Does Sea World Continue to Afflict Barbarity Upon Killer Whales?

The well-known Sea World Park, located in Florida, California, and Texas, have been keeping killer whales as hostages since December 1965. The first-ever killer whale show at Sea World Park in 1965 included a killer whale, named Shamu, as one of its adroit performers. The female orca, Shamu, was kidnapped from her vast, aquatic environment in the ocean by a marine “cowboy” named Ted Griffin, directly after Shamu’s mother had been murdered by a harpoon in the ocean. Griffin’s collaborative partners, such as Don Goldsberry, were later hired by the Sea World Company to unethically kidnap killer whales and transport them to the Sea World tanks.

Furthermore, killer whales that live freely in the midst of the oceans usually dive to the depths of 328 feet. The deepest dive, which was 850 feet, known for a killer whale was performed under experimental conditions. However, numerous tanks in famous theme parks have a depth of only 45 to 65 feet. For instance, in the Sea World that is located in Orlando, Florida, the deepest tank is only forty feet deep, while an average male killer whale is approximately 23 to 30 feet long and typically weighs 6 tons. In other words, these highly intelligent, social, and massive marine animals are living in a space that is equivalent to that of a “kiddie pool” for them. Killer whales are the largest members of the dolphin family, and with excessively large bodies, they clearly require a large habitat as well. They should not be confined to minuscule tanks.

With manifold killer whales held in captivity by multifarious amusement parks, safety and health concerns are raised not only for the killer whales, but also for the passionate performers. In fact, there have been exceedingly more than 100 recorded and identified cases, where the killer whales displayed severe aggression, chaotic swimming behaviors, and various other instances of frustration as a result of their confinement. Their intense frustration eventually served as a catalyst to attack their trainers/ performers, causing numerous injuries and even three deaths in the past 30 years. In 1991, a killer whale, named Tilikum, had killed Keltie Byrne, a former trainer at the now-closed Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia. After this incident, Sea World (Orlando) bought Tilikum after hearing that it was the world’s largest killer whale, weighing 12,500 pounds and over 22 feet in length, held in captivity and currently on the market, where he had further killed two trainers tragically. The stress of captivity caused Tilikum to kill Daniel P. Dukes in 1999 at Sea World and the senior 40-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau on February 24, 2010. Moreover, Tilikum had even dismembered Dawn while he drowned her and broke most of her bones throughout her body. After this most recent death, Tilikum was placed in an extremely confined tank, which was 20 feet by 30 feet, with the head of Tilikum touching one end of the tank and its fluke touching the other end of the tank, for an entire year. After a year, the deadly male killer whale, Tilikum, made a reappearance and continues to perform for the public audiences with trainers/ performers, despite the numerous hazards Tilikum poses.

'Feasible': The judge said keeping trainers from swimming with killer whales during performances would reduce the risks of working with them (file photo)

 A picture of Dawn Brancheau, the star performer at Sea World, sitting on Tilikum’s mouth during a show.

Tilikum was captured in November of 1983, at the age of two years old when he was 13 feet long. He was not only torn away from his own family and his true habitat of the immense ocean, but he also became stressed due to his unscrupulous confinement. He has a collapsed dorsal fin, which means the killer whale is stressed as well as in inferior health conditions as scientists have discovered. All in all, Tilikum has undoubtedly endured several hardships that he should not have.



Precautions for the Summer – Don’t Hold Your Breath

As summer is approaching, most of us are planning days to go to the pool. Swimming is a sport that is perfect for the summer; it provides the cooling effect that people crave in the summer heat and the number of water games that have been invented make swimming a fun sport and pastime. However, these water games can lead to certain consequences, the most severe being death.

When children go to the pool, whether that be at the nearest YMCA, summer camp, or their friend’s backyard, there will always be that one game of “Who can hold their breath the longest?” This particular behavior, called the “dangerous underwater breath-holding behavior” by the CDC, is the leading cause of drowning. Unfortunately, some people do not survive after they are found underwater. This does not only occur in community pools; military academies witness this every year. In 2011, students performed intentional breath-holding exercises. After a while, the two drowned by performing this exercise. Most people, after hearing the warning from the CDC, think it is a harmless activity to hold their breath underwater, but the Center of Disease Control and Prevention has evidence proving that this is dangerous.

Normal breathing consists of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. By holding your breath, you are pushing the carbon dioxide out of your body, making it almost irresistible to take a breath. The people that hold their breath underwater may have done it regularly to hold their breath for a long time, but once that breath is taken underwater, they can drown in a matter of seconds. This happens to ten people everyday. Accidental drowning is also the second leading cause of death, immediately following car accidents.

In movies, when we see people drown, it is definitely a false depiction of what truly happens; no one flails their arms around and screams for help when they are drowning. There are key signs that will indicate whether or not the person is drowning: if their mouth is at water level, their head is tilted back, their eyes closed or glassy, or if they cannot talk.

Next time you head to the pool, advise the swimmers around you to not take part in the “breath-holding olympics” because it is a health hazard. This simple precaution can save hundreds of lives and the statistics of this terrible cause of death can decrease dramatically.


“Don’t Hold Your Breath: CDC Reports on Pool Accidents.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2015.

“Breath-holding Games Are Killing Swimmers, CDC Warns – Local 12 WKRC-TV Cincinnati – News – Top Stories.” Local 12 WKRC-TV Cincinnati. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2015.

Women Stand Up For What’s Right

As terrorists attacks in the Middle East have increased drastically due to the Taliban striving to take control. Many have stood up against the Taliban and its threats, such as our military, who, with determination, was able to kill the leader of Al Qaeda, and Malala Yousafzai, who stood up against the Taliban in order to advocate for girls’ education. These actions have now inspired many Muslim women to join the military in fighting against the terrorists attacks.

In the United States, the fact that women fight in the army is not a very big deal. There are many female air force pilots and sergeants that serve the United States and that reality is considered nothing out of the ordinary. However, in a country like Pakistan, especially in the north-west, where women are not likely to be found anywhere outside the household, female commandos are a very big deal. This is a huge conflict in the tradition of the Pakistanis, but trainee Gul Nisa states otherwise. She believes that “it is an obligation of every Muslim to protect other Muslims,” that when “they talk about ‘protecting’ they aren’t messing around” (1). Nisa, along with thirty-four other women, have volunteered to protect their country and do not mind the training that they have to undergo everyday.

From five in the morning to eleven at night, they are continuously training with weapons and learning judo. They have agreed to the intense work due to the hundreds of people that have died in their town of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and they are determined to fight for the Muslims around them. This recruitment is not only beneficial to the trainees; it is beneficial for the military in general. When it comes to searching a house, men tend to be more hostile, even if they do not intend to act that way. Women, on the other hand, can take a more gentle approach, therefore no scaring anyone that is in the household.

Despite all of the benefits this recruitment provides, there are critics that oppose the treatment the women are receiving. One of the male commandos stated that the men are not treated “like guests” (1). They are told to shoot and they do so without any form of appreciation shown. The women, on the other hand, are treated well for the same tasks, he further elaborates, which he claims to be unfair. Mehreen, a female commando trainee, refuted this statement by expressing that with these training sessions, she no longer differentiates the abilities of a man and a woman and all it takes is bravery and courage to fight for the country.


“Lady Killers: Meet the Women Fighting the Taliban in Pakistan.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

“Who Are the Taliban? – BBC News.” BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.

Baltimore Riots Against Racial Inequality

Police officers are considered the law enforcement of the country. Most of the time, they do the right thing: arrest the people that commit crimes and patrol our streets to keep us safe. However, in this case, the citizens  of Baltimore, Maryland did not believe that the police did the right thing.

On April 12th, Freddie C. Gray Jr. was arrested for carrying a switchblade, when he was truthfully carrying a spring-assisted pocket knife, legal in the state of Maryland. While being transported from where he was arrested to the police station, he went into a coma and was transported to a trauma center. A week later, he died in police custody due to injuries on his spinal cord. Authorities later arrested the police officers with charges ranging from manslaughter to illegal arrest.

After his arrest, many civilians in Baltimore started a violent riot, resulting in multiple arrests and injuries to the police officers. After Gray’s funeral on April 27th, “civil unrest intensified” and there were many burglaries committed, as well burning amd vandalizing of some stores. Due to the intense riots and chaos, Baltimore issued a curfew for all residents in Maryland from 10pm to 5am for five nights.

On May 3rd, that curfew was lifted. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake stated that “[her] goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary” (1). In five nights, the violence had calmed down, but there are still marches going on about the police brutality in Baltimore. Reverend Jamal Bryant stated that he wanted the city to shut down in order to prevent the city from “going forward with pain” (1). Gatherings are still happening all over Baltimore, speaking out against the corrupt police force and racial inequality. The mayor is determined to unify Boston slowly by gradually reducing the number of patrolling officers at each of the gatherings and by reopening the stores and malls that were previously vandalized by the rioters.


“Baltimore Rallies at City Hall After Mayor Lifts Curfew.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2015.

“Death of Freddie Gray.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 May 2015.