Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, March 1, 2004

Affirmative action not the answer to education

Brett Berry's Tuesday article addresses a number of fundamental flaws and benefits in the affirmative action system. However, in his effort to show every side, he missed the most important one: Finding success in life is strongly influenced by a person's upbringing. What's the difference between a Hispanic who doesn't make it through school and one who does, sans affirmative action? There may certainly be an intellectual difference, but as we often see in life, we can overcome any difficulties with the right (and fair) help. The big difference is in the way the parents affect a child's desire to succeed. Hispanic, African-American or American Indian parents who simply don't care will raise a child who will also not care and will most likely not be successful and become another statistic that supports affirmative action. Parents who do care will push a child to succeed no matter what obstacles lie in the child's path. Why is it that no one ever mentions Indians or Asians as a large part of affirmative action? It's because most Indian and Asian parents tend to push their children to succeed, no matter what. Sure, they were never oppressed by whites in America's past, but American Indians and African- Americans use history, and the government, as a crutch instead of using it as motivation.

Mr. Berry also admits that the educational system needs revamping, so why not focus on that instead of writing a pointless, rehashed treatise on affirmative action? Besides, if minorities aren't getting a quality secondary education, how can we expect them to suddenly be successful in college and not dilute the academic pool? What about all of the sorority girl jokes and stereotypes? Certainly many whites are in college because daddy foots the bill, and not because they had impressive test scores. Can you really argue that they are enhancing their lives and the lives of those around them? Is that diversity? Education is not about diversity; it's about brace yourselves knowledge and ability. Sitting next to an African- American in a math class isn't going to make the "educational experience" any better or more effective for me, unless he or she happens to be extremely well-versed in the subject. And then I might ask to be his or her study partner

Jeremy Young
music performance, composition and education sophomore

Guns not to blame for America's violent crime

Professor Fregosi's letter regarding guns is pretty good evidence you don't need to be capable of rational thought to get a doctorate. People were killing each other long before firearms arrived on the scene, so the "unproven" assertion that other objects will serve as convenient murder weapons isn't really unproven. Even today people are murdered in a variety of ways. In fact, the most heinous murders aren't committed with guns. If bin Laden and his followers limited their weapons to guns, I don't think we'd be quite as concerned about them.

Fregosi wants an inanimate object, a gun, to share the blame for a murder with the "mental status and subsequent behavior" of the killer. Huh? By that logic, when a drunk driver kills someone, the car he or she was driving must share the responsibility. This clearly is an inane proposition.

And Fregosi might want to think twice before tangling with a knife-wielding attacker. Knives are extremely dangerous, something I'm sure any police officer will confirm. Besides, the "autonomic nervous system will dictate the response to fear, and how a given individual will react when faced with a life-or-death situation cannot be predicted." At least that's what Fregosi wrote. Maybe his autonomic nervous system operates differently than everyone else's.

Finally, jurisdictions with "right to carry" laws have seen reductions in crime rates, contrary to Fregosi's rejection as fantasy that an armed citizenry is safer. A law researcher, John Lott, at the University of Chicago, found that when state concealed handgun laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by an average of 8.5 percent, rapes fell by an average of 5 percent and assaults by 7 percent.

Next time, professor, calm down before you write a letter to the Wildcat.

Scott Plapp
UA alumnus

Armed campus assaults memory of slain nurses

I was horrified to read Tim Belshe's column regarding his wish to make it perfectly legal to carry a concealed weapon on campus. He stated that the tragedy at the College of Nursing would never have happened if people were allowed to carry weapons. That was without a doubt the most insensitive thing I have ever read. It showed an utter lack of understanding for the people who were impacted by the murders of Robin, Barb and Cheryl, their families, the students in their classes and those of us who worked with them on a professional basis.

The tragedy would have happened regardless. As Ralph Fregosi stated in his response to the column, having a CCW would not prepare you to face someone intent on killing you. The perpetrator of the College of Nursing shootings was licensed to carry his weapons and he had passed a background check those "checks and balances" didn't stop him.

Tim Belshe, is of course, allowed to have his opinions, but to show such insensitivity and, in my mind, disrespect for Barb, Robin, Cheryl, their families, students and colleagues is unforgivable, and shows an utter lack of journalistic integrity. Jo Robson
Clinical Leader, Three East, University Medical Center

Sex column, Wildcat in general, lack substance

At the risk of launching an ad hominem rant, I'll admit that my original plan was to discuss some specific content of Caitlin Hall's "Under Covers" sex column. But Hall is too irritating to be taken this seriously. Each week, Hall's articles read like a self-indulgent internal monologue of her indiscretions. The problem with this public display of reflection is its lack of purpose. Hall dabbles in sex like a pretentious Ivy League liberal, desperately searching for the bigger reason behind her reckless libido. But Hall can't even get this far in her analysis, lost in flowery language and 100-level psychology; her arguments are floating somewhere in the subtext. Let me make this clear: An opinion cannot be completely inferred. Journalists know this.

Still, Hall hijacks a page of the Wildcat every week for her own monotonous musings. Interestingly enough, this has bigger implications, which I am confident have gone unnoticed. From blow jobs to mothers in strip clubs to F-bombs, the Wildcat is a glowing bastion of lazy, dumbed-down journalism. The biggest disappointment that Hall exemplifies is the fact that vulgarity and absurd sexuality don't even provide a minimal amount of shock value. On a college campus, this "level" of communication is common and of little value. This begs the question, what is the purpose? Maybe Hall can answer that next week. So, congrats to the Wildcat and to Caitlin for taking the road most traveled. At the risk of losing my purpose, here's the read: a student newspaper should set the standard for dialogue on campus, not lower it.

Jon Knutson
management information systems and operations management junior