Category Archives: National News

Hurricane Irma Leaves A Mark In Faculty’s Life

By Dr. Nicole McCoy

Nicole McCoy is an adjunct faculty member at the Key West Center, who decided to share her personal story involving Hurricane Irma.

I live on Cudjoe Key, which is where the forward eyewall of hurricane Irma struck on 9/10. I first became aware of Irma’s potential (and her potential track) on 8/31, which is quite a few days before most people, because I follow the amateur meteorologist blogs during hurricane season. You would think that a long lead time would be good, but in many ways it was a slow-moving torture. I think I wasted hours analyzing data on these blogs over the next few days; hoping against hope that they were wrong and Irma would turn out to sea. By Labor Day it was fairly clear that Irma was a substantial threat and we frantically began buttoning up the house.

We have lived down here for five years, but had just purchased this house 10 months before and were completely unprepared to seal up a house and our lot for a hurricane. We had never tested our hurricane shutters and found out the previous owner hadn’t left us the key. We learned that hurricane shutter locks can be picked fairly easily!

It took us almost three days to get the house ready and there was still more that we could have done. I had an office in our downstairs enclosure and I moved everything that was important or that was less than 2 feet from the floor (Wilma’s storm surge in 2005 was 18”) to our upstairs. My husband Sean tied down our boats. Our bigger boat was anchored to the house and the ground out front, and our small older boat, a 1971 Seacraft, which we had been restoring and was 95% done, was secured on the dock and davits out back.

On [Thursday],  we packed up our two cats, two dogs, and 11 year old son into our 16-year old Ford King Cab pickup and headed for Sarasota. We had to leave our Honda Civic behind, as it was broken and the part needed to repair it had arrived the Friday before the holiday weekend.

It was absolute agony watching Irma – an enormously powerful hurricane- head west and hearing the meteorologists tell us that she WOULD turn north, somewhere over the Keys. She slowed down substantially, and her arrival was delayed by almost a day. I couldn’t believe it when we watched her arrival as a Category 4 hurricane on Cudjoe Key Sunday morning. I thought for certain that my house, with its shingle roof,  would be gone.

It was a couple of days before one of my friends, who is a first responder, got down to the Keys and sent me a picture of my house–it was still standing and looked to be relatively okay. NOAA imagery confirmed that we still had a roof (missing shingles and more damage inside that would be discovered later). The relief we felt was enormous. And our big boat, that we had just purchased in February, had barely missed being crushed by a tree.

Unfortunately, we got 33 inches of storm surge inside the lower enclosure, which is more than we expected, and combined with the mold that occurred in the 8 days we were prevented from returning to the lower Keys, we had extensive losses downstairs. The 1971 Seacraft we were restoring is severely damaged, and we will be starting over again on that project. Our Honda is a total loss due to storm surge.

Nonetheless, compared to the other losses on Cudjoe, as well as the very severe damage on Big Pine, No Name Key, and Marathon, we feel extremely lucky. I had thought that getting the eye of Irma, where the winds are most intense would be horrible (and it was), but it turned out that the east side of the storm was substantially more damaging. Had we had the east side of the storm instead of the eye, I don’t think we would have had a house to return to.

Key West Center Re-opening After Hurricane

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Key West on Sept. 10 as a Category 4 storm. A month after Hurricane Irma has hit Florida, the Saint Leo Key West Center, the students and faculty recently got readjusted. In fact, according to Alaina Plowdrey, the director of Key West, students returned to classes on Monday, Oct. 2, which was more than a few weeks after the hurricane hit, and only couple days before this was when most of the students were making their way back to the Keys.

“The reopening went very smoothly; the only big issue was the intermittent internet. However, by the first night of classes the internet was consistent,” said Plowdrey. “The students have been great as well as my staff and faculty in working together and being patient with one another and respectful of the process.”

Based on many messages from Saint Leo University and President Dr. Lennox, Saint Leo has made it known that it is dedicated to helping accommodate the students affected by the hurricanes, especially regarding faculty giving extensions and other assistance with class work. With this assistance from Saint Leo and its faculty, many students did not have to withdraw due to the effects of the storm.

“We had minimal withdrawals from students. Those that needed to withdraw either were first responders, that have been working very hard and long hours since the storm or those that lost large portions of their homes,” said Plowdrey. “Both on ground and online faculty have been wonderful in working with everyone for extensions and incompletes. It hasn’t been an easy term for the students, faculty, and staff down here, but the process of working as an interconnected team has helped immensely.”

Key West took a devastating hit from the Hurricane, as they were affected by heavy rainfalls, coastal flooding, and strong winds. According to CBS News, FEMA estimates that 65 percent of homes suffered major damage and 25 percent of homes were destroyed.  Plowdrey confirmed that some faculty and students did, in fact, suffer damages to their properties. The Key West Center is checking on these individuals and making certain accommodations to help them deal with these particular circumstances.

“We did have some individuals and families that did suffer. We have been checking in on them regularly, sending them grant information and welcoming everyone to use the lab for internet if they do not have access,” Plowdrey said. “Since many have only just returned, I am planning on next week, the first week of FA2, to run a can drive to support anyone who is in extra need at this time, as well as create volunteer lists for those who are in need of any help cleaning their properties.”

In spite of some part of the Keys being shattered by Hurricane Irma, the Key West Center only suffered minimal damages.

“We had quite a few ceiling tiles come down from water damage. Those areas are in the queue to be repaired by Public Works. We had part of our railing go down outside the front door, which has been repaired,” said Plowdrey. “When we first came back, the center was in extreme need of a dehumidifier. PW promptly came by after my request with an industrial strength machine. The air quality was better within three days.”

Although the center reopened recently, there are still concerns for the future, as Plowdrey described.

“Well, hurricane season isn’t done and this year has been quite active! My concerns for the weather will end at the end of the season, November. However, those of us who live down here understand it is just part of living in Florida,” said Plowdrey. “And if another hurricane comes, which is inevitable at some point, we will process through, as a united center and university. Teamwork is key, and SLU has the best. Everyone takes care of one another. When you know you have a great team and support, there is no room for concern; you know the only path is to confidently push through strong. The only thing we have any control over is our emotions; I choose to keep mine positive and productive for the benefit of my own psychology and for those around me.”

Plowdrey also talked about ways that the Keys were able rebound from the effects of the hurricane, and she mentioned what the Center plans to do to help its community as well.

“I must say, the National Guard, the Navy, and FEMA have done wondrously in supporting those in need as well as local organizations and ones that have come down from the mainland to help. Most of the garbage and debris has been picked up, so at this time it is about rebuilding. We also lost a lot of trees in our parks, in which we will be looking into donating some Saint Leo University trees to help with the regrowth and show our support in the community,” said Plowdrey.

It is evident that the Key West Center is getting settled after reopening and is able to support it students, faculty, staff and even its community.


History of Political Unrest in Venezuela

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According to an ongoing analysis by the BBC titled “Venezuelan Crisis: What is behind the turmoil?”, much of this crisis began in 1998 with the election of Hugo Chavez, a member and proponent of the “Bolivarian Revolution;” a left-wing populism social movement aimed at the implementation of popular democracy (a form of direct democracy), economic independence, revenue equality, and an end to political corruption once and for all. Upon winning the election, Chavez began implementing revolutionary reforms in Venezuela, even going so far as to write a completely new constitution for the nation.

Chavez made it his mission to help the poor, and by exporting vast quantities of oil from Venezuela’s rich oil fields, he was able to implement radical social programs that elevated even the lowest people of Venezuelan society. Venezuelan society soared to great heights during the Chavez era due to high oil prices, but the nation’s dependence on oil and using those exports as a basis for the nation’s progressive social programs is ultimately not smart once oil prices drop.

Although this sounds great, the opposition to these radical reforms, who were largely the more conservative elements of the Venezuelan government, launched an unsuccessful coup d’état in early 2002 and sparked a massive national strike from late 2002 to 2003. These setbacks to Chavez’s government saw that the conservative “old guard” of Venezuelan society was not at all accepting of this Bolivarian Revolution and would do anything to see Chavez and his socialist party ousted. These clashes between conservatives and Bolivarian radicals would later plant the seeds for future conflict. In early 2013, Chavez passed away after losing his fight to cancer, and thus the subsequent 2013 presidential election became the first election since 1998 that Chavez’s name did not appear on the ballot.

Despite Chavez’s reforms, much of the country was plunged further into poverty by the late 2000’s and into the early 2010’s, putting Chavez’s party in a less favorable light to Venezuelan voters. Despite this, the party of Chavez, called the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (or USPV), barely won the elections of 2013 with a vote total of 50.61%, resulting in the opposition parties demanding a recount. According to journalists present in Venezuela during the heated political climate, The Guardian reported that the Democratic Unity Roundtable Party even accused the USPV of fraud and that they were in direct violation of the constitution. Sometime later, the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled that the election was valid and that the new president Nicolas Maduro was the republic’s new leader.

Crisis in Venezuela

For more than four years, the oil-rich Latin American country of Venezuela has experienced a significant turn for the worse both politically and economically, sending millions of native Venezuelans into poverty and sparking outrage and protest across the country. Thousands now flee the country to seek a better life for themselves elsewhere, while others cross the border into Colombia to purchase food and water because none can be found locally.

“The current situation includes shortages of food and medicines, the world’s highest criminal rate, dreadful sanitary conditions, constant violation of human rights, numerous corruption scandals, political prisoners, and inflation,” said Laura Perez, a junior from Venezuela.

Perez left Venezuela in 2014 to study in the United States, and this was around the time in Venezuela when the prices were shooting up, safety issues were arising, and the food shortages was starting, according to Perez. Also, Perez’s entire family also currently resides in Venezuela, and she traveled back to Venezuela during this past summer in the heart of the crisis.

“My experience in the midst of the crisis was awful. It was difficult for me to adapt to all the restrictions that everyone must accomplish to be safe in my country. The insecurity problem is worse than ever and I was so stressed out trying to be aware of everything happening in my surroundings. At the same, it was shocking to see how the food and medicine shortage have increased. It is a horrible situation that includes deplorable human conditions.”

These problems and social issues appear to stem from the political unrest in the country, which seems to have started with the election of Hugo Chavez then carried through with the most recent incident of Chavez’s party, United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which was speculated to be rigged. Nevertheless, this election was later ruled valid by the Supreme Court of Venezuela. However, in Venezuela, this is not a matter for the Supreme Court to decide, but rather the National Assembly of Venezuela, the equivalent to United States’ own Congress.

The Venezuelan National Assembly has been hard at work in an attempt to stop Venezuela’s decline as well, passing numerous bills and proposing multiple solutions to Maduro. However, Maduro, along with his Supreme Court, continue to overturn the Assembly’s laws and solutions, ruling them unconstitutional. Human rights groups around the world, along with the Venezuelan National Assembly itself, have since denounced Maduro as a dictator, who is abusing his power and disregarding the rule of law to enforce his rule over Venezuela. Maduro has also called for the National Assembly to be dissolved, sparking outrage amongst the 14 million Venezuelans who voted in favor of the Assembly in the elections of Dec. of 2015. As a result, thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets in protest.

“The reasons behind the protest are numerous, but the primary reason why the protest started was the government’s announcement informing that they would dissolve Venezuela National Assembly. I believe that this announcement was the last thing that Venezuelans could support. The elimination of the National Assembly meant the end of democracy. This dissolution was the only independent institution acting against Nicolas Maduro regime,” said Perez. “The government decided to disrespect the people’s decision and just dissolve the organization.”

Because of the above actions, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets again in mass protest during the summer of 2016. Hundreds if not thousands have died as a result of the Bolivarian backlash to the protests, leading to even more violence and animosity between the two sides, according to Business Insider and the Wall Street Journal.

President Maduro, in an attempt to appease his people, set forth several economic and social executive orders from 2013 to 2015, but only managed to make the situation worse. The global fall in oil prices is considered to be the primary cause of such drastic economic disaster, as the Venezuelan economy depends upon it almost exclusively, however, Maduro’s reforms didn’t help any either.

“In my opinion, Nicolas Maduro does not have any criteria; all the policies that he has been implementing in Venezuela are influenced by Cuba’s government. I think that his Bolivarian ideals do not work at all. These ideals are just trying to expand the communism in the region,” said Perez.

Perez also commented on what she deems is the root cause of the issues faced by Venezuelans and she offered a solution.

“In my opinion, the corruption is the major cause of the issues faced by Venezuela. The only solution to all the previously mentioned problems is the exit of Nicolas Maduro from power,” said Perez. “He is not prepared to the responsibility he has. All the socialist practices that have been implemented by the government does not work for people, and that is why the situation gets worse with the passage of the time.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Venezuelan currency has since been downgraded, and the inflation rate has exceeded 100%. Basic commodities, such as bread, cereal products, eggs, milk, and other foodstuffs, are in short supply, and the food that is available is too expensive to purchase for the average Venezuelan. According to reporters at CNN, in an effort to stifle the shortages and rising costs, Maduro enacted an executive order that declared Venezuela to be in a state of national emergency, as well as including a provision that forces the nation’s citizens to work in agricultural fields for a period of 60 days.

“Even though both of my parents are professionals and work every day it is difficult for them to buy food and medicines. It is so expensive to find first necessity items, and when you finally find them, the prices are incredibly high,” said Perez. “For example, Venezuela’s minimum wage is equivalent to $12.53. Someone that is paid that amount has enough to buy 2 liters of milk, and they would have no more money for the rest of the month.”

Sadly, thousands of others are resigned to eating scraps by following garbage trucks throughout their city, taking anything that is edible and consuming trash just to survive. In fact, according to the newspaper “Diaro Las Americas,” a prominent Spanish newspaper for the Hispanic community worldwide, more than 15 percent of all Venezuelans eat garbage on a daily basis, mostly discarded from richer communities and commercial establishments such as restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting facilities.

“I have seen people who survive this way,” said Perez. “When I went to Venezuela in May, I realized that every time I was around the city, I saw two or three people eating from the garbage.  It was incredible hard for me to see how the government policies and ideals of communism has driven people into extreme poverty and hunger.”

Also, there are issues in the prison system as well. In late 2016, according to Fox News Latino, more than 40 inmates were murdered, dismembered, and consumed by the other inmates of a prison after government officials were forced to abandon state-run prison facilities. More than 200 prison riots broke out across Venezuela, leading to the breakout of thousands of convicts throughout the country, also according to the same source.

Clearly, Venezuela is in the midst of a catastrophic crisis that has seemingly no end in sight. Protests across the nation continue as Maduro attempts to hold onto his authoritative regime, stifling efforts for meaningful and comprehensive reform. In his neglectful wake, millions of Venezuelans suffer as they lack the necessities to survive. Only time and patience will tell if the people of Venezuela and the national community at large will continue to allow this state of affairs to continue much longer, or if the situation continues to degrade further under an inept and corrupt ruler.

The Criminalistics of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

by Cassidy Whitaker
Credit: @CassidyWhitaker

By Ilouisa Lourdes Salazar & Travis Farmer

On the night of Oct. 1 at 10:08 p.m., tragic struck Las Vegas, Nevada. A man identified as Stephen Paddock opened fire, using an automatic weapon on a crowd of concert goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

With over 500 people injured and over 50 killed, the event became known as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

As of Oct. 3, the motive of the suspect is currently unknown but remains under investigation.

Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dr. Joseph Cillo stated that Paddock “fits the criteria for a mass killer.” Cillo said, “he may have been acting out of imagined insult and/or injury,” further questioning whether Paddock was aware of his reasons. “We may never know.” “Impulse is a possibility,” continued Cillo.

Many motives are possible, when dealing with mass murderers. For example, Timothy McVeigh was the person behind the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, killing 168 people. McVeigh’s motivations comprised of his anger toward the government and for the injustice he saw in both the Waco and Ruby Ridge events.

A mass killer, or mass murderer, is different from a serial killer. According to Cillo, mass murderers tend to kill for different reasons. In addition mass murderers do not usually exhibit signs in early childhood years; whereas serial killers do. Another factor that differs between the types, is that of a numerical one. In order to be considered a mass murderer someone has to kill four or more victims at one time, while serial killers have to murder at three separate occasions taking place over a month in order to be considered a serial killer by the FBI, according to Cillo.

“Most killers fall into three categories: sociological, biological, and psychological,” explained Cillo. It was discovered that the father of the suspect, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, had a criminal background. He was a bank robber and was on the FBI’s most wanted list for eight years, and subsquently spent time in prison. The fact that both the father and the son were involved in criminal activities suggests that a genetic link may be possible, but ultimately not probable.

The gun control laws in Nevada may be up for questioning and review now. According to the case McDonald V. Chicago (2010), the right to bear arms is an essential concept of self-defense. In this Supreme Court case, Justice Alito wrote that self-defense is “at the core” of the 2nd  Amendment. This opinion set legal precedent that the 2nd Amendment is truly based around self-defense.

Cillo emphasized that protection against gun violence and another shooting incident such as this one is challenging to put into place since Paddock was located in an entirely different area than the concert. There is a balance between violating an individual’s rights and protecting people from future situations such as this one.

This shooting has also reinvigorated the debate on how the media covers mass shooters. Cillo explained that some pundits and experts have argued that the way the media covers mass shooters may “put their name in lights”, paving the way for copycats. However, Cillo is not convinced. “Copy Cats will exist regardless of coverage,” he stated.

The release of video footage from citizens who attended the concert serves to educate the public on the matter at hand. According to Cillo, when people become “aware of the threat,” the media will start to become less critical of law enforcement.

When people become aware of the threat, they can understand that society is violent and that acts like this will continue to happen among different age groups.

Professor of criminalistics and retired FBI agent Charlotte Braziel informed that now that the FBI has ruled out terrorism, they will not be taking the case. However, since it is so large, “They will be assisting the police department with victims, advocates, and crime scene investigators,” stated Braziel. Braziel served in the FBI for 26 years.

The flags on University Campus will fly at half-mast until sunset on Oct 6. Additionally, the University is working on having a blood drive on campus to receive donations.

When a tragedy as sudden and senseless as this occurs, all that is left in its wake are the thoughts of how could this be prevented in the future.

Criminal experts such as Cillo and Braziel are vital voices in helping to understand how events such as this can happen.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Red Cross have set up a hotline at (866) 535-5654 for people still attempting to contact loved ones that may have been at the concert.

When people become aware of the threat, they can understand that society is violent and that acts like this will continue to happen among different age groups.

Since the F.B.I has ruled out terrorism, they will not be taking the case according to Charlotte Braziel, professor of criminalistics and a retired F.B.I agent. However, since the number killed is so large they will help. [The F.B.I] will be assisting investigators, victims and advocates. Flags on University Campus will fly at half-mast until sunset on Oct 6. Additionally, the University is working on having a blood drive on campus to receive donations.

When a tragedy as sudden and senseless as this occurs, all that is left in its wake are the thoughts of how could this be prevented in the future.

Criminal experts such as Cillo and Braziel are vital voices in helping to understand how events such as this can happen.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Red Cross have set up a hotline at (866) 535-5654 for people still attempting to contact loved ones that may have been at the concert.

Emotional Support Animal Acceptance


Emotional Support Animals (ESA) have been seen as substitute service animals in the past but have recently gained more acceptance.  This acceptance has been growing since studies have shown that pets help their owners with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

According to Carrington College’s student blog, all kinds of pets help their owners battle depression and anxiety, helping distract from the negative thoughts caused by the mental health problems. As a result of the constant care and attention, the pet needs, the ESA allows the owners to feel needed and divert attention to the matters in the present. Carrington College also mentioned that “The researchers found that companion animals not only boost self-esteem, but also provide empathy, initiate social encounters, and serve as a substitute or additional family members.”

ESA’s can help reduce stress in people as well. It is becoming more common are taking their emotional support animals to college with them, since college can be a very stressful place. The Daily Campus states that ESAs can impact the performance of students, especially ones who have specific conditions. ESAs can help students to relax when stressed about school work. The Daily Campus also mentions that ESAs help students succeed in their daily life on campus, just as much as a service animal would.

In an article from the student newspaper of Northern Kentucky University, The Northerner, a student named Courtney Castle had her dog certified as an ESA; and it helped her battle her social anxiety by forcing her into social situations because of her pet, Oliver, attracted attention to her.

The Northerner also mentions that owners of ESA’s need a letter from a psychologist that states that the owner would benefit having their pet as an ESA. However, some believe that pets should not be able to become certified due to privileges that the ESA’s give. Skeptics believe that people who certify their animal as an ESA, are scamming the system so they can take their pet with them to certain places, such as living with them on campus. Castle, though, believes that if properly certified, ESAs can be beneficial to people dealing with mental health issues.

Also, there is controversy over whether ESA’s should be allowed on campuses. According to a news publication, ESA Doctor, campuses are obligated to allow them under the Fair Housing Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1947. This act says that the ESA provides the owner with therapy through affection/companionship. ESA Doctor also specified that even though the support animal doesn’t need any special training like a service animal, the owner does need to show that having their ESA has been helpful with their condition in which they have their ESA. The condition can be mental or physical, limiting the person’s everyday life.

Saint Leo University openly allows ESAs for students who live on campus. Katheryn Krzyzanski, who works in Residence Life and is criminal justice major, states, “Yes, they are allowed on campus. I’m not positive if there are restrictions on what type of animals are allowed or not.”

Tiffany Nelson, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern for SLU, commented on ESA.

“Yes, absolutely they [ESAs] help. You have the bond between human and animals, which is powerful for anybody, but it can be especially helpful for people dealing with different mental health issues. Especially here, I would say stress, anxiety or depression are some of the more common ones seen on campus.”

If someone is unable to get an ESA, Nelson also suggested that there are also alternatives to help combat one’s mental health problems.

“There are stress relievers that are unique for each person; like exercise has been shown to be just as effective or more effective than some antidepressant medication also spending time with people you care about so like friends or family members,” said Nelson. “Social connections and feeling connected is an amazing way to help deal with that kind of stuff. Your diet plays a part in it, just everyone is unique, and everyone has their own way they deal with stress, but finding what works for you can be really effective. For some people, it can be an emotional support animal, and for others it can be a range of other things.”

Although ESA’s can be helpful, the decision to bring them on campus should not be taken lightly. They have not had training unlike service animals, and are seen as “reasonable accommodations”, according to Study Break, independent online magazine. Study Break also mentions that ESA owners are responsible for damages that are caused by the animal, they have to clean up after the animal, and it is not allowed to keep the ESA in the dorm room all day without any playtime.

It is suggested that students take the time to consider all of their options when it comes to living on campus with an ESA. The owner responsibilities and possible consequences that come from bringing your ESA to live on campus. Even though colleges are obligated to allow ESA’s on campus for non-commuters, the student still must get the ESA authorized by their university.

Trump’s Ambitions for America

After a turbulent nine months in office, President Trump has made some drastic and ambitious decisions in his presidency. From issuing the controversial banning of Muslim immigrants from a set list of Muslim majority countries to the dissolution of DACA, Trump has made headway and encountered some roadblocks in achieving his campaign promises. Unfortunately for the public, and even Congress, for that matter, it is difficult to say what Trump currently wants to do or in what direction he wishes for America to be headed domestically.

Aside from the American Health Care bill and his staunch stance against immigration, little is known about what Trump’s plans are for the future. Seemingly, according to various political analysts such as those found at FiveThirtyEight, Politico, and the New York Times, Trump is determined to dismantle Obama’s legacy but has so far been unsuccessful. Mr. Frank Orlando, an instructor of political science, expressed concern over the lack of information that Trump is willing to share if he has any information to give at all regarding his plans.

“He would like that (to destroy Obama’s legacy) since DACA is something that he did. It’s very vague to know what he wants, however. Does anyone know?” said Dr. Orlando.

Orlando commented that Congress is confused as to what Trump would like to accomplish, leading to many Republicans voting against the party, especially in regards to the two attempts at passing the American Health Care Act, and the most recent attempt looking grim for the Republicans in favor as the votes simply aren’t there for passage in the Senate, that bill being the newly proposed Graham-Cassidy bill which aims to repeal Obamacare, similar in wording to the prior two attempts. Without partisan support going forward, Republicans may find themselves unable to accomplish much.

What this means for the nation is probably more violence and protest. As seen in Charlottesville just a month prior, white nationalist and anti-fascist groups continue to clash across the country violently as each side had their own opinion on which direction the nation should take.

“Alt-right groups probably feel emboldened (by Trump)” said Dr. Orlando. “But Antifa and the Alt-right help each other.”

In essence, Orlando claimed that as white nationalism rises, so does the anti-fascist groups, such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter. It isn’t a stretch to say without strong leadership from the executive branch as well as a definitive guiding policy from the top, protests will continue to persist and grow, and potentially escalate as time goes on.

What can be explored is changes Trump has expressed in his campaign, but do not have a definitive plan as of yet. For instance, the idea of bringing back coal mining and manufacturing as well as the larger industrial sector of the American job market. Bringing about more competition among businesses to lower prices on consumer goods. The plan to place a tariff on foreign goods, especially goods from China, to encourage spending on American goods and spur American manufacturing. All of these ideas appeal to Trump and his voter base, but currently, have not been acted upon at this time and do not have a plan to the knowledge of the public.

Another huge plan Trump aimed to accomplish was the construction of a wall, along the US-Mexican border to deter and keep out immigrants coming from Latin America. According to the Washington Post, the wall’s construction could cost upwards of $25 billion, most of which would have to be paid using taxpayer’s money as Mexico has objected continuously to the idea of themselves footing the bill. So far, no blueprints for said wall have been made, and no one has come forward regarding the dimensions of this wall, aside from Trump himself claiming it would be “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, and beautiful.”

Recently, Trump did, however, unveil his tax plan. This is a move coming after months of a president seeking to make a fundamental change to America’s domestic landscape. Trump has proposed a slash in the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent as an incentive for companies to stay in America versus sending their jobs overseas. Additionally, the president has proposed a new progressive tax plan, the rates being 12 (down from 15), 25 (down from 28), and 35 (down from 39.6) percent respectively from lowest income to highest, with a proposed additional surcharge added onto the wealthiest of Americans. Trump also proposes an effort to simplify the tax code so Americans can file their taxes on a single page.

This is a comprehensive tax cut, one that will plunge America, according to top government economists, $4.2 trillion more into debt. The new plan has members of Congress in support on both sides of the aisle, with more Republicans than Democrats criticizing the plan for its massive debt increase. However, it is projected that this plan will put much more money into the pockets of consumers, lowering the prices of consumer goods as well as giving Americans more money to spend overall.

Time will tell what other plans Trump aims to make. However, those plans may need to be put on hold as Robert Mueller’s investigation continues, the object of which is to figure out if there was any connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, specifically if Russia helped elect Donald Trump into office. Trump also has to worry about his constantly shifting staff as more and more cabinet members resign, meaning Trump and his close circle would have to find replacements for key positions in the executive branch, further postponing any plans Trump’s formulating with his advisors.