Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

A Proposal for a Change in Campus Security Policy

28 Feb

To:  Don Enloe, Director of Campus Safety
From:  Scott Charles Sheppard

Date:  February 27, 2013

RE:  Campus Security Policy on Writing Up Students and Sending Students to Detox for alcohol and drug use

 

Campus Security at the University of Denver has so far in my experience here seemed to have mostly a negative presence in the eyes of most students attending here and is something I find contrary to how students should feel towards the service granted to us by the University.  Just as police operate in the real world, we expect campus security to keep us safe and for the most part look out for us as a whole community, to react to situations with rational not just automatic responses triggered by certain situations.  Campus security has a huge presence on campus as I can’t walk to class without seeing at least one security car driving by but its presence is stuck in a limbo between good and bad for me and many other students.  We all appreciate the call booths around campus keeping the line open to campus security for anyone at any time of the day to call for assistance in any risky situation where one feels threatened, and their aid in returning stolen bikes and other property, but many students only see the side of campus security that without much scrutiny at all will send a student to detox (or rather the drunk tank) and ruin their night, their week, and possibly their future.

I would argue that in many instances of students being cited for alcohol abuse and/or being sent to detox the campus security may have been overzealous in their involvement and justification for action upon those students.  Personally I do understand the problem arising with my argument before I start it; students are breaking the law drinking under age, or could be dangerously drunk regardless of age putting the university at risk of legal action if they were to come to harm on campus.  As I have not personally been cited by campus security I have witnessed and had close friends involved in several incidents with them and many times it seems have been unjustly dealt with.  I would argue that in some situations campus security looks to seek out trouble rather than deal with it when presented, and I don’t believe this to be a positive way of how they should be dealing with student drinking.

Many time campus security has been seen staking out halls and towers lobbies essentially waiting for drunk individuals who are coming back from parties and/or bars effectively creating a situation in which students are scared to return to their dorm rooms for fear of being caught.  As the aim of campus security is keep campus safe it doesn’t seem that they should be instilling the opposite feelings towards students here by creating the environment in which a student must fear any interaction with them.  

I interviewed a friend of mine whom had an encounter with campus security earlier this year.  An RA noticed he was sick in the bathroom after a night of partying and alerted campus security to the situation.  This is a clear sign that a student may need help, yet not without first assessing the situation.  When campus security arrived my friend was done being sick and very alert and able to have a conversation with them undeterred from alcohol.  He was able to talk clearly enough to prove to them he was not a risk, behaved normally, and asked simply to go to bed.  Campus security in turn responded by telling him he could either deal with them or the real police.  At this point he decided to just abide with them and ended up being sent to detox.  Unexpectedly though he was unable to go because it was too full, and they had to send him to the hospital.  At the hospital he blew a BAC of .07%, still illegal for underage drinkers but nowhere near the amount of alcohol one requires in their blood stream to go to detox, and because he went to the hospital instead of the police station got a bill of $2000.00.  I feel like all of this could have been avoided with a little bit more discretion from campus security and less of an automated reaction to dealing with intoxicated students.

I feel like the school and student can both benefit from this slightly changing policy on taking students to detox.  If students continue to get in trouble and by eventually having to deal with DPD as the campus security warned my friend students will get more MIPs on their records.  Sometimes seemingly unnecessary predicaments that students find themselves in could be solved by instituting a new system to look after the students in their rooms rather than ship them off campus.  A MIP on a student’s record could hurt their chances of jobs after college, and probation only prolongs the time in which they are required to study there costing them more money and wasting more time not in the job force or pursuing whatever path they choose.  This provides not only a better chance for all students to succeed but reflects well on the status of the University as a hole when more of our graduates do better and better.  There will be a better relationship between the campus security and residents, and a safer community as well.  If not the first time we might institute as a middle ground a three strike rule for students.  

Overall I think a change is necessary on campus for the way in which these situations are handled.  Without getting outrageous and with safety and security still considered a priority. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drug Legalization, Cartel Violence, and a Safer America

14 Feb

     Drugs should be legal, simple as that.

     A government has no place to regulate what a person decides to do with their bodies. Governments have every right to control the substances so children can’t get them, or to make it illegal for people to drive under the influence as these are both dangerous for the people involved, but a government has no right to make drugs illegal.  If a person is stupid enough to use some of the drugs that have been proving deadly, then let them be that stupid.  My personal opinions aside, there is actually a very reasonable set of possibilities that would occur if drugs were legalized that nobody would be opposed to having.  The foremost benefit being a huge drop in criminal activity and in turn less violence over drugs.  

     Here is segment of a news report by Vice telling the tale of Mitt Romney’s Mormon family in Mexico currently warring with cartels.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1y41mYuwU0

     This segment is on kidnappings and according to Vice currently 49 are happening daily.  

     For as long as I can remember cartels hailing from Mexico have been becoming an ever growing problem for the United States southern-most borders and our countries’ DEA’s effectiveness.  The ever increasing violence has made headlines almost weekly at times and our neighbors to the south have witnessed many horrific violent acts in public.  The Zeta cartel’s leader, “Z-40”, has recently been described as “violent to the point of Sadism”, by ABC News journalists Kreider and Schone.   The violence seen in Mexico which spills over into the United States via gangs and drug dealers is currently present solely because drugs are illegal.  Which brings me to another topic of debate; should drugs be legalized in the States?  Well now that marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, and many states are beginning to have medical marijuana programs we have seen some changes in drug policy in the US, but only on a state level.  With our state legislatures and our federal government in such dispute over these laws it only opens more gaps for criminals to take advantage of the disorder and make abundances of money off of illicit drugs.  The DEA, a huge agency with an annual budget of $3 billion (Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Public Affairs), with as much as they do to take drugs and people associated with them off the street still aren’t even close to solving the crime problem.

     Here is a video of DEA agent and a police officer debating the legalization of marijuana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krlb3UD1sCM.

     My home state of Oregon just did not pass the bill to legalize marijuana unlike Colorado and Washington, but it has decriminalized the drug in amounts that are under an ounce in measurement.  Polls taken in California have shown that decriminalization of just marijuana has decreased juvenile arrests by 20% between 2010 and 2011, (Alternet, Ferriss).  In 2011 numbers of juveniles arrested for pot dropped from approximately 15,000 down to a little less than 6,000 with possessions under an ounce being charged with a fine rather than jail time (AlterNet, Ferriss).  Not only does this approach keep more kids (adults as well) out of prison but it decreases at least some of the intense violence surrounding the drug trades investments in marijuana as it makes it less profitable due to its increased legality.  With notorious cartel leaders like Z-40 less interested in the marijuana trade because of the availability of it legally in the states, crime rate will drop along with the blood spilled over the control of the ganja trade.  But that is just one of many drugs the cartel is invested in.  What about the rest of them?      

     In Portugal a different approach on drugs and drug users has been taken with great success I might add.  Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, (LSE, Stevens), and treats drug addiction as a health problem not a criminal activity.  This has caused all criminal drug activity to cease and actually increased survival rate of drug addicts and improved their re-assimilation into the work force and society.  Now imagine for an instant if this policy was held in the USA.  How much less violence would take place in our streets and in the streets of Mexico.  How the money spent on the drug war could be spent on helping people with drug problems (which is also much cheaper) and other beneficial things for this country.  

     The facts are overwhelming in that we should follow in Portugal’s wake in implementing a completely new way to deal with drugs in a legal fashion.  Just as companies must change their approach to the market when sales are low and their policies out dated, we must change our policies concerning drugs or we will continue to lose the money we are dumping into the war on drugs and people will continue to suffer.    

 

 

 

 

Here are some links of relevant information that may be of interest:

http://civilliberty.about.com/od/drugpolicy/tp/War-on-Drugs-History-Timeline.htm

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/12/26/portugals-drug-policy-pays-eyes-lessons/

Works Cited

     “Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rates by Stunning 20% in One Year.” Alternet. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.http://www.alternet.org/marijuana-decriminalization-drops-youth-crime-rates-stunning-20-one-year 

     “DEA Fact Sheet.” Drug Enforcement Agency Office of Public Affairs. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/1207_fact-sheet.pdf

     “Portuguese Drug Policy Shows That Decriminalisation Can Work, but Only alongside Improvements in Health and Social Policies.” EUROPP. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/12/10/portuguese-drug-policy-alex-stevens/

     KREIDER, RANDY, and MARK SCHONE. “New Zetas Cartel Leader Violent ‘To the Point of Sadism'” ABC News. ABC News Network, 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ruthless-drug-lord-takes-control-deadly-cartel/story?id=17455674

 

Drug Legalization, Cartel Violence, and a Safer America (DRAFT)

11 Feb

Drugs should be legal, simple as that.  A government as has no place to regulate what a person decides to do with their bodies.  Governments have every right to control the substances so children can’t get them, or to make it illegal for people to drive under the influence as these are both dangerous for the people involved, but a government has no right to make drugs illegal.  If a person is stupid enough to use some of the drugs that have been proving deadly, then let them be that stupid.  My personal opinions aside, there is actually a very reasonable set of possibilities that would occur if drugs were legalized that nobody would be opposed to having.  The first and foremost benefit being less criminal activity and less violence over drugs.  

Here is segment of a news report by Vice telling the tale of Mitt Romney’s Mormon family in Mexico currently warring with cartels.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1y41mYuwU0

This segment is on kidnappings and according to Vice currently 49 are happening daily.  

For as long as I can remember Cartel’s hailing from Mexico have been becoming an ever growing problem for the United States southern-most borders and our countries’ DEA’s effectiveness.  The ever increasing violence has made headlines almost weekly at times and our neighbors to the south.  The Zeta cartel’s leader, “Z-40”, has recently been described as “violent to the point of Sadism”, by ABC News journalists Kreider and Schone.   The violence seen in Mexico and which spills over into the United States via gangs and drug dealers is currently present solely because drugs are illegal.  Which brings me to another topic of debate, Should drugs be legalized in the States?  Well now that marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, and many states are beginning to have medical marijuana programs we have seen some changes in drug policy in the US, but only on a state level.  With our state legislatures and our federal government in such dispute over these laws it only opens more gaps for criminals to take advantage of the disorder and make abundances of money off of illicit drugs.  The DEA, a huge agency with an annual budget of $3 billion (Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Public Affairs), with as much as they do to take drugs and people associated with them off the street still aren’t even close to solving the crime problem.

Here is a video of DEA agent and a police officer debating the legalization of marijuana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krlb3UD1sCM.

My home state of Oregon just did not pass the bill to legalize marijuana unlike Colorado and Washington, but it has decriminalized the drug in amounts that are under an ounce in measurement.  Polls taken in California have shown that decriminalization of just marijuana has decreased juvenile arrests by 20% between 2010 and 2011, (Alternet, Ferriss).  In 2011 numbers of juvenile pot arrest dropped from approximately 15,000 down to a little less than 6,000 with possessions under an ounce being charged with a fine rather than jail time (AlterNet, Ferriss).  Not only does this approach keep more kids (adults as well) out of prison but it decreases at least some of the intense violence surrounding the drug trades investments in marijuana as it makes it less profitable due to its increased legality.  With notorious cartel leaders like Z-40 less interested in the marijuana trade because of the availibilty of it legally in the states, crime rate will drop along with the blood spilled over this illegal substance.  But that is just one of many drugs the cartel is invested in.  What about the rest of them?      

In Portugal a different approach on drugs and drug users has been taken with great success I might add.  Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, (LSE, Stevens), and treats drug addiction as a health problem not a criminal activity.  This has caused all criminal drug activity to cease and actually increased survival rate of drug addicts and improved their re-assimilation into the work force and society.  Now imagine for an instant if this policy was held in the USA.  How much less violence would take place in our streets and in the streets of Mexico.  How the money spent on the drug war could be spent on helping people with drug problems (which is also much cheaper) and other beneficial things for this country.  The facts are overwhelming in that we should follow in Portugal’s wake in implementing a completely new way to deal with drugs in a legal fashion.   

 

http://www.alternet.org/marijuana-decriminalization-drops-youth-crime-rates-stunning-20-one-year 

http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/1207_fact-sheet.pdf

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/12/10/portuguese-drug-policy-alex-stevens/

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ruthless-drug-lord-takes-control-deadly-cartel/story?id=17455674

 

 

 

Eric Harris Response 2 at home

15 Jan

Reading Eric Harris’ journal has given me a much greater insight into the mind of campus/school shooter the likes of which I can’t claim to have ever before had or experienced.  He is both incredibly intelligent and greatly disturbed at the same time; both overtly egotistical and painfully insecure.  The parts of his personality that most interested me were his constant hypocritical tendencies and his incredible ego.      

He really likes to talk about how all humans just follow the pack and don’t take advantage of their god given skills.  He blames a lot of societal actions that he too even participates in for his own bad feelings about himself.  He can’t seem to hold back the self-hatred he appears to feel and instead withdraws fully from acknowledging his own flaws, saving him the burdens of such, and instead puts them on others in such a way as to take his anger out on them.  This statement alone, “The human race sucks. human nature is smuthered out by society, jobs, and work and school. instincts are deleted by laws. I see people say things that contradict themselves, or people that dont take any advantage to the gift of human life,” (Harris, 5/6/98), shows his blatant misinterpretation of himself, going as far to accuse other people of being hypocrites when he himself is the worst offender.  In quote he mentions “humans being smothered by society” and claims to hate the media and anything like it when in fact throughout his journal he mentions videogames, movies, TV, etc. in almost every entry and it can be clearly seen that these things have influenced him.

This trait of his allows for another trait of his to exist; his massive ego.  Convinced he is not only better than everyone else, but smarter, and more observant of the world, has given him some of the capabilities to go through with his shooting.  When writing to the audience in his journal he states, “its not to obvious to most of you stupid fucks but for these who think a little more and deeper you should realize it,” (Harris, 4/21/98), in reference to going to school and his belief that it simply turns people in to robots.  This ego all seems to crumble though at the slightest negative thought about himself that he has or another has and it is interesting to watch his internal struggle between his insecurities and his ego.

Harris appears to be writing to in general the entire human race.   This journal is a dictation of his “masterful” ideas and “proclamations”.  He ends or mentions in many of his entries with sentences like, “so until next time, fuck you all,” (5/6/98), showing his generality in who he is addressing.  He also does narrow it down on occasion to specific individuals but their names are always censored as it is related to a criminal investigation.

 

In Class Harris Response Passage 7/29/98

14 Jan

In this passage Harris firmly expresses his ideals of self-awareness and self-responsibility.  He doesn’t want to have someone else or something else blamed for his actions and would be offended if this were the case.  He also brings up that everything that happens really has no other reason than it happened, and this is his cause for taking all responsibilities for his choices.  He believes they are his choices and that’s the only reason he ever does anything, and one cannot look at the choices of others as simply bad or good but just as choices they’ve made completely un-influenced.  Harris writes, “Its MY fault! not my parents, not my brothers, not my friends, not my favorite bands, not computer games, not the media. IT is MINE!”(Harris, 7/29/98), and it makes the reader wonder how influenced he actually was if he felt such a need to deny it.  If Garbarino were to read this passage he would indeed say the exact opposite, and that Harris was greatly affected by his surroundings.  The persistent mentioning of video games and Hollywood and TV would point toward Harris being strongly influenced by these things.

Gabarino Response

10 Jan

In the first chapter Dr. James Gabarino’s book Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, Gabarino argues that violence in youth is caused by some distinguishable factors and not just random bad seeds in the population.  He focuses very strongly on the noticeable difference between how white youth violence is treated and how African American and other minority violence is treated.  He believes that the violence in inner city areas, suburban areas, and rural areas all have different but valid reasons for why this youth violence is occurring and the root causes for media reaction to violence coming from different ethnicities.  Gabarino also uses this to argue that because of the violence shown by some of the youths can be excusable under certain circumstances.

For inner cities it seems to be the extreme poverty of the community that has been caused in some cases by past racial in equalities and poor planning by government agencies.   It puts many of the people forced to live in these impoverished neighborhoods in a place where sometimes violence is necessary for survival.  In suburbia he says there are trends of domestic abuse both mentally and physically (even sexually), and that children are affected in their young age and develop coping mechanism for their problems inside.  When they turn violent it seems is when they can’t cope anymore and either believes it’s too late and want to die, or are really using this attention to get the help they need.  In rural areas much of the aggressive nature can be described by the culture so ingrained in some the mostly rural southern communities.  Much of this culture stems from slave days and is not caused so much by African Americans as it is caused by the effects of slavery.  The southern culture and the religion that came with it was engrained into the rural areas and into the black community.  This caused a very strong “eye for an eye” feeling which came from the roots of the religion and into the culture, and this only ensighted more violence.

While reading and thinking about what Gabarino is arguing in his paper I couldn’t help but continue to agree with most the points he was making.  It’s not just that a lot of the youth violence is invigorated because of racial stereotypes and past issues but also because the American family is in detriment.  The statistics for parents being around their kids has gone done in both lower class and middle class families.  Children who are born pre mature are surviving at a higher rate and have a higher risk of having ADD or other neurological disabilities.  Gabarino means to say is that its not the violence itself which is the issue but the reasons for the violence that we should look at.  We can’t blame race because its happening everywhere.  We can’t blame the individual either because it may not be their fault but rather their upbringing.

Gabarino moves for more compassion for the children committing these acts, and still after much consideration I would agree.  If a child who seemed perfect and normal one day snaps and goes to a school to shoot his/her friends, then their needs to be an explanation other then “He did it so he’s guilty so well deal with him as such”.  These youths are most likely troubled souls who have been abused or witnessed to this violence in order to have this breaking point.  Because of all this it is my belief that whatever the issue may be, every case is different, and should therefore be dealt with as such.  No subjective sentence can simply encompass all these youths, and steps should be taken to help these kids.

Learning Goals

7 Jan

In the writing world one my of my stronger attributes is my ability to use other works I’ve read in my writing and mesh them almost seamlessly with my arguments. I say this because I understand the things I read very well, and have a great memory for detail. I can make assertions from parcels of writing that others may or may not see and find a way to work them into a more affective format in my argument. With rhetoric in mind I would say I also can use a piece of writing that says one things and turn it around for the sake of an argument to mean another, and this is one of the ways in which I like to argue some of my points in writing.
Another of my strong suits would have to be my ability to “write effectively in different kinds of situations”. I would not call myself the strongest writer in the world but I am imaginative and creative and can write well in many areas or kinds of formal or informal writing. I have had a lot of experiences writing different for different situations as I took a variety of English classes in high school which covered much of the writing spectrum.
I’d say my weaknesses in writing are my poor editing and revision skills. I edit I tend to miss a lot or not see as much need for change as is noticeable to someone else reading my writing. A lot of arguments I make that make sense to me (also I write off into tangents sometimes and I may think they are related topic but when reviewed they really aren’t) might not make sense to someone else and I can miss that often. This to me seems to also be the cause for my lack of skill in revising because I don’t wholly recognize the problem in the first place always. Once I have an idea of what needs to be revised though I can usually do a good job at fixing it, but I would say this is still an area that needs some work.