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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday October 30, 2002

Condolences to UA community regarding yesterday's shootings

As a recent graduate from the UA, I am stunned to hear about the shooting that took place on Monday. My fellow alumni and I send our condolences to the current students of the UA, and hope that the spirit of the UA campus has not been tainted as a result of what happened.

We will see you all on Homecoming weekend.

Jennifer Hunt
Class of 2002

Argument for gun control on campus buoyed by shooting

Yesterday's campus shooting was a tragedy, but it is unlikely to be the last attack on a university campus. With guns ever easier to obtain, and citizens more willing to use them in pursuit of personal justice or retribution, we will not be the only academic community mourning at year's end.

However, perhaps this horrific event will bring enlightenment to some who believe we need more liberal gun ownership laws. There are people on this campus who are offended by the fact that the UA is officially a weapons-free zone. I have taught students who complain that as legal gun owners and users, they are denied basic constitutional rights when their ability to carry their weapon stops at the campus boundary.

They argue that situations like that which occurred yesterday necessitate their bringing their own weapons to school. In their view, if the students in that class had been allowed to bring their guns with them, we might have avoided needless deaths. Alternatively, of course, it could have turned into a bloodbath as ill-trained individuals decided to let off a shot in the hope of hitting the perpetrator. I don't believe that two-dozen weapons in that classroom would have helped the situation.

Right now, there is a case meandering its way through the Utah state court system, in which gun owners are challenging the right of universities to ban weapons on campus. If the case is won in Utah, there are people at the UA hoping the Arizona courts will find likewise for our campuses. They believe fervently that they need their guns on campus. I hope the result of these shootings will be a student body rallying against those who propose looser rules at the UA.

I have no doubt the faculty will be more than happy to see the ban continue. After all, how many of them will be nervous in their classroom or office the next time a student gets frustrated with a grade, or turns up late for an exam and is denied permission to take it?

And yes, I know that NRA-adherents argue that it is people who kill people, not guns. However, the guns surely help those people seeking to cause harm; and do we really want our community to feel under constant threat by allowing hundreds, if not thousands, of additional weapons onto campus? I don't think so.

Nick Ray
political science graduate student

Death penalty is just punishment that helps to keep society safe

I am writing in response to Jason Baran's article, "Old Sparky is man's best friend." I would just like to say that this letter clearly relays exactly how I feel on the death penalty. His points on why the death penalty should be kept and used are completely on target.

Many people think that the death penalty is inhumane and that an eye for an eye is not going to make the process in achieving world peace any easier. But will keeping these malicious people in jail forever help to create world peace? There is always the fear, especially within the victims' families, of a murderer breaking out of jail and causing more pain and suffering.

Mr. Baran, I commend you for your brave article and also like that you reminded everyone of how if these convicts are kept in jail, our precious tax dollars go toward their having a hot meal, instead of helping the UA to keep such a wide selection of colleges to choose from. I am not one to support any monster that goes into a shooting spree in their own neighborhood and shoots a two-year-old like the Oklahoma boy in the Oct. 28 issue of the Wildcat, or two men (yes I said men, though one is 17) who can shoot and kill people from a distance like John Allen Muhammed and John Lee Malvo, the sniper suspects. Why should we as honest, hard-working, gentle Americans have to constantly worry about whether or not someone will rape our mothers, shoot our children or murder our fathers?

The death penalty helps to ease such fears and keep our country safe. Why should we settle for anything less than being safe? Yes, there will always be a nut here and there, but with the death penalty, at least we know that we are doing away with a few more criminals, and showing those who wish to copycat such crimes that we as the United States will not put up with it; and such people will pay the ultimate price.

Ashley Mendivil
undeclared freshman

Capital punishment is a ╬failed system' that U.S. must give up

There was a bit of confusion in Monday's "Old Sparky is man's best friend" column, by Jason Baran. Mr. Baran writes, "Innocents are executed." Then two lines later, "reason vanishes from doubt and innocents aren't executed." Allow me to clear up the confusion.

Innocent people are indeed executed. Cases are mishandled, DNA evidence isn't tested properly, witnesses are coached. It happens. Capital punishment is irrevocable and, unlike every other civilized nation, the United States hangs onto it like a stubborn toddler, refusing to admit it's a failed system.

Mr. Baran, sentencing guidelines offer a term called natural life ¸ no possibility of parole, an alternative you must not have been aware of when you mentioned that these inmates might be released.

The problem with capital punishment is simple. I am not God. Mr. Baran, you are not God. And the sniper, contrary to the note he wrote to police, is not God. He should sit in jail until God decides when his life ends. No one else is perfect enough to make that decision.

On a side note, let us all pray for the broken society that raises a child of 17 to allegedly assist in these terrible crimes. We must start focusing on prevention. If we keep focusing on punishment, isn't it too late?

Laura Winsky
first year law student


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