HOWLS’s own Ruben Otero reports from Washington D.C.

“Pshhhhhh….We got him, Santiago is down. We have slain the head of the dragon we’ve been fighting for years. Over and out…pshhhhh.”

I was one of the 370 people who went to Washington DC, last week for a National Security Leadership Conference. The people who ran the conference are an organization name National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF). I went there with the other 369 high school students, not really knowing what to expect.

The conference turned out to be really focused around national security and the War on Drugs. They spent a lot of time talking about the border between America and Mexico. They did this, because it is a very dangerous situation. The drug cartels are ruthless unlike most American citizens. They kidnap, kill, and torture anyone that they feel like is a threat or associated with someone they feel is a threat.

I believe that Mexicans should be able to cross the border, but once they get a felony or are charged with something, then they should be deported. They should get a chance before we just assume something, but should still monitor them. I feel the government has kept them out for the better of the nation, but they should still give them a chance.

Students at the leadership conference moving to another D.C. field location.
We were split up into classroom size groups and went to a class like experience called National Security Action Meetings (NSAM). We ended up having a simulation based in 2016 and all the kids participated. Within each NSAM group we had a position for everybody. I was the Ambassador to Mexico and I ended up getting kidnapped by the “Cartels”. It was a fun and exciting experience for me.

The simulation made you realize how hard it is to hold a certain position in the hierarchy of National Security, especially when you have to make a decision to go to war or not…and a million different people start talking to you at once. It was very stressful and a hard job to have. I would never think about being the President, because there would be too much weight on my shoulders. I would crumble.
They should be teaching this to everybody our age. We are the future of national security, and we must learn how to protect our country. This information is very vital to our young minds and I think that is why we were chosen to be taught this. This is what our future is going to consist of.

But anyways, the feeling of the real life experience was just an exhilarating one. It put me in a situation where you have to look at all sides before you make a move…like one big, dangerous game of chess. In the end, we killed the head of the cartels, Santiago, I was never found, and we legalized marijuana and kept cocaine banned.