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FROM THE EDITOR: America rushes into another war

FROM THE EDITOR: America rushes into another war


On Sept. 10, President Barack Obama told the nation he was taking us into another war. With America getting ready to end combat operations in Afghanistan, our Noble Peace Prize-winning commander-in-chief will soon be dropping bombs in Syria. And Iraq. Again.

Again with the military conflict that will undoubtably result in more civilian suffering, death and destruction. We talk about an air war as a “limited conflict.” I imagine it doesn’t feel limited to the women and children who sleep with the sounds of explosions in the background.

We are told this war is necessary, to defeat a ruthless enemy that has decapitated American journalists and British aid workers. But few stop to ask where this enemy came from, who has funded and aided them and why they exist in the first place.

These questions aren’t being asked because no one wants to hear the answers. But the truth is, America and its allies are largely responsible for the enemy they are now desperately trying to stop.

A report commissioned by the State Department and subsequently published by Wikileaks shows our government knows the Islamic State (or ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever you want to call them) has been funded by private donors from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and other supposed allies.

Experts have also been saying for years that our military violence across the Middle East, Asia and Africa would only breed more extremists against us. From our drone war in Pakistan to the destabilization of Libya to the multiple Iraq wars, America has been creating enemies around the world.

Of course, the Islamic State must be stopped from murdering innocent people. However, dropping bombs and hoping a ragtag group of local forces can defeat more than 30,000 fighters is a pipe dream. The Iraqi Army, funded by billions of U.S. dollars, already failed to stop them.

The international community should be cutting off the flow of weapons to the region, rather than pumping in more instruments of death. We should realize that killing every radical is impossible, and instead start working towards meaningful, diplomatic solutions that address the causes of violence.

The industrial-military complex has ensured that another war will be waged. The media should be ashamed of itself for once again failing to ask the right questions, and hold those that created this problem responsible for their actions.

MY TUCSON: Learning from difficult times

MY TUCSON: Learning from difficult times


Every time I think of Tucson I have mixed feelings, but more than anything I have mixed feelings about the University of Arizona.

I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. My family and I moved to the United States on the day I turned 14.

It was very difficult for me to adapt to a new country with a different culture, odd food and a new language. I remember having to ask for interpretation from students to use the restroom.

I was placed in English as a Second Language classes in high school, and had to learn the ABCs and kindergarten songs such as “Head and Shoulder, Knees and Toes.” It was pretty embarrassing and degrading.

After that, I decided to do my best in learning the language so that I would never be embarrassed again. I went from ESL classes to regular English classes to AP English and literature.

I graduated in the top 25 of my high school class. Of the 500 people in my class, 40 of us went on to a university.

UA provided a full scholarship that paid for tuition and books for my four years of education. The scholarship also included a laptop, a printer and an iPod. I was set.

Two years later, I became depressed and my life went downhill from there. I failed two whole semesters and was disqualified from the UA. I began attending Pima Community College, and hid the truth from my parents.

I finally had to tell my parents after a year of lying about my academic situation. They were surprisingly understanding and told me they would support me in everything I do.

It took counselors and medicine, plus love and support from family and friends, to get out of that hole I was in. It hasn’t been easy but I am pulling myself up little by little.

As my thirst for improvement and success continues, I have taken most of the writing classes offered at Pima and am now taking the journalism classes.

I am doing so much better, and am now in training for my dream job as a Spanish interpreter for Cyracom. I will move to Flagstaff next semester to finish my education and graduate, finally.

Even when my experience in Tucson has been bittersweet, I have met wonderful people. I’ve also learned a lot about life, what independence is all about and how to overcome obstacles.

After this adversity, I feel ready to face anything. Thank you Tucson for all of the learning and the good times.



Community colleges offer many advantages

Community colleges offer many advantages


 Community college is not what it used to be. With so many advantages financially and almost all of the same experiences, it is hard to justify starting off at a university.

Students who want to graduate from a university can knock out their general courses at a community college, with a lower work load.

 In my own experience, going straight from high school to the University of Arizona was an extreme and overwhelming change.

If I had attended a community college for two years, I would have been better prepared for the amount of work and stress that was coming my way.

When applying for a university, the college expects you to pick your major before coming to school. I felt pressured and very unsure of exactly what I wanted to do.

At a community college, your interests are more important and exploration is a big part of the process.

Of course there are perks to being at a university, such as big football games, Greek life and a larger curriculum to choose from.

However, community college offer many perks that a university does not. The smaller class sizes provide a more personal feeling. You are closer to your classmates and your instructors.

At a university, it is very common to never exchange one word with a professor for the entire semester. I’d rather know my professors so maybe they can help me decide what it is I want to do in life.

In both cases, you must take prerequisites classes. Why not take them at half the cost and focus on what you really want to do?

After I chose my major at UA, I not only had to take those generic classes but also required classes that had nothing to do with my major. That would be OK if you knew exactly what you wanted to do, but for most of us, that isn’t the case.

Financial aid is given to those in need both at a community college and a university, so that’s not a factor.

It is important to research your options before you make a decision for your future.

I would never take back my early experience at UA but I am now more aware of the benefits of community college.

I’ve had great experiences at both types of schools and am an advocate of each, depending on the incoming student. For many students, though, I would recommend the community college option.

Jones has attended both the University of Arizona and several community colleges throughout the state in order to knock credits out.


Stop blaming victims

Stop blaming victims


When unfortunate events happen, society tends to blame the victim.

The public can be insensitive and quick to condemn the vulnerable. No matter what vulgar or vicious act a perpetrator commits, it is somehow always the victim’s fault.

On Aug. 31, an unknown hacker posted stolen celebrity photos on the website 4chan. The postings included nude photos of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton and countless others.

After the hacked photos were widely publicized, the celebrities were bombarded with uninvited scrutiny.

Then came the inevitable backlash, and the victims were blamed and shamed for their indecency. Never mind that the private images were never intended for public consumption.

The true fault lies with the person who had the audacity to hack into the celebrities’ personal lives.

Another incident started on Feb. 15, when former Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice was arrested and charged with assault toward his then-fiancée Janay Palmer.

A video posted by the celebrity news website TMZ showed Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of an elevator. Rice lost his job after a second video surfaced from inside the elevator that showed Rice throwing the knock-out punch.

Fox News “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade mocked the incident, saying “I think the message is, take the stairs.”

His so-called joke once again blamed the victim by providing a “solution” instead of putting the blame where it belongs, with the perpetrator.

Other examples of placing blame: telling a rape victim that she should have worn more decent clothing, or telling an abused spouse that she shouldn’t have made her husband mad.

People should be allowed to do what they want to their own bodies without the fear of having someone taking advantage of it. And blaming the victim for an abusive relationship is just ridiculous.

We must stop being insensitive to victims and quit looking the other way with perpetrators. Instead, let’s teach people how to be decent and not to take advantage of others.

Stewart, 23, wants the continuous shaming of blameless victims to stop and wishes society would start blaming the perpetrators.

Pg06-Katie Stewart


Give us higher wages or give us a hand

Give us higher wages or give us a hand


I want more money. No, scratch that, I need more money.

With the high cost of living, poverty is a real and debilitating epidemic. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report in June, more than 2 million Arizonians live in a poverty area.

Poverty is largely affected by income, and although the state’s minimum pay is higher than the federal wage, it’s not enough.

In order to improve quality of life, the minimum wage needs to increase.

Since 2006, Arizona has followed a plan that increases the wage as cost of living rises. I hardly think the recent increase in wage from $7.80 to $7.90 is enough to alleviate workers from the stress of making ends meet.

The 10-cent raise only increases a full-time worker’s paycheck by about $4 a week. Many jobs available are only part time.

Those who oppose an increase in wages claim it would inflate prices, causing more harm to employees, consumers and business owners.

I assume businesses would face an increase in operating costs and retail markup would rise. But, let’s look at the way minimum wage employees spend their paychecks.

Most of us making the minimum, or even slightly above, live paycheck to paycheck.

We do not have income available to put large chucks of our money into savings or a 401(k). Our money goes directly back into the economy as we use it for immediate needs such as food.

If consumers continue to have low wages, they will spend less at businesses and therefore business will be negatively impacted anyway.

Higher minimum wages could increase employee productivity, reduce turnover rates and boost the economy.

Those struggling financially have been put into a lose-lose situation. On top of low wages, many assistance programs have been cut.

The state has made cuts to programs such as cash assistance, food stamps, Section 8 housing, education, federal grant money and child-support subsidies.

If these programs continue to receive the knife, people need to get paid more so they can obtain the most basic of human needs.

Verwys believes we all deserve to better ourselves and should have access to basic human necessities.

Pg06-Jamie Verwys


GUEST COMMENTARY: Harassment different for men


Over the summer, on a temporary job at East Campus, the interim boss sexually harassed me.

She gave me daily updates on how wonderful I smelled, how beautiful my hair looked, how handsome I was in that shirt or those cool boots.

She made sure to inform me that managers and employees should always be allowed to date because otherwise how would dedicated people ever find love?

She also asked me several times if I did, or could, find a woman fitting her description as attractive.

While it is no difficulty for me to say this, as I am not embarrassed or ashamed, I did learn something from the experience.

I learned that while this action was completely unacceptable on her account and I do not excuse her actions, men don’t have the same experience as women in anything, even sexual harassment.

What I mean is simple. I never felt out of control, I never felt physically unsafe or threatened. I was never worried about being followed or stalked.

Instead, I was completely annoyed and irritated by this woman, which is a common reaction to her from what others have shared with me.

In talking to a number of female friends, I was reminded of two powerful things.

First, if my 20 or so female friends that discussed this with me are any indication, it seems about three-fourths of women (yes, 75 percent) experience sexual harassment in the workplace routinely.

The second powerful lesson was that most of my female friends never feel completely safe. As much as it never enters my mind to not feel safe, it never enters theirs to feel safe.

This is a major problem and it needs to be fixed.

As much as I knew this on some level, sharing my experience has lead me to realize just how easy I have life as a man.

Sure, once the interim boss figured out I would never go out with her, she gave me a quick lie about several people being dismissed due to budget issues and I was on my way. Obnoxious annoying woman was no longer an issue for me.

None of my female friends could tell me they just walked away and never had issues about that person, or others, again.

Rather, each friend told tales of finding that person in others or actually seeing that person again and feeling terrified of them.

I don’t have that issue. I saw the interim boss at a restaurant and she was happy to see me. I couldn’t care less.

She was the same annoying, obnoxious personality that makes her as unsuccessful in interpersonal issues as in the office.

Yet, I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t frightened and I wasn’t even bothered. She just doesn’t matter.

That stance comes because I have no reason to fear her or the situation. That is how everyone should feel, but that isn’t the reality of our society.

While sexual harassment is never OK and needs to be dealt with sternly, the truth is women and men simply don’t experience it the same way. For women, it appears to be an incredibly frightening, often life changing, event.

 The author is a writer for the screen and literature including poetry. He is currently a Pima employee, and writing under a pseudonym.

Native ads, cleverly disguised content

Native ads, cleverly disguised content


They are nearly impossible to avoid, constantly seeking your attention. If you glance over your shoulder be prepared to be in utter despair, for surely the ads will find you.

Native advertisement or sponsored content, is the latest in a string of ways of companies to disguise themselves in news.

Advertisement has taken many forms and discovered innovative ways to capture an audience’s attention in various medians. The problem seems to be that these ads have begun to blur the lines of news and advertising by cleverly disguising themselves as news articles.

Nothing has been off limits to companies trying to branch out for people to purchase a service or buy a product.

Buzzfeed is among the biggest perpetrators of native ads. Websites have cleverly adopted the guise of news-content to entice readers to continue scrolling down the page.

Titles like “10 Beautiful Places In The World That Actually Exist” sponsored by Pepsi Next, have the appeal of brilliant, awe-striking photos. It leaves the web’s surfers no choice but to click, if not sheerly for the sake of feeding one’s curiosity.

It is the goal of partners like Pepsi and Buzzfeed to work together to produce content that doesn’t look or feel like a commercial. According to an article written by, 60 percent of consumers do not remember the last display ad they saw.

On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, native advertisement had an 11 minute segment where the host said, “It’s generally agreed in journalism that there should be a wall separating the editorial and the business side of news. It’s sometimes referred to as the separation of church and state. Although I like to think of news and advertising as the separation of twizzlers and guacamole. Separately they’re good but if you mix them together, somehow you make both of them really gross.”

Dan Greenberg, the founder and chief executive of Sharethrough, an internet advertising service made a comment on Bloomberg Businessweek retorting what Oliver said.

“What’s actually happening here is that the business side of the world has realized that to survive in the long run, they need to create quality, authentic, real content,” he says. “In some ways, you could say that state has found its religion.”

Why is this dangerous?

Because even though business models are evolving, it presents a threat to what qualifies as news.

Publications as reputable as the New York Times have fallen privy to the entice of native ads. Recently the paper published an article on female inmates that, although well written and informative, was actually an ad for Orange is the new Black and Netflix.

With the internet being such a viable tool for the spread of information, companies have now taken it upon themselves to exploit journalistic integrity.

Print is really the only last surviving shred of true journalism. And the struggle for funding print stories has always fallen on the ability of a publication to sell ad space. Since users don’t intentionally click on banner ads, this is a way to work ads into the real news with little notice.

Ads and business are fundamental to a capitalistic society. But we can’t escape them now. Youtube and Hulu require users to sit through sponsored content in order to watch what they want. Sure you can skip some of them.

Imagine if you will, the cumulative time you’ve spent sitting in front of a screen watching someone tell you how much easier life is after buying something. It is difficult to fathom, but our freedom to go unmolested by these waste-mongers is disappearing faster than the one un-renewable resource we have; time.

Barajas, 23, can’t stand the thought of ads taking over everything.


Yes, take the Ice Bucket Challenge

Yes, take the Ice Bucket Challenge


As many of us watch the phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, some ask whether the challenge is worthwhile.

Let me answer that question. Yes, you should participate in the challenge and donate money, to create awareness for ALS and to help find a cure.

Using a bucket of water and ice, people worldwide helped raise more than $88.5 million in less than a month. Everyone should do it.

Let me share the story of James Fennewald, my roommate’s father. He’s the head of a household and worked 12-hour shifts Monday through Saturday as half owner of a company.

One day he fell at work, but thought nothing of it. The next day, he fell again. He later noticed he couldn’t move his feet backward. He thought it was weird, but kept working.

When his appendix exploded four years ago, requiring surgery, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.

The progressive neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, then spreads to muscles. Victims have a life expectancy of three to five years.

Fennewald didn’t want to stop working when he lost movement in his legs, but had no choice. He’s lost his business, and is in danger of losing his house.

When his body became three-quarters paralyzed, he was moved to a homecare facility. He must be fed via tubes. He can move his lips but no sound comes out of his mouth. The only way he can communicate is by blinking once for yes and twice for no.

ALS has no cure. No treatment is available. He and his family have no option but to wait for the inevitable.

Critics say the Ice Bucket Challenge wastes water or that participants are just seeking attention. I say it caught our attention because it is silly and because so many celebrities and politicians took the challenge.

Please participate. Spread the word about ALS, and donate so that we can find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Ceja participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge and nominates you readers to participate as well. You have 24 hours to complete the challenge.


From the Editor: Time management key to success

From the Editor: Time management key to success


Whether you are a first-time college student or returning for another semester at Pima Community College as a scholar or instructor, it can be difficult getting back into the schedule of life on campus.

We fall into a summer routine that can be difficult to break, and before you know it, assignments start piling up. Where does the time go, anyway?

Management of this finite resource is what separates the successful from those that can never seem to get ahead. We all have 84,000 seconds each day, and how we use them determines everything from our happiness to our bank balance.

If you’re anything like me, you might wait until the last minute to read those five chapters, write that 2,000-word paper or complete that math module. Maybe you even spend time after midnight, in bed, tapping away at your tablet instead of getting a good night’s sleep.

Some of us swear that our best work is done under pressure. As someone who claims to put the “pro” in “procrastinate,” I often feel that the cracking whip of a looming deadline is the only way to get properly motivated.

But even the best time-wasters know deep inside that if they had just had a little more time to review, revise and retool their work, the end result would have been even better than the product that resulted from a late-night, caffeine-fueled frenzy.

Alas, how to slay the procrastination beast? Many books and essays have been written, experts have expounded, searching for a solution.

There is no easy answer.

Like any habit-changing attempt, whether it’s quitting smoking, eating better or using time more efficiently, you need a system that actually works for you.

Make a schedule and stick to it. Set early deadlines for yourself. Have a study partner who will hound you to finish your work or keep to your plans, and do the same for them. Just find something that makes sense to you.

The alternative is always feeling rushed, never having enough time to do the things you want to do. Stressed. Tired.

By making the most of every minute available, we will have more chances to enjoy life instead of struggling to find time to achieve our goals.

But for now, relax, and enjoy the issue. There’s plenty of time for work later.


Microtransactions: a spreading infection

Microtransactions: a spreading infection


You’re playing a game on your phone, say, Angry Birds, Clash of Clans or the like, and a pop-up asks if you want to pay 99 cents for a one-time item that gets you a few more points. A microtransaction. It’s only 99 cents, right? Not too big of a problem.

Now, say it’s a $60 game, like the upcoming “Assassin’s Creed: Unity,” which also has microtransactions. Would you pay more to improve your score? I certainly wouldn’t.

While most free games have microtransactions, I don’t feel like paying $60 for a game and then being asked if I’d like to spend more to enhance my experience.

I understand game developers would like more profit for their games. It looks better for investors and increases chances of making another game, which keeps them employed. I get that.

Microtransactions aren’t new to console gamers. Past games had microtransactions, such as buying in-game currency in “Forza Motorsport 5.” One option costs $139.95 just for in-game currency.

I find this to be an absolute slap in the face as a gamer, both financially and personally. Manygamers, including myself, will not be buying any of the microtransactions in “AC: Unity” and have voiced our displeasure to Ubisoft.

The developers of the series say they aren’t going to back down from the implementation of microtransactions.

“If we think it fits the gameplay, or the brand itself, the core values, we’re willing to take those risks,” senior producer Vincent Pontibrand said at the Gamescom trade fair. “If not, then not. We’re not going to make any compromises.”

It sounds like Ubisoft is testing the waters carefully to see how the public reacts to microtransactions, but I personally think they know people don’t want to see them in the games they play. They are implementing them anyway to make more profit.

I worry about the future of console gaming. Both indie games and flagship titles can implement microtransactions at any point.

If Ubisoft and Microsoft, two huge game publishers, are fine with microtransactions, what’s stopping Sony and Nintendo from draining consumer’s wallets?

Fruechtenicht is a lifelong gamer and helps run a Let’s Play channel on Youtube called Coffee Table Zeroes.


FROM THE EDITOR: Time to turn the page on Iraq

FROM THE EDITOR: Time to turn the page on Iraq


The recent moves by Sunni extremists and Kurdish militias to seize large swaths of Iraqi territory have sent shock waves around the region and across the globe. The chorus calling for American action grows daily.

But The United States, and specifically President Barack Obama, should resist these calls for military action. The time has come for Iraq to decide its own fate, for better or worse.

True, America helped cause the issues we are seeing in Iraq, starting way back in the 1980s when we played the Iraqis against their rivals in Tehran. America’s involvement in the region has continued since, spanning two wars and four decades of conflict.

However, once the bombs stopped falling, we did what we could to rebuild the nation. We invested billions in U.S. taxpayer money to build infrastructure and establish a new Iraqi Army.

Much of that money was mismanaged, or flat-out embezzled, by incompetent or crooked officials.

Less than three years ago, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declined to give American forces operating in his country immunity from prosecution, which led to U.S. troops withdrawing from the country.

Within days of the pullout, Maliki began persecuting political rivals and has been consolidating power ever since.

It is this fractious leadership style that is ultimately responsible for the schism we are observing in Iraq. No amount of airstrikes or boots on the ground will solve the problem as long as the politics remain the same.

Obama must resist the caterwauling of Congressional Republicans and the pleas from the corrupt Iraqi government for the American military to be Maliki’s sword. The fact that Maliki’s own army is deserting him should speak volumes about his leadership.

If America truly wants to improve the situation in Iraq, maintaining the status quo by bailing out the unscrupulous government that told U.S. forces to leave is not the answer.

Instead, we need to work with all parties involved, including the so-called “terrorists” (which are enjoying popular support in the regions they have captured) to determine how all the interests of the people can be met.

Anything other than a controlled, diplomatic response that leaves military action off the table will be another defeat on the long list of recent American foreign policy failures.



Be courteous, follow concert etiquette rules

Be courteous, follow concert etiquette rules


The lights go off and the opener is about to come on. Your excitement goes through the roof.
The experience is then ruined because the crowd doesn’t follow unofficial concert etiquette.
It’s annoying to pay $30-50 for a concert only to be disappointed.
To make sure your or someone else’s experience isn’t ruined, follow these simple rules:


Stop complaining about getting pushed. It happens. Everyone wants to get to the front.


Wear close-toed shoes. Your feet are going to get stepped on. Save yourself the pain and refrain from wearing flip-flops.
Do not wear heels. Nobody will think they’re cute in a giant crowd where everyone’s eyes are on the stage, not your feet.
You are also more susceptible to falling over when people push. Plus, it will suck for those unfortunate enough to have their foot under your heel when you start jumping with the crowd.

Cell phones

Put down your cell phone. The people behind you would like to see the artists on stage, not view them from a small LED screen.
Instead of enjoying the concert at home later from the poor quality video you recorded, watch the entire show live with your eyes.


Keep in mind that merchandise sellers are people too, so treat them as such. It’s not their fault you waited till the last second to buy a T-shirt and they ran out of your size.


For the love of everything that is sacred, dance if the music calls for it. Don’t just stand there and do nothing. Nobody cares if your moves are awkward.
How else is the artist supposed to know you’re enjoying the music if you aren’t dancing?

Remember: Everyone paid the same amount of money as you to get in. Please let all fans have fun by being courteous to those around you.

Hernandez is a music enthusiast and avid concert-goer with the band shirts to prove it.

Pg06-Hernandez, Robert

Blame the shooter, not weapon

Blame the shooter, not weapon


People have a tendency to blame an inanimate object for tragic killings such as the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings or the 2011 Tucson massacre in by Jared Loughner.

We are taught that guns are dangerous to us and everybody around. Some government officials are fighting to get guns under control.

But we as a society must understand that the person pulling the trigger is the real danger.

Human beings are born with a sinful nature. It doesn’t matter what weapon they use when they harm others.

Knife attacks

Guns aren’t even used in many cases of violence. Instead, weapons like knifes cause the harm.

A 16-year-old went on a knifing rampage April 9 at a high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. He hurt 21 students and a security guard.

“The rampage came after decades in which U.S. schools geared much of their emergency planning toward mass shootings, not stabbings,” KWY-TV said.

The station said the Murrysville school was prepared for attacks with firearms but not weapons like knifes.

Gun enthusiasts

My sisters and I grew up in a house full of guns, with a father who is a gun enthusiast.

Each of us shot our first rifle at age 8 and our first handgun at age 11. Our father taught us to use them recreationally for hunting and target practice only.

With close guidance, we learned to handle firearms properly. Our lessons included how to control weapons, what not to aim at  and what not to do.

We were taught to respect the weapons, but also to fear them because they are dangerous in the wrong hands.

Once we learned how to handle shotguns and semi-automatic handguns, we lost the fear we had when we were introduced to the weapons.

Mental illness

In some cases, the person who commits violent attacks against people is dealing with mental issues. People with a mental illness may act in irrational ways, which can lead to heinous crimes.

Shooters who suffered from mental illness include Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon; John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Ronald Reagan, and Robert John Bardo, who killed actress Rebecca Schaeffer.

Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to foresee an attack on others when mental illness consumes the mind of the gun holder.

Some researchers argue that mentally ill people are not at high risk for violence.

Shannon Frattaroli, Ph.D., says people with mental illness are responsible for only about 4 percent of the violence in society.

In an article, “Guns, Public Health and Mental Illness: An Evidence Based Approach for State Policy,” Frattaroli outlines steps states can take to keep guns out of the hands of people who are at an elevated risk for violence and suicide.

She says her plan also respects the rights of people with mental illness.

Instead of banning guns, we must make sure that people can safely handle weapons. This would keep mentally ill people safe from themselves and help protect everyone else.

Banning guns

Strict gun laws have not prevented high gun violence crime rates in some cities across America. Examples include Chicago and Washington D.C.

James D. Agresti argues on his website “Just Facts: Gun Control” that a ban on handguns increases the murder rate.

“During the years in which the D.C. handgun ban and trigger lock law was in effect, the Washington D.C. murder rate averaged 73 percent higher than it was at the outset of the law,” Agresti writes.

The same thing happened in the Windy City.

“Since the outset of the Chicago handgun ban, the percentage of Chicago murders committed with handguns has averaged about 40 percent higher than it was before the law took effect,” Agresti said.


The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. We have a right to protect ourselves from criminals who don’t follow the law.

In the end, the most dangerous element in our society is people themselves, not the weapons we make to hunt or protect ourselves.

We as a society must understand that people are unpredictable. Blaming an inanimate object will not prevent violent crimes. Remember that old saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”


(Aztec Press illistration by Larry Gaurano)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Opinion page holds common theme

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Opinion page holds common theme

In response to the thoughtful Opinion page in the April 10-23 edition of the Aztec Press:

Mr. Del Grande makes the real point that Americans too often fail to note the events of genocide historically and worldwide.

We are too content within our comforts to take serious the deaths of huge numbers “elsewhere,” but the world is becoming so small that such events effect everyone.

Ms. Graham forcefully brings to our attention that “hate” is most destructive to the hater.

To spend our precious time and energies lugging around a grudge is a self-imposed penalty that plays into the hands of our enemies, and does nothing to better our own being.

Life is too short to waste it carrying around feelings of hate, anger and negativity — be happy. It is much more healthy to live your days without it.

Mr. Hoyos honors honest labor. As college students and professionals, it is too easy to become centered on our little problems, and forget those who make our life more pleasant and productive. There are many.

Some students actually hold down a job; a few fully support themselves and study. As in Mr. Hoyos’ case, many have parents who labored long to aid the efforts of their children toward professionalism.

Even if one steps back from the ivory tower just a little, it is possible to see the hard working taxpayer that has committed to raising an institution of higher learning in your behalf.

Look with favor and honor upon the person who honestly works within his society. There is dignity in all labor, and it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

Veterans, as Mr. Albrecht notes, have already “paid their dues.” They also deserve honor, even if they don’t carry the wounds of war — those who only stand and wait also serve.

That however, does not mean that they should have a waiting game imposed further upon them, by a college.

It will be 40 to 60 days before they may be treated as vets; this through no fault of the vet, rather screw-ups of the on-campus department that handles them — after warning.

PCC is attempting to correct its errors, but they are errors that should not have been made at all. The need for correction is an indication of non-performance, then others pay the price.

The messages on Page 6 are somewhat tied together — respect. Respect the plight of those who die because of hate.

Respect yourself and keep your mind clean. Respect honest labor.

Respect those who devote their lives to teaching.

Their rewards are small, but your respect has the potential of making their day and uplifting you too.

Dr. Don Burk

Burk is a student at Downtown Campus. He is non-traditional at age 83, a vet, a teacher, and is seen playing chess on campus.

GUEST COMMENTARY: New ‘On-Time Registration’ helps students

GUEST COMMENTARY: New ‘On-Time Registration’ helps students

Editor’s note: On-Time Registration will begin in Spring 2015. The On-Time Registration Faculty Senate Work-Group recommended the new Pima Community College registration procedure. The Chancellor’s Cabinet approved the changes on April 1.

By the On-Time Registration Faculty Senate Work-Group

We read with interest the March 13 Aztec Press editorial on Pima’s planned transition to on-time registration. We found it valuable for tuning in to initial student reaction to the proposed new procedure. We care very much about student perceptions of these proposed changes.

It is our concern for the academic well-being of students, after all, that motivated the set of changes we are proposing in the first place. For more than 20 years, faculty have been discussing the pros and cons of late registration and what registration policy alternatives might be more beneficial to students.

Many of the exact registration problems the Aztec Press editorial identifies are the issues that have driven faculty to attempt to find solutions. We think our plan for “on-time registration” addresses many of the registration issues that so frustrate students and that it will promote student success.

A central concern raised in the editorial is student access to classes that have already gotten underway. In particular, cases in which a class the student had validly been registered but was cancelled or turned out to not be a good fit for the student.

By having a policy of “on-time” registration, this would not affect those students who still might have the need to register late.

Such access will still be available, granted on a case-by-case basis by the faculty member teaching the course into which the student wishes to enroll.

By being able to confer with the student on an individual basis, the instructor will be able to better recommend a course to the student, given the student’s particular aptitude. Thus, the student will be a good candidate for registering late into that particular course.

Late-start courses will provide another option for students who experience financial aid delays, course cancellation, course mismatch or other reasons for needing to begin a course later than the traditional 16-week semester start date.

The on-time registration work-group has calculated the percentage increase needed in PCC’s current late-start options to counter-balance what would otherwise be undue rigidity of on-time registration.

The work-group will be working with department chairs of all different academic disciplines to substantially increase the number of 14-week late-start courses and second eight-weeks courses, so as to provide maximum access and flexibility for students who need to register later into the semester.

Late-start options allow students the flexibility of registering into courses later, when needed, but without the downside of missing initial lessons in the course–lessons that are often most crucial to student success.

Finally, one of the most appealing benefits of on-time registration is that it stands to actually decrease course cancellations (one of the reasons students might need to register late in the first place).

Simply put, many courses have had to be cancelled because they did not attract sufficient enrollment early enough in the semester to make them fiscally viable. This makes it difficult fo the academic deans responsible for keying class schedules to the PCC budget (and cancelling classes that appear to have “low enrollment”).

With a policy of on-time registration, students will be demonstrating their enrollment intentions in a timely manner. Deans will be able to see (rather than just guess or gamble on) which courses are viable and which are not. Therefore, there will be many, many fewer courses getting cancelled for low enrollment.

In sum, transitioning to a system of on-time registration stands to benefit students in three major ways: fewer class cancellations, greater flexibility of more options so that students can begin a course later in the semester but still attend from lesson one, and increased opportunity to get the one-on-one attention from a faculty member. This faculty will know whether or not a student requesting to register late into the particular course has the level of preparation to succeed in the course.

And that, for us, is what this proposed policy change has been about from the beginning: student success.