Individual Reflection Essay

Reflection Essay

Most people do not understand the violent extent that inhabitants of low-income neighborhoods endure on a daily basis. With hundreds of basically undocumented homicides occurring each year in Philadelphia alone, there emerges a major crisis that fails to be addressed. More and more homicide cases are casually swept under the rug every year, which is allowing this epidemic to continuously worsen. The public ear is intentionally flooded with other news and in turn, the media controls their thinking and concerns. Seemingly, only stories about the wealthy are prioritized because they are powerful. For me to obtain documentation of our assigned homicides, I had to conduct an in-depth investigation on each one only to find miniscule information. The difficulty to find these reports is astounding and infers the lower class to be meaningless and strictly a hindrance on our society.

This project exposed me to just how corrupt and narrow the media is and how much of an influence it has on its viewers. A majority of talking points in conversation stem from something one heard/read from the media. We are only fed information that these media agencies deem as profitable. Instead of reporting the victims of early and tragic death, they would rather emphasize an outfit that a celebrity chose to wear on a night out. This selective reporting is the most shocking revelation I came to digest from doing this project. It is truly disheartening to fathom just how unethical these media agencies are. People tend to forget that it really comes down to business and maximizing profit. We rely on the media to inform us of every concerning aspect going on in the world and doing so gives them a tremendous degree of power. This cycle of reporting is in desperate need of reform, so the general public can start understanding real issues and focus on fixing them.

After studying Harrowgate, I have come to a deeper understanding of the causes behind the ongoing homicides in urban areas. The density allows the area to become ideal centers for criminal activity. Certain ways of making a living illegally always entail a dangerous environment and drastic consequence for “slipping up”. For example, selling drugs on a corner models the same way things are bought and sold in most parts of the world. However, since there are no regulations on this activity, competition is dealt with differently in a more drastic manner. Competitors of a selling area will typically resort to guns to quickly settle a dispute. The gangs that back these sellers find success by intimidating everyone around them. This way other people would never consider fronting on their territory and they can firmly secure an area. Sometimes, the intimidation isn’t enough and others proceed to cross boundaries, why results in violence such as: drive-bys’, stabbings and other forms of homicidal action. The story map my group created documents accounts of each one of these. I could also tell from Harrowgate that stray bullets must be a real issue because of how densely populated the area is. A shooters goal is to hit his/her target by any means, which disregards any consideration for others that may get in the way. Even though they didn’t plan on murdering an innocent civilian, it’s not much of a big deal if it comes down to separating the shooter from the target. The tightknit housing complexes and narrow blocks in Harrowgate facilitates hasty murders. It’s almost as if it was designed to host this sort of activity.

The number of homicides occurring each year in urban areas alone does not resonate well with me. It wasn’t until I investigated the extent of this issue that I developed a livid concern for it. I know that this chaos wouldn’t resonate well with the majority of Americans as well, if they were well informed. The question is: how do we open the public eye to this matter if the media refuses to do it? I believe a solution for this is highly plausible and a necessity for the well being of this country. More and more websites publishing these homicides must be created to avoid them from being swept under the rug. In this advanced age of technology, there is no excuse for not spreading the occurrence of each and every homicide. One network of homicide publishers is all that’s needed to spark a chain reaction and reach other networks. When media agencies sense this type of news becoming increasingly popular they will start avidly reporting it. A solution to this urgent disaster is within the grasp of the public and we are not too far away from attaining it. This country would be nothing without the lower class. They are the backbone that firmly holds us up. Its time to start treating them with a greater respect by rectifying justice to those who have fallen as a result of the struggle they were born in to.

The unethical and disastrous activity in low-income neighborhoods, like Harrowgate, has been swept under the rug for far too long. This major crisis has been brought to my attention by conducting a thorough investigation on the reporting behind rampant homicides. Without being instructed and taking the time to search for homicidal records, it is extremely difficult to find any documentation for these victims. The media deceptively reports select news that typically does not involve these tragic events. Rather, they focus on keeping the public updated with affairs of celebrities and other unimportant matters. Fortunately, exposing this corruption will only require the consistent publishing of these homicides by people who are related to the victims. Once the public eye understands the extent of this epidemic they will most definitely rectify justice.

Heat Seek

Whats the problem that its solving?

Heat Seek started to prevent landlords from abusing the public housing heating system. So, basically, people that live in public houses aren’t allowed to control the temperature inside their apartment. The landlord is given this power and it was found that many landlords were abusing this power by waiting until the middle of November to even consider turning it on. For those of you who have never been to New York in the middle of November, it is ridiculously cold and to not turn someones heat on just to save money is disgusting.

How does it work?

This is an example of what a Heat Seek Sensor looks like.
This is an example of what a Heat Seek Sensor looks like.

The Heat Seek system works through a series of discretely installed sensors within the tenants apartment. The device records and compares the temperature inside the tenant’s apartment with the one outside to see if the heat is on and hot enough. If the landlord just isn’t putting on the heat, the tenant can take him/her to court and easily win a lawsuit with the Heat Seek evidence. This is a pretty awesome system to prevent corruption in the world of low-income housing.

How is it designed for inclusion?

The best part is that Heat Seek will install this device into your home completely free of charge. Anybody involved in public housing in NYC can get the sensor installed with NO CATCH! Also, Heat Seek does not only help the tenant. They also work with landlords and strategize ethical ways to manage heating costs and save money. Unlike most things in America, your race and annual income are not a factor. Heat Seek has partnered up with a long list of unions, services and councils to fuel its organization. It started in February of 2014, so they are still working to pool resources and compile more and more financial contributions. They are not yet able to keep up with the demand for sensors because Heat Seek relies on donations. They have gotten pretty big since their launch 2 years ago, so its safe to say that they are going to have an extremely positive impact on public housing justice going forward.

An Explanation of The Public Sphere

The Public Sphere, as Habermas depicts it, encapsulates all of the knowledge that is readily available to the general public. It is the conglomerate of knowledge formed by people freely sharing ideas with one another. However, human beings are incapable of processing such complex and copious information objectively; information that passes through the Public Sphere from one individual to another will rarely be interpreted the same way by the receiver. In a way, it can be likened to a game of telephone, only instead of information being altered through a linear path, there is a system functioning on a complex series of layers which distributes information between individuals. Therefore the public sphere is not only a body of knowledge, but a collective of information that also incorporates peoples’ thoughts, feelings, and biases. In modern society, media serves as a method of filtering this information into a form more easily digestible by the public (or, potentially, into a form that alters public perception of information in a way that furthers the agenda of a particular group.)

In the picture drawn, the public sphere is metaphorically displayed as a bucket containing news. When the bucket becomes full, it dumps the information into varying media network satellites. That information then gains a bias and is sent directly to the public. The Public Sphere