Continuity and Change during 1997-2015

From 1997-2015,  America has been challenged culturally, economically, politically, and socially; while managing to stay the same seemingly free and patriotic country.

Document A

Heaven's Gate Cult mass suicide

"Mass suicide involved sedatives, vodka and careful planning

Coroner: 'It seemed to be a group decision'

March 27, 1997

Web posted at: 7:55 p.m. EST

DEL MAR, California (CNN) -- The 39 cult members found dead in a hilltop mansion apparently died in a carefully orchestrated suicide that involved sedatives, vodka and plastic bags possibly used to suffocate, officials said Thursday.

The victims apparently believed they were going to meet a UFO hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet.

Police said they had gathered little information so far on the background of the group or its leaders, only that they operated a computer Web service called "Higher Source." The name of the cult is "Heaven's Gate," which also has a Web site on the Internet.

The mass suicide likely took place over three days and involved three groups, proceeding in a calm, ritualistic fashion. Some members apparently assisted others and then cleaned up, then went on to take their own dose of the fatal mixture, mixed with apple sauce or pudding.

The last two victims to die were found with plastic bags over their heads.

Lying on cots or mattresses with their arms at their sides, the victims each carried identification.

'It seemed to be a group decision," said Dr. Brian Blackbourne, San Diego County Medical Examiner, at a news conference Thursday. "There were different stages, suggesting it was planned. They all had IDs. The house was immaculate."

Blackbourne said 21 of the victims were women and 18 were men.

Initially all the victims had been identified as men, since deputies found all of the victims dressed alike in black suits with close-cropped hair, making it difficult to determine their sex.

Officials are now trying to notify victims' families and have withheld names until that process is completed.

"We're not talking about a drug-crazed, party-time situation ...The drugs were taken for a very specific purpose and that was to take their own lives."-- Jerry Lipscomb
San Diego Sheriff's Department

Authorities Thursday also showed video of the bloodless death scene at an afternoon news briefing. All the victims wore black pants and black Nike athletic shoes, their faces and chests covered with purple shrouds. Their bags had been packed neatly in the dormitory-type rooms. Those who wore glasses had them carefully placed at their side. In a pocket, most of the victims had a $5 bill and some quarters.

"They were at different stages of deterioration," Jerry Lipscomb of the San Diego Sheriff's Department told CNN. "That's the most pleasant way I can put that."

Lipscomb said officials were tipped off to the suicide after videotapes and a letter were sent to an ex-member of the group. No blood was found at the scene, and the only weapon in the house was a 9mm handgun packed in a suitcase.

Going to a better place

"What we're finding is that each and every one of the members of the organization, prior to their death, gave a brief statement... The essence of those statements were that they were going to a better place," Lipscomb said.

Most of the victims were in their 40s, but their ages ranged from 26 to 72, said Cmdr. Alan Fulmer, chief investigator in the case.

A check of driver licenses showed that 11 of the victims came from New Mexico, eight from Texas, four from both California and Colorado and three from Arizona, officials said. There were also victims from Washington, Ohio, Florida and Minnesota."

Historical Context: At this time, the U.S faces a lot of deaths of immensely famous people. There's the Paducah High School shooting of December 1997; The Flood on Red Valley River that swamped Minnesota; Biggie was shot; and even the clothing designer Versace was murdered. America was facing a very mournful year during this time.

Intended Audience: This article was written towards the American population. It was such a shocking event along with all of the other memorial deaths that had occurred.

Point of View: The author's point of view is seemingly shocking towards the mass suicide, and seemed to close out any other objections to other possible outcomes.

Purpose: The author undauntedly announced to all of America, how horrible this cult was and possible all other cults,  while simply informing them of details.

The Heaven's Gate Mass Suicide reflects the concept term Peopling. It shows the shift in cultural views from Christianity to aliens.  

Document B

September 11, 2001

Here's  the link to the actual video

Historical Context: The Bombing of The Twin Towers will forever be a major event in America's and Iraq's history be

Intended Audience: Worldwide population. This event was momentous.

Point of View: The somber heart of a patriot.

Purpose: To explain to the reason behind the tragedy; in almost as a debriefing of a traumatic event.

9/11 will forever be a melancholy date because of the tremendous effect it had on America and its people. After the attack, there was an increased amount in Patriotism that fueled Americans. Everyone wanted to fight back and for all the men and women that have fallen. 9/11 falls under the category of America and the World due to the extreme need for retaliation against the terrorists. This now memorial event illustrates the continuous and underlying patriotism citizens have for their country.

Document C

It's official: Recession since Dec. '07The National Bureau of Economic Research declares what most Americans already knew: the downturn has been going on for some time. By Chris Isidore, senior writerLast Updated: December 1, 2008: 5:40 PM ET

"NEW YORK ( -- The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, making official what most Americans have already believed about the state of the economy .

The NBER is a private group of leading economists charged with dating the start and end of economic downturns. It typically takes a long time after the start of a recession to declare its start because of the need to look at final readings of various economic measures.

The NBER said that the deterioration in the labor market throughout 2008 was one key reason why it decided to state that the recession began last year.

Employers have trimmed payrolls by 1.2 million jobs in the first 10 months of this year. On Friday, economists are predicting the government will report a loss of another 325,000 jobs for November.

The NBER also looks at real personal income, industrial production as well as wholesale and retail sales. All those measures reached a peak between November 2007 and June 2008, the NBER said.

In addition, the NBER also considers the gross domestic product, which is the reading most typically associated with a recession in the general public.

Many people erroneously believe that a recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of economic activity declining. That has yet to take place during this recession.

This downturn longer than most

The NBER did not give any reasons or causes of the recession. But it is widely accepted that the housing downturn, which started in 2006, is a primary cause of the broader economic malaise.

The fall of housing prices from peak levels reached earlier this decade cut deeply into home building and home purchases. This also caused a sharp rise in mortgage foreclosures, which in turn resulted in losses of hundreds of billions of dollars among the nation's leading banks and a tightening of credit.

The current recession is one of the longest downturns since the Great Depression of the 1930's.

The last two recessions (1990-1991 and 2001) lasted eight months each, and only two of the 10 previous post-Depression downturns lasted as long as a full year, according to the NBER.

In a statement, White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto said that even though the recession is now official, it is more important to focus on the steps being taken to fix the economy.

"The most important things we can do for the economy right now are to return the financial and credit markets to normal, and to continue to make progress in housing, and that's where we'll continue to focus," he said. "Addressing these areas will do the most right now to return the economy to growth and job creation."

President-elect Obama's transition team did not have an immediate comment on the recession announcement. But other top Democrats said this is further proof of the need for another economic stimulus package, which Obama has advocated.

"With rising costs of living, rising unemployment, record foreclosures and depleted savings, we must do more to help families make ends meet," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a statement. "With the cooperation of our Republican colleagues, we intend to send a plan to the White House as soon as possible following President-elect Obama's inauguration next month."

How long will it go?

Nonetheless, several economists said the real concern is that there is no end in sight for the downturn."

Historical Context: America was facing one of the worst recessions it has ever been in.

Intended Audience: The American population, they were going through it.

Point of view: That American's didn't have much to hope for a way to get out of a recession unless a miracle broke through. The only way to really see a change is after Obama is elected.

Purpose: To inform the people of the state of their economy.

This recession shows how one absentminded president could damage the country's economic growth. They, we could only hope for an end to it all with a better president in the future.

Document D

2009 Obama was elected the first Black President of the U.S

Historical Context: America was facing its first election where an African American politician was in the lead for winning the election. And he actually wins.

Intended Audience: Other country leaders are going to be watching or tuning into America's new leader to see what they are up against, so most people worldwide are advised.

Point of View: From a fellow American

Purpose: To commemorate an astonishing time in out history.

Obama's being elected for the first African American President shows the change in America's social views to drop the color of his skin for his strong ability to lead.

Document E

Oil platform explodes in Gulf of Mexico; 11 injured, 2 missing

By the CNN Wire Staff

Updated 5:01 PM ET, Fri November 16, 2012

  • About 28 gallons of fuel spilled, Coast Guard official says
  • 11 injured, including four critically
  • The platform is for production and not drilling, authorities say
  • The fire has been put out, the Houston-based firm in charge of the platform says

An explosion tore through an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, triggering a fire and injuring at least 11 people, authorities said.

Rescue planes and helicopters are searching for at least two crew members who are still missing.

The incident happened roughly 20 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana, on a platform used for production, not drilling. About 28 gallons of fuel spilled into the region, according to Coast Guard Response Division Chief Ed Cubanski. A half-mile oil sheen reportedly stretched near the area.

The 11 injured were airlifted off the platform, and nine additional crew members were safely evacuated off the platform, according to the Coast Guard. Four of the injured were taken to West Jefferson Medical Center in Louisiana where they were listed in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman told CNN. Once they stabilized, they were scheduled to be transferred to the Baton Rouge General Burn Center.

The fire has been extinguished, according to a spokesman for Black Elk Energy, the Houston-based firm in charge of the platform. Federal authorities are investigating what triggered the explosion.

The incident comes a day after the Justice Department announced that oil company BP would plead guilty to manslaughter charges stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The London-based oil giant BP has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in government penalties.

Working in the oil industry is a dangerous business. The fatality rate for oil and gas workers is 15.8 deaths per 100,000 employees, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's nearly five times the national average.

In 2011, there were 11 fatalities in the oil and gas industry, according to BLS.

Most of the deaths were accidental, and criminal charges are never filed. The manslaughter charges brought against BP and two of its employees Thursday were rare. Only a handful of all workplace deaths in the United States result in criminal cases, according to the union AFL-CIO."

Document F

2012 Trayvon Martin was shot

(listen to the first three)

Historical Context: There is  an increased amount  in hate crimes against Blacks and the police aren't opposed to do anything to stopping from happening again.

Intended Audience: The percentage of Americans that actually believe that there is something wrong with the wrongful deaths of African Americans.

Point of View: an Objective reporter

Purpose: to express the tragic death of a an innocent teenager.

Some things in America still remain the same with the hidden or underlying racism in our justice system.

Document G

March 22nd U.S and E.U poses sanctions on Russia

'WASHINGTON — The United States and Europe kicked off a joint effort on Tuesday intended to curb Russia’s long-term ability to develop new oil resources, taking aim at the Kremlin’s premier source of wealth and power in retaliation for its intervention in Ukraine.

In announcing coordinated sanctions, American and European leaders went beyond previous moves against banking and defense industries in an effort to curtail Russia’s access to Western technology as it seeks to tap new Arctic, deep sea and shale oil reserves. The goal was not to inhibit current oil production but to cloud Russia’s energy future.

The new strategy took direct aim at the economic foundation of Russia, which holds the largest combined oil and gas reserves in the world. The growth of the oil industry in the last two decades has powered Russia’s economic and geopolitical resurgence since the collapse of the Soviet Union and enriched allies of President Vladimir V. Putin. Russia pumps about 10.5 million barrels of oil a day, making it among the largest producers.'

Historical Context: America is finally understanding that they can't rely on middle Eastern countries anymore and they move up north. This falls under America and the World and our ability to compromise for greater things.

Document H

2015 Baltimore Riots

(citation down below has a video attached)

Historical Context: There is a lot of police brutality against Black's nationwide and people are retaliating against it. Some in more organized forms and others in rioting. The riots lasted for longer than 4 days. Baltimore is still trying to recuperate from the events.

Intended Audience: it is more of a antagonizing, kindle the fir type of article. It engages the average American in the feeling of abandonment and neglect. They also feel sorry for the outcome of Freddy Gray.

Point of View: America is coming to chaos and we should ashamed for these horrors.

Purpose: To reiterate the terrifying events that occurred in Baltimore after the people got tired of  'black people dying'. He wants to institute the reactiveness of the people to wrongful actions.

The Baltimore Riots shows the cultural separation that still occurs in America. It also shows how history does a 360 in comparison to the the 1960's or the education ages of America. However, instead of boycotting,  they riot in raging anger.


"Heaven’s Gate Cult Members Found Dead." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 05 June 2015.

"9/11 Attacks." History Channel, n.d. Web. 30 May 2015.

Isaidore, Chris. "It's Official: Recession since Dec. '07." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 01 Dec. 2008. Web. 06 June 2015

Baker, Peter, Alan Cowell, and James Kanter. "Coordinated Sanctions Aim at Russia’s Ability to Tap Its Oil Reserves." The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 July 2014. Web. 06 June 2015.

Belinger, Joshua. "Baltimore Riots: A Timeline -" CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 June 2015.

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