7 February 2013 Volume 97 Issue 15
SPECIAL ISSUE | VIOLENCE
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Emily Muthersbaugh HEAD LAYOUT EDITOR Ricky Barbosa
INTRODUCTION discussion beyond the individual level and party positions.
HEAD COPY EDITOR Cedric Thiel HEAD PHOTO EDITOR Josh McKinney
CONTENT DIRECTOR Philip Duclos NEWS EDITOR Jaclyn Archer
RELIGION EDITORS Rob Folkenberg Nick Ham COLUMNIST Rebecca Brothers CREATIVE WRITING EDITOR Kayla Albrecht OPINION EDITORS Elliott Berger Grant Gustavsen FEATURE EDITORS Braden Anderson Elizabeth Jones James Mayne Christian Robins CULTURE EDITOR Grant Perdew DIVERSIONS EDITOR Eric Weber TRAVEL EDITOR Megan Cleveland HEALTH & WELLNESS EDITOR Karl Wallenkampf
Welcome to another special issue of The Collegian. Here, we explore a topic which has taken center stage in public debates: The seeming increase of violent acts in our country and around the world, and the regulation of firearms as a potential element in curbing this violence. In this special issue of The Collegian, unlike previous special issues, you will not find results of a survey of the student body. Instead, this issue has been expanded to include as many voices in this discussion as possible.
In approaching a problem controversial for its proposed solutions, it is important to focus on the beliefs or values that we hold in common. In this debate over the source of violence, responding to or reducing violence, and gun regulation, it is important to remember that there is a common goal. Everyone wants to see instances of mass shootings reduced; everyone wants to live in a safer world and see a safer world for future generations. Considering these greater goals, it is important to elevate the
I invite you to consider the information and perspectives featured in this issue of The Collegian as a starting point for discussions in your own circles and community. While an issue on violence can appear overwhelming and perhaps dark, the consequences of being unwilling to confront the issue can be far worse. If we want to address the problem and work toward greater solutions, we need to begin talking now; we need to understand opposing positions, be clear about our biases and our values, and work toward our common goal.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY EDITOR Spencer Cutting FOOD EDITOR Amy Alderman SPORTS EDITORS Trevor Boyson Tye Forshee THE HEEL EDITOR Julian Weller STAFF WRITERS Amy Alderman Casey Bartlett Hilary Nieland Annie Palumbo Daniel Peverini LAYOUT DESIGNERS Allison Berger Alix Harris Greg Khng Cory Sutton COPY EDITORS Amy Alderman Rebecca Brothers Carly Leggitt Ryan Robinson
Photo by Ivan Cruz
News ASWWU/Admin Week in Review Week in Forecast
Photo by Kai Kopitzke
Perspective Religion Contributor Opinion
OFFICE MANAGER Heather Eva
Kiss My Constitution: The Second Ammendment and Gun Control
Solutions to Violence and Guns
SPONSOR Don Hepker
AD SALES MANAGER Brenda Negoescu email@example.com
Addressing Violence Beyond Gun Control
DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Alex Wickward
EDITORIAL BOARD Braden Anderson Jaclyn Archer Elliott Berger Philip Duclos Rob Folkenberg Grant Gustavsen Elizabeth Jones James Mayne Emily Muthersbaugh Christian Robins Julian Weller
Photo by Anthony White
Photo by Flickr user rikdom
ASWWU Platforms Culture Diversions Sports Science & Technology Travel Column Creative Writing
Our staff works hard each week to deliver new and relevant content. If you are interested in contributing to The Collegian, contact our page editors or the editor-in-chief at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Collegian is boosted by regularly incorporating a wide range of student perspective. Cover Photo Illustration Credit: Anthony White. The Collegian is the official publication of ASWWU. Its views and opinions are not necessarily the official stance of Walla Walla University or its administration, faculty, staff, or students. Questions, letters, and comments can be mailed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. This issue was completed at 3:37 a.m. on 7 February 2013.
The Collegian | Volume 97, Issue 15 | 204 S. College Avenue | College Place, WA 99324 | collegian.wallawalla.edu
$92 THOUSAND Amount a 148-year-old baseball card fetched at auction.
257,885,161 - 1 Photo by Chris Kyle - Paul Moseley/ The Fort Worth Star - Telegram, Via Associated Press
Photo by Flickr user rockmixer
This Week in Violence American Sniper Author Shot to Death in Texas | Glen Rose, Texas. Feb. 3 Chris Kyle, retired Navy SEAL turned bestselling author, was killed at a shooting range in Texas. Deemed among America’s deadliest snipers by the Pentagon, Kyle would occasionally take fellow veterans shooting as a kind of therapy. On one such outing last Sunday, a troubled veteran turned on Kyle and a second man, Chad Littlefield, shooting and killing both. Gunman in Phoenix Kills One and Flees | Phoenix. Jan. 30 A gunman opened fire at an office complex in Phoenix, killing one man and injuring two others before speeding away. The police spokesman, Sgt. Tommy Thompson, said it was “not random” and that the gunman “came here for a reason.” 70-Year-Old Basketball Shoots Would-Be Attacker Detroit. Feb. 2
A 70-year-old, women’s high school basketball coach shot and killed one would-be mugger and injured another while walking two players to their cars on Friday night in
Detroit. The coach was approached by two teens who tried to rob him in the parking lot of Martin Luther King Jr. High School as he walked with two girls. One of the teens was a student at the high school, the other had been recently expelled.
custody, but it is not clear how the student was able to get the gun through the school’s metal detectors.
Hostage Taken After School Bus Shooting | Midland City, Ala. Feb. 2
While at a gas station, 17-year-old Jasmine Young was shot and killed. Three friends were with her: One was unharmed, and two were admitted to the hospital with minor injuries. It is still unclear why the shooting took place, but investigators are looking into the incident, which is the third homicide in Little Rock this year.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, Jimmy Lee Dykes raided a school bus, killing the driver and taking hostage a five-year-old boy with Aspberger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dyke held the boy in an underground bunker on his property for a week, and on Monday, after talks with Dyke had deteriorated, officers stormed the bunker, rescuing the boy and killing Dyke. Student Shot at Price Middle School Atlanta. Jan. 31 A 14-year-old student was shot in the back of the neck outside of Price Middle School. The boy was taken to a local hospital and later released. According to Superintendent Erroll Davis, it was not a random event, and investigators believe something occurred between the two students before the shooting. The suspect was taken into
Teen Shot and Killed at Gas Station Little Rock, Ark. Feb. 1
Teen Arrested in Fatal Shooting Bloomington, Ill. Jan. 31 Authorities in central Illinois have charged a 17-year-old boy from Normal, Ill., in the fatal shooting of a Bloomington teenager earlier this month. Sixteen-yearold Trae Massey was shot at his home on Jan. 21 and died a short time later in the hospital. Massey’s relatives took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead in the emergency room. The 17-year-old boy is jailed on preliminary charges of involuntary manslaughter, possession of a stolen firearm, and obstruction of justice.
The newest prime number, being the first discovered in four years.
39% How correct Punxsutawney Phil has been in the last 127 years.
Light years away the closest habitable planet may be.
BY THE NUMBERS
New Business P.L. 84— Benjamin Leader for Photo Editor Purpose: Hire Benjamin Leader to be ASWWU photo editor
Old Business F.L. 17 — Photography Department Purchases F.L. 18 — Circle Church Projector F.L. 19 — Fitness Center Hours Expansion
Local Violence Hilary Nieland Staff Writer
Recently, there have been numerous high-profile, violent incidents throughout the country. The tragic Newtown and Aurora shootings were the most publicized, but some hit a little closer to home, such as the Clackamas Town Center shooting near Portland, and the Fashion Island Mall parking lot shooting in Southern California. In light of such events, it is natural to question the safety of your hometown.
G.L. 22 — Zach Munroe for Elections Board
Crime statistics for the City of Walla Walla are not yet available for 2012 as a whole. However, the FBI does collect statistics from around the nation, and has published a preliminary report concerning violence during the first half of 2012. According to the report, there were 1.9 percent more violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) reported to law enforcement agencies in the first six months of 2012 than in the same time frame in 2011.
G.L. 23 — Trevor Boyson for Elections Board
In 2011, there were 130 violent crimes, 22 forcible rapes, 20 robberies, 85 aggravated as-
F.L. 20 — Marketing Budget Increase G.L. 20 — Alyssa Seibold for Elections Board G.L. 21 — Clarabeth Smith for Elections Board
P.L. 79 — Kaci Crook for Photo Editor Assistant
One factor contributing to violence in the Walla Walla Valley is the level of gang activity. According to authorities at the Walla Walla Police Department, Walla Walla is occasionally the meeting location of rival gangs from the Tri-Cities, Milton-Freewater, Yakima, and Walla Walla, which often results in violence. Incidents of gangs assaulting non-gang-affiliated people are infrequent. The WWPD has a specialized gang unit devoted to investigating and preventing gang-related crime and violence. Local police departments constantly work to prevent crime and violence from occurring. Both the Walla Walla and College Place police departments subscribe to the “brokenwindow theory,” which states that if an area
falls into disrepair, crime will likely follow: “if somebody goes through your neighborhood and it appears that nobody cares about the neighborhood, that’s going to lead to more crime.” They therefore work to prevent the deterioration of property by notifying owners of damage and requesting that it be repaired. Another deterrent to crime is constant patrol. A Walla Walla official says of the patrol officers, “They are out there in the neighborhoods, in the business areas, just being seen, that is probably one of the biggest crime deterrents we have.” The Walla Walla Police Department also calls upon citizens to help prevent crime and violence in their own neighborhoods. In addition to practices such as going out in groups and avoiding being alone at night, the department encourages citizens to be aware of their surroundings and to call 911 if they see anything suspicious. They stress that even if one is unsure if a situation is a true emergency, the information gleaned from the call could help piece together another investigation.
Violent Crime and Social Work Casey Bartlett
Key: F.L. | Financial Legislation G.L. | Governance Legislation P.L. | Personnel Legislation
saults, 1,383 property crimes, 244 burglaries, 1,104 larceny thefts, 35 motor-vehicle thefts, 11 incidents of arson, and three murders/ non-negligent manslaughters in the city of Walla Walla. In College Place, there were 13 violent crimes, three forcible (as opposed to statutory) rapes, one robbery, nine aggravated assaults, 188 property crimes, 28 burglaries, 154 larceny thefts, six motor-vehicle thefts, one incident of arson, and zero murders/nonnegligent manslaughters.
The Washington State Penitentiary offers the unique opportunity for social workers to work with violent offenders on a daily basis. It is the responsibility of the social worker to provide these individuals with better means for making positive decisions, managing their anger, regulating their emotions, expressing their feelings, fostering a desire to change, providing them with an opportunity to atone for their actions, and helping them to rehabilitate themselves back into the community or live a better, healthier life while incarcerated. Melissa Erbenicht, a social worker at the state penitentiary and a graduate of WWU,
gives her perspective on violent crime as a daily reality in her life. Erbenicht finds herself quite busy with her job, as a significant fight breaks out at least weekly in the prison and most inmates are incarcerated for violent crime. Erbenicht cites that many of the offenders were victims of a violent crime at some point. For many inmates, violence is not only what they use to solve problems, it is what they need for survival. This continues the cycle of violence, continually creating victims and perpetrators alike, each with, as Erbenicht describes, “a lifetime of hurt on many levels.” Violence cannot be reversed, but it can be prevented. According to Erbenicht, drug abuse is a significant contributing factor in violent crime. A poor choice was made in a state of impaired reason which led to the violent act that landed them in prison. An-
other factor is a need for power and safety. Feeling powerless and backed up against a wall will often cause perpetrators to commit violent crimes so that they will be taken seriously and their voice will be heard. Erbenicht also cites that most of the people she works with are connected to poverty in some way. Having barely an eighth-grade education, they will make poor decisions just to make ends meet. Those poor decisions either land them in prison, where violence is a necessity, or lead to other small crimes, ultimately leading to violence. It is a vicious cycle which tears apart the families of both the perpetrators and the victims. According to Erbenicht, “Violence cannot be reversed, but it can be prevented.” When asked about what would prevent and reduce violent crime, Erbenicht cited education: “It is important to teach or equip
NEWS people at all levels how to regulate emotions, control anger, and communicate in a nonviolent manner.” Providing positive support systems of family and friends would be helpful in educating people who often feel alone, with no way out, and end up turning to a gang and its violence in order to feel love and acceptance. What could a student at WWU do to help prevent violence in the community? Based on the information given by Erbenicht,
helping in any way possible to abolish poverty would reduce the need of many potential perpetrators to commit violent crimes. Educating people can come in many forms, but perhaps the most significant would be letting a child know that they are valued and are loved. If every child was cared for in this way by adult mentors who helped them develop emotionally, the difference would be incredible. Programs like Coloring Without Lines and Friends are fantastic representations of this work.
Creating a Safe Community Annie Palumbo Staff Writer
With the onslaught of information being presented in this week’s Collegian, the question remains: What can I do to protect myself and others? The answer starts with being aware of your surroundings. Whether wandering around downtown or outside your apartment, let people know you notice them with eye contact and a smile. It is easy to grow complacent in this small community, but locking doors is still very important. A few years ago, many thefts took place in the WWU residence halls because students were not locking their doors. Whether you are home or not, a locked door will help keep out a potential intruder. When you are getting out of your car, do not leave your things in plain sight. If your computer or wallet is in plain sight, a potential thief will not stop at a locked door. Another simple thing to do if you plan on going out by yourself is to let a friend know where you will be. It may seem inconvenient, but if something were to happen, locating you would be much easier if the police knew where to start. There are many ways to engage in violence prevention. According to Melissa Erbenicht, an employee of the Washington State Penitentiary “Oftentimes, violence occurs because someone feels alone with no way out. They join a gang and try to find acceptance and love wherever they can, even if it means becoming a violent person. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to show up and posi-
tively validate another person’s worth and existence.” Children and adults model the behavior they see, and the best way to prevent crime is to take a proactive role in the community, providing a positive example. With the Friends program, university students are placed with a young friend from a school in the College Place or Walla Walla community. The university student then works to form an affirmative relationship with their friend, meeting wherever they choose, and choosing fun activities to do together. Information and applications can be found at wallawallafriends.org/Programs. html. STEP Shelter of Walla Walla provides single homeless women a safe night’s sleep off the street, with the eventual goal of placing these women in a permanent, safe situation. Recently, this group hasn’t had enough volunteers and has struggled to keep its doors open on the weekends. If you are interested in being involved, email Claire Matsunami at email@example.com. Helpline was founded in 1973 and helps working-poor individuals and families on an emergency basis with food, clothing, prescriptions, transportation, utilities, shortterm shelter, homeless prevention rental assistance, infant-care needs, and referrals for crisis advocacy and counseling. They are always looking for volunteers. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. The list does not stop here: Other options include Catholic Charities, Christian Aid Center, BMAC, and YWCA. A simple Google search is the first step to playing a proactive role in making Walla Walla a better place to live.
a M ission Mo ambique z Fundr aising Progress
Protocol & Services Campus Security works 24/7 to make sure the campus is as safe as possible. Security uses preventative techniques to prevent a threatening situation and to minimize the opportunity for crime on campus.
CAMPUS SECURITY EMERGENCY PROTOCOL
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IN AN EMERGENCY
Notify the police.
Notify Emergency Management Team.
Alert the student body and keep people from moving about campus.
Assist the police in any way possible.
CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY Do not call friends or family first. Even if you are unsure if it is a viable emergency, it is better to call. Then, if you can, notify security at ext. 2222.
When talking with the dispatcher make sure to state that you are in an emergency situation and need help. Tell them where you are, and if you are running from someone, tell them where you are headed so that authorities can locate you.
If you call 911 from a campus phone or emergency call pole, security will be automatically be notified.
SERVICES PROVIDED BY CAMPUS SECURITY
TALK WITH DISPATCH
e2campus Alert System To make sure that you know as soon as possible about an emergency situation and what to do, subscribe online to e2campus, the universityâ€™s emergency alert system. Once subscribed, you will be sent a text and an email in the event of an emergency. Subscribe at wallawalla.edu/ e2campus.
Safety Escort Services
CPR & First Aid Emergency Siren If sounded, find shelter and stay there until further notice. 24/7 Patrol & Assistance
Behaviors Seen, Behaviors Done Doug Wheeler Senior | Business
Looking back on recent, horrific events, America clearly has some violence issues. When I look at these events, I shiver at the thought of the kind of world in which my future children will live. Will I have to be screened for weapons, similar to a TSA employee doing checks at an airport, just to drop in to see my little one at day care? I hope not. If we can discover the source of this violence and suppress it, then perhaps we will not have to see the day where our schools are barricaded like prisons. Before approaching the source of violence in America, let’s take a step back and ask what shapes people into whom they become and why people do the things they do. Why do some people become terribly obese while others become extremely fit? Why
do some people devote their entire lives to serving others while others only think of themselves? Why do some people resort to violence while others strive for peace? Behaviors shape the course of a person’s life, and these behaviors can slowly and subtly put the idea in someone’s brain to commit horrendous acts against six- and seven-yearold children. The behaviors witnessed in people's lives impact their futures. Consider becoming a triathlete: To become a successful triathlete, you cannot simply want to be successful. You have to set behaviors within yourself that will make you become successful, and the first behavior may be more hidden than initially thought. One does not become a triathlete after one exercise session. It’s not the first stretch to ready the muscles. It’s not even waking up when the alarm goes off in the morning. Rather, it is setting the alarm the night before that sets the other behav-
iors in motion for the triathlete to become successful. There are particular behaviors that are enforced in our culture that subtly push violence as a behavior on us. Dr. Albert Bandura is one of the most renowned psychologists in social learning theory. He has done decades of research on behaviors and numerous studies that give us insight on how much behavior really does affect each and every one of us. In his classic study on influence, he demonstrates how powerfully our behavior is shaped by observing others. Bandura, in an attempt to understand how violence corresponds to media, watched children play with an arrangement of toys, including a Bobo doll, which is a toy that bounces back when punched. When the children were uninfluenced, they occasionally would hit the doll, but there was no abnormally aggressive behavior. However, when children shown a short
The Violence Next Door Heather Moor WWU Alumnus
Each year, there are 16,800 homicides due to domestic violence in the United States,1 and one-third of all female homicide victims are killed by a current or former partner.2 One in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted rape or a completed rape, and boys who witness domestic abuse in their own home are twice as likely to abuse their partners when they grow up.3 Obviously, our violence problem isn’t just about guns. It isn’t about knives. It isn’t even about fists. Violence is about people and hate. We forget that sometimes, especially with all the media focus on gun violence. We blame weapons instead of hatefulness because it’s so much easier to stop things
than human emotion. We can’t require citizens to submit to hate background checks before they go to elementary school, get married, or go into politics. That’s why we talk about controlling guns so we don’t get shot, wearing lots of clothes so we don’t get raped, and marrying nice guys so we don’t get hit. These are frantic attempts to stake claim to some kind of control in a very real and seemingly out-of-control world. But isn’t that just putting a bandage on the cancer? Isn’t it slowly killing us, our families, our schools, our public spaces, and our feeling of safety, without us noticing because all along we thought we had dealt with the problem? I don’t think that’s the best treatment for this cancer of hate. We must work to address and stop all violence. We must teach each other about love, respect, and human rights. We must learn more about mental illness and get each other the help that is
needed. We must work together despite our differences — whether it be religious, political, or philosophical. It starts with teaching our children to respect each other — boy, girl; gay, straight; black, white, and all things in between. It starts with taking the onus for our actions, realizing that just because we don’t like somebody, that doesn’t give us the right to harm them. Up until this point, we’ve put the responsibility on things. Now it’s time to take responsibility on ourselves to teach kindness, not the tolerance of hate. 1. Domestic Violence Fact Sheet. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. ncadv. org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(Natio nal).pdf, accessed 17 Jan. 2013. 2. Safe Horizon. “Domestic Violence: Statistics and Facts.” safehorizon.org/index/what-wedo-2/domestic-violence--abuse-53/domestic-violence-the-facts-195.html, accessed 16 Jan. 2013. 3. Domestic Violence Fact Sheet.
video of a woman treating the Bobo doll in an aggressive manner were released with the toys, the children immediately began behaving in an aggressive manner toward the doll. In addition to modeling the behavior on the video, they added other behaviors, including striking the doll with a cap gun and Raggedy Ann. The study contains many more illustrations of different settings and styles that demonstrate just how behaviors impact the decisions we make. This particular experiment by Bandura shows that the behaviors we observe have an undeniably strong effect on us. Many of the behaviors that are emphasized in our culture are those that reinforce the behavior of violence. Guns don’t kill people. People who have guns, who have been influenced by behaviors of violence, kill people.
online Check out our exclusive online content at collegian.wallawalla.edu for more perspectives on violence.
Washington State Penitentiary Counseling Intern “No Simple Solution”
Libertarian Activist “Our Moral Void: The Problem of Violence in America”
Professor of Psychology “Violence Causes Violence”
Health & Wellness Editor “How Wide Is Our Scope?”
REVIEW Photo by Ivan Cruz
Vespers: Black History
WWU volunteers spread out around Walla Walla to pick up bags filled with blankets. The previous week, 1,000 bags were distributed in the valley for the blanket drive.
BSCF presented a dramatic presentation in the WWU Church entitled “Reunion,” a play featuring historical black leaders through music, poetry, and spoken word.
Photo by Allison Berger
Photo by wallawalla.edu
Total Praise: A Festival of Choirs 2 February
The fourth annual festival was held in the WWU Church featuring choirs and praise groups from black churches in the Northwest.
Photo by wolfgnards.com
Groundhog Day 2 February
Will spring come early this year? According to Punxsutawney Phil’s 2013 prediction, it will. Before you know it, you’ll be trading in your sweaters for sandals.
Photo by Kai Kopitzke
CommUnity: Claudia Rowe 2 February
This award-winning social-issues journalist presented a talk entitled, “The New Front Page: 21st Century Journalism and What It Means to You.”
FORECAST Photo by cpps.org
Photo by Marketing and Enrollment
Thursday | 7 FEB
Friendship Tournament Begins
Friendship Tournament Championship Games
8 FEB 46° 28°
Speaker: Troy Fitzgerald 8 p.m. University Church
Photo by Kate Gref
Photo by Ivan Cruz
Sunday | 10 NOV
Italian Serenade: Voice Students in Concert
Thomas Edison’s Birthday
7:30 p.m. d, Melvin K. West Fine Arts Center ury Auditorium
11 FEB 45° 27°
National Investor’s Day
12 FEB 46° 30°
CommUnity: Senior Recognition 11 a.m. University Church
9 p.m. — Women’s 10:45 p.m. — Men’s WEC
Photo by Erik Sanders
4:30 p.m. University Church
9:30 p.m. University Church Fellowship Hall
Photo by Ivan Cruz
Photo by Arella Aung
Wednesday | World Radio Day
13 FEB 43° 28°
Seventh-day Adventists and the Military Daniel Peverini Contributing Writer
What do 150 years of Adventist tradition teach about being in the military? The tradition is quite diverse and has changed over the years. Early Adventists, like many people today, lived with the reality of violence. They experienced the realities of domestic violence during the American Civil War, the evils of imperialist violence during the Spanish–American War, and the horrors of mechanistic violence in World War I. It was within such a context that Adventists formulated and acted out a position of conscientious objection to bearing arms. The early Adventists were so opposed to the violence of warfare that, in the words of Ronald Osborn, some believed “even touching a weapon was sinful.”1 However, as the years passed, Adventists became increasingly open to participation in military combat to the extent that many Adventists currently serve as full combatants in armed forces worldwide.
“Adventists became increasingly open to participation in military combat.” During the American Civil War, Adventists refused to bear arms. For example, in an 1864 letter to the governor of Michigan, the first General Conference president, John Byington, wrote on the behalf of the General Conference executive committee requesting that Adventists be exempt from military service. Appealing to a Congressional act exempting conscientious objectors from
combat, Byington wrote that “Seventhday Adventists, taking the Bible as their rule of faith and practice, are unanimous in their views that its teachings are contrary to the spirit and practice of war; hence, they have ever been conscientiously opposed to bearing arms.”2 Similarly, in an article published in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald in Sept. 1864, Adventist pioneer J.N. Andrews wrote that Adventists are “a noncombatant people.”3 On the same note, Ellen White, writing of the Civil War, said, “I was shown that God’s people, who are His peculiar treasure, cannot engage in this perplexing war, for it is opposed to every principle of their faith. … There would be a continual violation of conscience [for Adventists who participate].”4 These are just a few of many published expressions of the unilateral Adventist refusal to bear arms during the American Civil War. Likewise, during the Spanish–American War, Adventists spoke against the imperialist violence of American military operations toward the Spanish and native populations of Spanish colonies. The words of prominent Adventist pioneer A.T. Jones exemplify this resistance to American violence. Jones, in an article dealing with American military action in the Philippines, stated, “War is the loss of all human sense; under its influence men become animals entirely.”5 Jones drew a total divide between Christians and warriors. “Christianity is one thing; war is another, and far different thing,” said Jones. “Christians are one sort of people; warriors are another and different sort of people.”6 Adventist resistance to American violence can also be seen in Percy Magan’s The Peril of the Republic, a work published in 1899 condemning the Spanish–American War as “national apostasy.”7 The official position of the Adventist church remained one of total opposition to violence, especially the violence of imperialist war. During this early period of Adventist history, from the early 1860s, when the church first became an organized
institution, until Ellen White’s death on the eve of World War I, the Adventist church — in official church statements and church publications — maintained a unilateral position of conscientious objection which mandated total abstinence of church members from participating in armed combat. After Ellen White’s death, according
“What can this tradition teach us about how Christians might respond to the violence we experience in our own lives?” to Osborn, “the ethos of the early [SDA] church rapidly eroded … with regard to the military and bearing of arms.”8 Though Seventh-day Adventists continued to publish statements which outlined a position of conscientious objection,9 the church position grew continually more ambivalent on the participation of church members in military service. For example, a 1934 statement approved by the General Conference stated that Adventist youth “should be patriotic, ready to serve their country’s welfare at personal sacrifice.”10 As Osborn points out, “maintaining good relations with government authorities now took precedence over prophetic and politically dangerous brands of dissent.”11 By 1972, when a statement of the
Autumn Council “made clear that those who accepted 1–O or 1–A (combatant) classification would not be denounced or excluded,”12 the Adventist position had changed so fully that “the noncombatant principle the church had repeatedly advocated … had officially been rendered non-normative.”13 Currently, many Adventists serve as full combatants in militaries around the world. Over the years, Adventist practice has moved away from the early pacifist radicalism. As I opened with a question, I want to close with a question. My question is this: What can this tradition teach us about how Christians might respond to the violence we experience in our own lives? This question is beyond the scope of this article, but I hope that with Adventist history in mind, readers will begin discussing what it means to be a follower of Christ in a violent world. 1. Ronald Osborn, “A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists in Times of War.” Adventist Peace, adventistpeace.org/ templates/System/details.asp?id=39491. 2. Quoted in Francis McLellan Wilcox, Seventh-Day Adventists in Time of War (Takoma Park: Review and Herald, 1936), 58. 3. Ibid, 62. 4. Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, Volume I, (Nampa: Pacific Press, 2002), 361. 5. Quoted in “War — The True and the False Estimate,” Adventist Peace, adventistpeace.org/clientimages/39491/ apw_jonesa_war_rh_27june1899.pdf. 6. Quoted in Osborn, “A Brief History.” 7.Quoted in Doug Morgan, “The Peril of the Republic (1899) by Percy T. Magan.” Adventist Peace, adventistpeace.org/ templates/System/details.asp?id=39491. 8. Osborn, “A Brief History.” 9. E.g., General Conference Vice President I.H. Evans’ statement in the June/July, 1935, issue of Ministry that said, “it would be unthinkable that Christ and His chosen twelve should have joined the Roman army and followed the Roman eagle” (quoted in Wilcox, Adventists in Time of War, 43). 10. Quoted in Wilcox, Adventists in Time of War, 384. 11. Osborn, “A Brief History.” 12. Douglas Morgan, “Between Pacifism and Patriotism.” Adventist Review, adventistreview.org/2003-1535/story5. html. 13. Ibid.
Question What about killing to save?
Response Is killing in self-defense OK for a Christian? If not in self-defense, is it appropriate to kill in order to save someone else’s life, maybe the life of someone you love dearly? Is it right to kill to save? Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in these sorts of predicaments. The Bible says not to kill, but does that apply directly to these situations? What we do clearly see in the Bible is the value of human life. People are not just animals. We are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). We are a part of His plan (Jer. 29:11), and we are very much loved (John 3:16). The great value of human life has two distinct repercussions when it comes to the issue at hand. First of all, any killing is a potential encroachment on God’s plan and God’s children. It’s a serious thing to take a life, regardless of the circumstances. Second, parallel to this is the value of your own life and the lives of those dear to you.
Darold Bigger Contributing Writer
So, what’s the solution? How does one live safely and sanely in a violent world? Some suggest that if weapons were confiscated and outlawed, specifically those weapons that could kill multiple people in a matter of seconds, we’d be safer.
Others say it’s crazy people who kill, so we need more mental health workers to diagnose, ent treat, and restrain those who are likely to be so y, would destructive.
Still others point out that social frustrations, economic stagnation, poverty, and despair creof ate an environment that breeds terrorists and e of leads to acts of desperation by the disadvantaged.
Others shouldn’t have the right to just snuff that out, and it resonates with many that ending someone’s life in order to save the life of another may be necessary at times. Dietrich Bonhoeffer thought so. Bonhoeffer was involved in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler, and as a theologian, Bonhoeffer must have wrestled with the appropriate response to the atrocities around him. He became convinced that he must do all he could to put an end to the Third Reich and its leader, but he realized potential consequences, even eternal consequences. He said this: “When a man takes guilt upon himself in responsibility, he imputes his guilt to himself and no one else. He answers for it. ... Before other men he is justified by dire necessity; before himself he is acquitted by his conscience, but before God he hopes only for grace” (Bonhoeffer, Ethics, 244). Bonhoeffer decided to risk eternity in order to attempt to save the lives of others. That’s not an easy thing, but it’s a thought-provoking testimony. It’s what Jesus did. —Rob Folkenberg Have a good question? Email email@example.com.
Prudence or Promise: Living in a Violent World
We became prudent when our daughter, Shannon, was killed: stabbed and slashed to death in her Maryland apartment. We began locking our doors (which we had not done in
all our previous 16 years in the Walla Walla Valley); we slowly approached our car, looking inside at both front and back seats and at the floor to be sure it was empty; when walking around corners in town, we gave each building a wide birth in case someone might be hiding around the corner. We were very cautious, determined to be safe. Other friends and relatives reacted in similar ways. They reported being suspicious of strangers, having trouble sleeping in the dark, being haunted by nightmares, and worrying about the safety of their own children. I talk with veterans from Afghanistan, Iraq, and earlier wars, and I hear stories of haunting fears built on the terror of not knowing who the enemy is, being hypervigilant, always having an escape route identified, sitting near doors with one’s back against the wall, avoiding crowds, and bursts of anger at any interruption to one’s plans. Terror is terrifying, and it sometimes lasts long after the terrorist is neutralized.
We ought not to be surprised: Jesus Himself warned, “In this world you will have trouble.”1 Evil in the world is inevitable, the norm. So, what’s the solution? Some try to protect themselves by prudent choices, careful behavior, and self-defense. Some look to politicians, legislators, law enforcement, and weapons dealers to halt the spread of violence. Like the ancients who looked to the mountain worship places of pagan gods for their deliverance,2 many today presume that relying on human solutions will solve the problem. But as important as prudence and prevention are, they will not eradicate the problem. “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”3 “In this world you will have trouble.” As people of faith, we pin our hopes on more than human prudence. We look to God’s promises. Horrified by the realities of life, even while grappling with how best to deal with human violence, we’re called to maintain our
focus on God and His promises of ultimate peace. In each of the three dire biblical descriptions to which we’ve referred, God’s promise is held up as the solution. Both for the future and for now, we can find peace in the middle of chaos and tragedy. Involving ourselves in the public debate and pursuing peace in practical ways is valid and important. But we can do even more than that: The biblical writers left us contemplating a faithful and still-ruling God, and that’s where the world needs to find us. “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”4 “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne.”5 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”6 1. John 16:33, NIV. 2. Psalm 121:1. 3. Psalm 11:3, NIV. 4. Psalm 121:1–2, NIV. 5. Psalm 11:3–4, NIV. 6. John 16:33, NIV.
A Perspective on Violence and Education Debbie Muthersbaugh Assistant Professor of Education and Psychology COLUMBINE It was 1999, and I was teaching middle school in Denver, Colorado. I was just beginning my late-morning eighth grade science lesson when we heard the announcement over the loudspeaker system that we were to be in lockdown. Doors were locked, windows closed, blinds drawn. This was a relatively safe section of town, but drills like these were not totally uncommon. When we turned on the local TV news to monitor what was happening, the reports starting coming in. There was a shooting in progress at a school just a few miles away, Columbine High School. One student cried out, “That’s where my brother is!” and she started to cry. Needless to say, the effects — not only on my students, but also on the entire community — were devastating. It didn’t take long for the discussion to turn from sadness to anger. Then the blaming began: How could this happen here? How do our schools contribute to this type of violent event?
CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS The impact of violence on our culture, and on education in particular, is a difficult topic. Can a school and class curriculum influence views on violence? In a study looking at the connections between poverty, education, and terrorism, results showed that the greatest impact in creating terrorists was not whether students of all socioeconomic levels were receiving education, but was rather the content of the curriculum being taught.1 In countries that tend to nurture terrorists, school curriculum is very narrowly focused on specific, often propagandized, teaching rather than on a broad spectrum of content from math, science, art, and literature, for example. Since the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the curriculum has been changed from extremist teachings to a more comprehensive one with new books and training for teachers. Even specific questions within the curriculum can have a great impact. USA Today reported that, during the Taliban years, children learned math with questions such as, “Two guns plus two guns equals four guns,” whereas today they learn, “Two baths plus two baths equals four baths.” In the same report, Afghan Education Ministry’s Abdul Nabi Wahidi says that
he wants their children “to be good citizens with the rest of the world.”2 LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER Findings from a report to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century were published in Learning: The Treasure Within.3 It includes a chapter focusing on these four pillars of education: 1) learning to know; 2) learning to do; 3) learning to be; and, of most interest to me as a parent, educator, and member of the human race; 4) learning to live together, learning to live with others. As I read this report, it dawned on me that perhaps this is at the heart of the debate on violence in our schools and society in general. Learning to live together is specifically described in the study as “developing an understanding of other people, carrying out joint projects, and learning to manage conflicts in a spirit of respect.” Even well-known developmental psychologist Jean Piaget believed that children cooperating with people in their environment “provide[s] the basis for the development of a child’s moral judgment.”4 This could include working collaboratively in groups in classroom settings as well as in their larger communities.
AR Doesn’t Mean Assault Rifle Michael Bradley-Robbins Senior | Music
There’s currently a lot of talk going around about banning what are referred to as “assault weapons,” and it would seem that the vast majority of even casual gun users support keeping machine guns out of the wrong hands. Senator Dianne Feinstein, from my home state of California, has even pushed for an augmented reintroduction of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. But there is an enormous problem with the idea of banning “assault weapons”: Virtually every firearm whose head is on the chopping block is, in fact, not a true assault weapon. First, we need to figure out what a real assault weapon is. True assault weapons are fully
automatic; for example, if you hold down the trigger, the gun keeps firing shot after shot. These weapons are capable of firing upward of a thousand rounds per minute, and they are used widely only in the military and in law enforcement. Large chunks of the news media are acting like the recent tragedies in Aurora and Newtown were committed using easily obtained machine guns that were spraying bullets all over the place. The truth is that fully automatic weapons are heavily regulated. They are already illegal in most states and are much more expensive than the average consumer can afford. These recent crimes were committed with consumer-grade firearms, not the military-grade bogeymen that NBC and other networks love to hate. Second, let’s look at what is not an assault
weapon: Anything that functions differently than a machine gun. The vast majority of firearms fall into this category, which includes all semi-automatic and single-action weapons. A semi-automatic weapon shoots once per trigger pull but automatically ejects the spent shell. Weapons like these include countless rifles, shotguns, pistols, and double-action revolvers. A single-action weapon is something like a bolt-action rifle or a pump shotgun, which shoots once per trigger pull, requiring the operator to manually eject the spent shell and reset the hammer. Now, the problem is that anti-gun politicians and supporters of gun control use “semi-automatic” interchangeably with “fully-automatic,” when the two are radically different. Senator Feinstein’s witch-hunt
The Apostle Paul was clear on this point as well when he charged us to “live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”5 As with Columbine, violent events that disrupt the learning environment are a community concern. Providing a broad, inclusive curriculum in our schools and learning to live together may help all of us get a better grip on this difficult and confusing topic of violence and education. 1. Krueger, A.B., and Maleckova, J. (2003). “Education, poverty and terrorism: Is there a causal connection?” econ.tau.ac.il/papers/ faculty/jep.pdf. 2. USA Today, (2008). “Molding young Afghan minds.” usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/ education/2002-08-27-afghan-minds_x.htm. 3. Delors, J., Mufti, I.A., Amagi, I., Carneiro, R., Chung, F., Geremek, B., Zhou, N. (2003). Learning: The Treasure Within: Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century. Paris, France: UNESCO Publishing. 4. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cole, M., John-Steiner, V., Scriber, S. and Souberman, E. (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 5. Romans 12:16–18, NLT.
includes dozens of “semi-automatic assault weapons,” including the best-selling rifle in America, the AR-15. It may look a lot like an M16, but it works nothing like its military big brother. These “assault weapons” differ only cosmetically; for instance, take a perfectly legal hunting rifle, put a pistol grip on it, and it magically becomes an evil murder machine. Gun-control advocates say, “Nobody hunts with an assault weapon.” True — nobody hunts with a machine gun. But people do hunt with the AR-15, which is by no means a machine gun. True assault weapons are already illegal almost everywhere, and they are extremely difficult for consumers to obtain. You are being misled, and the record needs to be set straight.
Bringing Reality to the Gun-Control Debate Zach Huff
Whatever your interpretation of the Second Amendment, we can agree on one point: The violence must end. The first legislative response to Sandy Hook was here in New York, where Governor Cuomo just signed a law banning “assault weapons” based on cosmetic features1 — but is cracking down on certain rifles the right first step in ending violence?
Unreported is how many rifles would meet the changing definition of an “assault weapon.” We may therefore be talking about one percent of the overall problem. This question, whether framing the debate around 2.5 percent of the problem is more about politics than about solutions. While it is tempting to seize the opportunity to save a few lives, we also might benefit from asking what this does to our God-given right to self protection from much greater atrocities than Sandy Hook which have occurred in the past.
Emotions and ideology aside for one article, let’s talk about objective numbers on gun crime. According to the FBI’s website,2 there were 12,664 homicides in 2011. Of these, 323 involved rifles; that’s a mere 2.5 percent of total homicides that year. Even shotguns, which Joe Biden has encouraged as a legitimate self-defense alternative, account for slightly more, at 356 homicides.3
The University of Hawaii found that, globally, government has been responsible for at least 262 million deaths through mass murder.4 Nobody can tell you what a foreign government or our own government will do 20 years from now, especially in unforeseen, extenuating contexts such as a financial collapse or war. An example of it happening here was at the start of the Mormon Wars in
Assistant National Press Secretary for Ron Paul 2012
1838, when the governor of Missouri signed an executive order that said, “the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State,” and proceeded to send armed forces to massacre innocent Latter-day Saints, who had to take up arms and fight their way to Utah in exodus. The “extermination order” was not declared unconstitutional until 1976.5 From 1942–1946, Japanese and Italian–American families were thrown into camps, and in the last year, the National Defense Authorization Act authorizes such indefinite detainments without trial6 — reneging on rights recognized 800 years ago in the Magna Carta. If it’s about saving even one life, as President Obama declared while signing 23 executive orders on guns,7 he could have saved at least 200 lives8 by not allowing the Justice Department to give thousands of assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels in the Fast and Furious program, or end the war in Af-
Violence and Mental Illness Jaclyn Archer
Contributing Writer Mental illness is suspected in nearly all high-profile gun crimes where authorities cannot find obvious motives, e.g. money, (interpersonal) dispute, or romantic betrayal. While it’s assumed that violent criminals are ill, research doesn’t necessarily support this conclusion. In “The Population Impact of Severe Mental Illness on Violent Crime,” (a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry), Seena Fazel and Martin Grann note that “psychoses are modest risk factors for violent offending.”1 While people with certain mental illnesses may be more likely to commit violent crimes, most violent crimes aren’t committed by people with mental illness. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “MENTAL ILLNESS?” “Mental illness” is an extremely broad term. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes notes on everything from anxiety to caffeine withdrawal to insomnia.2 All of these
may be recognized as mental disorders — problems or dependencies in the brain that affect one’s ability to function. Mental illness is also relatively common. According to the National Institute of Health, one in 17 American adults suffers from a debilitating mental illness, approximately one in four may be diagnosable for a mental illness in any given year, and nearly one in two will suffer from mental illness in his or her lifetime. 3 WHAT ABOUT WEAPONS? I think mental-health screenings should be required when purchasing a weapons license, but I do not believe we should create a mental illness registry or watch list. The notion of showing up on the “crazy radar” every time one wants to buy a kitchen knife might discourage people from seeking help. We need to adjust the relationship between the justice system and mental-health agencies, especially given that the majority of mental illnesses do not lead to criminal behavior. We need to continue evaluating and increasing funding for mental-health courts, and increase the
availability of mental-health services for non offenders.4 No adult or child should have to commit a crime to gain convenient or affordable access to treatment.5 THE FACE OF MENTAL ILLNESS I am one in 17. When I was a junior in academy, I was diagnosed with moderate to severe major depressive disorder and obsessive–compulsive disorder. I am not a danger to myself, or to those around me, but while coming to terms with my diagnoses my biggest fear was that I would be perceived as a freak. Some people think everyone who struggle with mental illness are dangerous or unstable. The way the media links mental illness to violent crime only reminds me that efforts to curb violence may only increase the stigma surrounding people like me. There is also a lot of misinformation about mental illness. I’ve been criticized by people who don’t realize clinical depression requires the attention of a medical professional. I’ve been told that mental illness is a reflection of one’s relationship with God. Others have said I use medication to numb myself, or avoid
ghanistan a month sooner. The American people are smarter than this; if we go by the hard numbers and some history, we can avoid falling for cheap political antics incapable of solving the fundamental problems, all in exchange for more loss of liberty. 1. syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/details_about_new_yorks_new_gu.html. 2. fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-theu.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/ expanded-homicide-data-table-8. 3. weeklystandard.com/blogs/biden-so-youwant-keep-people-away-earthquake-buysome-shotgun-shells_697650.html. 4. hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM. 5. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extermination_Order_(Mormonism). 6. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_ Year_2012#Indefinite_detention_without_ trial:_Section_1021. 7. nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/gunning_for_ what_3Q2UnYjiaTVMgcPwDXtOYL. 8. mexico.cnn.com/nacional/2011/10/28/200mexicanos-murieron-por-armas-de-rapido-y-furioso-congresista-de-eu.
solving my problems. The reality is I need to take medication the same way a diabetic needs to take insulin. Medication corrects the chemistry in my brain so I can pursue my beliefs, feel the scope of my emotions, and manage my problems. CONCLUSION It would be simpler if every violent criminal were “crazy,” but this conclusion not only fails to view violent offenders as complex human beings, but also allows those in good mental health to view themselves as fundamentally different from those who are mentally ill. Instead of seeing those with mental illnesses as an “other,” taking the time to understand the complexity of mental illness will raise awareness about needs within our society. When the needs of the individual are met, society prospers. 1. ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article. aspx?articleid=96905. 2. psychiatry.org/practice/dsm/dsm5. 3. nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYDIS_ADULT. shtml. 4. kingcounty.gov/courts/DistrictCourt/MentalHealthCourt/EvaluationReportofMHC.aspx. 5. bazelon.org/LinkClick. aspx?fileticket=xQf5_1grKcI%3d.
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A Culture of Safety and Responsibility Opinion Editor
America has a rich culture, not the least of which is, indeed, gun culture. The phrase “gun culture” was coined by historian Richard Hofstadter, and although it may oftentimes carry a negative connotation, the phrase is indicative of what makes America a great nation and, just as importantly, what made America a great nation.
don’t necessarily mean more violence. The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791 to grant citizens with the right to bear arms. Many have argued that a “well regulated Militia,” as described by the Second Amendment, is a dated concept that is no longer applicable to American life. However, in a landmark case in 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to grant Americans the important right to substantial self-defense. To take away or even restrict that right would change the very culture upon which this great nation was built.
“The purpose of the Second Amendment is to grant Americans the important right to substantial self-defense.”
A gun culture in the United States certainly does not come without a safety culture and a responsibility culture. The
having such a low gun-ownership rate. This evidence suggests that violent crimes, such as murder and assault, do not always correlate with gun ownership. Simply put, more guns
Desperate Measures Elliott Berger
“If all insects on Earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.” — Biologist Jonas Edward Salk.
Control and balance are vital to personal security. Unfortunately, we live in a place with a skewed view on what it takes to become successful. Even if some are considered successful individuals, did they really improve the success of our race? Our selfish natures encourage us to, by any means, get ahead in life. This is where
Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco announces his wife is pregnant. He had a busy Sunday.
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the problems begin: Our infatuation with succeeding leaves us with the idea that no one can be trusted, and acts of desperation set in when we try to catch up to the people. If a selfish person feels their well-being is in jeopardy, they will most likely respond in irrational ways to recuperate. Violence in humans seems to be the climax of desperate actions. The focus people have on their own success causes a disconnect between their ideas on how to behave rationally when they foresee themselves losing the race of achievement. When you are so focused on protecting your own security, you act out of desperation, which generally has few boundaries. Out of this instability may come violent acts, anything to resolve the problem at hand. Violence is prevalent in our race due to competition for a successful life and a development of insecurities from our lack of emotional stability.
What is it that gives humans such an ability to destroy? I believe the answer lies in our selfish nature, which leaves us taking what we think will make us successful rather than giving or sharing it amongst ourselves. Violence itself comes from our desire to step ahead of one another using any means necessary. I think that, since our mindset is to “take,” we are left with an insecurity around people. The source of violence stems from our personal insecurities.
I believe most violence issues and violent crimes are caused by people with mental instabilities. I don’t specifically mean psychopaths when I say that; someone with mental instability can be a stressed, scared, or desperate person, not much different than many of us during finals week. I do not agree that humans are naturally violent as a means to release their built-up aggression. We have a need to feel strong and successful, to feel able to hold our own. An unrealistic level of success is expected from the age you learn to walk, and I suspect it causes a major portion of humanity’s instability.
U.S. has by far the highest gun ownership rate in the world, with about 84 guns per 100 citizens. However, the violent crime rate is way down the list. In comparison, the U.K., which has a gun ownership rate of next to nothing when compared to the U.S., has a much higher violent crime rate than the U.S., and one that ranks first in all nations in the European Union, despite
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Firearms per 100 people Intentional homicides per 100,000 people
Homicide rate per firearm.
This map displays national intentional homicide rates per firearm for countries around the world. Yellow countries indicate fewer homicides per firearm. Orange countires indicate higher homicides per firearm. Red countries indicate the highest rate of homicides per firearm. There is no data for grey countries.
In the U.S. there are nearly 90 firearms per 100 people. The U.S. possesses between 35 and 50 percent of the worldâ€™s firearms. This has given some reason to fear the risk of higher homicide rates in the U.S. and others reason to be proud of the nationâ€™s ability to maintian the citizens right to bear arms. This comparison may suggest a nationâ€™s propensity toward violence or challenge notions about homicides dependent on firearm possesion. When examining the data, it is important to consider cultural, political, religious, or other factors that may influence these rates. Sources: Small Arms Survey, 2007; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. gunpolicy.org unodc.org
Kiss My Constitution: The Second Amendment and Gun Control
The debate over gun control that has raged in this country at various times in history, and especially during the past several months, is politically polarizing, emotionally loaded, and often centers on a controversial section of the U.S. Constitution: the Second Amendment. Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, grassroots gun-control campaigns have sprung up throughout the nation, and the Obama administration has promised to pursue stricter gun-control legislation. Opponents of President Obama’s efforts, notably right-wing Republicans and the National Rifle Association, have argued that to question Americans’ access to firearms is to defy the Constitution. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, warned during the 2012 presidential election of “a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment.”1 LaPierre continued, “that lying, conniving Obama crowd can kiss our constitution!”2 But are gun control measures actually unconstitutional? Did the founding fathers intend to secure the right of unrestricted access to firearms? Is the Second Amendment even relevant today?
The 27 words of the Second Amendment have been endlessly parsed and dissected, and their ambiguity has confounded many who seek to ascertain the intent of the Second Amendment’s author, James Madison. Thoughtful, well-researched opinions supporting either side of the gun control debate can be easily accessed and used to bolster an argument. Quotes from Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and other founding fathers can make cases for various interpretations. The Second Amendment, like much of the Constitution, does not give us an explicit roadmap for dealing with the nuances and ever-changing factors of life in a complex society. The Constitution is an imperfect document that requires interpretation and reassessment, which is why we have the amendment option. Its clauses have had unique meanings for different times in history; one of the most notable examples concerning changing perceptions of freedom is the fact that the Constitution sanctioned slavery for over 70 years. Even after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in 1865, the loopholes and ambiguities of the 14th and 15th amendments led to institutionalized oppression and exploitation of minorities in this country for another century. Fortunately, as times continue to change and perspectives evolve, we have the unique ability to evolve our Constitution as well.
WHAT DOES THE SECOND AMENDMENT MEAN? Before we go further, it’s necessary to remind ourselves of the actual text of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”3 As you can see, there is certainly a level of ambiguity in the wording of the amendment. What did Madison mean by “a well regulated Militia?” Who are “the people?” What do “Arms” entail? Some emphasize the second half of the amendment, and argue that its purpose is to protect American citizens from the tyranny of the government. If citizens are well-armed with powerful guns, this argument goes, and the government will respect our rights out of fear of insurrection. Another prominent argument against gun control is that the Second Amendment protects the right of individual citizens to unlimited firearm access as a means of self-defense: Possessing a firearm is described by some as a God-given right, one of humanity’s natural laws that cannot be denied.4 It is an interesting juxtaposition to compare this assertion with the Declaration of Independence’s inclusion of the right to life. A significant problem in the aforementioned arguments is that the Second Amendment does not explicitly support
any of them. It makes no mention of tyranny, nor of self-defense, nor does it proclaim the right to bear arms to be in the pantheon of natural and sacred God-given rights. However, it does contain several phrases that have the potential to be illuminating and worth discussing further: “A well regulated Militia” and “the rights of the people.” First, let’s discuss the phrase “A well regulated Militia.” It is significant to note that the Second Amendment begins with a term that connotes an organized group of people, rather than focusing on individual rights. Furthermore, it is important to note that the amendment states that the purpose of these militias is to ensure the security of the state, rather than to rise against it. In 1791, when the amendment was ratified, the United States lacked a strong central government with a national military. Americans felt somewhat ambivalent toward these institutions because of their recent war of independence against Great Britain (which had a strong government and a powerful army). Citizen militias served as the primary military force in times of conflict; they had a much more central role in American life than they do now, so it made sense to lay the framework for “a well regulated Militia.” In 2013, however, we have a very different context for interacting with the first clause of the Second Amendment. The U.S. has
The Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, becomes part of the U.S. Constitution after it is ratified by threefourths of the states.
Two Union veterans found the National Rifle Association to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.” They had been frustrated by the poor quality of their soldiers’ marksmanship.
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Congress enacts the Militia Acts to clarify the role of state-organized militias that could be called forth by the president to defend the United States in times of peril.
U.S. Constitution drafted (ratified by all thirteen states by 1790).
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the most powerful and well-funded military in the world. Citizen militias have long since been incorporated into the National Guard, and no longer serve as the primary protectors of our national freedom. In the numerous wars and “police actions” in which our country has been involved since yran-1791, our military and National Guard claimhave both effectively served to maintain heon“the security of ghts.a free state” (in hrases both the state atingand federal uses regu-of the word ople.”“state”). well The second notephrase, “the right with a of the people,” is up of equally imporidualtant. Instead of note explicitly statrpose ing the right of ity ofindividual citiit. In zens, the use of ified,the term “the entralpeople” implies mer-a collective body. wardIt is possible for the government to respect ecentthe right of the collective body despite the Brit-existence of limitations, as with the First and aAmendment and its guarantee of freedom ed as of speech (e.g., the well-known example of con-not yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater). ole in Supposing these interpretations, that made well-regulated militias are intended to serve reguand secure the state and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is intended erent for collective body and subject to limitalause tions, does gun control really violate our . has Constitution? Can we find a way to regu-
late access to firearms while still preserving the freedoms we value? The freedoms the Constitution grants us are indeed important, but we must acknowledge that when more than 300 million people live together in a society, individuals cannot possess uninhibited freedom in every sense of the word. There must be a balance between the individual and the collective good. John Locke, one of the most important Enlightenment philosophers, and a man who inspired the thinking and writing of the founding fathers, recognized the necessity of striking this balance between the individual, the community, and the government. As a leading proponent of the social contract theory, which posits that individuals consent to be governed and thereby give up certain freedoms in exchange for social order and protection, Locke argued that if society is going to function in a manner beneficial to the greatest number of people, an individual “gives up to be regulated by laws made by the society.” These laws may in some ways even “confine the liberty he had by the law of nature.”5 When applied to
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
the argument against gun control that uses the justification of self-defense as a natural right, Locke’s perspective can give us valuable insight into possible social policy, as it is often in both our individual interest and collective interest to submit certain personal liberties to organized government.
OUR MODERN CONTEXT Another consideration is this: how does an individual, armed citizen ensure freedom in the United States today? Does his or her access to powerful weapons keep tyranny at bay, as the NRA claims? When compared with a government-controlled military possessing fighter jets and nuclear warheads, the effectiveness of an individual “citizen soldier” against “tyranny” is a humorous concept. We no longer live in an eighteenth-century America, when there was an equal weapon-possession playing field — i.e., every armed person, government forces included, had muskets. Our current situation gives us several options: We could even the playing field once again by either scrapping our national military and destroying its advanced technology or by giving every citizen access to militarygrade advanced weapons systems, or we could acknowledge that we are in a situation the like of which the founding fathers could have never conceived (did they anticipate predator drones?) and realize that we must prevent tyranny by other means. Thomas Jefferson once said, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”6 While this quote is often used to fight against gun control, perhaps the government should fear the people not because each of us is packing an AR-15, but because we are packing a vote in the next election. We should
arm ourselves with knowledge and education, and engage ourselves in the political process so that congressmen safeguard freedom out of a fear of being held accountable if they do not. What if the significant threat to our constitutional liberties and freedoms is not the effort to sanely control more than 300 million firearms currently circulating throughout the United States? What if President Obama’s desire to prevent future mass shootings such as Sandy Hook is not rooted in a desire to “destroy the Second Amendment?” What if the greater threat is our own passivity and unwillingness to engage in our government, a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people?”7 The founding fathers, whose voices are so often used as a bludgeon against anyone who dares to question the Constitution, were themselves convinced that it had to be a living document, adapted and interpreted by each generation. Thomas Jefferson argued that the Constitution should be rewritten every 20 years or so, in order to remain relevant and to let each generation have a voice in their governance.8 It is time to bring the Second Amendment into our own context and interpret it for our own unique time in history. 1. nranews.com/pdf/Wayne_LaPierre_at_ CPAC_Florida.pdf. 2. Ibid. 3. archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_ rights_transcript.html. 4. foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/10/gunsand-freedom. 5. constitution.org/jl/2ndtr09.htm. 6. monticello.org/site/jefferson/when-governments-fear-people-there-libertyquotation. 7. whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/abrahamlincoln. 8. 0usconstitution.net/consttop_newc.html.
D.C. v. Heller — the conservative-majority Supreme Court rules (5–4) for the first time in history that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense, within their homes and federal enclaves. This ruling was expanded to the states in McDonald v. Chicago (2010).
Spurred on by the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress passes the Gun Control Act to restrict access to firearms by regulating firearm interstate commerce, restricting importation, and requiring firearm sellers to be licensed. Photo by im41.com
Photo by telegraph.co.uk
To curb gang violence, Congress passes the National Firearms Act, which taxes the creation and transfer of certain firearms, specifically sawed-off shotguns and rifles, as well as machine guns (with the aim of inhibiting transactions of such firearms).
Congress passes the Brady Bill, requiring federal background checks on individuals who seek to purchase firearms .
Photo by lbjlibrary.org
Photo by addictinginfo.org
Addressing VIOLENCE BEYOND GUN CONTROL Christian Robins
It seems as though tragedies due to violence are daily occurrences here in America. Most of the dialogue concerning how to prevent more of these tragedies from occurring has been centered on gun control. This debate is a vital one to have, since approximately 68 percent of the people murdered in 2011 were gunned down with a firearm, according to FBI crime reports.1 However, it is not one that I want to discuss right now, as many other contributors have that subject well covered. I would rather investigate other treatments for the root of the problem, our propensity to violence in certain environments. After all, violence has been a part of humanity since Cain picked up a rock, and certainly before the invention of firearms. It would be logical fallacy to assume that every one of those aforementioned victims would still be alive today if guns had suddenly been erased from the face of the earth. If history has anything to teach us, it is that guns are not required to kill people en masse.
58 other people injured.2 More recently, Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995. None of these fatalities were the result of gunfire. Sensible gun control is important, but we have other facets of violence to address.
THE FREAKY OBSERVATION The authors of a intriguing book called Freakonomics, Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, made a controversial observation when they noted a possible correlation between Roe v. Wade and violent-crime reduction. They suggested that the first generation of children whose parents had the legal right to abort them reached adulthood around the time that the U.S. experienced massive crimerate reductions. Their conclusion was that unwanted children were more likely to commit crimes.3 Now, controversy aside, this observation does reinforce the concept that parental love toward children is essential to their healthy development.
“Parental love toward children is essential to their healthy development.”
Take, for example, the worst school massacre in U.S. history. Many of us have never heard of it. On May 18, 1927, a disgruntled former school board member bombed a school building in Bath, Mich., leaving 38 children and six adults dead, along with
THE POVERTY EFFECT On a less controversial track, perhaps we can focus on violence by focusing our efforts on the areas where it most frequently occurs. According to the FBI, violent crime is much more prevalent in urban areas than non-urban areas, per capita: 256 victims versus 180 victims per 100,000 people, respectively, for those who like concrete numbers.4 This would seem like common sense, but in America, the more densely we
pack together, the more crimes we commit. However, even within urban areas this violence is not evenly distributed. A household’s annual income is the best way to gauge the likelihood of its members falling victim to any kind of crime, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. A household with less than $7,500 of annual income has a rate of 64 victims per 1,000 people over age 12.5 Households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more have a rate of 14 victims/1,000 people over age 12. It should be noted that only about three percent of Americans are a part of the lowest bracket, and yet almost half of all victims of violent crime come from that same bracket. While sad, this data is unsurprising. Wealthier people have more access to resources that fulfill their basic needs, along with better access to mental-health care and education. When basic needs go unfulfilled, desperate people stoop to violence to obtain more resources. They also form groups of similar individuals to coordinate their actions for a better chance of success. This is the primary driver of the formation of gangs in America, which account for 34 percent of all assaults in 2010, according to the National Gang Center.6 Most of these assaults are classified as homicides due to the criteria law enforcement uses for declaring a crime to be gang related.
on Poverty, ironic given our focus on violence. How we reduce destitution is a discussion for another time, but history shows that some of the best tools we have used are widespread, free education and a financial system that allows us to rise to higher economic levels. Thomas Sowell would claim that this financial system is successful due to supply-side economics,7 Paul Krugman would tell you that it is because of Keynesian economics.8 You decide.
MISSING MENTAL WARNING SIGNS Another area in which we are lacking is how we approach mental health. The association of mental instability and violence became a concern fairly recently. For much of our country’s history, mentally unstable patients were locked in asylums. By today’s standards, we find that rather inhumane, but the general opinion of the time was that it kept the public safer. This changed when the federal government started shifting the responsibility of caring for the mentally
“When basic needs go unfulfilled, desperate people stoop to violence to obtain more resources.”
This leads us to the struggle that America has faced for its entire existence: elevating people out of poverty. We even had a War
unwell to the states. That proved promising at first, with assurances of hundreds of mental clinics to avoid going back to the inhumane asylum model, but states started prioritizing other programs, and resources for mental-health care dwindled. Today, we face a system in which many mentally unstable people are not given treatment until
FEATURE 21 they harm themselves or someone else. This is due to a lack of funding for programs to help those who cannot help themselves, and to concerns over the privacy rights of the mentally unstable individuals.9
Additionally, many warning signs of mental stability are not reported when observed. According to CNN, the psychiatrist of Aurora shooter James Holmes was “so concerned about his behavior that she mentioned it to her colleagues, saying he could potentially be a danger to othn vio-ers.” This was almost six weeks before a dis-the shooting.10 The University of Iowa howsbluntly refused Holmes admission d areinto their neuroscience program after ancialhis application interview. CBS reporteco-ed that the head of the neuroscience claimdepartment sent out an email stating l duethat Holmes should not be admitted under gmanany circumstance.11 ynesAnother case of communication break-
down involves the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho. CBS reported that a former Virginia Tech professor tried to warn the university administration of warning signs she had noticed while working with Cho. That incident took place two years
to seek counseling. Cho did voluntarily seek treatment, but he was evaluated and released because he was not considered a threat. Cho’s parents were never notified since he was over 21.12
“Today, we face a system in which many mentally unstable people are not given treatment until they harm themselves or someone else.” before the shooting. No action was taken by the administration due to policy that prohibited them from requiring students
Finding ways to improve these failures to report or recognize warning signs and following up on them with treatment is likely our best defense against these mass shootings that have been plaguing our country over the last couple decades. Many of those mass shootings have been carried out by perpetrators later found to be mentally unstable.
These reforms, both to combat poverty and to improve how we deal with mental instability, may seem out of reach to many of us. Life has no easy fixes, and any major reform is going to take time — but have hope. Our violent crime rate has decreased by al-
HOUSEHOLD INCOME AND VIOLENCE VULNERABILITY
ng is A comparison of the percent of the total U.S. population that falls within an income bracket e asand the percentage of individuals subject to violent crime that come from that bracket. lence much [Income Bracket] [Percent of Victims of Violent Crimes] table[Percent of Total Population] oday’s mane, 4% <$7,500 49% s that when g the ntally 7% $7,500–$14,999 21%
omisds of o the arted urces y, we y ununtil
most 50 percent over the last two decades, according to the FBI.13 There is very little agreement as to why this drop has been sustained, other than improvements in policing. We have a lot of work to do, but understanding the causes of high violence rates gives us a target at which to aim. 1 fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-theu.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/ expanded-homicide-data-table-8. 2 freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry. com/~bauerle/disaster.htm. 3 Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: William Morrow, 2005. 4 fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-inthe-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/ tables/table_16_rate_number_of_crimes_ per_100000_inhabitants_by_population_ group_2011.xls. 5 bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/ cvus0601.pdf. Disclaimer: The most recent data available is from 2006. 6 nationalgangcenter.gov/Survey-Analysis/ Gang-Related-Offenses. 7 Sowell, Thomas. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy. New York: Basic, 2011. 8 nytimes.com/2011/12/30/opinion/keyneswas-right.html. 9 huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/26/us-mentalhealthcare-system_n_2353319.html. 10 cnn.com/2012/08/01/justice/coloradotheater-shooting-psychiatrist/index.html. 11 denver.cbslocal.com/2012/08/30/university-of-iowa-rejected-aurora-shootingsuspects-application. 12 cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-4927476. html. 13 fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-theu.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/ table-1.
Solutions to Guns and Violence DEATH BY GUN
FIREARM HOMICIDES IN 2010
Gun Suicides 19,766
(country, number of homocides, relative rate)
Gun Homicides 19,766
Gun Suicides 101 Other 14
Gun Homicides 18
Israel: 70 (2008) Australia: 30
United States of America: 11,078 Sweden: 18 Unstated 323
Any discussion regarding the relations between violence and humans can hardly ignore its premier student and observer, the famous Sherlock Holmes. In a recent episode of the show Elementary on CBS, a slightly more-passionate-than-usual Sherlock made the following claim on studying human behavior: “A famous statistician once stated that while the individual man is an insolvable puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one
HOMICIDE BREAKDOWN BY FIREARM TYPE
man will do, but you can with precision say what an average man will do. Individuals vary; percentages remain constant; so says the statistician.”1
is the arena in which I hope to shed some interesting light. Let us investigate both the problem of gun violence and its potential solution: gun control.
When seeking solutions to violence, we face this paradox: While every violent act in this world is birthed from different and unpredictable circumstances, it is in the “aggregates” of human behavior — patterns, trends, and statistics — that solutions are to be found. Because violence in America takes many different forms and is influenced in countless numbers of ways, the vastness of information available to study is unfathomable. But one facet of violence that has recently been the topic of much statistical debate is gun violence, and this
As Americans, it’s easy to think of ourselves as the moderate, between two guncontrol extremes: guns are not rampant, but citizens are allowed to possess them if they choose. Taking a global perspective, however, America is more extreme than we realize. On the one hand, the most restrictive policies are found in countries like Sweden, Japan, and the United Kingdom, where automatic and semi-automatic guns and handguns are prohibited entirely.2 While many Americans reject the idea of banning handguns, we still consider our-
Japan: 11 (2008) United Kingdom: 27 selves as moderates compared to countries like Switzerland and Israel, which have long-standing military traditions and where military-style weapons are not unfamiliar. However, even these countries are tightening their restrictions on guns. In both countries, a justifiable reason must be provided to own a gun, and guns that are used by the military are kept at the base or depot and not at home, contrary to popular belief.3 By contrast, the United States has no federal regulation prohibiting certain weapons, nor even the means to track the number and types of weapons owned or purchased in America. In all of the other countries mentioned, from the United Kingdom to Israel, the acquisition, possession, and
FEATURE transfer of guns is closely monitored, and perhaps more closely monitored in Israel than any other.4 Also, a citizen is required to have a gun-owner’s license and must also adhere to thorough and sometimes stringent registration policies when buying, owning, or selling a gun.5 In the U.S., these responsibilities are left to the discretion of state and city governments, not to the federal government. While each state may institute its own gun laws, as the state of New York has done recently, this system makes it nearly impossible to track and register guns and gun owners from state to state, which is an extremely loose approach to gun control when compared to those of the rest of the world.
With this in mind, how have these different approaches played out in their respective countries? The indicator most commonly used relating to gun violence (and the one with the direst consequences) is gun homicide. The graphs above represent a ratio of deaths per 100,000 with the total number of deaths displayed for each. What is immediately apparent is that, proportionally, the rate of gun homicides in the U.S. is nearly twice that of all the other countries that “regulate” guns more closely. But the sheer numbers themselves should not be overlooked either: In 2010, the number of American gun-homicide victims was 11,078, while in the United Kingdom that number was a mere 27,6 and historically Japan has reported even fewer. This year is not a fluke either: The numbers have been consistent for the past decade. Recall that both the United Kingdom and Japan have some of the strictest gun policies, and not ntriesleast significant is their ban of handguns. have where Looking within the United States, FBI miliar.studies on homicide indicate that 68 perhten-cent of murders in the U.S. involve guns, 7 coun-not surprisingly. However, when this pervidedcentage is broken down by type of gun, y thehandguns are proven to be the most deadly. t andFor known cases in 2010, the number of ef.3 handguns outpaced rifles and shotguns each by a factor of 15 — over 6,000 como fed-pared to a mere 400 in other categories.8 pons,Hopefully, comparing the United States mberwith countries like Japan and Great Britain hasedhas demonstrated two things: First, that ntriesby dramatically decreasing the number of gdomguns, the number of guns involved in crime andalso dramatically decreases.9 Second, if any
ban on guns hopes to decrease the number of gun murders, it cannot ignore the significant role of handguns in violence. As a response to a perceivable increase in gun violence in the U.S., Americans have started looking for ways to make society safer by changing the way we approach guns and gun violence. Most prominent among the proposed solutions is the plan presented by the Obama Administration “to better protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings like those in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson.” The plan, known by the tagline Now Is the Time, outlines four proposed actions to address gun violence: 1) Close background-check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands; 2) Ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and take other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence; 3) Make schools safer; 4) Increase access to mental-health services.10 The first two parts relate to the regulation of guns, while the others relate more generally to specific concerns and potential causes of gun violence. (These last two are not insignificant; it is likely that they will draw the bulk of the government resources involved in this initiative.) Part one of the
president’s plan proposes to require criminal background checks for all guns sales and to make the background check system more centralized under the federal government, and not as state dependent,11 all in all making the American system of regulation resemble those of other countries. Part two of the plan involves reinstating a ban on assault weapons like the one that ended in 2004 (HR3355 Title XI, Subtitle A) and limiting high-capacity magazines to 10 rounds, among several other provisions relating to law enforcement, health care providers, and research on gun violence. To achieve these goals, the president announced 23 executive actions, representing the clout of the Now Is the Time initiative. Although too numerous to include here, they can be found on the White House’s website.12 While only in its beginning stages, this solution seeks both to model American gun laws after those of the rest world, and also to research and engage in many other facets of violence and American culture. Yet it is worthy of note that this plan addresses only a single facet of gun violence in America — mass shootings like those in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson. While these events are relevant to the issue of gun violence, they constitute only a small fraction of the total number of gun incidents — less
1. Elementary. CBS TV Network (published at CBS.com on 10 Jan. 13). 2.Note: Sweden does permit handguns with appropriate licensing, but not for the protection of property. gunpolicy.org/firearms/compare/194/prohibited_firearms_ and_ammunition/91,177,178,192,10.
4. In Israel, 40 percent of gun applications are rejected, and those approved are assigned a special permit and identification mark for tracking. See above reference (3).”
Statistical homicide and mass murder are nearly incomparable in their circumstances and results. While the graph below shows that most homicides victims knew their offender to some degree, spree killers and mass murderers target strangers, and most often ones in places where there is not likely to be any capable resistance — schools, theaters, youth camps, etc. They also prefer more powerful weapons than typical murders, which is why they pose a particularly difficult problem to law enforcement. Strangers — 1,481
than 0.2 percent of the number of people killed by guns since 2000. Far more significant are the numbers of gun homicides and suicides every year. While banning semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines will make it harder for mass murderers to obtain their weapons of choice (likely chosen for their “shooting appeal”), doing so will not address the gun most responsible for the deaths in America: the handgun. In attempting to find the solution to mass shootings, perhaps we are only solving the problem that we all see and by which we are all are horrified, but ignoring the problems that we don’t see. To do so would not only defy premise of the statistician by focusing on the insolvable individual, but would also lead to a solution that is no solution at all — only an irrelevant and politically charged policy debate. A true solution would comprise all facets of gun violence: from mass shootings to firearm accidents, from armed robbery to homicide to suicide. They are all part of the problem, and they must all be a part of the solution.
3. washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/ wp/2012/12/14/mythbusting-israel-andswitzerland-are-not-gun-toting-utopias.
VICTIM – OFFENDER RELATIONS
Close Relations – 2,764
5. Information gathered from gunpolicy.org. Explore the “Gun Owner Licensing” and “Firearm Registration” categories for each country to learn more. 6. World Health Organization, Detailed European Mortality Database. 7. FBI Expanded Homicide Data, Table 7. fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-theu.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/ expanded-homicide-data-table-7. 8. Ibid. Table 8. fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-theu.s.-2011. 10. Ibid. For more details about each part of the plan, see above reference. 11. Ibid. 12. whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ docs/wh_now_is_the_time_actions. pdf.
Acquaintances – 2,807
ASWWU Executive Candidate Platforms You may have seen my flattened face watching you walk to class. Here’s why:
Hello, friends! I am delighted to be sharing a few words with you about myself and the ideas God has inspired me to share with you. The platform I am presenting is best summed up in one word: holism. When Jesus invited us to be in his kingdom, he said, “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4, ESV), which is not a partial statement. He wants to be involved in the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of our lives also. More specifically, I desire to promote “holistic living” on campus as follows: (1) encourage “grass roots” ministries/ services to grow from the student body and provide resources for that growth, (2) create opportunities for students to journey beyond the material presented at spiritual events on campus, to make it applicable, (3) and help students get a real understanding of what life is like on the spiritual front after college. These are part of the message that I can share with you here. Now for a few words about myself: I am a child of God, and I wear my Father’s name like a young boy’s favorite hat.
You can find info about me on The Mask and facebook.com/missionled.
I’m running for ASWWU spiritual vice president! Here are two of my goals:
• To encourage the blend of personal and corporate connection with God. ASWWU Week of Worship is a great example of this, but we can go further. I want to create opportunities for students to share their personal testimonies of successes and trials in a group setting to provide encouragement to students who feel alone in their struggles. Also, I will provide a free Bible to any student who needs one and will work with small group ministries to facilitate students’ paths to finding others in similar spiritual walks.
• To integrate spiritual opportunities on campus. One of my professors once told me, “only connect,” and I take his advice to heart. This year, ASWWU has teamed up with OPS and AGA for service projects. I want to bring that method to spiritual endeavors, coupling ASWWU spiritual with OPS, AGA, the dorm chaplains, and student-led worship services — as well as Campus Ministries in general — to provide a unified yet multifaceted approach to spiritual life.
Thoughts or questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 599-0705.
I am running for ASWWU executive vice president because, as president of the student senate, I will be responsible for ensuring that your ideas are heard and acted upon. Senate represents you and is the primary way you can be involved in ASWWU, so it is important that you are aware of what is happening on campus. The position of EVP is responsible for acting as a liaison between students, faculty, staff, and administration. Since this position involves communicating with multiple groups, experience is key.
My name is Alec Thompson, and I am running for the position of executive vice president for the 2013–14 school year. I am very excited at the possibility to represent the student body in hope of continuing the forward progress of the current administration. ASWWU is a servicebased organization that is run by the students and for the students. At its core, ASWWU should be continually improving the student body’s experience spiritually, physically, and mentally. This is the emphasis that I will bring to ASWWU. Communication will be increased between ASWWU and the student body. Student input will be valued, and the relationship between students and their senators will be strengthened. If given the opportunity to serve as ASWWU executive vice president, I will serve with honesty and clarity. I will make every effort to bring our campus together with both passion and energy.
This year, I am serving as parliamentarian for student senate and as chief justice for ASWWU’s supreme court. In this position, I have worked to provide representation for students abroad and have gained valuable experience working with this year’s EVP. In senate, we have worked to provide renovations for The Atlas, rock wall improvements, new exercise equipment for Foreman gym, gift baskets for Meske residents, packages for overseas students, grip tape for Sittner fire escapes, and many other things. I appreciate how active student senate is, and I hope to continue this tradition in the future. If you have questions for me or ideas for ASWWU, contact me at (541) 670-8117 or facebook.com/DuclosforASWWUEVP.
Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about me and my platform. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email me at (916) 801-0386 or email@example.com.
WWU has left a significant impression on me in the few years I’ve been here. I enjoy being a part of this community because of the people who are here.
I believe it is time for us to make some big steps forward. There is so much untapped potential in ASWWU, and I am excited about the possibilities next year holds. There are many great candidates running for a variety of positions, and I would love to build an effective and unified team with them.
This year, I was given the opportunity to be more closely involved with ASWWU in the position of executive secretary. Working closely with the ASWWU Cabinet has fueled my passion for being a leader and serving others here at WWU.
As your financial vice president this year, I have worked closely with each branch of ASWWU. I have a firm understanding of their functions and have many ideas to improve each one.
I’m running for ASWWU president because I want to continue the momentum that has been built this year. I want to communicate with the student body more and provide you with events and an atmosphere that you want to be a part of. I want to lead a team that serves you.
Thank you for considering me to be your next ASWWU president.
People often ask me, “What does ASWWU do with all its money?” That is a great question. Because of my position overseeing ASWWU’s finances, I know the extent of our funds. With the size of our budget we should be able to do so much more than what we are currently doing! The spiritual and social departments of ASWWU are each getting less than 10 percent of the overall budget. I want to greatly expand these departments to create a better environment both spiritually and socially.
I love Walla Walla University and the people who are part of it; I would be honored if you would allow me to fulfill my passion for service as your ASWWU president.
Dear reader, in these following words my goal is to give you three, yes three, undeniable reasons to vote for me as next year’s ASWWU president. The first of those aforementioned reasons is that I know how to say president in Spanish (el presidente). Bam! That’s a winner for sure, right? If you’re still not sure, well then keep on reading. ... I believe that the skills I’ve learned as OPS president this year, working with the guys of Sittner and Meske alongside various other clubs, as well as holding the presidency through high school, will combine to provide an excellent formula for success and leadership within ASWWU.
One thing I dream of is digging up all those little events, the day-today things like pumpkin carving in November that we remember and love, and bringing them back with a passion alongside the big things like Barn Party and Spring Jam that we look forward to each year. I may not be the best ASWWU president in history, but I am a firm believer in listening to my people and helping to make those ideas possible. “A firm hand and a soft ear,” eh? That’s four; look at me go!
Hello, Walla Walla University: I hope midterm week is going well for all of you! As it has been stated above, my name is Nancy and I’m running for ASWWU social vice president. Why? I’m running for this position because I enjoy the work that I do for ASWWU. Currently, I’m an assistant to the social VP and an ASWWU senator. I also worked for last year’s social VP and thus feel well prepared to make the next step and serve as the social VP for this coming school year.
What do I have to offer? My experience as assistant to the social VP has helped me learn what events students enjoy the most and how to go about getting them done. Also, if elected, I will make sure students hear about all the events on campus through all the means possible — this is an area of focus I want to enhance. I’m looking forward to continuing with all of the popular events on campus, as well as adding new ones like bringing all the clubs together for a megaevent, similar to the Welcome Back Bash. All in all, I look forward to serving you by making your experience here great.
Photos by The Mask
Town Hall Meetings: 14 & 21 February | The Atlas | 7 p.m.
Killin’ It: The Benefits of Violence in Media Grant Perdew Culture Editor
Violence has run our earth for ages and eons of time. From massive wars to smallscale fistfights, it has shaped the world we live in today. But for the last few decades, the media has been blamed for the hostilities by those behaving out-of-turn. I say the opposite. I’m not going to get into why a person would do belligerent acts or give concrete solutions about gun and mental-health problems; I’m here to explain why violence in media is a good thing. Just look at Quentin Tarantino. OK, some people look down at him for using so much graphic violence in his films. If you are an understanding person who has the ability to look beyond the surface, you’ll know that Tarantino’s films are about so much more than the violence. He’s interested in delving into the effect of the violence, not the act itself. That’s where a good story can come from. And it’s true: Even with its high levels of violence, his new film, Django Unchained, has been nominated for five Oscars, including the award for best picture. But why is the violent media good?
People have need of emotional release. New Scientist magazine found in 2007 that the average child will witness 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on TV before entering elementary school.1 This sounds terrible at first, but studies have found that mock violence can and does satisfy the considerable need to experience strong emotion that people, including children, build up during the day. First-person shooter games can be a fantastic way to blow off some steam and relax. If we were to blame one school shooting on a violent video game, that’s one out of millions of others that are playing the same game who have never carried out these hostilities. Also, anti-TV-violence statistics are unconvincing. Violent images and ideas come in too many different styles and contexts for researchers to be able to make meaningful generalizations about effects. Some experts have suggested that forms of simulated aggression, like TV violence, can be beneficial under some circumstances. Identification with a rebellious, even destructive, hero helps children learn to push back against a modern culture that cultivates fear and teaches dependency. It’s a tough world out there, and naïvety will not save you. Psychologists have found that fear, greed, power hunger, and rage are aspects of ourselves that
we try not to experience in our lives, but we often want, or even need to. The media allows us to experience these emotions vicariously through the stories of others. To be fair on this issue, you would have to also compare film and TV violence with children’s literature, which has oftentimes featured extreme acts of violence in order to bring about a point, to inspire, or just to scare children. Any sort of violence for the sake of entertainment, for better or worse, has been part of human culture for thousands of years. Think of the books you read as a child. The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings are adventure stories full of battles and struggles that help us learn about life. Even the Bible contains gruesome violent stories, but even after all my reading, I’ve never wanted to drive a stake through a man’s head while he’s sleeping. Violence in media is a good thing because young people shouldn’t be sheltered from the darker sides of life. We inhabit the same brutal world as adults. Gaining skills to deal with it can come from violent media. After watching the The Hobbit, I didn’t want to grow my hair out and shoot arrows at ugly people. Instead, I wanted to run across the fields with my friends and sing about the Misty
Mountains. The media affects us positively in this sense. When Quentin Tarantino was asked last month if he would watch a kung fu movie three days after the Sandy Hook massacre, he replied, “Maybe, because they have nothing to do with each other. I’m annoyed that people always ask me about this. I think it’s disrespectful to their memory, actually, to the memory of the people who died, to talk about movies. Obviously, the issue is gun control and mental health.” 1. ehow.com/list_5825118_good-effects-tvviolence.html
LOCAL FOCAL Tommy’s Dutch Lunch It may be a hole in the wall, but inside it is homey, quaint, and one of Walla Walla’s best-kept secrets … until now. This is like one of those classic diners you’ve probably seen in a Quentin Tarantino film, but they never seem to mention how delicious the food is. If you can look past the sketchy exterior, Tommy’s is a delectable spot for a lowpriced, tasty, home-cooked meal. And they’ll never forget to refill your coffee. Open: Mon–Sun 6 a.m.–2 p.m.
MELLIFLUOUS MELODIES Listen online: tinyurl.com/b3ynsmj
"Sweet Life" Kudos to Mister Ocean for successfully defending himself from Chris Brown last week. Seems like that guy just loves beating people up! This American R&B singer-songwriter croons of how the world is a beautiful place, especially when you’re on the beach.
Mister Rogers Remixed
"Garden of Your Mind" PBS digital studios released this auto-tuned gloriousness of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood last summer and has since continued to inspire us to learn about the wonders of the world and to keep growing ideas in the gardens of our minds.
"Goodbye Versailles" This Seattle group has a knack for crafting sincere songs that rise with anticipation and recede gracefully. A farewell to the Parisian palace, this ballad takes us far away to a forgotten time and country. If you are truly taken back, be aware that you may be in the midst of the French Revolution.
"Out Alive" So apparently we’re stuck in the club with Ke$ha until the end of time. To me, this sounds worse than a drawn-out game of Monopoly with One Direction. But nevertheless, this pumpin’ dance anthem is a great way to get your moves on with the trashy pop princess herself.
I See Stars
Electropop Punk Rock
"Till The World Ends" A vigorous cover of Britney Spears’ hit, this intense electronicore track was compiled on the fourth volume of Punk Goes Pop. Even if you can’t handle rock or punk bands, I think everyone could use a little bit of this head-banger every now and then to loosen up.
"Surrender to Hope" Because this was created by a company that composes highend trailer music for movies, you already know that it is intense, inspiring, and epic. “Surrender to Hope” is full of key changes, magnificence, triumph, and ambition.
Dear Stupid People
We have so many stupid Eric Weber people that live among us. We Diversions Editor also have some really smart people that act really stupid: Perfect examples of this phenomenon are Sarah Palin, Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson, Joe Biden, Ke$ha, and people who wear socks with sandals. Moving on ... I’ve noticed several things that these people have in common, one of them being a lack of bodily cleanliness, and another being a love of country music. But most important is their shared lack of imagination. Actually, we all need to be a little more imaginative. Just look at all of the violence we’ve seen and experienced this last year. It’s staggering. Let’s use some imagination! We need to stop hurting people with guns and start hurting them with words like heinous, rancid, detestable, and flatulence. Everyone, let’s use our intelligence and write hate-filled letters. Get out your pens and pencils; it’s about to go down, hard. You know what? I’m going to start my first letter right now. Dear Kristen Stewart, Please excuse me for a second, because whenever I see or hear your name, my gag reflex kicks in. ... OK I’m back. I want to start off by saying you did great in Twilight; Nicholas Cage would be proud. I think that the role of Bella was perfect for you: an emotionless, porcelain-faced cyborg. Finally, I just want to say, from one soulless individual to another, you’re playing with the big dogs. I will eat you. Luv ya! Eric Weber
Listen to me read my column at soundcloud.com/eweberz.
How Much Are We Willing to Accept? F Trevor Boyson
News Gus Johnson will be announcing the 2018 World Cup. (This is really good news.) The New York Giants have relased Ahmed Bradshaw to save $3.75 million in cap space. The U.S. men’s soccer team at Honduras 2–1 to start their World Cup qualification campaign.
The thing about sports is that it is essentially a condensed version of life. For all its intrigue, soaring successes, bitter endings, gossip, and even violence, it presents its own universe complete with the trappings of life. When we think of the beginnings of sport, we often wander back through time to the gladiators of Rome literally fighting to the death. Many of our expressions to describe what happens in games hark back to acts of battle. Thankfully in the modern age, we no longer cheer for death and killing. But sports are just as popular now as then, and violence is far from absent. Our sports players cover themselves with various forms of pads, helmets, and protection. League-governing bodies have all doled out penalties both in game and out for overly violent acts committed.
Basketball intramurals this quarter are among the largest the univerisity has seen. With a total of 33 teams, the gym is abuzz with basketball Monday through Thursday nights. A league has 10 teams and is led by the undefeated teams Hustlaz, WWU TangClan, and Slam Dunk Millionaires. B league has 16 teams and is led by the undefeated teams Friendship Squad; Three the Hard Way; and Hide J’Kidd, Hide D’Wight. The women’s league has seven teams, led by the
Yet there seems to be a degree of violence that we as a society are more than prepared to accept. Watching the highlights of my hometown hockey team the Colorado Avalanche, I saw one of our stars, Landeskog, get hit with a powerful check. Although Shark player Brad Stuart hit Gabriel Landeskog’s head with his shoulders (considered illegal and penalty worthy by the National Hockey League), the Sharks fans roared and the announcers applauded Stuart’s actions. As Landeskog shuffled to the bench, teammate Ryan O’Byrne went after Stuart to start a fight.
Fighting has always been around in hockey. In reality, it amounts to little more than some grappling and thrown punches that rarely land, and much more rarely do damage, before one or both of the players slips to the ice. It’s more symbolic than anything. The ability for physical domination in one of these brawls (even despite the lack of severe damage) is generally considered to be an effective deterrent to violence otherwise
directed at teammates.
But the catch is that O’Byrne was given an instigator penalty for seeking out a fight. The NHL has placed this penalty to curb the Ni number of fights taking place. No penaltyU.S. was ever called on Stuart for hitting an ex-play posed Landeskog at high speed in the head. the c video I was struck by the apparent dichotomy oftainm the situation. One severe act was applauded,high while the action in response (and one that did Xbox exactly zero damage) was punished. It would 20 a appear that the NHL would rather not tarmost nish its image with fighting, but dangerous game play can continue. What is an acceptable extre amount of violence in this situation? video Cases like these exist throughout the sportsmass world. While there is a discussion about howHoo violence in more extreme forms like guns is Be discussed, it may be time that we examine entifi how violence pervades seemingly innocuous game pieces of our lives like the sports world. term differ lence surab inten some gress arou While there is a wide range of talent onA m the court, any given night students are hap-to be py to have the opportunity to play the gameis th they love with friends. Some students play toticip win, some play to stay active, and others playspici just to socialize and take a break from class.ipant Whatever the reason, students are pleasedbut s with the opportunities intramurals provides.the s One complaint by many students has beenand h the worn, small jerseys that are provided; for-gerna tunately, new jerseys are on the way. be pl cases tortu viole since described it as a overwhelming experienceethic with all the lights, and chairs surroundingif the you. Students also enjoyed posing on centeris ag court, in which can only be described as aviole once in a lifetime experience. For some stu-force dents it was their first time ever going to anvideo
Basketball Intramurals a Success two undefeated teams TBA and Jugo de Papaya. There has been a fair share of exciting games, including a four-point play by Taylor Lewis in the closing seconds of a game to clinch the win for WWU Tang-Clan over the Blackhawks. In B league, the Friendship Squad, led by Jon Nickell, came from behind when playing the Wolfpack (led by Brenden Rajah) to win in overtime.
WWU Students Play at the Rose Garden ASWWU sold tickets to students for the annual Blazers game with the added perk of playing on the court of the Rose Garden arena after the game. Tickets sold for $15 for students see the Utah Jazz and the Blazers face off on Feb. 2. The Students made the trek to Portland to see the Blazers play that night. Students witnessed an exciting game led by rookie sensation, Damian Lil-
lard. The Blazers won the game 105–99 to the joy of most students. As a result of the Blazers scoring over 100 points students also received a voucher for a free chalupa from Taco Bell. After the game students enjoyed a thrilling experience of playing on the basketball court with one another. Some students
NBA game, something they can all say was Se money well spent. corre
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
? From Mario to Mass Effect Andrew Woodruff Contributing Writer
Ninety-one percent of children in the U.S. between the ages of two and 17 play video games.1 This popularity is the cause of much debate over whether video games are actually healthy entertainment for children. Of the highest-grossing games for the Xbox 360, three out of the top 20 are violent.2 The question most often asked is: Do video games cause violence? Does the extreme popularity of violent video games explain the acts of mass violence such as the Sandy Hook shooting?
can prove a link, or correlation, between two things, but that does not necessarily show that the first thing causes the second. In this case, that means that even if a link is shown between people who play video games and people who are aggressive, there could be a multitude of other causal reasons for their aggression.
are fraught to expectation bias (college students self-report according to popular media conclusions). In his own study, he mathematically balances for gender and concludes that “there was no correlation between aggression and video games.”7 In 2010, a California law was proposed to stop the sale of extremely violent video games to children. In addition to ruling this law unconstitutional, the Supreme Court also decided that they could not find justified correlation with the existing studies into video games and aggression.8 Finally, a recent study (led by Chris Ferguson) used the standard measurements for video game studies but changed a single variable: the competitiveness of the game. They found results suggesting that competition is a better indicator of aggression than the level of violence in the game.9
“People who play action video games 10 to 15 hours a week have better vision, can pick out finer details, and discern shades of gray better.”
Before investigating the scientific studies regarding video games, we should define some terminology. First, there is a difference between aggression and violence. In the psychological world, measurable aggression is defined as behavior intended to physically harm someone or something. Studies done to measure aggression often first measure heart rate and arousal, measured from pupil dilation. A more importantly measure, so as not to be confused with simple excitement, is the “Hot Sauce Test,” in which a participant is allowed to choose the level of spiciness that they believe another participant will be forced to eat. An alternative, but similar, measurement exists, by which the subject is allowed to decide how loud and how long a painful noise (such as fingernails scraping on a chalkboard) should be played for the other subject.3 In both cases, neither participant is subjected to torture by spice or by sound. In contrast, violence is not measurable within the lab, since, thankfully, psychologists cannot ethically hand participants knives and see if they will go at each other. All violence is aggression, but not all aggression is violence. Knowing this, psychologists are forced to rephrase the questions as, “Do video games cause aggression?” Second, there is a difference between correlation and causation. Many studies
The field is flooded with contrasting conclusions on video games and aggression, but the best place to start is with the American Psychological Association, which has taken a stance on video games and violence. The APA states that video games seem to cause aggression, but that it may particularly affect children with pre-existing aggressive tendencies.4 Two major psychologists who are proponents of this conclusion are Craig Anderson, Ph.D., and Brad Bushman, Ph.D. Together, they conducted a meta-analytic study that combined and balanced the statistics between 34 different published experimental and non-experimental studies on video games. They concluded that the average effect was 0.18, meaning short-term exposure to violent video games caused an 18-percent increase in aggression for the average participant.5 In stark opposition to this conclusion is Craig Ferguson, Ph.D., who asserts that the statistical analysis of Anderson and Bushman’s study, as well as most studies within the field, does not factor appropriately for gender, since males are more aggressive.6 He also asserts that most of these studies are done on college students and not children, meaning they
Yet not all video games are violent. A study by Dr. Bushman found that relaxing video games cause a decline in aggression.10 In the words of Daphne Bavelier, Ph.D., who has done extensive research in this field, “All media is not created equal.”11 Though the topic of aggression and video games will be hotly debated, many studies have shown the potential benefit of video games. Dr. Bavelier’s research used Call of Duty: Black Ops to study the effects of action video games on the brain. First, she has found that people who play action video games 10 to 15 hours a week have better vision, can pick out finer details, and discern shades of gray better.12 Second, using a standard form of attention measurement,13 video gamers were found to have a better attention span than others. Third, a test done to measure how widely one can split one’s attention efficiently14 shows that the average person can hold three objects of attention in their mind, while an average video gamer can hold six to seven objects of attention. To establish causality, Dr. Bavelier used a spatial reasoning test taken before and after 10 hours of gaming logged over a week. The average person
was one-third better, and the benefits still existed five months after the training.15 Knowing the potential benefits video games have on education and intelligence, I discourage scapegoating them in our discussion of violence. As is true with any form of media, video games are a malleable form of entertainment. Books, movies, and television all contribute to escapism, but they are also used for great educational good. Why should this not be the case with video games? Not only should we encourage children to educate themselves with books, but we should also utilize the medium of video games to its full potential. I think many people’s fear and hatred for video games comes from our lack of how to properly utilize them. Rather than demonizing video games, we should continue to explore their educational potential. 1. npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/pressreleases/pr_111011. 2. vgchartz.com/platform/7/xbox-360. 3. psych-it.com.au/Psychlopedia/article. asp?id=243. 4. apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/06/ violent-video-games.aspx. 5. C.A. Anderson and B.J. Bushman (2001). “Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal and prosocial behavior: A meta-analysis.” Psychological Science, 12, 353-359. 6. tamiu.edu/~cferguson/CJBGames.pdf. 7. Ibid. 8. supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448. pdf. 9. apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/vio-1-4-259. pdf. 10. J.L. Whitaker, B.J. Bushman. “Remain Calm. Be Kind. Effects of Relaxing Video Games on Aggressive and Prosocial Behavior.” Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2011. 11. ted.com/talks/daphne_bavelier_your_ brain_on_video_games.html. 12. Ibid. 13. The Stroop Test. 14. An animation of moving, yellow smiley faces is shown to subject. A number of faces start off blue and frowning, then after three seconds turn yellow. Subjects are asked to track the faces that were blue, splitting the attention of the subject. 15. ted.com/talks/daphne_bavelier_your_ brain_on_video_games.html.
Megan Cleveland Travel Editor
When I was in high school, my family decided to visit Florida for our spring vacation. We traveled to Disney World, Orlando, and Miami. The vacation was great: We had warm weather, plenty of sun, and a pleasant atmosphere — until we arrived in Miami. When we arrived, we realized that we had accidentally planned our visit to Miami during the national spring-break week. We soon found ourselves in the midst of a myriad of crazy teenagers with hormones fully charged, terrorizing city streets and occupying the better part of the beaches. It proved to be the definite low point in the trip. But what happens when those teenagers turn out to be drug lords or a vicious gang of militants? Or what if the beach is actually a nuclear wasteland? Definitely not so fun. Here are a few suggestions on cities and countries to avoid so you won’t find yourself the hostage of a hostile band of pirates, or worse. …
U.S. Department of State Travel Warning? Yes, issued Sept. 19, 2012. When visiting Pakistan, visitors can enjoy a vast array of attractions: Driving through the peaks of the Karakoram Mountains on the winding Karakoram Highway, visiting the city of Lahore and studying its architectural masterpieces, and wandering through the ancient markets of Quetta and Karachi. No matter
Home to the ancient cities of Damascus, Aleppo, and Bosra, Syria is a country filled with ancient history. The country boasts of many beautiful attractions, including castles dating back to the Crusades, sacred mosques, and maze-like, open-air markets. Unfortunately, this desert jewel is unfit for travel. The country is volatile and unpredictable, and the risk of kidnapping grows stronger daily. According to the U.S. Department of State, no part of Syria should be considered safe from violence. Most recently, on Jan. 29, over 50 victims were killed after a dispute between insurgents and the Syrian government.
ing travel in the country dangerous for visitors. Aside from the perilous situation in Algeria, it is one of North Africa’s most intriguing countries. With much of Algeria largely located in the Sahara, it offers a truly unique experience. Algeria offers a Vio host of beautiful sights, including Romando is ruins in the city of Tipasa, ancient Moz-read abite architecture in the M’zab Valley, andlisten ancient rock carvings in Tassili N’ajjer, astores Saharan national park. Algiers, the capitalDay, of Algeria, is a mesmerizing mélange ofto th French and Mediterranean architecture,a rur mosques, and ancient monu-to wa ments. and a MEXICO
SYRIA U.S. Department of State Travel Warning? Yes, issued Aug. 28, 2012.
State, “the North Korean government will detain, prosecute, and sentence anyone who enters the DPRK without first having received explicit, official permission and an entry visa from its government.”1 Several U.S. citizens who have ventured into North Korea have been arrested and detained long-term. North Korean officials view common tourist activities as acts of espionage, including attempting to speak to a North Korean citizen (so much for asking for directions ...). It is not un-
how alluring this adventure may seem, it is highly recommended that you find a new travel destination. Pakistan is full of terrorist activity due to the constant al-Qaida and Taliban presence in the country. Suicide bombings are on the rise, along with demonstrations and large political rallies. If you are lucky, you might even find yourself in the midst of a drone strike. NORTH KOREA U.S. Department of State Travel Warning? Yes, issued Sept. 11, 2012. According to the U.S. Department of
As as vi U.S. Department of State woul Travel Warning? Yes, for it’s a parts. Issued Nov. 20, 2012. part Known for its dense, emer-How ald jungles; white-sand beach-with es; and clear, warm water,that Mexico is a popular tropicalprobl getaway. Popular destinationsworse include Puerto Vallarta, Mex-our p ico City, Cozumel, and Oax-walk aca. Although some cities inenou Mexico are still safe, they canexam also be crowded, noisy, andfrom poverty stricken. Others, suchtungs as Tijuana, Acapulco, Cuer-phon navaca, and Cuidad Juarez, arefrom Photo by Flickr user savethewildup considered dangerous placescontr for travel. Much of the vio-like m lence is due to drug traffick-and w ing, with 47,515 people killedfund common for border officials to confiscate in narcotics-related violence in Mexicoto te visitors’ cell phones, nor is it unusual for between Dec. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30,2010 government authorities to take away your 2011. Although much of the violence isresear camera and possibly detain you for taking between criminal organizations and Mexi-mine unauthorized photos. Sound a bit harsh? can authorities, innocent bystanders haveHuffi ALGERIA been killed and injured. Not all Mexico iscomp unsafe for travel, and if you stick to popu-their U.S. Department of State Travel Warnlar tourist cities and keep to the popularmanu ing? Yes, issued Jan. 29, 2013. destinations, you can be sure of a safe, en-at the joyable vacation. Algeria is a country with a long history bette of violence. Ever since civil war broke know 1. travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/ out Algeria in 1992, visitors have been tw_5773.html. indire advised to keep out. Today, there are inprodu creasing threats bombings, ambushes, and 1,000 kidnappings of Western visitors. Al-Qaida likely is also a significant threat in Algeria, mak-
COLUMN AND CREATIVE WRITING
Looking Past the Lasers Rebecca Brothers Columnist Violence is easy to avoid. All you need to do is never watch any movies or TV, never read the news, stay out of bars, and never listen to rap. Also, you may want to avoid stores on Black Friday, Boston on St. Patrick’s Day, and Detroit at any time of year. Come to think of it, I would recommend living in a rural setting — oh, wait, then you’d have to watch out for rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and aggressive door-to-door salesmen.
product can sell better. And when they ask us, we’ll be waiting. It’s this kind of response, I think, that is most effective at defeating violence. I love stories about people who looked violence in the eye and said, “I will not stoop to your level.” Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are the first people to come to mind, but this summer, I was introduced to another, via Doctor Who (which I still think should have a question mark at the end, although I understand that one doesn’t mess with a 50-year-old tradition). The show has villains galore, all intent on taking over the world/galaxy/universe through violent means, and while I take issue with the villains’ origins (they’re always aliens — what I wouldn’t give to see the Doctor faced with a simple case of mail fraud or tax evasion), I will say this: They do a lovely job of showing that real-world villains can be defeated. I’m not talking about conspiracies or secret armies; I’m talking about things that contribute to violence, like greed, ignorance, two-facedness, lying to oneself, and the ultimate spine-tingler, apathy. The most poignant episodes, I’ve found, are those that look past the lasers and focus on ending a case of exploitation or domestic violence. I especially enjoy the storylines in which the Doctor doesn’t swoop in and save the day, but instead shows the people already there that they’re only limited by their own fear. He reminds them — and, simultaneously, an audience surrounded by injustice, apathy, and violence aplenty — that they’re capable of solving their own problems, if only they can find the strength. We have the strength. We have the knowledge, and the willpower, and the wallet power. How are we going to use it?
“What I wouldn’t give to see the Doctor faced with a simple case of mail fraud or tax evasion.”
As horrible as violence is, it would seem that it’s an inescapable part of this life. How do we deal with it? Do we say that it’s too big a problem (or, even worse, that it’s not our problem) and walk away? It’s easy enough to say “no,” but consider this one example: Where did your electronics come from? More specifically, where did the tin, tungsten, gold, and tantalum in your cell phone, computer, and MP3 player come from? Did they come from Congolese mines controlled by groups who routinely use tactics like mass rape to intimidate the local people, and who use revenue from those minerals to fund conflicts? It used to be nearly impossible to tell, but after the Dodd–Frank Act of 2010 (section 1502 requires companies to research whether they use Congolese conflict minerals), things started looking up. The Huffington Post reported last year that several companies are making efforts to change their supply chains.3 How do your gadgets’ manufacturers measure up? Go to the link at the end of this article and find out. Even better, ask the companies directly. Let them know that you won’t support violence, even indirectly. If 1,000 people refuse to buy one product made with conflict minerals, that’s 1,000 lost sales, and it’s 1,000 times more likely that the company will ask how that
1. blog.amnestyusa.org/business/is-your-cellphone-funding-human-rights-abuses. 2. raisehopeforcongo.org/content/initiatives/ conflict-minerals. 3. huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/intel-appleconflict-minerals-nintendo_n_1785885.html.
Root of Evil Chelsea Stewart Contributing Writer
The girl pauses in her dance up and down contrasting keys to shuffle through her music, and the boy takes the opportunity to discuss a topic weighing on his mind. “You’ve been watching the news, I suppose.” She hums in affirmation. “You know those proposed laws...” he begins casually. “It makes sense to get rid of them.” “Jake,” she breaks in, twisting on the piano bench, “Listen.” She launches into a marvelous, pulsing melody that takes his breath away, unsettling him before the debate has even begun. She stops short and faces him. “Isn’t this piano talented?” she asks. He blinks owlishly. “Such lovely music it makes,” she continues. “I rather like it.” Jake doesn’t understand and tells her so; she smiles but doesn’t clarify. He glares, crossing his arms. “This piano is just amazing, playing so well,” she insists. Finally provoked, Jake exclaims, “The piano isn’t doing anything! You’re playing the cursed thing!” She looks at him, one eyebrow delicately raised, giving him the feeling that he’s missed something. “What?” he asks, defensive. “The piano doesn’t do anything. What does, then?” Wondering if it’s a trick question, he answers, “You do. Your hands.” “That’s right. My hands. Me. Hands can make music, like mine do, or they can make pain. Now tell me, these new laws, they’re trying to stop pain, correct?” He nods, resenting where this is going.
“Then why aren’t they dealing with hands?” The room descends into silence. It lasts a full minute before Jake sighs and rolls his eyes. “They’re weapons, not pianos. It’s different.” “Of course,” she says, “But not really. What is weapon without man? You know, years ago they had a similar discussion. They said taking away inanimate objects would keep us safe and stop the monsters who destroy lives. They took those objects away, and guess what? The monsters still came.” He tries to break in, but she isn’t stopping. “Monsters don’t listen to laws, Jake.” She pulls something small out of her jean pocket. “This is an object. It has no soul, desire, or thought. It’s just a hunk of lifeless metal.” He stares at the token of controversy. She flips it around, toying with it idly. “My father fought similar laws years ago and failed. I’m not about to lie down and let them take more away.” He frowns, but asks the question: “What did they make laws against back then?” She smiles bitterly: “Guns.” She twitches, and the knife she has been holding flips out. They both stare at the light flashing off the blade three inches longer than the black suits want to allow. “They won’t stop with knives, Jake. They’ll get to the root of our problem: our hands.”
“The best thing since sliced bread.”
Verbatim SUPER JEWEL QUEST “Kids are like chickens: If they see someone on the playground that’s different from them, they’ll peck them to death. They are creepy little things.”
Questers, last weeks jewels were gone before Thursday was. Try these trickier riddles, and let me know if you’re stumped. I’ll post additional clues on sjqww.tumblr.com if you whiny babies can’t handle them.
— Randi Hankins
“I will pay you $5 to get me Naked.” — Kimberly Reich, on Costco juice deals
“If I had a scepter, I would throw it at you.” — Melita Crawford
“Woohoo! Start busting out with your hallucinogenic drugs!” — Kyle Craig, on understanding quantum mechanics
“There is never a dull moment in CommUnity ... unless you’re sitting next to Bronson.”
We’ve all heard wisdom about evil, time, and money — they’re all moot. Defeat the Huns? Jewel One’s the
prequel. Start removal at the root. When fresh perspective’s badly needed, many say that art’s the best. In light of present sadness, seek the text approval of M. West. When debates run to a standstill, and from people you would run, amass your personal stockpile — “Come on babe, check out these guns!”
— Sammy Schnell
Gun control or universal health care? “Universal health care, then people could be healthy, and I could shoot guns with my friends.”
“Oh shoot, I want unrestricted guns. Wait, what was the other one? ... OK, for sure.” Alexa Luke
“Universal health care and access to guns. I personally believe it makes things safer.” Scott Smith
“I would say universal health care … although mandatory [subscription] would make [the choice] a little more balanced.” Timmy Barbosa
“I would say universal health care … no! I don’t know what it’s like to not have it, so I can’t answer that.” Christina Penalba
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Julian Weller The Heel Editor
Gunions, it was hard firing off a column for this particular special issue. Guns are a loaded topic, and with so many ideas firing back and forth. it’s hard to know where to set your sights. Guns tap into a lot of fundamental human drives, not least the balance between public and private rights — i.e., how we define freedom. Freedom, as country songs tell me, isn’t free. It’s expensive. We pay into the government so it will protect our individual rights and our borders from Canadian terrorists, but in buying our way into the social contract, we become part of a community, and we sacrifice some individuality to avoid infringing on anyone else’s liberties. The gun debate shoots straight to the
hairpin sensitivity of this balance. Guns are fun. They’re exciting, like fireworks, fast cars, and drums. They’re a symbol of human progress, allowing us to control some really simple and thrilling chemical reactions. Loud noises used to be rare and seemed supernatural. You’d only hear booming during thunderstorms or around waterfalls, and both rarities still fill us with awe. With a gun, you can hold a thunderclap in your hand. And just like a guitarist can forget himself in a song, a marksman can zero his attention in on a target. As with any hobby, we like losing ourselves in manageable ways. Meditation satisfies the same needs for purposeful solitude. Still, some might question the creativity of devoting mental and monetary resources to repeatedly exploding things. Guns aren’t just fun — they help prevent crime. The New American reports that, an-
nually in America, “82,500 crimes ... are stopped by law-abiding gun owners ... [and] 270 incidents involve the law-abiding citizen killing the criminal perpetrator (police also kill an average of 400 violent criminal suspects annually).”1 When I remember female friends coming home late, I want them to have an unfair advantage over potential attackers. On the other hand, friends of mine have gotten lost and run for their lives from shooters protected under Idaho’s Castle Law. Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen gunned down by a neighborhood-watch member, was walking to a friend’s house with Skittles in his pocket, profiled, and murdered. There’s a more fatal margin for error with firearms. In China, on the same day as the Newtown mass shooting, a man stabbed 22 schoolchildren in Henan province. None of those kids died. In a country with as diverse morals, temperaments, and prejudices as America has, why amplify things? It’s easier
to mistakenly shoot a bystander than to stab them. A few more figures: In America, five percent of the world’s population owns 50 percent of its guns. Over 30,000 gun homicides are committed each year. Increased mental health care isn’t a viable solution because mass homicides aren’t predictable via profiling2. Often, debates target the efficacy and ethics of regulations. But like Kid President says, we’re all on the same team, right?3 We all want to be safer. So what do honest people have to fear from designing regulations to achieve that goal? What we’re doing now isn’t working. 1.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/ item/13946-china-school-knife-attack-portland-mall-attack-receive-little-coverage.” 2. npr.org/2012/12/14/167287373/many-masskillers-have-had-chronic-depression. 3. “goo.gl/8kE0h.”
Freedom vs. Violence