Readers’ Forum Feb. 13, 2018

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BYU students Erik Jackson and Amanda Cherrington showcase their personal smartphones. While technological advances have simplified user lives, over-reliance on digital devices may be shortchanging the development of other essential skills among college students. (Photo by Maddi Dayton.)

Deadly distraction

Born in the 1990s, I am considered a millennial. Many issues surround this age demographic, one prevalent issue being a phone addiction.

The average millennial spends five hours a day on their phone, according to Pew Research Center. Removing time for sleep, that is nearly one-third of each day millennials spend on their phone. Events like sports games, concerts and parties have turned into phone get-togethers, where millennials are engulfed in their phones instead of enjoying the experience and each other’s company.

I witnessed this at an NBA game. It was a very fun and competitive game, and I was shocked when I saw how many millennials were on their phones instead of watching the game. They were more concerned with their phones than experiencing the game they paid to see.

Through the quest to be technologically connected, we are tuning out human relationships and interrupting a biological broadband connection. With phone usage on the rise, we need to be more conscious of our usage before phones consume our lives and leave lasting damage to our relationships.

—Ashton Kellems
Robbinsville, New Jersey

American dream

Are you attempting to motivate someone? Are you selling something? Often this is how we feel when someone references the “American Dream.” In essence, it has lost the once-noble call to action.

The American Dream is what people used to aspire to. Many people came from all over the world to get a taste of this dream and what it would hold for them. Where has the fire and desire gone? We have become complacent with our dreams.

How would our ancestors look at us? They sacrificed so much to give future generations a life in a better world. America was a place to hope, dream and become better. Now, our focus has shifted to the digital world with minimal interaction with others.

The American Dream was going out into the real world to inspire and pursue your dreams. Our generation is attempting to inspire and pursue things alone, at home and without interaction with others.

The ease of online shopping, dialogue boards and social media have aided the feeling of connection without actually being connected. We have changed. Our generation and the American Dream are at odds. How will we change it?

—Paige Kellems
Orem, Utah

Human rights

There is no such thing as gay, black, white or straight rights. The only rights that exist are natural, human rights possessed by every individual.

These natural rights we all inherently possess are the great equalizer. The rights to life, liberty and property allow us to pursue happiness as long as we do not prevent others the same privilege. Government exists to protect these rights.

Unfortunately, groups within our society have demanded special rights unique to them and elevate themselves above other groups. These special privileges come at the cost of the rights of fellow citizens. John Quincy Adams said, “This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights … privileges granted to one denomination of people, can very seldom be discriminated from erosions of the rights of others.”

From affirmative action to demanding someone to bake a cake against their conscience, special privileges within our country are violating rights and destroying justice.

We have taken the blindfold off Justice and have taken away her scales. Inequality in the name of equality and justice is deceptive. We need to remove unjust laws such as affirmative action and public accommodations laws to restore justice and equality under the law.

—Jacob Hibbard
Lugano, Switzerland

Are guns really the issue?

How would you feel if you could save somebody’s life? If owning a gun could do that, wouldn’t everyone want to help prevent tragedies from happening? The Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms and defend ourselves. My husband has a gun for this reason. Understanding the risks of owning a gun, if the situation required him to save innocent lives, he would.

Medical News Today reports the top 10 reasons for death have nothing to do with a gun. In fact the top reason for death is heart disease. Shouldn’t the government be more concerned with heart disease than with gun control if that is causing more deaths?

We can see from attacks in the past few years in Spain, France and England that cars were the weapons, not guns. Making guns illegal wouldn’t stop mentally ill people from killing; they would only find another way to accomplish their goal. If someone wants to harm themselves or others, they are most likely going to find a way to do it with or without a gun. People kill people; guns don’t. Let people have guns to defend themselves and others.

—Jennifer Johns
Ogden, Utah

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