How You Can Stand up by Walking Out

By:Violet Covey

National High School Walkout Day—a protest against gun violence—is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 14. Gun control and gun violence have become fiery controversies ever since the fatal shooting and killing of 17 students and faculty (with an additional 14 injured) on February 14, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Because of this tragic event, Druid Hills High School, as well as many other schools across the country, staged an earlier walkout last Thursday, February 22. Students with signs in hand marched through the bus lane in front of the school, opposing America’s mild treatment of gun control, as well as demanding lawmakers to protect their people by taking this topic more seriously. After witnessing how easy it was for mentally ill Nikolas Cruz, 19, to obtain a gun, students like junior Riley Christian, feel more action needs to be taken in restricting who can and cannot own a gun. “The fact that a senior can buy an assault rifle is ridiculous… The sad thing is, no real change can happen in Congress or any federal level of government because half of the government is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association, and value money more than human lives.”

 

Instead of focusing solely on the issue of gun control, Druid Hills High School is having its own full day dedicated to activism on March 14. The goal of Druid Hills’s day of activism is to have all students’ voices heard. “…all of first period will be focused on open discussions about solutions dealing with what we can do as children of this nation to implement change and help our local politicians realize our stance on different issues,” said Lisa Medford, who is in charge of Druid Hills’ Walkout Day. Many students are on board with Walkout Day like Christian who said, “The gun control issue has been a thing for a very long time, and it really is a shame it has come to this for real change to be discussed… The walkouts and marches and protests are really having a great impact, and yet our president only offers ‘Teachers with Guns.’” Some students, such as Senior Trinity Burke, do not completely agree though. “The walkout seems like a good idea, but it may not have the intended effect. How will walking out influence what the government does to gun laws?” Burke said.

 

When I asked Medford how last Thursday’s walkout will be different from the walkout in March, she said, “Last week’s walkout was a little unorganized. The main difference is that we are taking part in the national walkout. We will be getting the entirety of our student and staff population. Then, at 10 o’clock, we are going to walk out together and have a few student speakers and hopefully some other outside speakers come together. It is going to be more official, more organized, and hopefully make more of an impact.” According to Medford, Walkout Day will begin with “discussions regarding the second amendment versus safety, ethics, and moral dilemmas,” during first period, followed by an actual walkout starting at 10 o’clock for all students wishing to participate. Finally, after that, “we will get the opportunity for our seniors and those old enough to register to vote so that we can enable change.”

 

The walkout, in addition, is geared toward President Donald Trump, who is, unfortunately, very influential in our lawmaking. On February 22, Trump said on Twitter, “….immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!” in an attempt to better combat gun violence. Lisa Medford further spoke on Trump’s statement saying, “[Trump’s] tweet about arming teachers as a resolution to this issue, I find, is terrifying. [Trump] making [his views] public is not something I agree with and something that I find as us going in the right direction if local politicians also view that as an answer.” The types of statements made by President Donald Trump and many of our other leading political figures undoubtedly centralize the lack of common sense utilized when making controversial yet significant decisions for an entire nation.

 

When dealing with gun control laws, it is important to remember that although school shootings are a problem, general gun violence is a much greater issue facing the US that is seldom discussed. It is not until a calamitous event like the Columbine High School massacre or the Orlando nightclub shooting takes place. We can not and should not wait for an instance of gun violence in order to address it. If we have learned anything from prohibition, it is that outright banning guns will not prevent gun violence. Outlawing all guns is not the answer but neither are our current gun laws.

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Keep your health in check this flu season

Keiko Smythe, Staff

The winter of 2017 leading into 2018 has been one of the worst flu seasons in nearly a decade. The flu is a common viral infection that can every so often, be deadly. The flu season usually occurs in the winter months and can easily be spread with something just as simple as a physical interaction with the infectee. The flu is easy to contact but very difficult to dispel. The symptoms of the flu virus include muscle pain, dehydration, coughs, chills, fatigue, loss of appetite, sweating and overall discomfort. Just like there is no cure for the common cold there is also no cure for the common flu. The flu vaccination is supposed to keep you flu prone during the flu season, however there are various side effects and complications behind this “treatment.” In fact, there are many other and much more healthier ways to keep your immune system strong this flu season!

  • Flu Shot Complications?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after the vaccination process which cause these antibodies to provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. On the other hand, if your immune system is low and/or out of balance when the virus is introduced into your body with the vaccination, it could result to health consequences. Effects of the flu shot are nausea, headaches and muscle aches which makes plenty of parents and potential clients skeptical. There are studies that show that the vaccination doesn’t even work. The Center for Disease Control said that much of this year’s seasonal flu vaccine doesn’t match the projected resource that’s in the flu shots now and that it’s just too late to change it. However, while admitting there’s a great percentage that this year’s flu shot will not work, the CDC recommends to keep giving the shots to those willing and to take a chance anyways.

  • Easy Prevention Tactics

It’s easy to prevent viruses and sickness to protect your immune system during the flu season. In the winter, viruses are very active, so it is very important to keep yourself healthy and your immune system healthy. Ways to prevent the spread of the flu is to avoid close contact with someone who is infected and if you do, try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth afterwards and wash your hands immediately with antibacterial soap. Another way is to simply stay at home when have become infected, since it is the easiest way to prevent others from catching the virus.

So why is the flu so deadly this year? The lack of vaccine effectiveness and decrease in prevention results in more total infections. This leads leads into more hospitalization which is the main reason the flu is increasingly contagious this flu season. There are a plethora of reasons for the outbreak, but if we keep our bodies clean, our immune systems thriving and use these helpful tactics to prevent the spread of the flu, the number of infected will decrease.

Donald ends DACA: What does this mean?

Voilet Covey, Staff

DACA stands for the 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy, but I like to think it stands for “Don’t Antagonize Colored Americans.” Over 800,000 immigrants have been protected by the policy that former President Barack Obama endorsed during his administration. This policy applies to those born outside of the United States but who illegally entered the country as minors in circumstances beyond their control.

DACA offers qualifying immigrants work permits and protection against deportation. However, at a campaign event, President Trump said,“We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.” With DACA no longer accepting new applications as of September 5, 2017, once immune immigrants are now threatened by losing their protection under DACA unless Congress plans to support DACA by March 5, 2018.

The end of DACA would indicate a complete and sudden 180-degree change from what America used to stand for. Ending DACA would mean displacing hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. Democrats, as well as immigration advocates, have pushed hard to keep DACA while receiving resistance from Republicans and now with zero compromise from President Trump who said on Twitter, “ Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a waste of time.” Initially, Trump stated that he would agree to a bipartisanship, but recently, Trump stated that he refuses to compromise with Democrats about DACA unless funding for the proposed wall is approved. From the beginning of Trump’s candidacy we have seen that he advocated for stronger border control and seems to have a xenophobic view of most non-white immigrants.

Personally, I do not fall under DACA, but I am still an immigrant, having entered the United States at eight-months-old from China. Because of this, I cannot help but sympathize with parents and families wanting to give their children an easier, happier life, just as my parents did. Isn’t that why Europeans began to settle here? Should we not extend the same hospitality to the “new” discriminated immigrants simply because they hail from Syria rather than from Norway? We cannot overlook the fact that President Donald Trump’s grandparents, mother, and two of his three wives were born in Europe. Trump, though, has always been upfront about how he feels about immigration. He has always been blunt. One such example is when he said—referring to Haiti and Africa—“Why do we want all these people from sh*thole countries coming here?” at a January 12 Oval Office meeting. Trump even said, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.” Trump later claimed via Twitter, “Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by [Democrats]”. Surely even extreme conservatives cannot condone such hate speech. As inhabitants of such a rich and diverse country, we should and must have higher standards for the politicians we elect to represent us as a people.

Druid Hills is filled with students from every background. It seems that we seldom think about the different backgrounds surrounding us because we have grown up alongside them. Being exposed to different cultures, religions, and languages makes us a more compassionate society. By stripping both documented and undocumented immigrants of the society and culture they have grown up around, Trump’s is “making America white again.” Fortunately, the society of The United States is far too advanced for Trump’s goal to ever become a reality.

The main problem is not simply that Trump has killed the DACA project but that he has so little concern about what will happen to those who are covered by DACA. Instead, what Trump needs to do is file an act that will protect people already in the United States because of DACA. Should Trump come through with a plan similar to this rather than casting aside immigrants, he may see more cooperation from Democrats whom he claims to be too stubborn and unsupportive.

Former president Barack Obama said it best: “My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”

Blowing off steam with Adopt-A-Stream

Violet Covey, Staff

After last year’s lead contamination of the school’s water fountains, the regular testing of water has proven to be vital. Not only do we rely on these water sources, but so do entire ecosystems. Colette McCarty, Environmental Club Captain and leader of Druid Hill’s Adopt-A-Stream organization, heads a of group of three other devoted students— Huytom Nguyen, James Shirk, and Patrick Welter— to help chemically measure our local stream’s health. “[Adopt-A-Stream] really has provided a great experience to everybody involved by learning how to work with other people efficiently as well as helping the environment at the same time,” Shirk said. McCarty has been an active participant in Adopt-A-Stream for three years while Welter previously participated in his sophomore year. Now, as a senior, McCarty leads Druid Hill’s 2017-2018 Adopt-A-Stream crew.

Adopt-A-Stream is a volunteer organization dedicated to monitoring water quality  all over parts of the southeastern United States— with one active site in Mexico as well.  These people pledge to monitoring different streams, lakes, and rivers all around North America. Adopt-A-Stream keeps bodies of water healthy and clean thanks to the thousands of enthusiastic volunteers they receive every year.

Once every month, the Druid Hills “stream team” takes it upon themselves to collect data comprised of pH levels and dissolved oxygen levels from the Peavine Creek. These meetings can last as long as 90 minutes— including the 15-minute walk from the school to the creek.

Once the group has recorded their data, they immediately submit their findings to the Adopt-A-Stream’s government database. This data indicates to water specialists if the water’s quality is or is not in check. “A normal range of pH in water systems can be anywhere from 6.5-8.5.” McCarty said. Data collected within the past few months shows the average pH of Peavine Creek to be around 6.5-7, while the recent data of dissolved oxygen shows it to be 1.4-2.75 ppm. “It is important to know that levels below 2 ppm will not support fish or any other marine life. There are many different environmental factors that can lead to a change in dissolved oxygen, such as rain water or autumn leaves falling into the stream. These factors can help increase the oxygen levels,” McCarty said.

“There are lots of characteristics of water that are used to indicate the quality of water in our streams. Some of these indicators are characterized by pH, dissolved oxygen, water and air temperature, as well as the turbidity in a body of water,” McCarty said. Chemicals such as alkaline potassium iodide azide, manganous sulfate solution, sulfuric acid, starch indicator solution, and sodium thiosulfate (0.025N) are used to conduct chemical monitoring tests. Although these chemicals can be extremely dangerous if handled improperly, McCarty ensures that the “stream team” follows all of the precautions necessary to protect everybody while collecting their data.

In keeping with their Environmental Club affiliates, Adopt-A-Stream not only tests water, but they also clean up and recycle the waste they find around the bank in order to keep the surrounding area clean. “A group of three can divide up the stream testing evenly. So, if we have four volunteers, I take the opportunity to clean up litter near the stream,” Welter said.

The current problem facing McCarty is finding somebody to take over the next school year’s Adopt-A-Stream. Because all of the students who participate in Adopt-A-Stream are seniors, there is no one yet assigned to continue Adopt-A-Stream next school year. McCarty urges every student interested in the science field to take part in this fun, fulfilling, and beneficial environmental project. “Adopt-A-Stream in general is very rewarding. Usually, it’s a small walk to the nearby creek to test the water and the surrounding area. My favorite thing to do is to test the dissolved oxygen with the various dangerous chemicals,” said Nguyen, who has been an active member of Adopt-A-Stream for three years. In fact, many of the current Adopt-A-Stream volunteers began as sophomores after being introduced to the organization in Ms. Brown’s chemistry class.

Adopt-A-Stream is a great opportunity for environmental activists to undertake, whether they are members of Environmental Club or not. “I want Adopt-A-Stream to be a welcoming environment for any and all students interested,” McCarty said. She welcomes all interested underclassmen to speak to her or Ms. Montooth before certification, which begins on February 9th. The current “stream-team” guarantees Adopt-A-Stream will be an interactive and enjoyable experience for anyone interested in “taking a dive” into the opportunity.

3 reasons to revisit the Justice League animated series before the movie

Khalil Shipman, Staff

Since its 1960 comic book debut, DC Comics’ The Justice League has been bringing together the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (even serving as the kick in the caboose that got DC rival Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee to create the Fantastic Four and the Avengers).  For post-millennials, “Justice League” and its follow up animated series, “Justice League Unlimited” (2004-2006) were the stepping stones into the world of capes, secret identities, and out of this world abilities (impeccable voice-acting among them). Though the DC animated universe took a left turn after the show’s cancellation, it has served as the gold-standard for superpowered cinema ever since. In honor of the Spectacular Seven’s first big screen appearance due in theaters Nov.17, here are the three big things that made the 2001-2004 Cartoon Network “Justice League” animated series one of the most important for the newest generation.

  1. Thanks to Justice League, John Stewart became popular  

In DC Comics, the Green Lantern Corps is known to be a galaxy-wide recruitment force of what amounts to space-marines with an affinity for green and a vulnerability to yellow. However inexplicably, it wasn’t until 1971 that Earth’s green-lantern wasn’t just another white guy. Enter, DC Comics’ first African-American superhero, John Stewart! As the previous Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, was on earth getting a crash course in race relations. After an encounter where an older black man questioned Jordan about why he “worked for the blue skins,helped out the orange skins, and done considerable for the purple skins, but never

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 bothered with . . . the black skins” (Green Arrow/Green Lantern #87), Hal ran into Stewart for the first time. Jordan couldn’t handle his current assignment, so the Guardians of the Universe (small, big-headed, blue guys who made the lantern rings) chose John Stewart as his back-up. Jordan attempted to refuse Stewart’s acceptance into the corps, and the little blue people chided him for his bigoted stance on the matter. Insisting he wasn’t a racist, Jordan took Stewart on his first green lantern mission — to protect a racist senator running for president (Sure, Hal, we believe you’re not racist now). 

Sadly, due to poor writing and no love for the character, John Stewart was never the most popular Green Lantern, repeatedly failing to hold down his own solo comic book series. Consequently, when Stewart was the only lantern in the 2001 animated series “Justice League” with no mention of any of Earth’s other lanterns, some expected the worst, but were quickly proven wrong. Voice actor Phil Lamarr (voice of Static Shock, Samurai Jack, and Hermes from “Futurama”) gave life to Stewart’s authoritative attitude with a smooth, bassy, and instantly recognizable cadence, while the writing lended the character the depth he was missing in his initial comic book appearances. Stewart was also involved in a love triangle with Hawkgirl and Vixen which made him instantly popular with fans.  In the “Justice League Unlimited” series, the episodes “Starcrossed” (Parts 1-3), “Secret Origins” (Part.2), and “In The Blackest Night” showcase the absolute best of John Stewart.

Not only was this many 2000s kids’ first time seeing a black superhero, but it was also the first time a black character was treated as honest instead of a token or non-player in the plot. John Stewart was an integral part of the league and of the collective memory of the show as a whole. Now, when people ask if Green Lantern will appear in the new big screen “Justice League,” we fancast actors that look like Idris Elba or Tyrese Gibson, not Armie Hammer or Matt Damon.

  1. It introduced us to the writing of Dwayne McDuffie!

In 2003, a writer named Dwayne McDuffie joined the staff of the “Justice League” cartoon. His pairing with “Batman: The Animated Series” creator Bruce Timm, led to masterful, original storytelling. McDuffie was added to the writing staff when the show was unexpectedly greenlit for a third season, boastfully titled “Justice League Unlimited,” which expanded the League’s roster from seven founding members to dozens of heroes. McDuffie had absolutely no problem writing for all these different characters. He’d come to the series fresh off creating his “Static Shock” cartoon series and was a much wanted commodity.

McDuffie was an absolute revolutionary in the comic book community. Ten years prior, in 1993, Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan co-created Milestone Media,  a coalition of African-American artists and writers assembled to address underrepresented minorities in the comics industry. Milestone Comics went on to have some of the biggest industry impact of the last 20 years. McDuffie not only co-created Milestone, but he created the character of Static, later known by every 2000s kid as Static Shock. McDuffie wrote six volumes of Static, exploring Virgil Hawkins’ world as a black teenager growing up in a South Dakota ghetto with enough electrical prowess to power his whole city. The company also broke boundaries with Icon, their Black Superman, and lived up to McDuffie’s mission statement that:  “If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor. We knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn’t do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that’s wider than the world we’ve seen before.”

Though the comics company was eventually dissolved, its characters survived thanks to a publishing and distribution deal with DC. Static, Icon, and McDuffie’s Milestone menagerie live on in the DC animated universe and in comics as “Earth M” in the DC multiverse. But wait, there’s more! After the success of Justice League and Static, McDuffie went on to help create and write for “Ben 10”, “Teen Titans,” and “What’s New Scooby Doo,” along with a host of incredibly successful DC animated movies.

Regrettably, McDuffie passed away in 2011, the day before the release of his “All-Star Superman” animated movie, but his works live on in my DVD collection, in my heart, and certainly in the memories of the generation who grew up with his content. Before you see the new feature film “Justice League” starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher, make sure to check out McDuffie’s run on the Justice League of America comic issues 13 to 34 (2007-2009) and the rest of his extensive content gallery.

  1. It gave us the origins of the Teen Titans (2003-2006) voice cast

OK, this is my favorite fun fact from the “Justice League” cartoon and one that very few people know, but the voices of Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven originally tested their mettle as a teen supervillain team in the 48th and 49th episodes of Justice League (2001). In the second season episodes “Wild Cards” (Parts 1&2), the Joker (Mark Hamill) and Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin) buy air time on all TV stations to host a game-show in which the Justice League must disarm 23 joke bombs in Las Vegas to find the one real bomb. When Joker realizes that the combined powers of the League are more than enough to handle his plot, he sends in the Royal Flush Gang, a group of card based bandits, consisting of King (Scott Menville / Robin); Ten (Khary Payton / Cyborg); Jack (Greg Cipes / Beast Boy); Ace (Hynden Walch / Starfire); and Queen (Tara Strong / Raven). The episodes are some of the most intentionally funny, nail-biting, and perhaps the most emotionally packed of the series. Additionally, if you grew up watching “Teen Titans,” you’ll get a taste of how the voice cast bounces off of each other and how their voices evolved into the most recognizable ones in voice acting.

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From 2001 to 2006, over two series and 91 episodes, “Justice League” was a tour-de-force where each and every creator, writer, and voice actor brought their best to the table. It was an animated series that propelled its medium and genre to the forefront of its possibilities, capturing the hearts and minds of its viewers along the way. Though “Justice League United” was ultimately the book end of an amazing  animated legacy, it continues to serve as the high-water mark for those it has inspired. All good things must come to an end. Justice League and the DC Animated Universe, at least, ended with a roar.

As 2017 winds down, comic-book fans now find themselves plotting a course to the next nearest attraction, and “Justice League’s” November 17 live action big screen debut in theaters is circled in red with exclamation and question marks surrounding it.

Soccer Star Jamie Orson Sidesteps The Competition

Orson
Photo by Diana Luna

 Augie McQuaig, Staff

   Sophomore Jamie Orson is on the rise in his soccer career. Orson has played soccer since he was about 2 years old. “My dad says that I just picked flowers,” Orson said. He began playing soccer competitively with 8 year olds when he was 7. Until recently, Orson played other sports- like basketball. Orson started on the Druid Hills Middle School basketball team when he was in 8th grade.

     Last year, Orson tried out for the Atlanta United Academy, a team that feeds into the MLS professional team, and didn’t make it. Instead, he began playing with Georgia United, which is a club said to be as prestigious as Atlanta United. His team played Atlanta United three times and beat them twice. “We felt that, maybe we were better than the players that they had picked over us,” Orson said. Orson said that he and other players on Georgia United that didn’t make Atlanta United felt that they had proved themselves to the team who turned them down.  

     Playing Atlanta United three times ended up giving Orson a chance to show the Atlanta United coaches what they had missed out on. After his season with Georgia United ended, he was invited to try out for Atlanta United.

     This time, Orson made the team. Orson has grown close with his teammates and met Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons and founder/owner of Atlanta United. Orson believes that Blank, even being busy owning two major professional sports franchises, is very involved in all of the Academy level teams of Atlanta United.

     “Getting home late from practice on weeknights and spending all day at tournaments on weekends is worth it,” Orson said.  “The thing taking the biggest hit is definitely my sleep schedule,” Orson said.

     School is very important and the lack of sleep is making it hard to juggle all of his responsibilities. Orson believes that because of all of his activities, his time management skills have improved greatly.  

     Starting out in recreational soccer, Orson didn’t think much of his future in soccer. However, after seeing his teammates and friends leave his recreational league and go to bigger clubs, it made him think about it. This is what led him to playing on the U16 Atlanta United team.  

     Orson thinks that the position he plays, center back (CB), is one of the main factors in his success in soccer. “It is rare in soccer to be a left-footed center back, which is to my advantage and I am valued because of that,” Orson said. Atlanta United scouts and watches players every time they are on the field.

     Andrew Carleton, a 16-year-old, was called up to the MLS team in Atlanta on a Homegrown Contract. A Homegrown Contract gives an MLS team the ability to call-up players to the professional team from their developmental teams.  This is a possibility for any player at Atlanta United, including Orson. “Andrew Carleton is something else,” Orson said. Orson said he thinks Carleton has had the advantage of  being home-schooled, which has given him more time to train.

     Atlanta United doesn’t allow their players to play any other sports, including high school soccer, so don’t expect to see Orson on the playing field this Spring. “It’s frustrating that I can’t play for Coach Bodnar because I have grown close with him after playing for his middle school team for 3 years and the team is a lot more successful than they used to be,” Orson said.

     Orson plans to graduate and continue playing soccer in college.

How to survive nuclear war

Fallout Boy.jpg

Vincent Mincey & Kenneth Franklin, Staff

https://soundcloud.com/spotlight-druid-hills-the-spotlight/how-to-survive-nuclear-war
As you’ve probably heard, America has been locked in an intense war of words with North Korea. When I say America, I mean our President, Donald Trump; a war with North Korea would bring much more terror than this country has ever seen. If war is soon declared and you find yourself in an uncomfortable position, we at the Spotlight Newspaper want to make sure that you are informed and ready to deal with whatever Don-, I mean North Korea throws at us.

  1. Build a bunker in your backyard, or anywhere that you can reach in a timely fashion.
  2. Practice post-bomb survival by playing Fallout: New Vegas.
  3. Emigrate to another country before it’s too late.
  4. Slowly subject yourself to radiation with the hopes that the bomb won’t kill you.
  5. Buy that one thing your parents told you was a waste of money.
  6. Run?
  7. Hide inside of a refrigerator.
  8. Buy an “I love North Korea” shirt and refute your citizenship status.
  9. Hide under Trump’s ego.
  10. Use Dennis Rodman as a human shield.
  11. Draw a safety circle around yourself.
  12. Pray really hard.