The streets of Heaven update

25 02 2008

*for anyone stumbling across this because of the Academy Awards in search of where the quote comes from, I’ll tell you. I first heard it in a speech given by Martin Sheen as President Bartlet in the television show The West Wing. Before that, it had been used by Tom Hanks in his acceptance speech for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia in 1994. I can’t find anything before this, so the only assumption I can come to is that the quote comes from his speech. A little anti-climactic, if you ask me, for a quote that eloquent to come from an Oscar speech, but there it is. I used it in reference to the deaths that occured in the tragic massacres at both Virginia Tech and NIU, but if it needs to be reduced to an Oscar speech, there it is.


You can’t fish while on horseback, but you can carry a gun to class?

21 02 2008

One of the strange laws of the state of Utah is that it is against the law to fish from horseback. Even stranger? You can carry a concealed gun on any college campus (public colleges). Sure can. College kids can get up, strap on the .22, pull on jeans and go to class. Until late 2006, University of Utah had a ban that prohibited firearms from campus, but it was struck down by the state legislature. The school, along with the other public universities in the state is fighting with the legislature to reinstate the ban. In light of the massacre at Virginia Tech and the more recent one at Northern Illinois University, some college students claim they feel that they can better protect themselves by carrying a concealed weapon. I suppose if there had been someone with a gun when Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech) started shooting, that might have ended sooner and spared some lives. But we have no way of knowing that. Private schools in Utah such as Brigham Young University in Provo have the power to ban firearms.
I went to a state university (THE STATE’S UNIVERSITY), although I was out of school before the Virginia Tech shooting happened, but I am not sure I would feel comfortable knowing that some of my fellow students had concealed weapons on them. If I was on a college campus with a firearms ban and I saw the outline of a gun that was being concealed under someone’s shirt, or in someone’s pants, then I would know there was a problem. If there was no such ban, how would anyone know? Granted, concealed weapons are just that, concealed. Does it increase accidental gun deaths? I mean, think about how many college kids are getting drunk every night? And then they have easier access to a gun because they are either carrying one, or one of their drunk friends is carrying one? That’s a frightening thought. Maybe they aren’t as worried in Utah, as they have some pretty interesting liquor laws. To read more on this subject, read this article posted on CNNU.

The streets of Heaven are too crowded with angels…

14 02 2008

*seems like a lot of people are hitting this post, check out my Streets of Heaven update to find what you are looking for* I am interrupting my Valentine’s Day celebration to share my thoughts on the tragic events of today, because some things are bigger than Cupid. At 3pm this afternoon, a gunman open-fired in a lecture hall housing a beginner level ocean sciences class at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. According to witnesses, the man, dressed in black, stepped out from behind a curtain and began shooting into the crowd with a shotgun. He ended up killing 5 students including the graduate student leading the ocean sciences class and wounding 16 others before turning the gun on himself. The class, which consisted of mainly freshmen and sophomores, had 162 students enrolled. In a nod to the school’s security measures enacted following the tragedy at Virginia Tech last year, as soon as 3:07pm the school was ordered on lockdown. At 3:20pm the school’s website, email system, and another campus alarm system had posted an alert. By 4:00pm, campus and local law enforcement had determined that there was only one shooter, and by 4:14pm another alert was issued that the immediate threat had passed.
I want to commend NIU on their security measures, and say to all other colleges, we need more! I was a college student not so long ago. My suggestion? College students use their cell phones. Enable a text message alert system much like an email system or these new advertising techniques that some have started to employ. I get those annoying messages on occasion. Make it optional. I would think that anyone who watched the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, or now the NIU shooting would be willing to sign up for such a service. As long as the schools can agree to not abuse the priviledge. Certainly if there is an emergency I would want to get a message about it. I wouldn’t even be opposed to getting a text message had my campus been shut down due to inclement weather. It makes sense, most college students have their cell phones on them, more often than they would have a laptop on them to check email. If I was still in college, I would even be willing to add the additional $2 per credit hour per student it might cost to pay for it. I wish someone would conduct a poll on this. I am thinking of drafting a letter to my alma mater about. And as the boy sighs, I assure you it will not be happening tonight. I just couldn’t let this go until tomorrow due to the unspeakable tragedy that happened in DeKalb today. The thoughts and prayers of myself (and boy) are with the students, faculty, and families of Northern Illinois University tonight. To read more on the story, go to the NYTimes website.