We are all Trayvon

“America, the land of the free and home of the brave,” should read; “America, the land of segregation and the home of the scared.”

America’s patriotism is something to be proud of. I see that and so does the rest of the world. The way in which America praises their armed forces, or the way in which the nation as a whole seems very devout in comparison to the rest of western civilization. We reside in a country where TV commercials touch people’s hearts by bringing the military home to their kids to promote Zillow, and we have dedicated tv stations where you can make donations to God. The dedication to the church, the pride for independence and the Star Spangled Banner flying in every direction, makes you realize that this country runs through the veins of most Americans. Independace day is celebrated by all is a BBQ fest filled with family and good times. The wafts of the chicken sizzling, and the sound of cracking the summer shandy are all things that make for a perfect 4th, except for some, the bang and crackles of fireworks, may not necessarily be fireworks. The amount of stories I hear from shop owners or people at work, the reason they came here was to better their families and give them a fair chance. You have to ask, how bad is it where you are from to come to a country where you are going to be ridiculed for the color of your skin or your religious beliefs. In many instances you will be bullied and made fun of, but you are ok with that. I truly believe that at one point in time it was the case that America signifies a better life, but the corruption and destruction that America has created through the forms of violence, money and segregation are all issues add to its demise. It’s not that perfect way of life any more. On my drive to work each day, I see a gigantic Stars and Stripes flag that used to fly high when I first moved here. I see that same flag flying at half mast more than full mast and that really sets the tone for this essay.

My fear of writing this isn’t offending people, in fact if you aren’t offended; than I don’t think this piece has done its justice for you, or touch you in the way it needs to. Things MUST change and I may not be able to change your mind on your views and I’m not even asking to. I’m asking that you taking my perspective and just sit for two minutes and think about what I’m writing. I’m writing this because I can’t stand seeing nothing done about passing the right laws and seeing the wrongs laws get passed. Why are we passing concealed gun laws easier than giving homeless people warmth and a roof over their heads? For the cost of a gun, you could feed the homeless for a long time, and before you get angered by my example, it’s exactly that, an example. Why are we passing the kinds of laws that aid in killing when we should be passing laws that aid in saving? Materialism and the bull shit that surrounds it benefit a very specific group of people, and there is no prize in guessing who wins.

Newsflash; America is not the greatest nation in the world. Many Americans do not see the rest of the world. Many Americans choose to arm themselves and place themselves in situation where they need guns. No. Many people in Syria do need guns. They need guns to prevent their families from getting killed or raped. They need guns to keep them breathing. We do not live in warzone. We do however share living in a country filled with conflict, it’s just our conflict is oppression of races and financial responsibility as oppose to worrying if we will survive the night. How can you say that arming yourselves is the right choice? I live in Illinois, the last state that didn’t have the concealed carry law, but don’t worry, you won’t be able to carry a gun on a bus, in a casino or in a stadium so I’m sure you will stay safe. It will just be the security watchmen who will be allowed to carry guns, security watchmen a lot like George Zimmerman.

Over the weekend of the 4th July, Chicago saw 72 shootings which resulted in 12 people dying. That’s 72 lives. I hope that that number resonates with you. Ask yourself how many members are in your family, or how many people are your close friends. Add them together and you will get a number that is probably close to that. Imagine a world without those people because they were killed by being shot by an assault rifle or a stray bullet that killed your baby when you were in a car (Johnylah Watkins).

Jonylah Watkins, shot five times. She was 6 months old.

Jonylah Watkins, shot five times. She was 6 months old. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

That number is 72 shot which, brings the number to over 200 killed for 2013 in Chicago, I want you to think about the death toll in Syria. 93,000 people dead up until the end of April (in which death toll numbers were slowing down in being reported) and that includes children. Innocence. I think that you have to ask yourself, is arming yourself in America a logical choice for protection of your home with a security system or a choice you’re making because everyone is doing it. If you killed a 17 year old boy, what would you do? For most I would assume your life would never be the same, for others I doubt they would even care, and before you know about it, the news outlets will have forgotten them like so many of notches that make up that number. They were a person, who lived and breathed and had a personality that is now missing from this planet.

When the devastating 9/11 attack occurred, the nation pulled together and rallied for a better country. When the New Town shootings happened, the nation buckled its belt and brought the nation together. In more recent events, the Boston bombings saw an entire nation come to a standstill.

July 13th 2013 will be a day that sits with many people as a day that the US legal system failed. For some it will mark the day that the legal system succeeded. Trayvon Martin’s name will ring and circulate for decades to come just as many names have before.

Trayvon Martin in Hoodie

Gone, but certainly not forgotten. (Photo courtesy of WikiPedia)

America has evolved from a nation of hope, to a nation in which we now fear. We are afraid to let our kids out and play, we are afraid of the color of our skin, we are afraid of the unexpected, so what can we live for? Minorities across the country will never be able to sit down and know a perfect world where someone in their life has not been affected by a crime that mirrors one like the Trayvon Martin case. The Trayvon Martin case deserves more than we are giving right now. A few demonstrations and people breaking windows isn’t enough. The march in Washington on August 24th isn’t enough. Raising money for Martins isn’t enough. You show me someone who can bring Trayvon Martin back and I will stop writing about the hard, cold facts that are needed to be read.

Some say this isn’t about race, some believe it is. This case has been made into a racial case for numerous reasons. The defense made it into a racial case, the news outlets nationwide made it into a racial case and many national organizations have taken it upon themselves to do so as well, but what everyone must remember is that this is the case of a 17 year old boy being killed wrongfully. America and its residents have made it into a racially aggravated case.

Rachel Jeantel. The last person that Trayvon spoke to. Scared.

Rachel Jeantel. The last person that Trayvon spoke to. Scared. (Photo courtesy of AP)

Rachel Jeantel was made to feel stupid and was belittled by Zimmerman’s defense. He turned not being able to understand her into an issue that he thought he was being subtle with. Slang language and this proves in his eyes that Trayvon and the company he kept were just common, black uneducated people. This annoyed me. She was the last person Trayvon martin spoke to. I’m not defending her actions of hiding her age, but just think. An 18 year old girl was the last person to speak to the person who is subject to one of America’s most controversial murder investigation. The responsibility that lies on her shoulders is huge and is daunting.

You know when people ask, “Where were you when the planes hit the towers” or “what were you doing when you heard about Diana.” For me, the Trayvon Martin Case verdict is one of those moments. The Martin family must be going through something that I can’t even begin to understand. When I was 17, I was causing harmless trouble and being a 17 year old, and yes I went through a phase of wearing hooodies and often wore my hood up. I didn’t do this to piss anyone off, I did this because I was a normal 17 year old doing what normal 17 year olds do. Living in England, my Friday night was usually spent trying to get someone to obtain booze for my friends and I and sitting in the park and drinking a warm bottle of generic Cider. Once the Cider had taken effect, we would usually run around causing havoc by moving road signs, or worst case scenario stealing a road works cone. The night would come to an end by having the local police officer give him the cone back and tell us to be on our way. Violence wasn’t even something to cross my mind and for many 17 years olds it wasn’t until George Zimmerman committed murder.

A very sobering notion that I have had to understand is the blatant desensitizing of murders and deaths, especially in minorities. Chicago, my home city now, has just adopted a new nick name of “Chi-Raq” and the first time I heard this I wasn’t surprised at all. In fact it was like someone telling me what they did that previous weekend, just another useless piece of information. Then it hits you like a bag of bricks to the face. My daily routine consists of waking up, checking my phone, reading new source on my phone, clicking my phone off and starting my day as if nothing has happened. When I read stories on my phone, the Chicago Tribune app is plastered with headlines that read “safer weekend in Chicago, 24 shot, and 14 died,” or something similar to this headline. This is a frightening fact that makes me ashamed of the factors that make people take other lives. I’m not here to write about who is to blame or the issues surrounding this. I’m explaining this because in this day and age it’s sad that I have become desensitized within the space of six years. Let me say it out loud for people who also suffer from being desensitized. GEORGE ZIMMERMAN MURDERED 17 YEAR OLD TRAYVON MARTIN. TRAYVON WILL NEVER SEE HIS 21ST BIRTHDAY, GRADUATE COLLEGE, WALK DOWN THE ISLE OR DO ANY NUMBER OF SPECIAL MOMENTS IN LIFE. I want you to realize what this countries legal system has made and in turn, what this world has lost through all the Trayvon Martins in the world.

Let’s look at the facts. When you go to trial, you want to have a fair trial based on the jury. Six jury members were selected. Six of them were women. Five of them were white. This is not a fair jury. From every stand point you may take. It just isn’t unfair from the race standpoint (remember, this isn’t just about race), it’s not fair based on demographic location, sex and other questions arise from this. Why were five white women chosen? I think that we have to be in agreement when noticing that there is a token minority inclusive in this trial.

Here are some other hard facts to swallow. George Zimmerman will vote for the next president. He will be able to assist in the decision of the person who runs the country just as every other non convicted criminal in America. Probably a lot like you. He is legally free to pick up his gun, the same gun he used when he squeezed the trigger that would end a 17 year olds life. George Zimmerman will need approximately $125,000 for the case which is inclusive of lawyer fees, court fees and so on. His campaign raised $250,000 and is still growing. He will keep the rest of that money. The hardest of all the facts. George Zimmerman will wake up and breathe, he will see his wife and family and experience the life moments that Trayvon won’t. He will try and put this to the back of his head and make a new life for himself. He will smile and he will laugh. He will celebrate the 4th of July and his own independence. He will see his 30th birthday. Trayvon won’t.

What makes this all so much worse isn’t the fact that Zimmerman’s ‘lawyer’ thought he was an extra from Second City with his knock knock jokes. It wasn’t the smug look that Zimmerman gave after the verdict was announced. It wasn’t even the interview with CNN in which Zimmerman expressed this was an “act of God”. It was the Martin family. The Martin family had to sit at the back of that court room, less than 25 feet away from the ‘man’ who is responsible for their 17 year old not being here anymore. February 26th 2012 marked 502 days since they lost their son. 1 year, 4 months and 16 days the Martin family who have had to live without Trayvon. They have patiently waited for justice to arrive and what they got delivered was a fuck you from America. A fuck you from the legal system and a fuck you from George Zimmerman, a man who from what I can tell, has no remorse. I invite you to look at his brothers Twitter (#rzimmermanjr) that rants on about freedom and right choices, whilst having pictures of him on news shows and taking fancy snaps with celebs. I invite you to read the comments left to Robert Zimmerman Jr. and not feel sick by the blatant disregard of Trayvon martin. As of May 24th George Zimmerman has raised over $250,000 in donations, and guess where that goes.

Zimmerman. Smug.

Zimmerman. Smug. (Photo courtesy of AP)

I recently went home to England and I was asked over and over again, “Phil, you changed, what happened, you’re cold.” I have to agree. I turn on the news daily and everyday a piece of me is chipped away and a cold heartless part of me is substituted. I’m cold because I have to be. I’m cold because every day we are losing good Americans, who don’t bear arms, who don’t walk around looking for fights. I turn on the TV and the latest reality show phenomenon is “The First 48, “a reality show that is based on murders. What do I see when I watch that show. Trayvon Martins everywhere. There is a Trayvon Martin not just in each city, but now in every sub division and neighborhood. There is a Trayvon every time you read the news. There is a Trayvon in every high school, and like so many others; I AM TRAYVON MARTIN.

Video courtesy of: A NEWMecca Movement Production, shot by John “JayDex” Ledbetter.

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For someone like myself, finding a good way to get inot the industry is hard and even frustrating. This story certainly helps with attempting to get your foot in the door.

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Updated August 1, 2017. But that doesn’t matter. The advice herein is immutable and unstoppable, like the law of gravity and Law & Order reruns. Maybe that’s why this post has been viewed 106,233 times.

NO WRITING ASSIGNMENT strikes fear into the cold, calloused heart of a college journalist quite like the resume does. Yet no assignment is so shoddily reported and so clumsily written.

Every spring semester for more than a decade, I’ve collected resumes from the staff at the student newspaper I advise – and I’ve taken them to local, state, and national media pros for a blistering critique. Every year, only a handful don’t suck.

Of course, the top reason for a crappy college resume is simply a lack of journalism experience. Too many j-school grads think they can land a media job with a diploma in one hand and some class assignments in the other…

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Power Doesn’t Always Mean Happiness

Five years ago I made the journey of 3940 miles across the world. Two of the worlds most powerful nations shadowed with the glaze of two very different perspectives. One for life and liberty, the other for tradition and heritage  Being able to make a transition between two countries isn’t as easy as first thought. Everyday i’m quizzed with the classic line of questioning, “oh my God, where is your accent from?” followed closely with inquisition of, “what do you find are the biggest differences?” Friends and family know that this is a pet peeve of mine, however it got me thinking. I need to stop answering these questions with answers that people want to hear and start really thinking about it. Why would I leave my friends and family for a country that on paper isn’t sitting well right now.

What I didn’t realize was that there was blatant segregation, overt racism and class division that will hold you back from doing anything. All I needed was someone to sit down with me and explain this to me before I moved. My naivety of the good old British values was a paper shield against what was to come when I moved to the U.S.

America and England’s relationship over the years has been closely associated with a family. America being the big brother, and England dragging it’s feet behind on a tight leash. Two great nations, and two nations that speak the same language, but two nations divided by great inequalities. I have found myself sucked into the classic “American Dream” which makes you want to achieve more and more, the problem is there is always a larger opressor that will hold you back from obtaining these goals, whether it’s ward bosses, the “rich” or the political machine, there is always someone who will hold you back. The question is how do we, as a nation over come that?

The Special Relationship, a 2012 film which depicts the Blair Clinton relationship. (photo courtesy of IMDB).

With movies like “The Special Relationship”, it makes you realize the crippling effect that the media has had on convincing the rest of the world and where their opinions should lie. CNN, NBC and The Chicago Tribune are all monopolies that control how we think and act. I’m not here to write a piece on Bin Laden, 9/11 or any of that. There are documentaries and conspiracy theories that we all have seen, but my issue is where is the truth to their opinions? Michael Moore’s passive agressive attitude towards the government and Wall Street moguls isn’t my taste but I see his point. Bill Maher’s constant agression towards the Republican party is informative yes, and I admire Maher for his well crafted arguments that leave me thinking, but why can’t we form our own opinions? Americans and the citizens of england have one thing in common. The media controls how we think, hell, i’m even using the media as my references for my pieces I write all the time.

My point to this opinionated piece is that I don’t like the division of the two nations and the cowardly actions of hiding behind the notion that “we are big nations and thats our protection. Wrong, as the most powerful nations surely our actions should be measured higher?  Two nations that are swarmed with their own economical problems which are peppered with the social and moral issues that continue to tear people apart. Racism, the recession, education. These are all examples of where we should be leading. Take a stroll around downtown Chicago and you see people of all races ad professions all swarming to the honey pit that is America. Equally, take a stroll around Trafalgar Square and you see similar examples. People are fleeing their countries to gain a better life, but all I see is hatred that surrounds this. America, a country built on immigrants forces hatred upon the social stance of the nation, and for what reason? To flex their biceps and say we are a country of perfect people?

A graph showing 23.1% poverty in children in the U.S

2nd in Child poverty, 25th in education ranked against 34 countries, and annual income for a family of four in the U.S is $23,021. FIgures like this scare me. I left England for a reason. I believed in the land of opportunty, and to a certain extent it lived up to it’s side of the agreement. I am a college graduate, and I would not of achieved this in England. However with $27K worth of debt for an undergraduate degree you have to ask, was it worth it?

Never in my life have I seen as many homeless people as I have than Chicago. Mothers clutching their children at the side of the streets in an attempt to get money for the next meal. Take a look at the table below, Then take a look again and think about the numbers that you’re seeing. The wealthy have no problem with raising money for their political parties, but the U.S, a nation that is largely unemployed and homeless washes their hands of that situation.

A breakdown of the money raised for the 2012 election. Photo courtesy of CNN.

Maybe it’s me, but just one of the many issues such as the homeless situation in the U.S bothers me. Lets try this for the next election, instead of fuelling up Air Force One and flying arond the country, or packing the tour bus with extravagant gifts try travelling in a hybrid car and the money that is saved, I don’t know, donate it maybe? It’s a start.

Syrian and Israeli Tensions Mount

With the escalation of the conflict between Syria and Israel, the tensions seem to be gaining more momentum each day. I’m sure that you have seen the stories circulating on the major news sites about the two nations taking the first steps into a continued war, but what’s it all about?

The two nations have been hashing it out for just over forty years now. The last few days have seen the tensions growing with Syria taking warning mortor hits against Israel and now Israel taking retaliation on Syria, the first shots fired for forty years.

Map of the Golan Heights location. (image courtesy of Getty)

You can read all about it and hear what newscasters are saying about it, but what is the truth and why are the two nations on the brink of war? Well it boils down to the conflict created in 1967 in which The Golan Heights were captured by Israel during the Middle East War. The problem for Syria is not just this conflict though. Syria is going through an ongoing civil war. Syria is split into two divisions. Those for President Bashar al-Assad and those who are rebelling against him. The U.S places Syria on it’s “list of state sponsors of terrorism” and this is where the civil war gets it’s fuel. Syria has a lot of characters that are deemed a threat to the rest of the world. This is also why the U.S is hesitant to step in. Isarael were brought into the situation to make sure the fighting does not spill over across the boarder. Lets hope their stance will stay strong and the fighting doesn’t cross the boarder.

Tanks Unloaded in Golan Heights. (Photo Courtesy of AFP/Getty)

Nov. 11, showed shots fired and this marks the first military move against the two nations. Syria aimed at Israeli rebels with warning shots. Israeli soldiers responded with a counter attack. The problem seems to be that Syria wants to engage further into a conflict, whilst the Israeli government released statements explaining they will remain cautious and will return fire with no hesitation. Israeli Defense Minister Enud Barak said “additional shelling into Israel from Syria will elicit a tougher response, exacting a higher price from Syria”. As of today, Israel shot upon Syrian tanks and this marks their stance. They will not be bullied into a war that doesn’t concern them. A civil war that has gotten out of hand.

The future does not seem bright for either nations, however it does seem that Syria’s strive for more power and control seems to be the problem with the conflict. The two nations are formally at war and boarder control is in place for both nations. I fear that although there has been bombing between the two, we are still in store for much more. This isn’t forty years ago when the conflict first came about. This is a day and age where technology wins wars. Drone attacks, air strikes and precision strikes. With weaponry like this some may argue this is better. No foot soldiers dying on the battle grounds, where others may argue that the casualty rates will be higher due to larger force at nature here.

I’m interested to see the next move by the U.S. With the last few days and the presidential election all wrapped up, what is the Presidents next move with this situation.

2012, Post Election

With all the post election discussions going on, it seems we cannot get away from it. Every time the television is switched on, or every time you click that Twitter app on your phone, there is no escaping it. What has struck me as something of an epidemic, is the racism that the President is experiencing from the ignorance of many people, not only in America but world wide. Racist tweets, racial slurs and other disgusting forms of uninformed opinions. In the words of Bill Maher, “White people vote for White people like it’s going out of fashion.” It’s true, but President Obama only got the White vote when running for the senate, against another Black candidate. My passion is politics, but more than that, watching the opinions of others. there is no place for me to start when describing peoples opinions, other than exactly that. They are opinions and not the gospel. That seems to be a condition we have forgotten. Everyone today realizes the heightened forms of election tools such as social media. All I have to do is type my user name and password for Facebook and Twitter and I see these political attacks and ideas that seem to have been formed from the bedroom of an adolescent teenager.

The disturbing part of the entire process of the election is the idea that the President has to put up with this blatant disregard for who he is, the most powerful man in the world. With huge issues like gay marriage, foreign policy and taxation being questioned, why is the focus on the idea of our President being Black? Four years on and we are still fighting a war that should of never started in the first place. He is the right man for the job and it’s a simple as that. He takes the attacks from people throughout the world and brushes them off, something i’m not sure the average person could do. Surely this helps assert that he is the right man for the job.

A map showing where the “racist” tweets in the U.S came from. (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Something that is very prevalent is the idea of the separation of “them” and “us” and by that I am referring to the division of parties. Republican and Democrats. This is what it boils down to. Everyone today believes they are up on politics because they follow Mitt Romney on Twitter. Wrong. That isn’t being up to date on politics, that is believing in hear say for the most part. Being up to date on politics is staying informed. Watching and reading opinions that don’t attribute to the propaganda that we are subject to. Journalism today is slanted, that part is clear. You watch Fox News for Republican updates and CNN for Democrat updates. Being that I graduated with a degree in Journalism and Political Science, I had my fair share in the classic discussion of which party is better, but the issue of which party is better is not as simple as us standing there getting into a heated discusion. It’s backing up your claims with non-biased informative information.

Racism, a very demanding issue in America, seems to be the fall back for most intellectuals arguments. With quotes from major movie stars such as Samuel L. Jackson, “yes, I voted for him because he is black” referring to President Barrack Obama on Bill Maher’s show. This worries me. As Samuel L. Jackson sat fairly quietly on the show, it became clear that all he was doing was agreeing with the opinions on the show. There is no fact checking from celebrities today, and these are the people we follow on Twitter.

How can we move forward, it’s 2012 and with racism still being aimed towards our President where do we go from here. Our President has done the best he can, he walked into a very difficult job. Would the same concerns and questions be raised if we had a white Mormon President. I think not. My opinion doesn’t matter and in the grand scheme of things it never will, but what about my children, and their children. It will matter then. I am lucky enough to see a man get elected into a position of power because he was the right man. I voted because I did my homework, I kept up to date on both sides, but with that I hated some of the things I saw online, on the television, and what bothers me even more that these are grown people asserting views that are ludicrous Donald Trump confronting our President was just disrespectful, Sarah Palin making racial slurs should have left me dumb founded, but I expected it, and that’s the sad part.

Watch the following video and make your own opinion on this rant.

Breivik, a true masacre story

The Anders case seems to be something forgotten right now in the US. For those who don’t know, Breivik committed a massacre in which seventy-seven people were murdered. Breivik right now is on trial for these murders and I have been trying my best to keep up with the trial stateside.

What caught my attention with this trial was the blatant disregard and chilling heartlessness that Breivik is expressing. Breivik started his trial with a smug arrogant smirk on his face, and his right hand raised with a fist made signifying his belief politically.

Photo credited to http://www.dw.de

The killings of last June was prompted by Norways movement to let Muslims into the country to gain refuge. Breivik being a Right-Wing extremeist took matters into his own hands and performed the killings to signify his disgust with this. Of course the court is not sympathetic to his beliefs and with the lack of empathy shown from Breivik there isn’t much that seems to scare him.

Yesterday was the sixth day of the trial and Breivik still holds his cold persona by not expressing any regret for the killings. He expressed that he would continue to do it again if the opportunity arrose. “I would carry out attacks again” he stated in court yesterday. Breivik believes and claims himself to be not guilty and claims that the victims were responsible for this. With the claim of insanity thrown out, Breivik believes that his killings were an act of self defense. With his claims as blunt as claiming his pride for attacks, his desensitized persona is distrubing. “the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack committed in Europe since the second world war”.

The court has seen some chilling recollections from Breivik over the last seven days and there is more to come over the next few days. If convicted 33-year-old Breivik would see twenty-one years in prison, which some argue isn’t enough.

Wicked Lasers S3 Arctic Review

So, a few weeks ago I finally pulled the trigger and placed my order for the Arctic S3. The wait time wasn’t long, only 2 weeks, and compared to some of the guys who have ordered theirs, they were waiting for months. This review is really aimed towards the newbies out there who are considering buying one of these and with a $299 price tag this review may be worth a read.

When I first unpackaged the Arctic, it was all ready to go with the battery already charged and within minutes the laser was ready to go. Bearing in mind this is my first laser or anything remotely in the same category as a laser, and being a bit of a gadget freak, the laser was visually very pleasing. The holster was very well made and sturdy and the lasers weight was perfect. (almost a 50/50 weight distribution).

The package supplied came with the S3 Arctic laser, protective glasses (a lot more darker then you think), the charger, the holster and instruction manual ( I also ordered the lens upgrade kit).

After months of looking at the videos online of people burning things and the different tests that were conducted I decided that I had to have one. I started very easily with trying to test the burn ability of a DVD case, and I was not disappointed. The Arctic burned straight through it within minutes. I tested it on a piece of paper (under safe conditions of course) and this burned within seconds. The Arctic is certainly a very powerful piece of kit. My next test was at night time and I wanted to test how far it could reach in a straight line. Now of course pointing the laser straight up is illegal so i did a vertical test and again was not disappointed. I can’t tell you how far it went, but i couldn’t see the end of the Arctic.

When considering buying this, you should really ask yourself what you are going to use it for and do you really need the burning capability. I regret not buying the Krypton, especially as it’s more of a bright laser and realistically I would only use it for brightness. With a $299 price tag it sets itself fairly high, but completely worth it if you are going to use it. Overall i’m very happy with the laser, and wouldn’t get rid of it, but this certainly brings out the kid in me. This laser is not a toy, but being a Star Wars fan, you can’t help but make the comparison to a Lightsaber. I’m one happy Jedi with this.