Movie Review: Black Mirror – Bandersnatch

by Nutsa Javakhadze

On December 28, Netflix released their psychological thriller Bandersnatch in the anthology series Black Mirror. The film does not disappoint.

Black Mirror is known for its dark social commentary. The series is critical of society’s dependence on technology, arguing that soon it will strip us of our humanity and in extreme cases, make us care more about robots than we do about actual people. This idea is explored in one of the episodes, where the main character falls in love with an AI.

“If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set,” said creator Charlie Brooker regarding the show’s name. “The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand; the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.”

Bandersnatch carries the same cynical attitude towards the digital age, but what makes it different from its predecessors is its interactivity. The Netflix original is a movie game, where the viewer gets to make decisions and choose their own adventure. The choices are innocent at first – deciding what kind of cereal the main character should have or what kind of music he should listen to.

Gradually, however, the options get darker and darker.
The plot revolves around programmer Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), who aims to develop a video game based on the choose-your-own-adventure book Bandersnatch. Its writer, Jerome F. Davies, is a controversial author regarded as a genius in his genre who later murders his own wife, convinced that she had been controlling him. As the story progresses, we start to see similarities between him and Stefan. Just like him, the main character starts to believe that he is not in control of his decisions, that someone is making them for him. Depending on the choices the viewer makes, the ending of the film varies. All of them, however, feature Stefan’s descent into madness.

“I think it was a really interesting idea,” said Rockwell sophomore Sandro Gvaramia. “The plot was really intriguing and I kept watching it over and over to see what endings I would get.”

Bandersnatch is a much more ambitious project than anything Black Mirror has ever created. The series is filled with meta-commentary and skepticism of free will. The release is a must-watch for anyone who likes psychological thrillers and conspiracy theories.

Check out the series trailer below:

School Shootings: What’s the solution?

by Katie Hull

Image via Washington Times

As school shootings happen more and more frequently, people are looking harder and harder for different solutions to the problem. Most of the time people disagree with the one and agree with the other and so nothing is happening. It’s almost impossible to come up with a solution that pleases everybody. But something needs to be done. Innocent people are getting mowed down for no logical purpose. It needs to stop. A few of the most popular ideas brought up to solve this problem is stricter gun control laws, arming teachers with guns, arming schools with security guards and encouraging more mental health awareness. The most heavily topics debated are the first three. Most people seem to agree that there needs to be more mental health awareness. But no one is doing anything to accomplish this.

At this point in time, gun control laws are pretty relaxed. It is not difficult to get a gun, not even a military grade gun. The process does not require very intimate scannings. And it is fairly simple for someone to legally purchase a gun with mental health problems or a vendetta . There are twelve states where you allowed to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Some states you can get a AR-15 in a matter of 15 minutes. You can walk in, fill out some paperwork, and walk out with a weapon capable of a mass shooting. Most of the time you are required to do a background check, but this doesn’t prevent someone planning an attack. The Parkland Florida school shooting ended up with 17 people dead. The gun was purchased legally. The Sante Fe Texas school shooting resulted with 10 dead and 13 injured. The gun was purchased legally. More than 75% of the guns that are used in mass shootings are purchased legally. Nothing has changed. Gun laws have not gotten stricter. It is no harder to get a gun than it was 5 years ago.

Arming schools are another way that is brought up to solve these problems. President Trump suggested this himself. This would mean giving teachers guns so that they can defend their students and protect themselves. Some people agree that this is the best way because you would be fighting fire with fire. There are many people that disagree because they are worried about the immaturity of students. They are worried that the guns would be easily accessible. If this were to happen, the government would have to pay for all of these guns, as well as provide basic firearm training for the teachers. If the government were you able to get the guns on a discounted price the least it would be is 180 million dollars. If they weren’t able to get the guns on a discounted price, the price would be closer to 1 billion dollars including ammunition, training, and the guns.

Increasing security at schools could be considered the middle ground between these other two ideas. It doesn’t make stricter gun laws and it doesn’t put students in classrooms with guns. metal detectors are something that are commonly discussed when talking about increasing security in schools. The government has come out and said that if schools were to look at getting metal detectors a reasonably priced one would be approximately $4,000 to $5,000. If this also includes a security guard, they usually are about $10 to $12 an hour. So for the security guard to be there for a week, all day, this would be about $2,000. Of course, some people still believe that this would not stop a determined shooter. But is it worth it to make the kids feel safer, as well as the parents feel safer?

Rockwell can be the change. We can use our voices to inspire change. We can be a fighting force instead of laying down and watching these shootings happen. You can make a difference. Speak out against these injustices.

How to Save the Earth

by Katie Hull

Image via Zastavki.com

There are so many things we do to this planet that can only be construed as destructive. We choose to put toxic gasses into our atmosphere and dump thousands of pounds of garbage and plastic into our oceans. 100,000 marine mammals die from plastic each year. The Worldwide Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people die from direct causes related to pollution. How long are we going to let this go on?

Rockwell students could help. We could make a difference. Some of the top ways to save the environment are ways that you wouldn’t think. They are simple, easy and cost effective.

  1. Reduce the amount of meat you eat. Scientists have found that red meat is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many emissions as greenhouses! This doesn’t mean getting completely rid of meat. But if you simply reduce the amount you eat you could start helping the environment.
  2. Reduce the amount of paper in your life. Almost everyone, if not all of us, have phone or access to a computer. 40% of the worlds trees that are being cut down is being used for paper.
  3. Reuse water bottles. Or even better, don’t use plastic bottles. Spend the money on a five dollar water bottle and reuse it. Over all you will spend less money then buying single water bottles that cost give or take a couple bucks.
  4. Don’t throw away just anything. Recycle when you can. Kitchen scraps can be used in gardens as fertilizer.
  5. Take notice of how much water you use. Try not to overuse. Turn off the water rather than leave it on when you are doing other things.

 

Basically these are a free simple things we can all do to help the environment around us. The Earth is our home and we are killing it one day at a time. We need to work on keeping it alive. Wendell Berry said, “ The Earth is one thing we all have in common.” Treat it like you would a home because it’s all of ours.

Midterms filled with historic elections, voter turnout

by Kaya Garza

Image via The Daily Herald

These midterm elections have been deemed “the most significant elections of our lifetimes,” and based on Tuesday’s events and Wednesday’s results, that title seems to be very fitting. The Democrats are projected to flip the House and the Republicans projected to keep a hold of the Senate.

First, what exactly are midterms?
Midterms are general elections that occur every four years during November, nearing the midpoint of the President‘s term. Senator, House of Representatives, and Governor positions are contested. Usually at this midpoint, the party opposite of the President‘s flips at least the House or the Senate.

This year, the House claimed a Democratic majority, and Republicans kept their Senate majority.

In Utah, Ben McAdams (D) challenged incumbent Mia Love for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. In the other three districts, Republicans won by a great amount. The Love vs McAdams race has not yet been confirmed by Utah District 4.
Mitt Romney is replacing Orrin Hatch’s seat in the Senate, winning by a strong 62.4% race against Democratic Jenny Wilson, with 31.6% of the votes.
District 1 results: Rob Bishop (R )
District 2: Chris Stewart (R )
District 3: John Curtis (R )
District 4: Unconfirmed but projected to be Ben McAdams (D) at a 51% lead.

Prop 2, concerning medical marijuana, was passed as was Prop 3 for Medicaid expansion and Prop 4 for a redistricting commission.

Constitutional Amendment A, which is military property tax exemption, was passed along with Constitutional Amendment C, Changes related to special legislative sessions.

And lastly, Nonbinding Opinion Question 1, the gas tax increase for education and roads was not passed with 66.1% against.

Utah is among the handful of states who legalized medical marijuana, and has seen an increase in Democratic voters.

Here is a list of all of the elected candidates who made history:
•Sharice Davids (D), first openly lesbian Native American congresswoman
•Ilhan Omar, first Muslim congresswoman
•Ayanna Pressley (D), first black Congresswoman from Massachusetts
•Veronica Escobar (D), first Latinx congresswoman from Texas
•Sylvia Garcia (D), Latinx congresswoman from Texas
•Rashida Tlaib (D), Muslim congresswoman
•Jared Polis (D), first openly gay man elected Governor
•Deb Haaland (D), Native American congresswoman
•Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), youngest congresswoman ever elected
•Joe Neguse (D), first black congressman from Colorado
•Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), first Latinx woman elected Governor
•Chris Pappas (D), first openly gay congress member from New Hampshire
•Letitia “Tish” James (D), first black woman Attorney General from New York
•Jahana Hayes (D), first black congresswoman from Conneticut
•Keith Ellison (D), first Muslim statewide elected official in the U.S.
•Kalan Haywood (D), youngest state legislator
•Angie Craig (D), first lesbian mother in Congress
•Marsha Blackburn ( R), first woman senator from Tennessee

This has been the biggest historically altering midterms ever, and will certainly change the course of midterms and Presidential elections for years to come.

“It was definitely a Democratic win,” said Rockwell sophomore Jaron Winn. “I’m really glad they flipped the House.”

Fatal Shooting in California Bar, 12 Dead

by Kaya Garza

Image via Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images

Twelve people, including a sheriff, were killed late last night by an unidentified gunman at Borderline Bar & Grill. He shot himself afterwards. A dozen of people are injured. It is unclear if this attack is terrorism.

Ventura County Sheriff’s department responded to the sound of gunfire at about 11:20 p.m.

More updates to come.

One Can Can Make a Difference

by Sierra Maldonado

Rockwell Charter High School is doing a food drive for local families that need food for Thanksgiving.

There are more than 2,000 homeless people across the state of Utah. Donating even just one can of food can help someone not go hungry this holiday season.

How it works: Beginning tomorrow, November 7, there will be a box for each grade to donate their cans in the library. When you donate, the librarian will have you count your cans and fill out a can to hang up on the poster in the hallway. The grade with the most cans donated will win a pizza party!

It’s not just canned food you can donate. We accept other non-perishable food items, as well. Here are a few ideas of things you can bring:

– Canned beans
– Canned soup
– Canned fruits
– Canned vegetables
– Canned meat
– Cereal
– Rice
– Peanut Butter
– Pasta

These are things that food banks need the most, but any and all non-perishable food donations are welcome. If every student donates just 5 cans of food, we will have almost 2,500 cans of food to donate! Let’s help people in our community have a memorable Thanksgiving.

The canned food drive begins tomorrow, November 7, and ends Friday, November 16.

Students campaign to bring cheer team to Rockwell

by Ashlee Milton

Photo: Rockwell’s cheer team in 2014.

Three students are working together to bring back the Rockwell High cheer team.

“We all want to come together to bring something more to Rockwell,” said Rockwell sophomore Kiera Barker. “It would be cool to show support for the sports teams by cheering at their games.”

Mikayla Tanner, Skilin Hacking, and Kiera Barker are some of the girls advocating to bring the team back. The last time Rockwell had a cheer team was in 2014 and was ended due to all the participants graduating.

“We all want to come together to bring something more to Rockwell. It would be cool to show support for the sports teams by cheering at their games.”

– Kiera Barker, sophomore

Mikayla Tanner, a senior at Rockwell, has had some experience with cheer and tumbling for about a year and a half. She brought the idea to Misty with the intentions of starting a team to help all feel like they have a place at the school.

“I think a lot of people at Rockwell could benefit from having a cheer team here,” said Tanner. “I want to be part of creating a place for people to feel included and feel like they can bring more spirit to the school.”

Having a cheer team would help bring more people to the games and more spirit to the school.

Image via Sydnie Holland

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