GRACE’S VIEW: Listening to NPR

Grace’s View | Grace Fowler

Listening to National Public Radio may not be every 19-year-old’s cup of tea, but I like knowing what’s going on in the world so I occasionally tune in. I sometimes lose track of what they are talking about or I tune in when I have already missed so much of what they are talking about that I can’t catch up. Usually, however, I am fairly intrigued by what they are talking about. They always have stories about things going on in Michigan right now and then they have national and international happenings.

The other day, I tuned in when several experts were talking about the F-35 fighter jets that Lockheed Martin has been developing. My jaw literally dropped when they told the listeners what one of them is currently going for. I tried to keep in mind that the defense budget that one country or another might have is a little bit more than my personal budget. But, seriously? One of these jets costs a mere $112 million. Commentators said they are trying to get costs down so they are a bit more reasonable. Uh, yeah.

Another interesting story I’m sure all of you have a least heard about is the Malaysian Airline commercial plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine. On board flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, were 298 people traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lampur. When I first got the CNN News Alert on my phone I read, “Malaysian Airline….” and assumed it was something related to flight 370 that was lost sometime in March. But to find out that Malaysian Airlines was related to yet another disaster shocked me.

Evidence shows that the plane was shot down, but there is confusion about who did it. To me, this is terrifying because the next time I am on a commercial jet, the last thing I want to be thinking about is whether our plane will be shot out of the air.

One of the first questions that popped into my head was why a commercial airline would be flying over an area that has been known and reported to be unstable? And the latest that I heard was that the flight path was approved. NPR was saying that commercial airlines pick a flight path that is efficient and uses the least amount of fuel. If their flight path was approved, is the airline at all blame?

I want to know all the details. Why are things like this able to happen? How safe are we really? How can we prevent things like this from happening in the future? How cautious do we need to be? How safe is it to fly?

One of my friends at school gets equally at heated about these topics as I do and our friends sometimes look at us like we are crazy when we are in an intense discussion about the latest international fiasco.

So I guess most kids would probably rather listen to the latest Kanye West or Lil Wayne album when they drive, but every now and then a little NPR wouldn’t hurt.

Grace Fowler is a Greenville High School graduate and a Hope College freshman. She can be reached at

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