Ms. Pahomov & Ms. Rhymer
26 March 2019
The Devil or You?
Why do people do bad things? Do they know those things are wrong when they do it? In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, there is a group of boys that get stuck on an island after a plane crash. The boys quickly change and start to do things they wouldn’t do back home. The boys know some of the things they do is wrong, which causes them to justify it by blaming it on a beast, who they all fear. A lot of times, when people are not willing to admit their wrong doings, they blame it on non existent creatures or spirits. Often times now, people blame the devil for everything evil. There has never been a sighting of the devil and no one knows if it is real, but it is something many people believe in because it’s hard to believe that people will just do horrible things by their own will. Similarly, in the book, the boys fear the idea of the beast and even blame the beast for the killing of one of them. It becomes clear that the beast is not real just as demons and the devil are not real in the real world.
In the summer of 1976, infamous serial killer David Berkowitz, a.k.a Son of Sam, killed six people and injured seven others in New York. Once he was caught, he blamed the dog of his neighbor who he claimed was possessing him to kill those people. Years later in an interview, he says, “As far as I’m concerned, that was not me. That was not me. Even the name, I hate that name, I despise the name.” It was only when he was caught and held responsible that he began to blame it on other beings. He says it was not him because people can’t handle the fact that they do things on their own accord. Even after all the years he spent in jail, he is still focused on forgetting because he can’t take accountability for what he did.
Furthermore, very early in the book, there is mention of the beast that some of the boys fear. Later on in the book, it becomes clear that the beat is one of the reasons the boys start to act savage. While they’re speaking about the best, Simon says “maybe there is a beast… what I mean is, maybe it’s only us.” Golding then provides some insight into what Simon may mean by stating, “Simon became inarticulate in an effort to express mankind's essential illness” (89). Simon is saying that there is a beast, but it doesn’t have claws and sharp teeth like many of them believe. Instead, he’s bringing up the idea that the beast may be one of them. Many of them begin to disregard their morals very quickly as they get on the island which is when the beast started to come up. The boys conjured up a beast to blame very early in their time on the island and Simon realized that. People will always change into their natural selves when they are put into a position like the boys and that is what the author described as mankind’s essential illness. It is their ability to do things that they know is wrong and have no remorse or hold themselves accountable.
In the case of the Son of Sam, he claims to have found God and believed that what he did was wrong and yet continued to say that the shootings “were a break from reality.” He continues, “I thought I was doing something to appease the devil.” He has yet to take responsibility for the shootings. Finding religion may have made it easier for him to blame creatures like the devil because it says that the devil is the root of all evil. That saying gives many people an excuse which is why he still does not want to take accountability for his actions. He even says that he believes he deserves the sentence that he received. To say something like that, you have to believe that it was you who did it and it should be you who suffered the consequences. Still, he refuses to say it aloud.
Later on in the book, Simon starts to believe in a beast. Golding uses an encounter that Simon has with the beast to show the nature of the beast. The beast asks Simo, “ You knew didn’t you? I’m a part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are the way they are?” (143). Although Simon still doesn’t believe in a literal beast, he still blames the inner beast for the boys’ problems. The author reveals to the audience that there is no beast, and that he is imagining the conversation believing that he is speaking to a beast when it is actually just a large parachute. To Simon, he is talking to the beast who is admitting that he is the reason the boys start to divide and act savage. Simon starts to understand that it is the beast and not the boys themselves that are causing the divides and change in the boys. Simon, and many of the other boys may not understand why all of these things are happening so they need to blame something else.
In conclusion, people do usually have a sense of right and wrong and consciously chose to do the wrong thing. Then they must find something out of this world to explain it because otherwise, it would just mean people do bad things just because they can or want to. People blame non-existent creatures like the devil and the beast because they need to believe that people aren’t all bad. Blaming something else may have given the boys hope that they weren’t losing all of their innocence and morals because it was a choice, but because the beast called them to have to learn to protect themselves and kill. Just like the Son of Sam may feel better knowing that he didn’t just kill that many people, but it was the possessed dog who made him do it. That other beings are at fault for human savagery because no one can truly admit what “mankind's essential illness” is.
Editors, History.com. “Son of Sam Arrested.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Feb.
Sitzer , Carly. “‘Son of Sam’ Killer David Berkowitz Speaks: ‘I Was Just Very Lost and
Confused.’” “Son of Sam” Killer David Berkowitz Speaks: “I Was Just Very Lost and Confused,” In Touch Weekly , 13 June 2018, www.intouchweekly.com/posts/son-of-sam-david-berkowitz-interview-138931/.
WIlliam Golding. Lord of The Flies. Penguin Books, 2006.
Worthen, Meredith. “David Berkowitz.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 16 Jan. 2019,
Brrrrrrrr Brrrrrrr Brrrrrrr Brrrrrr
(Jaylen) can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message
“I-I know this is sudden and you probably don’t want to speak to me, b-but I just want to explain.”
When I came to Lakeshore High, you were the only person that was nice to me. Not to mention the fact that you were gorgeous. I was never meant to get close to you or become friends.
I never knew it would get this far. I never knew you would be the one. And although things are different now and you will never forgive me, you still are the one and only one for me.
Truth is, there was a lot of things I wasn't telling you. My mom was struggling, running from my dad who almost killed her several times. I know I masked my issues and told you I was only upset because I missed my friends back in Florida. Truth is, I didn’t really have any friends. I was use to not having them so I tried to keep my distance from anyone… that is ..until I met you. I’ve never really belonged anywhere. I moved around with my mom to protect her from my father. He has ruined my life in more ways than you could ever understand. I know hearing this you’ll think I’m a liar, but not telling you was my way of protecting you. I mean what if my dad found us and found you? I couldn’t have anything happen to you.
I was going to tell you though. I thought I was finally free from my father and this unbreakable, terrifying silence. Two years was the longest I’ve ever stayed anywhere. It brought me joy to wake up every morning and not wonder if my mom is still down the hall sleeping peacefully, or if I would choke from breathing in the extreme and intoxicating smell of liquor and cigarettes. I thought it was my time to be happy. But, I should’ve known better than that. I let the weight be lifted off my shoulders prematurely. Being as naive as I was, I thought the weight disappeared, but all I did was pass them over to my mom. She started to worry more as I became more reckless. I ignored it, but she was crumbling under the weight of our worries and fear. I shouldn’t have gotten comfortable. I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, I just want you to understand that it was no one’s fault but mine.
On your birthday,everything went to shit. You were having your party and I was so excited to go. My mom never really relaxed, but that day, she smiled in a way I barely recognized.. She was happy that I was finally happy. I knew more than ever that she wished she could’ve given me a normal childhood. From there you know that story, we had a blast. I left your house around 1:00 in the morning. The best night of my life. But I could almost see my peace and happiness fly out of the door when I got home to my crying, shaking, and petrified mother. I saw the letter in front of her. If I can’t have you, no one can! Taped to a brick that laid amongst the remnants of my front window. I don’t know when the note came, but at that point, all I could think, feel, breathe, was anger. I was happy, you were my happiness. I couldn’t..we couldn’t leave again. She knew it as much as I.
Once more I was afraid and I knew I couldn’t leave my mom alone again. That's why I was missing so many days of school. Not because of doctors or dentists appointments, or workouts or any other lame reason I used to spare you from worrying. It was Sunday night, June 2nd. I came home from the gym to see three bullet holes in my living room walls. I walked to the basement and found him with his shotgun. My mom on the floor crying. He was drunk, again, and delirious.
You left me! I told you I didn't want you to leave and you left! Without saying goodbye! With MY son! You are the devil! Go back to hell!
That anger that I had been at bay for two years, took over my body. I couldn’t think straight anymore. I heard the gunshot. Was that it? Did he really kill her? All that running and hiding, for nothing? Everything lay quiet and still. Then I saw blood gushing from dear old daddy’s head as he lay dead on the floor. Was he drunk enough to shoot himself? How stupid. Then I saw my mom stand up, and take the shotgun from my hands.
We have to go. I won’t let you go to jail for me.
I had no idea why she said that. No idea that it was me who pulled the trigger.
Here I am. In Spain, calling you. I love you, I’ve always loved you. I’ve played how this conversation would happen in my head at least 300 times already. But I think I have come to terms with the fact that it will never happen in person… because I don’t think I will ever see you again. You were the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m not saying this to have you pity me, I just thought I owed you an explanation. I---
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21 September 2018
The First Day
SEPTA stands for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, but that’s really code for a very confusing system of of buses, trolleys, light rail, and commuter rail. My first time falling victim to this intricate, complex system was the summer of sixth grade.
It was the 29th of June, the first day of Breakthrough, a summer program that I was attending. My sixth grade teacher encouraged me to apply to further my education during a time most people would be on vacation. At first, was reluctant to apply because it was all the way at 34th street, but I thought it would be be beneficial in the long run. Since that morning was my first time taking SEPTA, my friend agreed to to take the bus with me. This brought me great relief but unfortunately, I was running late that morning so she left me. She instructed me to take the bus that stops right in front of her house. So I did.
“Next stop, 57th and Spruce!” As I sat on the bus, I thought it was kind of peculiar that the numbers were increasing rather than decreasing since I had to be at 34th Street. She’s taken SEPTA so she knows more than I do, right? I then dozed off a little, only to hear, “This is the last stop.”
I knew I was nowhere near where I needed to be and I started to panic. My eyes started to fill up with tears. I had no idea where I was and I was already late. I finally decided to just go home and start the process over. It took about 30 minutes, but I got back to my house. I called my sister and she told me to walk to Market and take the Market Frankford Line to 30th street.
The first thing I did when I got there was go to the bathroom and get myself together before classes started. I was nervous to meet everybody, and I was determined to not let anything get in the way of me having a good first day.
The day was a success, despite my horrible morning and it was now time to leave.
As we were waiting for the bus, there was a woman who was acting kind of strange. She was talking to herself and screaming randomly. I just ignored her. I caught my friend looking right into the eyes of the strange woman, and just before I could tell her to look away, the woman started to walk towards us. My heart was racing. My first thought was to run, but that was quickly shot down because she may have tried to chase me which was even more scary.
“What are you girls doing here?” she screamed as if she was my mother and caught me somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. I thought I was going to have a panic attack. “You’re too pretty to be in these streets!” she said as she slowly walked towards us. Was she delirious? I could smell cigarettes and weed all over her. I was lost in thought when she just shifted and bolted towards us, as to chase us away because we weren’t meant to be there. We ran, without looking back for even a second. I ran out of breath at the end of the block and turned back only to see that she was still way back at the bus stop.
I wanted to just leave and never look back, but my friend was convinced that we had to go back to that specific stop in order to catch the bus, when we could've actually walked two more blocks to wait at the next bus stop. She wanted to go back, for the thrill maybe? I don’t know but being the follower I was back then, I went with her blindly.
As expected, the strange woman got angry and started screaming at us. All I could think was how much of an idiot I was to follow her knowing that it wasn’t right to come provoke her more. The same thing happened and my friend wanted to go back again. She had a smile on her face as if this was the best part of her day. I decided to walk to the next bus stop and she didn't follow me. I was proud of my decision, in that moment I stood up for myself which was something I wasn’t familiar with.
I couldn’t help but to look back. I saw that my friend picked up a crate, probably to fight back instead of running. To this day, I don’t know what happened and I honestly don’t care.
Although the day started and ended terribly, I still considered it one of the most influential days of my life.
My element is Indium and the atomic number is 49. Indium was discovered in Germany by german scientists. Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymus Theodor Richter founded it in 1863. The scientists were actually looking for thallium in zinc ores, but they found an indigo line in the samples spectrum. That is why they named the element indium.
Indium can now be found in transistors in a lot of technology, It can be found in phones, computers, televisions, and more. That is why i chose a cell phone to be my image for this project. Indium isn’t that abundant and it isn’t found in that many things, but a cell phone is one of them. I was going to do a television at first, but I thought a phone would be more interesting.
I made three sketches, a phone, a tv, and a computer. All of them looked pretty basic, but I chose a phone so I can decorate the lock screen and make it more interesting. I made four prints, surprisingly, all of them turned out great. I’m keeping two to myself and two to Ms.Hull. I should've made it more colorful, I wanted to do like an ombre, but I didn’t.
Overall, I liked this project and how hands on it was.
For the first two parts of this project, I did research on the huge issue that is child sex trafficking. This of course has proven to be difficult because people don't really like to talk about an issue this graphic. Specifically, in my first post, I analyzed a documentary I saw. The documentary itself was the focus for most of this post. I learned the nature of the harrassrs and how things usually happen statistically. Furthermore, in my second post, I focused on specific stories of women who were trafficked as children and compared that to the original information i had from my first post. I found some of the most outrageous and upsetting things to be true. I really felt like a change needed to be made. I believe people should know more about the issue since it is something that is rarely talked about. So I decided to make a website about the horrors of child sex trafficking.
*Disclaimer* My website isn't published yet because of some technical difficulties, but it will be published by the end of the week and it will be public for all the world to see
It took me a total of about 2 weeks to make the website. I had three plans for my agent of change, but they all fell through and I decided to stick to making the website. There are three main pages, home, about, and contact.
My home page is just a general overview of the website with the title and a little insight into the topic. I didn't want to get too into detail because i wanted to save that for my about page. I just touch on what child sex trafficking is and why the topic is important to me to see a change.
The about page goes into real detail about my two post and the extensive research I did. I linked all the other websites I linked in my first two posts and and my annotated bibliography. I also go into detail about the entire project and how I became so involved with this issue and why I chose to make a website.
I chose to put myself out there and make a contact page because while i was researching, I found myself wanting to contact people and learn more. Many of the websites I looked at didnt have contact pages. I want people to be able to email me and ask questions or give suggestions. I think it is important for me to be able to answer questions about the work I did. To really reach out and educate people about the issue like i said I would, I would need people to contact me.
Ultimately, the purpose of this website is to let people know about an issue that isn't talked about enough. Child sex trafficking is dangerous and anyone can become a victim. Not enough is being done to prevent it, but the first step in really changing a problem is to educate one about the issue at hand.
18 March 2018
There’s a Way To Change
For this portion of my You and The World Project, I was meant to do a survey, interview, or a field observation. I planned to have an interview with the communications director at the G.E.M.S program. I mentioned them in my last post, click here for it. I planned to have my interview Monday afternoon, during advisory, but it had to be rescheduled for the next day. The same thing kept happening until thursday which was the last day I had the time to conduct the interview. I forgot about the interview which was my fault. Overall, there was fault on both sides which resulting in me not having the interview I needed for this part of the project. Instead, I decided to further my research.
For my first post, I looked into the statistics. I found some horrible facts about the children we are losing to this industry and how much they are suffering on a daily. Can you believe that some kids are sold 5-6 times a day? Vulnerable children are targeted, ages 11-17 all the time and they are put into this horrendous life. Since I found very interesting information about the general industry of child sex trafficking, for the second post, I decided to look into some specific stories of women who were sold into the sex industry as children. I found some more surprising information.
First, I found the site Human Trafficking Survivor. The girl in the account said she was raped about 43,200 times, which I found hard to believe until I really read and thought about it. Karla, the woman bravely speaking out about her past, said she was abused since she was five by a close relative. She felt rejected by her mother, and the overall dynamic of her family was dysfunctional. When she was twelve, she was pursued by a man who spoke nice and had a fast car that she liked. They spoke, and exchanged numbers. He started talking to her as a friend and Karla was excited. They met up again and he brought a different red car that she liked a lot. From there, she recalls seeing red flags everywhere. She was convinced to go stay with him since her mom locked her out one night. The next couple months, he shows her kindness and gave her everything she wasn’t getting at home. He then started telling her about the pimping business and how she must act and speak for her to get money for him. He explained the positions to her and how much money she must earn. "I started at 10 a.m. and finished at midnight. We were in Guadalajara for a week. Do the math. Twenty per day for a week. Some men would laugh at me because I was crying. I had to close my eyes so that that I wouldn't see what they were doing to me, so that I wouldn't feel anything," Karla says. They moved to other cities where she was still expected to see about 20 men a day, seven days a week. There was even a day she thought she would escape her unfortunate circumstances when a police officer came in to one hotel known for prostitution. Instead, the officer forced them to do things too. Karla got pregnant at 15 years old and gave birth to a girl. The baby girl was now threatened if Karla didn’t fulfill her duties as a prostitute. She was rescued in 2008 during an anti-trafficking operation. She was 16 at the time. She is now 23 and a speaker and advocate against sex trafficking. She says, "These minors are being abducted, lured, and yanked away from their families. Don't just listen to me. You need to learn about what happened to me and take the blindfold off your eyes." I think it’s very important to letr Karla’s story sink in and reflect on it. Just as I said in my first post, vulnerable children are being pursued by predators and being taken away from their homes. It’s important to take into account that this could happen to anyone and that we should be doing more as a community to speak out and try to prevent it.
In addition, Karla’s story was fascinating to me, especially the part about the corrupt police officers, so I started to look into the police involvement in child sex trafficking. I looked into this article about police help with the issue at hand. From this post, I found that a lot of the time, police arrest sex trafficking victims on a prostitution charge in which they are threatened to be prosecuted, which obviously isn’t working very well. The girls, who are victims, are held accountable for their circumstances instead of the people who are actually the problem which doesn’t seem fair to me. They don’t seem to take into account that the girls need help. They just see a crime that someone has to pay for.
In conclusion, although I wasn’t able to conduct the interview, I found some more shocking facts about the sex trafficking industry.
For more research and facts, click here for my annotated bibliography.
When this project was introduced, I knew I was meant to choose child sex trafficking. There was one class in English in 7th grade that made it so. We watched a documentary called Very Young Girls where my teacher knew a lady who helped with the program that was shown in the documentary. The documentary took about two class periods to finish and afterwards, we had two projects pertaining to this topic. In the project we focused mainly on African American exploited girls. This time, I wanted to show statistically how many and what kinds of children are prostituted in the United States. I found the information presented horrifying, but what really spoke to me was what little was being done to help these children. Many children are arrested for prostitution, and many go right back to doing it after being freed. Officials may think that because they return to that life, then they want to be there, but Very Young Girls shined a light of what mentally goes on in the child's head. The documentary focused on about 7 different girls stories, so they can’t really speak for the entire population, but here is what I've gathered.
Pimps are very persistent
They look for girls who are most vulnerable and need help.
It's better for a pimp to take a low-profile girl because nobody will come looking for them
Once he’s helped you out of whatever problems you have, then he starts to force you to go out on corners and help him with his business.
Many girls feel like they owe their pimp something because he gave them what their parents couldn’t
They help him because they think that if they don’t, then he will leave them and they will go back to being homeless, or unwanted in their homes, or whatever the case may be.
Many Pimps also threaten them saying that they would find them wherever they are and kill them if they ever leave.
They don’t see a way out. So they stay.
After leaving a life where you are sold 4-6 times a day, it’s very hard to adjust.
Like I said, these points are just some things I thought of while watching the documentary. It may not necessarily be what you gathered. In addition, these are points from many different stories, not just the account of one girl.
Once I refreshed my memory on what I saw in seventh grade, I started to do even more research on a broader plane. I looked into a Huffington Post blog which more or so focused on the statistics and found that there are 2 million children are victims of child sex trafficking each year across the globe and 300,000 of those kids are in America. America still isn’t the most common place for children to be trafficked. Children are constantly being pursued by predators. They showed that there are many online predators looking for children. The blog states, “ The number of children being contacted by sexual predators online is disturbing and astounding at the same time. Approximately one out of every seven children is sexually contacted, or solicited, by a predator while online.” The documentary showed girls that were pursued in person at random times in the day, but this blog shows that there are many other ways that predators hunt for kids and they are relentless.
Furthermore, I decided to get information on the type of kids predators look for. I looked into the website Thorn, which is devoted to teaching people about various problems in the world. I found there study on child sex trafficking and found some interesting statistics. Kids who are homeless or runaways, LGBTQ, African American or Latino, and youth interacting with the child welfare system are more vulnerable to this type of exploitation. 52% of child arrests relating to prostitution are African American Children. Runaways and homeless kids are at an even greater risk of being exploited. 25% of children sampled for a survey admitted that they felt the need to trade sex for money or food. In another study, 86% of the children were in the care of social services or foster care. These statistics support some of my findings from the documentary because they show that low profile children are at a higher risk for child sex prostitution.
Afterwards, I looked into the impact of child sex trafficking physically and mentally on the exploited children. I read through a article on a site called Ark of Hope for Children. Where I looked specifically into the section titled Physical and Mental Consequences of Trafficking for Victims. Victims of child sex trafficking struggle significant problem, physically and mentally. Of course, the physical comes from having sex involuntarily many times daily. They may catch STDs, pelvic pains, rectal pains, and urinary difficulties. Mentally, they can suffer from a variety of problems. Depression, self-hate, shame, eating disorders, PTSD, fear, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, drug addiction and many more. Prostitution is ruining the lives of thousands of children. during and many years after the crimes are committed.
Also, in the documentary, the girls who spoke out about how their lives were like were all apart of this program called G.E.M.S which stands for Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. This program had directors who really cared about the girls and wanted to really help them out of their situation. So went to their official site. They’re purpose is to empower girls and women, ages 12-24, who have been victims of sex trafficking and help them exit the commercial sex industry. They are centered in New York state. The founder is Rachel Lloyd who started this program in 1998 because she had been sexually exploited as a teenager and she wanted to help others like her. They want to focus on building girls up and showing them that they are beautiful and have potential for future success.
For more information and research, click here for my annotated bibliography
I didn't know what to do for my slide so I chose to do something different. I haven found my way yet so I chose to put a blank canvas because I still have my whole life ahead of me. My canvas is just waiting to be painted. The title is Pristine Justine because thatś how I view myself.
I didn't get a lot of critiques, I heard that there was weird empty spaces everywhere and too many pictures. I decided to change the whole idea because I wanted it to reflect more on me and how I see myself. I did something simpler and decided not to do a picture because I wanted it to be new and just something I made and not just get it from the internet.
I still use the video about the ikea sign because I used a bright color blue. I think the font color compliments the background. There's a perfect amount of empty space I don't know if my slide will be seen from 5k away like the Ikea sign, but I think i did a lot better on this side.