary of State… Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”


03/14/18: Stephen Hawking passes away

Stephen Hawking- an academic author and scientist– passed away on Wednesday at the age of 76. His book A Brief History of Time has sold over 10 million copies. Inspired by Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum mechanics, Hawking is most renowned for his theory that suggests that space and time began with the Big Bang and will end in black holes. Hawking also discovered that black holes were not completely black but emit radiation and would likely eventually evaporate and disappear (Hawking radiation ). He was diagnosed with ALS in 1962 and was left paralyzed, relying on a wheelchair for mobility. Despite his immobility, he held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics- the prestigious post previously held by Isaac Newton- for 30 years until 2009. After stepping down, he continued to work at the university as director of research at the Institute for Theoretical Cosmology. Many have showed their remorse for his death through various social media posts.


03/15/18: Students across the nation participates in the walk out

Only a month after the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, thousands of schools across the nation participated in a walk-out from 10 AM to 10:17 AM to remember the 17 lives lost. The walk that occurred in schools across the nation is not only a memorial, but also a protest to press lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws. According to EMPOWER, the group organizing the action, the protests are demanding Congress to ban assault weapons, require universal background checks for all gun sales, and pass gun violence restraining order law that would allow courts to disarm individuals who are warning displaying signs of violent behavior. EMPOWER hopes to facilitate this movement across the nation by providing tool kits that include step-by-step guide to organizing a walkout and sample letters to administrators for local students to get started. In response to this national movement, many students are allowing their students to walkout for 17 minutes in support of this cause. A “March for Our Lives” protest, which was organized by the students of MSD High School, is planned for March 24 at Washington D.C. to further this movement.