By EDDIE CELAYA
If you saw me around Tucson this summer, congratulations! You probably learned how to float on your back and swim enough to keep you and your family off the evening news.
See, I work as a swim teacher/instructor/coach/guru during the summer.
Since I’m pretty good at it, I’ve moved up the swimming food chain from working in city pools, to working in community pools, all the way to working in rich Republican’s backyard pools. It’s a great gig.
Now, as much as I love imparting lifelong skills to kids from 1 to 92, I couldn’t be happier to get back to the daily grind of school.
Sure, it’s annoying having to wake myself at the crack of noon to attend some class about how life came to be, but it beats the hell out of the alternative: teaching swimming to pissed-off 4-year-olds.
And that’s a best-case scenario. My pissed-off 4-year-old could very easily be laying tile, landscaping or painting houses in African safari-like heat. After all, hell is personalized.
That’s not to say that being a swim teacher, painter or landscaper is a bad job or something to look down on. On the contrary, society should look with admiration at those who carry out such tasks.
If you’re like me, (god, I hope not) being in one of the above-listed professions can definitely pay your bills and get you through life. But it probably can’t satisfy an intellectual itch to learn and do more.
That’s where Pima Community College comes in.
A year ago, I was just (re)enrolling here at PCC, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life other than not live in a pool for eight hours a day. That and one other thing: I had an insatiable urge to say something.
An English class here, a few journalism classes there, a little encouragement from instructors and what do you know? That insatiable urge to say something has been weaponized and put to good use.
None of that would be possible without PCC and the amazing instructors I’ve had. Had a semester of classes been more cost prohibitive, or the staff not as welcoming, I’d probably be teaching backstroke right now.
As a matter of fact, I know I would.
That scenario played out at another, more Maricopa-y community college. At age 25, I thought for sure I would be teaching crying children my whole life. Not a death sentence surely, but it felt like a life sentence.
However, here at PCC, I’ve got a new lease. My instructors have guided and directed me down a path where I utilize my talents and skills not just to teach others, but to reach others.
Those talents and skills were always within me. They just needed to be nurtured through (here’s the theme) education.
So wake up for that 8 a.m. class. Take that extra course. Make yourself a little uncomfortable.
Education isn’t just 2+2=4 or subject-verb agreements. More practically, education is learning about yourself and what life you want to make out of the skills you have.
Simply put, education is where your innate talents and skills go to be stretched, tested and (hopefully) strengthened.
Good luck getting stronger this semester.
By TRAVIS BRAASCH
There might be a noticeable change among students attending the University of Texas at Austin this fall. Many will be carrying concealed firearms.
The Campus Carry law, which narrowly passed the Texas legislature, allows students attending state universities to carry handguns to classes and around campus. The only exceptions are designated sensitive areas such as mental health clinics.
UT has a bloody history with guns. In 1966, engineering student Charles Whitman blockaded himself in a clock tower with a sniper rifle. He killed 16 classmates while wounding 32 more.
In 2010, Colton Tooley unloaded an AK47 assault rifle before turning the gun on himself.
Some Texas students feel the new Open Carry law will provide a sense of comfort but many feel that having more guns on campus is not the answer.
On the first day of the new semester, thousands of students protested the law by brandishing large sex toys to point out the absurdity of being allowed to carry handguns at school while sex toys are banned.
Allowing students to freely carry firearms may add to the already growing anxiety caused by the thought of a violent event, due to the rapidly growing number of shootings on school campuses.
A large number of UT students have spoken out, saying they would feel even less safe in class knowing any student may be carrying a gun. They also argue it would limit their ability to speak freely about heated or divided topics.
Minority groups such as LGBT students already face hate and discrimination from fellow classmates. Having guns on campus would make them feel that speaking out against certain topics could result in more than just a verbal assault.
Having a small sense of security for those who wish to carry guns should not come before students feeling safe to be themselves on campus.
Another issue facing those in favor of the Open Carry law is being prepared to fire a gun in the heat of the moment if something does happen.
It takes both physical and mental training to fire a gun. I would not want to risk being shot by a classmate who has inadequate training.
Instead of relying on a fellow student to protect me in the case of an emergency, I would rather rely on the campus police force we have at our disposal.
By MICHEAL ROMERO
This November, I plan to fulfill my duty as an American and cast my vote in the presidential election.
I turned 18 in the middle of Obama’s second term and, while I would have chosen him, I had no say in the matter. Now, I’d like to help pick the next leader of my country.
However, I am at somewhat of an impasse. All of my choices seem negative. As a pretty uninformed voter, I’m basing what I know off of news articles that find their way to me.
That almost always means that either Trump has yelled nonsense and said “some people are saying” about whatever, or Hillary won’t see her day in court for whatever exactly happened with those emails and constant comments about the Clinton Foundation’s sketchy donors.
The last thing I want to do is throw away my vote to that nonsense third-party Libertarian/Green guy/lady, because they won’t ever win and it would be as much of a waste as not voting.
Either the Donald or America’s third favorite Clinton will take it, and I’d rather pick the less of two evils. There’s no point in trying to act like I’m better than everyone with the “Well, I voted for the third guy…” line.
I do need to inform myself more. That’s what being an adult is all about, right? Ignorance is bliss and you don’t get to be blissful when you grow up. You graduate, you get a job and then you die.
I guess I have to do my own digging because the positive simply doesn’t sell or get views. The negative does and that’s why we’re being pumped with whatever can be spun by outlets to put down both candidates.
Maybe I’ll pick the brash guy who speaks his mind and wants to put up a wall that would aim to make it harder than it already is for people like my grandfather who wish to immigrate to this country.
Or perhaps I’ll cast my vote for the United States’ former First Lady to take the top spot and run this joint like papa Bill did.
Hopefully, I’ll figure it out by November. I really think it’s important that no matter who you decide to pick, you go out and pick someone. Imagine if you lived somewhere else that had a dictator who picked himself to lead.
In America, you get to decide who you want to be your dictator.
Romero is excited to be voting this November. He just wishes the choice was clear for him.
By JERRY H. GILL
What would we think if after a Beethoven concert different people stood and hollered out “7” or “9”?
Or if, as you walked through an art museum, various people were muttering “definitely a 10” or “only a 6” as they stood before a Rembrandt or Picasso?
Or, at the classics bookstore, “Plato’s Republic” was advertised as “clearly an 8” or “perhaps even a 10”?
Pretty weird, huh?
Well, this is what we see happening in higher education. Over my 50 years as a college professor, I have watched the steady drift of official student evaluations from emphasizing quality to emphasizing quantification.
The basic assumption has become that all student learning can and must be evaluated according to a numerical standard. I find this irrational as well as counterproductive.
Real education has to do with the dynamic interaction of students, along with professors, with ideas and values. As a process, it cannot be quantified.
It used to be that professors were hired because they were experts in their fields and would be able to discern the difference between a high quality student effort and one that was not as high.
Granted, the differences between an “A” grade and a “B” grade were sometimes subtle, so “pluses” and “minuses” were introduced to cover this subtlety. It went along like this without much ado.
In recent years there has been a drift, if not now a stampede, toward requiring professors to quantify all of their judgments of student efforts. A student painting, composition or essay must be given a numerical value, presumably in order to justify the grade given by the professor.
Professors were once thought of as, and expected to be, experts in their fields. They could judge between an “A” effort and one of less quality.
Today, however, they are increasingly thought of as mere employees who fill out forms, track attendance and assign numbers to student efforts.
In this way, the college or university can justify its “product” to the outside world.
I find this trend deeply disturbing. It is demeaning, both to the professors and to the students. It takes the role of quality out of the educational process and reduces it to bookkeeping and “bean counting.”
Real education seeks to engage students concerning big ideas, great moral virtues and rich creative efforts.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve these goals within an organizational system that increasingly seeks to reduce qualitative efforts to quantitative “outcomes” within a number of checked boxes.
I would hope that those in charge of our institutions of higher learning will rethink the direction higher education is taking and once again honor the qualitative dimension of learning.
Jerry Gill, Ph.D., teaches philosophy, religious studies and humanities at Pima Community College.
Future leaders discuss cross-border trade issues
EDITORS’ NOTE: Because this story is international in scope, Aztec Press is offering it in Spanish as well as English.
By KATTA MAPES
For more than 50 years, the Arizona Town Hall group has reached out to its members across the state to involve them in civil discourse on a variety of issues that affect Arizona.
Their website at aztownhall.org states: “Arizona Town Hall’s five decades of work has guided our state’s civic, political, business and community leadership in identifying and implementing policies that have helped to shape, grow and improve. Arizona has been successful because of our members.”
Pima Community College hosted a once-a-semester teleconference for Future Leaders from local high schools, colleges and universities on March 29. The live feed was sent to groups throughout the state.
The focus of this semester’s conference was cross-border economic development between Arizona and Mexico.
Presenter Juan Ciscomani, director of the Southern Arizona and Sonora offices of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, said Mexico is the primary trade partner for Arizona, with an average of $17 billion in revenue.
Ducey is dedicated to further expanding trade opportunities with Mexico, Ciscomani said. The governor traveled to Mexico City last summer to discuss increasing trade in the public and private sectors.
A group discussion began when the teleconference ended. The discussion leader was Celeste Nunez, a science major in PCC’s Community Campus online program.
She will gather ideas from the local group discussion and send them to Arizona Town Hall President Tara Anderson. Nunez, the only student member of the board of directors for the Arizona Town Hall, was invited to join last year by Anderson after Nunez advocated for a student member.
She attended a similar event for future leaders, and was persistent in requesting student participation.
“I suggested that the board have a student member,” she said. “Because there were none, I offered myself for this.”
She is the first student board member in the 50 years that Arizona Town Hall has existed.
Futuros líderes discuten temasde comercio transfronterizo
Por KATTA MAPES
Durante más de 50 años, el grupo de Arizona Town Hall ha puesto en contacto con sus miembros en todo el estado para que participen en la discusión civilizada sobre una variedad de temas que afectan a Arizona.
Su sitio web en http://aztownhall.org declara “de Arizona Town Hall de cinco décadas de trabajo ha guiado cívica, política, los negocios de nuestro estado y líderes de la comunidad en la identificación y aplicación de las políticas que han ayudado a dar forma, crecer y mejorar Arizona ha tenido éxito porque de nuestros miembros.”
Pima Community College organizó una teleconferencia una vez al semestre para los futuros líderes locales altas escuelas, colegios y universidades el 29 de marzo La transmisión en vivo fue enviado a grupos de todo el estado.
El enfoque de la conferencia de este semestre fue el desarrollo económico transfronterizo entre Arizona y México. Un presentador, Juan Ciscomani, director de las oficinas de Arizona y Sonora meridional de la gobernadora de Arizona, Doug Ducey, dijo que México es el principal socio comercial de Arizona con un promedio de $ 17 mil millones en ingresos.
Ducey se dedica a ampliar aún más las oportunidades comerciales con México, dijo Ciscomani. El gobernador viajó a la Ciudad de México el verano pasado para discutir el aumento del comercio en los sectores públicos y privados.
Una discusión comenzó cuando el grupo terminó teleconferencia. El líder de la discusión fue Celeste Núñez, un comandante de la ciencia en el programa en línea Comunidad Campus del PCC.
Se reunirá a las ideas de la discusión del grupo local y enviarlos al presidente de Arizona Town Hall Tara Anderson. Núñez es el único miembro del estudiante de la junta directiva para el Arizona Town Hall. Ella fue invitado a unirse el año pasado por Anderson después de Núñez abogó por un miembro del estudiante.
Había asistido a un evento similar para los futuros líderes, y fue persistente en el que solicita la participación del estudiante.
“Me sugirió que la Junta tiene un miembro de estudiante,” dijo. “Debido a que no había ninguno, me ofrecí para esto.”
Ella es el primer miembro de la junta de los estudiantes en los 50 años que Arizona Town Hall ha existido.
By AUDRIE FORD
One in five Americans will be affected by a mental condition during their lifetime, according to research by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental-health organization.
Sixty-seven years ago, the nonprofit Mental Health America set May aside as Mental Health Month. While much has changed in the past six decades regarding mental health treatment in America, there is still work to be done. The group said that last year its educational materials were seen and used by 19 million people.
In Southern Arizona, organizations participating in Mental Health Month include the local chapter of NAMI and Interfaith Community Services.
NAMI Southern Arizona has been around since 1983, and offers services to both Spanish and English speakers. It devotes its efforts to educating, advocating and providing support to all those affected by mental illness.
Interfaith Community Services has helped Pima County residents of many different faiths since 1985. According to ICS, the organization provides more than 73,000 services to over 36,500 people every year.
With the organizations working in Southern Arizona, there are many ways to get involved in Mental Health Month.
NAMI offers pre-made, easy-to-use resources that emphasize community involvement and openness among friends, families and those with a mental health condition.
Its stigma-free pledge is perhaps one of the simplest ways to start a conversation about mental health. The pledge involves three steps that anyone from any walk of life can take to help a cause that impacts millions of Americans.
Step 1. Educate yourself and others.
Mental health advocates emphasize that stigmatization is still a serious issue for the community. Learning that mental health conditions are not derived from weakness, poor character or bad upbringing is an important step for everyone to take.
Tearing down harmful stereotypes about those with mental health conditions is also critical to bringing mental health care into the modern era.
Step 2. See the person, not the illness.
The Mental Illness Research Association estimated that 22 percent of the population has a mental health condition.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this statistic has millions of unique faces with unique stories. Their life story does not end with a diagnosis.
Step 3. Take action on mental health issues.
According to NAMI, 70 to 90 percent of those with a mental health challenge who sought treatment saw improvement in their quality of life.
It is important to remember that mental health crosses party lines, religious affiliations and economic status.
In order to truly make a difference, everyone must do their part to better the lives of those with a mental health condition in the most compassionate way they can.
Get involved in Mental Health Month, but don’t let the work stop at the end of May.Turn Southern Arizona into an opportunity hotspot for help, healing and profound respect for fellow human beings.
By S. PAUL BRYAN
Mike Tyson is undoubtedly the most famous boxer alive, but I think a lot of people have forgotten about the things that made him famous, respected and feared.
The youth of today know Iron Mike Tyson as the guy with a dumb face tattoo from the “Hangover” movies.
They might know him from the one-man show he’s been doing for a couple of years now, titled “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Maybe they follow him on Twitter or Facebook and know his inspirational, grateful and mostly uplifting posts.
Tyson is my favorite boxer and one of my favorite athletes of all time, but it’s not at all for the things that he is now. It’s for what he used to be: a literal monster.
I’m a fan of Mike Tyson the psychopath, the convicted rapist, the cannibal, the unhinged lunatic and the super-villain of the sweet science.
I like Tyson for the simple reason that he is extremely dangerous.
Now, I’m not condoning rape, biting a man’s ear off or any of Tyson’s criminal behavior, but if I had a time machine and could go back to 1990, I wouldn’t be in a room alone with that man—especially if I were a woman.
Remember, he told a female reporter that he only speaks to females who fornicate with him and that she should probably shut up.
I wouldn’t go into a room alone with Tyson for the same reason I wouldn’t get into a cage with a grizzly bear or into a tank with a crocodile—because it’s dangerous and stupid.
One of his best (or worst) tirades was against freelance reporter Mark “Scoop” Malinowski during a press conference promoting Tyson’s fight against Lennox Lewis.
When Malinowski called for Tyson to be put in a strait jacket, the boxer threatened to rape him and repeatedly used homophobic slurs.
Please, watch the video here: youtube.com/watch?v=Kqny6e_YSrA.
What gets me about the altercation is the raw emotion and intensity in Tyson’s voice.
I believe in my heart of hearts if that reporter had stepped up, Tyson really would have raped him in front of everyone, on camera. No one would have been able to stop it, short of using lethal force.
Then again, Tyson is a lethal force all by himself.
His internal pain is audibly and visually real when you hear his voice crack, and look into that wounded animal’s eyes.
This is more than just prison talk and empty threats. This is a lion snarling at you. This is a 400-pound gorilla beating his chest before he rips you limb from limb. This is the last time you hear the rattle before the snake strikes.
Tyson is so sure of himself, he doesn’t stutter or slip up once.
This is his house, and he wants you to know that you are sitting at his table. He’s the alpha, and he will eat first. His are the words of a man who at any given moment can become someone with nothing to lose.
The kind of danger that Tyson is just doesn’t go away.
Sure, it might have been awhile since he’s raped a woman or ripped another man’s body part off with his own teeth, but the capacity within a man to do such a thing is ingrained. It doesn’t simply disappear.
Most people don’t have that capacity in the first place. It’s a primal instinct, not something learned. It’s part of Tyson’s DNA—a part of his reptilian brain, if you will. I like Mike Tyson because of his capacity to just snap, and I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen him do it for the last time.
Bryan fears, loathes, feels empathy for and loves Iron Mike Tyson.
By Bryan Orozco
With 37 Marvel comic book movies since 2000 and 13 more to come in the next four years, it is easy to say that the superhero genre has taken over the film industry.
The debate of how much the films stay true to the source material is always being uttered somewhere, and in my eyes, they don’t.
I recently began reading and collecting comic books. In one week, I bought 122 comic books, both single issues and graphic novels.
Once I started reading comics, I saw clear differences from the versions on screen.
The comics can do no wrong. What is printed, whether in the ‘60s or last month, was worked on meticulously by the writers and artists. The story arcs are curated with the reader’s happiness, not the reader’s money, in mind.
Superhero films are often cash cows for the studios producing them. The profit margin is high, even at the expense of the product and the lack of quality. In this case, the expense is the story.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” received an average rating of 5/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and has been criticized severely for not sticking to the source material. Yet, the film has made about $630 million worldwide since it premiered.
The films go at a ridiculously fast pace. For example, “Captain America: Civil War” is based on a comic book crossover story.
The actual story arc is composed from over 150 comics ranging from the actual Civil War series to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
This allows the reader to invest time and effort to the story and deteriorates those who jump on the bandwagon of the films.
The same thing happens when you read a comic book as when you read a novel; you become a part of it. You’re narrating a story that you begin to relate to. It begins to intrigue you, and that allows you to continue with issues and/or story arcs, a happy and positive cycle.
Films give you timed happiness. You’re excited about the film, you go see the film, you talk about the film after watching the film and then you forget the film.
Don’t get me wrong. I see the films. I, like everyone else, have acquired a taste for the action and destruction porn of these films. But I want to advise all that the comic books are much better for the stories and the hobby.
In that one week of reading and collecting comic books I talked with many comic book collectors, young and old. We got to talk about the stories that bring us joy.
In all honesty, these stories mean nothing in our real lives but they mean everything in our fantasy lives.
Bryan Orozco is a journalism major. He asks that if you see him, to not beat him up and take his lunch money.
Mind your space
By Melina Casillas
There’s an unspoken common courtesy when riding the elevator: you stay on your side and I stay on mine. I’ll push the button for your designated level if you ask.
Elevators aren’t fun. You just want to get from the floor you’re on to your next destination, but there’s always something that goes amuck when riding an elevator.
The wait time for the actual elevator cab is horrible and the ventilation in there is awful. Then there’s always someone who wants some form of small talk, long jagged stops at each level and dizzy spells if the ride was too long. The actual worst,
though, is when your personal space is invaded. Don’t corner me and leave me with absolutely zero room to move in any direction.
I’m trying to get away from your rank 2 p.m. coffee breath and your rancid B.O., not get closer to it.
In middle school we learned, or at least I did, about the “volley ball space” rule, designed to keep us crazy hormonal preteens from bumping and grinding at our middle school dances.
At the time, I thought that rule was ridiculous. That all changed when I encountered the aforementioned cornering incident recently in a PCC West Campus elevator.
I just want to get from the ground level to the library to do work before my next class, dude. I don’t need anyone coming up trying to schmooze me by standing close, and I don’t like feeling your beady little eyes staring down at me.
This incident isn’t the only elevator encounter with a strange person that got a little too up-close and personal. It happens almost on a daily basis.
Personal space should not be hard to comprehend. We’re taught as young children to keep our hands and bodies to our-selves. Maybe we should also start teaching that a certain distance must be added, because some people just don’t understand how close is too close.
Since riding in the elevators at West Campus for almost a year now, the “volleyball space” rule has become golden. Push your button and drink your coffee, creepy dude. I’m not interested in you or your life.
You stay on your side of the elevator, I’ll stay on mine and it’ll be a smooth ride.
Casillas should start taking
But mind your manners
By S. Paul Bryan
It might be difficult, but imagine hopping on one of the elevators here at Pima Community College and finding it wasn’t occupied by some snotty, rude little shit who clearly has no concept of manners, politeness or common courtesy.
What’s the problem with sharing simple pleasantries between each other in the elevator? We’re all human beings and, just like elevators, we are dealing with the same ups and downs in life.
Checking in with your fellow man or woman with a pleasant, “Hey, how are you doing?” just out of kindness, is the right thing to do. Or may-be try a friendly joke to lift someone’s spirits. That alone could make someone’s day.
We should be able to empathize with each other. We’re all in college and can all wrap our heads around the fact that life can be tough.
Sometimes a simple “hello” or even a nod of the head along with a smile is all it takes to help turn a bad day around.
Talking with other people is vital to our existence. Where would we be as a people if no one cared about others?
If we think that the best way through life is shunning other human beings and keeping to ourselves, human existence will end miserably. Communication is key.
Engage another person with common courtesies and be polite to your fellow schoolmates. That’s the way to ride an elevator.
You’ve been taught manners. You know what it feels like to struggle through a day only to have a person lift your spirits with a simple gesture. Return the favor. Take yourself out of your own selfish head and share some love, warmth or care.
There’s always the chance that your decision to continue your ill-mannered ways and your eye-rolling attitude might just irritate the wrong person. Maybe a fellow student (not unlike myself) might take offense to your unmannerly attitude.
Perhaps, while you were acting classless and discourteous, you didn’t read the obvious signs that said your elevator-riding classmate has been to prison. Do you know what dirty looks get you in prison? Probably not. You don’t want to know, I promise.
It’s possible this other person, who you’re being rather rude to, has been getting kicked out of gym class since he or she was in grade school because he or she doesn’t play. That person (again, not unlike me on occasion) doesn’t put up with anything rude or disrespectful.
What do you do then? Now that you’re stuck in the elevator with someone who doesn’t take any impolite nonsense? You’ve just found yourself in a tight spot,
I believe David Allan Coe said it best when he said, “Once the shit goes down, you can’t shake hands with a fist.”
Bryan tries to walk the line … tries really hard.
By NICK MEYERS
It’s a go-to argument for the right wing. “Poor people are lazy,” “I don’t want my taxes going to drug addicts,” and “If you can’t afford a kid, don’t have one.”
Before we get into the numbers, let’s take a look at how this argument falls apart from a psychological and economic perspective.
In the 1940’s psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a psychological model of human needs still adhered to today.
Maslow’s hierarchy begins with the most basic needs such as food, air, water and sex, and graduates to more existential needs like acceptance and self-actualization.
Based on Maslow’s model, no one would be content simply living off government welfare. There is an inherent human need to be a part of society. Granted, this explanation does include those who want to live off welfare.
The fact that these people exist (however few they are) is not an indication of poor people being lazy, but a symptom of an imperfect economic system. More often than not, those who complain about the poor are not poor themselves, nor do they have many poor friends on welfare.
The unfortunate truth is that it is very expensive to be poor in today’s economy. Those who live paycheck to paycheck don’t have the luxury of being lazy—as their lives are consumed with work, school, raising a family and the financial requirements to sustain such a livelihood.
If one were to be lazy under such circumstances, fewer hours at work or something as mundane as a parking ticket, court fees or a boost in tuition would deteriorate their lives to the point where stability without assistance becomes increasingly unattainable.
That said, I have met a fair number of peers who spend their days collecting unemployment and playing World of Warcraft in lieu of work. Looking at them with tunnel vision is a strong argument against welfare. But we call that cherry picking.
The vast majority of benefactors of such programs are some of the hardest, most discouraged workers in our economy. For an example, let’s look at drug users.
In states that drug test applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, roughly 10 percent of those tested returned positive for narcotics, according to snopes.com.
Keeping in mind that not all applicants were screened, that figure drops significantly when looking at the total number of recipients.
It would be unreasonable to suspect that not a single person would take advantage of welfare, but that doesn’t mean we can deny the social and economic benefit that welfare programs provide to the majority of recipients.
When it comes down to it, our nation is our community. None of us live a life isolated from each other. Maslow’s final tier of his hierarchy is self-transcendence. Simply put, when people fulfill the highest level of their own needs, they contribute to the needs of others.
If we as a population come to understand such a perspective, we will all benefit from the higher standard of living available to our least fortunate.
Meyers studies politics and economics and believes that no man is an island.
By TRAVIS BRAASCH
Drug addiction, specifically opioid addiction, has skyrocketed in America since the early ’90s. Opiates have been prescribed for various ailments for hundreds of years.
In the early 1990s, a number of women became addicted to opium derivatives given to combat the effects of menstruation.
The recent surge of opiate addiction comes from legislative decisions about control of these powerful drugs.
Painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet were heavily prescribed to people who suffered from chronic pain or those recovering from a surgical procedure.
While painkillers are necessary for unbearable pain, carelessness on the part of doctors led them to over-prescribe drugs to unknowing patients.
There were several legal rulings between the late ’90s and early 2000s that held doctors accountable for knowingly selling opiates to make massive profits.
The businesses these doctors operated became known as “pain clinics” because it was widely known among drug users on the street that they could go in, pay a doctor’s fee and walk out a few minutes later with a bottle of opiates.
More than 5 million people abused prescription painkillers in the United States in 2010 alone, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The government responded by shutting down pain clinics and sending some of the illegitimate doctors to jail.
The feds also required a doctor’s signature every time a patient needed a refill, making it harder for those addicted to continue obtaining pills. While a good idea in theory, this has actually caused a tremendous backlash by pushing addicts to other drugs, namely heroin.
Heroin and other opiates cause similar reactions, but heroin is a gamble for the user because it is very concentrated and the strength is unregulated.
In addition, heroin is cheaper than pills and leads to a higher number of deaths from overdoses. Because heroin requires intravenous injection, a staggering number of users contract HIV.
The stigma of addiction comes from the earliest stereotypes of drug addicts who were often depicted as black males and grouped with rapists and murderers.
It still seems we have the idea that drug users are degenerates that no one needs to care about. Recently, however, people have begun noticing the problem.
While there are clinics and programs available in the United States, we fall short of European countries’ treatment of addiction. It is ironic that we as a nation tend to turn the other way when people develop a drug problem and are in true need of help. Drug addiction harms not only users but also their families and our healthcare system as a whole.
Earlier this year, Democratic and Republican senators worked to craft a bill that would have added $600 million in funding for treatment centers. It also would have provided grants for preventive education programs, more needle-exchange clinics and wider production of naloxone, a drug used as an antidote for overdoses.
However, Senate Republicans blocked the bill’s passage in March.
In response, President Barack Obama announced his administration will give top priority to addressing the opioid epidemic.
He proposed a $1.1 billion bill to help fund preventative education, treatment for addicts and fighting the war against heroin being smuggled into the United States.
Ignoring the problem for the past 100 years has not made the problem go away. Drug use continues to rise in the United States and there are simply not enough resources available to help with the problem.
The Affordable Care Act has given many people new opportunities to seek medical help for drug addiction through health insurance. But we have a long way to go to fix the drug crisis in America.
Politicians are beginning to notice the problem, but let’s hope that awareness will spur more government action that can help put a stop to the epidemic.
Braasch is a reporter concerned with the growing number of deaths and diseases spread from intravenous drug use.
By D.R. WILLIAMS
If you’re spending the night in nature, leave your obnoxious city life at home; be aware of the people around you.
On the last weekend of spring break, I took the opportunity to get away and went camping with my girlfriend at Parker Canyon Lake.
We arrived early Saturday to find a spot. We found the campgrounds were all full, so went down to the lake shore to blow time until someone checked out.
When we got back to the campsites, a group was leaving so we moved in. It was the perfect spot with a shade tree for the tent and its own path to the shore.
But it was too good to be true. As soon as we sat down, they showed up: three truckloads of them.
The kids’ ages were from about 5-13 and they were supervised by a few adults who presented a fine example of how to be inconsiderate and annoy everyone.
When they started setting up 15 feet from us with four different tents, we knew we needed to move.
All the while, we had to listen to their favorite Top 40 hits bumping on their sound system.
Luckily, another spot opened up farther away, but we could not escape the sounds of their obnoxious club music and yelling kids.
Moving made us a bigger target for the kids to spy on. They kept running around, throwing sticks and messing with our dogs.
Unfortunately, my dog is better behaved than those little ones, so nobody was bitten.
Nighttime brought a short respite, but we didn’t know what was coming next.We were slowly starting to wake up when we heard the alarm clock: our neighbors, at 6:30, bumping their music with truck doors open.
Trumpets, accordions and loud serenades provoked me to get up early on the last morning of my vacation.
After scarfing our breakfast and quickly packing up camp, we hiked around the lake, mostly to escape the invaders.
The hike went perfectly, saving the trip from being a waste of time. Nevertheless, the fact remained: We had driven more than an hour just to encounter the people we were trying to get away from.
They’re present in everyday life, not thinking of how their actions affect others. Show a little respect towards others and don’t let “that guy” be you.
Williams is still a happy camper.
NO: He’s right, but too naïve
By JERRY GILL
Since I, too, have long been a democratic socialist, I agree with almost every plank in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ platform.
He is right about our country’s needs. However, he is very naïve about being able to deliver on his promises.
There are at least four reasons why he should not become our president.
First, he has no administrative experience. He has never had to deal with the intricacies of governing a large political body, let alone something the size of the United States. Being a senator is nothing like being a governor, to say nothing of a president.
Second, he has no significant international experience. Until this campaign, none of the leaders of foreign countries had ever heard of him. He has never had to deal with the complexities of world politics, let alone the interconnectedness of our contemporary geopolitical reality. This sort of experience is absolutely crucial to the job of being president of the most powerful nation in the world.
Third, his goals for our country, while honorable, will take many years to implement even with a supportive Congress. It is clear that our current congressional body run by the obstructionist Tea Party is anything but cooperative. Bernie’s “revolution” must wait for a new set of representatives.
Fourth, his goals require a complete overhauling of the Constitution, which is built on the check and balance system from top to bottom. It was set up this way in order to guard against radical, disruptive change on the part of any one agenda. So far, this system has served us very well through the many challenges we have faced.
On the basis of these factors, it is clear that Sen. Sanders, right-headed though he may be, is not equipped to be president of the United States.
Jerry H. Gill, Ph.D, is an adjunct instructor of philosophy.
YES: He’s the best choice
By D.R. WILLIAMS
As a long-time independent, Bernie Sanders doesn’t rely on a political party to provide a stance. He has many years of experience governing in the best interests of the people and he has the moral fiber we need.
There are at least four reasons why he should become president.
First, Sanders would have no less experience than president-elect Barack Obama had in staffing his cabinet and department heads.
Being mayor of Burlington in Vermont gave Sanders some experience. Plus, as the past shows, governing Texas could only prepare George W. Bush for so much.
Second, Sanders plans on making the county stronger at home, changing our trade policies to improve manufacturing in the United States. His presidency wouldn’t focus on intervening around the world when our own affairs are not in order. He would rather improve the rights and standard of living for citizens here than force-feed our values on people thousands of miles away.
Third, the world is run by those who show up. Changing course will be harder the longer we wait. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Finally, the new president will likely provide the next Supreme Court nomination. Sanders has already said his nominee must support removal of corporate funds from politics. If his nominee were approved, money and greed would no longer play a role in elections. That would give more power back to the people.
We need Sanders’ moral compass in the White House. His influence on the Supreme Court could be present for decades.
He’s a man of the people and the only candidate who cannot be bought.
D. R. Williams is a full-time student and a disgruntled voter.
By MOE IRISH
‘Merica is one of the few countries in the world that provides freedom to govern ourselves, yet modern Americans have grown to take this renowned privilege for granted. The right to vote is among the most neglected of these privileges.
This plague of political dispassion has no preference for ethnicity or gender, but age is an increasing factor. Millennials seem particularly susceptible.
When the subject is celebrity gossip or materialistic insight, modern Americans are all-knowing. When it comes to the people running our country, hardly any young people have a clue what is going on, even during an election year.
It’s like they are making a choice to be willfully ignorant, focusing on trivial matters instead. Their awareness is limited to memes on social media and following trends set by celebrities rather than forming opinions of their own.
It doesn’t help that the United States has a tendency to make stupid people famous.
Depthless narcissists evolve into public figures, profoundly influencing the mentalities of the already all too impressionable youth.
Speaking of narcissistic brutes, am I the only person concerned that Donald Trump is currently a viable candidate? How is it possible that he may actually be elected to lead our country?
Among his appalling list of agendas, Trump plans to approve libel laws that would prohibit journalists from writing unfavorable things about people in power.
That would essentially eliminate the fourth branch of government (watchdog journalists who keep political figures in check).
We are failing to recognize that people in power do affect us directly, and we might not realize it until it is too late.
It is not unreasonable to feel as if individuals have a limited influence, but this generation cannot continue the same mentality of passivity and indifference.
The consequences could affect our future catastrophically and will if things don’t change soon.
It is not too late to register to vote. You have a voice. Use it.
Political commentator Bill Moyer, a former White House press secretary, has said, “What’s right and good doesn’t come naturally. You have to stand up and fight for it as if the cause depends on you, because it does.”
Apathy isn’t solely applicable to politics but its abundance, especially during an election year, is very concerning.
Being an American, you enjoy a right that people are dying for in other countries. Now’s the time to take advantage of it.
Pick a cause, people, and give your existence some meaning. Jeeze.
Irish is a journalism major dually enrolled at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. She is plagued with passion and aims to spend her future addressing problems in the political scene and with issues pertaining to the environment, animal rights and social justice.
By BRYAN OROZCO
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, here are 10 women who fought for the rights of gender, people and/or their country.
Their political thoughts and actions revolutionized their own era and set a precedent for today.
Angela Davis (1944- )
Angela Davis was a political activist, a scholar and at one time a most-wanted fugitive from the FBI in the 1960s.
She held membership in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and the American Communist Party. That involvement cost her a position as an assistant professor at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1970. Then Gov. Ronald Reagan attempted to have her barred from teaching in California.
Davis was accused in 1970 of supplying the guns in the death of federal judge Harold J. Haley. She fled, which created a national manhunt. She was caught in New York but later acquitted in 1972.
Davis retired as a professor in the History of Consciousness and the Feminist Studies departments at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Vilma Lucila Espín (1930-2007)
Considered “The First Lady of the Cuban Revolution,” Vilma Lucila Espín fought alongside the Castro brothers and later married Raul Castro, Cuba’s current president.
She was born into a wealthy family in Cuba. Her father was a lawyer for the rum company Bacardi. The revolution viewed Bacardi’s business exploits as treating Cuba like a “Yankee playground.”
After becoming one the first chemical engineers from the island, Espín joined the opposition against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
She died on June 18, 2007 at the age of 77.
Janet Jagan (1920-2009)
Born in Chicago, Janet Jagen became the first female president of Guyana and fought for labor rights in the United States and abroad.
After receiving a college degree, she and her husband moved to Guyana in 1923. They founded the People’s Progressive Party, which promoted Marxist ideals
Their campaign to decolonize Guyana from the United Kingdom earned them jail time under the order of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
There were many attempts to remove her from leadership roles, some supported and funded by the U.S. government. However, Jagan became president of Guyana in 1997. By then, the country had gained its independence from the UK.
Jagan died on March 28, 2009 at the age of 88.
Phoolan Devi (1963-2001)
Phoolan Devi was a modern Robin Hood: loved by the poor, despised by the rich. She began a streak of violent robberies across northern and central India in the 1970s, targeting the rich and sharing her bounties with the poor.
In February 1983, Devi surrendered to authorities. She negotiated her sentence with the Indian government and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Within two years of her release in 1994, she was elected to India’s Parliament. She continued advocating for the poor, but this time through political action and mobilization of the people.
Three masked gunmen assassinated Devi in her home on July 25, 2001. She was 37.
Petra Herrera (Unknown)
The most well known soldaderas of Mexico’s second revolution, Herrera went into combat with the men by disguising her gender. Her role in the revolution was to blow up bridges, which hindered the oppositions from gaining ground on the revolutionaries. She participated in the second battle of Torreón on May 30, 1914 along with 400 other women. Although she showed great leadership and comradery, Pancho Villa refused to promote her to general.
She left Villa’s battalion to form her own all-woman battalion.
Blanca Canales (1906-1996)
In 1948, a bill known as the Gag Bill, or Law 53, was introduced in Puerto Rico. The bill made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, sing a patriotic tune, speak or write of independence, or meet with anyone or hold any assembly in favor of Puerto Rican independence.
Blanca Canales was a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. On Oct. 30, 1950, the nationalist took up arms that were stored in her home and marched into the small town of Jayuya. They took over the police station and raised the Puerto Rican flag in defiance of the law.
The actions prompted the United States to declare martial law. Officials ordered the U.S. Army and Air Force to engage the revolutionaries.
The Nationalists held on against the Americans for three days, but were later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
After 17 years in prison, Canales was granted a full pardon and released in 1967. She died on July 25, 1996 at the age of 90.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
During the campaign season, it is sometimes hard to remember that U.S. women were not allowed to vote for almost 180 years after the country gained its independence.
Susan B. Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851 and the two toured the country arguing the case for women’s suffrage, the right to vote.
Many attempted to stop her efforts. In 1872, she was arrested for voting illegally in the presidential election and a judge later fined her $100. She refused to pay and never did.
Her efforts pressured Congress to pass the 19th Amendment, which prohibits any U.S. citizen from being denied the right to vote based on gender.
Anthony died on March 13, 1906 at the age of 86.
Rasmea Odeh (1948- )
Rasmea Odeh is a Palestinian women who was convicted in 1969 for her membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and for her alleged involvement in a grocery store bombing in Jerusalem. She was sentenced to life in prison and was tortured while incarcerated in Israeli prison.
She was released after 10 years and migrated in 1995 to the United States from Jordan. She became a naturalized citizen and works as associate director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago.
Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud on Nov. 10, 2014. She was sentenced in March 2015 to 18 months in federal prison and stripped of her U.S. citizenship. She will be deported to Jordan once she finishes serving her time.
Malala Yousafzai (1997-)
Age is but a number, even for a revolutionary. Malala Yousafzai began advocaying at age 12 for women’s rights, particularly the right to an education in Pakistan.
Her advocacy resulted in the Taliban sporadically closing schools by force and in death threats against her.
A gunman shot Yousafzai in the head on Oct. 9, 2012 while she was traveling home from school. She survived despite the serious injury.
In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest person to receive it. She continues to speak out on the importance of education for all.
Comandante Ramona (1959-2006)
Using a nom de guerre, Comandante Ramona was a Tzotzil guerilla and activist who led the rebels of the Zapatista National Liberation Army into the Mexican town of San Cristobal de las Casas on New Year’s Day 1994.
The activists sought land, jobs, housing, food, healthcare, justice and democracy. In addition to protesting the North American Free Trade Agreement, Ramona demanded an end to hundreds of years of exploitation and marginalization of indigenous peoples of Mexico.
She died on Jan.6, 2006 from kidney cancer.
Her real name and details of her pre-revolutionary life remain unknown.