• What is the true cost of the death penalty? Illustration by Corey BrightWhat is the true cost of the death penalty? Illustration by Corey Bright
    Erica Webb - 
    Online Editor

    Last year, Dylann Roof walked into a church only to murder nine innocent African-Americans as they offered him sanctuary and kindness. He embodied an institutionalized evil in the United States—violent white supremacy upon which he felt the nation was losing its grip.

    Now, the federal government is calling for the death penalty in his case. The first time I heard this, I couldn’t help but immediately think, “Good. He deserves it.” Anger. Frustration. From one moral standpoint, an eye for an eye punishment is the best justice possible, especially when the evidence seems so clear.

    From another moral standpoint, take the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Capital punishment is against the best judgment of modern criminology and, above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God.” Mercy. Nonviolence. As I scrolled through cases on Time.com, a bright red ad from the Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights caught my attention: “No. Killing Killers Won’t Bring Back Victims.”
  • The official movie poster of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Photo from starwars.com).The official movie poster of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Photo from starwars.com).Jackson Hyde - Features Editor

    It’s been almost eleven years since the last of the Star Wars prequel was released. Since then, our ways of shooting movies have changed.
  • Album art for Health's most "Death Magic." (Photo from pitchfork.com).Album art for Health's most "Death Magic." (Photo from pitchfork.com).Brandon Varner - Editor in Chief

    Howdy Pardners. It’s me, Brandon. I’m back for what may be my final hurrah in the music review game. I hope you’ve had fun, and I hope your semester goes well.
  • Illustration by Baili BighamIllustration by Baili BighamBaili Grace Bigham - Head Entertainment Columnist

    Connotations are a funny thing. While two different words can have similar meanings, they may have two entirely different implications. By definition, the concept of community gentrification is similar to community revitalization but with the addition of, or the acknowledgment of, the displacement of low-income individuals and families due to the influx of more affluent individuals. This leads to scrutiny, and criticism, of what should be such a good thing: the rejuvenation of a city.

    I have lived in Birmingham all of my life. I have watched the downtown area get a face-lift and I have also watched neighboring areas, such as Avondale and Woodlawn, take a complete 180-degree turn in both form and population. What were once low-income, dilapidated zones are now thriving hot-spots with restaurants, venues, breweries, coffee shops and, of course, new and renovated housing.

    This isn’t such a bad thing. Everyone wants to see hustle and bustle in their city, especially when it’s improving the quality of life. Things get messy when the people who called this place home before we made it ours are not given a voice, and that is the controversial adjunct that makes “gentrification” a bad word.

    The Birmingham Civil Right Institute's vice president of Education and Exhibitions, Ahmad Ward, spoke about the pros and cons of the gentrification and revitalization of our city.

    “Revitalization in a city is awesome, but when it is at someone’s expense, it’s wrong,” Ward said.

    While it is easy to see all of the wonderful things Birmingham is doing and creating, it’s done a lackluster job of holding up the voices of the residents that lived in those areas before the revitalization efforts. As cost of living inevitably goes up in a thriving city, lower income households are pushed out.

    It can be said that another harsh reality of gentrification is that revitalization follows the money. In other words, the city is being tailored to a certain demographic: the young, the white and the wealthy.

    Ward continued his thought into the form of a question, “Is it race or finances? Can you divorce the two?”

    For Ward, the answer was no. This is simply an example of socioeconomics, he explained — in Birmingham, we are seeing an influx of new faces and business and what we may turn a blind eye to is the outflux of the faces that have been here for many years. While some are excited by Birmingham’s new look, it’s no surprise that others feel outraged and dislocated.

    I do not believe that revitalization necessarily entails the dislocation of culture. The problem posed by these efforts is the misrepresentation of the community, as Birmingham’s population is over 70 percent black. Much of this population is low-income. The new businesses coming to Birmingham are essentially pricing these households out. By not accommodating the majority of a city, it is unavoidable to see the trend forming in favor of a certain demographic. By adding more adequately priced goods to Birmingham’s market, it would give a chance for approval and improvements across the board.

    Working to ensure Birmingham stays united should be a little higher up on the city’s priority list, but where the government lacks in fairness, we as a community must pick up the slack. Birmingham is no stranger to finding opportunities, nor is it new to the idea of strong voices, so let’s create the change needed to maintain the diverse city that we all call home. This problem is not one that is impossible to fix. Turning away from the issues that are causing Birminghamian’s to pack up and leave indicates neglect on the city’s part. Locals that know the veins of this city should be given that respect and a voice to match.
  • The Syrian and American flags intertwinedThe Syrian and American flags intertwined. (Illustration by Thomas Baldwin).Erica Webb - Opinions Columnist

    Hope, hardship, home. 2016: a year filled with promise for many people like the 10,000 Syrian refugees escaping the horrors of ISIL who will soon find their new homes in America.

    They will not be the first to do so—several current UAB students are among thousands of Syrian refugees who have relocated to the U.S. since the civil war against Assad’s maniacal regime broke out in 2011. However, not everyone is eager to join the welcome party, to say the least. New year, same fear.
  • Illustration by Thomas Baldwin.Illustration by Thomas Baldwin.Ally MiddletonOpinions Writer

    With the start of the new semester, it is often difficult to start fresh without lingering thoughts of the previous semester. Maybe your grades were not exactly what you wanted them to be last semester, or maybe you did your best in a class, but it still didn’t get you an A. The good news is, though, that those classes are over, and you get to move on.
  • Letter to the Editor. Illustration by Sarah FaulknerLetter to the Editor. Illustration by Sarah FaulknerMatt King, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Philosophy

    Dear Students,

    What’s the main purpose of a college education? Increasingly, we hear that it is to help you get a job. While no doubt securing a bachelor’s degree helps one on the job market, this thinking is dangerous. If we allow that the value of a degree lies primarily in what the credentials will get you, it suggests that fields of undergraduate study that don’t contribute directly to employment outcomes for its students should be scrapped. It means that we should tie the value of departments and programs directly to how their students fare on the job market.