26 November 2011

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies

The Occupy Movement tries to address income inequality. I feel some people aren't sold on income inequality, but the link of quality of life and income inequality is strong. This is true for both the wealthy and the poor. Here is some evidence:

23 November 2011

Occupy Wall Street Ingenuity

The things that Occupy Wall Street has done is amazing me and I think it is fantastic. The fact that they set up a library, set it up quickly, and were so worried about it when the entire encampment was disrupted was unique by itself. The mic of the people is awesome, as is the fact that democracy is used to make decisions.

The movement keeps amazing me. I just saw that today that a Thanksgiving meal will be served at Occupy Wall Street. It flows so nicely from the idea! The fact that in the face of everything Occupy has been through, and our country has been through, that Occupy Wall Street has found a way to get food to its people and celebrate everything they are thankful for.

I think it is spectacular and shows the commitment to the cause. Occupy Wall Street gets another thumbs up from me! I also want to encourage everybody, regardless of your position, to remember all that we have to be thankful about. I also encourage people not to forget what we COULD have too. For today though, for Thanksgiving, let's remember even when it seems horrible we still have it far better than many people can ever hope for.

16 November 2011

Concealed Carry Failed

For those interested in my last two posts, concealed carry failed to pass at Purdue Student Government (7-15-0 against).

I got worried with the ferociousness of supporters and the posts on the Twitter feed. I worried Purdue might be "conservative" enough to fall for this. Luckily, the senators thought it through tonight, and listened to ALL of their constituents.

Essentially, I remember why I feel Purdue Student Government is a powerful institution. They have worried me a few times this semester, but I think they are still very much going strong.

In Response to a Few Gun Comments

Since I have already heard back on some of my post concerning guns on campus, I will add a few statements concerning those issues.

1) My case is primarily based on doubt. When you throw out statistics, some people will notice when they are flawed, or when you need to consider something further. Yes, a few campuses across the country allow this. However, the largest one made in the case for allowing guns on campus is Colorado State University. This campus is essentially half the size of ours. What is the impact of this scale different? Having lived in cities and towns of a few different sizes, believe me, the dynamics change as the size changes. Don't assume that because a small university or college can do it without repercussions that a large university can. When you increase the number of people in an area, a lot of the dynamics change.

2) I don't get why some people think guns have to be allowed everywhere. Sorry, there is plenty of reason to believe that reasonable restrictions (such as those involving public property) are allowed. No, the constitution doesn't explicitly say there can be exceptions, but it also doesn't explicitly say there can't be. In other spots it is clear about things. Look at religion. No room for exceptions. Second amendment, we get to go with the court there.

3) Just because residency will allow some additional people to have guns, that doesn't mean that everybody will, and people still have to get residency. You are thus still creating an unequal dynamic. Also, if people in the residence halls aren't allowed to have guns, you are partially surrendering your argument about reasonable restrictions not being allowed.

4) This is still a radical change. 32 universities out of hundreds does not make it common. Granted that doesn't make it wrong, but it makes it something new and still very uncertain. We thus have to approach it with a lot of caution, and thus my argument that the case must be airtight still stands.

5) Proponents say out of twelve universities there have not been any gun thefts. I find this a little hard to believe, but don't have the time to back check that so I won't argue that right now. What I will ask is where did your other 20 universities go? Did they have issues of gun theft, gun crimes, et cetera?

6) Finally, I still want to know what this will cost the university. That issue was not addressed at all.

15 November 2011

Guns on Campus

Since Purdue Student Government’s website is STILL down (at least when I try it), I will make a post along the lines of what I would have told my senators:

I urge Purdue Student Government to reject a bill that would allow concealed weapons to be carried on campus. A bill of this magnitude should only pass PSG if reasonable doubt of its benefits can be dissuaded. That doubt is still strongly there concerning the proposal.

We could argue all day as to whether or not allowing guns on campus would make people safer. To be honest, we do not know. Under certain circumstances guns do make places safer. Under other circumstances guns make places more dangerous. In a campus environment, we do not know. While statistics are presented about who commits gun crimes, where they are committed, and the presence of guns in certain environments, we do not have adequate knowledge on the university environment. We do not know how allowing guns on campus will affect the safety of our campus.

The fact that this is so strongly debated, however, shows that it would have a clear impact on the learning environment, and that impact is negative. People don’t need another cause for concern. In places where the free exchange of ideas is important, guns are restricted. Guns are not allowed in most public K-12 schools. Guns are not allowed in most universities. Guns are not allowed on the floor of the Congress. Guns are not allowed in court rooms. Reasonable restrictions on weapons are absolutely allowed constitutionally. Case law concerning the reasonable restriction of weapons is plentiful. The second amendment does not mean guns must be allowed on campus.

Guns are not guaranteed to make our campus safer. Guns will hurt the learning environment at Purdue. The second amendment does not mean guns must be allowed on campus. Yet the doubts about their presence still remain. What would the rate of gun theft be in an area such as non-official student housing? How will gun theft risk be reduced? What additional resources need to be available to handle gun theft? Remember, students often live in close confines and with a lot of people passing through their homes. What rights will certain entities have to restrict the issue of guns? What extra resources will the Purdue police need due to this policy (regardless of whether it increases or decreases the safety of students)? How much will this cost the university to implement? What safety precautions will the university be willing and able to undertake? What about the effect of the increases in weapons in a high alcohol presence environment? If you do assume guns will increase safety for those with one, what about the students who are unable to bring one due to their living arrangement or status as a foreign citizen?

Even if you support allowing concealed weapons on campus, I think this resolution hurts your case. You have to do a whole lot more than go to a gun range to convince the university that this addition will be beneficial. Due to the reasonable doubt, the case made to support concealed weapons must be flawless. If the case is not flawless, every doubt will wreck the campaign. This is a very serious issue, one issue that has a lot of people worried. This is an issue that frankly makes people worry about their safety on campus. In order to get around this, you have to be perfect, and this resolution and its case simply are not. If you do support the idea, and are unwilling to vote no, I urge you to at least table the resolution again or abstain from the vote.