Tag Archives: Issues

How we are all different…

We are all different in what way?
The same way.

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‘There is no right to be offended’; The Similarities in Groups

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“Of course, that’s true. Moral and cultural relativism is a very dangerous phenomenon. What you routinely hear from some extremist Muslim pundits, whether religious or political, is a discourse that is anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic. The same Leftists would not tolerate that coming from any other group. But somehow people turn a blind eye to it because it is coming from this group.” -Salman Rushdie

This passage in particular, although the entire article is well written, sticks out to me as extremely powerful and poignantly relevant to American society today.  I feel that in America this hasty generalization also exists between race, political, and gender groups, and there is no end to the propagation of oppressive institutions by their moral movements.  These acts, prejudices, assumptions, create and ignite a new brand of hatred and separation between a group of individuals that should be united as one, come together to resolve–that is not so different.  I feel that any progress to resolve such conflicts is squelched by the use of stereotypical labels, afforded by those, individuals or groups, who feel slighted, wrong, or subjected to injustice.  The characteristics, actions, and makeup of one person within a group does not absolutely define the group as a whole entirely, no matter which other group suggests this as fact.  In order to work for a positive and peaceful future as one, we must stop using hateful tools of the past in order to create anew, all of us.

Some people are too focused on the differences to see the similarities.

See Article: “There is no right to be offended”

Crime Alerts at the University of Minnesota: Enabling Crime?

At times I wonder why the University of Minnesota even tells us anything at all about crimes. Is it a scare-tactic to be vague with details, not giving crucial information to the general public/student body, while allowing those to speculate, while criminals run at large? Is it to show they (campus police and administration) are on it… they have an idea of what is going on—control, perhaps? How useful are these “crime alert” emails? What purpose do they serve?

Recently, because of issues with defining distinct aspects of an individual’s appearance, make-up, within crime reports: assumed generalizations, problematic language, suggested stereotypes, and the political correctness of the University etc., the student body no longer has access to pertinent and informative accounts/descriptions of suspects who commit crimes on victims at gunpoint, near or around campus.

Not only is the act of ambiguity within these emails confusing, it, perhaps, enables more crime. Perchance, if a criminal were under the impression that said criminal’s description were forbidden from being released to the general public/student body, then why would that criminal be apprehensive about committing the same crime again? It appears to me that if there are no repercussions to committing a crime, why would a criminal not do it again? Sharing the identity, description, appearance of a suspect is imperative to creating a safe community, and particularly a safe and informed campus.

To be straightforward, if a person commits a crime, the gender, sex, attire, and physical appearance witnessed, of that person, comes into play as that person’s identity. That unique identity, make-up, appearance, description, and those characteristics of a person, do not have the right to be protected or withheld from the general public by the administration, specifically for the safety of the law abiding citizen. If I walk outside, my identity is visible—I am visibly unique as an individual, as most. A victim should have the right to be able to use and share that information to help identify a suspect, while informing others of this information.

These aimless emails, “crime alerts”, do nothing to create community awareness, they only act as vague warnings to those who venture out into society, while shielding actual criminals. Perhaps “crime alerts” should say: be afraid, stay inside, and fear the unknown. Have people not seen No Country for Old Men? In the film protagonists are searching for a suspect, an amateur sheriff suggest they radio a description of the suspect, the wise sheriff counters by suggesting, “Well, what are we searching at… looking for a man who has recently drunk milk?” The wise sheriff does this as he takes a sip from a glass of milk. At least give some form of description, or these emails serve no purpose whatsoever.

One thing I have learned at the University of Minnesota is that if you want to write something, anything, have a purpose for writing, declare an idea/concept, and make an attempt to prove that idea/concept. My idea/concept is that these alerts/reports are essentially useless, unless they give detailed descriptions of the perpetrator.

Moreover, the student body receives emails of this type evermore frequently (especially in the warm months), with little to no detail of the culprit. I say, let someone else write these emails, someone with more imagination, if you want to keep them vague. Perhaps have a sketch artist come in, draw a cartoon, I don’t know. I say, give me the opportunity to write the email. Every email would be the same, non-descriptive and useless, and go something like this: A human being robbed another human being. I thought you should know. Try to be safe out there.

Here is an example, unedited, of the emails the University of Minnesota student body receives when a crime occurs:

Crime Alert: Twin Cities Campus
“On Wednesday, April 15 at approximately 12:25 a.m., a robbery occurred off campus near the intersection of 27th Avenue SE and Talmage Avenue SE. The incident occurred in close proximity to the Como Student Community Cooperative. One of the two victims is a University of Minnesota student. The second victim is not affiliated with the University.

The victims were talking outside one of their vehicles when two suspects approached, threatened them with a gun, and demanded their valuables. The suspects took the victims’ wallet, cell phone and purse. The cell phone was later recovered after the suspects threw it into a nearby yard. Neither victim was injured.

The suspects fled to a car waiting on Talmage Avenue with a third suspect in the driver’s seat and the vehicle drove away westbound on Como Avenue. Detailed suspect descriptions are not available at this time.

Minneapolis Police are investigating this off-campus crime. Anyone with information is asked to call the Minneapolis Police Tip Line at 612-692-8477 and reference case number MP-15-132388.”

More Truth in Satire: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Predatory Lending (HBO)

Again the general public is exposed to scams and schemes by lenders, which create wealth solely for the lender and debt solely for the borrower. 

When will people in debt be protected? 

Money makes the world go round, even if it puts people off, destroys their credit, and leaves them chained to mounting interest.  However providing a service guised as a remedy for debt is nothing short of despicable. 

Companies like this, Payday Loans, like Big Pharma, exist to create made-up needs, to present to the public something nefarious as innocuous.  Planting the seed of need is the first step in marketing these volatile loans to unsuspecting borrowers.  You need this to attain that mindset is a straight-line logical fallacy- slippery slope, setup for failure, pushed on people through advertising. 

People are stupid.  We all know this.  People are smart.  We all know this.  People in America are obsessed with consuming and materializing; oniomania is the term.  We all know that too. 

So who is to blame? 

I think that by making such a habit easier, borrowing, enabling the function, is the key problem to American debt.  People in debt should be punished, in order to get their ducks in a row, to get themselves back on their feet; however, lenders influencing these actions/functions should also be punished for providing “relief” with ulterior motives.    

There is no risk for the lender; the borrower assumes all of the penalties.  Who suffers the foreclosures?  Not the fucking banks.  

When will the government take action and close these horrible establishments for good, for the better of the economic state, and end mal-business practice? 

Avoid PayDay Loans, and all loans (out of want; not necessity) in general. 

Does your government work against your financial security, or for your financial security?  Also, we must ask ourselves the same question.  Do we take fiscal responsibility for our lifestyles, or do we neglect details and live beyond our means? 

Letter to the Editor: What’s in a Name; The Redskins and Lake Calhoun

4 TLake Calhoun- Wikipedia

I wrote this piece to MN Daily 11/11/13, it was never published.  The Redskins were to play the Vikings, just as they did last weekend. 

***

11/11/13 (previously unpublished)

In recent news proponents arguing for the name change of the Redskins rallied outside of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.  This rally was set in place on the basis of a name change, the namesake of an NFL team, this team, the Washington Redskins.  This specific argument of change is very important, and central to the nation’s growth, and progressive equality for minorities; however, those same activists who went out to advocate the name change of an NFL team have overlooked the name change of a city landmark that is racially as disparaging, the name change of Lake Calhoun.

What are the true motives for those rallying against the name?  Is it a national hot topic that brings people out?  Why not try to fix something local?  Something as detrimental for minority groups as the name of an NFL team.  Lake Calhoun is a city landmark named in honor of a promoter of slavery, a confederate general from the South, and a person who slighted the ideas of abolitionists.  Yet we do nothing to change the name.  We stand outside of the Metrodome taking photos behind signs while the name of Lake Calhoun sits safely in the midst of our city. 

For living in this progressive city I feel this name an embarrassment.  I believe we as citizens have a right to protect the idea of equality within our community, not just those of nationwide spectacles. 

For the past 3 years, since I found the true origin of the name of Lake Calhoun (from an ambitious History Professor at MCTC, Matt Carhartt) I have seen nothing change.  I have heard nothing of the idea since.

Thinking about Rethinking the use of Solitary Confinement

MPR News: Rethinking the use of solitary confinement

For social purposes I agree with rethinking solitary confinement.  One of the reasons I believe this is a move for progress- I mean actually, people are talking about it, and these inmates lack a voice; they sit behind walls, waiting for change- is because one cannot be subjected to long-term isolation without suffering grave mental affects.

Human beings are social creatures, not allowing a natural behavior such as communication to transpire only makes the subject worse off.  Locking someone in a room for a long period of time makes it incredibly hard for that subject to be assimilated back into society, safely, sans adverse reaction.

I am for progressive corrections, bettering the lifestyles of those behind bars in hopes that they are rehabilitated, and can, one day, be a contributing member of the community.  It seems a waste of time, money, and resources to just allow those in correctional facilities to rot.

We pay for these institutions, and the services they provide, it comes from American tax dollars.  This is money that could be spent on health care and education, respectively.